I told my friend at dinner that I unexpectedly found myself looking at a women’s retreat and spa trip in Bali. She looked puzzled.
“I bet you could get 80 percent of that relaxation and recharging just from going away by yourself and not worrying about the retreat part.”
Maybe she is right.
But the piece I didn’t express very well is this: I’m yearning for insignificance.
Doesn’t sound like a very lofty goal, does it?
If you’re new to my blog, I’m a divorced mom with two sons. I bear the brunt of the financial burden, the emotional burden and the housework burden—as most single moms do. While my teen would protest this statement vehemently: I am the rock upon which this house is built.
I do not say that with braggadocio or hubris. It is a simple statement of fact, one to which most single mothers could attest (and some married ones also).
Does this mean things go swimmingly and my boys are model citizens each and every day? Absolutely not. But it does mean I know the buck stops with me.
Back to insignificance . . .
When you feel you are the cornerstone of any situation, and were raised with a work ethic like mine, you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders at times.
And after months and months of this without much of a break, you yearn to be less significant.
You yearn, in a very selfish way, not always to be the one the teachers call when your sons fall short or mess up, expecting you to wave a magic wand to make “their” problem go away.
You yearn for a paid vacation, something that does not happen when you work for yourself.
You yearn to have a shoulder to cry on instead of always being the shoulder cried upon.
Bali beckons. Why? Because it means I am alone. No one to have to make conversation with, no one whose oxygen mask must go on before my own, no one asking me to be the responsible adult yet again when my inner child yearns for a few minutes in the spotlight.
I want to be insignificant for a week only, I tell myself, trying to assuage the guilt this yearning brings. And it’s true. I am happy to be there for my kids. But I need to recharge in order to do that with any success.
If you’re a woman and you care for your family, you’re probably not very good at that recharging bit. Most of us aren’t.
I want to meditate and immerse myself in a spiritual place, thousands of miles from my own culture, marveling at how vast our world is.
I want to see my neglected body show muscle and sinew again, stretch and breathe.
I want to see my frantic monkey mind calmed and be in the moment rather than planning a future that may never come or remedying a past that cannot be altered.
I want to nourish my soul, sans guilt. To know that I am just a small cog in the cosmos, and that someone other than me is in charge.
I don’t think I’ve expressed so many “I wants” in years. That may be part of my problem.
And lest you think I yearn for something I know not, let me set you straight.
I remember it clearly. I am in my twenties, in Colorado, hiking up to Emerald Lake in the Rocky Mountains with a friend. We’ve lost and found the trail several times, which is exhilarating but also a bit scary.
Midway up, a thunderstorm brews out of nowhere. And then turns to hail. We are in the midst of trees that were around when my ancestors were still in Europe. They’re swaying, bending, crackling. There’s no real place for shelter. We just have to keep hiking, up and up, and pray for the best. I am soaked, scared and yet, smiling. Because I am reminded of how wondrous and powerful Mother Nature is.
Within a few minutes, the storm stops as abruptly as it started. The sun shines and when we finally reach Emerald Lake, it makes the water sparkle like diamonds.
My friend and I lay on the rocks, letting our things dry, thankful for safety and perseverance.
Oh yes, and insignificance.
Sometimes it is a beautiful thing.
19 Comments Add yours
Looking for insignificance indeed as we all should. We all need that trip, that time to recharge should the burden of responsibility fall on us. I have this idea that we are empty vessels; we need to fill our self before quenching the thirst of others. We need to be recharged before we can charge the spirits of others. Strengthen our own shoulders before making it availavle to others to cry on. Wherever this search for insignificance leads you, it will be well worth it. Which will not only be noticible on your part. But the benefits will trickle down further to be noticable with your sons and other people around you. Wonderful article 🙂
I love the way you put it–that we are empty vessels. We’re simpatico on this one. Thanks for reading!
Just recently I remembered as a child a moment where I lay down on the grass and looked up at the sky. I can remember feeling the scratchy feel of the grass and its smell and I remember looking at the sun and feeling its warmth on my face. It is a long long time since I have just sat (or liaid) like that.. without a care in the world. Bali Ha’i
I think the grass awaits you . . . 🙂
Reading your beautifully penned post reminded me of “Bali Ha’i” from South Pacific. The lyrics seem so appropriate here:
Most people live on a lonely island,
Lost in the middle of a foggy sea.
Most people long for another island,
One where they know they will like to be.
Bali Ha’i may call you,
Any night, any day,
In your heart, you’ll hear it call you:
“Come away…Come away.”
Bali Ha’i will whisper
On the wind of the sea:
“Here am I, your special island!
Come to me, come to me!”
Your own special hopes,
Your own special dreams,
Bloom on the hillside
And shine in the streams.
If you try, you’ll find me
Where the sky meets the sea.
“Here am I your special island
Come to me, Come to me.”
May the yearnings of your heart materialize in ways unexpected. xox
Perfect:). I’m definitely hearing the whisper. Thank you for the lovely wish and for reading!
I hope you get that time out and escape, even if you don’t make it to bali. good luck, kay! I admire your tenacity and ability to express yourself, and I wish you the space you need to keep you going!
Being, not doing. Hope you can find that in the beauty of Bali.
What a wonderful, succinct way to put it. Thank you:).
Loved this as I so often feel like I’m drowning in responsibility and accountability and what I wouldn’t give for a chance to head to a retreat… Sadly, it’s not an option for now! Dream on, Baby! Hope you get a chance to escape for a while x
I know that feeling of wanting to give up responsibility, just for a while. Go for it and tell us about it when you get back!
Absolutely—time out and insignificance is what we all need occasionally. Bali is wonderful.
Do it! We all need exactly what you have described, from time to time. Beautiful Bali awaits.
I wish for you the gift of gloriously thinking about nothing, Kay.
Thank you, Mark! I will take you up on that wish and accept that gift:).
Great read! You express what I feel myself and I could really relate to it! Thanks!
i can feel your words rush through me in delight and dispair as i feel the same.
(i am colleen sheahen’s little sister. i am attached to your writing and it helps me exhale when i read.
kristen sheahen larson
Thanks for reading, Kristen! Glad you’re exhaling:). I’m guessing I’ll be seeing you in Bali:).
I’m in for the Bali trip!