Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wabi-Sabi: Finding Our Place (Away)

As you may recall (and as outlined within Wabi-Sabi: Explained), blog posts entitled "Wabi-Sabi" will be dedicated to moments of self-acceptance and calm.

Can you imagine: I was granted not a sheer moment of wabi-sabi, but a full triumphal weekend.

May this story serve as a testament to the promise of internal prosperity. An attained fulfillment that lends itself to no interpretation but my own. This stretch of wabi-sabi challenged my self-consciousness. Within its span, I initiated a quest for self-acceptance.

Let us firstly look back and review:

Wabi-sabi refers to a Japanese philosophy or aesthetic that is founded on acceptance. It is centred on three simple truths:
  1. Nothing lasts (beauty within the impermanent)
  2. Nothing is finished (beauty within the incomplete)
  3. Nothing is flawless (beauty within the imperfect)
I deem any moment to be wabi-sabi when all above laws are present, acknowledged, and accepted. The result that arrives is swift and twofold: security of self and blessed joy.

Now for the story... 

It was the fall of 2013 that Graham and I found "our place."

We hadn't taken a vacation together since Cuba in May, and I was awaiting a break in contract from the Canadian Coast Guard. Each one of us, eager road trip aficionados, in a flash began launching adventure schemes in our minds. Pondered and said (simultaneously, no doubt) were the words:
Let's get away!! 
But very little interest did I find to have in designing our little vacation.

I digress: I am a planner.

I plan everything in my (our) own life (lives).

I can only wish I were speaking to style of organization that amounted to studying of great scope, nutritious meal preparation, and a weekly yoga routine. If only. Regrettably, I am speaking to an effortless tendency I hold to begin thoughtfully planning and arranging, as I drive, the immediate steps I will take as I enter my home.

Silly and unnecessary? Perhaps. Anxiety provoking? There are times. Efficient? You bet. Well...

There is however a lustrous silver lining - a sudden break in the clouds - in this planned tale that I call my life: I am remarkably good (and impressively so!) at going with the flow.

In fact, I crave it.

On rare occasions, I am called not to plan, but only to be present for an impromptu getaway or activity. And I must admit: these are often the times I love the most.

(I could have freely replaced all of the above with: Graham planned our little getaway. But what little insight that would have provided...)

And so. Off we went.

Away in the County 

Graham manifests a profound ability that I cannot neglect to describe. He can quite honestly catch my dreams - pieces of my imagination, lingering mid-air and floating away - and he is able to give them new life. Some of which I have yet to share, even with him, yet lo and behold, there they are. Right in front of my eyes. I find my most sacred dreams and far-fetched illusions. Suddenly tangible, wholly authentic, and celestially so.

Nestled among the tranquil shores of East Lake, surrounded by natural gardens and magically overgrown brush, we found it (our place), in the village of Cherry Valley.

Away in the County would serve as the matchless bed and breakfast we would never forget.

Our first afternoon was enchanting.

The interior of our retreat was elegant, simple, and somehow gentle. We strolled along a marble terrace and greeted an exceptional suite, named The Gardener's Room. We crossed an intimate art studio, flawlessly positioned to overlook the shore. We revelled in an expansive view, provided by a private balcony. What a blessing it was to behold the whole and sweeping property. Exquisite artwork, that owed itself to encaustic painting, was found throughout the entire residence, only adding to its character and charm.

Side note: for our next visit, we plan on reserving The Artist's Room, which showcases the work of emerging, mid-career in addition to well-established, local artists. I can hardly wait!

A short drive from the ravishing beaches of Sandbanks Provincial Park, how could we resist making the trek? We playfully taunted one another until we ran hand-in-hand, fiercely shivering as we entered the late-September tide. We dried off, only to hurriedly traverse and explore (not to mention, trip and fall all over) the spectacular sand dunes nearby. Upon our return, we wandered the gardens, until we came upon a hidden patio by the lake. A basket of fresh peaches from a local Farmer's Market in my lap and Graham by my side (camera in hand), I felt completely at peace. I felt beautiful.

As we returned from the garden and approached its handsome quarters, I found myself fully cognizant of a first truth: This is our place. This is where we are meant to be. This getaway will not last forever (beauty within the impermanent). But with God as my witness, I do so fully accept it.

On our second morning, it rained ceaselessly. I did not, even for an instant, wish for it to stop. I am able to summon, ever so accurately, two moments in particular. The first occurred while brushing my hair: I found my reflection in a solid antique mirror. My gaze unyielding (a rarity!), I was provided a glimpse into the soul of young woman. Once afraid and insecure - and all too quick to glance away - but today she beamed right back. She stared fixedly into the eyes of her very being. There she found confidence, dignity, and an outlook afresh. She did not rush or worry.

The latter occurred shortly after an impeccable breakfast, and a triumph! I had successfully failed to serve as my own miserly referee: the one who routinely manages my eating habits and judges the creamer that begs for my coffee. He was hushed and put to rest. In lieu of this controller - this evil umpire that exists within many - I implanted in place the young girl I had only just met by way of reflection. How grateful I was for her kindness! I enjoyed scrumptious muffins, fresh orange juice, and an omelette no short of divine.

More often than I care to admit, I am called to persuade this compassionate coach (also known as my inner-self) to visit me at meal times and silence the controller. It only gets easier as we grow in self-esteem.

Our breakfast was a delectable introduction to the second moment I explicitly recall:

While driving a long way to a winery (which we later laughed was closed), I gazed out at the stormy fields of the County. Freckled they were with mature and sturdy birch trees, yet still the land preserved its early farm houses; their histories seemed to linger. Guilty I am a lover of dreary weather. And how romantic it was on this very morning as I glanced away from the taupe-sky of the countryside and turned to Graham as he played a favourite Beatles song:
I feel completely happy.
He did not need to say a thing.

The second truth came upon me. This getaway will never be complete (beauty within the incomplete). No promise of a tomorrow as wondrous as today. But I do so fully accept it. It will live on inside our hearts until we return.

Silly adventures, momentous conversations, and stomach-aches of laughter were had. Mad Dog Gallery, a few wineries (and too much wine!), unique little towns, and the joy of getting lost along the way.

Each evening out for supper, we enjoyed cuisine that could defensively serve as the finest we had tasted (The Hubb at Angeline's and Blumen Restaurant). But any meal we can conceive of is forthwith deemed dull in comparison to the field-to-fork breakfasts we savoured each morning, while delighting in the company of Susan and Glen (owners of Away). And who could forget Oscar, the friendly Bassett Hound, who "supervised" the property?

Did I mention that each breakfast menu was typed on the residence antique typewriter? Seriously. Was this place made for me?

 I simply could not resist purchasing The Art of Herbs (a local art/cookbook) to inspire my reminiscing for months to come.

And then. It came time to return home.

In gratitude and in stillness, our gazes too-cognizant of the farewell in sight, the third truth embodied the very essence of our wistful goodbyes. We, flawed human beings, will never be as perfect as the memory of this place or the God that brought us here (beauty within the imperfect). But we are beautiful for having felt such love and inspiration. And I do so fully accept that.

May you too find your "place." The one that takes you away. The one that sends you back stronger than you were received. It may be a moment, a song, or a place. But connecting with (and accepting) the deepest part of your being is the key to all of its weight.

I will continue to self-search by way of these memories of self-acceptance, until I find "away" again.


1 comment :

  1. Kristina I follow you on Instagram through a common wedding related hashtag! Just discovered your blog link and am loving your posts! This little place sounds like perfection! For me and Rich mallorca in Spain has become our happy place away! So much we got married there!