Transitions are an inevitable part of life. Managing transitions with ease is an important life skill and something to pass on to our kids.
This blog post comes to you from the Schoodic Peninsula – seriously Down East in Maine. It’s been nearly a decade since my family came up here to unplug for a week or so.
The cottages we stay at are shabby, affordable, and have everything a family circa 1940s could need. Kitchen, hot and cold running water, and electricity. Each one was moved from another location and each has a name that tells its story: Fisherman’s, Post Office, Captain’s, Red. The cottages come with a porch that is 30 feet from the bold pink granite lined shore.
The last time we were here there was a real estate boom. We gingerly looked at land or houses for sale and were told by the realtors to snatch them up – prices were just going to go higher and higher.
…as if we could even afford the marshiest half-acre that wouldn’t offer much recreation unless you were into farming mosquitoes.
But after 9 years, the restaurants that were going to offer flashy dining-as-entertainment are now tourist resource centers selling moose mugs and sandwiches for hikers, and the chic 9 bedroom B&B that doubled as a real estate agency is for sale for less than half of what a 2 bedroom house went for in 2006.
And the local working people – the lobstermen, farmers, and even those who run the long-standing inns and restaurants that have been around for 60+ years – aren’t living in an environment where everything is escalating around them.
There is a stability here as enduring as the pink granite. A bigger rhythm to which we are all connected.
Things have slowed down. We can go on our front porch and live into the rhythms of this bold beauty. The eagle still hunts right in front of our cabin. We are aware of the tide’s rhythm. The lobster boats sync with the tide.
We are close to the ground – even with electricity and spotty Wi-Fi in the cabin – and can feel the larger exhalations and inhalations of Planet Earth.
Our sleep patterns are adjusting to this as well. Even with electricity in the cottage, we don’t go to bed according to the clock, but according to how we feel which happens to be in sync with the moon’s and sun’s rising.
And who wouldn’t wake with the sun when you can watch the tide, the lobster boats, and the eagle as you sip your morning coffee?
I remember when we would stay here with my daughter. She had spent 6 weeks at a completely unplugged farm camp – not even electricity or running water – and then have 7 to 10 days in Maine. It is affirming to know this was part of her formation, even though she lives the city life at the moment.
We observe the bigger cycles as well. There’s a guest who builds cairns around the cottages. He used to come up and do day cycles and hikes on his own. The cairns are framed by the tides, dawn, afternoon, evening, and night.
This year, we are priviliged to observe the biggest cycle of all – he has returned with his 3-year-old, his wife, and both sets of grandparents. His son follows him as he builds a new cairn each day, contributing his own stones to the tower.
One of my favorite guided meditations starts with the question that if your brain was a hamster in a wheel, how fast is that wheel turning? You notice and then you’re asked to turn the wheel down a gear.
We’re always shifting gears.
Parents are shifting gears for themselves and their children…so that eventually the kids will be able to recognize and learn when to put in the clutch, make the shift, and move forward without a series of jolts and quivers.
In a few days, my husband and I will be making another shift…probably with some sadness…as we will be surrounded by ambient light, the temptation of television, and instead of the eagle silently hunting the shore our dog asking for more head scratches. We won’t notice the tides – even though they’re the curtains for the planetary show – because we won’t be sipping our coffee 30 feet from the pink granite shore.
How to make those shifts manageable?
Well, like the guided meditation suggests – ,just notice, don’t fix. Adjustments happen healthfully when you’re armed with some good information.
Noticing and accepting bring results.
Families who choose to go away to an unplugged location have several summer shifts…and all of us have the shift to back to school.
In recognition of that shift, Sleepytime Club is going to present the first-ever (at least as far as I know!) Back to School Bedtime Summit. Parenting, sleep, health, mindfulness…even lullaby and storytelling experts will all be sharing their knowledge so you can gently get the clutch, the gear, and the gas together in a fluid motion for yourself and your family.
You can download three interviews from the Back to School Bedtime Summit HERE. Dr. Laura Markham of Aha! Parenting, Dana Obleman of Sleep Sense, and Dr. Robert Rosenberg of Answers for Sleep. Listen to the experts now: GetYourSleepOnSummit.com