Sometimes you reach a certain point in your life, and things just fall into place. It isn’t tied to an age or an event because it is a compilation of many factors that appear to be random in your life until the pattern is revealed and things make sense.
Many of us have been on a quest for years to fill the emptiness inside. We moved through thinking the perfect job, or the perfect partner, or the perfect whatever would make us feel whole. It never does.
After Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert became a best seller, it struck a chord with so many women who found themselves unhappy in their lives and unsure what to do about that. They looked to her and her journey to Italy, India, and Indonesia for answers. I happened to catch an Oprah show on the subject about a year later. During the course of the show, some audience members spoke of how the book had affected them. One woman, seeking to fill her own emptiness, actually went to the same places that Elizabeth did, hoping to have the same experience.
Both Elizabeth and Oprah gently tried to explain to this woman that each of us has to follow the path that is our own journey, as it is unique to us. We cannot copy what someone else has done. It became clear that this woman was looking to fill the void in her life. By duplicating what Elizabeth had done, she wanted to have the same experiences. Of course, she didn’t. It doesn’t work that way. You could see her bewilderment and her disappointment. Our journeys are very unique to each of us.
Here I would like to say a few words about Whidbey Island.
This is a very special place for many reasons. It is beautiful here. The south end has deliberately tried to keep the rural character that gives South Whidbey its charm. Many residents of Washington state own second homes here. This island makes the perfect getaway that is easily accessible. It is just a few miles up the freeway and a ferry ride away. It feels like small town living in the 1950’s in a fast paced 2013 world. It is a place for those who love nature. It is a healing place. It is many things but that doesn’t mean you will find what you are looking for here. Your journey will be unique to you.
The word magic crops up here with regularity. It means many things, but most of them don’t involve pulling rabbits out of hats. Some residents have tapped into the energy of this place and it is powerful. The island actually has a hum during the quiet early hours of the morning if you are tuned in enough to hear it.
I will share with you one of my magical moments. Deer regularly travel through my yard. There is a very old apple tree that happily bears huge amount of apples each fall. In the early morning mist, you will see the bucks on their hind legs trying to reach ripening fruit. When the fruit is ready, I pick some for me and leave the rest for the deer. I also feed the deer in the coldest of winter days, so they know who I am and I know them.
Two years ago, I hadn’t seen one of the big bucks all summer. I was worried about him. Standing on my deck, I said to the spirits that I wanted to know if he was ok. My message was sent out on the airwaves. One hour later, I went out my back door and he was standing in the middle of my backyard, looking regal and absolutely gorgeous. He looked at me as if to say, “I’m fine. Thanks for asking.” I laughed out loud. Then threw him some bread and apples. Five minutes later he was gone. Some will say that it was just a coincidence. I know better.
Originally I was going to spend one year on Whidbey Island. This will be my seventh. Like many, my life changed with the tumbling economy and the recession. I am thankful that I was able to stay here. It hasn’t been easy. I can’t imagine living anywhere else. There may come a time when it is time to go, but not yet. It is home. Like everything in life, though, there are those things that are less than perfect with every situation. I no longer get to see my grandchildren on a regular basis. Dinner and a movie with long time friends from Los Angeles is rare. I miss everyday visits with family, my favorite Mexican restaurant, tea at the Huntington Library and a leisurely day spent in their gardens.
Yet, this place, this book, this connection to nature, has filled the void in me. I found my tribe here. I found my purpose for the rest of my life. Telling stories. Surrendering to all that unfolds, I am content each day to just follow where life leads me. I listen to the hum of the island and the whispers in my ear and feel contentment.
Now that’s magic.