I really enjoyed being in the of what was, just immersed in the present, not concerned with the past nor the future and it was truly humbling. Wherever possible I like to keep my weekends unplanned. I don’t like to adhere to rigid schedule and expectation and fortunately my family life enables me to do this. It means that I can focus on what is going on for me (and us) right at that time, and with the love and support of an amazing partner and my soulmate, I am able invite through lots of spontaneity that honours where I am right at that point which usually always is perfect for those around me too. Being spontaneous has its drawbacks at times, but its an element of life that I’m really not interested in living without. I’m not a slave to detail, or to routine (I don’t think I could bear it) and while at times that means things can feel somewhat chaotic, things always turn out perfectly.
This weekend was no different. After a nice sleep in (the joys of having teens – they love to sleep in too!), I suggested we all head down to Byron Bay for the day. It took a while to get it together after a late breakfast and we both felt the only way we’d fit in everything we wanted to do was just to operate with no plan and no schedule. We both had Watego Beach on our mind and decided to take the kids along so that they could also revel in the beauty of Byron’s most beautiful beach.
We arrived late in the day, plus one hour (d’oh daylight saving in NSW!). We had a gorgeous swim in the waters, and were graced with the most amazing onshore warm breeze as we watch the sun dip into the Western sky. I was torn between wanting to capture the feeling of what was going on every five minutes, and just wanting to soak it up and experience it.
And then I noticed it.
Everyone around us, on the beach, on a busy Saturday evening were all immersed in their hand-held devices (me included). Having BBQ’s, wine on the sand, playing, walking, eating, talking… everyone had a handheld device and were deeply immersed in somehow trying to capture what was going on around them which was ironic, really because by being so immersed, they were actually missing what was going on around them. It really was a truly spectacular sunset and it didn’t last long, before that one – too – was gone forever. I didn’t miss the irony there either. I also noticed how there appeared to be deep dysfunction between the groups that had all the handheld devices out, and the ones that had opted not to bring technology into the foray. It was a really interesting reflection. It wasn’t so much a judgement about those who chose to capture what was going on, and connect, but I became profoundly aware of it. So, I committed to a limit of 15 minutes snapping the pics I wanted to take as a memento of a beautiful afternoon, but also to ensure the balance by making a concerted effort to put the technology away and keep it away. We are so very lucky we have the ability to create and connect so effortlessly, wherever we go, but at the same time, we miss what is going on around us. And I decided that the kids deserved my presence entirely, given this was the first time we’d gone out as a family in some time.
As it turned out, the decision was the right one. My teens really enjoyed soaking up the energy of the Byron Shire, a magnificent rustic pizza created by a local pizzeria and our laughter and conversation. As we headed back to the car, my 12.5 year old son put his arm around my waist, leaned in, and said ‘Mum, I’m so happy’. After the last 2 years we’ve had together, this was the greatest gift of all. The Universe really does deliver, when we take the time to honour and notice what is around us – offering our presence and not our presents. It was a really beautiful day.