Henry and Wayne and Me
I’ve been on vacation for the past several days. Part of that was attending the Writing From Your Soul writer’s conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida with Dr. Wayne Dyer. I knew I was supposed to be there. Everything worked out for me to attend – hotel, car, discount for early registration, vacation time. Even on the way out of town when I was dropping off books already listened to and stocking up for the ride down, having second thoughts and wondering if I really should be going, there on the shelf was Dr. Dyer’s latest book I Can See Clearly Now. It’s had a waiting list a mile long and I had stopped looking for it, figuring I would just buy it at the conference (which I did, the hardback version) and have him sign it (which he did). Yet there it was, waiting for me, right where I couldn’t miss it – confirmation that “Yes, you are supposed to be there” when I was wondering. “Yes, you are on the right track, now get on the road!”
And if I didn’t already know I was supposed to be there (which by that point I did), Wayne told me (and the other 500 or so of us who also attended). “It’s no accident that you’re all here,” he said. And we all nodded. We knew that. It reminded me of Close Encounters of the Third Kind when all these people showed up in Wyoming not knowing why, just that they were supposed to be there.
We are all writers. We all knew why we were there. And some of us will get a book contract from Hay House out of it. Wahoo! (And I’m sure we were all looking around and thinking “Some of them are going to be disappointed”).
The first day I sat near the front and chatted with fellow conference-goers before and after, during breaks, during lunch. We all had an instant bond, it seemed. My pens usually last me a month or so. I blew one out the first day taking notes. (Thankfully I packed a whole box of them). I gave one away to a fellow picky pen person who admired mine and hopefully she’s addicted to them now, too. The second day I had the migraine from hell so I didn’t talk to anyone except my next door neighbor, a psychotherapist from Texas. I just sat toward the back with my eyes closed, hoping Wayne wouldn’t spot me and go “Hey you, in the back, this is important. Wake up and listen!” I took breaks and lunch in the car, then drove home in what seemed like a 3 1/2 hour sunset, which didn’t help the migraine one bit. My major victory that day was I managed to get home safely and didn’t throw up.
Wayne writes longhand. I write longhand. He writes in purple. I write in blue.
I write on my computer, too, but there’s a truth that comes out when I write longhand that I don’t always get on the computer. The exception seems to be these posts. Escape from Chaos for me is like writing longhand.
During that conference Dr. Dyer shared some quotes from Henry David Thoreau. Some of his favorite quotes are also some of mine.
“If you advance confidently in the direction of your own dreams, and endeavor to live the life which you have imagined, you will meet with a success unimagined in common hours.”
He repeated that one several times. He felt that was the message for us. That quote resonated with me the first time I heard it, which was so long ago I’m not even sure when that was, except that it likely came from my mother and likely when we were living in New England and exploring woods and ponds. It’s one that has come to mind frequently during the course of my life and seemed like another confirmation for me of why I was there.
In his book, he talks about reading Walden when he was in trouble at school. I read it, too, but it stuck with me less than its author.
I couldn’t get Thoreau out of my mind.
My husband had a procedure on his back on Tuesday, May 6. While I was waiting for him, Thoreau quotes kept running through my head.
On Wednesday (yesterday) I had planned to get to the lengthy list I had planned to start on Monday of things I want to do around the house and yard before going back to work.
But the day was too gorgeous to waste inside, the pups needed an outing, and I needed something that felt like vacation, so we escaped to New Smyrna Beach. Getting a beach pass for this season was on my list. I took care of it. It was time well spent.
I always do my best thinking at the beach. I started writing, but only got about half a page. Instead I just drank in the beauty of the day and was grateful.
Gizmo enjoyed his swim.
Yuki enjoyed the view from our shady spot.
Li’l Bit, despite her black coat, soaked up some rays
and Tinkerbell, as always, dozed on my lap.
What is the life I imagine? In many ways, it’s the life I have now (minus the corporate job and plus a boat and a beach house). It’s more time to write, to enjoy nature.
Henry had Walden Pond. I love water but I prefer oceans, bays, inlets, something with a path to a bigger world. Lakes and ponds, while beautiful, feel limiting to me. I want water that goes somewhere.
I thought about Henry a lot yesterday. I realized that Escape from Chaos, for me, is a bit of what Walden was for him, a place to pause, to be with nature, to think our own thoughts.
But what to do with it? I thought of all my many manuscripts at various stages. They all call to me at some level, but where to begin? Is there a reason I haven’t finished them? Should they be left? Should they be done? I didn’t know. So I watched the waves, the yachts, the kayakers, contemplated swimming to the lighthouse and back. Contemplated having my own lighthouse. And yacht. Enjoyed the day, the dogs, the sunshine, the freedom, the clean, fresh sea air, the cool breeze.
I woke this morning with quotes of Henry’s running through my mind. I know many of his quotes, but not a lot about his history, so I looked him up.
Henry David Thoreau died on Tuesday, May 6, the very day I had been thinking about him (different year). The obituary I read this morning was published Thursday, May 8, same day as today (different year). I felt as though I had lost a friend.
And I discovered a quote from him I hadn’t heard, that I took as a gift from him and a message to me.
“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”
I’m working on it, Henry. I’m working on it.