This blog is dedicated to my dear friend Earl Mayne who introduced me to “hammock time”. Thank you for sharing your hammock with me.
BY: TAMI HARPER WINN
As the light plays a dance across my skin, the hammock sways in the gentle breeze of the morning. I am surrounded by butterflies flittering around me like magic pixie dust from God.
“Good morning” I say to the colorful two-winged beauties all around me. The hammock I am lying in is suspended between two large palm trees. I am like a child, giggling to myself alone here. I still can’t believe this is real. I pinch myself. But its true. I am really here, in this hammock, just being.
In my lap lays my notebook, or journal some might call it. My legs are crossed in this two-person hammock, my hands tucked behind my head. Somewhere hidden in the leaves of the palms and the bushes that surround me are parakeets that brush past me from time to time. They sing me lullabies that caress me in serenity. I am still, living fully in the moment.
My time in the hammock is what I’ve come to learn as my time to relax, release, and bathe in my higher power’s grace. I was told by the owner of said hammock that once I got into the hammock I was to leave the rest of the world outside of it. I certainly had no problem with that concept coming from where I had just come from. I definitely enjoy my hammock time, so much that when I get home I plan on buying one so I have an excuse to get away.
I am currently in Todos Santos Baja California Sur. I am a long way from home. Home is in Boise, Idaho where it is currently blowing snow intermittently. There is no snow here and I am a happy little bee.
I took this week off and hopped on a plane to meet a friend in recovery and take a much deserved retreat. I have never done something like this before in my life. I left my home country of the United States to go to a country I have never been (in fact I’ve never traveled outside the U.S.) all alone – talk about scary.
That must tell you a little bit about why you find yourself in my hammock with me today. You see I was faced with a cold hard truth before I left, that if I didn’t change the way I was living my life soon I was going to pay dearly for it health wise. I laughingly made the comment to my doctor that, “short of buying a one-way ticket to Cabo what was I suppose to do to change it”?
Well, I didn’t buy a one-way ticket (I have too much at home that I love). But I did buy a ticket to Cabo because as luck would have it, I just so happened to have a dear friend in recovery that was living close by that offered to let me stay with him. So here we are together in the southern tip of Baja, California Sur enjoying this very moment.
If you are not in this hammock with me yet, I assure you its big enough for both of us. Climb on in. You’ll understand why hammock time is an #AbsoluteYes for me today. Maybe you’ll even be inspired to buy one yourself. How funny to think about hammock sales skyrocketing after our morning together. But let’s get on with why we are here together right now.
Just lie back and be. I’ll take it from here. There’s a reason we are here together in this moment. Don’t question it – just be. Take a moment to breathe in a deep breath and hold it. Now release. Did you do it? I hope so. You needed it. Welcome to my safe place. Welcome to being in the present moment.
Relax and enjoy the sound of palm leaves blowing up above us. Lay back and watch as the birds circle us in unison with the butterflies. Now close you eyes for a moment and feel the warmth of the sun on your skin. Breathe the dampness from the morning mist that still lingers in the air. The salt from the ocean breeze settles on your lips – go ahead and taste it. Delicious, huh? This is just a sliver of what I believe heaven must be like.
I’m going to open up my notebook and share what I’ve discovered while I was in this hammock – before you joined me. If you don’t mind, I’ll share something I think is pretty incredible. I think you could very well find yourself asking yourself the very same types of questions as I have while we spend time together here in the hammock.
Do you find yourself sometimes thinking that you’ve stretched yourself beyond your limits? Do you ever wonder how you will ever be able to do everything you ever wanted to do? Do you ask yourself if this is all life will ever be? Do you imagine yourself somewhere else other than where you are? Do you ever feel guilty for taking time for yourself or treating yourself? Do ever think to yourself that you can’t go on like this much longer? Do you feel regret for things you didn’t do when you had the opportunity to? Do you ever secretly long for someone else’s life?
Well, you are not alone if any of these questions have ever crossed your mind or even if you have more you could add the list. Don’t feel bad. I have a confession to tell you. I’ve asked myself the same questions at various points in my life, even more so recently. That’s exactly the reason I came here, to tell you the truth.
I’ll admit I felt bad at first, but being here now, I know it was divine intervention that helped me to ask myself those questions. It was divine intervention that led me here to this hammock – to this place in time. And, it was divine intervention that helped me to uncover my truths right here in this very hammock. I also could say it’s divine intervention that you are here with me in this hammock confessing to yourself your own truths now.
So, with that said, this is what I discovered during my time in the hammock.
Between the covers of my notebook lie pages full of adventures and intrigue about my vacation getaway here in Mexico. I went through three full pens while in this hammock and am currently on my fourth. I’ve been busy jotting down everything I possibly can so as not to forget one small detail. However, those stories are treasures that are being tucked away for the perfect time to share with you. For now, I wanted our time together to not be about the beauty of Mexico, but about what I uncovered when I slowed down just enough.
I’ll tell that during my time here I walked a little slower, talked a little softer, smiled a little bigger, laughed a little louder, and breathed a little deeper. I woke every morning at the crack of dawn giggling. My nights were full of good peaceful rest. I did not have to rush. I took time to wake up, to pray, to thank God, to dream and to get ready for my day. I listened to the natural music all around me every morning.
I enjoyed conversing with townspeople and eating when I was hungry. I had no need for stimulants such as coffee or energy drinks, something I drink regularly back home. Instead I valued water and being able to drink a cold bottle of it. I walked and walked like I did when I was a child. This gave me the chance to take in everything I would have missed if I was driving, like when I’m back home.
I didn’t get on social media but to post once a day. My phone time was limited and there was no television or Netflix for a week. I didn’t put makeup on the whole time there. There really wasn’t a need for it. In fact, I didn’t even look in a mirror the whole time I was there.
My smile has been the most genuine it has been in years. My laugh has been the most heartfelt in what feels like eternities. My happiness is pure and real here in this moment. But why is here in this hammock any different than back home?
Well, it’s funny you ask that. Some say back home that it is because I’m on vacation. But that’s only a small part of it in the grand scheme of things. You see, here I was able to be still just long enough to own the experience I was having. I then got to see the truth. I got to realize that back home I had been running so fast I was out-running my own life. Sadly, I didn’t even know it and even though my soul felt it in the hectic day-to-day rush, I didn’t identify with it. Even if I had, I wouldn’t have known how to stop it. It was how I had learned to survive.
Its taken me over six years of being substance-free to understand that even though I had accomplished so much in so short a time, I wasn’t giving it the due honor and recognition it deserved. It deserved my happiness. It deserved me enjoying every moment and being grateful to be in it. I was slowly losing my grip. In the middle of the rat race, I couldn’t figure out what was missing. Thank God he pulled me from my own demise just in the nick of time.
I know you can’t rush off to exotic places at the drop of a pin. I realize that you have responsibilities you have to attend to. I get it that it takes money and time. I understand, trust me. I don’t expect that you can do this right now. I couldn’t until just recently. I really didn’t have the money to do it, but when I think of all the money I’ve wasted on “good times” I knew that I could afford this. I surely went to any lengths to get drunk. I was willing to do the same for my sanity.
So, what can you do to find a way to escape from the madness of the world and just be? What do you need to have the life you know you want? What is it that will keep you hanging on one more moment? Let’s evaluate that why don’t we? In this moment we are still – together. If you could change one thing simple in your life right this moment what would it be? Get out your notebook. Let’s start writing together. Let’s make a list of what I now call my #AbsoluteYes list. I want you to do it too.
It is your list. You can make it as short or long as you want. I was told early on in recovery that in order to have the ideal guy I need to first be the ideal woman. In order to have good friends I needed to be a good friend. So let’s take that philosophy and apply it here.
Maybe in order to have the life you want you must live the life you want. What does that mean? Well, for example, if you want to feel more relaxed and less stressed, what steps can you take to perhaps help you? Is it exercise? Is it more rest? Do you need regular meditation? How about an hour a week to yourself? The sky is the limit. Start small and go big.
They told me when I first got sober that when I first created my ideals, they would eventually be added to as I grew in my newfound understanding. That applies here too. Start my making a simple list of things that you need on a consistent basis in order to be fully happy. It starts with identifying where you believe the lack of is. No need is to too great or too small. They are your needs and they are not silly or unrealistic. They are yours. Add to it as you go.
There is no rush here. Take your time writing out this list. Be present in this moment and take this time to get honest with yourself, with your higher power, and then just let it flow naturally. I think you’ll be surprised. If it doesn’t come right away, that’s okay too. You can always crawl back in the hammock with me at any time and start again. Take as long as you need. I’ll be here don’t you worry. I like it here. Besides, in the hammock there is no rush. That’s the point of hammock time.
After you have written the list here is the key part though. You need to take one small action each day to create that opening in your life that you desire and need - one small step each day to begin to achieve your own version of hammock time. Then place the list where you can see it every day. Keep a copy in your purse or car. Post it on your mirror or at your desk at work. Make sure you can see what it is you need in order to care for you.
I realized I’m no good to anyone unless I take care of myself spiritually, physically, and emotionally first. My loved ones and friends deserve this. You deserve this. Everyone I meet deserves this. But most importantly – I need this. With my list I can take steps to create my own safe place and reconstruct my time with you here in the hammock. I can bring home Mexico when I get there – if I choose to.
My time in Mexico is more than sand, sunsets, and siestas. My time in the hammock was more than whispers on white pages in a notebook. They are a state of mind. They are me here and they can be me there. The same goes for you too.
I will never be the same after my time here with you in the hammock. I hope you got to relax for a moment and just be. I’ve enjoyed our time together. I think we discovered a lot about ourselves in our short time together. I know I did.
So, in our final moments together here in the hammock I want you to sit back and close your eyes once more. I want you to take in one final deep breath and hold it – now let it go. One more time with me, please. Open your eyes. You are safe. You are perfect and in a perfect space. Thanks for climbing in here with me. I’ll be here if you ever feel the need to get some hammock time in again. Or better yet, buy a hammock and create your own hammock time where ever you are.
~Tami Harper Winn~
The story written here is solely the work of the author’s. Any use or reproduction of this article is prohibited without written consent of the author or credit to the author through works cited.