In this global world swirling out of control, figuring out how to get grounded is becoming a necessary survival technique. The anxiety just beyond our front door is not easily switched off…nor should it be. But sometimes you just need a break. Most recently we needed an escape.
Last week’s events felt like a convergence of bad news we could not get control of. It started at home with what we thought would be the most disruptive part of our week, my husband’s “scheduled” knee surgery. But that was the least of it.
As we sat together in recovery mode for the first 48 hours we binge watched a combination of Morning Joe, CNN and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. All of these choices were riveting, disturbing but none were up lifting.
We both felt helpless, about what was happening in our world, and what the story of the Handmaid’s Tale was predicting made this Science Fiction (or speculative fiction) drama feel way too possible.
We sunk deeper into the couch watching as the ice machine pumped numbing cool water around Bill’s knee, but we found little relief.
After 48 hours we needed an escape from our self imposed misery and from Elisabeth Moss’s jaw dropping performance. We not only couldn’t exit from our Handmaid, we also could not seem to click off the TV news or our phones listening to story after story about our world that seemed to be unraveling all around us.
By Day 3 we piled into the car for an escape to the island where we spend weekends and summers…Martha’s Vineyard.
Never has a ferry ride felt so good.
We were transported off the mainland to a haven where local community and good values are a reminder of what is right with the world.
And this is where we both started to heal.
Upon arrival our dear friends invited us in for a welcome to summer cozy lobster dinner. Just the 4 of us sitting around on the couch eating local… sharing stories about our kids, joking, laughing, feeling the love of friends…it was pure comfort.
And we continued with this magic formula. For the next 3 nights we ate at home with friends, feeling the warmth of company, eating local greens, fresh caught fish and staying away from the media.
We returned to a world we could control. Inviting friends to our table to talk, eat and laugh a reminder that 24/7 pounding news does not strengthen or heal us.
The crowning moment was on Sunday night when a friend who is a yoga teacher came over and led a few friends on our mats.
For 90 minutes we breathed and stretched and let go together and it felt like a big dark cloud was lifting. She told us a lot of her students were obsessed and depressed by the news and The Handmaid’s Tale. Another friend mentioned there was a therapist speaking at the local high school about how to deal/integrate politics in our lives.
But it wasn’t just the yoga that made us feel better or the wise voice of our teacher Mollie, it was being with a group of women, practicing yoga, and doing something for ourselves, to strengthen our bodies and relax our minds…together.
And after class we started talking about our lives and I was reminded how special this community of women is. Each one has a personal, direct impact on the Martha’s Vineyard community and that itself was grounding.
Each of these women are givers in their island community. Their days are about to serving one another.
Each makes an impact in their community — a commitment to living local. Each woman’s work is something that can be seen and touched. For example:
- Anne Marie paints and teaches art and sells great stuff in Vineyard Haven at refabulousdecor.com
- Randi is a brilliant wedding and lifestyle photographer on the island. She also just photographed an incredible cookbook with Susie Middleton and is involved in the island grown local farm initiative. randibaird.com
- Mollie Doyle is a dedicated yoga teacher on Martha’s Vineyard and has a huge following on the island. She is also takes leadership roles in local community issues . Mollieyoga.com
- Lucia Heyman is an incredible chef, Pilates and spin teacher. islandmaiden.com Lucia appeared on Sunday with platters of fresh delicious food and fed us all.
- Carlene dedicates her time to building the Permanent Endowment for Martha’s Vineyard, that is dedicated to improving the quality of life across the island. endowmv.org
This past weekend was a reminder of how grounding and healing it is surround oneself with others who are dedicated to improving the lives of one another and our local communities.
This past weekend was a reminder about what is right with the world and how it important it is to focus on the places we can make a difference.
Most importantly it reminded me that the dystopian world in The Handmaid’s Tale is not yet at our doorstep.