Intentions and Practice and Harbor Seals

Harlequin Bay

One of my intentions for the last few years has been to create a morning routine and to build in enough time for habits and practices that expand my morning, deepen my daily experience and awareness, and therefore my day. I’ve never been very good at waking up without an alarm if I need to be somewhere – like work! So in mid-2015, about six months before I left my job, I started to add some practices into my morning as best I could. I wanted to begin now this life I was imagining, and also build a bridge into the void that I assumed leaving work would create. I knew I didn’t want to wake up the day after my last day on the job and think about all those “shoulds” that had stacked up, the “shoulds” that were really my wants, and not know where to begin.

On a good day, I took five or ten minutes to gently wake to the day, to orient myself to a positive outlook and the possibilities of the day, anchoring my intentions before I was overwhelmed with the urgency of my to-do list. I would follow that with ten-fifteen minutes of yoga, breathing and stretching and grounding myself in my body, my physical self. At some point, later in the day, I would meditate. On a different sort of good day, I’d throw myself out of bed in time to dress and get to 6am bootcamp, and return an hour later feeling awesome and ready for the day. On some days, I tried to follow the bootcamp hour with some intentions and yoga stretching. Different practices, same desired outcome: full presence in the day ahead.

In my day dreaming about this time here at God’s Pocket, the time away from schedules and work and obligations, I imagined something yet more layered: intentions, yoga, meditating all first thing, followed by writing, journaling and drawing. That would be the perfect morning! I read Danny Gregory’s wonderful book “Art Before Breakfast” ( and realized how simple and important a few minutes of daily practice with art was to my desire to be more creative. Substitute drawing for writing (or drawing and writing) and the idea is the same. I’ve heard this referred to as “ass power”: put your ass in the chair and get to work!

I’ve tried to build my perfect morning each day that I’ve been here – all seven days! Is it still a morning practice if it happens in the afternoon? The idea of the morning practice is to have it to oneself before the demands and distractions of the outside world set in. As of last week, I have none of those distractions (okay, a few).  I have the luxury of having all day to have a perfect morning… But I noticed yesterday that cabin fever was setting in. Up here it’s not hard to be house-bound and to like it: the wood stove makes the room cozy, and the view from the warm, dry space is almost as good as from the outside.

And yet a primary intention for this gap year is to experience it fully, and it is time to more fully embrace the island and all it offers, and get out!

So this afternoon we hiked over to Harlequin Bay, which is due East of the main house on the other side of the island. We left in the rain, and walked the tight trail over slippery roots and small pooling swamps of water. I was grateful for my rain pants even though they are about 4 inches too long. We arrived at low tide, and picked our way around a few coves. A huge bald eagle flew across the bay a few times, alarming the gulls, and then settled on a tree just barely within view. To my surprise, two harbor seals that bobbed up to look, their bald heads just breaking the surface, turned into four harbor seals, all facing us, clearly curious.


Eagle sightings for the day:
Golden eagle x 2
Bald eagle x 3, including once when two eagles danced across the mouth of our cove

Something we learned from Bill, one of the owners here: sometimes you can’t tell golden from bald eagles when they are at a distance or at height. A trick is to watch how they fly: golden eagles are pure power and own the sky and air currents; bald eagles seem too look like they’re just waking up or are a bit drunk or otherwise not quite together… check it out next time you see either one.


5 thoughts on “Intentions and Practice and Harbor Seals

  1. I loved your thoughts….Life is full of unexpected things…….the eagles are so awesome Enjoy life because it seems so short at times….Love Joy


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