Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Simplicity Starts with a Single Step

(While Sebastian the Dog sniffs the shoreline in nearby Brownfield, I snap a photo of this amazing mountain in the distance. Speaking metaphorically, it represents a place where all your aspirations come to be.  Take one step closer....I dare you....)
Greetings, Blog Friends.

After an April of the usual gray days of rain, May is ushered in with the brilliant sunshine this morning. The waters of Long Lake sparkle and bask in its warmth; so, too, do the residents of this Western Maine town.

I have kept quite busy over the Winter months tending to the inn and my personal life. The Inn at Long Lake re-opens on May 6th and the year ahead is considered (even after almost 10 years of being here) a "year that dreams may come to be." The time has been fraught with challenges, for sure. At one point I had no water for almost 5 days due to a plumbing mishap. At another, I had no heat for 2 days. While these situations would never have happened when the inn had guests, it prompted a certain type of simple living that many have experienced during a power outage.

During the water situation I was resourceful enough (after moaning about the dirty dishes piling in the sink) to find water late one evening when all the local stores were closed. Spying mountains of pristine snow outside, I filled up many large pans with snow from my backyard, heated them on the gas stove) and washed my dishes as in a simpler time of yesteryear. The switch down to this survivalist perspective was an interesting exercise. It met stopping to calm down the emotional content of what was happening and to transform my thoughts into a "how to" productivity.

Back in New Orleans, I was one of the 40,000 individuals that auditioned for the wonderful show "Survivor." They were accepting their "cast" for the 2nd Season (in Australia). Beyond the fame and experience that can come with being on a reality TV show (still a concept fairly new in the year 2000), I had to pay some thought to intentionally placing myself in a scenario of "no frills" living. After all, I am a creature of habit like many of us are. It makes you really think about how priveleged we are by sheer comparison. Things like a refrigerator nearby to get snacks, or a CD player within arms reach to hear your favorite song, or not having a cell phone close to you to share a conversation with a friend only begins to touch upon that survival experience.

I never did make the cut for "Survivor: Australia" but was able to have my own television series later in my life. As if intention prompted a cosmic reaction from the Universe itself, I was able to live to see the temporary depletion of many of life's usual comforts. These were experiences that ended up being gifts in hindsight. They inspired me to travel around the Western Maine area as if to push away the conveniences on which I depend and to get down to "brass tacks and buttons" of a daily thought in my mind. Nature is a great gift and for the careful watcher and listener, many of the answers to questions in our own lives can be seen or heard in simply being with it. Nature does not make you feel "smaller." Personally, being with it, it makes me feel "part of." To access that pool of experience is, indeed, something that many overlook in the completion of the their own well-being.

Today is another day and with endless places to explore outside my door, I am excited about what today's "class" will bring. It is a choice to "be still." It is another to "listen and accept." I hope that your day, wherever you might be, you will the choice to do these a a place that inspires clarity, too.

Keith A. Neubert
Innkeeper, The Inn at Long Lake

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