Have you ever been at that place in your life where you know one chapter is completed but you don’t know what’s next? I call this place between dreams. It is not always a comfortable place to be, but when you ride the wave of uncertainty, you do eventually arrive at a new dream. This is what happened to me, between March 1986 – March 1987, when East Hampton became an expression of my new dream.
I was divorced, living in Manhattan, had a consulting practice that was thriving, yet I was feeling extremely uncomfortable as I walked down an upper east side street. It occurred to me that just because the stork has dropped me off in Manhattan, 37 years earlier, didn’t mean I’d have to live there the rest of my life. This thought generated both a sense of freedom as well as angst. I now knew I was free to make a choice but what were the options…if I left here where would I go, what would I do? These questions echoed through my mind for weeks until I decided it was time to focus on what I wanted rather than focusing on not knowing what I wanted.
I took a month off to gather my thoughts and be inspired from the inside out. Esalen, in Big Sur CA. offered the perfect retreat. After a month there I knew some things for sure, I wanted to live some place beautiful, on the water, I wanted a family and a garden – and of course, world peace was also high on my list of my desires. Well, this was a start.
When I left Esalen, at the end of the month, I asked myself, ‘How long will this take?’ The answer I heard was clear, direct, and simple, “One Year.” And what a year this was, I looked into opening a bed and breakfast in New England; I explored the possibility of traveling the world for a year; I thought about writing a book; I took trips to areas within two hours of NYC as places to move. East Hampton wasn’t even on the short list…New England was my preferred direction.
As March 1987 approached I knew it was time to decide, but how, there were so many possibilities. So once again I took myself away, two weeks at a Yoga Retreat on Paradise Island, before it was lined with the huge hotels that it is known for today.
I wasn’t sure what my decision would be, but I knew that after confusion comes clarity!
On day 13 at the yoga retreat, I walked down the beach with four women I’d become friends with, who were also between dreams. After almost two weeks of lousy macrobiotic food, we made our way to a restaurant on the patio of a beautiful hotel where we feasted on champagne and pate. A bit tipsy we headed back – took a two hour yoga class and agreed to meet on the beach later that evening.
We arrived with candles, journals, good luck charms and we each gave voice to our vision of our next chapter. When my turn came I said without hesitation, “I want to be part of family, live in a house with a view of sunset over the water, continue doing the work I love and have a garden.” We stayed together for a few more hours and then each went our separate ways to sleep before our 5am morning chanting was to begin.
At 4:45am I sat up in bed and said aloud, “I’m moving to East Hampton.”
Now the truth is, I really didn’t know where East Hampton was. I had friends who had spent summers there, but it was a mystery to me, and at the same time I knew without a shadow of a doubt that my decision had been made, I was moving to East Hampton.
On a clear cold day in March 1987 I arrived in East Hampton for the first time. I felt I’d stepped into a dream. What a beautiful place. I wandered around Book Hampton, which at that time was near the movie theatre. I got a sandwich in the Windmill Deli – where Citarella’s is now and then headed to Main Beach. As I walked the beach with a friend, the Ocean air greeted me and I could feel myself surrender to the natural beauty that embraced me. I turned to my friend, Sy, and said, “Well, the worst thing that could happen if I move here is that, I rent a place for a year, I continue my consulting work in the city, I make no friends here, I feel lonely, and after I year I make a new choice.”
But, what did happen is that on June 6, 1987 I moved to a house in East Hampton. In October I met the man I later married. He had kids so I was immediately part of a family and I watched the sun set on Three Mile Harbor throughout the seasons, and some of the plants I planted are still in bloom.
These days every time I make the left-hand turn at the pond onto Main Street I sigh and hear these words echoing through my mind, ‘I chose the most beautiful place to live, or did it choose me?’