The vital vitality from your vacation

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I am watching the water crash on the rocks. It foams, seething, shifting its millions of molecules into a writhing mass before settling into the Pacific ocean once again. The sun was coasting into a radiant shower of gold and white and red on the horizon to my right. And then without fair warning, it was gray and raining and cold. Because it was Ohio, and I had returned home. And my spirits plummeted.

But then, almost as quickly, the melancholy lifted away, and I focused on the tasks in front of me, and it was easy. Everything was easy. My mind had changed, my tendency to immediately catastrophize was gone. Everything was fine, how it should be. This could be because of the meditation that I’d begun months ago, a regular meditation to bring control back over my mind and its racings and musings. It could also be the recent loss of friends who passed away and made me stop worrying so much and instead start doing things to enjoy the present.

But I think the way I adapted to the muck of my current atmosphere was due mainly because of my vacation…two main things about it. It was long enough to immerse myself into where I was. After day 7, I was all there, not thinking about the future and returning. Instead, I was in the moment, so I truly experienced my get-away, instead of the usual 5-7 day scheme of the standard vacation. Second was the vastly different landscape from the the unremarkable flatlands of Ohio. It was new and uncommon. It was a fresh perspective on what it means to live. The earth was presenting itself to me like never before.

So take a long vacation from what you’re doing or wherever you are. You don’t need to go across the country, but you do need to get out of whatever it is you’ve acclimated to, whatever safe haven you think is permanent, and take a bite out of some new food for your brain. The risk and potential discomfort of that adventure are nothing compared to the resilience you will develop for those familiar gray days. Days that will always be there, wherever you reside. We’re here for new experiences. They not only keep us happy, but they keep our mind limber and fit to keep going in whatever our day to day presents us.

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Get unstuck, get unplugged, and take a swing

Using the internet can get to be like drinking from a fire hose. You’re attentive, reading, laughing, posting, messaging. But soon the web becomes a tangle of sticky strands. The internet is always open, holding many, many, many bits of data. Empty calories at an all you can eat buffet, leaving us hungry. Opinions are amplified and in your face. After a time, you shrug off the sarcasm and insults. Soon, the rest become blurred, too.

Billions of people defined by their pictures, their forwarding, their quoting, their lecturing. There’s a megaphone for everyone, like a crowded bar you’re tired of shouting in. The people are friendly enough, reliable little nodes for information, streaming you everything from everywhere, so you stop digging in, because it all looks good, and you just don’t have the time. So you graze, taking just a taste, and move on. Like walking down a busy Manhattan street with the honking horns, the engines rumbling. You get jostled, so you stop seeing people, instead looking at the fringes to carve out where to walk as you glance into the shop windows. But you don’t try anything on. You just observe as you go by. Surrounded and alone.

But we can unplug whenever we want. And you know that. So you do. And you walk out that door.
Look there.
A person.
Smile.
You get a smile back.

And then you remember.
You remember what it’s all about.
So, reach out.
Step up and take a swing.
Why not? Hear the clock? Tick-tock. It’s going to stop sooner than you think.