Just recently, I went on a 3 week resting vacation with the hope that much of that time would be available to work on my new book coming out in 2018 entitled, “The Message”. This time away would allow me to be ensconced in a cozy cottage, directly on the beach, tide rolling in and out day and night, hour by mesmerizing hour. What could be better to create and to think? Dream and invent. Feet in the sand, sunrise on the left, sunset on the right. Wow, count me in!
Within hours of arriving and unpacking, I checked out all the nooks and crannies of the cabin, the deck, the porch; then I took in my surroundings and said, “Ok, now what??”
What was a busy, New England extrovert thinking when she booked 21 days in one fairly isolated place? Was I really going to sit at a table, albeit on a lovely screened-in porch overlooking the ocean, and do the author-thing??? I had to move! Walk. I had to see stuff. I had to get in my rental car and drive somewhere, grocery shop, check the sheets for cleanliness, put on make-up, wash the salt out of my hair, vacuum the sand out of the carpet that was continuously clinging to my bare feet, plan dinner, plan lunch, plan breakfast, find a really really good breakfast place to eat the day’s first meal that I might not have properly planned for yesterday.
Next, I unpacked my laptop, plugged it into the wall, found my way into the Wi-Fi network with password provided and, and, and …..?
Uh-oh, I was already in trouble. This required patience and stillness, and clearly, I was not in a patient and still place. I know that I was supposed to be, but instead, I was restless, expectant, feeling totally out of my normal environment. What was happening here? I seemed to have prepared for the escape, and I had all the props, but my head and body were doing something else.
I stood flabbergasted. Why wasn’t I teeming with thoughts and concepts, inspiration and pounding the keyboard? The clock was ticking! Ticking. TICKING!
It finally occurred to me; the answer came in a stunning question to myself: Exactly where was this magic creativity going to come from with nearly all of my adrenaline pumped into hyper-drive from being in 3 different airports, a significant amount of air turbulence, a car rental station with waiting line and walking with tons of luggage to another parking lot, completely unfamiliar highways and roads in an unfamiliar car and a GPS not conducive to supporting my travels to some sleepy little island town in North Carolina?
I was now cut off; my knees had been clipped from beneath me, and I was left to my own devices. I had nose-dived from the fast lane of a large New England metropolis to the 2-tire track of quiet civilization in a completely different part of the country. I was unprepared for the speed bump, that was in reality a full-bore stone wall.
Example: I needed provisions, so into my trusty rental to the “bustling” grocery store with 3 check-out lanes. With my cart of “12 items or less” I moved into what should have been a quick-out, where everyone put their potential purchases onto the belt and moved like lightning to the finish line. Ahead of me was a woman with 2 things and ahead of her, capturing the soul of the cash register person, was a gentleman of about 80 plus years with absolutely nothing else on his mind but smiling and thinking of what he needed at that moment, but was not yet on the conveyor belt. Ah, a bag of ice…..over by the cooler next to the exit door. “Do you think someone could go over there and get one of those for me?” AND, cigarettes, special brand located 2 registers over. And let’s not forget to find exactly where on his person was the cash to pay for all of this. Left pocket? Um, no, not there. Shirt sleeve hidden pouch…wrong again. “By the way”, he asked the cashier, “did you happen to give me a pack of matches with those cigarettes?” “I know I left my loose cash here somewhere, just give me a minute”. Big smile.
By this time, the only other two regular check-out lanes were moving faster than we were. The woman in front of me, appeared totally unaffected by the whole scenario, since she quickly included herself into the conversation with the elderly gentleman and the cashier, and everyone was having a grand time being in the same space. My eyelids were starting to twitch.
What in the world was wrong with me? Was I the only one not seeing how long, long, long this was taking? Did I have all day??
Ok, the crazy thing is…I DID have all day. I had no-where I had to go, no-one that I had to meet, no life or death situation that required my experienced skill set. I was not negotiating paralyzing traffic or late for some meeting somewhere. I sincerely needed to rethink what was going on in my brain and body. This gentle pace I was observing was exactly what I had asked for, prayed for and specifically begged for on my journey as an author. I was bucking the system at this very moment in my first encounter with the slow-lane. I needed to remove myself from my man-made fast lane immediately, because it was obvious I was missing a major point on my personal compass. I was facing a life-lesson.
Message: I needed to S – L – O – W D – O – W – N. It was now my opportunity and my duty to listen to my mind (in overdrive), my body (heart and blood racing), and my emotional status (impatient, anxious and unobserving).
Wherever you are and wherever you reside, the “fast lane” can follow you in your thoughts, actions and environment. How often do we create our own busy-ness, critical activities, deadlines, worry, criticisms and fretting? We rush through the “12-or-less”, jump in our vehicle, look at our phone calls, check the time, scream into the fast lane – and hit the traffic stall. The Universe conspires to hold us back one way or another, and direct us toward a healthier pathway, but first we must listen and observe.
Some time constraints do exist in our daily routines, but how we manage through them can mean the difference between fast-lane anxiety and slow-lane relaxation and healing. When we encounter the slower pace, it is our chance to embrace it’s contribution to mindfulness. We all know about mindfulness – being in the now moment. Fast-lane solutions can frequently derail us into missing the slower-paced ideas that will enlighten, inspire and heal. We must ask ourselves, is the fast-lane process the only guidance I am following? When and where will I take the time to bring mindful thought into my day? How can I capture an observation and turn it into a healthy solution?
I left the grocery mart, smiling at my elderly gentleman friend from the cashier line, and embraced a new thought. I will start each day on my vacation with mindfulness. Then I will give gratitude for the creativity that flows from the time spent in observation and see what that delivers to my writing. Honestly, it was an eureka moment that I needed to recognize myself and share with others. One that reminds me that we needn’t be on holiday to slow the pace, be quiet and mindful. The results are irrefutable and significant. I was content to sit on the porch, laptop in front of me, waves crashing the shore and a tasty beverage by my side. No clocks for me, no ticking heard somewhere in the background or in my mind.
After three weeks on the beach, I accomplished more that I could have imaged, and still found unlimited time to explore.
What an amazing vacation!