I just came home from an acupuncture treatment, and at Wellsprings Acupuncture (https://www.facebook.com/wellspringsacupuncture) and as is often the case I was feeling very relaxed and a little sleepy. So, with a little wiggle-room in my schedule this afternoon, I decided to take advantage of the moment and take a little nap – or at least that’s what I thought. It is a perfect day for a little rest, cloudy, cool and comfortable – so I set the alarm on my phone and snuggled in for a rest. But my ears – had their own plans (I bet you didn’t even know that was possible, did you?). You see I have – tinnitus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tinnitus) – the unfortunate condition – which in my case results in a constant, high-pitched ringing in my right ear. And sometimes, it is very difficult to ignore it, particularly when all around you is quiet – as the sound is absolutely constant and completely annoying. So, I decided to turn on my alarm clock’s, soothing sounds setting and rolled over, closed my eyes and tried (unsuccessfully) to focus on the sounds of waves hitting the beach and seagulls calling – which were drifting softly from my nightstand – but alas – “plan B” wasn’t working either.
What happened instead, as I tried to focus all my attention on the beach sounds in order to “not hear” the ringing – was I ended up getting all nostalgic about the beach where I grew up. And after about twenty minutes or so of that – I decided – time to get up and do something else. So since I had been planning on writing a post today – and though this wasn’t what I had planned to write about – here I am and we’re “goin’ to the beach”!
You see I was lucky enough to have grown up on the Connecticut side on the Long Island Sound, about five minutes from what was and is one of my favorite places in the world, Tod’s Point in Old Greenwich, Connecticut (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenwich,_Connecticut). It is the place where I learned to swim, at 7:30 am swimming lessons – from which I emerged shivering and teeth chattering into the out-stretched towel in my mother’s arms. It is where everyone from the junior high school and the high school “hung out” in my youth. It was the vantage point from which I witnessed the rise and the ultimate absence of the World Trade towers from the clear view of the Manhattan skyline. It is where I learned to row a boat and paddle a canoe during summer camp. The spot where I took my children on every visit home to see my mother, who lived in the same house I grew up in up until two years ago. And where I went, again and again, every time I was in town, for my whole life no matter the season or the weather even if it was just to drive around the point.
The yacht club, the holly grove, the nature trails, the picnic area where my family celebrated every 4th of July since before I was born until two summers ago – I love that beach. It doesn’t have the whitest sand, or clear blue water – and on a hot summer day it can get pretty crowded on the sand during high tide – but you see it was and always will be “my beach”. It’s where I caught minnows as a child and taught my sons to make “drip-castles”. It was the place of my childhood innocence, my adolescent mischief, and my adult relaxation. Where you weren’t allowed to have beach balls, where the lifeguards would whistle at you if you swam out too close to the buoys and eventually where it would cost $20.00 to park and another $5.00 admission – but I love it! And man, do I miss it.
But even if I don’t get there in person this year – my memories are vivid enough to transport myself there, well sort of… The mind is a powerful thing – and though it’s not exactly like I have spent the last hour or so relaxing at the beach, my focus on my happy memories spent there did work well enough to take my mind off the “ringing” in my ear. Whether it’s a little quiet meditating, some absorbing project, or a bit internal reflection allowing your mind to really do its magic is a powerful thing. So next time you need a little “get away” allow yourself to take a little internal vacation – even if you never leave your chair, you may be surprised how effective it can be.