Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

Don’t wake me – I’m at the beach! June 27, 2012

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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.

 

Midsummer’s Day Dream July 19, 2010

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Mid-summer is clearly upon us; the days are longer, the temperatures higher and the time is here for a little relaxation that we don’t often get the rest of the year. It could be a day trip to the beach, a weekend camping-out in the woods or a couple of weeks spent at a favorite vacation destination.  Like kids who revel in the break from school we adults look to summer to provide a little rest and relaxation, too – in whatever form works for us. You know all the archetypes as well as I do – barbeques, bathing suits, cannonballs, kayaking, waves and lemonade. Just the thought of those images connotes a lighter, breezier sense of life. This week I am looking forward to taking a little respite from my usual routine so that I can take a couple of days off to enjoy myself. I am ready to go! And as I prepare myself for the break ahead – tying up loose ends both at home and at work I find myself thinking about the importance of “down-time” and the value and necessity of allowing ourselves a breather every now and then.

Growing up – people worked hard, and families took vacations just like they do now, but I don’t think that the need was as powerful as it is now. Though of course there were exceptions then, just like there are now, I believe as a society we are more driven and stressed than we used to be. Nowadays even our children’s schedules are booked to the hilt with activities and lessons. Add to the mix the pressures of a down economy and everyday life feels more like a pressure-cooker than it ever did before in our lifetimes. The result – we need to take a break from the grind more than ever, and though the resources for doing so may feel tighter than ever – the need is greater.

Not everyone can afford the luxury of a “real” vacation. When so many families are struggling to just keep up with the rising costs of living – the idea of taking time away feels harder to grasp than ever, nonetheless there is only so much pressure a system can take before it will inevitably fail. So I encourage you to do whatever you can to give yourself a little break. How you define what that will look like for you is a personal thing – it may be as simple as taking a stroll around your neighborhood after dinner, or inviting a friend over for an informal cook-out. Maybe you can spare a couple of days to go and visit family or friends, or a day-trip to a nearby lake for some of sunning and swimming. Whatever it is – do it! Have a little fun, take a little break and relax a minute. Your body, mind and spirit will thank-you for the attention. And then, wrap a little bit of it up and take it with you.

Find a way to incorporate a little down time into your everyday experience. Something just for you, and maybe something for you and your family, a little slice of the healing magic of summer fun, and keep it with you all year. This is life – this thing that we are doing every day, every moment, and when it is gone it is gone. Waiting for that one week a year to allow yourself to enjoy it is betting that there will always be another summer to enjoy. Better to hedge your bets now, stop and smell the roses, time fleets by so quickly and the only moment you know you have is this one. Enjoy it!