TIME TO ESCAPE

This was my view at about 7:30 this morning as I prepared to go for a bicycle ride. Only a small journey from where this picture is taken is a small clearing I like to go to and think, read or just relax. It not only provides me a nice walk in the park, but it gives me a place to recharge my soul.

In today’s busy world where we are constantly surrounded by people and technology, it can be hard to escape. That is why this weekend I recommend you have an escape. If you don’t have a special spot like mine, it may be a good time to start pondering where a good place for you might be. Ideally, this place should be a spot in nature. Losing all of the urban sounds that we experience daily will give you more peace than you can imagine. Even if you live in the heart of the city, find a park like I did where you may not be able to escape the sounds of the modern world entirely, but you can lose yourself by focusing on the sounds of nature. The wind blowing through the trees, birds singing, maybe even a small brook or creek near by.

The other caveat about selecting a spot is it should be somewhere you can be alone. As you can see in the photo above, you might have some visitors from time to time. In a world filled with constant interaction, whether it be in person, or now even on social media when we are by ourselves, finding time to spend with the person in the mirror is far and few between. Isn’t it great to spend time with others? Of course it is, but without spending time alone with our thoughts we can end up feeling lost. What do I mean by this? That is a great question. Let me ask you something and you tell me if it rings true for you. Have you ever found yourself feeling overwhelmed? Have you ever walked into a room and forgot if you were coming or going?

A lot of us are so focused on giving to others we forget to stop and think of what we may need or what our goals for our life is. We are focused on giving to our families, our job and our friends. There is nothing wrong with helping others and being a productive member of society. If we do that at the expense of ourselves we can end up feeling burnt out and unable to give anything to anyone.

Take time to escape this weekend. Spend at least 30 minutes alone and preferably in nature. If you are anything like me you will leave not only recharged, but with a sense of joy and inner peace you did not have when you arrived. Begin to think of your spot today and escape with yourself this weekend. I would love to hear how it affected you. Feel free to come back to this post on Monday and share in the comments below. Even though you will be by yourself, you never know who you will meet.

LIVE LIKE YOU ARE ON VACATION!

After yesterday’s post this may seem a bit confusing. There are times when being present may not be the best option. Perhaps you are in a meeting with a very angry coworker. Perhaps you have a long commute on the subway. There are several times when life is not always a dream. What to do then? Certainly when your car breaks down and it is so could your breath is freezing as it comes out of your mouth you do not want to be present and relish every detail. Trust me, I have been there and can tell you this with some great certainty. Here is a magical secret I use that will not only make the hard times easier, but make life more enjoyable as well.

Your mind and body do not have to be in the same place at the same time. Read that line again and really let it soak in. Last post we proved how people tend to use this principle in the negative by worrying on vacation and missing a lot of the joy they could have had. Even just thinking about a bill you have forgot to pay while you should be enjoying coffee with your friend is an example of this principle.

We also discussed how to begin to control our thoughts. The same can be used to take a ‘mental vacation’ any time you need. As I write this physically I am at the local coffee shop, but mentally I am on a beach sipping out of a coconut. How can you develop this skill. First thing, it is almost impossible to develop this skill when you are trying to use it. So pick a time you can relax and not be disturbed. Now close your eyes and picture your favorite get away spot. Is it on a beach? In the mountains? At a secluded cabin? Picture yourself there. Now try to add as many senses as you can. What do you smell? In my case it is suntan lotion and the ocean. What do you feel? I feel the warm rays of the sun and a tropical breeze. Really feel that. If you have to go somewhere to have similar experience. What do you hear? Can you taste delicious food? Cocktails maybe? A great cup of coffee?  If it helps at first try writing your ideal experience down. Sometimes this makes it easier to visualize it.Now practice this several times a week. Do it at first when you can be alone and undisturbed. Soon try it while you are doing other things. Try changing a few things. Maybe add a hike if you like the mountains? Add other people you enjoy hanging around. Change the menu. Before long you can become a master of the mental vacation.

Feel free to leave any ideas you have on ways to add to this experience. Also feel free to share your results with trying a mental vacation. As always feel free to share this post as well.