GO THERE NOW!🌴🏝🦩

Above is a partial list of countries who viewed my blog yesterday. Circled, you will see one of the countries I long to visit. That is the Seychelles. Any relaxing tropical local works for me. It does my heart good to see those in such locations are enjoying my writing. Perhaps a book signing could be in the future?

Traveling to tropical destinations is something I do not get to do as often as I would like. The above picture, which graces the back of my second book, was taken in Runaway Bay Jamaica. Margie and I certainly enjoyed our time there.

If you can’t runaway to the islands like some rockstar or internet model, what is the next best thing? I have two suggestions. First, enjoy what is close to home. The above picture I took on a walk through the park with my mother. Getting out in nature brings peace to the soul.

What happens when the snow comes and the temperatures drop? Here comes my next suggestion. Go there in your mind! Take a little mental vacation. There are plenty of fun, free videos on YouTube. I even have one of those VR headsets that make you feel like you’re there. Grab some vacation brochures. Check out their websites! Take a little mental vacation. It will help recharge your mind and your spirit.

ENJOY MONDAY AGAIN!

I have written about this subject before in both my books and on this very website. It is one of the most powerful realizations that I use to change my life. Once I realized the truth of this axiom, I was not only able to withstand many of life’s greatest challenges a little better, but I was able to add a great deal of joy to my everyday life as well. This includes times when I am in less-than-ideal circumstances. These can vary from stuck in traffic to stuck in a very bad day at work. There are a million little challenges like these that life offers up for us. The key to handling these can be as simple as a shift in mindset. Notice the word I used there was simple and not easy. Although, once you develop the ability to utilize this shift, it only becomes easier. In my life, the shift is now nearly automatic!

What great revelation changed my life in just such a manner? I am going to share this point with you and trust me, it can do the same for your life once you master it. In fact, it will even start to do so while you are learning it! Enough of the build up! What is this truth that can turn around a dark day and make everyday life more enjoyable? The answer can be found in the two pictures above. It is this – there is no law of physics or biology that says your mind and body have to be in the same place at the same time. When I am having a tough day at the post office, I take a mental vacation. I think about when Margie and I were in Jamaica. Sometimes I imagine what it will be like when we visit Fiji or the Maldives. This little trick brings the stress level down several notches and gives my brain something positive to focus on.

In the beginning, and on particularly stressful days, this can be difficult to do. What I recommend is to have little things that help you. A picture of the tropical location, or any location that fits your idea of a get away. This is totally customizable. This activates your sense of vision. This can be powerful as it is the one we tend to use most often. I suggest incorporating as many of your senses as you can. In my example, I have several videos with sounds of waves crashing saved in my phone. I can always watch them or even just close my eyes and listen. One of the most powerful senses is the sense of smell, which actually utilizes an entire different area of the brain. I have coconut scented lotion that reminds me of suntan lotion. With essential oils and other fragrances, the possibilities are endless. You could even have a small bottle of the scent your significant other wears to remind you of the amazing person you can come home to.

Pick one or several mental vacations you can go to when life seems upside down. Once you pick one, find items you can use to help take you there mentally. This can be a fun and creative exercise. I recommend trying this out as often as you can. Maybe give yourself an escape at the end of the day? I have coconut scented candles and bubble bath to go with a nice glass of coconut rum. You can do what works best for you. You do not need a stressful situation to take a mental vacation. The more you travel in this fashion, the easier it becomes. When you do go on vacation, make sure to be thinking of things you could take back with you. Also, do your best to be mindful when you are somewhere you enjoy. This could be vacation, or could be as simple as a walk in your favorite park. Do not just focus on how far or fast you can hike, but stop and smell the air, look around at the green of the grass and the bark of the trees. Smell the dampness in the soil or the scent of the pine tress. Take it all in and the when you need to escape, it will be right there waiting for you inside your mind. I would love to hear your perfect mental vacation and the items you use to help you go there.

DRIVING HOME THROUGH THE TROPICS

FIJI

Most of you know I live in the city of West Allis in the state of Wisconsin in the country of the United States. The weather here can best be described as 9 months of winter and 3 months of poor sledding. That is to say it is cold or at the very least rather cool here most of the year. Personally, I love the beach, warm and sunny climates and the overall vibes of tropical locations. To that end, I am forever looking for ways to bring the tropics home to where I live.

One of the great axioms in life that I follow is “There is no law of physics that state your mind and body have to be in the same place at the same time.” This began as a sort of tongue in cheek thought at my day job. While laboring away at the post office physically, my thoughts were drifting to sitting on a beach drinking out of a coconut. Once you realize that unlike your physical body, your mind does not have to suffer the same physical limits, it becomes very freeing. Taking these ‘mental vacations’ throughout the day help save me sanity and maintain my positivity.

One of the more difficult situations I face as the weather grows colder is my daily commute. Roughly 35 minutes long, driving on snow covered roads or surrounded by trees that have lost their leaves and brown grass can become less than inspiring. To fill this void of cheer, I often listen to music I enjoy or some inspiring or self-improving content in my travels. This past Friday, I decided to try something different and it made a positive impact. On the way home from my day job I decided to play a recording of ocean waves with birds from the sea shore. I believe it was recorded In Thailand, but that was not as important as it being a tropical ambience.

As I drove along, some interesting things happened. First of all, I felt more relaxed than normal. This was to be expected as the sound of ocean waves are generally considered a relaxing sound. That means the drivers who cut me off or drove recklessly seemed to bother me a little less. Stopping at another red light? That’s ok. Speaking of red lights, when stopping at a red light I could feel the warmth of the sun on my driver’s side arm. The wind blowing through the window felt like a tropical breeze. It was all I could do to keep from closing my eyes and picturing laying on a beach. I am sure the motorists behind me would not enjoy that once the light turned green. Even more amazing is I swear I could smell the ocean! I was surrounded by exhaust from other vehicles, a chicken place on the side of the road and other city scents. Still, I swear I could smell salt water blended with tanning lotion. I am sure that was my mind somehow connecting the sounds I was hearing, the warmth of the sun and the slight breeze and using that to create the scents I was experiencing as well.

The grand result of the experiment was that I arrived home feeling much more relaxed and in a better mental state than had I just drove home in the regular way. I have always know that although our bodies are confined to occupying the physical space they are in, our minds are free to travel wherever they may want to go. The result of my 35 minute commute home between 2 Wisconsin cities by way of several tropical beaches refreshed my spirit and kept my stress level low. I think I will add a coconut air freshener to the mix to make it more authentic. It was so good, if were not for the sexy lady meeting me at the door, I might have wanted to add a few more minutes to the commute. Now if only I can convince Margie to come to the door in her swimsuit.

I would love to know what destinations you would like to travel on your mental vacation. What steps could you take to make them feel like a reality? Think of using as many of the 5 senses as you can. Much like my journey using the sound of birds and ocean waves, the feel of sun on my skin and a gentle breeze and perhaps the scent of a coconut air freshener. I am next going to try this same experience on the way to work and see if it will help me enjoy the work day even more.

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.