Well, I certainly did not intend on taking a month-long break after setting up this blog. What is it they say about the best laid plans?
After my previous post, I went on vacation for 10 days. Here’s the summary:
- stayed in an amazing rental on a beach in Florida,
- left the sliding door open to hear the waves as I fell asleep,
- awoke to an ocean sunrise,
- got a great natural pedicure every day from the sand and salt water,
- and I reveled in spending every moment with the love of my life, who also happens to be my best friend.
In other words, the things of my daily life grew strangely dim. It was lovely to put my life on pause for a short time. I did not want to come home. But home I trudged, with a wicked chest cold as a souvenir. I think I have finally caught up on email, laundry, and other things that had piled up.
I’ve been reading lots of things lately – while on the beach and then at home, sick in bed. I have been ruminating and meditating. Thoughts have been percolating and germinating. So many – strike that – too many things to say. I’ll have to press pause and come back to those ideas after more time marinating.
That’s twice now that I have used the word “pause.” Did you notice? Or did you (like I am prone to do) fast forward, skimming past the middle to get to the end? Whether you choose the term “mindfulness” or prefer to talk about “being present” – the concept is the same.
Please allow a brief interruption here. My brain has cued up Paul Simon’s famous lyric (which is the classic recipe for “Feelin’ Groovy”): “Slow down. You move too fast.”
Moving on … If we use the analogy of viewing television (not that I am advocating watching our lives go by as opposed to truly living – but for the sake of making a point…), there are several ways we go through this life.
WATCH LIVE: To watch a broadcast live is to participate in a community event. Even if you are alone on your couch, it is a simultaneous shared experience. Connection and interaction with people is important, even if it is via technology.
WATCH ON-DEMAND: It is sometimes necessary to do things when they are convenient – schedules just get too busy. Sometimes, we need to take care of ourselves by slowing the pace of life and watch our favorite programming in a way that allows us even more control – such as pause, fast forward, rewind, and stop.
PAUSE allows us to control the pacing of things further – not that we don’t want to see/do/experience something, we just need to determine when.
FAST FORWARD allows us skip something that is either unnecessary or unpleasant. Let’s be honest – sometimes this is a good thing, sometimes it’s our way of avoiding what makes us uncomfortable.
REWIND allows us to re-experience something. This can also be either good (recalling happy memories) or bad (dwelling on painful or unhealthy memories). Either way, it is an attempt to live in the past – which when you think about it, it is only possible to live in the present and move into the future (which then becomes the present and all too quickly becomes the past).
STOP allows us to bring something to a halt. The upside is that some things need to end. We are better off without them. However, when we are fearful of change, we may hit stop when what we really should do is hit pause, take a deep breath, and then take the risky leap and hit play again.
RECORD allows us to take mental snapshots to file away in scrapbooks of memories. At this point, do I even need to say that this can either be good or bad?
The important thing is to actually live – participate in your own life. I am reminded of the scene in the movie The Holiday when Eli Wallach leads Kate Winslet’s character to the following realization: “You’re supposed to be the leading lady of your own life.”
Sometimes active living means knowing when you need a vacation and giving yourself permission to take a break in order to refresh. It also means challenging yourself to do new things. It is vital to keep the balance between those two things: challenge and renewal. In music, it is the balance between tension and release. There are opposing forces everywhere: push and pull, lead and follow, sound and silence, light and shadow, the wind up and the pitch, the crest of the wave and the trough.
Tune in next time to hear me ramble about … whatever’s on my mind. It could be women’s issues or neuroscience – since it is Women’s History Month and Brain Injury Awareness Month. Or it might be something else entirely (like the movie review I am about to edit).
Until next time.