This is my last day of a one-week vacation. Instead of going somewhere, a friend came down for a week of hiking in the area. I managed to disconnect from my day job completely.
The reality is that work is going on without me. I may have a few messes to fix when I get back, but those messes probably would have happened whether I was there or not. And if I weren’t there, someone else would figure out how to clean them up.
I choose to take from this the lesson that if there is time for me to take a week away, there is time for me to take a breath during the day. There is time for me to stop at a reasonable hour and pick up again the next day. There is time for me to take care of myself regardless of what messes come up.
I re-learned the truth of how important unplugged time is to me. Going out into the wilderness where there were no sounds besides the wind blowing through the trees, water tumbling over rocks, and occasional conversation with my friend brought with it a sense of connectedness with the world around me that hours in front of a computer cannot achieve.
The computer, whether for work or just for fun, takes me away from the here and now. Choosing footholds along a rocky trail puts me intensely in the present moment in a way that’s hard to achieve typing on a keyboard or reading an email.
I also re-learned the power of physical exertion. The sense of aliveness and appreciation for every bone, muscle, blood cell in my body intensifies as the trail becomes more challenging. The ability to move myself rhythmically up a steep rocky climb turns into a sense of power and wonder. The body is a marvelous thing to inhabit when it’s working well.
And, I re-learned the joy of pushing limits just a little. Hiking with a friend who hasn’t hiked much helped keep me from over-doing. It kept the soreness to a minimum and allowed me to enjoy what I was capable of without suffering what might otherwise have been the pain of over-exertion. Happy medium is called “happy” for a really good reason.
Taking time away also gave me the time and energy to consider alternative possibilities. The freed energy led to imagination and my imagination went wild. At the end of a week of time “off”, I find myself full of hope. Hope that I can make time for what is most important to me. Hope that anything truly is possible. Hope that life can be joyful on a daily basis. Hope that I can return to my “normal” life and make it a little less normal and a little more peaceful. Hope that if I can do that, the world as a whole can be more peaceful, too.
It was a good vacation.