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How I Plan to Live Like I’m on Vacation

Vacation. When I hear this word (whether it’s my vacation or someone else’s that’s mentioned), I tend to unconsciously let out a sigh. Just the mention of the word seems to trigger an immediate release of enormous doses of dopamine and serotonin in my body.

Vacation is one of those wonderful times when (many people) unplug from work. It allows us to recharge and is good for us. Sometimes we don’t realize how much we need a break until we actually step away for a while.

When you rest your mind, it is more open to accepting ideas and being creative. Have you ever noticed that when you’re lying in bed or taking a shower, ideas seem to come to you more easily? I certainly have. I’ve even noticed that it happens when I just stop what I’m doing and sit quietly for a few minutes. Being still allows you to let go of what is clouding your thoughts and open your mind. It’s during these times when creativity flows.

For the last eight years, we’ve spent a week in the summer at a small cottage by a lake in New Hampshire’s lakes region. My perspective changes when I’m away. Although I still cook, wash clothes and clean up, my “regular” routine is different and I have more time to relax, refresh and recharge.

It’s Heaven.

And I tend to write better (or at least more easily), have more ideas, and feel more at peace. I feel that I am more aware–or as some of my favorite meditation experts say, more mindful.

I decided that I want to feel like that more without having to escape from my daily life to do so. I know that it will help me in so many different ways, like being a better, more patient and more productive wife, mother, daughter, friend, creative person, and member of society.

I’ve found a path to having more peace and creativity in my life.

In the last several months I’ve begun to meditate. Keep reading, it’s not some woo-woo craziness. By meditating, I mean that I’ve purposefully set aside time each day to be still. It’s typically at night when I have a dark, quiet place to sit. I’ve begun with short guided meditations from YouTube, where someone walks you through what to do. It’s been really helpful as a beginner.

I focus on something (usually my breath) and when my thoughts wander, I turn back to noticing my breath. It’s a practice that is easier some days than others. But it’s a learned skill that trains your brain to go to a place of serenity. Over time, I know that it will get easier and result in more mindfulness, awareness and openness in my life.

In the short time I’ve been practicing meditation, I’ve learned that I can get to a place where my mind is still (-ish) and that wonderful feeling that I have much of the time when I’m on vacation. If I can get to that place during meditation, my goal is to be able to reach that point in my daily life without even having to try, and be able to enjoy a more creative life. I have a feeling that it will be a lifelong journey, but baby steps and consistency lead to big things.

Do you meditate? I want to hear about it. Let me know what your journey has been, and how it has changed your life.

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My First Love

I was the kid who always had paper in front of her and crayons in her hand.

I was the kid who doodled all over the TV Guide, tracing the letters and drawing pictures on it.

I was the girl who loved to take the junk mail and scrap paper to keep as a stash to write and draw on.

I was the girl who drew Tippy from my parents’ matchbooks and mailed it in, hoping to be recognized.

I was the girl who took the weekly challenge from the newspaper and drew a picture from a squiggle, hoping to win the prize.

I was the teen who finally found an art teacher who took an interest in teaching her how to draw and had talent from which I could learn.

I was the teen who wanted to go to art school, but whose practical parents talked into getting a business degree.

I was the mom who, after 15 years picked up a pencil and started to sketch her infant daughter, but left the sketch unfinished.

I was the woman who, feeling unfulfilled in her corporate job, started a side business to unleash the creativity that was screaming to be freed.

I am the woman who, after 30 years has decided to re-introduce herself to her first love, and have an affair of a lifetime.

I am an artist.