Sitting on the beach with my toes warmed from being buried in the sand, my senses were engulfed with the sounds of seagulls cawing in and out of the sky. My daughters’ laughter shrieked up over the crashing waves as they tentatively toed their way into the icy cold waters. I felt my entire body relax as I smelled the wood burning from a nearby bonfire. I could taste salt on my lips from the spraying sea mist. I had captured pure contentment.
In advance of my departure to the Oregon coast for a vacation with my family, I crafted my traditional Itinerary of Fun complete with daily outlines of outings. I included admission costs, maps and reservation details. At the office I met with my legal team and identified numerous actions plans for my absence. At home, I cleaned each room, put a hold on my newspaper delivery, paid bills early, made reminder lists for my cat sitters, and even planned to have my corn row watered. All of these anticipatory actions led to a complete responsibility release.
For most, vacation means clearing your mind, setting aside your worries, and embracing relaxation – the goal being to disappear into a distraction-free life and obtain a reprieve from too long to-do’s and daily stressors.
I recently met with a client who was struggling with moving forward during the course of her case. She was beating herself up for past decisions and actions. She was having a difficult time forgiving herself or her co-parent. She mentioned at one point an upcoming vacation. It occurred to me that what she really needed was to take a vacation-minded attitude and apply it to her circumstances.
Ultimately, vacation is about freeing yourself to be perfectly present. There isn’t any real magic to vacation, it is just that we shift our mindset. We take a ton of little actions toward planning and preparing to allow ourselves to simply live in the moment. That can happen here as I sit at my computer hearing the clickety-clack of the keys, just as well as it did while I sat on the beach on Oregon.
I asked my client, what it would be like if she mentally went on vacation during the remainder of these proceedings. What if she just focused on the actual moments in front of her? What if instead of berating herself for her past she just focused on her son now? What if she just released her worries?
Of course it isn’t possible to sit on a beach all of our days, but it is possible to experience the peace that vacation brings with planning, preparing, releasing, and relaxing. Start with one minute or five each day, bringing yourself perfectly present to the moment you are in. Find a moment where you feel your child’s hand in yours, the hearty laugh of a co-worker, or the grass in your yard tickling your feet. Focusing on these small moments will inevitably turn into a large sense of relief – just like being on vacation.