Water

Today I started planning my annual sabbatical trip to Door County.  Up there is where my heart is.  Or perhaps my soul.  I can sit on the rock beach by the cottage for hours and watch the occasional boat wander by, listen to the seagulls play and swoop down into the water.  I can read a book to the sound of the waves.  Sometimes those waves are gently lapping up against the rocks in a simple splash.  Other days it is more like roar when the wind has whipped up the bay and made her angry.  Both sounds soothe me.

 

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Some days I take a picnic and a notepad and go in search of a new place to sit and look out at the water.  I might find myself down by the water in Sturgeon Bay watching all the boats go in and out.  Or there is a small park with a boat launch on the north side of the bay directly across from Sherwin Point Lighthouse.  The cottage that I stay in is only a short walk from that lighthouse.  I find that driving over to the other side of the bay and looking back towards the lighthouse allows me a new perspective for the day.

 

There is a different feeling when near a large body of water .  When I am stressed I naturally find my way towards Lake Michigan.  Even in the dead of winter.  The water has almost this ominous feel to it.  The color is darker and is usually churning large chunks of ice.  Sometimes you can see ice circles which is very cool. 

 

The air is different.  There are more negative ions in the air surrounding a large body of water (or waterfall or mountain).  And these negative ions can have a huge impact on our well being. According to WebMD, once they reach our bloodstream, negative ions are believed to produce biochemical reactions that increase levels of the mood chemical serotonin, helping to alleviate depression, relieve stress, and boost our daytime energy.  They boost oxygen to the brain. I dont know about you but I need that pretty much on a daily basis!  It’s no wonder that I feel so much better when I am at the cottage – it’s my own version of therapy.

 

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What I have learned so far on sabbatical

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I am at the start of my third week of my sabbatical and here is my list (so far) of what I have learned.  I need a list each day of what I want/need to accomplish.  If I don’t have it nothing gets done.  And that was just perfect for the first week.  The second week I gave myself short to do lists more as a reminder that I needed to run to the store or to wash out a few articles of clothing.  Now into my third week the to do list is getting a bit more specific and I am setting time to sit and write in the morning and also in the afternoon.

I was exhausted – physically, mentally, creatively.  It took me almost two weeks to get rid of the physical fatigue.  By the end of the second week I was finally feeling rested.  Then we had rain on that Saturday which kept us in the cottage most of the day…I felt like a caged lion that needed to get out and roam.  I did go down to the water and sit/stand for about 15 minutes until the next thundershower rolled in.  Sunday was more of staying in and reading but more due to being here by myself than anything else.  I needed to reacclimate into being here alone.  It took the whole afternoon and sitting down by the water in the evening to watch the sunset to help center me again.
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The mental fatigue was the easiest to eliminate.  Three great nonfiction books over 10 days gave my brain time to escape into a made up world and relax.  Then I gave myself a few days of not really reading anything.  A wonderful “rest” for my brain!  A bit of TV and then Katie and Holly arrived so there was laughing, talking, shopping and eating to be done!  I had saved one other book to read that I had read last year while I was here and knew that one would get my brain engaged again on change, goals, the future.
                                                                                                                                  
Creativity is still on the low side.  I was hoping the beauty of my surroundings, the quietness of the cottage and the solitude would be a much needed boast for my creative juices but I am still lacking my muse.  Perhaps as I delve deeper into my goals for the next quarter will help.  And as I become more physically & mentally active I will find my creative side to start to emerge again.  I must admit that for the first 10 days or so I have been quite the lazy bum.  Rarely even going for a morning walk!
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I need alone time.  I don’t necessarily like that I need alone time but it is absolutely essential for my mental health.  Taking three weeks to go away by yourself is not for everyone and while I have had visitors I have also spent quite a bit of time by myself.  I know some think I am crazy to do this and some think it is terribly brave.  But for me it is a natural thing to do.  And yes, it is scary at times but I prefer to face those fears (and demons) head on.  I need to tackle them, wrestle them and be victorious over them.
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I think that Door County is my overall favorite place in the world (and I have traveled a fair amount) and could live here. In fact there is a half acre of waterfront land just down the road from where I am that is for sale and I can easily see myself building a small house and spending April – October here. Now if only my bank account was in agreement!
What do you do to reclaim your sense of center?  I realize not everyone can go away for three weeks but what has been tugging at your heart/soul to do? Perhaps you have always wanted to learn a foreign language?  What better way than to hop on a plane and do a little of immersion learning?  Or maybe your inner artist is struggling to be released?  Maybe it’s time to take an evening class for painting or pottery?  Or are you like me and need to find you own special cottage hidden away to escape to?
                                                                                                                             
You must realize that something is happening to you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand and will not let you fall. … Rainer Maria Rilke

Why I took a three week sabbatical and why I am doing it again this year!

Do you feel exhausted all of the time?  Do you feel you are always on the go, always having some commitment either work, family or personal?  When is the last time you scheduled time for you to relax and take care of yourself?  Time for you to BE?  I bet it’s been quite awhile.  I was at that point about two years.  My job is Continue reading