Retreat, Renew and Restore...Where is Your Go-To Destination for Reconnecting With Self?

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Where do you go to disconnect?  Do you ever take time to disconnect?  These days with the conveniences of technology it feels like we're always 'on', always within reach, always in a 'ready' position.  While that has its advantages, especially for those in the work force, it can also have disadvantages and can make it difficult, if not impossible, to make time to shut down and recharge.

I'm pretty good at unwinding and turning off the outside world but there are times when in addition to shutting down and looking within, I need to change channels and change perspectives.  Doing so resets my brain and refocuses my energy.  It also puts life into perspective and reminds me not to get too obsessed with the inconveniences of life - especially when those annoyances get out of control and take on a life of their own. It's at those times that we need to reboot and put everything back into perspective.   Road trips can usually do that for me and almost always, one particular escape does it best. That escape is a trip to Grafton Lakes State Park, specifically a drive through the winter entrance.  It is on that narrow dirt road, probably less than 3 miles (roundtrip), that I lower my pulse, disconnect from the outside world and restore my balance and perspective.

Some might say there's nothing much to see on this route except for the couple of pull offs at Mill Pond and Second Pond before reaching the end of the road at the northeast end of Long Pond, but I would quickly disagree.  From early spring through late autumn, there's always something beautiful waiting to be discovered.  On this particular trip, I was on a quest for mushroom.  One might say that hunt would be impossible in a car, and I'd agree that hiking would definitely be best. However, hunting from the comfort of an air-conditioned car on a hot, humid day, driving so slowly we could have coasted had the road been less flat.... forced us to slow down - our car and our minds.  By the end of our 6-mile journey over the course of about 2 hours, I can promise you we headed home in a more relaxed state than we left.  The intense focus of our eyes slowly quieted our hearts.

Considering that many of these specimens were the size of my pinky, you can understand where concentration and focus were necessary to spot them from a slowly moving vehicle.  This exercise not only shifted my brain from the noisy distraction of life's challenges, it brought me back to an attitude of gratitude and reminded me what a wonderous world we live in.  That world is sometimes difficult to see (and appreciate) when our view is obstructed by worries, anger, frustration and even just normal day-to-day functions of life.  But, when we narrow our view, clear the clutter and look beyond our own bubble, we can find peace and tranquility and gratitude.  Even in the shadows we can find what we need.  Look hard at the photo you see the heart-shaped stump?  Sometimes the good stuff is hard to see among the noise, but when we quiet the noise we can reclaim our truth.  This week, take time to find your peaceful place and take time to retreat, renew and restore!

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