Vacation All I Ever Wanted...Vacation Have to Get Away

Okay, as I write this, I am on vacation! And though I vowed not to spend a ton of time connecting, I’ve been feeling more than a little inspired out here on the West Coast (a common side effect of relaxation) and I want to share the love.

As summer winds down, I want to encourage you to spend its final days savoring its sweetness. There are still warm nights, fireflies, open pools, lots of sunshine, and the opportunity to find more play. In fact, play is one of the biggest themes that’s come up in my own consulting practice across these past few weeks – the face that both me AND my clients are in need of some more play.  Need some additional channeling of inner child, and a little less intensity and focus.  (Read more at the blog here)

This sense of play has also been spurned by the fact that two of my dearest friends gave me coloring books for my birthday (completely unsolicited) and I’ve decided it’s time to infuse more play in my daily life. For intense go-getters and type A’s, this is not a judgmental kind of play – so take it from me it’s NOT about getting pissed when I color outside the lines of my coloring book, or can’t make it through the flower maze on the first attempt (!) – but it’s about removing pressure, fear of failure and just beginning to feel free. There’s no way to ‘play’ incorrectly. Think about what you found fun as a 5 year old, right? You didn't get mad at yourself for sliding down a slide incorrectly or laughing too much. You just did it. You were alive, childlike and free.  I’ve found from personal experience when trying to into the zone of childlike play a gentle, mindful mantra of ‘it’s just play’ helps a ton.  

What we also know of play is that it can have incredible implications on our work and life back at home.  You may know the infamous story of Dr. Alexander Flemming and his discovery of penicillin in 1928 right? He was working long hours in the lab and really feeling like he had hit a wall with his scientific research.  After feeling super exasperated he decided to take a break and went on a two-week long August vacation with his family. He disconnected, he left the lab.  What happened in those two weeks was a miracle of medical advancement. Because his beloved petri dishes had been left alone with the staphylococci cultures still present, a mold was able to grow.  And what he noticed upon is return was all the colonies of staphylococci surrounding this mold had been destroyed.  This mold, only able to grow untouched in the lab, was later named penicillin and one of the greatest medical advancements of the 20th century.  A discovery that never would have happened without that decision to disconnect completely and take a much needed rest.

The sense of vacation, of play, and of creativity are closely intertwined for me, and I think it’s because when we engage in one or more of those types of activities, we feel a newfound innocence and lightness about our being..  I know for me personally, I deeply enjoy the laziness of a hotel getaway – removed from duties of long to-do lists, that never-ending pile of laundry, and taking out the trash or recycling.  But I do believe we can find that levity and creativity in our daily lives as well. Yes it takes a little planning, yes it’s not always as easy as being on a beach in the Bahamas or skiing in Montana. But I think with a little help, a little spark, we can create lives replete with tiny halts and mini vacations.  During your period of disconnecting, you just might make the discovery of a lifetime.