For several years, I lived in New York City, an island of cement scenery surrounded mostly by non-swimmable and unapproachable water. At some point, I came to realize that I flourished and functioned much better in an environment of moist, lush landscapes and especially, lively, inviting ocean water. Although I do love and miss New York City for so many reasons, that is another blog post entirely.
This post is about the element of water, its importance and its majestic power.
After New York City, I moved to Santa Monica, California, drawn there in part by my desire to enjoy and play in the ocean almost daily. A quick dip in the ocean or a leisurely morning of surfing does me a world of good. I instantly feel purified, refreshed, awakened and nourished by Mother Nature and all of her surrounding sea life. The depth and unpredictable swells of the ocean intrigue me, while its expansiveness nurtures every part of my being. I feel that the element of water balances out the “fiery” characteristics woven into Los Angeles living (speedy driving, constant social gatherings, bold personalities and the intensity of the film and television industries). Even though I strive to create balance within my Los Angeles work lifestyle, vacation and rest are still very much needed and I realized this even more this summer.
I just returned from Kefalonia, Greece, where I spent time with my dear friend and colleague, Sarah Reese, and my sweet and loving mother. Most of our days were spent in the sea. In Kefalonia there is no tumultuous Pacific Ocean, but the serene Ionian Sea. The sea is different from the ocean. There are no major tide swings, no massive swells to forecast, and no 6 foot sets of waves to battle. The song of the sea intrigues me much differently than the beat of the ocean, and affects me differently as well.
Calm, quiet, clean and pristine are the waters of the Ionian Sea.
Most of my time was spent lying near this sea, eating from its bounty, walking through the rocks on its shores; and listening to and breathing in the breezes that blew in over its waters, which were salty, buoyant and warmly inviting. Having nowhere I needed to be and nothing I needed to do, I had no choice but to completely let go. Inevitably, introspection and self-reflection crept into my daily routine in and near the water. The nurturing and emotional qualities of water naturally pulled me into contemplative and eventually still meditations. Floating all day led me to dream quite deeply through the night. I was able to explore my thoughts, anxieties and emotions in a way that seems nearly impossible in the frenetic energy that comes with living, working and exploring in Los Angeles.
A real and true holiday away from work and schedules is vital to our well-being, and spending it near the sea is that much more conducive to deep rest and introspection. It naturally and quickly enhances a restorative and peaceful break from work life and daily activities.
The sea encouraged me to do nothing but float in and nourish myself from its pristine, aquamarine, smooth glassy waters, explore my inner nature and deepest thoughts, and relax to the point of never wanting to leave…
To me, this is the ideal vacation. This is a true and deep rest.
Now that I have returned, I feel somewhat rejuvenated. Another week or two would have allowed for an even more profound rest and in turn, a more robust rejuvination.
We are one of the few countries that does not support or encourage more than two weeks vacation. The third and fourth weeks are important because they give us the necessary time to really settle into our rest. Don’t you think we should all experience such an intermission from our habitual and frenetically scheduled lives? I do.