Learning a Timeless Lesson

By Laurie Grace

What an amazing difference a weekend can make.

No, I didn’t jet away to Bermuda. Nor was I at some fancy, full-service spa for three days.

While I’m sure those kind of getaways are renewing, mine was quite different.

I traveled to a retreat center about 30 miles east of Dallas. Maybe “retreat center” is a bit lofty a name. My lodging was the bottom bunk bed in a room with 12 other ladies.

There were two community showers and the food was cafeteria or camp style. No Whole Foods-like cuisine was anywhere in sight.

My childhood days of summer camp returned to me. I had to bring my own bed sheets, sleeping bag, and towels.

Now, I am not exactly a camping girl so these surroundings were a bit of a stretch for me, but I can be flexible. I knew this was not to be a luxury accommodations weekend, so I put a smile on and was rolling with it all.

But, here came the hard part for me: no phones, clocks, watches, radios, or outside communication all weekend. Gulp. Really? OK, I can do this [my positive self-talk]. I think I can, I think I can.

Truly, the first 24 hours were difficult. I mean just not knowing what time it was throughout the day, whoosh, that was a challenge. How would I know when it was lunchtime? Or bedtime? Now, I laugh at these concerns.

Throughout my weekend, a beautiful thing happened. By powering down in the communications realm I was able to restart anew. My being disconnected yielded a sense of clarity and mindfulness that I hadn’t expected. I participated so much more intentionally in everything I was doing.

Surprisingly, the time went by slowly … in a good way. I guess I couldn’t be racing against the clock when I didn’t know what time it was.

That’s when it really hit me. My deep level of constant contact — voice, e-mail, text, instant messaging, social media — keeps me connected. But it has another costly effect: it keeps me fragmented. In a big way. And, I realized that cost is too great.

So, I’m resolved to doing something about this. I have some daily and weekly actions in mind, and I think they will serve as a kind of support structure to protect me from the slippery slope toward fragmentation. I will go about this trial-and-error fashion and see what works for me.

My weekend away taught me that being more present-minded I feel more alive and connected to true living. With that, I am able to live into my purpose and make a contribution to this world, one day at a time.

I’m not here in this life to chase the clock or just pass time. I’m here to live and thrive.

Laurie Grace, an East Dallas resident, owns and operates Laurie Grace Coaching, which helps people work toward a higher level of success in life, relationships, and business.

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