This past festive season, I had the privilege of spending some time in the Drakensberg Mountains. The majestic peaks seem to absorb the fast-paced nature of everyday life.
I am not the only one who is drawn to an escape such as this. The beginning of the year yields a bunch of rested souls, a break in nature seemingly recharging those batteries, fuelling capacity to take on another year.
Before 2018 gets going, perhaps we need to take the time to consider the way we are living. The end of the year finds us burnt out. The beginning of the year finds us fired up. For how long do we repeat this cycle? The past few years it seems most of us are reaching that year-end feeling as early as March!
At some point, we have to ask ourselves if the way we are living is sustainable. How is this ‘way of life’ affecting our relationships? How is it affecting our productivity? How is it affecting our health? How is it affecting me?
But what is the strategy? More time in the mountains?
No. That would be simply resigning us to the fact that life is hectic and time in the mountains making it doable. That’s no way to live.
This year, whilst I will look to spend as much time in nature as I can, rather than planning to go to the mountains, I am planning to bring the mountains to me.
- Turn off the tech. When in nature, it’s amazing how the need to distract oneself with tech fades away. So, fade it away at home. Decide on periods of time or certain days when tech is off and connecting is on.
- Sit and stare. I have found pleasure in sitting and staring, sometimes at nothing, sometimes at something. Whatever it is, try to notice as much about it as you can. Fight for the gift of stillness.
- Go run. Physical fitness releases toxins, charging up your mental, emotional and physical energy levels. Find a hill and smash it. Find an urban trail and explore it. Join a running club. Or pick another sport. Just don’t avoid it this year.
- Light a fire. Spend time socially with those you love sharing laughter and stories.
- Ponder the profound. Be amazed while watching your children play. Notice your spouse. Ponder your health. Embrace your feelings. Celebrate being human.
At the end of the day, it’s not about escape. It’s about ongoing intentional living. ‘Bring the mountain’ to you regularly and consistently. Let them bring you rest and rejuvenation. Perhaps, if the above is made a habit, you will find that you enjoy the real big chunks of downtime even more.
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