Forced relaxation

A summer house with a view
Ever do those basic "meditation techniques" where you imagine yourself at the most peaceful places you remember? Or maybe you try think about a quiet space when you can't sleep. My in-law's summer house is that kind of place. Not exactly inside the house (right now my son's friend is singing some annoying tune from youtube)...  and since my husband found a way to give all of us unlimited internet access through one cell phone, it's more unlikely. A blessing and a curse. A blessing - because after years of limited connection to the world (they didn't even have cell phone service until about 10 years ago) it's GREAT to have the internet. A curse because my 14 year old daughter spent most of her waking hours on Facebook instead of exploring nature. (We ended up shipping her off to her friend's house overnight). But otherwise, this is the perfect place to escape with your own thoughts for hours or days on end.

It isn't in my nature to be calm. I get bored easily. My mind wanders to what I "should be" doing. Even when I knit, I hardly ever finish something before starting another 4-5 projects. I'm cooking and I'm doing something else. I talk on the phone when I drive... and so on. "Multitasking" from the moment I wake until I go to bed.

Only when I run can I seem to focus on just relaxing and letting my mind go while I'm here (and I've run quite a bit). When I am able to "relax" around the house I make a mental to-do list and start doing. This morning I washed all the floors... partially because we have had 2 kids here who have been throwing up and I thought that it would make the house smell fresher (it didn't smell but I always feel better after kids have been sick if I clean). Partially because I want to be useful. Partially because I want to please my in-laws. Partially because I don't know how to have nothing to do.

How can I be at the most relaxing place in the world and not find peace? Here I can sit for hours and watch the skies parade through with blues, greys, pinks and white, see the sea waters change from a flat calm state to fierce waves with peaks, hearing the soft motor of boats in the distance mixed with leaves in the wind and birds claiming territory. Occasionally I hear kids laughter - my own and others.

In January when there is snow and freezing rain and many hours of darkness my mother-in-law imagines this - her place of refuge. Sometimes I remember this place when I need a mental escape. But it seems that in the moment of reality I'm not as calm as I will relive come Fall, when I sit in a messy kitchen thousands of miles away. Truth be told, some people can basque in hours of nothingness.

Then there are some, like me, who can appreciate the natural wonders of this place but can't replicate the calm. Even if I sit for an hour with a book I always get up to check on someone or do something. When it comes right down to it, I'd rather experience the nature than watch it. I run because I feel part of the environment. I jump in this freezing sea to experience the physical sensations of the salty water shocking my skin. I sit outside, even when the Vikings venture inside because I want to take in every moment. My restlessness actually pushes me to experience everything I can, even in the perfect place to read, rest and contemplate the world. No cell service (for me), and e-mail, facebook, and internet only for short periods of time. I've been sitting here and writing this long enough. It's time for me to DO SOMETHING. 

N is still too sick to go anywhere and his friend B doesn't want to go without him. So I guess I will retie my running shoes and hit the roads. If I could bottle the motivation I feel here to exercise and eat well I'd be in such great shape!

Maybe it's homesickness. Soon enough I'll be back home. Another small taste of the European summer holiday. Maybe it is simply that Americans don't know how to take long vacations. Maybe I don't feel like I deserve the rest. Whatever the reason, I'm still enjoying myself. For me that includes motion. Heading out for a walk now.... After all, it's summer.


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