Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Blue Mind

I am at the beach. The sun is not yet up, but I am sitting on the balcony of the condo we are calling home this week, listening to the ocean and the waves hitting the shore. It is probably one of my favorite sounds of all time. Somehow, it's like it miraculously erases my cares, stresses and concerns, even if it's just for that small moment that I am near it.

The past two months have been incredibly stressful. Changes at work, coupled with medication adjustments (always fun to get used to a whole different batch of side effects) and personal stress have pretty much made me a walking, (grumpily) talking ball of misery. Needless to say, this vacation (my first in three years!) was definitely needed and most welcome.  We landed at the airport just before 11am on Monday (yes, that meant a really early morning for us, leaving for the airport around 4:30am), made a couple quick stops for groceries and other essentials. Once we got to the condo, it was short order to drop everything and run out for a walk by the ocean. It's almost crazy how fast the stress melted away. We got down to the beach, put our feet in the (frigid) water and immediately started laughing. There's just something about water.

I am an avid podcast listener (trust me, there is a point. Bear with me). One of my favorites is "Travel with Rick Steves". On the flight down, I was catching up on some old episodes and I happened to listen to the perfect one called "A Blue Mind". While Steves talks with several guests and on several topics throughout the podcast, my favorite by far was Dr. Wallace J Nichols, a marine biologist and researcher who studies the phenomenon he calls Blue Mind, "a mildly meditative, relaxed state that we find ourselves in when we are in, on or under water."

I've been vacationing at the ocean since I was a child, but never really thought about it that much. But the more I mulled over the subject, the more I realized that I unconsciously gravitate to water when I'm stressed or upset. Going on walks, I inevitably end up finding the stream in the woods. Stressful day at work means I head up to the marina on Lake Erie for lunch. I sleep better when I hear the sound of the ocean. Even when it is just a sleep machine app on my phone.

And now, I am going to sign off and enjoy the remainder of my vacation.
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