In the climax of a sweltering heat wave, set against the backdrop of a busy July and the sky-piercing peaks, I learned the lesson of the severity of rest and reprieve.
The summer months brought an increase in business, which for a full-time freelancer is a welcomed event. And yet, amidst the subtleties of busyness, I found myself grasping for air and clawing for creativity. It wasn’t outright or obtrusively obvious, but hid under the surface in plain sight. I was tired, exhausted, burned out and stressed. I was juggling family issues, personal progress and a myriad of clients and projects, and whilst Im usually quite self-aware, this time caught me a little more off guard. It wasn’t until I had unpacked my bags in a cabin in Estes Park, Colorado and begun to drive into the abyss of mountains with an utter absence of mankind that I became shockingly aware of my status quo and present state of mind.
For four days, I along with my mother and brother, traversed the weathered cliff edges and pristine prairies, shooting photographs, taking deep breaths of the cold mountain air and sitting on a back deck that overlooked a golf course situated quintessentially in front of the range of endless mountain peaks. It was within this picturesque position that I realized what I had understood before, yet so easily lost sight of - the crucial need for travel, rest and rest, the stealing away from the normative in order to refill.
Im driven, passionate and insecure. It’s a brilliant mix for success, but also a devious and deadly concoction for disaster. I love the quest of new challenges and unachieved adventures, I love what I do and desire to provide the best work for my clients, and I long to prove myself and make a statement through my gift-set. I’m incredibly blessed, and yet someone once said too much of a good thing is a bad thing. We live amidst a culture that works relentlessly. We’re sold a string of lies, like the salesman at the doorstep that won't digress, that if we’re not “overnight success stories” by the time we’re thirty, we’ve failed. We know 60 hour work weeks too much, and vacations absent of emails and occasional work breaks too little. We’ve been told that a work-life balance doesn’t exist and we have to work for what we want - only, there are thousands of others working for the same success.
In the middle of the mountains, amidst rest and recovery I realized that it’s not just a luxury of life to take vacation; it's a specifically identified period of time spent in a new or far away location, absent of work or schedule, and intent on exploration that is within the boundaries of the human experience. Remove rest and run without reprieve, and one will surely come to a hasty end - whether emotionally, physically, spiritually or all of the above.
This is it.
It’s not a difficult aberration or far off quandary.
It’s quite simple and elementary.
And yet, when was the last time you placed your email on “away,” jumped on a jet, and set out to explore new lands with the intent of rest, relaxation and a long, deep breath?
Enjoy the sights that follow, and may they bring a presence of peace, and a reminder that pulling away from the race is not just ok, it's needed.