Reflections of a Learning Journey and the Connections made along the way

Archive for July, 2012

New Beginnings – Refreshed and Rejuvenated

Holidays are supposed to be a time to relax and to rejuvenate and refresh.  Often though we tend to stay busy with preparations to go away and by trying to make sure that we make the most of our holiday by fitting as much in as possible.  We cannot afford to miss that must-see at our holiday destination.  In addition we often tend to over indulge.

I decided that this holiday was going to be different – all about really relaxing.  Two weeks of doing not much! Focussing on some great healthy eating, doing some reading and getting in touch with myself through meditation practice.  Sounds like bliss.

So firstly to get away for a short break.  We spent three days in beautiful Marysville.  Talk about new beginnings!  We struggled to see a single building in the main street that wasn’t brand new and the whole place still seems to have the feel of a development site.  The stories that you can garner there about the horrors of Black Saturday are amazing.  And the resilience is evident as the new town takes shape.  We visited Bruno’s Sculpture Garden where Bruno told us about his experience as he managed to gather a very small number of his works of art and a stray dog and head to the oval where all he could do was “watch Marysville burn”.  He showed us a canvas with a hole in it that the stray dog that had begged a lift with him had put his foot through.  He said that his terracotta sculptures would have survived the inferno except that burning trees had fallen on them and broken them.  So he has spent the last several years rebuilding his studio, which is magnificent,  replanting his garden and sticking his sculptures back together.  The only evidence now of the devastation are the photos of the broken sculptures in the ashes.

South Cathedral Farm

View from South Cathedral Farm

We stayed at South Cathedral Farm, a luxurious B&B which was also new.  The views were spectacular with the Cathedral Ranges at the rear and the Black Spur at the front.  We were determined to make the most of the beauty by spending a lot of time sitting reading and relaxing.  Thanks Megan and Marty!

Whilst in Marysville I started reading Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn, a book about Mindfulness Meditation for Stress Reduction.  It covers an eight week program of Meditation which I have commenced.  I am currently doing sitting meditation for around 15 minutes per day and a body scan which is supposed to take 45 minutes. Most days I am only managing to make that last for about 30 minutes.   So it is a really big committment over the eight weeks.  Still puzzling how I will fit it all in when I go back to work. But it has been amazing and enlightening to actually stay still and focus on non-doing for such long periods.

Sunrise over Lake Mulwala

Another part of the process is to be more mindful in other parts of life.  My morning walks take me along the banks of our beautiful Murray River so I really try to keep my mind free of intruding thoughts and be in the moment so that I can enjoy the beauty of these cold winter mornings as the sun peaks over the horizon.  At present I am watching the last of the leaves fall from the trees and new buds beginning to form.  Amazingly the wattles seem to already be nearly ready to flower.  And often there is the sound of a Kookaburra as well as many other birds.  Every day I remind myself how lucky I am to have this as my gym.

Exercise has been a big part of my holiday – rather unusual for me.  My daily walks now include quite a lot of running and I have been doing a light weight training program and some Yoga.

So as I approach the end of my Holiday I am focused on taking the sense of peace with me back to work and attempting to be more mindful and relaxed when the stress kicks in.  Wish me luck!

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