Happy Mon­days

Lead­ing life and hap­pi­ness coach

Daily Express - - News - by Ca­role Ann Rice

AND SO to the coast. In Melville’s Moby-Dick, Ish­mael, the sto­ry­teller of the hunt­ing of the white whale, says that when he feels rest­less he takes to the high seas. So it is that the pri­mal soup of surf, sand and out-of-sea­son sea­side tor­por drew me to seek re­treat for a week of thought and brain re­lief by the sea.

Life had been deal­ing me some bum cards be­fore the fes­tive sea­son and a de­sire for es­cape, re­cal­i­bra­tion and per­haps, at last, to start my novel, which had been nip­ping at my psy­che for some time.

An Airbnb for a week is al­ways a good idea – cosy, well equipped and a home-from-home ex­pe­ri­ence only with a sea view and bet­ter bed linen. There’s some­thing poignant and melan­cholic about a British hol­i­day re­sort out of sea­son and in win­ter, with the grey sea re­flect­ing the gun metal hue of the skies and my glow­er­ing mood. Es­capes are al­ways thought-pro­vok­ing and chal­leng­ing. What are we es­cap­ing from?

Divorce coaches re­port a spike in en­quiries post-Christ­mas and hol­i­days but go­ing away on my own; I’ve no­body else to blame.

As a coach I have of­ten trot­ted out the line – have a life you don’t have to hol­i­day from – but some­times the de­mands, the needs of oth­ers, the en­nui, over­whelm and call for a change of scene.

Spa breaks are merely places to go to be tem­po­rar­ily dis­tracted by sit­ting in hot tubs with the vain hope the heat will melt away the fat. Been there. Not places for thought or re­flec­tion but a stop­gap of avoid­ance and con­trolled down­time. Time to think, to make sense, to lis­ten to the whis­pers proved more of a coura­geous task than I had bar­gained for.

It’s amaz­ing how lit­tle time there is to re­flect when we are plugged in to the in­ter­net, keep­ing busy with chores, phones and the de­mands of mod­ern ex­is­tence act as a bar­rier to re­al­i­sa­tion and self-aware­ness.

Some peo­ple use “busy-ness” to keep life at bay, oth­ers ob­ses­sively talk, down­load­ing ev­ery thought with­out process and pure si­lence and soli­tude is not only a rare phe­nom­e­non that some, if given the choice, would avoid with as much prej­u­dice as get­ting stuck in a lift with a cot­ton­mouth snake.

I made what oth­ers would see as lit­tle lit­er­ary progress but it’s all in the prepa­ra­tion, an artist friend tells me. That’s a re­lief. The joy of long walks in big coat and scarf and sea­side morn­ing jogs was an ex­cel­lent, spir­i­tu­ally up­lift­ing gift. Rid­ing my thoughts from numb noth­ing­ness, wrest­ing with eel-like emo­tions, to re­vis­it­ing sepia-coloured buried mem­o­ries to sheer grat­i­tude and peace. There re­ally was no es­cape on this es­cape.

A med­i­ta­tion prac­tice or a bit of yoga is a great stop­gap amid the chaos of life. How­ever, if you ever have the chance for a pro­tracted pe­riod of elected soli­tude (not life-im­posed lone­li­ness – there is a big dif­fer­ence) and have the courage and com­mit­ment to fully let life set­tle with­out re­spon­si­bil­ity or cause I would rec­om­mend it.

I will never for­get this week away from home. Vis­it­ing me.

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