Vacations can be long or short. They can be far or close to home. Sometimes a vacation might even take the form of a mini-mental vacation. In DBT, one set of skills that are taught are those that IMPROVE the moment. Improve is an acronym, and the v is for a mini vacation.
Overwhelmed by feelings? At the end of your rope? Try taking a mini-vacation. Close your eyes, use your imagination to fantasize what an ideal peaceful place would be. Perhaps it's a beach, a mountain top, or your favorite comfortable chair. Whatever the case is, a few moments spent on a mini-vacation there helps us slow down and think before we react rather than reacting without thinking.
There is a place near where I live which is an ideal place for me to think about when I take a mini-mental vacation. The local reservoir is a generally peaceful place. Neighbors walk their dogs there. A group of dedicated men and women tend to an ever-growing butterfly garden. Despite being in the middle of an urban environment, birds flock, deer roam, and I can let the natural environment nourish and recharge me when I'm tired, crabby, or down.
I've decided a few days ago that I'm going to start a little project for myself. It's a cross between a mini-vacation, a mindfulness practice, and a photography project. Maggie and I generally go for a walk every morning. Rain or shine, cold or hot, we'll start our day with a few trips around the local reservoir. We've done this for a year now. It's been enjoyable for both of us. I've met lots of neighbors, learned all the local gossip, watched flowers blossom and wither, and seen the seasons change.
I got to thinking that it would be interesting to spend a moment in the same spot every day for a year. What would it be to stand and watch the seasons change? What would I learn from taking a moment to observe every day?
What do you notice as the images change? Perhaps you are inspired to do something similar. If you are, make a comment here or send me an e-mail and share what you discover.