A Day In The Park

August 2009

Yesterday I took most of the day off to hang out with a friend.  The worker bee part of me admonished me to stay in my office and write this missive.  The wiser Self knew that what I truly needed was a day of rest.  So, I compromised and worked for a few early hours (since apparently my body is wired to awaken at 5:30 a.m. no matter what the day), then headed off to meet my friend for a delicious brunch (whoever invented the Crab Benedict is a culinary genius).  We then drove to a nearby park on the beautiful South River near Annapolis.  We sat in a gazebo perched high over the water, talking for hours, admiring the expansive view, exchanging tales from our youth, and enjoying the breeze.  It was exactly what I needed for a respite from my packed work schedule after a busy week.

As I reflect on my day off, I thought about what made it so special.  I arrived with my walking shoes, since to me “park” translates to “hike.”  My friend, shod in stylish flats, just laughed when I gushed how excited I was about taking a long walk.  So I recalibrated my expectations of burning calories while we talked (I’m so into multi-tasking) and embraced sitting in the lovely gazebo.  Reminder One:  go with the flow and slow down.  Because I just focused on my friend and listening, I learned a lot about her, her thinking, her dreams, her challenges.  She is an excellent listener, so I felt heard and valued.  There was richness in our lively conversation that fed my mind and my spirit.  Reminder Two:  communication is key to nurturing healthy relationships.

We also laughed a lot, something that always strengthens a bond between two people.  Humor and the perspective it brings is a wonderful tonic and stress reliever.  Reminder Three:  don’t take everything so seriously, and bring more laughter into my life and work.  The fresh scent of the woods, the sparkling vista of the river, the sailboats gliding by below, the water lapping against the seawall, the warm sun…all combined to make the afternoon soothing on many levels.  Reminder Four:  open all my senses so that I can fully experience every moment of life.

My day off had all the ingredients that truly refresh me:  a slow pace with no set agenda, a chance to deepen a relationship, plenty of laughter and a beautiful setting that made me feel in tune to the world.  I am very grateful for my wonderful friend and this opportunity to bring balance and joy into my life.  I feel ready to take on the week with new energy.  May you have many such times as well this summer!

Sharon Keys Seal

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