Watercolour on watercolour paper
9 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011My sister's a therapist and in our family's shorthand
Rx is short form for doctors and medical help, and Tx
for mental or therapy help. Coming back from a vacation in
the pristine countryside of Nova Scotia's
Northumberland strait near Wallace, to Toronto,
one of the biggest cities in Canada is a shock. And
any principles for recovering a sense of well
being are a help.
I confess to one very down day on re-entry. You know
-- the bills, endless amounts of laundry,
household organizing, and whatever worries, or
projects that were put on hold for three weeks.
Three long, delicious, fantastic, wonderful and
glorious weeks. It's a known fact that 21 days
is long enough to form a habit. So the habit of
being on holiday, and living somewhere else is
ingrained in that time. I know that many of you are
going through similar splash downs into your real
life so here are my tips.
1. Have a bath. Take care of the physical first.
# 1 You'll be clean, and #2 You'll start to feel more
relaxed. In my case just the return to readily available
hot water is something to rejoice about.
2. Pay some bills. Instead of avoiding the nasty
facts of your post-vacation finances -- pay the
first bills to come through the door. Then take
a deep breath and pat yourself on the back for
being an adult.
3. Write thank you notes to everyone who was
especially nice to you while you were away. You
can do some of it through email, and some through real
notes. But connecting back to your vacation heroes,
makes you realize that you still have that connection
anytime you can make the effort.
4. Make lists. Part of getting back into real time
involves accomplishing basic tasks like laundry.
Lists not only make you feel efficient, they give
you a guide when your mind is in a kind of
fantasy haze. Cross off six things on a list and
watch your mood lift.
5. Be thankful for some attention deficit tendencies.
When you go to the cupboard for dishtowels and
realize they're on the laundry table, you may decide
to pop a load of laundry in the washer. Saving your
best antique quilt for later, you pick it up to see it's
caked in sand. This distracts you from both putting on
the laundry, and getting the dishtowels. In fact after
shaking out the quilt and all of the clothes in
the hamper, into the garden -- you feel happy to realize
you now have enough sandy soil to grow lupines. Then
after you've swept up all the sand on the laundry room
floor, and put on a new load of laundry, you forget the
dishtowels and have to go back. During this whole
episode your imagination escapes to thoughts of the
wonderful picnic on the beach your son must have had
sitting on your beautiful quilt. (You see why you need
6. Phone a funny friend. This is no time for the Doom
and Gloom voices in your life. Call the funniest friend
or sibling you know, and let them force you to lighten
up. After all the truth is you've been so lucky that
you got to go on vacation. Or as my son always says
when I whine about something unimportant -- "Wa Wa."
7. Get back to painting. For a painter painting is
like breathing, as necessary as food. Start something,
anything and keep going. Before you know it you'll
be back in the moment, back home and where you
are meant to be.
8. Walk the dog, a friend, a loved one, or just you.
I almost forgot why I love my city until I walked
my dog, Zoey through our beautiful neighbourhood
park. Cuts in the Parks and Recreation budget mean
that the park is thick with vegetation -- Milkweed flowers
as high as my head and bull rushes almost twice my height.
Purple Lythrum and Queen Anne's Lace even Forget-me-nots
with a second wind. Bird song filled the air, and I suddenly
felt I was home.
The subject is a woman filling her car in Ottawa, Ontario.
These huge SUVs have been the status car of choice here.
But the reality is that they are a lot like shiny,
beautifully designed tanks. That means that filling them
up with the current gas prices is no joke.
Have an enjoying-your-own-homecoming day.