Saturday, August 13, 2011

Re-entry Tx

 Full Tank
Watercolour on watercolour paper
9 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011
My 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
the list.)

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.
This little painting today is another random road picture.
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.


cohen labelle said...

Gorgeous humor and rhythms in this Barbara! Her foot wear looks like mine- are they birkenstocks?- aren't you glad you don't have a thirsty suv to squirt petrol into every 400 km - into its enormous, all consuming, unquenchable tank, (a little hyperbole there) - is that what a full tank gets? Oh well, but they must be handy for transporting large objet d'art.
love, Marcia

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Marcia,

When you start really noticing how people are with their cars, it's quite interesting. We love them almost the way we love pets. We name them -- mine even says hello on the dashboard every time I turn the key.
So no wonder carmakers make them so elegant, and shiny, and colourful, and...Back in the car tomorrow, doing more research.



Anonymous said...

Hi Barbara,

Thanks for all the tips. You're absolutely correct on #5 - I do this all the time and after three additional trips to the laundry I finally get the thing I originally needed - but am thankful to be getting in my daily requirement of steps.


SusanA said...

I took two weeks and painted outdoors almost every day. Re-entry was a huge shock, and I had a couple of days where i felt like my brain was made of molasses and i could hardly move. Thought it was just me.
Seriously making me wonder about my lifestyle choices.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Josephine,

It's true, one of the strategies for getting more steps in, is selective forgetting. That's a lot easier if you're mind is 1,000 miles away. In fact now what matters is selective remembering. I'm doing my best. Now what was I doing before I sat down to write this?



Barbara Muir said...

Hi Susan,

Maybe that's the whole point of a decent vacation -- it's a chance to breathe, step out of the routine, and also to re-evaluate your non-vacation life when you return. If the angst lasts, I think it means it's time for a change. Italy for a year anyone?

XO Barbara

Anonymous said...

Italy? count me in! ha ha. we all have those blah days, and getting into the groove after such a lovely vacay is enough to bring one on. I think all your tips are the best advice of all. Love this little 'go go busy life'watercolour. I'm assuming Stephen is pumping while you are sketching at these gas stations! ha ha.

Melinda said...

Very good, Barbara! Excellent post. I love how you tied it all together.

Vacations are hard work, then we come home...and our lives are even busier until we get back into the groove of it all.

Yikes. Makes me wanna go on a long drive...with my gas-guzzler...packed with everything I need.


Love this watercolor! You're an inspiration.

p. s. Think I'll take your advice.

Linny D. Vine said...

Fantastic post and watercolor!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Sally,

I would just love to spend a year in Italy and traveling. I ran this by my mother and she said she'd miss me too much. So the year away is off for now. I guess that's good because I have some art committments on this side of the pond.

But Sally you and I would have a lot of fun in Italy.

XO Barbara

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Melinda,

I sure wish you'd take a long ride with your gas guzzler up here. I would drop everything. What an exciting idea.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Linny,

Thanks so much. I'm delighted that you like it.

XO Barbara

Portrait Artist

My photo
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I paint and draw on commission and for shows. To commission a portrait, or purchase one of my paintings please contact me at:
A major highlight in my career? Drawing Oprah Winfrey live via Skype for her show "Where in the Skype are you? Galleries: Studio Vogue Gallery, Toronto, Canada. The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, New York City. Gallery at the Porch Door, Kingston, Canada. Your positive comments on this blog mean the world to me. I'd love to hear from you!