The Power of Reflection (Part 2 of 2)

February 16, 2012 at 12:31 AM 1 comment

I recently moved to the city to be closer to my new job and find a new social atmosphere – a definite change from my past homes near wooded parks or remote Northwoods wilderness areas. Yeah, “the city” is only Cleveland, but being surrounded by this much brick and mortar is unsettling for a nature-o-phile like me.

Riverside views of the Thelon, Nunavut, Canada, & Cuyahoga, Cleveland, Ohio.

The recent move has highlighted why I relish opportunities to retreat into the wilderness. To unplug from my electronic devices and recharge my mental batteries.  It’s something William Powers wrote about in his book Hamlet’s Blackbery (which my dad summarized here) and I strongly believe is essential to mental health. Especially for those of us who spend so much time in the digital world, limiting ourselves to a 2D, electronic perspective.

Getting away — whether it’s for a weekend unplugged or a week on the beach — has oodles of benefits:  avoiding the blinking lights, overflowing in boxes and ever-present notifications; remembering that there’s more to life than work;  dissolving stress by entering a world of relaxation; and enjoying the fruits of your labor by exercising free will.

But, most importantly, taking time away gives you a new perspective on your life: past, present and future.

Stepping outside the rigors of day-to-day routines and mindsets allows you to remember what makes you happy and what you need to do so that you can spend more time being that way — happy.

#Confucious quote just for good measure.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for the idea of having a job I love and “never working another day in my life.” But no matter how much I love what I do (and even practice in my free time a la writing this blog), the fact is:

“NOT working is better than working.”

And that’s a Bill Sledzik quote to live by.

Relating back to the first part of this post, an extended vacation from the doldrums (or playgrounds) of work life gives your mind enough of a break to look back and understand what you’re doing with your life and examine all aspects:

  • Do I enjoy what I’m doing?
  • Is it challenging enough?
  • Am I being effective and adding value?
  • Am I understood?
  • How can I improve; i.e. how can I be happier?

I haven’t been to the woods since early January and that was only for a weekend. I’m dying for some time outside my own head. Some time to reflect and think back on all of the great experiences I’ve had at my new gig, in my new place and everything else that’s been happening good or bad. But with my next wilderness getaway weeks away in April, I’m settling for long drives, workouts and the occasional mid-day zone out (it happens for a reason folks: your mind *needs* a break).

But I’m curious on how other people “reflect,” both short- and long-term. I’ve described what’s personal to me. Can you relate? What tricks, tips, trips or breaks do you use? Or is reflection just natural? Just curious…

(imgs: victoria-weather.com, nansons-place.com)

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Entry filed under: Young Pro advice. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

The Power of Reflection (part 1 of 2) What I learned in graduate school in 700 words.

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Becky Threadgill  |  February 16, 2012 at 9:03 PM

    I know your “old man” because I live across the road from Blair and Kathy”s camp..we’ve tipped a few in the past…I like your blog and my daughter just showed me how to subscribe to it….(wish I could click like her..lol..)..reflection is something I dont think many of us do…and I fully appreciate the fact that Blair and Kathy take the time to come to camp and perhaps reflect..amongst the setting up camp and other chores. I basically live in the woods and wouldnt have it any other way,,I have the good luck to be able to come home and sit outside and reflect…but sometimes reflecting gets in the way of things I should be doing..so Im going to rethink my way of reflecting. Thanks for sharing

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