For the past few years, I’ve been practicing meditation. I’m still taking a bi-monthly class that I love. Every month it amazes me how many different ways there are to meditate. They all offer a way to look at your life through a different lens and relax.
The common theme? Slow breathing and quieting the mind. Very few things can do that for me. But I couldn’t help noticing a while back that I feel as relaxed and refreshed after taking pictures as I do after a meditation session. When I’m alone, taking pictures of nature, my mind ceases to think of all those to-dos and other things that concern me. Getting caught up in the visual delight of composing a shot is my mental break.
Part of it, I’m sure is my upbringing. My dad gave me my first camera in the third grade. I’d spend many school nights down in our basement darkroom. Dad guided me as we dipped photo paper into trays of chemicals and watched them slowly come to life. I look back fondly on those days as much as I look forward to pulling out my iPhone or digital camera at unexpected moments.
The real reason I started meditation? I read that it was good for the adrenals. When you overwork those little glands through physical (training) or emotional stress, your body responds with fatigue, a weakened immune system and other symptoms. A decade ago, my adrenals weren’t up to snuff. My doctor forbad me from running for nine months! The only thing that kept me from losing my mind was learning how to play golf with my then young nephews. I don’t want THAT to happen again. So meditation is now a regular part of my recovery. Yeah, 7 (pictured above) isn’t the only one who needs to slow down.
On the first day of our vacation back to my old neck of the woods, we came, we saw, we conquered. The locals in Massachusetts pronounce “Concord” just like “Conquered.” The tourists call it “Concorde” like the jet. And Todd, the big tease, spent the rest of the week referring to it as “Con-curd” as often as possible in every conversation. So with hardly any sleep after the red eye, I gave him the tour. First I did something I’ve never done. I took him shopping to a few of my favorite spots. One in particular was Nesting. I introduced Todd to one of the owners, Wendi, who has a flare for displaying the old with the new, and making it all look so inviting. What I loved about this visit was that Wendi had a chance to tell Todd some stories about my mother. My mom used to rave about Nesting, so I’ll carry on the tradition. Afterwards, I took him to Walden Pond and showed him the site of Henry David Thoreau’s cottage. The local park built a replica of his home, too, which we explored. Then we went on a nice hike along the edge of this large pond, which is 1.7 miles across and 103 feet deep. When we arrived at the Lifeguard building and the steps leading to the pond, we met a couple of triathletes. Here are Jennifer and Cary ready to brave the 57-degree water. They looked like strong swimmers as they headed out across the pond. As I came across this sign, a quote from Thoreau, I couldn’t help thinking that this is the philosophy so many of us, triathletes and endurance athletes, embrace.