Castles and Post-Vacation Blues

I recently returned from a vacation that was absolute perfection – nothing fancy, but a couple days in the paradise that is autumn in Door County, the luxury of a hotel stay, and a plate of cheesy nachos paired with cheesy reality TV – filled my soul and restored my body in ways that felt downright miraculous.

And now, having returned to the Grim Reality of Life, I am suffering from a classic case of post-vacation blues – lamenting the fact that tomorrow, I will be spending 8 hours in a windowless office instead of an enchanted forest.

Thankfully, I know that despairing moods like these are my reliable cues to take my own medicine and do some self-coaching.

So I looked more closely at what I was feeling: dread – and noticed how that was showing up in my body: as sharp ice cubes in my throat. Then, because I believe all emotions and feelings have benevolent, useful messages, I imagined myself stepping into and “becoming” the ice cubes to see what they might have to say and how they might answer questions like: why are you here, what’s your purpose, and how are you trying to help?

As I was channeling the consciousness of these metaphorical, imaginary ice cubes (as one does), I suddenly flashed on the ice castles built each winter near the town I grew up in Minnesota.

The ice cubes wanted to be building blocks and tools of creation, apparently, and they wanted me to build a (metaphorical) castle. They didn’t want to be swallowed or shoved down, and they didn’t want to cause pain. They just wanted to be put to good use, in service of my imagination.

So, what if instead of dreading my return to ordinary life, I brought the magic, joy, and freedom of my vacation back with me tenaciously, intentionally, and imaginatively? What if I found a way to fold that goodness into the whole of my life?

It’s so easy to believe that what I most want can only exist in perfect circumstances far from the messy realness of daily life – that I need to escape to find what I’m truly looking for. But I have a hunch that allowing the good stuff to be present and alive in the here and now, along with my yearning for more of it, in whatever form that takes, opens the way for creativity, ingenuity, and all kinds of magic.

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