within & without

April 3, 2017

From Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (Book 4): “People try to get away from it all – to the country, to the beach, to the mountains. You always wish that you could too. Which is idiotic: you can get away from it anytime you like. By going within. Nowhere you can go is more peaceful – more free of interruptions – than your own soul.”

We may indeed find peace within our souls, but I am not really sure that I agree with Mr. Aurelius 100%. I find that actually, physically getting away from it all sometimes does the trick. We are not just brains and spirits. We are also physical beings with senses and we love to see, hear, touch, smell and taste things. A new location provides stimulus for all of these, if we do it right.

I am not what you might call a world traveler, but I have been to a few very nice places, and I can tell you that those times have done a world of good for my soul, not to mention all of my senses.

A few of the more memorable trips…

New Orleans, 2003

 

California, 2005

 

Route 66 & the US West, 2009

 

Cape Canaveral, STS-135, Atlantis, final space shuttle launch, 2011

 

These experiences were beyond belief, beyond daily life. These few photos are just a fraction of the whole experience and cannot truly convey the very personal experience felt. But they do represent happy times and they stay with me as some of my best memories, and ones that I share with my beloveds. In New Orleans, we very coincidentally ran into some old friends and had the fun time of hanging out with them for a few nights. The first time I saw a whale in the wild was in California. Route 66 was the all-American road trip of a lifetime. Our dogs went with us to see the space shuttle launch and one of them (beloved Trixie) got to play in the ocean for the first time on that trip. Those experiences contribute to a lifetime and we still look back and laugh and smile at the memories.

While I will continue to study philosophy and strive to cultivate inner peace, I hope to always seek those experiences which take me out of myself, meeting new people, seeing new places.

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  • Tom's Nature-up-close Photography and Mindfulness Blog April 3, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    That whale is awesome! 🙂

    • thewoodlandgardener April 3, 2017 at 7:02 pm

      Yes, it sure is! It was one of our favorite things to see along Route 66. I could only imagine how much fun it would have been back in the day as a kid swimming in that lake with the big Blue Whale. When we were there, there was a small group from Sweden, who came specifically to see the whale! The curator told us that the whale has a huge following in Europe (or maybe Sweden in particular, can’t remember). So cool 🙂

  • tippysmom2 April 5, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    I agree with you, that “getting away” does have a place and is helpful to our physical and mental well being. While Marcus Aurelius may be correct, in theory, I find that if I stay at home, I can’t truly relax and get away from it all because there is always something that comes up that has to be taken care of.

    • thewoodlandgardener April 5, 2017 at 3:42 pm

      Me too, sometimes the responsibilities and doing “just one last thing” to get it all in order in the household is such a strong pull.

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