Empower Yourself. How To Connect With God While Watching Clouds
It’s been busy at my house. We undertook a major home renovation that required us to move furniture out of 3 rooms. We were redoing the plaster work in the living room in my almost 100 year home.
And with plaster work comes dust. Our living room is attached to 3 other rooms.
And every opening to every room required plastic sheeting to prevent the dust from getting EVERYWHERE else.
The renovation took 3 weeks and the result is beautiful. But this upheaval – even though exciting – was stressful.
And my dear Cairn terrier Elroy, who was 16 ½ years old, had to be put down right after we finished.
He stood with me through thick and thin, but suffered seizures at the end. We knew it was time.
Putting a dog down is a choice that we as caretakers have to make.
So when I tell you we needed a vacation after the home improvement was done – I want you to hear me. We NEEDED a vacation. We didn’t even reassemble the rooms. We just left to recharge.
Usually we would’ve rented a cottage, but this is the second year we went camping instead. We hadn’t camped in over 25 years thinking those days were long gone. But Covid changed a lot of things. And this was one of the good things that happened because we experienced the simple pleasure of camping again.
My husband Dan perfected the art of sleeping in a tent by creating a portable sleeping platform. He used IKEA bed frames for support. We now had pretty comfy sleeping quarters. That was probably the biggest objection to why we didn’t want to camp.
I also insisted upon hot showers being available wherever we ever camped. The second biggest objection was also overcome. We created a master list last summer of everything we needed to make camping comfortable. Most of it was boxed up from last year. So it was relatively easy breezy to pick up and go.
One of the first places we stopped was Holland, Michigan – on the western shore of Michigan. It’s a fairly short 2 ½ hr drive from our home in the Chicago area. The western shores of Michigan benefit from prevailing westerly winds crossing Lake Michigan. It’s generally 10 – 15 degrees cooler than Chicago during the hot sweltering days of 90 degree plus weather.
Holland has a spectacular sandy beach. It’s complete with a beautiful red lighthouse at the exit of Lake Macatawa flowing into Lake Michigan. There is generally a lot of boat traffic – both motorboats and sailboats going by. There is always a lot to look at and always a lot of space. Our first destination was to go to the beach.
Now I’m very fair skinned and don’t generally just lay on the beach. It’s a sure ticket for getting a burn. But we laid under a beach umbrella. My husband dozed off for an afternoon nap. I was wide awake on my back wondering what I should do. I looked up and saw mostly blue skies with occasional fluffy clouds going by. I became mesmerized.
I watched clouds change shapes. I felt the summer breeze across my body, the warm sand underneath me, hearing the seagulls from a distance. This transported me back to my childhood. I remember summer days lying on a blanket in our backyard with my mom. We watched clouds together. We took turns naming the shapes. We’d see the white jet trails making lines across the sky, listening to birds, feeling the grass. We were present to what was. And it was beautiful.
What struck me was the wonder I felt, then and now. A great deal of love and tenderness welled up. I felt the loss of my dog that I put down 2 days earlier. But I also felt the presence of God, of infinite love and support. Everything was good. Everything was beautiful. I was being recharged.
Is it easier to step out of your normal reality, and go to a beautiful place and slip into the moment? Absolutely! But we can take time everyday to just be. Even at home. To step out of the grind and let our senses pick up the beauty around us. We just had to take the time to notice and let go of the busyness of the day.
I do my best to support myself in all my senses. I savor beauty. I have plants and flowers around me. I have a diffuser that fills the air with a beautiful scent, and listen to background music while I work. I do take breaks and walk in my neighborhood without my phone. Just noticing what is. And in doing so, I get a mini-recharge.
We are meant to enjoy life everyday. Life is not supposed to be a grind. Do I always make time to recharge? I’ll be honest and say no. But I feel so much better when I do. And when I do go on vacation, I seek out nature. It has so many answers.
How do you recharge? What tips can you share? How do you appreciate the moment? Where do you go? Let me know in the comments below.
Audrey is a stress transformation coach.