vacation feet at dusk

After a week and a half of vacation, I’m trying to give my brain the “get back to work” pep talk today. So far, I’ve had only limited success. Sigh.

I quite intentionally spent little time online while on vacation. It was family time, and so I did fun family things, like hangin’ out at the Folk Festival, going on a road trip, chillin’ by the hotel pool, shopping in big America shopping malls  (mostly for the teenagers in the family), watching soccer games, riding a few rollercoasters, floating down a lazy river on an inner tube, eating too much junk food, and watching silly movies. I also managed to squeeze in a few fun things just for me, like sipping chai latte at a couple of bookstore coffee shops (on both sides of the border – yup, books & chai – my two addictions), reading a couple of books, and going to an art fair.

Yesterday was one of my favourite days of the vacation. I spent most of the afternoon reading a book in a lawnchair in a shady spot on my front lawn. About the only activity I did all day was get up now and then to refill my glass with iced tea. And make a ridiculously unhealthy lunch of hashbrowns and bacon. Awww… the luxury!

One of the books I finished reading while on vacation was Artful Leadership by Michael Jones. Yes, I actually read a book on leadership while on VACATION! Go figure. It was just that good! I had the pleasure of hanging out with Michael at ALIA last month and I find his thoughts and ideas to be really, really inspiring. His book hit the spot for me in so many ways at just the right time.

There are lots of thoughts bubbling in my mind after reading this book. One of the things that stuck with me was Michael’s suggestion that, given the amount of clutter and external influence we allow into our brains and hearts, it is extremely difficult to have an original thought that does not become shadowed and distorted by what others say and think. It is even more difficult to trust that original thought and give it life.

Think about it… how often have you had a thought or idea that came to you from whatever original source you believe in (God, muse, self) that you entertained for even just a few moments without quickly negating it because “so and so would think it’s a bad idea” or “it doesn’t fit with conventional wisdom” or “it’s just silly” or “market research would certainly tell me it would never fly”?

I’ve had some of those ideas lately, and there’s a part of me that JUST KNOWS they are the right ideas to follow. BUT… well, you know the “buts”. Every day a few more of them pile on top of me when I let myself be influenced by the “experts” or “well-meaning people” or “my own ego”.

That’s part of the reason I spent this vacation mostly away from some of the influencers – social media, etc. Sometimes it’s best just to sit with an idea and let it evolve in its own good time before we hold it up to any litmus tests other than our own gut feelings. To be honest, I let myself be influenced more by a chance encounter with a horse (more on that later), and an exhilarating ride on a rollercoaster than any other person’s ideas or suggestions.

What about you? How do you guard and nurture those original thoughts so that they have a chance to grow before resistance cuts them off at their tender little shoots?

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