By: Brandy Black
There is no better way to “connect” than by removing yourself from your daily routine and getting away on vacation. We just got back from Whistler in Canada and it was a much-needed break from technology. I found it funny that I got just what I was looking for when I set a goal this month to disconnect from computers and phones and to connect with the people around me. I realized, upon checking in to the Scandinave Spa (while my parents babysat Sophia in the lodge), how challenging it is to truly let go of the constant chatter in my mind and the need to incessantly feed myself with some form of entertainment. The receptionist advised us ahead of time that we would likely be there for 3 hours in the hydrotherapy cycle. How I would possibly spend that much time in a spa not even getting a massage? I was sure we’d be plenty revitalized within an hour. It was snowing outside when we hiked our way up the icy pathway surrounded by cedar trees. I couldn’t imagine how I would strip down to a bikini in the snow and experience an outdoor bath in bliss. This was beginning to seem ludicrous and every bone in my body was resisting. Once outside, we hesitantly hung our robes on the metal hooks and then raced into the hot bath. We sat as instructed for 15 minutes and then followed with the cold plunge pool and another 15 minutes in the solarium. This is the cycle that you are told to repeat 4-5 times while making your way down a series of small steps to the next set of hot, cold, and relaxation areas. By the second round of hydrotherapy, I began to let go and relax into the quiet. Susan and I sat side-by-side in the hot bath collecting snowflakes on our tongues. Watching a flurry of snow race down at me and freeing my mind of anything but the surrounding beauty, I realized how hard it is to truly let go. I am always busy –always movingandthinkinganddoing –and even a nap is an indulgence; but now here I was with Susan just being and it felt good. I grabbed a magazine as I walked into the solarium for another 15 minutes of relaxation and as I sat down, perched to read about Hollywood’s latest gossip, I stopped and looked out of the floor-to-ceiling window and watched the snow fall sideways, the trees white, the mountains ahead of me…and I remembered the mantra connect. I put the magazine down and sat staring out the window, thinking about how we work so hard to make enough to spoil ourselves with lavish vacations and relaxing spas and at the end of it all, what I am most in awe of is that which costs nothing: the beauty of icicles, fluffy snow, trees, and mountains. The quiet that envelops me and makes me want to stay forever.
The dinners were nice, skiing was thrilling, the sleigh ride was gorgeous, but at the end of the day, my favorite parts of our trip away were playing cards with my parents and laughing until the wee hours, watching the smile on my daughter’s face as her grandparents sang her annual birthday song (recapping this past year with familiar names and memories written only for her), placing a lopsided homemade birthday cake adorned with princesses and sparklers in front of Sophia, dancing around the lodge with the family, charades, snowball fights…moments that could only happen if I chose to let go of the Blackberry and CONNECT, times that required me to live in the moment, things that money can’t buy.