This is a busy time of year for most people.
It has been a little wild for me too, for several reasons, so it can be challenging to carve out time for a break. Yet that is exactly what I have done for the past two Wednesdays. It has been amazing and I heartily recommend that you give it a try. Here’s the secret to taking a six hour mini holiday in the middle of the week.
Do it for someone else. Someone you think the world of, who you believe could use a change of pace. And then make a standing date.
All of a sudden you get to have that break which previously seemed impossible. It is such a simple formula. It’s in your calendar and you aren’t about to let your friend down, come hell or high water, as my Grandmother used to say.
So this Wednesday we went to the nearby town of Almonte and began with a visit to the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum. Turns out that the textile industry played a significant role in that valley and Almonte was Canada’s capital of the woolen industry. There was also a lot of pain and suffering attached to that honour, and we can look back with amazement and dismay on our past. Coincidentally, there was a special exhibit called Spirit Seeds, which is a celebration of historic Indigenous beadwork, as well as how contemporary artists continue to contribute to that legacy. So many things I didn’t know about in my own backyard, discovered in a tiny and welcoming museum.
It was a delight to then wander around this quaint and charming town, situated on the banks of a river, waterfalls and all. Charm galore, with trendy restaurants, shops and gorgeous architecture. It was a little wonderland only 40 minutes from home. And here’s the thing. We both enjoyed every part of the outing and came back refreshed. We didn’t even have to drive to Quebec city. Here was refreshment 40 minutes a way. Ottawa, like many cities is surrounded by several small towns within an hour’s drive. I now want to visit them all.
Dr. Itami, of Meaningful Life therapy fame,
used outings and travel as part of his comprehensive treatment plan for his cancer patients, along with chemo. Like Dr. Shoma Morita, before him, he considered travel to be part of cultivating curiosity, awareness and attention to the world around us , which could provide a healthy way to gain temporary mental relief from our cares and also have fun. I can vouch for it, after two Wednesdays.
Even with a packed slate, it is important to take that break and do something that you don’t ordinarily do. Explore a different part of town. Try a new restaurant. Attend a concert where the music is unfamiliar. Do these things with a good friend. Say Yes, when the opportunity arises. Make a date. Do not let all other obligations stand in your way of exploring, and enjoying your neighbouring towns, close to home.
A 40 minute drive to a small town in eastern Ontario, with a friend, became a six-hour holiday with no line-ups, security or packing. We explored, laughed, ate a great lunch and shared a dessert. And then we meandered around and drove home.
And this is how it works. Thanks to my friend, who is letting me do something for her, I get to benefit the most. So, now we are doing something for each other. Taking the time to see new things, or even seeing old things with new eyes.
Note 1:) “Oh for the wonder that bubbles into my soul,” D.H. Lawrence
Note 2:) Thanks to my daughter who helped me keep my date today.
Note 3:) I highly recommend that you do some variation on this theme, especially when you think it is impossible. Close to home and a budget holiday that offers extraordinary value for our spirits. Thank you all for hanging in with me, here on the page. And thanks for your kind notes. I hope you have a good week. warmly, Trudy