I’m flying to Hawaii today for some exercise and meditation. I take these trips at least a few times a year; usually for just a few days but sometimes longer. I regularly practice meditation and gratitude during these ‘resets’ too but like yoga, these things are very difficult to master. To calm your mind, to focus and hold one’s attention for more than thirty seconds let alone hours can take years of practice. Add the fact my picture should be next to a definition of ADHD in the dictionary and forget it!
But I have my own cheat code.
In video games, a ‘cheat code’ is a password or series of steps that provides access to a particular item, an ability, or level that’s otherwise unobtainable without completing additional steps. And over the years I’ve discovered my own life-hack for tapping into deep feelings of abundance, relaxation and the kind of gratitude that brings tears – all without sitting for years under a tree in the lotus position.
1. Go far away:
And take very little with you. Just by going away to a place where no one knows me, I conserve incredible amounts of energy and focus. I have no expectations or desire to communicate much less impress. I blend in and become nearly invisible. Even the best of us spend considerable effort and energy on people and things outside of ourselves. Both psychologists and biologists call this an adaptive versus natural state.
2. Make no plans:
I make a cognizant decision not to plan a single moment. I don’t plan activities. None. I don’t plan when or what I’ll eat or when I’ll sleep or when I get up. I just go with each passing thought or moment without any judgement. Surfing, reading, writing or just napping in the sun. Another thing people rarely do is simply be present in the moments they are in. Often, our time is preoccupied with the next moment or the day or the week or even worse, the past.
This last step is now automatic. It requires no effort at all once you’ve done steps one and two. Because a funny thing happens after a few days of this kind of travel. By taking away all the ego driven behavior, worries and distractions we can all impulsively to go to at even the first fleeting sense of boredom, my mind starts really processing. And those old axioms, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” and “Out of sight out of mind” become very real.
You get exceptionally clear about who and what you truly appreciate when it’s not at arm’s length anymore. Gratitude becomes more than a nice thought; it becomes a very profound emotion. You also learn what you never missed at all. It’s an effective way to dial in on what’s important to you and what’s not then turn that appreciation into a plan. Because let’s be honest, gratitude is an action and not just a thought. You can tell what’s truly import in your life by the condition it’s in and if it’s not in the condition you want, well then you have some work ahead of you, don’t you?