Give Yourself Permission – The Mind Matters
By Patricia Lynn Belkowitz, C.Ht., EFT-CC
Do you remember field trips? A day of learning, exploring and adventure that took place outside of the classroom? Do you remember the excitement and anticipation leading up to the big day? And of course, you must not forget the all-important “permission slip” which was necessary proof that your parents knew where you were going and they with okay with you taking a day off from the responsibilities of school. Without it, you were unable to board the bus and were assigned to some other classroom to do stupid busywork. All the while your friends have 96 bottles of beer on the wall and you know you are missing out!
A field trip meant a bus ride, often to new and unfamiliar territory. You might even cross a state line! You got to sing silly songs and make faces at drivers passing by. Instead of your teacher telling you what to do, you were now instructed to listen to somebody’s mom or dad and stay with your buddy. Of course, teaming up with your good friend was always a plus because you got to spend more time together. Hopefully your group got a “cool” parent who would let you get away with stuff like buying an ice cream instead of eating what was packed in your brown bag lunch.
A field trip is an ordinary day made extraordinary because we choose to make it happen. We make a plan to have fun. It’s a decision we make to step out of the day to day and create a different experience. A “permission slip” is still necessary but now you are the one in control. You can board any damn bus that you want and you can take it wherever you want to go. But you have to grant yourself permission first.
A few weeks ago I gave myself permission and took a field trip to Santa Cruz Island, part of the Channel Islands National Park, an amazing galapago just off shore of the gold coast of California. My friend Susan was planning a trip from Chicago and we had discussed this adventure during one of her previous visits. Everything was aligned for now. I invited another friend, Amy, to join us. She shares a love of the sea and was in need of such a field trip. She said “Yes”, the magic word.
Our field trip was magical. A very brisk wind was howling when we first set out from Ventura Harbor aboard our bus – Island Packers’ ferry. The sea was a bit choppy from the wind waves but we had sunny, clear skies and warm temperatures. During the crossing, we were visited by hundreds of dolphins who played in the wake alongside the boat. Squeals of human and dolphin delight filled the air. As we approached Scorpion anchorage, we were met with more than a dozen whales. Amazing, gigantic, graceful blues, grays and humpbacks. Wow! I’ve sailed this channel for more than twenty years and although I have been blessed with many whale sightings, this was awesome!
Upon disembarking the vessel we were given instructions about when to return to dock. We were warned of the dangers, reminded of the remoteness and the distance from any medical facility, and strongly cautioned about the lack of drinking water available. We were told of the presence of the hanta virus and rodents and to stay away from the foxes and not to feed any animals. When released from orientation, we took a short walk where we feasted on our deluxe picnic lunch in the shade of a eucalyptus grove. From there we began a hike (moderate to strenuous by park standards) which brought us up a very steep trail. Trusting that we would be rewarded with a scenic view at the top, we trudged our way up. It was 88 degrees and very sunny and we whined a bit. When we reached a place where there was no longer a climb in elevation, we were still far from any view of the ocean but we knew it must be just ahead. And then the reward…
After our hike, we made our way to the beach where we nestled ourselves in the cool shadows of an open cave carved into the cliff on the rocky shore. We planted ourselves on the smooth boulders and sat there with our feet in the sand while the waves splashed over them. We gazed at the mainland and the civilization which seemed so very very far away from this wild island. We reveled in the now moment of the experience. And we congratulated ourselves for making the time to do it.
On our return crossing, we were again greeted by a massive congregation of dolphins as a fine ending to the day. Do you remember that summertime childhood feeling you would get when you had been outside in the sun playing all day long? A little sleepy. Content. Your mind full of happy.
Summer’s here. I encourage you to make the choice to plan a field trip. Take a day and make it fun. Discover the child again. What are you waiting for? Tick tock. Time is passing. Give yourself permission. Now.