Great news… I know you were all waiting with bated breath to hear about my “unplugging challenge” all week!!  I mean, really….how did you guys muttle through without me…HA!?

We arrived at Topsail on Sunday morning…YES the VERY SAME day as the shark attack on the 10 year-old-girl in 3.5′ deep water….AND YES it was the VERY SAME BEACH and VERY SAME DAY that the shark attack happened last year also….thankfully…we were blissfully unaware of the attack until we arrived home and my mom informed me about the horror that unfolded a mere 2 miles from where we playfully splashed in the waves!!  I was reeling ALL NIGHT over the fact that I spent MOST of the week reassuring my niece and Talia that sharks, most definitely DO NOT swim in shallow water….SHEESH!!

Anyway…we arrived…the day was gorgeous and the ocean water was warm…..YAY us!!  This is the view as you walk from the back porch of the house onto the beach…..


As soon as I arrived…..OFF WENT THE PHONE!!  I  locked my phone securely in the glove compartment, as to make it difficult, should I be tempted to alleviate my craving with a quick hit of the phone …you can never be too careful!  The funny thing is…that as I stood marveling at the vastness and complex simplicity of the ocean, my initial instinct was to take a picture with my phone and upload it to Facebook.  I devoted a decent portion of that first day, and part of the next, dwelling on the fact that I was disconnected.  I hunkered down on the beach and genuinely contemplated this irony….what or who was I feeling disconnected from?  I became keenly cognizant , which I think most of us do in some abstract form, that by being “plugged in” places us, or at least me, in jeopardy of becoming “unplugged” from the people and loved ones that are right there with me….living and breathing the same space as me, in that moment.  Now do not misunderstand me…I enjoy Facebook, my phone, the ease of surfing the net and I have reconnected with people who have been vital in the journey of my life.   What I am saying, however, is that we need to be careful to not lose ourselves in our present life by overly engulfing ourselves in the cyber world.  If we NEVER unplug…we never contemplate, if we never contemplate….we cannot experience self-realizations and if we never experience self-realiztions….we cannot grow.

Unplugging by the end of day two was…well…. relaxing…I could direct my attention to each present moment, as they unfolded.  I read books, had fulfilling conversations, laughed, played in the ocean with my loved ones….did someone say...SHARK…ugh!

I read several books, but the one I truly enjoyed was Zen Heart.  I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t meditate, although, I think about it often.  I have started to take 3 deep breaths a couple of times a day and have delightfully discovered that it is as beneficial as the gurus claim…hehe.  It helps me feel centered and calm, both mentally and physically…try it!  There were two aspects of the book that resonated within me.  The first was that, as humans, we share the common thread of feeling fearful that we are unworthy…less than.  The author  believes that a great deal of our afflictions…obesity, suicide, violence, depression etc. stem from our overwhelming, yet subtle, fear that our inadequacies will be exposed.  

The second point, that was profoundly striking to me was how we, narrow-mindedly, view relationship difficulties as obstacles.  We become obsessed to “fix” things.   The author believes that if we alter our thinking about the relational obstacle and ask ourselves, internally, what can I learn about myself from this difficulty,  the difficulty itself can transform from being an obstacle that hinders our journey’s path to our path.  The obstacle BECOMES a crucial part in our path to becoming who we are in our entirety.  Of course, I am not making reference to abuse, but simply the relational issues that all humans encounter with one another.  

The other part of the book that I am  focusing on for myself, currently, is to just let my feelings exist…to insert a “space”, if you will, before I react to negative emotions.  For example, if one of my children is doing something that is really pushing  my buttons(hard to imagine, I know…bah!  And did I really just say IF, I meant to say WHEN)….that before I yell and scream…. I should simply notice what I am feeling, which for most of us is anger.  We register our anger instantaneously….here is where you insert the space….acknowledge your anger…. feel it, but refrain from acting upon it…how does it feel within you, physically (heart racing, flush, sweaty palms etc), take a few deep breaths and on your last deep breath, tune into what is residing underneath your anger.  Is it anxiety, fear, hurt, self-worthlessness….whatever emotion surfaces allow yourself to feel it…commune (wow, this is getting heavy) with it, just for the briefest of moments.  If you are able…desribe the feeling to yourself…. what characteristics does the feeling encompass and then BREATHE…..(THEN go yell and scream)…KIDDING!!!  I don’t know, I probably sound all new-agey, but I found it intriguing and interesting and…..CHALLENGING…and I love a CHALLENGE, especially the kind that promotes self-discovery and growth…WootWoot!  I really glossed over a complex theory, but if you are at all interested get the book…Zen Heart.

As you can tell…I am happy that I “unplugged” and, admittedly and surprisingly, was a little disappointed to plug back in one week later.  The challenge was much easier than I had anticipated.  It allowed me many gratifying moments and experiences, for which I was completely present and accounted for…yay me!

The week in pictures (at least most of the week)…we hung out with cousins…

We beached it….



We mini-golfed…



We ate ice cream….



We acted goofy…..


We walked on the beach at night, where we found Tatiana the Crab and made the sand glow with baby jellyfish…yes, they really GLOW(couldn’t get a picture of this though 😦 )….

         



We found charcoal on the beach from the NC wildfires….          




We roller-skated, above the town post office, where an elderly lady plays FORTY-FIVES….NO JOKE!

                  



And we just had a great time together!


   

It is good to UNPLUG every once in a while!  

There is a lot more I would like to share with you about the book…you know…impart my new-found wisdom to all of you, but I have a 9 month old baby (my niece) with me for a few days and she is tiring me out!!  

Have a great day everyone!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

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