Educators. Students. Community members. Much more unites us than divides us, particularly knowing we all wear multiple hats. Building relationships. Thinking BIG.
Challenging and supporting one another. Developing engaged, empathetic citizens. Please join me in pondering how best to nurture these common ground connections.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Sedona or Bust :)

Upon reflection, I think this post title can be taken literally. Let me explain.

Spring Break for my district officially began 3/20. I have a contract stating that I should partake in said break. Instead, I worked 3/21, 3/22, 3/23, 3/24, and 3/25. Healthy? Of course not. I spent the time determining all the things I should be doing, could be doing, wanted to be doing, and hated doing. So I really didn't accomplish much, other than to exponentially increase my stress level. I was ready to BUST!

So on Wednesday night, I bought a ridiculously priced plane ticket to Sedona, Arizona.

I'm glad I listened to two very important people in my life who suggested I go. I needed this!

Why there? Well why NOT? It's beautiful and has everything I love. The sun, hiking and peace.

It was a life-altering trip. I don't say that lightly. In fact, I've said that in reference to five experiences in my life so far. This was number six. So it should go without saying I'm still processing, and likely will be for some time. But I'd like to share a few things that serendipitously surfaced for me over the past couple weeks. Realizations I've made upon reflection, not reasons why I went in the first place.
  1. I Miss Being an EXPLORER. When I was younger, everyone used to describe me as independent and curious, along with a few other choice descriptors, I'm sure. I used to "get lost" on my own—for HOURS—exploring. Around the neighborhood, in the creek, up a tree, down the basement, at the park. I would discover or do something new all the time. By myself! I've realized that I have misplaced that treasured practice over the years and I got to wondering about when and why that happened. Why would I give up opportunities for such formative, exciting, nurturing experiences? Which leads me to...
  2. I enjoyed getting lost again. ALONE. I really loved going to a new location and exploring again. I suggest this for everyone. But go by yourself. Pick a destination that has no friends or family at the other end. (An event on the other end is still open for discussion.) I now realize how important it is to allow yourself the vulnerable feeling of only being responsible for yourself, a feeling that many of us embraced as children. This trip was invigorating because I was getting to navigate the world without any support or accountability other than my own character and instinct. It was the most rejuvenating, challenging, and rewarding experience I've had in a very long time. I chose to be completely disconnected from not only technology, but responsibility for others. And I LOVED it. I introduced myself to a side of Joan I haven't seen in a while. I allowed myself to be as courageous and vulnerable as I was when I was twelve. :)
  3. I'm glad I went somewhere NEW. A suggestion if you're going to try this adventure? Pick a brand new destination, a place you'll enjoy exploring. Don't cloud your adventure by choosing a location that has memories of/with others; it will destroy the potential this trip has to offer. I now have a place that's all my own. And I plan to return. (Maybe someday I'll share it with others. If I do, I'll immediately pick a new place to explore on my own.)
  4. I listened to NEW MUSIC. Everyone I know finds music an integral part of travel. (So if you don't, this doesn't apply.) But listening to music that carries memories or moods from other experiences will suffocate the creation and impact of truly new adventures. So I'm glad I happened to be in the mood to listen to new artists while on this trip. When I hear certain songs, I am immediately transported back to Sedona. A lovely feeling!
  5. I was SPONTANEOUS and TRIED NEW THINGS. One included climbing a mountain. :)
    And I'm thrilled I did. My suggestion is to do something you wouldn't do if someone else was with you. Something that by your definition is healthy, of course. But something that nudges you outside your comfort zone. Something that will allow you to either share the story when you return, or not. But that will expand your horizons and help you grow. As I said, I did a few new things, all spontaneous decisions while there. I'm so happy I did; I've grown.
Of course I look forward to future vacations with others. Taking trips with people whose company you enjoy—people who enhance your being and nurture your soul—is just as important. But I do look forward to my next lone adventure in Sedona. And I'm glad so much of my childhood courage and personality resurfaced. The memories of feeling a sense of freedom to explore and of pushing the boundaries of creativity have fueled my intellect and spirit. Just the adventure I needed to enthusiastically end the school year!