Taking Time to Process Experiences
This writing is being typed and posted from 35,000 feet somewhere over the middle of the Atlantic Ocean enroute to Florence, Italy via Paris, France. Ten days in Italy and France will end a month filled with a lot of travel and enlightenment. It's been a whirlwind, which frankly did not leave much quality time to thoughtfully process the experiences I was having. Just a few hours into this eight hour flight and I'm finally getting a chance to simply think and reflect. Without reflecting upon and processing our experiences, we risk capturing the full meaning of our lives and applying what we've learned in future experiences.
I was fortunate to travel to Big Sky, MT to deliver a speech on my experience with South Dakota's 24/7 Sobriety Program for the inaugural National 24/7 Summit. From there, I went to the Utah Fall Substance Abuse Conference to give a presentation on the use of technology in supporting addiction recovery -- this was the second year in a row that I've presented at the Utah conference. Last, the month ended in San Francisco at the Rock Health Summit -- a conference dedicated to digital health solutions.
While I was bouncing around the country -- living the dream, as they say -- Pollen published an incredibly well-written and illustrated feature on me and the work of Face It TOGETHER. I am really grateful for this piece because of the dignity and care all the people at Pollen put into it.
The intensity of life over the last couple of months has been managed in large part because of the wellness techniques that are simply embedded in my regular routine. For a few years, I have begun every day with a short five minutes of meditation. Most recently, I've followed the meditation with 120 seconds of planking. It was only after I returned from San Francisco and while unpacking, doing laundry, and repacking that I consciously recognized how at peace I was and how slow time was moving. Nothing seemed rushed, despite having very little time to relax. The only think I can attribute this calmness to was the commitment I've made to small but over time significant wellness activities.
It was in this moment that I knew I needed to take a few moments to simply think about the experiences of the last few weeks.There is nothing complicated about taking brief moments to think. In a world when every moment of our waking day can be occupied by screens, news feeds, and text messages, we generally fail at simply letting ourselves be bored and to daydream. We have to do this, otherwise when will we contemplate conversations and moments with both the important and least significant in our lives. If we don't allow our brains to naturally review parts of that conference we just attended, will that big idea pass us by?
There's something to be said for slowing down to think; to let our mind wander. I plan to do a lot of that during this well-timed and much needed vacation. I'm going to Paris for the first time in my life... that will be an experience! It will likely be information and stimulus overload, but in the moments between great architecture (minus I.M. Pei's Pyramid at the Louvre), wondrous food, and quality time with my wife, I'll think about what all the travel and speeches and conferences were for -- not the surface reasons but the deep meaning in it all.
Maybe the next writing will be a report on what insights were gained from all the contemplation and processing. Stay tuned.