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Outside a window of Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry--Nature's Museum!

Early in my travel-writing career while writing about amusement parks, I learned an indispensible truth: travel in a counter clockwise direction.  In other words, from the main entrance gate when the crowds go left (modus operandi in amusement parks), you go counter clockwise, right. 

Sometimes the best way to refresh, rejuvenate and rejigger,* is to take the opposite direction from the crowds.  Once taking a day trip at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, I followed the crowds onward, eyes straight ahead, until, that is, I looked outside a window in the  museum and saw nature’s museum. In a patch of sweet hued and sweet fragrance gardens, butterflies danced and flitted.  The dramatic movements made my mind break into a lyrical version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”  So now when I think back to my Chicago day trip, I recall not one museum perspective, but two!

Outside a window of Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry--Nature's Museum!

And that’s what I learned from my backyard therapy experiences,  instead of looking straight ahead, look up or down; instead of going in the direction of the crowd, go counter clockwise…sometimes going against the tide gives you the most memorable vantage point. 

Look up!

Next backyard therapy adventure: Look in far-off areas!

Tucked behind the grand piano, The Spencer Hotel, Chautauqua, NY

Inn at Mystic, Mystic, CT

Oceans, lakes, streams, reservoirs and ponds, ahhh, particularly on a sultry summer day, nothing can refresh the body, mind and spirit, but especially the body, like water. Nearly 70 percent of the earth is composed of water, as is the human body.  I don’t believe that this is sheer coincidence.  Since the beginning of civilization, each generation has benefited from the therapeutic value of water. 

Mystic, CT

For me, the next best thing next to the spa experience in helping one relax, rejuvenate and rejigger* is to go to the coastline.  In fact, in the mid-1980s, I spent many hours a week walking the sands while my mind rambled, pained and powerless, during one of the toughest periods of my life.  No matter how tremulous my thoughts were, as I trampled up one side of the beach and then another, the rhythmic, constant companionship of the waves splashing forth, helped squelch my overly critical thoughts.

Mystic, CT

As I arrived each day to walk the beach, the salt air signaled the start of the familiar ritual and no matter how burdened I felt, immediately I experienced a sense of calm, and a glimmer of hope flicked on my grimly dark horizon like the first crack of dawn.

Stonington, CT

Linda Samuels puts it so well in her blog when she writes, “…lately I’ve spent more time by the rivers—walking, sitting, eating, and just being. There is something restorative about water. My mind quiets enough to simply focus on the scenery before me. The “must dos” and “should dos” take a back seat while nature works it magic, bringing me to a calmer, clearer place.”

Olde Mistick Village, Mystic, CT

My mind, these days, may not be so pained, but it still runs overactive, and I, like Leslie, feel so much calmer by the shoreline.  Although I like to wander the beach four seasons a year, summertime, of course, is when the swarms of pedestrians think likeminded.  But even amidst a lot of company, which can become pretty noisy, I still walk away, sand coarse between my toes, feeling restored—even during the times I didn’t feel I needed restoration!  And that’s the thing, I think if everyone in the world was required to go to the water for a few hours every week, health care costs would plunge. Simple, huh? Even if you think you don’t need some restorative time, try a walk by the water before summer flits away like a Monarch butterfly.

Inn at Mystic, Mystic, CT

Mystic, CT

Consummate Author! Consummate Journalist! Consummate Motivator!

Through simple secrets to a happier life like day-trip adventures and a gratitude journal by the bedside, I have not only been able to overcome many obstacles in my life, but erase negative and useless thinking…and, yes, learn to relax, rejuvenate, rejigger. *

Rejigger *

* “Quietly but noticeably over the past year, Americans have rejiggered their lives to elevate experiences over things. Because of the Great Recession, a recent New York Times/CBS News poll has found, nearly half of Americans said they were spending less time buying nonessentials, and more than half are spending less money in stores and online,” In Recession, Americans Doing More, Buying Less; NYT, January 2, 2010.

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Day Trip Travel — Experiences Over Things

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