I recharged my batteries the other week by disconnecting. For seven days while on a cruise ship, I stayed mostly offline except for three times when we were on land and then it was sporadic.
And it felt amazing.
For days I stared at the blue waters of the Caribbean from ship’s deck. One port, we docked in Costa Maya, Mexico, and spent the day at a resort (Maya Chan) run by North American ex-pats, who left behind New Jersey for the serenity of this beach side town. I parked my butt in a hammock and stared at the green-blue water—with a drink in hand because Maya Chan staff made sure I was never empty-handed. I hardly picked up my books or magazines. I checked my email a few times and then checked out.
And it was glorious.
I haven’t been that relaxed in … well … I don’t know when. Living outside of DC where the vibe is constantly buzzing to be the best—which means no rest on the weekends or evenings and even working through vacations or else you’re a total slacker—my creative well was not just dry but had become Death Valley.
During this trip, I realized that I could live without the internet, my Facebook friends wouldn’t disappear, my work would wait for me to return (unfortunately). I found joy in being quiet, letting my mind empty so I could focus on what mattered later.
And I did need to focus when I returned to taxes, bills, job deadlines, and random life stuff. A few times since I came back to reality I considered running away, jumping back on the ship and not looking back. But to quote the cruise director, “Don’t be sad that it’s over, be grateful that it happened.”
I have my memories of the lulling blue waves. I can close my eyes and picture it perfectly. I can stare at my photographs of the sun setting over the ocean to recapture and reconnect and relax.
Being near the ocean washed away my anxieties, and I’m not the only one to experience this sensation. In an article for the HuffPost, Carolyn Gregoire interviewed marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols who believes everyone has a “blue mind.” Water puts humans in a “mildly meditative state” where we have a sense of “general happiness … with life in the moment.” Nicols believes that “A blue mind is a creative mind.” Being around water triggers our creative brain by allowing our minds to wander—one reason why we have our best ideas in the shower.
I’m already planning my next creative recharge. If it helps me to write, maybe I can take it off as a business expense? 😉