I like to be around smart people. People who know how to figure things out and come up great ideas. I’m fortunate to be working in an environment filled with smart people who push and question and debate and find answers. And when I go home, I read and learn new ideas, and form new opinions and thoughts, and think about what went on during the day and what I need to do tomorrow.

When I take myself away from my environment, it takes me a minute to reorient myself. It is not due to the change of scenery. It is due to the change in focus. I have to learn to shift from my head, to my heart. 

I am in the midst of writing a new book and I know that if I want to do any kind of concentrated work, I need to get away. So, I took myself to Martha’s Vineyard – a favorite spot of mine and one I figured, in February, to be cold and gray enough that it would force me inside to hunker down and address the task at hand. And, like the last time I went there in November, using the same logic, the Universe laughed. It was gorgeous, near 60 degrees and very hard to just stay inside. And apparently just what I needed.

I often refer to the Vineyard as my heart space, as I have so many warm and wonderful memories with my (then) young family. But I was reminded, once again, why the Vineyard is truly my heart space: It forces me to move from my head to my heart. Gone are the machinations of my daily life. Gone is any need to figure things out. The most I have to figure out is which road should I take to which beach or trail and which restaurants are open. The rest of my time I am in awe and gratitude for my surroundings and the heart-centered people I meet on my path. It is almost always a heart opening experience for me and I often feel like the Grinch when his heart grows three sizes.

And what do I find with my expanded heart? An expanded life. Possibilities exist where they previously did not. I am open to ideas and opportunities. I see more beauty, hear more bird song and music, and am blessed with profound thoughts and ideas. Food tastes more delicious and my aches and pains from sitting at a desk and staring at a computer screen vanish. Life is good.

Must we “escape” to find this way of being? Sometimes it takes that “nudge” to remind us of what is possible. For me, it is way too easy to get caught up in my surroundings and go with the flow. I have learned over time that there are some things, however, that really don’t bring me joy or contribute to my well-being, and I have been able to effectively let them go. Watching the news has been a big one for me, as well as television in general. Oh, yes, I do watch an occasional series or movie or sporting event, but as someone who was addicted to the TV from probably 3 years old, this has been a big awareness and major shift in my life. And I know there is more I can do on a daily basis that would make my head and heart balance better. Having hours or days of a phone-free existence sound terrifying to me…and because of that reaction I know there is an addiction in place that probably needs attention. Meditation and exercise are things I commit to…and then somehow lose momentum and “forget” to do them. 

The saying “The longest journey you’ll ever take is from your head to heart,” on the internet is ascribed to a Sioux legend, Mother Theresa, Dali Llama, Lissa Rankin, and Proverbs, amongst other sources. All this is to say, it is a truth, wherever it came from, and whomever said it originally. If it takes you a literal journey to get there, it is worth it. If it takes you a figurative journey to get there, it is worth it.

May you find your path to your heart.