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What Do You Think About When You Don’t Have To Think?

May 9, 2019

A quiet mountain meadow? A solitary stroll down a slot canyon? A hike through the California redwoods? Where would you go if you needed to be in a peaceful place? Oh, and you needed to be alone.

I’m starting a new therapy technique. It’s called EMDR: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. We’ll pick some traumatic moments from my past and process them. We’ll talk through these events. But, it can get intense. (Or so I’m told.) When it gets too intense, my therapist wants me to have a mental image of a place, a safe place that I can go to in my mind.

I’ve thought a lot about where I would want to go. I’ve been to many wonderful spots in the Rocky Mountains. I’ve been to slot canyons that were no more than 6 feet wide with walls 100 feet tall. I’ve spent the day in the the prettiest high mountain meadow you could imagine. Watched over by a snow capped Mt Timpanogos, the most beautiful mountain in the world.

I’ve spent nights camped out under the wide expanse of the universe. So far from city lights that the Milky Way lit up our campsite more than a full moon. I’ve rafted down whitewater rivers in the heart of Colorado.

Where would you go? What place would be calming, peaceful and safe to you?

There are many places close to home that I could have chosen. But, instead I opted for somewhere a lot farther and further away.

I also thought about a motorcycle trip. I’ve ridden bikes since I was a kid. I mostly stopped once I had my own kids. The feelings of freedom, riding in the open air is intoxicating. But, it’s also extremely dangerous. I don’t worry about my own ability to ride. The problem is other drivers.

Start seeing motorcycles

As appealing as a long stretch of highway, a bike and the wind on my face (of course, I’m wearing a helmet. I’m not stupid), is, I decided on a place even more isolated and to me, more peaceful.

I decided my happy place is a boat. Well, on a boat. A 36 foot sail boat. I’m familiar with this boat. I’ve sailed it for years in my head.

Toby Keith and the ultimate “sailor” Jimmy Buffet once recorded a song called Sailboat For Sale.

I could sail the ocean
If the wind would come and get me

My boat sails the ocean in my dreams. I imagine what it would be like to sail around the world without touching land. Sometimes I take the Panama Canal. Sometimes I sail South through the Straits of Magellan. I’ve sailed through the South Pacific. Cool breezes keeping the temperatures moderate and the boat moving.

I’m not sure why I always choose to sail alone. I’m never lonely. It’s always peaceful. Don’t get me wrong. I love my family and cannot imagine life without them. So, it’s not a matter of running away. It’s simply a moment of being away.

When I was a kid, we had a record player. One of the albums we had was the story of Disney’s Song of The South. That movie is out of print. It is one of the Disney properties that will never be rereleased. It featured jovial happy slaves in the American antebellum South.

But, the stories about Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox and Brer Bear taught important lessons that transcend the unfortunate setting in which they were told. One I remember is called “The Laughing Place.”

Brer Rabbit, the trickster, was captured by Brer Bear. Brer Rabbit started telling Brer Bear about his “laughing place.” Brer Rabbit talked about how wonderful it was for him. How when he was there, he laughed and laughed and laughed. Finally, he convinced Brer Bear to take him to this laughing place before taking him to Brer Fox to be killed and eaten.

When they arrived, Brer Bear was immeadiately set upon by bees. In the ensuing confusion, Brer Rabbit, of course, escaped. As he made his escape, Brer Bear accused him of lying.

I thought you said this was a laughing place. I ain’t laughing.

I said this was MY laughing place. You have to find your own laughing place.

And, of course, he was laughing as he said it.

And a happy place is like that. Mine is a sailboat in the middle of a deep blue ocean. Yours is going to be someplace else. And that’s okay.

If you haven’t found it yet, just think about where you think about when you don’t have to think about anything.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
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or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2019 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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