We packed, hopped in the car and go the hell out of New Jersey. We take a lot of road trips. We've driven up and down the east coast. We've driven to the mid west. We even took a road trip cross-country once time for 18 days to Arizona, Cali and back. I've driven in many, many states across the US. I always said; if you can drive in NJ you can drive anywhere. We are freaking nuts in NJ when you put a steering wheel in our hands. This was my belief...until... I entered Massachusetts - lol. In all my road trips, in all my years driving, I never recall seeing as many accidents and fender benders as I did on Massachusetts highway. Maybe it was just a bad day in MA. But, it was quite peculiar. The 4 hour trip took us about 6 and half hours in all. Once we got closer to our destination, my entire demeanor changed. The stress seemed to fly out the window.
The window was opened just a tad when I got a whiff of the fresh, ocean air. I love the smell of the ocean. It always brings me back to my childhood when we spent our summers in Keansburg, NJ. The smell of the ocean is just soothing. Here's the weird thing though. As I got that first whiff I realized that I am around dogs way too much. Here's how: I lowered the window even more and stuck my head out and took a deep breath in - lol. I seriously felt like a beagle sticking its head out the window and taking in all the scents - LMAO. I wonder if passersby witnessed this and then looked at my Jersey plates and wondered - LOL. Anyway, we reached our destination - a cute, little house on a dead end street just walking distance from the beach and harbor.
My wife and I needed to get away from the hustle and bustle of rescue life, and everything else that consumes us. it's always nice to get away. I had no expectations of this little trip of ours. I was just grateful to get away. We didn't plan anything and just took it day by day. I did want to do some writing. But, I never got to it. What we really needed was some rest. I was ok with that. I need to learn to slow down and do nothing sometimes. This is exactly what I needed. What I am most grateful for is the seed that was planted before I left. My friend, Jaime, told me (more than a few times - lol); Meditate, Jeff. Meditate. I've been meditating for almost 20 years now, on and off. But, I hadn't done so in quite sometime. That seed my friend planted blossomed the very first morning. Just sitting on a rock formation overlooking the ocean is peaceful enough. But, getting back to my inner self was much needed. I meditated every day. My wife and I even went to a mediation class one night as well. We ate, we shopped, we took in the sights and scenery. And, yes, we couldn't stay away from the animals altogether. We also visited a local shelter to see some of the dogs and cats. We visited Cape Ann Animal Aid. The staff was extremely friendly and the animals were all happy and very well taken care of. It's a beautiful facility. Anyone looking for a pet in that area, should definitely stop by this great shelter!
As i write this, we are getting ready to leave and go back home - possibly even leave a day early, but not sure yet. Not having dogs and animals to take care of is definitely a nice change of pace. But, we miss our pets so much. Our pets and our foster dogs are so much a part of our lives. Animals are our life. We can't wait to go home and be with them. Going home a day early will also gives us time to decompress and ease our way back into our daily routine. We'll take a day to be with the dogs. We'll straighten up the house. And, then it's back to our daily lives. But, I am hoping this time it will be different from other recent getaways. I am hopeful and committed to continue to mediate and get back to the practice that offers me so much peace and balance. In the type of dog training I perform, balance is so crucial to the success I have in working with problem dogs (and problem people - lol). I usually do a good job of managing both. But, I must be honest with myself. Lately I have been presented with some opportunities by people where my patience, tolerance and compassion had been tested like never before. I must admit that, although I have done ok, I feel like I failed miserably a few times and let my emotions get the best of me. Luckily, this little trip helped re-center me. I am still exhausted, physically. But, mentally and spiritually I feel more refreshed than I have in a while. The true test to my spiritual conditioning will come when I get back to my daily responsibilities.
Most of my blog entries are pet related. But, I felt compelled to change gears a bit and share some other thoughts. Regardless of what your religious or spiritual beliefs are, taking quiet time for ourselves is crucial to overall health. Reconnecting with nature, in this case the ocean, was paramount to how great I feel this morning. I recommend meditation or some kind of detachment from our daily routine to everyone and anyone. You don't need to be the Dali Lama to meditate. You just need to be willing to be still and quiet and be grateful for whatever is good in your life - especially when it's hard to see all the positives that we do have. The little things we take for granted can sometimes snowball into a very negative state of mind. No matter how challenging life can get, we can always take a few minutes and get quiet and be grateful. Well, thanks for listening. I'll be back soon with a pet related blog post; I promise...