Imagine for a moment that you could just hop into this little boat and float away somewhere. Where would you go? Would you go alone or take someone with you? What would you pack for your trip? When would you come back? Actually, would you plan to come back or just to float away forever?
Sometimes when things get really busy or tough it's tempting to picture ourselves just taking off, getting away from it all.Not planning anything but just going. We could then forget about everything that's bothering us and just think about ourselves and enjoying our new surroundings.
While it sounds fantastic to be able to do this, it's probably not quite so simple. There probably needs to be some planning that goes in to it for a start. We want to at the very least be able to keep ourselves safe - be able to stay afloat.
Although it sounds tempting to simply float away from troubles it's probably much more difficult to do that than we think. We can change our landscape but unfortunately our troubles can still follow us. We might be floating on the sea but still thinking about what is happening back on the land. Our feelings of worry, guilt, embarrassment or whatever else can stay with us. They might even become bigger if we are not doing anything to deal with them.
Floating away for a little while could be more feasible and is probably a really important and useful thing to do. Taking some time out, giving ourselves permission to not think about problems for a while, giving our body and mind a break for even a short period of time can be really beneficial for us. It might even mean that we can tackle some of those problems with renewed energy and hope or even see them from a different perspective.
I guess that's what mindfulness is about. That ability to switch off for a period of time, not engaging with our thoughts, tuning into our breathing, hearing at one level what is happening around us but not worrying about it. The boat could be a perfect metaphor for mindfulness. The freedom that comes with being in the open air, not burdened by thoughts and tasks, able to simply focus on just ourselves.
Perhaps we all need a few minutes each day to get into our imaginary boat and float away somewhere. It might be somewhere exotic, or it might be just around the corner. The location probably doesn't matter. It's the sense of freedom that really counts.