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If you’ve missed the Journal recently, it’s because I was on vacay. Nothing fancy or far-flung, just a brief interlude to celebrate a major accomplishment and a milestone birthday. A simple 7-day respite that turned out to be one of the best getaways I’ve ever had. Can’t say exactly what made it so…all I know is that a space opened up inside.

That’s what vacation is supposed to do. It’s what the word actually portland-trailmeans: freedom from duty, exemption from obligations, permission to empty ourselves of the ordinary things of life. It’s why I returned home feeling expanded somehow.

A space, previously crowded with the busyness of work and life, had been vacated… making room for new experiences in new places. It was my first time in Oregon, and I was completely smitten beneath the thick green canopy that is Portland. I had heard it was a cool city. Trendy. Artsy. Uniquely itself. But it took actually being there to truly get it.

Take the whole foodie thing, for instance. Food was just food to me before, but now I get. I’ve been to Portland. food-photoI’m a foodie now.

And after trying Airbnb  for the first time there, I’m a fan. Who knows where I may end up next!

It’s amazing how a temporary suspension of activity brings new perspective. The word respite carries more than the idea of an intermission. The Old French meant delay, rest, relief, respect. Tracing back even further…way before it became just another name for a welcomed break… respite specified a time to deliberate…an opportunity for the kind of consideration inherent in its Latin root, respectus. It comes from a verb {not a noun, mind you} meaning “to turn and look” or “to regard.”

It describes my time in Portland so perfectly. Because I was on vacation, with an allowance of time and a specific intent to explore and enjoy my visit to the fullest, I looked at things differently, saw people more clearly, and regarded both with more respect for their beauty and value. I “oohed and aahed” at every turn. I laughed out loud and under my breath. I was moved to tears for the first time in quite a while…a clear sign that I needed a respite.

Now that I’m back home, I want to keep my Portland perspective. I want to deliberately consider how I spend my time, how I look at things and if I really see what I’m looking at. I want to notice and study the beauty around me — in nature and people and relationships and life. tire-swing-portland

So, I ask myself — and hope you’ll do the same — what regard and respect do I show for the things that matter most? When did I last make room to deliberately slow down and turn to look at things from a new perspective?

How well do any of us show regard for our need for rest and relaxation and reflection? What degree of respect and consideration do we allow others in the midst of everyday obligations and responsibilities?

And suddenly, I realize how easy it is — any time, wherever we are — to turn and look, to notice, to take a breather and allow a space to open up inside. I remember how valuable it is to offer that consideration and respect to ourselves and to others. I revel in knowing how quickly that new space fills up again with new perspectives, deep appreciation, and restored regard for the people in our lives and the beauty that surrounds us every day, everywhere.