A wise man once said the primary reason that people feel relaxed and happy on vacation is that they automatically breath at a slower and deeper rate while vacationing. The rate of our breathing is a direct reflection of our emotional state. Hyper breathing with short and rapid rates indicates that we are either involved in aerobic activity, or we are emotionally out of balance. Slow, long, deep breaths is a sign that we are relaxing, sleeping, or are in a meditative state.
Martha’s Vineyard has long been a favored vacation island. People flock there for various reasons. Some folks belong to families that have been visiting the island for generations. Besides vacationing, they visit annually to bond and reconnect with childhood friends. The relationship building on the island is very real; magical connections happen from one moment to the next. Others go there for the festivals; there’s a jazz festival, a film festival, the Big Chili festival, Wine festival, etc., the farmer’s markets, the flea markets and the like. Many go there to party, hang out and have planned activities; and some do it all.
I go there for the wild waves at South Beach and to experience the peace that is palpable on Martha’s Vineyard; this is what I love about this little island. I automatically feel a sense of calm and solace from the time I board the ferry headed toward this coveted patch of land. The boat ride over seems to dial back all the tension, stress, and anxiety of everyday life. Some might say, you can get that feeling on any beautiful island. Perhaps, but I feel something extraordinary on Martha’s Vineyard, that I haven’t noticed on other islands.
I typically stay in Edgartown with my friends Shay, Ashaka, and Carla, who travel from California to the Vineyard. They are sweet enough to invite me back year after year. It’s become a late August tradition for us to rent a house together. While there we may be on separate schedules, and other times, we do things together. It just depends on how we’re flowing.
Edgartown is a few miles away from the hustle and bustle of the more popular, downtown areas of Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs. I live in a New York, so when I go away, I’m looking for the opposite of what I experience in one of the busiest cities in the world. I’m looking for laid back, chilled out, and a lovely beach with large lapping waves.
Besides the quietness, Edgartown’s proximity to the other end of the island also referred to as up island where the Aquinnah Cliffs are located and where most of the indigenous people of the island now reside. I believe it is the presence of the indigenous people, the Wampanoag tribe who have occupied the land continuously for 10,000 years, that causes the soothing, calming, healing effect on my spirit that I experience when I’m in the Vineyard.
Aquinnah Cliffs located at the north end of the island are just majestic! That area had been renamed Gay Head, but in 1998 the original indigenous name of Aquinnah was reinstated. The shapes and colors of the clay cliffs are intriguing and the number of rocks big and small that line the beach below the cliffs makes me as giddy as a kid.
I sort through the rocks determining which ones look the most unusual. The beach is a half hour’s walk from the parking lot that located near the top of the cliffs. I’m always huffing and puffing my way back the hill to car with my backpack full and arms full of rocks.
Besides being near and in the water, visiting the beach at the cliffs is the highlight of my time on the Vineyard. I was only on the vineyard for four days this time around, so I didn’t get a chance to go to the cliffs at night, to see the sunset. On a clear night, it is an exceptional experience.
In addition to my body automatically breathing slower, I try to remember to intentionally breathe deeper, slower, and try to take it all in. I think this is something we all do when we sense we are inhaling clean, fresh, vibrant air. I do this in hopes of carrying the peace of MV back with me to the mainland. Taking yoga on the beach each morning at the Inkwell with Pastor Christopher helped me with that practice this time around. If you want to take a yoga class on the beach, be sure to check out Pastor Christopher at the Inkwell Beach each morning at 8:00 am.
I hope you had a beautiful summer and had the chance to get away to rest, relax, and reset. It’s not over yet! We still have a few more weeks until autumn officially rolls in. Make the most of it… and remember to Give Thanks!