« | Archives | »

The 3 R’s of Reinvention

August '10

I had forgotten how crucial for life renewal, vacations can be. Like many folks, I had let two years slide before I carved out time for a prolonged get-away. Nine wonderful August days in Maine reminded me of the remarkably rejuvenating capacity of time away. As I beached it with family in York, joined some Wellesley classmates for a destination mini-reunion in Camden, and visited friends for two days in Phippsburg, my mind and body truly began to unwind.

Any successful life change (whether big or small) is an inside job. Tuning into who you are and what you want only occurs in a relaxed state. On my Maine vacation, with no “to-do” items other than enjoy, I slipped into the first R of reinvention – Relaxation.

During my nine days away, I spent most of my time with folks in the natural world, while visiting gorgeous gardens and abundant organic farms on the water. Nature has always lifted my spirits. Even as a kid at camp, my trip counselor’s report home proclaimed, “Bonnie is happy on the trail.”  He was right; I was, and still am.

I especially loved my morning in the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens – 250 acres of paradise perched on the waterfront in Boothbay Harbor. My Phippsburg friends and I followed a pine-needle path through mossy woods to a waterfall, rejuvenated our feet on pebbles in a reflexology labyrinth, and nourished ourselves with a lunch of delicious sandwiches served in berry baskets. There couldn’t be a better place to practice the second R of reinvention – Restoration.

Deeply relaxed with my spirit restored, I began to consider how to bring my “vacation mode” home. In such a state, inspirational ideas for reinventing your life can travel to the forefront of your mind. These ideas emerge from the essence of who you are, so they contain a natural wisdom. As I reflected on my experience, I realized how much surprising joy I gained the mini-breaks I took from all the fun activities – whether it was sipping a cup of tea on the wicker chaise in the living room of the Whitehall Inn, or relishing a few minutes perched on a rock by the sea, or savoring wine in an Adirondack chair gazing at the Kennebec River. I came home with a determination to sprinkle these small sustaining pauses throughout my day. And you guessed it; the third R of reinvention is Reflection.

If you like, why not see what insights you might gain when you practice the three R’s of reinvention: Relaxation, Restoration and Reflection. (There are more than three, of course, but that’s a conversation for another day.) I’d love to hear about any small, or big insights you discover. Time has taught me that those mini ideas often turn out to have the biggest impact.

Do enjoy these last days of summer,



  1. Sasha Nyary said on September 1, 2010:

    Very helpful, and very timely. I just came back from two weeks away, two very different kinds of weeks, and was musing about the same topic — how I actually finally relaxed, and then, how to maintain that during the year. I appreciate the synthesis here a lot.

  2. abby seixas said on September 1, 2010:

    Thank you Bonnie! I’m having a very similar experience (with minimal ‘screen time’ despite the fact that I’m on the computer now to read your lovely post and to reply ;-)….I’m on the Eastern end of Long Island with sea and sky all around, taking a much -needed break. Your ‘pauses’ are exactly what I mean by taking ‘time-in’…thanks for the reminder that I can be a bit more intentional about bringing home some of what this natural beauty gives me. -Abby

  3. Kay said on September 2, 2010:

    I have also been fortunate to spend 16 days alone. I sent the three ‘boys’ in my life away rather from home leaving me for the very first time to appreciate our space in my way.
    Relaxation, Reflection, Restoration and Reinvention were the mainstays of each day.
    I learnt that I am looking forward to having time at home with my husband when the kids leave the nest. I am amazed at what I’ve managed so far in life and have plans for the future.
    Will I be planning a gap into next years schedule just for me? You bet!

  4. Bonnie said on September 2, 2010:

    Hi Sasha!

    Like the contrast of your two weeks -– always good for clarification!


  5. Bonnie said on September 2, 2010:

    Hi Abby!

    I’ve always loved your “time-in” notion. Long Island sky and sea sounds great!


  6. Bonnie said on September 2, 2010:

    Hi Kay!

    Nice to hear from you again this month: )


  7. Meg said on September 3, 2010:

    i can relate to your experiences as I took 6 weeks off this year just to relax and enjoyed simple pleasures such as sitting in a cafe reading a good book and going for long nature walks. To carry that over into everyday life, one needs excellent time management skills. I find that as I get older it takes me longer to complete tasks and therefore I almost always feel pressed for time.

  8. Bonnie said on September 4, 2010:

    Hi Meg!

    6 weeks – how luxuriously restorative! I’m interested in your notion of excellent time-management skills to bring simple pleasures into every day life. Love to hear more on this topic.


  9. Mary Gottmann said on September 18, 2010:

    Dear Bonnie,

    Thank you for your wise words. And isn’t it lovely how the Maine coast can foster the 3 R’s? We spent 3 days in Ogunquit for my July birthday, and meditating in front of the ocean or just gazing at it made me feel whole and one with creation–

  10. Bonnie said on September 24, 2010:

    Hi Mary!

    I try to visit the coast of Maine every summer for just that reason: )


Leave a comment