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Meditation is inspiration in principal and the best way to get in touch with your inner self. Our lives are hectic and busy and most people do not take the time to pause to reflect. They often don’t know the meaning of the word. There are emails, texts, and other extraneous matters that dominate life. Meditation is not something you jump into blindly, but it is a learned process that takes concentration and some know how. It is best if you have a mentor or guide to get you started and on the right track. You usually have an image or a mantra that you repeat to get you into the target zone. You must discard thoughts that interfere with your ability to relax and go deeper into yourself. Once you are in the right frame of mind, you can make suggestions to yourself to alter your mood and behavior. There is nothing like it to calm the nerves, enhance creativity and reach new mental heights.

You can meditate most anywhere it is quiet and conducive to the process. One place I enjoy meditating is at the beach. I can always find a secluded spot near a view of the water which is a wonderful atmosphere to select. It is best if there are not throngs of people around so I like to do it in the early morning or even the late afternoon after the beach clears. I take my favorite jumbo size beach towel and a beach umbrella to keep me sheltered from the sun so I don’t get burned while I am in the throngs of meditation.

Some people like to read, some prefer to take long walks along the shore, and some explore the rocks and reefs. For me, it is meditation. Sure, I do it daily in many different places such as my special den at home. I can pull the drapes and darken the room to set the mood. It is different at the beach given the sunny environment. It gives the meditation a different result. It is no less effective or pleasurable, just different. There are times of the day when the sky is captivating and you want to soak it all in before you close your eyes and become self-absorbed. The umbrella sometimes blocks the sky and I have to reposition it this way and that so I have a glimpse of heaven. I am lucky that I live near a beach so I can make the trek as often as I want when I need the special mood that the shore enhances. Meditation is very personal and you have to find what works for you. Maybe it is under a tall tree in the park, by the duck pond down the street, or at a friend’s house s you can meditate together. No, it doesn’t always have to be done alone. People have been known to enjoy it in groups and receive particular inspiration this way.

Vision for a person involved in guided imagery is somewhat metaphoric. After all, words are what help create the visual scenarios for someone undergoing such meditative treatment. It is the imagination that makes the words come alive. It is the skill of the person guiding the imagery that makes the process viable and worthwhile. I remember one of my favorite sessions. The therapist or person directing me to enter another realm started out with soft-spoken descriptions of a beautiful garden complete with leafy green trees, beds of coordinated flowers, and fountains spouting gentle water sprays. There were vast expanses of lawns upon which birds alit in pretty patterns. The success of a guided imagery tour is in its ability to captivate the listener and to hit something within that resonates with strength and power.

So vision is part of my life in more ways than one. No wonder I rushed off to the eye doctor the minute I felt that it was failing me. My usual clarity wasn’t there and no doubt I need a new pair of glasses with a stronger prescription. I told the doctor I am having trouble reading even large street signs. Forget the small ones; they are impossible. I feel like I could use a magnifying glass.

I made an appointment for a complete eye exam and was surprised upon arrival that the doctor pulled out a pocket Snellen eye chart. You know the standard chart with rows of letters, each row getting progressively smaller. No more of those charts posted on the wall that you can re-read before the doctor asks you to. Who hasn’t cheated at least one time before? It seems that the pocket size is practical an easy to use in a flash for a preliminary assessment. For a major one, you have to sit in front of the professional lenses and tell the doctor which version of what he is showing you works best. It takes a lot of time. Hence the quick pocket version that started off the appointment just so the doctor could see what was initially wrong.

My sight had indeed changed and I was growing more nearsighted. I was given a new prescription to take to the optician. Two weeks later I was wearing the new pair. I was ecstatic as I exclaimed, “I can see clearly now!” Something as basic as upgraded lenses can make such a big difference in your life. I also enjoyed selecting a more attractive pair that suited my face and enhanced my features. I had the old glasses so long that I had completely forgotten about this important facet of fitting eyeglasses. If you look like a schoolmarm, you have not made a good choice. If you look like Marion, the librarian, you have aged yourself by years. If you look modern, you may have hit the right mark. Glasses are very much in vogue and there is no stigma to wearing them. Plus, contacts are uncomfortable and expensive.

When you travel, you don’t always expect to encounter the conveniences of home. That is simply asking too much of the experience. You can take some with you, however, like a portable humidifier. I kid you not. Along with your toothbrush, travel iron, blow dryer, and electric shaver, you can control your hotel room air in a flash. Anyone who has been uncomfortable in certain climates will appreciate making room for this appliance. It is one item I always pack.

Traveling can be a challenge at times, with long hours on the road and less than pleasant nutrition. You put up with adversity when there is no choice. If you can take action, why not do yourself a big favor. If you want to at least control overly dry air, a humidifier is a must have on your journey.

You may be like me and suffer from super dry skin in the desert, for example. When you feel itchy and irritated all over, it is time to turn the unit on. No one wants to be peeling and red while traveling. In addition, my breathing can be labored in dry heat. I like to meditate on the road, as I do at home, and it isn’t always easy.

I discovered portable humidifiers after a particularly difficult trip to the heart of Africa. After experiencing cracked lips and occasional nosebleeds, I knew it was time to enquire. A travel misting humidifier that fits into a small carrying case is available under fifty dollars. You can add comfort to most any space by reducing dryness in the air. It emits an ultra-fine vapor without soaking the unit or anything in the vicinity. The one I elected to purchase has a rotating nozzle that can be repositioned without having to move the appliance. It also has a dimmer know that controls the frequency of mist delivery. For example, on the high setting, I get more than five hours of powerful ultrasonic vapor. The system comes with a 16 ounce water bottle that more than does the job.

Don’t worry about maintenance. This kind of portable model has no filters or wicks. It, of course, also comes with an essential universal power adaptor that can be used most anywhere in the world that has 120-240V power. I like the nylon carrying case that doesn’t show the dirt and is easy to wipe down.

I think you get the picture. This is the perfect solution to air quality problems during the dry season as you travel. You can make room in your suitcase or backpack to accommodate the appliance. I simply do not go anywhere without mine. It is one of the best personal investments I have made. I would rather leave the travel iron at home if space is limited. I certainly don’t want to compromise my ability to relax and meditate. This is a great gift, by the way, for a fellow traveler. They probably would never think of getting one on their own. It is one of the best secrets of convenient travel that I know.

I usually write about guided imagery and meditation: the essential things that make for a wonderful, relaxed life experience. I don’t usually raise my ire by complaining about what I cannot control. I have to make an exception in this blog, as something is on my mind.

I ordered a new wine refrigerator recently online. I love wine and it is the perfect complement to rest and relaxation. It unwinds the body and the mind. So I read all the specs and reviews and was careful about which model and at what price. I got one that met my needs for 32 bottles, not too big or too small, complete with dual temperature control for both white and red wines. The cheaper ones can handle only one at a time. The modern design is compact and fits either under the counter or freestanding according to your kitchen layout. It all seemed easy enough.

I got the item a short week later, thinking that it was a good sign. Not so. I did love the bright LED display and the quality stainless steel structure. It had a glass door that allows you to see your inventory at a glance. Inside were removable shelves for easy cleaning and stocking. I chose wooden racks for a bit of an authentic feel. They were not stained so there would be no emanating odors to harm the wine’s taste.

I also loved the cooling system that is state of the art and the way the door frame was quite seamless. Great engineering here. The toe kick to open the unit was also masterful. So far so good I thought as I complemented myself on the good foresight. In front was a towel bar that complemented the décor—a nice added décor touch. I knew I will be able to adjust the temperature perfectly for my assortment of stored wines. Need I have asked for more?

What was not okay and seemed to be missing was any kind of insulation to make the unit quiet. I wanted one that purred, not roared. Having a noisy machine running during meditation time is not my idea of relaxation. The thing never stopped! In fact, it was anxiety producing to say the least. I had three possible choices: to put up with it, move it, or get a new one.

After fussing over these options for a time, I rejected moving it. I like to meditate in the open space near the dining room where the unit is housed and I wasn’t going to change my habit. Sure, I could put it in the kitchen, but why compromise? I certainly did not intend to put up with the noise for a second longer. I opted to call the manufacturer and got customer service in a flash. Why send it back, they cooed. I was thrilled and complied.

I got a different noise-free model by the same company in another week, and now am happy as a clam. I wrote them a glowing review and a letter of thanks. I was too quick to lose faith in humanity. I am now meditating on that subject.