To Quiet Your Mind, Go Green. Lessons From a Weekend Getaway on Bainbridge Island, WA

Michelle Chahine Sinno Nature Forest Big Trees

Stress is everywhere, from self-imposed worries to external stressors outside of our control. The challenge is how we can manage it, how we can prevent it from taking over our minds.

This is something I’ve been thinking about ever since our truly magical vacation to Paris, Rome and Venice last September. Even on the most wonderful of travel experiences, a dream come true, there were some moments while walking through winding, surreal Medieval and Renaissance streets in Venice or by the River Seine in Paris, where worries about work, my career and my goals would seep in. I’d always try to push them out, but they’d come back, fighting for attention.

This is normal, of course, when you’re at a crossroads or working to build a career. It’s normal to think about all the things you hope you can accomplish when you are in inspiring settings. Especially in creative fields, there is no off switch. Whether you’re at your desk or walking through the Coliseum, your ideas are going to accompany you wherever you are.

Except– when surrounded by overwhelming nature that fills all your senses.

This was a revelation during the past long weekend. We were visiting good friends in their new home on Bainbridge Island in Washington State. (Since this blog is so inspired by Minjay, I’ll note that these are our friends because of them. They used to be our neighbors, and I really don’t how our friendship would have grown had it not been for the trigger: Minjay and their beautiful Golden Retriever bringing us together. They became best friends. In fact, Minjay still runs to their old apartment door in our building from time to time looking for his friend.)

Bainbridge Island is five miles (8 km) wide and ten miles (16 km) long. It’s in the Puget Sound, just a 35-minute ferry ride from Seattle.

We arrived there late at night on Friday, after a very busy workday and workweek (work month really). When I woke up on Saturday, my fabulous host made me a warm mug of Nespresso decaf coffee and led me out to their picturesque porch.

IMG_3892

There, the big trees filled my eyes, ears and… magically: my mind. It all went quiet, in a wonderful way.

I wanted to try the experiment the very next morning. I was the first to wake up, eager to have time to sit on the porch before the day began. I helped myself to the delicious decaf Nespresso in my friend’s beautiful blue handmade mugs (the small details do matter!) and took a warm blanket outside. Once again, the trees worked their magic.

Bainbridge Island

Later that afternoon, we also went on a walk with their Golden Retriever through Grand Forest near their home, and I was again struck by how nature, such deep green, can get you out of yourself like nothing else. It’s anchoring in a powerful way, calming yet energizing.

The Grand Forest Bainbridge Island
The Grand Forest, Bainbridge Island
Grand Forest Bainbridge Island Michelle Chahine Sinno
Green Power
Moss Pacific Northwest Forest
Experiencing the different environment of the Pacific Northwest for the first time was a reminder of all the wonder in the world. The moss-covered trees were surreal, like something out of a children’s book come to life.
Moss Forest Pacific Northwest
This goes back to the importance of travel and seeing new places and things. They become a part of us.
Big Trees, Bainbridge Island, WA
Big Trees, Bainbridge Island, WA

So, if you need a break from anything, external or internal, all you need to do is head to the forest, find big trees, immerse yourself deeply in nature.

Michelle Chahine Sinno Bainbridge Island Washingtong

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Hello world!

This is my very first post.

The first few posts will help me test my layout and get a feel for this new blog before I officially begin. (I updated this again on June 25th). Meet Minjay, the inspiration behind this blog:

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 6.52.11 PMI shared this on Instagram on week ago. I took this photograph in the evening, while taking a quiet minute after work with Minjay. He always does the “downward dog” Yoga stretch when he’s trying to get my attention to go outside for his walk. It always works, and I’m so grateful I have him to get me outside for a long walk in my neighborhood twice a day. More on that later.

(He usually likes to stretch out on that Pottery Barn rug.)