Don’t Tell Me I Can’t: Post-Vacation Reflections

February 4, 2014

As I was floating in the water off the beautiful Thailand island of Ko Phangnan, I had a literal feeling of knots untying from the base of my low back.   An internal tension being released.  Space and circulation where there had been congestion.  The water was a brilliant blue-green, clear, warm, calm, and shallow, and I waded and floated and day dreamed for hours.  My fingers got wrinkly.

During the first week of my vacation I had busied myself with organized hikes, cooking classes, and endless hours of exploring the city of Chiang Mai on foot.  It is a beautiful city, I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, and I can’t wait to return.  Once I got to the islands, however, I was hit with an intense urge to “chill out.”

I didn’t want to explore the other beautiful beaches, I didn’t want to hike to waterfalls or old, beautiful temples.  I wanted to go to yoga and plan the rest of my days around sunbathing and meals.  There was a voice in my head that was telling me to go, look, and explore, but I quickly put this voice in its place deciding that it was my choice, and that if I wanted to lounge around all day on a beautiful beach, then I would. It was a brilliant moment when I let myself listen to my preferences.  I felt healthy.  Centered.  Happy.


I looked around at the other vacationers and remarked that everybody looked so vibrant, healthy, and beautiful.  It was an intimidating scene.  At first thought, I assumed that warm, tropical islands must attract those who like to sunbathe and bask and show some skin.  But on further thought, I wondered if perhaps the opposite is the truth:  maybe the people looked vibrant, healthy, and beautiful because they take such holiday vacations.  Young couples, families, older folks. . . they all looked great.

Perhaps the act of taking a break from our regular, daily routine and immersing into a culture or lifestyle or environment that is different than our normal scene and vantage point, has powerful healing and health-promoting properties. I don’t believe the destination need be exotic or expensive to get to, but rather I think it’s the act of taking a break from normal routine that promotes the practice of listening to our bodies, our preferences, and our needs.  And with those practices, perhaps there is healing and growth.

Most travelers I met were European and in the midst of 3 and 4-week holiday vacations.  I’ve always thought French women in particular are so stylish and beautiful.  Now I’m wondering how much of their beauty is a reflection of their daily habits, and how much is related to their holiday habits?  My 2-week trip was long enough to have a major effect, but I can’t help but wonder what being away for another 1 or 2 weeks would have felt like.  I imagine some are able to capture these benefits in a long weekend, while for others it may take a month – or longer!

Immediate reactions to such thoughts might include reasons for why such breaks from life are not feasible.  When I was younger, my mind was set in certain (negative) patterns.

Back then, traveling alone to Thailand and bathing on a beach of beautiful people was not an option.  Hiking all day in the heat with a group of physically fit and svelte foreigners, taking a cooking class in a foreign country, and having a rewarding career and loving boyfriend to return home to had not been options.  While the knots untied themselves from my lower back, and the sun warmed my face and body, I felt gratitude.  I felt pride.  I felt self-love.


“Don’t tell me I can’t” is a current mantra of mine to remind myself of all possibilities that occur when we open our minds and hearts and make choices with the deepest intentions of honoring our true self. “Don’t tell me I can’t” is not so much something I say to somebody else, but rather something I say to myself.

My wish is that in a world full of confusing advice and mixed messages, we remain true to ourselves and live always with honest and loving intention – especially toward ourselves.   When your reaction to a thought or dream is a negative reason for why it shouldn’t or won’t happen, I ask you to think outside of the box, open your heart, open your mind, and see what happens.

In good health,


Comments welcomed here on the blog or emailed privately to

4 Responses to “Don’t Tell Me I Can’t: Post-Vacation Reflections”

  1. Scott Says:

    excellent! Glad you had a moving and relaxing time!

  2. Caeton Meade Says:

    I am delighted that your time away has ADDED to your already abundant spirit.

    The opening-up of oneself to the potential review and rebuke by others – seeing what happens- often is a daunting exercise. But being open to another or to others also can be life-giving and sustaining. To do the former may not be for the faint of heart. With luck, gain from the latter will far exceed the cost. A corollary to your “don’t tell me I can’t” might be, ‘thank you, inner spirit, for your input but do stand back: do not attempt to drag me down.’

  3. Peggy Says:

    Ah, such a lesson to learn. Thank you. I rarely slow down, let alone stop and enjoy the down time. T stop, take the time and learn about oneself would be so enlightening. You have made me want to think about the changes I need to do for me. You are so inspiring with every writing that I cannot wait for the next one. Don’t tell me I can’t, will reverberate in the back of my mind now and will carry me forward to new and life giving adventures into my real self. Thank you for your honesty and story of newness.

  4. Anoop Says:

    Thank you for the important reminder Molly. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the thoughts… the should’s and should not’s. I love what you said: open up and see what happens… an explorer’s invitation to life 🙂

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