Is It Time for a Break?
As a hard-working professional, how often do you feel the need to escape the pressures of the modern world?
I’m not sure about you, but I get that urge frequently. And I always try to remember the smart choice the Beatles made in 1968.
I’ve always loved the Beatles’ music, but after seeing a documentary as a fifteen-year-old I was inspired by a special part of their story. In early 1968 the band decided to escape the incredible intensity of their fame, the pressures of the music business, and the deadlines of the recording studio to go to Rishikesh in northern India. Their mission was simple — to study transcendental meditation at the ashram of the famous Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. This was the height of the peace-and-love hippie era, and you can imagine the long hair, the love beads, and the flowers. But studying meditation was a way for the Beatles to escape the crushing expectations of the modern world and reconnect with the universe.
For the fifteen year old me, going to Rishikesh sounded like a great way to escape the crushing expectations of my algebra homework.
Maybe some people considered the Beatles’ trip to India a typical moment of rock star self-indulgence, but it paid off in a big way. During their stay their creativity kicked back in. How could it not in such an environment? Sitting in the sun, living healthily at peace, they wrote ‘Dear Prudence’, ‘Mother Nature’s Son’, ‘Back in the USSR’, and most of the songs that wound up on that year’s White Album.
It took me a long time to escape the algebra, but eventually, years later, I made it to beautiful Rishikesh myself. This gorgeous town on the Ganges River is still the yoga and meditation capital of the world, but the Beatles’ ashram was abandoned a long time ago. Nevertheless it was possible to take a guided tour through its ruins. I saw its space-age white-tiled pods, egg-like structures looming above the forest. I walked through its underground meditation chambers. I even checked out the Maharishi’s helipad.
You just had to be on guard for a stampeding elephant, since the ashram had long been claimed back by the jungle.
Otherwise in Rishikesh I took yoga and meditation classes, a rather gruelling session of ayurvedic massage, and for fun joined in the sunset chanting ceremonies on the Ganges. I didn’t wear any love beads, but I was able to renew myself by breathing the clean air, eating the delicious fresh food, and meditating in the hills. By the end of the week I was ready to return to my work with renewed creativity and focus.
Which brings me to my main point — the importance of taking time to recharge. Because the Beatles had the wisdom to take time out from the tumult of their crazy career and reconnect with the simple things in life, they were able to move to a new level of creativity. Of course we’re not all escaping Beatles-level fame and pressures, but we certainly need to take time out from our routine every now and again.
Amid the tumult of running a TCM clinic focused on healing others, it can be easy to forget to take care of yourself. For professional practitioners it is essential to make time to renew your creativity. Luckily with efficient acupuncture practice management software to help streamline and integrate the myriad tasks involved in running a successful clinic, it’s getting easier to schedule in some time for your own interpretation of the Rishikesh pilgrimage.
You don’t actually need to go to India — remember George Harrison quoting the Tao Te Ching when he sang “without going out of my door, I can know all things of earth?” — and you may not be working on your version of The White Album. But sometimes it’s ok to let your thoughts travel beyond the quotidian and across the universe. Hey, it worked for the Beatles.
Guest blog post by Matt Leask