Hopper: Slowing down in a land far, far away

It’s as if I’d been dropped off on another planet.

My plane arrived in Scotland on an early sun drenched day. My driver whisked me away to my new home away from home, in a land far, far away, in a 700-year-old castle nestled in the countryside.

Having never been to a castle before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Not to mention that I had a month long wardrobe crisis beforehand. I mean really, what does one wear to a castle? Are corsets still in style?

And then another worry peaked through my consciousness, even though I didn’t want to think it.  Would there be ghosts there from days gone by who were disgruntled and desperately seeking asylum in some human body? As I meandered my way down the long halls to my bedroom in the east wing, I hoped that any unsettled spirits did not notice me.

But there were no ghosts. However, the fire alarm did go off without provocation. Was that the ghosts trying to tell us something or was the smoke alarm just not working properly?  I’m not sure. If a ghost was really trying to say something, Morse code might have been an easier method.

The castle and the Scottish countryside were spectacular and were more beautiful than anything I could have imagined. Rolling green hills scattered with cattle, sheep and butterflies.  Yes, in fact there were lots of butterflies. They even came to visit me in my room almost every night.

At first, I felt a bit out of place and didn’t know if I could adjust to life in a castle, far away from my habit of needing to feel productive. In fact, the discomfort was so great that at one point I wondered if perhaps I should go home early and get back to work. But when I surrendered to embrace the experience for all that it was, it didn’t take long to slow down and soon I felt very much at home in the castle. I quickly lost all track of time as one day melded into the next, often forgetting what day of the week it was.

I met a diversified and wonderful group of people who had one thing in common. They were passionate about life. No big egos, just people doing what they can to make the world a better place.  They were eager to share stories and were genuinely interested and curious about others – the true sign of self-confidence.

Many stories were shared, and at times we sat in silence, without the need to fill space. We ate, we drank, we listened, we danced, we laughed and we shared many moments of gratitude for the gifts life has to offer – even throughout life’s adversities. Friendships were deepened and new ones were formed.

Away from the day-to-day bustle of life, over 14 special days, there was an opening for something greater – an opportunity to step into my dreams.  A place where I could slow down and embrace the unique wonder of life in a magical place, far, far away.

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