• Finding Balance on Vacation

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    Sheryl Checkman in the Turks & Caicos on vacation

    Finally I'm on vacation, wearing one of my Life is Balance tank tops, of course!

    In case you were wondering, I did go on my vacation. I spent 8 glorious days in the Turks and Caicos, scuba diving and replenishing my soul. The weather wasn’t perfect, at least in the beginning. I arrived in Providenciales on Sunday afternoon to overcast skies and relatively cool weather. Not at all what I was used to from years past. For the first 3 days the weather was stormy and I began to second guess my decision to throw financial caution to the wind and take this much-needed vacation. But, as we were still able to go diving I decided not to let a bad weather forecast spoil my trip. By Wednesday however, the system that was stalled over the islands blew away and in its’ place came the beautiful sunny skies and warm tropical breezes that I remembered.

    When I made my decision to finally go on this vacation, it was as if a weight had suddenly lifted – all the stress that I was feeling about work and finances melted away. The problems and worries would still be there when I returned, but I decided that mental well-being is just as important and that I would return better equipped to deal with them. Sometimes you just have  to step back, relax and allow yourself to breathe in order to put things into perspective and allow opportunities to offer themselves up to you.

    I was talking with a friend at lunch today who is going through a rough time. She sounded like I have often felt – paralyzed by the weight of life’s curve balls. I came up with an analogy that she insisted I write about. Being a beach baby at heart, I compared what she was going through to being caught in a riptide. Your first instinct is to fight it. But fighting it will only exhaust you. You don’t know which way is up and which way is down. The only way to get out of it is to relax and let the natural movement of the water bring you back to the surface. Instead of allowing what may seem like insurmountable problems drown you, sometimes you just need to relax, breathe and let yourself come back to the surface.

    When I got back from my vacation, complete with a nasty cold, I made a presentation to a potential client and ended up landing a big project that I had been hoping to get! In addition to that, I received three other requests for proposals. In the grand scheme, taking off one week to do something for myself – to add some much-needed balance, did not adversely affect my life. On the contrary, I believe it allowed me to come back to the surface swimming!

    Here are a few pictures I took on my trip!

    Sea turtle swimming

    Sea turtle swimming

    Diver surfacing from below

    Diver surfacing from below

    Shark and Diver beneath the sea

    Shark and diver beside the wall

    Sunset in the Turks & Caicos

    Sunset in the Turks & Caicos

  • Dreaming of Vacation

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    Me at camp by the pool

    Summer camp in the pool

    It is that time of year again – summer! June 21, the summer solstice arrived on June 21 heralding the beginning of summer. Ever since I was a little girl, summer has always been my favorite season. Growing up in the Bronx, my family used to spend the summers at a bungalow colony. My mom and brother and I spent the entire summer up there, with my dad coming up on weekends after work. Days filled with camp and swimming rolled one into the next. I had nothing more pressing to think about other than getting up and enjoying the day. It was pure bliss! After we stopped going to the country as a family, I went to sleep away camp (from age 10-17). Each July I left to spend 8 glorious weeks in the country at camp, again with no stress other than the annual color war competitions. Those were the days! Every day was filled with activity – from softball games with rival camps to trips to the Orange County Fair, tennis and archery, campfires and cookouts,  movies under the stars and a camaraderie that would launch lifetime friendships.

    Summer was easy then. At least for me. I didn’t realize at the time that the reason we stopped going to the bungalow colony was because it was no longer affordable for my parents. Times were tough back then. Times are tough now. With the economy being what it is I think twice about spending money on vacations. But give them up? I don’t think I can. Right now I am struggling with whether or not to join my friends down in the Turks and Caicos to go on my annual scuba diving vacation. I am stressing out over whether or not to book my flight and whether once I make the decision and book it whether I’ll find out that that is the week that a potential client will want me to come in and present the big proposal that I have submitted. When did vacations become stressful? What happened to those easy summer days?

    I talk a lot about balance. My Life is Balance t-shirts (also available on Etsy) are a testament to that. Recreation is a necessary part of life. It balances out all the stress of everything else. I haven’t been away in a year. This is unusual for me. I used to try to take at least two vacations a year to refresh and renew my energy and creativity. I am feel pretty unbalanced at the moment. I think a vacation scuba diving will sort that out.

    Beach chairs under umbrella in the Caribbean

    My favorite place under the umbrella is waiting for me!


  • Balance and the environment: saving our oceans, one t-shirt at a time

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    Life is Balance Protect and Preserve Ocean Environmental design Anyone who knows me, knows that the ocean is my second home (or would be if I already owned my dream home). From the time my father taught me to swim as a little girl, I have always felt comfortable in and around the water. Whether I’m sitting on the beach watching the ocean’s waves roll in and out or immersed in it, not only do I feel at peace, but I feel a connection to something special. When I scuba dive I am a visitor to another world — a world beneath the sea. There is an enormous amount of life under the ocean’s surface. Coral reefs are teaming with life, fish and animals both big and microscopic all living together in a fine balance. Each time I dive, I notice more damage to the reefs and less and less fish life. There are many organizations who dedicate themselves to protecting and preserving our ocean environments and educating divers, fisherman and the general population about ways they can help.

    One of my Life is Balance® designs (above) represents our need to protect and preserve our oceans and their inhabitants. I have decided to donate portion of sales from this design to an environmental charity. The question is, which one? I am currently considering two different organizations. Blue Ocean Institute uses science, art, and literature to inspire a closer bond with nature, especially the sea. As an artist and ocean lover, I like this.

    Another ocean environmental organization that I am looking at is Oceana Oceana is the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans. Oceana’s vision is “to make our oceans as rich, healthy and abundant as they once were.” The oceans cover 71 percent of our planet. They control our climate, drive our economies and feed our peoples.
    A sentence in particular from their vision statement struck a chord with me:
    “For millions of sailors, swimmers and vacationers of all stripes, they offer a refuge from the metal and concrete that encase our working lives.” Now if that’s not what Life is Balance® stands for I don’t know what is!

    I’d love for my readers to share their thoughts and opinions about these particular organizations and help me decide which one to contribute to.

    Sea Foam

    Don't ever take for granted the coming and going of the ocean's tide!

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    Newer Posts Yeah! There are more posts, check them out.