It Healed My Soul
By: Christine Hersom 

(5 min read)

I recently returned from my dream vacation in Key West, Florida. I know, I know, good for you?  Well, it was good for me.  It healed my soul.  

Like all good vacations, I expected it to be fun, exciting, crazy, and then, eventually end. But…it was so much more. It healed my soul. I didn’t even know there was such a thing. And if I had thought about a person’s soul being healed, what did that really mean?  

When I first stepped off the airplane onto the tarmac, I knew I had entered a different time. I expected warmer weather as I was leaving New England in March, but I didn’t expect the vivid colors and the drastic drop in pace.

The past two years with the Pandemic have been crazy. While many people seemed to slow down and hibernate during this time, my business increased. I own an at-home daycare, and it required me to work longer days and serve more people. I played a role in keeping our first responders, medical staff, and grocery workers on the scenes. In addition to the newborn to five-year-old children I normally care for, I began providing a remote-learning location for children.

As if the Pandemic wasn’t challenging enough, we had a couple of years of UGLY politics.  I have never in my life seen such division in my country. It hurt my heart; still does.

So, back to the vacation. Like I said, when I stepped off the plane onto the tarmac at Key West International Airport, I entered another world. I loved the light breeze compared to the northeastern crisp wind I left. What I didn’t expect – roosters running amuck. Even that was a picture of perfection for me. I had escaped the past two crazy years. I giggled like a little kid on the playground while watching the roosters hunt and peck. It was just the beginning.

During the taxi ride to our motel, I gawked at the scenery. It was a dream. I couldn’t help but feeling free like a kid again. Feelings as if I landed at Disney World at age five. Beautiful palm trees, a rainbow of colorful houses, and people of all nationalities playing and working together.  Everybody was smiling, happy, relaxed and getting along! I know you are saying, “Of course, they are, they are on vacation.” But not everybody in Key West is on vacation.  Yes, it is a tourist community, but the joy was palpable from the vacationers to the men and women working construction on the roads. I couldn’t believe it. So, I asked our taxi driver about the heightened level of happiness. His answer was, “Everybody smiles in Key West.”

We arrived at our motel was beautiful. The pool was covered with a vast canopy of palm trees. It was like being in a tropical rain forest with modern amenities. I was in heaven.

Scooters were our form of transportation for the week. Nearly everybody uses scooters or bicycles for to get around. Talk about feeling free. There is less pollution, the roads are wider, and the storefronts and shoreline are not blocked by cars. Let’s not forget the added benefit of the wind blowing in your hair, the smells from the ocean and the restaurants. Did I mention all those bright colors – everywhere! Foliage, houses, clothes!

You’re all wondering what this has to do with healing my soul. The atmosphere: relaxation, friendliness, sense of happiness and appreciation for life reminded me there is good in the world. I felt such inner peace. I am not the only one with these observations even our servers acted like waiting on us was their life’s dream. I couldn’t believe it. I asked myself if I had ever felt like this. Was there ever a time when my job gave me such happiness?  When I thought about it, I realized that there was indeed a time I felt like that. However, the last two years had sucked my soul dry. My life became automated, dull, and frustrating. 

While I knew I was tired and needed a vacation, I had no idea just how tired I was. My soul hurt. I had become a pessimistic, old lady working every day not because I wanted to, but because I had to. Looking around at all the workers in Key West, I knew that I had not been giving 100% to my job. I was drained. I had nothing left.

I wanted to leave a new woman. To rectify this, and to fill me back up, I walked around and absorbed the culture, the climate, the beauty, and the wonderful people. I allowed them to care for me AND for my soul. I gave compliments. I accepted compliments. I started to feel happy again. I put my phone down during the day. I absorbed everything I could…sights, sounds, and smells. I lived in every moment. As each day progressed, I woke up happier, and I looked forward to the next day. I was like a kid in a candy store – what else could I find?

This experience does sound magical. It was magical. I knew it wasn’t going to last forever. The vacation would come to a close. I still had to return home. And I did. Though my location changed, I brought pieces of the new me back. I make a concerted effort to make the most of my days. When I wake up every morning, I visualize all the colors, smell the smells, and taste the flavors. When I say I absorbed everything about Key West, I mean it. I will never forget this vacation and how it made me feel. I find myself smiling throughout the day about the beautiful things I saw, and I am working to see them in my non-vacation life. I truly feel My Soul is healed, and I am trying to share it with everybody every day. I was reminded there is still a lot of good in the World. We just need to open our hearts and minds to let it in.     

Christine Marshall Hersom
All Things Wellness, LLC

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