- On June 26, 2018
My husband came to ‘visit’ me in Lisbon for a week and we took a little side trip to the island of Madeira, a Portuguese island located about 400 miles off the Moroccan coast and a 90+
minute flight from Lisbon. Because it was my birthday, I splurged on the hotel, opting for The Vine. Tag line: “a Divine Hotel”… and it truly was!
We had a beautiful room with a view of the town and mountains, however it was the pool on the roof that created an exhilarating spark of creativity for me. The view was spectacular— a panorama from the Atlantic Ocean to the lush tropical mountains. I immediately felt my mind and body relax.
There is something about the right view that stimulates creativity. I think of the opening of a rose, tightly closed then slowing spreading its petals in the warmth of the sun. Each of those unfurled petals an unformed possibility for something. The stress and self-imposed pressure fades. My mind goes into Default ‘wandering’ Mode where it can make the weirdest connections, uninhibited by any task that diverts its attention.
A 2013 study published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technologyindicated that access to nature (either being in nature or viewing a nature scene) before being exposed to a stressful situation had a positive impact on how quickly the participant responded to and recovered from that stressor. Other studies have shown increased resilience when viewing nature scenes after going through a stress-filled event, however this was the first to indicate the pre-emptive effects of a “view.”
Makes a good case for getting out of the office and away from urban life, don’t you think? So…When’s your next vacation? Where’s the closest park for a mid-day walk?
From my own experience I rarely feel upset about anything if I’ve been enjoying the view of the lake where we often spend our summer weekends. Tension melts away and my mind feels open and free. No need for the self-protecting trigger of the amygdala to stimulate those stress chemicals essential to our survival and also block our creative thinking in the pursuit of that self-preservation.
I would have been happy to spend my time wallowing in the panoramic view from the pool, but then I would have missed the other creativity-inspiring views of Madeira.
Rugged 6,000 foot peaks jutting up from the tropical forest on the north side of the island.
The sparkle of clear mountain spring water flowing through 2500 kilometers of hand-hewn irrigation channels (called levanders) used since the 1500s to bring water from the wet north side of the island to the dry south side.
Turquoise blue water ringing the island as I ascended almost two miles in a small cable car from sea level to 2000 feet, from the city of Funchal to the mountain top town of Monte.
What’s the place where you feel open, relaxed, creative, and inspired?
Photo credit: JMaliszewski, 2018. View from pool at The Vine Hotel. Hiking on the Levander. Funchal Cable Car view.