Personal Development


CHAPTER XXXV – The Digby Experience and Developing a Vacation Mindset

I am Jude. It’s vacation time again! And our first getaway of the season was in a small community just outside of Digby, NS. It was a three hour drive but the opportunity to relax, recharge and rejuvenate was well worth it. 

Our home away from home was located in Culloden. The views were breathtaking and the big bay windows brought all of the beauty of the ocean.

The vistas included a rocky beach, an old, abandoned wharf, the Digby-Saint John ferry and local fishing boats criss-crossing the Bay of Fundy.

The waves and the babbling brook running alongside the property were therapeutic and invited detachment, peace and reflection. Talk about Zen….it was perfect

Although it’s not that far away, geographically from Truro, spring comes a little earlier to Digby. Flowers were in full bloom, vegetables were already planted in the ground and It just felt like we were closer to our traditional Nova Scotian summer there. 

There was constant chatter and a flurry of activity in and around the birdfeeders and sugar water dispensers on the property. 

There was a fat gopher and two newborns, who patrolled a shipwrecked railroad tie near their den. There was a large group of squirrels and chipmunks who seemed to be constantly at war with one another over territory and the inexhaustible supply of bird feed provided by the homeowners.

It attracted a kaleidoscope of birds that included colorful goldfinches, woodpeckers, sparrows and cardinals. Not to mention the other more familiar migratory and permanent residents.

I also saw several different kinds of hummingbirds and probably the smallest bird I have ever seen before. 

The home itself was just as perfect. There was an eclectic mix of modern decor and appliances with traditional art and culture that was a reflection of the homeowner’s unique style and life experiences. 

I unplugged completely and attempted to remain present in the space. I dedicated time to working out, focusing on my breathing and clearing my mind several times a day, something I have never done. 

It provided a clear indication of what I want my life to look like, not just on vacation – but everyday. I need to find ways to obtain inner peace, tranquility and ease, regardless of the pressures and self-imposed demands I place on myself. I need to slow down. 

My daughter and the rest of the family arrived on Friday evening and were gone first thing Sunday morning, leaving a wake of energy and life in their absence.

My grandchildren are precious. They make everything better. They are both invariably  curious and are developing their own unique personalities. Nothing makes me happier than spending time with them. Nothing!

Everything was perfect, until it wasn’t. 

On Saturday we got a virus that eventually wiped all of us out. I haven’t been physically sick in sometime and this bug was aggressive, LET ME TELL YOU. 

However, as hard as this may be to believe, despite the sickness, our time spent at the ‘Beach House’ was pretty magical. It didn’t end the way we wanted it to but personally, I took some pretty significant positives from the experience.

This vacation was different, in the best way possible. 

Side Hustle – Unshackled Solutions Life Coaching and Consulting 

The Unshackled Health & Wellness Program is a six-week fitness ‘boot camp’. The goal of the program is to encourage local youth between the ages of 13-18 to adopt a healthy  lifestyle through physical activity, mindfulness and personal development. 

The program will operate for six weeks between June 20th until July 28th, 2022. Each week there will be three 40 minute engagement sessions; two of these will be active in-person group workouts and the other will be an interactive virtual session through Zoom. 

Cost – $300/child. Payable through e-transfer or Paypal.

This program is open to all adolescents regardless of their fitness level. We are committed to providing each participant with effective tools and strategies to support their physical and mental wellness. It is our desire to motivate these youth to Break Free from any self-imposed limitations and encourage them to Be Better versions of themselves.

I am happy to announce a partnership with CaptureTherapuetics, which is relatively new to the Truro area and has two other locations in New Brunswick. It features health professionals determined to reinvent your healthcare experience. I want to thank Brooke, Amelie, Ishraq and Morgan for their support and involvement. 

Looking forward to creating a transformational experience for the participants this summer!

You Next Best Read – My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nicholas Tesla

Written by Nikola Tesla at the age of 63, this autobiography is a fascinating glimpse into the interior life of a man who, a man certainly possessed of genius, and one 

Nicholas Tesla was a Serbian-American genius and a visionary. He was an inventor, physicist and engineer.

This autobiography details his work and his early life. The content was largely drawn from a series of articles that Nikola Tesla had written for Electrical Experimenter magazine in 1919, when he was sixty-three(63) years old.

It provided insight in the power of the human mind but also the fragility of genius.

Tesla is responsible for inventing alternating current electricity and made major contributions to wireless transmission, X-rays, remote control, laser beams, neon and fluorescent lights and robotics. 

He may have contributed more to the fields of electricity, radio, and television than any other person living or dead and is considered by some to be one of the most important men of the 20th century.

His life was interesting and somewhat tragic. He struggled with mental wellness throughout his life and never obtained the financial success or recognition that he so desperately desired – and deserved.

He was amazingly gifted and his work ethic was unparalleled but he made poor business decisions and was too trusting of American businessmen – including Thomas Edison.

Fun Fact

During the 1890s Nikola Tesla developed up a friendship with Mark Twain, whose real name is Samuel Clemons. Twain often visited him in his lab, where in 1894 Tesla photographed the great American writer in one of the first pictures ever lit by phosphorescent light.

Nichola Tesla was a man before his time. What he believed was possible 100 years ago is truly remarkable. The mind is truly capable of the impossible. 

Positive Reflections – What’s Good?

Thanks to a man named Wim Hof, I have been taking cold showers for the past two months. If you don’t know about this man’s superhuman feats, I encourage you to Google the ‘Iceman’. 

What first intrigued me were the reported health benefits associated with exposure to the extreme cold.

However, I have derived even more from the daily challenge of confronting the cold. I have actually begun looking forward to doing something that is somewhat uncomfortable. 

These cold showers have been  invigorating. They energize my body and my mind and I have now begun taking them anytime I am feeling low or want to improve my focus. 

So when I found out we were renting a home with direct access to a beach, I promised myself my own polar bear experience. I would get into the water. To provide some additional motivation and accountability, I shared my plan at the last Black men’s wellness meeting.

It became a personal challenge.

I had a list of readily accessible excuses and I questioned whether I would do it right up until I got into the water. But I did it! I didn’t break any of Wim Hof’s records. I did something even more significant, I proved something important to myself. I can do anything I set my mind to. 

My wife likened it to being baptized, and in a sense it was. It was one of the first personal accomplishments associated with the new ‘anything is possible’ mindset I am cultivating. 

It’s a conscientious desire to develop a better relationship with ‘Jude’ through reflection, new experiences and personal growth. It’s paying off. I am challenging who I am, and creating the person I want to become, through my compound efforts to Break Free and Be Better. 

So dip your toes in the proverbial ‘cold water’, try something new. Something that provides your life with added value. Set a relevant goal, develop a plan and follow it through to completion. It could just be the baptismal moment that changes your life. 

Public Announcement

Adopt a Vacation Mindset

One of the questions that I have been considering since the family getaway has been, how can I create elements of a ‘vacation mindset’ in my everyday life?

We adopt a different mentality when we are on vacation. We are happier and there is a greater level of energy and excitement. Our attitude and optimism improves. It provides us with an opportunity to escape the overwhelming demands of the world and seek pleasure and relaxation. 

I believe that we are fully responsible for how we perceive, interpret and respond to life. 

Consequently, we have the power to choose how we experience it. 

Consider these suggestions to cultivate a vacation mindset and create more happiness in your life. 

Do What Makes You Happy

When you are doing something that makes you happy your brain gives you a boost of dopamine, the hormone, and neurotransmitter that makes you feel good. 

What are the small things that bring you joy on vacation? Is it exploring new places, taking on new challenges, spending time with loved ones, or dedicating time to relax?  These are all things we can integrate into our regular lives with a little imagination. 

Life will always have demands and obligations but if we are deliberate, we can find unique ways to do the things that make us happy.


One of the common characteristics of vacation is relaxation. We are generally able to ‘let go’ and be less burdened when we are away. We need to be intentional about finding ways to relax in our everyday lives. Meditation, yoga, reading, walking or some pursuits that can provide us with inner peace. 

Be Open To New things

People return from vacation with memories of new experiences. They swim with sharks, parachute out of planes and visit new and interesting places. Be open to new things and JUST DO IT. Please don’t wait for your next vacation, create ways to find more joy and fulfillment in your life by doing something new. 

Whatever Happens, Happens!

Many times when we are on vacation we will allow ourselves more freedom and latitude to roll with the punches. We are more prone to respond than react. We are not as uptight. That’s something we should be striving to integrate into our daily lives. 

The Beach House provided inspiration and a scenic backdrop for the weekend. However, the positive energy and intention we brought into the space framed our time away. We were responsible for the experience we shared there, not the location. 

What would life be like if you woke up with a vacation mindset every morning? How would the quality of your life change? 

I would suspect that there would be a significant shift in your perspective that would result in a greater level of overall happiness, and that sounds appealng to me. I am Jude. 

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