Get lost. Two words usually fired in the heat of the moment, yet perhaps the best directive anyone could give. We should get lost more often. Too many of our days are spent checking the boxes, marking the to-dos, feeling sorry about not getting it all done. But when you allow yourself to do nothing? Everything comes into sharp focus. Here, we present stories on the beauty—yes, beauty—of letting go. Life isn’t only shaped by what’s done; it’s defined by what is.

We should be proud of our accomplishments, but we’re missing the point of it all when we overlook the simple pleasures of life, like walking in the woods, being on the water, laughing with friends and family, digging in the garden, tasting the fruits of our labor.

Here, we present stories on the beauty—yes, beauty—of letting go. Life isn’t only shaped by what’s done; it’s defined by what is.

My dear friend and contributor Lauren Maxwell sparked the idea for this issue with an essay she penned about her “aimless April”—when she made an intentional decision “to let herself off the hook.” She writes on this theme in this edition: “Getting lost makes room in my brain for new connections between seemingly unrelated things, or as psychologists might call it, free association. When those sparks fly, it helps me push my thinking, or conscious brain, aside to make room for all that is unconscious—the part of our mental composition that facilitates processes like creativity, healing, and memory.”

The stories in this issue are about connecting to the moment, about being present in the mundane goodness of our lives. July is a near-perfect time for this, especially in this part of the country. In “Call of the Wild,” we present six outdoor experiences, like fly-fishing on the Chattooga, lazy river rides down the French Broad, and scuba diving off the coast of Wilmington: access points to pure relaxation and staying in the moment. Just like walking a labyrinth, these activities elevate your awareness, grounding you in the present. No need to worry about where you’re going—you’re already there.

This month, I encourage you to reconnect to your inner child, when agendas were about building sand castles and perfecting cannonballs. Lose the list and let loose—it’s your one precious life to live.

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