Anyone feeling like a vacation right about now?
I know for me, every February I get to this same point. Winter is “go time” around here with camps, plus yoga, plus family time, plus (endless list of things) … and I know there’s always an end to the madness. But yet, when I’m in it, it’s hard to stay IN IT without thinking about when the madness is going to end. And once I’m thinking about “the end” then I’m no longer in the present.
And this is what the media and popular culture supports, right? Work hard, play hard. Work 80 hours a week so you can bank enough vacation time to spend 10 days on the beach somewhere finally “relaxing.”
But you and I both know what happens on day 6 of vacation. What are you most worried about?
THE END OF VACATION!
We literally go on vacation, enjoy a few days, and then get sad because the trip is almost over — which hangs around until we’re back home and back in the reality of our crazy life, waiting (yet again) for the next vacation. What a cycle!
This winter, I’ve been really trying to stay focused on the present, amidst the chaos. A great word for this is Equanimity — being like the eye of the hurricane. In moments of overload, I acknowledge the chaos, acknowledge my commitment to it (which is important because I feel so fortunate to do what I do for a living) … and yet, I ask myself, “What can I do right now to relax and refocus on the moment?” Often a few deep breaths (or ten) are involved.
Sometimes I sit myself down for a midday meditation, or just stand outside and feel the wind on my face.
And without a beach vacation in the midst of chaos, I’m able to cultivate those little moments of sacred relaxation. And then I write them down so I can remember my strategies, and remember what situations are especially triggering for me so I can learn to anticipate them in the future.
These moments are a lifeline — and these moments shape the mood of my life. Those moments are all a "beach" in their own way.
My teacher, Anand, often talks about this phenomenon. He said, “Get out of the waiting room of your life!” We’re spending days WAITING for vacation. WAITING to start working out. WAITING to “indulge” in self-care because we don’t have the time for anything except… waiting. We always have time to wait.
And when you run the math on about 30 days of vacation versus YOUR ENTIRE YEAR, why do we push for relaxing only 30 out of 365 days per year? That’s 8% relaxing. 92% intensity.
There has to be more balance, or something has to give... and it will. We can either be in control of that process and make time for mini-vacations all day long. Or we can wait until our body gives out… or our mind gives out… or our commitments give out.
I’m not sure about you, but I’d really like to be the one in control of that process :-) Which is why those little moments of pause make all the difference in the sustainability of our lifestyle!
Originally hailing from Wisconsin, Mollie is a cheesehead transplant to Northwest Montana, with degrees in Retail and Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Today, she lives off the grid, half the year in a Tiny House & half the year in a yurt — both of which she and her husband, Sean, built by hand. Nonprofit Executive Director by day, Mollie also owns and teaches at Yoga Hive — a chain of community yoga studios in the valley.