Day 10 of life on the Gulf.

The transition from ‘At Home to Holidays’ has reached a whole new level of fluid.

For years, going on vacation came with a ridiculous ‘prep list’ of things that I had to get done before I left, the ‘to do list’ for whomever had the misfortune of being left in charge of my life, and of course the ‘packing list’ of all the things I would need to ensure that I could continue to be productive while I was away … sigh!

I was exhausted and completely wound up before I ever left home, filled with worry and fear that my life would surely implode before I returned.  I remember being completely ashamed but unable to stop myself as I handed the three page list of how to look after my life to my kids (did I mention the pages were both sides with notes in the margins?  that the kids lived with us and were already very familiar with all the things I had outlined for them?)  Did I really need to document that lights should be shut off, or stall doors should be locked to keep horses in at night?

I think not!

And yet that is exactly what I did!

I was living in fear.  Fear that I would lose what I had, fear that something awful would happen if I dared to trust anyone with my responsibilities, fear that I didn’t deserve a holiday and would surely be found out, fear that those left to care for my life didn’t care about it as much as I did and wouldn’t take it seriously… my possessions were paramount, I had worked hard to earn everything we owned and I was fully prepared to never stand down if meant holding onto it all!

What I have learned over the years is that I have an inner circle that is more than trust worthy, and sadly I am disposable – this is a difficult realization, a cruel reality in life, but completely liberating when you consider the freedom that comes with allowing yourself to rest when needed!

Life goes on, no matter how important you are, how much you have amassed in physical belongings, or what level of responsibility you carry, life will go on in your absence.  This isn’t meant to be somber and sad, a woe is me story, this is meant to serve as a reminder to myself and everyone else that you can set things down, you can breathe and rest and enjoy life!

For years as I prepared for vacations I would fuel fears with more ‘what if’s’, I would add on to the stress with exaggerated scenarios of doom which only served to rob me of the joy a vacation should bring!  My mindfulness and gratitude practices have been instrumental in leading me out of fear and into joy!

The moment I begin to add on, to escalate the bullshit story I am telling myself; I breathe … a deep, move the diaphragm and fill the belly breath that has my full attention; I exhale with a slow intentional squeeze to release every last ounce of air, I notice the space between my exhale and my next inhale, and I am grounded in this moment; where all is well and I am preparing to head to the beach … ahhh!

Sounds simple right?

Theoretically it’s hella simple!  Breathe, Notice, Be!

The practice itself is one of falling off and getting back on; it is ongoing; don’t get lost in how many times you fall off – find pleasure in getting back on!  Welcome yourself back, no judgement, only gratitude that you were able to course correct to joy from fear!

My need to berate and belittle myself for falling off is gone; as the observer I can see the uselessness of blame and negativity.  As the observer I can cheer my Self on for having stood up and dusted off; I can see my growth, and trust in my ability to stress less and do more.

I am thoroughly enjoying my time at the beach this year, I have embraced fully being where I am; I know full well that this too shall pass – my ability to linger over a second cup of coffee watching dolphins frolic will lead me back to mornings in the mud trying to find high ground to hay the horses … are the dolphins better than the horses?  No, they are just different, I am blessed with occasion for both; if I truly want to honour my opportunities I need to find joy in all of them!

Having a stressful day?  Invite your breath to the party, let it be your sole focus for a minute, or two, or twenty; get out of your head and into your body!  Notice how you are feeling, what you are doing to escalate that stress, smile, welcome yourself back to awareness and allow the stress to pass in that space between the exhale and the inhale … just Be … all in … where ever you are … this too shall pass! xo