We have been living in Hawaii for one week now and the one thing I can say I have learned about myself is I don’t know how to rest. Instead of resting, I am restless. I went into this trip with lofty goals of reading for hours upon end, doing yoga every morning and sleeping in to my heart’s content. I even set up my email responder to notify people that I will only be checking emails on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. All perfectly planned so I could relax.
Now, let me tell you what the past seven days has actually looked like for me. I wake up around 6:30 or 7 because Ben is already hard at work for the day and I feel guilty sleeping in any longer. I putts around our condo pretending I’m doing stuff: washing dishes, cleaning up, you know, the really important things. Only two days have I actually pulled out my yoga mat and did a short practice. I spend time checking in on email and social media. I then seem to create some elaborate plan for how the day should look weather it’s hiking or going to the beach or snorkeling, and for some reason it has never gone to plan – ever. So at the end of the day I have found myself disappointed in what I achieved and eager to start a new day and try again.
The times that I have found to read my book, I have felt restless, unable to think about the words on the page, but rather what we are having for dinner that night or what emails I need to respond to or what tomorrow’s plan should be.
The big sum of the past week is that I have come face to face with the fact that I don’t know how to just be present and rest. And the worst part is that I know that something needs to change. I’ll snap at Ben if something doesn’t go as planned or get frustrated that we slept in too long on the weekend and started our day at 10 am.
I have recently (as in 7 days ago) started doing meditation and have found that I am god-awful at it. During a recent meditation practice, the guide, with his calming Australian accent, encouraged me to just notice my underlying mood and feeling. And all I could feel was anxious. You are not supposed to feel anxious when listening to the ocean in the background, while spending a month in Hawaii and meditating. But I am.
I know that a big transformation like learning to be present, to fight anxiety and an ever-racing mind takes time. Will it be fixed by the time I sit in that not-so-comfy airplane seat heading back to Denver? No way.
But if I can come away from this trip with just a little bit better understanding on how to recognize when I’m getting anxious or being obsessive about what’s next, then that’s at least a small step in the right direction.
Over the next three weeks I’ll keep doing my best at trying meditation, I’ll try to learn to just go with the flow when plans get turned upside down, and I’m going to work my hardest on enjoying the ocean breeze that’s blowing through our back door right now.
There’s a magnet on the fridge in our condo that encompasses these thoughts:
“Advice from a sea turtle:
Swim with the current.
Be a good navigator.
Stay calm under pressure.
Be well traveled.
Think long term.
Spend time at the beach.”
Here’s to being more like a sea turtle.
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