Summertime…..the fun season…a time of the year spent vacationing, socializing, barbecuing, traveling, relaxing and more. While I’m thoroughly enjoying all of those, I noticed that my everyday spiritual and self-care practices go by the wayside a little more easily in summer. Especially when I’m traveling.
Earlier this month I flew across the country to spend some bonding time with my nieces and nephew. Because of the time difference, by mid-morning they have been waiting hours for me to wake up. That means my morning meditation is definitely not happening.
After full days of dolls, Legos, swings, baseball, arcades, nail salons, toy stores, and more, I’m definitely ready to relax with my sister and have a glass of wine. Or two. Or split a bottle. Typically something I don’t do on a weeknight. But…when on vacation… 🙂 As you can gather, this means no evening meditation either.
Previously I would have worried that this would trigger another round of yo-yo spirituality. Years ago a few days away from my daily practices, like meditation, often created an oh eff it attitude. If I’ve blown them off for a week, another week won’t hurt. Then it would be a month…and then two months. Eventually I’d get back on the horse after some negative event triggered me.
You know how it’s easier to stay in shape than it is to get in shape? It’s the same thing with meditating. The first few runs are usually somewhat painful. So are the first few meditations. They’re not smooth. They’re not relaxing. They remind you of the fact that you haven’t done it in a while. Just like your body reminding you that you haven’t moved it in a while.
This time, however, instead of feeling guilty for not keeping up with my routines, I decided to find a way to apply some of the lessons I’ve learned from my practices to my vacation. The fact is that I didn’t want to spend time sitting in the guest room meditating when I could watch my niece pick through my suitcase asking questions only a four year old would ask. 😉
If I can’t meditate, or am using vacation as an excuse not to 😉 , what can I do instead that provides me with a benefit similar to meditating? Because I’m tired of worrying about it or feeling guilty about it when I take a vacation. Then I realized, be present. Just be present. When I meditate I am present. To what’s going on inside of me and around me, without getting hooked on any of it. So I committed to being as present as possible for everything I did while I was with them. To allow myself to enjoy every second of it, even when I thought I was going to lose it lol.
And it was amazing. Instead of spending time worrying about the other things I could be/should be/need to be doing, I wholeheartedly gave myself permission to enjoy my time with the little lights that I rarely get to spend time with. Through that presence I felt immense gratitude for the opportunity to be with them. Ah-ha – spontaneous gratitude as an extra bonus! 😉
One of the major reasons I have some of these practices, including meditation, is to increase joy and happiness. Another is to release anxiety. But I can do both of those outside of a structured routine. I can’t feel anxiety when I feel gratitude and am present.
At the end of the day, we are speaking the universe’s language when we are playing, laughing and loving. So, in a way, I was engaging in a spiritual practice, even if it didn’t feel like work. What are some ways you can integrate your existing self-care habits into this season of spontaneity and fun?