"I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.
~ Henry David Thoreau
My recent experience of slowing down and taking time to rest, truly rest, and the importance, for all of us, of making that a habit especially in the busier months ahead.
I just returned from my first solo vacation. It was not something I did in my early adulthood before marriage, and now that I’m single again and have adult children, I decided to see for myself what all the online hype was about.
My experience did not disappoint. I chose an easy solo trip, to a wellness retreat, rather than an international adventure. My style of trying anything new is to dip my toes in slowly. I’ve found that this works best for me because it creates a sense of safety while allowing space for excitement and curiosity. Too big of a push and I can get overwhelmed and shut down.
Some people might say what I did was “too easy” and I say it was “just right for me”. I’m so glad I trusted myself because it was the perfect trip. I encourage you to trust yourself as well, for anything you do in your life.
There were some uncomfortable moments, for sure. Like when staff at the hotel and restaurants kept assuming, no matter how many times I clarified, that I was half of a party of two. Or when I went to a local bar/restaurant and sat by myself (without any reading to hide behind) amongst a crowded room of locals excitedly chatting with each other while I remained unnoticed by everyone but my server. That, for me, was an exercise of sitting in my discomfort!
I did make friends with other couples and solo travelers. I even exchanged numbers with two married women (whose husbands don’t like to travel) to take future trips together. For the most part though, I spent a lot of my time in solitude and quiet. Whether it was laying by the pool, reading, walking amidst the beautiful gardens, listening to the hum of the waterfalls, and the squawks and chirps of the turkeys, roosters, and birds living their best life.
This was an adult wellness retreat. A place that encourages stillness and quiet and going internal while taking in the beauty of nature.
It was, I decided early on, my heaven on earth.
Mindfulness classes, state of the art body treatments, yoga, functional exercise, serene salt water pools and hot tubs amidst beautiful gardens set high in the mountains of a tropical paradise.
Even though my life has become a daily practice of mindfulness, meditation, and emotional and physical wellness, I realized a day or two into my vacation that on some levels I’d been phoning it in. Doing all the things but by rote. Not being truly present and focused on the practice at hand.
I needed this change of venue, this soothing environment, to connect to myself more deeply. It’s a difficult thing to do in everyday life where there are so many distractions of people, jobs, internet, tv. Even for those of us who have a dedicated practice. It takes constant vigilance to be at peace!
Within 48 hours, I felt my anxieties fall away, my body relax, my voice got quieter and slower. I stopped casually cursing which is big for me and a true sign of my inner calm. I was able to focus on reading a novel which, despite my studying to be a fiction writer, had been difficult for me the past few years as I pressured myself to read only books relevant to my profession. (Perfectionism…I’m working on it!) I’d forgotten how delicious fictional narrative can be.
All this to say, slowing down is super important. Especially in the fast pace and craziness of our current world. So many demands, so many people and things pulling our attention away from inner peace and aggressively manipulating our inner knowing.
So I ask you…
What is your heaven on earth?
What does it look like? Feel like?
Where is it in the world? What climate? What topography?
Is it a place, or is it a person? Someone with whom anywhere you are is heaven on earth?
If it’s a person, what attributes does this person have that make being with them so satisfying?
I encourage you to not only think about these questions but to write down your answers..
Make a list. Be specific.
Because once you can articulate what or who it is you want in your life, you can start creating it.
It’s like a vision board. Go ahead and make one if that’s your style. If it’s not, don’t. You get to decide what works best for you. You always get to decide..
And you don’t have to wait for a vacation.
You can start bringing small bits of that heaven into your daily life right now.
It may be fine linens, your favorite teacup or chair, planting a certain flower or installing a fountain in your yard. It might be taking day trips to your favorite museums, theaters, adventures, theme parks. Or weekend trips to your favorite cities, countrysides, or islands.
It doesn’t have to be expensive and it doesn’t have to take long.
The way to start any practice, or habit change, is to start small. Then add on slowly.
Heaven on earth is possible for everyone.
Only you know what heaven is for you.
Answering the questions above will help you clarify your desires so you can recognize and pull yourself toward the things you want in life.
It will help you say no to, and rule out, the people or things that don’t match your vision so you can make more room for the people and things that do.
Also, starting, or deepening, a meditation and daily mindfulness practice, will help you access that inner stillness and voice even as you wait at a traffic light or online at carpool, or the grocery store.
It’s a simple way to start to finding your heaven on earth.
If you already have a practice, refocus your attention and commitment to it.
If you don’t have one and want tools to create one, or if you want help maintaining and deepening your practice, here are the ways I can help you:
1:1 sessions where you work with me for three months to clarify and move toward your goals, working with the obstacles that have been getting in your way. I have successfully helped my 1:1 clients find their heaven on earth in both their personal and professional endeavors. Book a complimentary consultation.
Subscribe to my email newsletter. You will be at the head of the line to get emails such as this one, as well as notifications about upcoming workshops, freebies, etc.
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