(This post is a series of daily letters from me to my future children reporting from the emerging paradigm.)
We are at a really interesting point in the pandemic. I saw a meme the other day that said that the people who are still quarantined and wearing masks are the same people who always did all the work in the group assignments in school.
Couldn’t feel more accurate.
I’m so grateful that I live in a place that is very much a travel destination (the Olympic Peninsula) yet my wanderlust is still piqued. I adore traveling and exploring the world. This is probably the longest I’ve gone without travel in many years.
Prior to the pandemic I was playing with the feeling tone of “vacation” all the time. I never want a life that I feel like I need a vacation from, I want to feel the magic, wonder and relaxation of vacation while truly enjoying the work that I do in the world.
“Be in the Greeting Card” is a method that I’ve been using.
It’s hard not to feel squirrelly when travel is so restricted, whether by law or science. But that squirrelly feeling is actually resistance to being present for whatever is coming up.
The first time I realized I used travel to escape my feelings was when I was traveling almost every weekend after my first fiance and I broke up. After 6 months I noticed (but didn’t change my behavior) that I was probably using it as a distraction. The funny thing is that now that I’ve had 12 more years of emotional development, I know that being present for “unpleasant” feelings is not as hard as I used to think. Certainly the effort I put forth to not feel them was a hundred fold more than if I simply compassionately identified and released the feelings.
I like to treat my harder feelings as tourists in my head and heart. I’m here as a tour guide to find out what’s going on for them, what they are indicating, and allowing them a release. Since my break-up with my second fiance in 2019, I have been working to be present for feelings as they come up.
The really hard ones, the big sobbing, the huge grief. Those go in waves and only take about 90 seconds to clear. I learned that in the book Finding Your Way in a Wild New World and it totally tracked for me. As long as I’m willing to be with the feeling as it passes and not judge it, it can clear and I can release it. It was a powerful realization.
This wanderlust I’m feeling, it’s definitely part of a desire to continue to explore the world. But it’s also a sign that I probably need to go within and examine what’s feeling unsettled with me and what I might be ignoring.
I’ve learned a lot about addiction and what creates it through my work in Al Anon (12 step recovery for family and friends of alcoholics). Addiction frequently acts as a way to distract from actual feelings. I could be doing a daily inventory to find out if my itch to get out of town is indicating something I need to understand about myself or if I just am not used to doing this weird thing of staying home for months at a time.
Finding heaven on earth, experiencing life as a gift every day, that’s a vacation all the time mindset I seek. (Regardless of whether I’m able to travel.) Being willing to get uncomfortable everyday is the growth edge I seek to become 1% better everyday.
The here and now is all you have and if you play it right it’s all you need.Ann Richards
This quote was from the Holland Taylor one woman show about Ann Richards the former governor of Texas. I captured that quote thinking about how to manage those mountains in the distance. You don’t! You just need to find the solutions available today and when the next set of problems appear (as they always will) trust those solutions to be available then.
So. I sit in month four of quarantine and manage my wanderlust. Learn what it has to teach me and work to feel like I’m living life as a gift every day.
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