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Realigning with mindfulness

Coming back to routine and daily life after a five week vacation
Realigning with mindfulness

My vacation to India and Turkey was magical, to say the least. Yet as my vacation ended, I was looking forward to returning to my life. I was surprised that I was also excited about seeing my regular clients again.

My first week back has been nothing short of perfect. Most mornings, Sid, Macha and I have been on long walks. We have eaten every meal at home, which is a first in the twelve years we have been married. That is almost twenty meals! I am excited about how that continues for us. We have both had some not-so-pleasant labs in the last little bit and are determined to use the spring and summer to realign.

What am I realigning with? Becoming clear on what it is that we want to recalibrate with is important. It serves as a guideline for our actions. In this case, realign with a routine that matches the sort of lives we desire: active, joyful, playful, and nourishing.

What realms of your life are involved in this realignment? When I ask myself this, the answer is clear. I want to be this way with my partner. I want to feel these in my body and spirit.

What specific actions encompass this vision? Cooking, going for walks together, personal grooming, watching TV, meditating and writing.

Which ones am I doing well, and which ones need work? Before I went on vacation, I was doing well with meditation and writing. And if I am being honest, as I am coming back, all of them need some work.

What am I willing to ease off on in order to do these? We often load our life with things and self-care becomes another thing we foist upon our heavy plates. For the first week, I allowed my house to be a huge mess. I would only tidy up the kitchen because that’s where the cooking happens.

While I was on vacation, I took a break from my year-long Ati Yoga course. I chose not to attend a few courses I had my eyes on because I wanted to be fully present in the holiday spirit. Looking back, that was mature and prudent. I would not have been able to do justice to the courses anyway.

We often think that we ease off only on non-important things. This is not so. Sometimes there are important things that simply cannot be the priority in the moment because of capacity. I know a clean house is very important for my mental health, and yet it is one that takes a lot of energy. I chose easy in the first week as my new routines needed me to show up energetically.

How can I slow down to make the tasks manageable? My idea is to focus on the next smallest step instead of focusing on the overall picture. In the second week, I will break down the cleaning task into very tiny pieces, e.g. empty one suitcase, and clean out the coat hangers in the hallway. It may take a long time, but it is what will help me stay on track without burning out.

Meal planning is my next step. I have resisted meal planning for a long time. Yet I know that even making a mental note this week of what I had in the house and how I could use those ingredients helped greatly. My meal planning day will be Monday because I have classes on the weekend.

How will I acknowledge myself and my partner? Very often we do not acknowledge the chores and the efforts we make in daily life. In the first week, I made it a point to tell myself I did a good job. I paused before each meal and took the first bite in an exaggerated manner to drive home the point that this was hard work. On Friday, I had a low-energy day. In spite of that, I made a quick ramen for dinner instead of ordering in. As I ate the ramen, I marveled at my efforts and let my stomach and other body parts participate in agreement.

I was effusive in my praise to my partner as well. He had a tough week at work, and he managed to cook once for a few meals and made me tea twice. He was also enthusiastic about walks and even went without me when I was on my period. I told him that I was proud of him. He has been thanking me all week because I have made decisions on my own, and given him space to have breathing space.

How will I incorporate joy and rest into my life? Our walks together have been so nourishing. We chat and catch up and we walk for long minutes in loving silence. We went to the dog park after each walk. While Macha gets exercise and social time, we love playing with other dogs. This week, we met a lovely German shepherd and collie mix. Sid and I had a minor argument on the way there, and it all melted as Koda and Macha played fetch with us. Sid and I had a glass of wine on Friday and Saturday. It was nice and relaxed.

We sleep in separate bedrooms at night because both of us sleep much better that way. Mornings are for cuddling. We also napped a few times this week as both of us were battling jetlag.

And that’s it! These are the questions that helped me to realign and ease back into my life. Whether you’re coming back from vacation or just emerging for spring/summer, try out these prompts and see what comes up for you. I will wait to hear from you.