It’s vacation season, a time of year when it can be challenging to maintain a daily meditation practice in the midst of competing travel schedules, house guests, and general lack of structure. Mindfulness can be practiced in many other forms when we’re on vacation, of course, including walking meditation, mindful photography, and mindful eating.
But what about when the going gets really tough?
When I read my friend Jodi Baretz’s article about how she used her mindfulness skills when she got sick on vacation, I knew I had to share it with you. Jodi is a psychotherapist, health and mindfulness coach. As you’ll see, she clearly practices what she preaches!
Moral of the story, never leave home without your mindfulness toolbox.
A Small Glitch in My Vacation
(Originally published by Jodi Baretz, on June 6, 2017)
This past holiday weekend, I had an amazingly scenic trip to the mountains of Colorado. We first visited my favorite place in the country, Boulder, and enjoyed the foodie nature of the town, unlimited gluten-free options, great unique boutiques, hiking, a Red Rocks concert and more. Then it was off to Vail, where allergies, the altitude and a summer cold caught up with me. I had never been there and loved the village. We had an action packed itinerary, thanks to a great friend who planned the adventure portion. It started off amazing as we drove in a van up a mountain, only to bike one way down. Racing downhill was amazing and beautiful. Our last day was a white water rafting trip, which I eagerly anticipated. That is until I my cold took a turn for the worse, and I was concerned about the Class 3 rapids I would encounter, feeling like crap. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t making up stories in my head about how awful this day would be. I also was very concerned about the plane ride home the next day and all the congestion succumbing to the air pressure. Here’s where my mindfulness skills kicked in, to help me grin and bear it.
I started to notice how miserable I was making myself in the moment, and all the future doomsday scenarios I was creating. Once I woke up to this fact and realized that it was just fear, I quickly changed my mindset to “Can I deal with this moment? and this moment, and this moment?” I stayed in each moment, instead of making up stories about how horrible the day would be. When we began rafting, I felt my body tense up, resisting the water being pelted at me, and fear I would be thrown out of the boat. (The safety instructions can be scary!) Once I realized this, I started breathing consciously and relaxed my body. I stopped resisting and allowed myself to get soaked (not like I had a choice), and get thrown about. I let whatever would come, come without tension. I knew that I could handle each moment as it came.
The plane was another story. I loaded up on decongestants and hoped for the best. The ride was fine, until the very end when I thought my ears would explode. Again, I stopped resisting the pain, allowed it to be there and prayed they would pop. Although they did not pop until the next morning, I still made it to the fireworks that evening, and survived. One moment at a time was my motto, which carried me through an amazing, nature filled, adventurous vacation with good friends. Now if I could just get better for the weekend, that would be even better, but I know I’ll survive either way.
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