Aptly, today's yoga practice at my local studio was centered around the theme of rest. My teacher implored us to allow space and time for rest, which is especially crucial during this time of mass suffering in so many avenues all around the world. If we do not rest, we cannot be present for the times ahead. Graciously, I am very well rested today. I just spent one week in Oaxaca, Mexico, living in the present with the biggest worry being what Mezcal cocktail to order with dinner.
I have returned to California feeling rejuvenated. The smoke has been cleared from my lungs quite literally and I am so thankful the fires north are widely contained so the journey upwards can continue for my community, and for myself.
1. Vacations allow s p a c e: Space to walk slowly. Space to take naps. Space to think. Space to sit. Space to stop and take photos. The Jewish ritual of Shabbat calls for rest from Friday sundown until Saturday sundown. During this time, observant religious Jews will rest so thoroughly that they will not even turn on a light! Although I do not wish to observe Shabbat in this rigid manner, I believe incorporating ritualistic rest into our lives would do us a world of good. I plan to check in with myself and note the quantity, and more importantly, the quality of my rest.
2. Vacation limits online time: I did not carry my phone around with me in Oaxaca. I did not answer text messages. I did not feel any rush to answer an email. And what landed as possibly the most influential action of my vacation, I did not read the news. I now have evidence that the news has been tearing me down. I read it way too much. I am ready to relinquish my false sense of control by not refreshing my New York Times app. several times a day on my phone. Of course it is important to be educated, of course it is important to be up to date on current events, but it is not important to drown oneself in continuous articles with the underlying message of "The world sucks more and more each day and all you can do is read about it and feel more depressed". Enough!
3. Vacation allows time to focus on what is truly important: The last point I will highlight is this theme of aliveness, of spending time on what is important to us individually. For me, it is spending time with my partner, refocusing my time on joys such as water coloring, writing and swimming, paying keen attention to the feeling of cool air on my skin and the tastes of food that fuels my body's journey. Vacation allows space to focus on these things. Not the laundry or the grocery shopping or the gas tank on empty. Not the worries about work or office politics or upcoming plans. Just to be present, in joy, living in authenticity.