Fast forward through the gnarliest fast boat ride in my life from Gili T to Bali, 1 day in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, and a Shanghai 8-hour layover that changed into a 48-hour layover due to weather, and I'm now on the Google shuttle heading to work on my 2nd day back.
I've noticed a profound shift in my energy levels, my ability to focus, and how open my heart is compared to 1 month ago. Having the space to come back with fresh eyes to a world that is very familiar is a great lesson; it allows me to feel where I was before, and compare those feelings to how I feel now. I felt a buoyancy yesterday, rather than a pushing, or dragging that I often felt when heading to work before my trip. I felt excitement about seeing my coworkers that I love, and also about starting a new role on the marketing team. I feel open and more present in conversations; more able to focus on the person and energy of the conversation rather than being distracted by my environment or worrying about what I'm saying, how I'm standing or what I look like.
I've felt a strong desire to keep this feeling. How do I keep a sense of open-ness? How do I stay fresh in mind, body and spirit in the midst of a world filled with traffic and to-do lists? While this is still very much an in progress investigation, a few themes are bubbling up:
Have the intention to Start Every Day Fresh.
Before my trip I remember a sense of heaviness, like I had to fight gravity to get up every morning. All of the things I did the day before, the week before, the month before, were cycling around in my head like popcorn, suddenly popping up at their own nonsensically chosen moments, causing me to lose focus, and overall draining a lot of my energy.
When traveling, you're in a new place every day. What happened the day before doesn't necessarily connect to what's happening today. There's not much to remember, except for how to find your way back to your home-away-from-home. The place you are in feels different, the people you meet will be new, and there's an expansiveness.
How can we bring that freshness into our day when everything is not new?
For me, it's setting an intention to start every day fresh. Each morning is a completely clean slate. What happened the day before, how much sleep I got the night before, that meeting from yesterday, it's gone. It's in the past. WhenI would replay the scene of that awkward conversation I had at work the day before, it would bring me energetically into that place; I felt the discomfort from the conversation. Doing that repeatedly means that was the energy, the feeling, I was bringing into work regularly. Amplify that small example of the effects of 1 work conversation by all of the worries, shame, fears, and frustrations I felt from the night before (e.g. " I only got like 5 hours of sleep today is going to suck" is a common one for me), and soon I had created this vortex of heaviness that was very hard to get out of when I wasn't able to see anything beyond it.
- To help with releasing all the stuff from the day before: One practice a friend shared with me is to write down all of the things you are carrying at that moment. Like, "I carry worry for my grandma, I carry anxiety about the meeting tomorrow, I carry embarrassment about the thing I said yesterday." Writing down every little thing I can think of takes ~5 minutes. Then write a sentence for each one releasing it. e.g. "I release worry for my grandma. I release anxiety about the meeting tomorrow. I release embarrassment about the thing I said yesterday." Doing this 1) brings awareness to what you are feeling and 2) setting the intention to release something, will help you actually release it energetically.
- Set an intention every morning. It takes 30 seconds, find a quiet spot, close your eyes and exhale into your pelvis. Relax your face, and repeat your intention to yourself 3 times. Smile, feel gratitude, and go about your day. OR, write it down. Intentions are powerful.
I was carrying so much stuff with me from the past into the present, that created that distracted heaviness I describe above. I'm making the choice to start each morning fresh.
Spend 10 minutes in nature, every day.
Nature is the most refreshing, healing and re-energizing experience for me, and it's been shown that our brains need it to be healthy. Through traveling I found myself in nature all of the time. I lived a lot closer to it, like on the island where we had a hammock, cockatoos, chickens and beautiful flora and fauna right outside my doorstep. I am blessed to have a creek right next to my office that has beautiful trees and birds flying around, and I will spend my time there every day listening to the wind in the leaves and watching the birds on their journey. This helps me release tension, and connect with the beautiful big world out there.
Inspiration to open my heart.
The first email I opened when I got on the shuttle my first day back to work was an email from my friend Rachel who shared the first music video she's ever made, and well, let's just say it opened my heart right up. I commit to finding daily inspiration and beauty to keep my heart open, and I commit to sharing it so that we can all be reminded of the beauty that exists all around us, every day.