Thursday, April 5, 2018

California

I admit I relish in the daily comfort of routine. I am most pleased when I know what my day, week and month ahead look like. Perhaps this is a side effect of having four young kids and a husband while maintaining a couple of side jobs, but time management has always been my forte. The thing is, this level of predictability becomes bland and leaves little room for the fun kind of spontaneity. Last week, I travelled to California to embark on a week of no schedule. I brought along books, bathing suits, going out outfits, hiking stuff, overpacking to ensure I had whatever I might need for whatever we might do. 


I thoroughly enjoyed surrendering the reigns to others as our days were planned, or not. As we embarked on adventures, I was so pleased to see things anew, unhindered by time constraints or children! (This was a solo venture and Rich was a megastar at home with sick kids and dog.) I enjoyed spending time with my big, crazy family, and all the inlaws and friends and partners our complicated faction brings. I am so proud of this family because as it has grown, we have all, I think, learned to redefine what it is to be a family. I have always felt a measure of choice, and while I definitely put up boundaries and barriers when I was younger, I have chosen to be part of this family in my adulthood, and I am grateful for the continuing welcome I am afforded. These people see me for who I am, love my kids like their own, and challenge me to be better.


I learned a lot about myself, and I think that's one of the points of travel, n'est pas? To be in another setting but as the same person. My ideas and values were challenged, and against new backdrops, hidden truths appeared. Happily, this trip made it clear that it is high time for me to go forth in life with more clarity about what I want and like. Not others, not my kids, me. I am encouraged to be more deliberate in my choices and to frame them with intention. I learned my musical tastes are sadly out of date, so I was happily educated by our hosts, and can now gladly boast an awareness of what the cool kids are listening to. I mean, if one is to be educated on what is trending, on the cusp, in the now, the kids in southern California are the ones to do the teaching.





One of the things I have learned and read about in my meditation practice is that the point is not to stop thinking about things, because that's nearly impossible (at least for me). It's to slow down the flow enough to give those thoughts some space. Sometimes they pass as unimportant musings. Sometimes patterns emerge. In the big quiet space my mind cultivates, deeper thoughts are given room to grow and I am given the room to step back and see them. This trip did that for me. 



I am home with my girls now, unpacked and right back into our life of school days, meals, exercise, work, dates and the millions of things a mama has to remember. I am back having practiced slowing down, being quiet, listening and reflecting and there are some changes I am making, post-California adventure trip. There's a balance to be stricken between schedules and going with the flow. I like the flow. The flow is where some really intuitive, transformative stuff can happen. But also, dinners need to be made with groceries I have bought, you know? So, balance.

Also, I saw Adam Brody on the plane ride home, and it was a glorious end to the trip to see Seth Cohen and sing The OC theme song to myself as I was lifted above the earth and flown across the skies back home.

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