Sometimes In The Presence Of, You Find the Absence
Last Friday, late at night as I was packing yet again, I found myself crying and just not wanting to leave home. It stemmed from being overtired and a really busy schedule the month before. Now after the trip I was so teary about is over, I am so happy I went.
I flew to the West Coast to an event in Calistoga that I was being paid to produce content about. The category was beauty and the place was a spa. I always get a little anxious before my jobs and was already feeling overwhelmed. I felt as tight as that bug that kind of folds into itself and curls up in a ball. My slumped shoulders from bending over my computer were halfway there.
The first tiny letting go occurred in the car as we traveled through the beautiful Napa Valley and I began to breathe in air that was clean, fresh and light. The colors, especially the greens and purples, were pure and lovely. I guess the very first absence I noticed is that I live in a place that does not have clean air and is dirty. When you breathe air that is pure you discover that you are always breathing air that is thick and heavy with particulates and that comes with the territory in a large urban setting.
The second letting go occurred after checking in and settling into what was essentially my own cottage. Sliding doors opened onto an outdoor area with a trellis awning that kept me cool but allowed some soft sun to come through. Comfortable cushioned chairs and a foot rest let me recline and unfold a little more and lo and behold there was silence. It was strange and unfamiliar. As I sit here writing this from my home on a busy NYC avenue I am aware of the constant barrage of noise and fast moving sights that is ever present. I am never just sitting outside, I am always traveling through. I closed my eyes, just felt the softness of the air and lost the ever present impulse that I should or ought to be doing something. I just was.
The next time it happened was when I found myself having readily available and complimentary spring water everywhere I went. I could always choose still or sparkling. From the refrigerator in my studio, to the large urns of it filled with fruit or cucumbers and mint or bottles at every table, I realized that despite thinking so, I actually do not drink enough water. Having water so available also resulted in me drinking way less coffee and I did not experience my usual afternoon slump. There is also something to be said about drinking sparkling water with lime from a delicate and lovely goblet.
Beginning my day with a yoga class on fresh, fragrant and bright green grass in the early morning sun was a profound experience in that I realized the multiple benefits like stretching, paying attention to breathing and relaxing are not present in my exercise of choice and necessity: walking. My sore upper arms and back today show me that there are strength benefits too. A facial, an upper body massage and a soak in a mineral tub throughout the day found me completely uncurled and filled with a deep relaxation and sense of wellbeing. Wow, I really do not take as good care of myself as I thought I was.
Open, hydrated and rested I was treated to a cooking class that had us making and eating a meal that supported the anti-inflammatory eating plan suggested by the doctor who developed the products I had come to find out about. The smells, colors and simplicity of eating fresh produce and the relaxing ritual of patiently chopping and preparing food made me realize how infrequently I do this and how often I am eating on the run. The salad alone made me happy.
Despite thinking I was executing a fairly healthy lifestyle and feeling much gratitude about the good health I have been blessed with in spite of it all, I realized there is so much more I could institute to ensure it. I realized that my idea that beauty comes from the inside out is not just about knowing yourself and your sense of style but also from the state of health inside that shows in your skin and in your presentation to the world.
The final wisdom came from the Chief Marketing Officer of the brand who shared with me some research that the best time to make changes is not the New Year, as is the popular belief, but rather in conjunction with the beginning of the school year. You get new clothes, new notebooks and pencils and then you institute a new structure along with new habits and according to him, that makes it more likely that the changes will stick. So the timing is perfect for me to start buying some new vegetables along with new clothes and throwing some yoga classes into my new fall planner. As I move back into the academic calendar and prepare my transition out, the timing is just right.
Stay tuned to see what happens.
Do you ever find yourself starting new habits before "school starts" or are you a New Year person"?