Sunday, June 23, 2013

The View from Home

Vacation's over. Luggage is unpacked. Sand is shaken out of sandals and beach towels. Shoulders are peeling and swimsuits are stuffed back into drawers. Other than kitschy souvenirs, tan lines and fuzzy cell phonier photos, what do we bring back with us into our regular lives of work, home and family life? I'd like to think I can keep the sense of peace and calm I had on our trip, and sustain it as I juggle seeing clients, shuttle my child to endless summer activities and find time to pay the bills and change the sheets that are still on the bed from BEFORE we left. Why is that such a staggering task? Just days ago, I was enjoying a poolside cocktail, oblivious to the demands of voicemail and the deadlines of paperwork. I was watching the wind shake the fronds of the palm trees and hanging my son's bathing suit over the hotel balcony railing to dry in 95-degree heat. clearly, we vacation to get away from our everyday lives and to refuel ourselves to be able to face the challenges of our stressful lives. How do we keep the "glow" of our downtime from fading? I haven't discovered any easy answers, nor have I been successful in keeping the pressures of life from crowding out my bliss within days of returning home. Sometimes it helps to spend a few minutes scrolling through those lopsided phone photos. Or to use the time between appointments to close my eyes and remember the sensation of zipping down the water slide, my son whooping and hollering behind me. I pick up the seashell and study it's ridges and dips, catching the faint whiff of sea water trapped in it's whorls, and I let the sense of ease wash over me, like the waves washed over my feet as I huddled in the sand just days ago. There's no way to keep the vacation energy flowing as easily in "real life" as it does when we're off in the tropics. But using our sensory memories, reviewing photos and shared memories with those we vacationed with, and taking time out daily to slow down our bodies with focused breathing, stretches and sitting quietly can keep us moving forward, at least until the next chance we get to unplug and head out of town.