A Year In Spain
A Year In Spain
My family and I are moving to Spain for a year! Many of you know that I am not really a throw-caution-to-the-wind kind of person. I am quite deliberate and relatively careful. I’d call myself a calculated risk-taker. I’ve both thought and felt my way through this decision for many moons and it is clear to me that NOW IS THE TIME! There are a lot of boring details about the WHY of that but what is most important is this: I want one year with my husband and my 11 and 8 year old daughters in order to experience life without working out the family/work balance. I want to know what it feels like to direct all of my attention to a present moment experience without the pull of commitments. I want my girls to experience a year when they are truly at the center of their parent’s attention - that the relationships between all of us are not just what is most important but what actually take priority every day.
So we are going to take a calculated risk together and leave our jobs, our friends, our extended family and everything familiar and go on an adventure.
Here are a few things on my "to-do" list while I’m gone:
1. PRACTICE THE DIFFICULT ART OF NOT BEING IN A RUSH
What I absolutely know is that my life truly nourishes me. It is not what I actually do that is stressful or draining. It is the amount of things I do and all of the transitions between activities that tend to both deplete and stress my nervous system. My intention is to adjust my level of activity to stay both calm and energized throughout the day and to practice moving through transitions with the same level of attention and engagement that I bring to the actual activity.
2. MAKE MORE TIME FOR NOTHING
We are constantly processing information - most often by sensing and thinking. But what about paying attention to our emotions? What about our imagination and our intuition? These are essential ways of understanding ourselves and our world and they require spaciousness. They require having time to rest quietly alone in river gorges with stunning rock formations at our backs as well as enjoying two hour meals with mind-altering kinds of conversations with our loved ones. They require whole days that are open-ended that may or may not begin on a wandering path and may or may not end in a Flamenco bar where clapping and stomping is felt deep inside the center of a body. So I am committing to less doing and more nothing.
3. BE AN APPRENTICE TO PRESENCE AND COME INTO A MORE SUBTLE AND VIBRANT EXPERIENCE OF EMBODIMENT
We’ve all had experiences when we are able to fully take in both the inner and outer landscape of a moment. We are wholly aware of the sounds, smells, tastes, sights, and textures surrounding us. At the same we attend to our sensations, emotions, thoughts and images. There is a kind of exquisite listening that happens in these moments. We are present in both body and mind. It is in these moments that I feel most alive. I want more of these more often. I want to practice this kind of presence until it becomes my default mode.
4. EXPERIENCE MOMENTS OF CONNECTION PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN TO ME
I don’t think that we can make this happen but I think #1, #2 and #3 are practices that create the possibility for #4. So my intention is to ask myself each day whether I practiced. There are a long list of goals that might get in the way of my to-do list, i.e. climbing, yoga, meditation, studying flamenco, learning Spanish, getting through my reading list and creating new programs. The trick will be to balance activity with spaciousness. My intention is to not squander this precious time we’ve created for our family AND to remember that no effort is ever wasted (-Bhagavad Gita). This is not a forced march to enlightenment but a meandering, faltering, exploration with twists and turns and a lot of great food along the path.
I know I don’t have to go to Spain to do all this. But I do believe that sometimes we just need to check-out. To take a break from work and our current culture. To put down our phone, stop listening to the news, get out of our cars and find a new environment that supports growth.
Sometimes that happens in morning meditation or a fabulous hike. Sometimes it’s on a Snowbird or Costa Rica retreat, or during a Gayatri practice (admitted shameless self-promotion right there) and sometimes it takes a huge possibly once in a life-time journey.
So Spain it is! I hope this note inspires you to take your own version of Spain. To find a moment to pause and explore outside of your comfort zone. And I hope I will be able to cross paths with you between now and June. I have a few more offerings if you want to connect before I leave.