Traveling on my own and being totally alone for 10 days I did expect to learn more about myself. I was not disappointed. I was not thrilled with everything that I discovered nor was I totally surprised.
When you have that much time to be alone, to practice and to meditate you can't help but re-connect with who you are, who you used to be and where you want to go. I found the asana practice easy and it just worked. While away I had very little if any back pain and felt as limber and flexible as ever. Whether I practiced on my balcony or on the beach I felt great and was so blessed to do it almost every day - even twice sometimes. My meditation practice was an entirely different story. I often tell my students that the most difficult thing to block out during mediation is the noises in your head. You can eventually forget about the birds, and cars and other noises but you cannot run away from your thoughts. My practice was no different. I thought that being in such a secluded place would make my mediation easy but no such luck. There were several days that I had to stop after five minutes due to frustration or other things that I needed to deal with and write down. I stayed present to the process and took care of myself.
I often struggle with food. I am not necessarily and over or an under eater I just nibble and don't remember to eat or I eat too much. In this environment I was able to be connected to my body and eat and drank when I felt like it. Much to my surprise I ate a lot less and less often than I feel I do at home. This could be because I was not constantly in contact with food and the choices available to me were for the most part healthy and always delicious. I also ate a purely vegetarian diet. I do this at home as well but it was nice not to have to prepare food with meat because someone else wants or needs it.
I was re-connected with my sleep pattern before having children. I like to stay up late, wake up early and have a nap when I can. I did this daily. I would go to sleep around 11 and sometimes later and was up and ready for yoga practice at 5:30 most mornings. My afternoon nap was accepted and enjoyed with relish. This is something I almost never get to do at home. My sleep at home is often erratic and interrupted. I wake up and go to bed tired and frustrated, something I never experienced once while being away.
I had my eyes opened to the reality of my personal life. I knew before I left that things in my life are not as I had wanted or planned for them to be. It is up to me now to change those things and make myself happy. I spend most of my daily life trying to ensure that everyone around me is happy and content. I have gotten lost somewhere along the way. Daily my time is spent making sure that my three children as well as the children I care for or the extra kids that are in my house are fed, content and have things to do. In the evenings I make sure my husband has what he needs before I head out to teach classes to give again to my students. I am learning that if I don't make sure that I am taken care of, no one is going to do that for me. My children won't that's not their job and my partner won't for his own reasons. It is all up to me. My expectations when traveling were to figure out what to do about my work situation. I was very surprised to have my personal situation put in my face, now I need to deal!
As for my work situation I know that needs to change but now I need to figure out how to do it. I want to teach yoga full time. I think that this endeavor is at least a year away. My daughter is still home with me full time and I cannot afford to place her in day care full time, nor do I want to. I would love to combine yoga and travel and have a few colleagues who do this. Taking people to foreign countries and teaching there is something that I would love to do.
For the mean time I will try to focus more on me. What makes me happy and what makes me tick. I still feel a bit lost but at least now I know what I need to be looking for.
Wow getting home is a bit like a slap in the face. I am trying very hard to be present with the process but I am overwhelmed. I have be alone all week. Free to sit and think about nothing, or something. Free to read a book, of which I read several. Writing in a journal, about what I am doing or random thoughts. Free to eat, drink and sleep when I wanted. Free to walk on the beach or sit and do nothing. Free to laze in a hammock or in my bed.
Returning to my normal life, nothing seems quite normal. Kids are yelling and talking and misbehaving or being sweet. There is bath time, snack time, teeth brushing, story reading and tucking in. Preparing snacks and lunches for the next day. Don't stay up to late because it all starts early tomorrow. None of this seems normal.
It is going from serenity to chaos. The question is how to merge the two? Can I? I want to, need to feel how I felt while I was away. But I also want and need the buzz of family life - I love my kids! How do I bring the calming and exciting experiences to my family and to my real life. I feel as if my trip was some how life altering, how come nobody sees it? Shouldn't my family be able to tell that I'm different? After all I noticed something different about each of them. I guess these are all lessons in being present. You cannot bring the past to the future, merge lives or anything like that. However you can try to be present in each moment and notice the beauty in all of them.
Still trying to maintain myself in all of this chaos sometimes seems impossible. I look for and crave that escape. This has nothing to do with not loving my children or wanting to be with them, or even wanting more. It has more to do with losing myself in all of this. I've found the past 24 hours of being home I feel angry, frustrated and tired. I should feel calm, happy and refreshed - but I don't. I had a wonderful trip but it seems as if I left that wonderful feeling on the tarmac or maybe even at the beach.
I want to feel wonderful again. At the beach I felt nothing but love and light. Love for myself and light within me. I made plenty of self discoveries that need to come to fruition. But how? Some of these will mean drastic changes for my life and some small. Change is good - this is how we grow and learn. Until then I need to practice being present in my home
I am heading to Koh Sumai, Thailand in 4 days and am very excited. I sadly received a message from my travel companion this morning telling me that she in unable to join me. Her mother who has been sick for some time needs her and if I were in her shoes I would do exactly the same thing. My heart goes out to her and her mother. Honestly I even thought of canceling my trip and meeting her in Vancouver instead. This I think would be overstepping and the loss of potentially a once in a life time opportunity for me.
I have never traveled this far before. I have never traveled this far alone before. The amount of work it took to make this happen seemed larger than life. I have three children, run a home day care and teach 2 yoga classes a week. I needed to find care for all three of my children, places for my day care children and subs for my classes. Not to mention the convincing it took for my husband to agree to me spending the money and taking the 10 days away from our family and our life. He is amazing for agreeing to it. I am lucky to have such a great partner.
My tickets have been purchased, my hotels booked and even my bags packed (I'm a bit of a planner). My friend telling me she couldn't make it threw me for a loop and I did think about canceling myself. But no, I may never have all my ducks enough in a row again to make this happen. I think in a way I was looking at her as a bit of a security blanket. She's been there before and knows her way around, I wouldn't have to do any ground breaking work. I was also a bit afraid of traveling alone. I did move to BC many years ago but I was 21 and had no responsibilities. I've never left my three kids or my husband for this long either, but I think I will get over that. Now going alone I will make all my own decisions about things I might want to do or not do. I will have no one to compromise with. My life currently with my family is full of compromise. From what I eat during the day to where we go and how we spend out money (or not spend it). This trip will be all about me. All about what I want and what I don't want. I can eat or not eat, I can go out or stay in and I don't need to check in with anyone but me. Now that's exciting. Do I need to travel half way around the world in order to do this. Probably not but since the arrangements are made I might as well.
I would still welcome and prefer to be there with my friend. We have not seen each other in over three years and I do miss her. I know she needs to be with her mom, her mom is a lovely woman. We will see each other soon I know! For now I look forward to my trip and all that it will have to offer. Yoga included I am even more positive.
I blogged earlier about my little brother commenting on my trip to Thailand and asking if I was going to "find myself". Since that post and maybe even before I have been thinking a lot about what I am going to do when I grow up. I feel as if in my early 20's I had the "grown up" job. I worked really hard, had long hours and made a ton of cash. I was single, or dating, had my one bedroom condo and a small car. My responsibilities included getting up and to work on time, paying my bills and meeting friends for dinner.
Life changed pretty quickly. I met my now husband, a few months later I was happily pregnant, we bought a house and were planning a wedding. My perspective on my great job changed. I no longer wanted to be away from my family. I wanted to be home with my baby and babies if we were to be blessed with more. I went back to work just in time to get pregnant again and then I quit my traditional job.
Home day care would be my next and current career move. One that I have returned to. Over the past few weeks I have been wondering if this is what I really should be doing. It is a really tricky job. On the one hand I love the kids. I have two wonderful little boys that I care for and I can honestly say that I love them. They have become like my own children. I would be heartbroken if they had to leave. On the other hand it is a very physically demanding job. I work long hours with no break. When my day is over and the children have gone home I am cleaning from the day that just passed and getting ready for the next one. This sometimes leaves me drained and not always able to care for my own children in the way I would like. I am sometimes left in pain from a car accident almost two years ago and this leaves me saddened. I am so lucky that I have two really great families, we have open communication and they are all really nice people. Having done this before this is truly half the "battle" so to speak.
My main reason for home day care is so that I can be home for my own children and also make a little bit of money. The alternative would be for me to go out and work and have to put my children in care. Something none of us want. My dilemma is that when my three children are in school I'm not sure I want to be doing his anymore, but what should I do.
Over these last few weeks I have been "trying on" different careers. I think of a job and look it up on the internet. Find out if I need education, how much it will cost and how long it will take. What I need to get started. What the hours will be and what kind of income I can make. I need to be able to take my children to school and be home when they get home. I also don't need to make a lot of money and from what I am drawn to I think alternative care or alternative type of work is what I would like. I am already a yoga teacher so if I could do something along with that I think I would be great. I guess you would say I am on a journey of self discovery. Teaching 3 - 4 yoga classes a day or mixing it with fitness sounds great but can I handle that physically - I don't know?
I am a planner so I know that I have time to figure it out. I want to be set up and ready when that time comes. Maybe I will leave it to the universe and the universe will figure it out for me? I could teach yoga full time or maybe become a photographer or maybe I could tell fortunes... whatever it is I am sure I will love it and I will be good at it. I welcome ideas from anyone. Tell me what you do and maybe I could "try that one" for a day or so.
Jennifer is an RMT, long time yoga practitioner and teacher. Follow her musings as an RMT, yoga teacher, prenatal educator and mother of three.