I usually take my holidays each July, and this year the two months before I left were especially loaded with work. So much so, that I felt a real need to disconnect physically and mentally.
If getting to July was difficult, personal issue arose in the last week that made it even more stressful. It all ended up draining the little energy that remained in my body. Literally. My body reacted and I left for my vacation with diarrhea that made me stop to listen to my body and take care of myself.
At last I got to the beach.
Undoing the suitcase and making plans to go out for dinner, I realized that the start of this holiday was going to be different, and that thought put me in a bad mood for more than awhile.
For me, the holidays officially start when I get to the beach and I sip my first beer. Here in Spain, beer is very popular because of the high temperatures in the summer. This is always followed by the first visit to our favorite restaurant in the port. And depending on how tired we are, we might end up having a delicious Gin & Tonic by the sea to celebrate that once more, we made it to the holidays. But this year none of that was going to be possible.
I went to the restaurant in a very bad mood and with a face of pity-rage-anger-despair. I ordered a bottle of water and boiled rice while my partner ordered his favorite pasta Arrabiata accompanied by Italian wine.
For a while I was hijacked by my own rumination, looking for somebody or something to blame for my illness. Trying unconsciously to get rid of my own discomfort and all the emotions that came with it. I was hardly aware of the boiled rice I was eating and how it was sitting in my body.
Sick and tired of my own moaning, I looked up, and for the first time I realized the beauty that was surrounding me. The moon, the beach, the boats, the lights, the breeze and my companion. I started feeling nurtured through my eyes with the beautiful sight and this helped feed my heart hunger. Yes, I was sick, but I also had a few weeks of rest ahead to recover and to enjoy. Close to my beloved sea.
Now there was space for my practice of being curious to come out, and a question crystallized: What if…? What if I do not open my holiday with the traditional beer? Would it feel less than a holiday? What if I eat light for a while? Will I die of hunger?
The days went by taking this question to different aspects of my life. What if I do not drink wine with the food today? What happens if I do not finish the plate and I ask for a doggy bag? What happens if I combine beach with exploring the volcanic mountains that surround the beaches? What if I get up early today to hike to the other town seeing the sunrise?
By being curious, what initially seemed a disastrous situation in my catastrophizing mind, became an enjoyable holiday in the same place but in a very different way — discovering new ways of eating, visiting new sites, engaging in new physical activities, and taking care of me in a more conscious way.
Because curiosity and consciousness are intimately linked. On the plate and in life.
Think of 3 things in your life where you normally say to yourself “Oh, no. I will never do this” or “Oh, no I can’t do that”. Is there any other way to approach this? What if you were curious rather than catastrophizing and negative?
Cuca Azinovic – Spain