I just got back from a week away with my family. We went to a cottage in Northern Ontario. The weeks leading up to the trip were hectic. I traveled for work, then came back and frantically packed up our home to move. We had one week in our new home before it was time to head out for our family vacation. My mind was not completely ready to be in vacation mode.
I haven’t been on a one week holiday in a long time and I felt a bit like I was dropped into it from a helicopter. Aaaand....relax! If only it worked that way.
I spent the first few days experiencing the gap between my expectations vs reality. Unconsciously I had expectations around what the cottage would be like, how we would spend our time, but mostly the gap I struggled with was around how I expected to feel.
Expectations vs reality. What is vs what isn’t. Needing to control vs letting go.
I could feel my discomfort. But I know myself well enough to know that discomfort isn’t the problem at all. The discomfort is only pointing towards something that I am making a problem.
I made it a problem that reality wasn’t meeting my random expectations (which weren’t that clear to begin with). I made it a problem that the kids were being annoying (they are adorable and just being kids). I made it a problem that I didn’t have much time alone to just be (it wasn't that kind of vacation).
After a couple of days, I took a step back from it all and said, let it be. Accept it all and allow yourself to receive the gifts that come from things exactly as they are.
By day three I noticed all the wild raspberry bushes that lined the road between our cottage and the beach. We took our time to look for the juiciest, plumpest ones and ate as we walked.
By day four I realised that there were 2 or 3 monarch butterflies that were visiting us daily in the same spot. They danced around us and each other, delighting us all every time.
By day five I fully embraced stepping outside with my daughter and niece in my pyjamas, coffee in hand, to greet the morning and the two bluejays that called to us from the big maple in the garden.
By day six I felt my nervous system ease into my surroundings. The sounds of rushing or lapping water, the creaking tall majestic trees and feeling the weather change moment to moment...I began to feel it all in my body. I also noticed I had the best few nights of sleep that I’ve had in months.
It was just the reminder I needed that discomfort is not a feeling to be afraid of. Discomfort is almost always a sign of growth. A sign that you need to let something go to receive something new. A sign that it's time to just accept things as they are.
There was a time in my life when being in control was absolutely necessary for me to get through. It was a survival mechanism. But I don’t need it in the same way anymore. And it’s time for me to realise that holding on tight will only keep me stuck in the past. The only way through to to the other, more expansive side is by letting go. And allowing for the discomfort to pass.
What I want to leave you with today are two thoughts:
1. There is only a month of summer left. If you haven’t already taken time off, please book it now. You need it more than you probably realize. And even if you don’t have grand plans, just take the time for you. Feel yourself unwind as the week (or weeks) pass. You don't need to make the time productive in any way. Don't put pressure on time off. Just allow it to be "off". That is truly enough. What matters most is not what you're doing. What matters is how you feel while doing it.
2. Consider where your discomfort lies. What makes you feel uncomfortable? Is it speaking up and sharing your unique point of view? Is it saying no when you normally always say yes? Is it needing to control when the situation doesn't require it? Sometimes what was our superpower can become our kryptonite. If we hold on for too long, we begin to see that what was once our superpower is now holding us back. I invite you to grow through the discomfort of what no longer serves you in order to to allow your new super powers to emerge.
Kena (Founder, All You Are)