This post includes a few tips, tricks and trends to help you travel, wander and move about a bit easier and healthier.
Napcabs at the Airport – as long as they are maintained and sanitized, I am all in for a moment of quiet meditation at JFK.
Smartphone Hotel Keys – This can’t happen soon enough. How many times have you had to return to the front desk with a plastic card key that just didn’t turn that tiny light green?? Now available at select Hilton Hotels.
A few more travel tips . . .
1Above creates drinks that will help people avoid jet lag. The brand’s products are available in refillable bottles and concentrates, which help to feed the body with six electrolytes and six essential vitamins to help the body naturally release energy. Available on AmazonJetLag Drink
LinkNYC is the ambitious plan to replace all of New York’s obsolete phone booths with Wi-Fi-broadcasting towers.
and more travel hacks. . .
My favorite Umbrella ever – covers you and never blows out in gusty Manhattan storms.
And for sunnier days and warmer seasons – an awesome idea. Free public sunscreen. This summer the city of Boston installed sunscreen dispensaries at no cost to taxpayers, thanks to skin cancer organizations like the Melanoma Foundation of New England and Make Big Change.
With mindfulness we live in the present moment. This is not, however, where most of us currently spend a lot of time. We topple forward into the future and worry about the next day or month or year. We think about what happened yesterday or last week or five years ago. We plan a vacation for months, then when we’re finally lounging on the beach, our mind drifts off to the problems we left at home. The habit of being a little (or a lot) ahead of ourselves, living in the past, or lost in fantasy, extracts an enormous price: We miss out on our life.
Call it what you will, bliss, contentment, excitement, enthusiasm, well-being, enchantment — happiness is a skill, a skill that needs to be trained and practiced daily. My mind and body training includes a daily ritual (beginning around 5:30 am) of gratitude prayer, stoic philosophy studies, meditation practice, workout training (running, hiking, biking, swimming and high intensity interval training) and learning something new every single day.
Self- experiment for the day – to pay very careful, non-judgmental attention to the contents of my consciousness in the present moment. To watch my mind – to bring my soul into harmony with itself, and not let my purpose be out of tune. Seneca wisdom Letters from a Stoic (Penguin Classics) Why all this mind watching? Because it’s a over-crowded zoo in there.
Through the Lens of Thought
What lens are you using? The way we see and think about things is the most powerful force that shapes our lives. Any impoverished thoughts that are brought into our perception are like poison for the brain. This would be thinking that is deprived of richness or strength; thoughts that are limited or depleted. Yeah, these thoughts have to go. Inspired by the wisdom of Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
Biking Plantation Run & Coconut Muscle Mylk from COMO Parrot Cay
Rode the sweet four-mile palm-covered path to the fresh coconut plantation on Parrot Cay. Yes they grow their own and serve it up for breakfast daily.
Coconut Muscle Milk
This delicious drink speeds muscle recovery by reducing inflammation and replenishing electrolytes and nutrients with 1 banana, 1/2 cup young coconut water, 3 slices of coconut meat, a teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 cup of almond milk, handful of flax seeds, 3 dates and a few cocoa beans. Blend and replenish.
‘Man needs reckless courage to descend into the abyss of himself.”– Yeats
Somewhere along the line, over the course of a few decades – between paying the monthly mortgage, grinding through the 50 + hour work week, suffering through the daily three hour commute, sitting in front of a screen for eight to ten hours, my heart-felt dreams faded into the background and literally sailed off into the far-away sunset. I’d forgotten how to dream. I became fearful of the “unknown”. I felt like I was leaning forward, tumbling into the fear of the future.
No More Fear
Around this time last year, I reached a point. The point where my mind, body and spirit just said no to the manic attempts to run from my life and bury myself in work and possessions.
“A time comes when you know that you can no longer wallpaper your soul.”
This deep inner reflection takes rigorous daily practice, because if you are or were stuck like me, you need to unwind the tape and reverse back into your own true nature to discover the deepest natures of your fear. It’s a painful path and the self-delusion must cease to exist. Every excuse you make is nothing more than an attempt to justify why you are not doing what you truly dream.
Interesting side note: the phrase “do not be afraid” recurs 366 times in the Bible. think about that.
What is truly important
After shining a flashlight in the face of fear I have discovered -what my heart really longs for is deep love, connections, peace-of-mind, serenity, calmness, security and freedom.
Now I know, one does not need to travel to find any of this, but re-igniting a sense of adventure also helps set the course.
So this is one of the reasons I yearn and plan to visit Bali and the Maldives. Yes they are on the dream bucket list and yes I am determined to visit, what I believe a place for a soul retrieval – a slice of nirvana – heaven on earth.
I’ve been inspired by others who have gone and have raved about the experience.
I’m just back from Como Shambhala Estate, and life has not been the same since. Spread out across the lip of the Ayung River Valley, about 10 kilometres from Ubud in Bali’s green hinterland, Como Shambhala is a silken, holistic health resort, one of the world’s finest, according to the arbiters of such places, a “Retreat for Change” by its own definition.
Bali and the Maldives. Mother nature provides the magic.
I would love to know, I am very curious, what does your heart long for?
Have you thought about what pace feels right for you? At times I do have a need for speed and love the energy and creativity that feels supercharged in big cities like Manhattan. Right now, I feel the need to breath deeply, chill out and slow down to refocus. Not unplug, just down shift to first or maybe second gear.
Something clicked the minute I stepped off the plane at Providenciales. An assuring voice inside my head delivered a comforting message “a more intentional pace.” This slower island pace. Not the harried, brisk and hurried hustle of New York, but the more deliberate and intentional easiness, much like the gentle movement of the waves and soothing breezes of this island. I am not describing a snail-like, creeping, lazy/boozy pace, but that of speaking, thinking, walking and working which is more conscious, considered and purposed. More thoughtful living. This is the pace for now.
And so it goes with meals, especially meals together. My memories of my youth bring me back to four hour dinners around the long outdoor communal table, under the grapevines, with my loud and excited extended Italian family. The never-ending conversations, the slow and relaxed experience of enjoying a meal together.
The Art of Slow and Mindful Eating begins with an intention to create an experience. Setting the mood, dimming the lights, selecting soft and slower music and smaller plates, create an atmosphere for mindful eating. Imagine setting a stage to enjoy and savor your meal. This mindful eating ritual can be extended to any meal – from breakfast to dinner. For more tips on mindful eating, check out Dara Rose, PhD, neuroscientist, foodist, author and the creator of Summer Tomato.
I start my meals by saying grace. Sometimes privately, sometimes with my family. Saying grace can transform a mere meal into an act of celebration, focus, and gratitude.
Listening to meditation talks from Tara Brach, I actually envisioned what she describes as “A Sky Like Mind“, a more expansive mind that allows me to open to the very healing, healthy and beautiful moment that is right now, this healing presence. Tara’s podcasts and book, Radical Acceptance has really helped release the fear, worry and pain that stems from the mental swirl of anxious activity, the grasping and wanting that only proves to enslave my mind.
It is by meeting each moment throughout the day with radical acceptance for what ever is going on and holding those feelings that arise with a compassionate and open heart, a forgiving heart, this is feels like true freedom.
With everything moving at a slower pace this week, I had the opportunity to try Pilates class for the first time. One of the slowest classes I have attended in a long time, a slight pick up from yoga, nothing about the Pilates Method is haphazard. The reason you need to concentrate so thoroughly is so you can be in control of every aspect of every moment. The one reminder that I have walked away with today is Active Abs and focusing on my posture, especially when sitting at my desk for hours at end. Two exercises to help you feel your abdominal muscles correctly.
If you live in America in the 21st century you’ve probably had to listen to a lot of people tell you how busy they are. It’s become the default response when you ask anyone how they’re doing.
Busy, so busy, crazy busy.
It is is pretty obviously a boast disguised as a complaint. And the stock response is a kind of congratulation. “well that’s a good problem to have!” “Better than the opposite.”
This frantic self-congratulatory business busyness is a distinctly upscale affliction. Notice it isn’t people pulling back to back shifts in the ICU or those taking care of their senescent parents or holding down three minimum wage jobs that have to commute to by bus, who need to tell you how busy they are. What those people are is not busy but tired, exhausted, dead on their feet.
It’s almost often said by people who’s lamented business is purely self-imposed- work and obligations they’ve taken on voluntarily. Classes and activities they’ve encouraged their kids to participate in. They’re busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety because they are addicted to busyness and dread what they might face in its absence. – excerpt fromTim Kreider’s “The Busy Trap”
The Art of Slow Travel
I’m leaving this Sunday for an impromptu week on Turks & Caicos – Parrot Cay to be precise. My husband was called down on a design and build mission and I get to tag along. You see we don’t do vacations, we do “adventures”. Sailing excursions where we squeeze six humans on a 35 foot boat for 18 days. Camping trips with small babies up the Cape coast for three weeks. I don’t really understand the concept of doing nothing. It frightens me like nothing else.
So, unfortunately, I’m already worried about the wi-fi. Really? Well there goes 100 hours of meditation practice down the drain. Will I have a bike? 24/7 internet access? transportation to island hop? Access to anything I might, need, want, desire? What if I get tired of the beach? Will I be “trapped” on this beautiful slice of heaven? And to think I’ve been dreaming of going on a silent meditation retreat. Who am I kidding? Laughing very hard at myself right now.
This neurotic anxiousness of being left out (a bit of FOMO I gather) reminds me of a brilliant essay that Tim Kreider wrote for The New York Times a few years ago. It’s called Lazy, a Manifesto. For anyone who feels the same, it’s a quick must read- the full essay here The Busy Trap, Tim Kreider and one of my favorite book of short essays buy the same author –
While I do feel incredibly blessed with this opportunity to go, I ask myself, how will I learn to slow down, savor and enjoy this gift of a “vacation”? Perhaps I will meditate on Thich Nhat Hanh’s advice and enjoy a moment of nothing.
If you can find a moment to sit, wherever you are, stay there and enjoy nothing. Just enjoy your in-breath and out-breath. Don’t allow yourself to be carried away by your thinking, worries or projects. Just sit there and enjoy doing nothing; enjoy your breathing and the fact that you are alive . . .