Sometimes, I feel like I have been given such a great gift, this time: to reflect, inspect, be vulnerable, allow, give, love, accept. Each new experience forming the start of a solid foundation for my recovery.
Other times it feels like I have been awoken from the Matrix; stripped bare and raw, where everything hurts, is prickly and hard and bright. I stumble against each wave of new understanding, struggling to keep my foothold in the ever shifting sand. Some waves lift you up, others pull you under--treading water gets exhausting and you feel like it might just be easier to climb back in the fast-track, never stop, head down, don't think boat you abandoned because that just. might. be. easier.
These last few days, the few days after my vacation, left me wondering if I had made any progress at all in my recovery.
It was an all inclusive, luxury resort---the kind we could never afford and wouldn't even consider because I have never thought spending money on such a fleeting event was a good investment. This was a work bonus for the Spouse.....no cost to us.
On the rare times we have travelled my Perfectionista always loomed large and in charge insisting that if we were going to spend that money, everything should be planned to the minute and must go off without a hitch; everyone with smiles on as we run from place to place, getting the most value for our dollar. I never enjoyed myself and felt like any snag was my fault. Everyone MUST have a good time, after all, it cost a lot of money!
This trip, the pressure was off. My Perfectionista sat in a lounge chair, ordering chilled rainbows of non-alcoholic drink after drink, leaving some half consumed---guilt free. I spend many days with my behind planted firmly in a lounge chair, plodding sleepily down to the water to cool off when the sun got to be too much. It was heavenly. Wait staff wandered around singing while delivering food, the lawns were perfectly manicured, everyone was friendly, all of the time. They even raked the sand on the beach each morning for goodness sake! Sunset yoga, spa treatments, unlimited room service.
Ask and ye shall receive!
Above my lounger, palm leaves waved lazily, revealing slices of blue sky, while the salt-fresh breeze caressed my senses. It was decadent. I indulged--stretching each second as long as possible before letting it go to embrace the next. I was mindful. I was present.
Being in each moment, as it happened; going with the FLOW of the day; following my body's cravings was luxurious. When it was time to go, I felt the week had been a full seven days of self-love and self-indulgence.
I looked forward to returning home. I ached to hold my youngest and see my dogs. I looked forward to cuddling up on the couch and watching the birds; to seeing my sister and bringing this newfound peace with me into my home life.
The reality was, I returned to a house where my dog had been hurt and in an attempt to help her, my sister had picked her up and been bitten--several times. Thankfully a wonderful angel I met through my ADTP program came to her rescue and taken the dog to the vet and my sister to the doctor.
Her injuries meant dealing with the Health Unit, vet bills, recognizing that the house was a mess and the driveway deep with snow because she could not use her hands to take care of things.
I desperately tried to hold on to the fact that my youngest was fine, the house was still standing and all the dirt, bills, snow and the empty fridge could wait until tomorrow.
When tomorrow came, I turned into a whirlwind of activity. From wicker lounger to Ms. Clean...all the while tending my sister, her bandages, unpacking and the -30 degrees Celsius temperatures that froze my asthmas from its vacation with free flow breathing of warm, salty air.
I don't know how this works but for some reason, you can live in your house looking a certain way for some time. Then, you go away and come back and suddenly the toppling boxes of tea that fall into the dog's water bowl from your overstuffed pantry makes you want to scream!
The drawers are overstuffed.
The counter is too cluttered.
Why are there bags of wool on the floor behind the couch???
A flash light sitting on the dining room table? Really?
Pictures need to be downloaded.
Summer clothes put away.
Giant suitcases stuffed under the stairs.
Dust! Dust! Dust!
Did the dogs smell like this when I left?
Each new thing I saw felt like a brick being added to my backpack of self-worth.
I could have...clunk.
Why didn't I....clunk.
How come I am so....clunk.
I collapsed under the weight. The Spouse was away on business just 24 hours after our return and it felt like it was all too much. The worst was the lecture from my inner critic about how I could possibly feel this way after such a lovely trip.
I told her the difference between the life I had lead the past seven day and coming home was like chalk and cheese. Jamaica now seemed so fake...so unreal...so much of an escape from life.
Talking with my Sista Perfectionista yesterday, I frowned a lot as I tried to explain how I felt. She told me:
For people like us, who have chosen to do this sometimes difficult soul work; who are on this path; we don't want to escape life for seven days a year, we want to bring that peace and relaxation and mindfulness into EVERY day of our lives. That is why it felt so lovely to be there, but so fake at the same time. Everyone was happy and relaxed but it was not real....ya know?
She totally nailed it! While the trip provided an amazing experience I would never have taken upon myself to pursue, it also helped me find moments that I can bring into my every day life. I don't want to spent 25 weeks a year looking forward to seven days of utter luxury. I want to be able to take the sense of wonder, peace, connection, love, joy, indulgence, and integrate it in to my daily living practice.
I have captured the waves on video. I have photos of the sun setting. I have shells and stones and other treasures that will allow me to slip back to that place, even if for five minutes each day.
I choose to live in the space between chalk and cheese.