Thursday, July 1, 2010

Living Life Rather Than Getting Through It

I had the privilege of getting away for a long weekend and finally enjoying the sun, sand, and water that I so look forward to as summer rolls in. Before the trip I had a feeling of restless anticipation, a sense of really needing to get away from the day to day craziness of Chicago. I felt like a little kid sitting by the door saying “Can we go yet?”

I wondered why I was so anxious to get away. As I settled into the first day of the vacation I began to slow down and enjoy all the benefits of vacation. Having no set schedule, nowhere to be, and no one expecting anything from me, I quickly settled into the leisurely pace of the small beach community. I soaked up the sun, read a great book, and enjoyed the peaceful flow of the waves. I began to realize how relaxed I felt and how good it was to just slow down. I noticed things that often get overlooked. The gorgeous blue sky, the pure joy on my dog’s face as he chased a Frisbee around the beach, the gestures of love and connection from my friends.

I had the sense of being reminded of what it is like to really be in the moment. So often I encourage clients and challenge myself to take time, give ourselves what we need, notice what we are feeling and needing, and appreciate all the many gifts of the day. Well these few days away from my routine were a great reminder of that. I felt like a bit of a different person, more connected and more at peace. You can argue it was because I was on vacation but this same sense of being doesn’t always settle into every vacation.

As I returned home I began to think of ways that I could emulate this vacation experience. I realized how many choices in my day that keep me from having this sense of peace and connection with myself. I too often don’t give myself enough time and end up feeling rushed, always a few minutes behind schedule or screeching in right on time. I make lists that I feel like have to be done today, right now as if the world will end if everything isn’t taken care of. I choose mindless distractions rather than things that will really enrich my day. I let the tasks of the day or frustrations of the day interfere with really connecting and just being with others.

The time away was not just a few days to get refreshed, enjoy a place I love and people I love. It was a reminder to slow down in every day of life and start to incorporate these little things throughout my days so I can have that same sense of peace and connection. Creating the time and space for ourselves is so crucial and yet so often gets pushed to the side. I wonder what things you may want to incorporate into your days and also consider what aspects of the day interfere with this time needed for ourselves. I hope a few moments of a peaceful lazy summer day can be incorporated to both my days and yours.

Jennifer Schurman, MA, LPC

Jen sees individuals, couples and families for therapy as well as leads the Monday evening Eating Disorder Therapy Group. She can be reached at (773) 929-6262 x 20 if you would like more information.

No comments:

Post a Comment