WE WENT AWAY FOR A MONTH. We had a few things in mind. Get away from the cold. Live someplace beautiful and quiet. Visit the west coast part of our family. Celebrate our granddaughter’s sixteenth birthday.
Our biggest intent was to discover what we really like, want, and feel. We figured that would include breaking some old habits, making some new ones, and keeping the ones that work.
We certainly got away from the cold. We loved seeing our family. We definitely stayed someplace beautiful and quiet.
Although I lived in California for thirty years I had never visited Fallbrook. where we stayed. (In the Morro Hills area.) We used Airbnb and Del found us a quiet, out of the way place, with a stunning view.
It was an extraordinary beautiful place to walk and say hello to lovely people, loud peacocks, peaceful horses, friendly dogs, and sky floating hawks, and have huge stretches of thinking and quiet time.
Did we discover what we want, like, and feel? Did we break old habits, keep ones we liked, and make new ones? Yes and no.
First, let me say, it is much easier to break habits when you are someplace new. Coming back to an old environment makes it harder to keep them. But, I am leaping ahead.
For me, I wanted to lighten up, meant in as many ways as possible. One of the first things we did was get me a Fitbit. I hadn’t thought of getting one, but Del had one and loves it, so I listened to him and bought it.
This turned out to be a great decision because I learned things I didn’t know, or had fooled myself about. I think of myself as very active. Discovered that I was not. That answered a few questions right there.
One intent was to walk every day and with the Fitbit it was easier to keep that intent. Fitbit says, “Walk 10,000 steps a day.” That turned into what was a general walking around plus at least three miles a day. I got better at it too, which meant I had to walk further as my stride increased from walking up and down hills.
We did yoga almost every day, and Del had lots of time to practice his Taiji.
In keeping with the lightening up, we also started drinking what we ended up calling our yum-yum drink, designed to detox. Of course, it wasn’t yum-yum, but it turned out to not be too bad after all, and I loved the lightening effect. It starts with three drinks a day, and after two weeks goes to just one.
Walking and drinking yum-yum and almost daily yoga are habits I kept, although I admit I didn’t walk on the cold days we returned to. And I have to continue adding distance to get 10,000 steps as I walk better and better.
Under the idea of lightening up, I didn’t cook at all. We drank two meals a day using Soylent. We have been doing that for at least one meal a day for over a year, and are big fans of it. Saves time, less costly then regular food if that means anything, and is a complete-in-every-way-food. I actually love the stuff.
We didn’t eat other meals in the regular way. We both ate when we wanted to. If we wanted to have chips and salsa from the best chips and salsa place in the world (that’s what they say) for solid food, we did. A lot!
Every few days we went out to eat. Our favorite place turned out to be a Thai restaurant in Fallbrook. It would be a habit we would continue if they would just put their restaurant here in out of the way Ohio.
I was able to be vegan the whole time. It’s easier in California. That made me happy. I have been a vegetarian for over 30 years, which has become easier even in Ohio, for which I am grateful.
We gave up the habit of eating sugar. I thought that would be hard. I was astonished to find out it was easy for me, except for the social part. Just like being a vegan it has a social drawback. But, not much of one.
Yes, I kept all those habits since we have been back. However, I noticed the habit of eating a sugar snack (like chocolate) at different times during the day called me more often then when we were away. But, not enough to say “yes” to it.
The hardest habit to maintain though was the one of not doing anything for long stretches of time. I continued to work while we were gone, coaching, writing, and teaching, and was still able to have those long drawn out quiet times.
But, now that we are back, the small details of life and work have returned and those long stretched out periods of time are hard to find.
But, at least I am noticing that I keep getting pulled back into too much doing. So I keep asking myself if I am doing what I want to be doing? Yes, for the most part. For both of us, that remains an open discussion, as I believe it should.
Although I worked on my new book almost everyday during that month, I haven’t gotten back into that habit yet. I will though!
Life is about expansion, not contraction. That requires a continual awareness to what we are doing, and thinking. That habit I hope to keep getting better at with practice and more practice.
Within days of returning we both went through the house and filled bags and bags with clothes and things to give to the mission. We realized that we lived easily out of two smallish suitcases for a month, so felt pulled down by stuff in the house. I started a new mantra for us, “I am not the owner of stuff.”
We will continue with that habit. Try it, it might help lighten up your life too.