We all know that feeling, you have a BIG trip coming up and the preparation starts to consume you. You spend most of your time at work counting down the days to departure, check off the to-do-list before leaving, make all the arrangements so the family will survive while you are away, the list goes on.
The adventure begins and you finally get settled into your vacation 'routine', suddenly the underlying stress seems to melt away as you put life aside to be in the moment. Thoughts that may be going through your head include; why do I live where I do? People seem so much more happy here. If I/we lived here life would be so much better. When I get home I'm going to quit______. When I get home I'm going to start ______. Again the list probably goes on.
You arrive home and maybe you do stay true to the promises you made to yourself but more than likely you get back into your routine and jump right back on that hamster wheel and start dreaming of your next get away.
Well what if we chose to stop thinking "life would be better if", or "I'll be happy when". Of course these are natural human thoughts, we have access to so much, we live in a culture that thrives on having the biggest, best, newest things, yet often when we finally get to that place that we worked so hard to get to (ie- career, weight loss, new house) we still find ourselves un-satisfied or wanting more and before we know it are back on the hamster wheel. This may sound a bit exaggerated but even for the most mind-full of person there is some level of being able to relate.
Enter the practice of gratitude. Well this was my take-away from my BIG trip to Greece for our yoga retreat, and if I am being honest for me this meant finally accepting one of my life's biggest changes - moving 1045 miles away from home. Yes there are things I miss deeply and wish never changed, but accepting the current situation has helped to find more joy and gratitude in the day to day and what I think most important is that practicing gratitude now - when life is good will hopefully establish the habit for those days that life doesn't feel so good.
Here is a gratitude meditation you can do anywhere;
Bring your awareness to all those things from the day or week which you are grateful for. Begin with the simplest or most obvious things. Allow yourself to expand this concept to even the most abstract concepts; sometimes the most difficult situations may provide insight and resilience. You can then expand the time line to as far back as you like. After this practice, take a moment to notice what you feel in your body. Notice your mood, has it shifted? You can keep a gratitude journal as well (you can even find some cool journals online to help guide you).
Thankful for you all,
Peace & Love