Hands up who loves holidays?!
Yup, me too!
Every moment on holiday feels so precious doesn’t it? (and not only because you know how much you’ve paid for the privilege of being there!) Sunsets and stars get watched, food and kisses are really savoured, conversations with loved ones expand and deepen. Hours and days are spent having fun, relaxing, resting, exploring, just ‘being’. Every experience just seems so much more vivid and alive… Away from our usual habits, commitments and distractions time slows down enough to notice and savour all the small pleasures of life that usually just fly by in a blur.
And it’s not just about having the time to notice, there’s also something about being in a different frame of mind. After all, when you’re on holiday you’re actively looking for all the good things because if you’re going to bother booking a holiday, travelling and paying for it all, then you’re sure as hell going to make the best of it!
But holidays have one fatal flaw: they end.
Unless you are incredibly wealthy sooner or later most of us have to pack up and head home, back to work and our busy, busy lives. So if we only get to go away every now and again (and some of us, maybe never) what does that mean for the rest of the year? That we’re just plodding through our lives waiting for those few precious weeks of bliss?
What if we could feel that alive and awake to our experiences at home too?
I ask ‘what if?’ because it’s a question I’m still living, one I don’t have the answer to yet.
Within a few days of returning from holiday in Cornwall I can already feel my old habits closing in again and it’s so frustrating. Why is it that rather than watching the sunset (which is just as beautiful here as it was in Cornwall after all) I have instead been sat here watching Orange is the New Black for the past two hours?! Old habits die hard I suppose…
But I do get glimpses sometimes, a sense that it’s possible to find those moments of beauty and connection at home too, if we don’t let our routines and habits dull us to them. Like last night, when my partner and I took our beloved dog out for a walk and stopped to sit by the river. We gasped at the exotic turquoise flash of a kingfisher, laughed at the excitable puppy who just couldn’t control her excitement in meeting us, and drooled over juicy blackberries in the hedgerows. These moments of beauty are all around us, even in our ‘normal’, humdrum lives, if we only remember to look…
So this is a note to myself:
You don’t have to wait until your next holiday to experience life’s pleasures.
You just have to slow down for long enough to notice the beauty that’s already here.
Try this: start training yourself to notice the beauty around you by writing down 10 pleasant experiences you have today.
They could be as small as the warmth of the sun on your skin, the sound of birds singing, a beautiful sky, a delicious cup of tea, the touch of a loved one’s hand. If you can, try to write them down when they happen, while the sensations are still vivid. What do you notice?
I’ll be doing this practice myself over the next few days and will be back to share some of my experiences soon! Feel free to share your own experiences too.