When I was a little girl living in Oxford, England, we used to go for a fortnight’s holiday to France every year, staying in a simple villa near a beach. Our lives in the city morphed into days of salty water, bright, bright sunshine, smells of bakeries, peaches and French cigars. The difference in the language, the food, the supermarkets and even the types of cars people drove made everything feel so exotic and all of this contributed to a feeling of special atmosphere, of having been lifted out of ordinary life, that I felt even at the ages of eight or nine years old.
But it is the coming back that I remember. As we switched from driving on the right hand side of the road, crossed the time/space boundary of the ocean between Le Havre and Southampton and found ourselves suddenly, increasingly, in more and more familiar territory I would press my face against the car window and feel something so profound it stands out to this day.
I had a sense that while nothing had changed, everything had.
That while we were only away for a mere two weeks, something inside me had shifted and the territory around me, though familiar, seemed to have shifted too.
It is fascinating that whenever we leave the routine and familiarity of our day to day lives and for however short a period time, we experience a sense of life touching us differently. As human beings, we take the energy of life deep inside us every time we breathe, and this creates a particular atmosphere inside us.
The scenery is enhanced somehow – the sights, sounds and smells more vivid. We can experience different parts of ourselves when we are away from home – feel new things blossoming and old things asking to be released. The common components of many of our holidays are the same and they include feeling relaxed, having more rest, doing more of what we love – reading, enjoying special company and meals, playing – and having an emerging expanded sense of time and space in which we feel comfortably at home.
We often have more immediate access to sources of intuition and inspiration, guiding us to having thoughts about things we want to do in our lives or change in our lives, when we get home. In short, our creative ability is ignited.
And with all of that, in this easeful sense of pleasure, a strong belief, an understanding – a knowing – that we can embody these feelings and experiences consistently, not just while we are away. Because they are closer to our natural state. We can take them home with us and they can take us home to ourselves.
But how? And when we step out of alignment with our natural state, how do we find our way back?
The Tantric meditation tradition has shown me that there are numerous techniques and practices to relocate me in this natural body of love. From accessing imaginable ability (meditating with photos and music and tastes and memories of your holiday) to using cellular memory (which is like muscle memory) to keep the vital energies that have been awakened coursing through our beings daily. These practices are simple, life enhancing and joy bringing. They involve meditating with our real selves and understanding how the overall sense of authenticity and belonging we often feel when we are away are, counterintuitively, showing us where our home truly is.
Next time you are away from home and feeling a sense of wider perspective and deeper self connection, explore through a journal or your own thoughts and meditations what those feelings are and where you are getting them from. When our beings are relaxed, our real needs and desires – the callings of our soul- come forward. On holiday, we can understand better what we have been missing in our lives and begin to explore how we might recreate that at home.
Write a list of some of those life enhancing qualities you have discovered.
While we can’t recreate the exact conditions of time away, once we identify the specific soul nourishing components, we can be more mindful of bringing them into our lives, even in bite sized pieces. It’s amazing how small gestures towards ourselves can turn on inner lights. For instance, just going to the library or bookshop and getting a good book and placing it on your bedside table so you know it’s there; taking an extra five minutes for yourself here and there; going to bed earlier, taking up a new activity you enjoyed on holiday, gazing at a beautiful view.
It’s an interesting thing and the truth that when we start giving ourselves the things that nourish and nurture us, the response in our being is so positive we are encouraged to give ourselves more and more. And the harvest we reap from planting all these little seeds is higher vitality, deeper meaning and a peaceful and joyful experience in precious lives.