This summer I was lucky enough to take a 3-week holiday to Ireland. Home to more family on my husband’s side than I can count, my favourite big-old trees and a heck of a lot of places to see.
My heart was full the whole time, just like it was the last time I visited 9 years earlier. The difference this time though, was all in my mind. On the last trip, I was a brand-new mother, struggling to sleep and worried about basically everything. What if my boy can’t sleep? What if I get sick? What if we get in a car crash? Really. It was a constant dialogue in my head about what problems could possibly occur.
I drank the same cups of tea as I did before, smiled, and truly appreciated everything I was experiencing, but this time it felt completely different to me on the inside. The reason, (I know for a fact) is because for the last 7 years I have made it my biggest priority to care for my mental well-being by practicing mindfulness and meditation every single day.
No one would know by looking at me. I’m still the same brown-haired, green-eyed girl I was before. I literally even brought one of the same shirts I did on my first trip (update: I finally let it go when I realized this).
The castles and coastlines of Ireland are just like I remembered although nothing about the way I experienced it was the same. My conversations were calmer, deeper and more grounded. My senses were invigorated instead of overwhelmed. My mind. Oh, my mind. My mind was present. And what a freeing feeling that is. Of course, I still had fleeting thoughts of worry as any person would, but this time it didn’t feel like those thoughts were defining ‘who I was’. The thoughts were just thoughts. They were something I could choose to let go of or to hold on to. They had loosened their control of my mind and therefore, my experience.
So how did this change happen? Slowly. Quietly. Beautifully. With every little intention I set as I sat quietly in the morning no matter where I was in the world. All the moments that I had taken for myself for the past several years supported me. They piled up inside me, even though I didn’t always know it was happening. Purposeful, inner awareness helped guide my thoughts to be more positive, rational and real.
I share this now as I think about all the amazing adventures you may be taking in your own life. Whether they be new things or revisiting the old, my hope is that we can all be a little more mindful of the thoughts we choose to carry with us.