Sometimes I tend to use meditation as a tool “when I need it,” which often translates to those moments when I’m overworked and stressed out.
Last week, I brought my practice with me on vacation to New Orleans. I was traveling there to meet two dear friends from college. Oftentimes when I travel, I put pressure on myself to do, do, do, without meditation because that’s usually something I save for “when I need it.” This time I tried something different when I first arrived. Instead of rushing immediately to the bicycle rental place, I let myself lay in bed for 20 minutes to do a body scan.
At first my mind spoke up in frustration: “But you should be out exploring! You have a limited amount of time!” As I focused on the way each part of my body felt, relaxing along the way, my mind’s protests became a bit softer.
Sometimes when I work so intensely in NYC and then give myself a break, it’s the break taking that requires the most practice. That transition from work to vacation has never come easily to me, but through meditation I feel myself receiving the break as an opportunity to just be in another place.
I’m brought back to that famous Jon Kabat-Zin title, Wherever Your Go, There You Are. When I go on vacation, taking those moments to catch up with myself, to locate myself in the geographic location that I travel to before exploring my surroundings, will only enhance my experience.
I ended each day in New Orleans with a body scan before going to bed.