Growing up I’ve done a fair bit of moving houses, moving schools, moving countries. Sorting through all your belongings, taking things apart and boxing them up and away is a huge task that requires lots and lots of planning. My parents have become quite adept at living in a house which is half dismantled, sleeping in beds that have packing material all around it…the last week of packing is chaos!
And this time I was with them to watch them packing one last time after a long career in the foreign service.
But oh! the chaos! However, I’m a practicing yogi, so I wasn’t going to let the chaos affect my oasis of calm in the midst of a raging storm. So here’s how you can maintain your zen even when everyone around you is losing theirs.
1. Use the heavy boxes to build arm strength. Lift ’em up, stack them on top of each other etc. etc. WODs shouldn’t stop.
2. Take a look at all the stuff you have accumulated. Revel in the abundance you have in your life. Be thankful.
3. Once you’re thankful think about how you can minimize the clutter. Happiness is in the mind, after all. Give away or recycle. Be happy that you did a good deed.
4. Who has time to think about food when there’s so much to pack? Subsist on soups and salads.
5. Find a little place to refuel. A small space on the couch is all you need. Have a cup of coffee and spend time with your Kindle.
6. Find your place of meditation. Observe the trees. Watch your plants. Only 5 minutes.
7. When its all done heave a sigh of relief and refuel for the adventures ahead.
I’ve been lazing around a lot lately. Most days the only workout I get is a brisk hour long walk in the mornings. And the speed also depends on whether we have burning issues to discuss or whether the topic of conversation is lukewarm. The most memorable walk so far was the walk where we where our pace and the conversation was so invigorating that we realized we’d walked all the way to the supermarket (a considerable distance), and ended up picking up some things we needed. Then we had coffee and walked back home.
I’ve been doing a lot of cooking as well. My mousse au chocolat was a disaster. But my cupcakes were quite good! I’ve been exploring the food options here and being vigilant about my food choices as well. This doesn’t mean that I’m denying myself or following some kind of diet (those who know me know that I don’t diet). What it means is that I’m listening to my cravings because cravings are a great way for you to understand what your body lacks. And when you are travelling then you need to be extra vigilant because the weather changes, the food changes, your mind set changes and your days change!
So here are a few observations which I found interesting:
- While my parents have their morning tea before our marathon walks, I prefer to down a couple of glasses of room temperature water.
- I rarely feel like having a large dinner. So usually I’ll have a bowl of home made soup. And this is usually related to my level of activity. So on Thursdays I’ll come home at 10 pm and eat after an intense AcroYoga session. And I choose to eat after rather than before the session.
- In the evenings I tend to reach for a fruit or juice or green tea rather than the chai my parents drink.
In India I remember I used to guzzle down loads and loads of water throughout the day. I used to feel hungry more frequently and ate much much more. However, even with this change, I still feel like I have loads of energy.
Do you also experience similar changes in terms of diet/cravings when on vacation?
My days in Den Haag are super relaxed. My parents live in a quiet neighbourhood. There are forests all around our house so we frequently go for little hikes and walk through the forests when we go grocery shopping. When I arrived the winters were in full swing. Days were shorter and there was frost on the trees in the morning. The surface of the little lakes in the forest would be frozen. The weather has started to get warmer. But as I write this it looks like this outside:
When we woke up this morning everything was covered with a layer of frost. In a couple of hours the frost disappeared and there was mist rising through the trees. I’ve never seen this sort of thing before (at least not in real life), so I got really really really excited.
I’ve realized in the past few weeks that this is the first time since I went away to college that I’ve had so much time to spend with my parents. That’s close to 15 years. I’ve started to notice that there are many quirks we share despite living apart. I’ve started to notice good as well as not so good character traits we share. I’ve started to think a lot about the whole Nature vs Nurture debate.
Taking this time off has also helped me to appreciate things. When we go for our daily walks through the forest I see lots of fallen trees. And I see new shrubs growing all around them. People carve animals out of the stumps and make picnic tables that can be used in the summer. Similarly, life also has the ability to mould itself according to circumstances.
And I suppose that’s what life is all about. It’s not about wishing for things to change or waiting for better times. It’s about accepting what’s going on in life right now and working with what you’ve got. So instead of lamenting the fact that it’s getting more and more difficult to chase the sunrise, my parents and I spend time taking photos and planning the big move back to India.
Another mantra for life.