Last week, the hubz and I took a little vacation. Half just a staycay in our own beloved space, and half on a zippy road trip to Montgomery Alabama. That part was more of a pilgrimage than a vacation, as our destination was the National Memorial for Peace and Justice (aka Lynching Memorial). Kurt and I road trip well, and we had our little Alfie along.
There comes a conversation that splinters out of control. First it begins with a soft opening about something/anything....then a tiny long held opinion pops out, and soon we are off to the races of frustration, terrible listening, accusatory thoughts, steaming and stewing.
Kurt and I are experts at this, with 30 years to perfect the process. We've also become even better at pulling it back into the real reality of what is going on, siphoning off the boiling emotion that was just waiting for a topic...any topic...to let loose. We are deliberate about apologies and honestly owning what got out of control and then letting the conversation take its truer course or to let it drop because it was just pent up accumulated emotional junk.
Vacations bring this out in all of us. On the way to the beach, the mountains, the museums, a retreat...we've had to plan ahead at work and at home, drop the dog off or make doggie daycare arrangements, wash clothes, pack things up, make picnics or road trip meals, worry about the costs for everything and get out the door into car, train, plane.
And then we sit and sigh.
This sighing lets loose that backlog of hurts, unfinished issues, deeper wounds begging to be dealt with.
Some of these are decades old and have been tapping us on the shoulder for attention for a long time. Others are very real in the now issues to work through. During the sighing and letting loose of vacation, we lose the distractions of life that have kept these nagging, blistering, boiling things at bay.
But I'm on vacation! I don't want to bother with this! Nice thought, but vacation is a great time to notice what is going on inside. Stay in vacation mode, and be curious. Treat your outbursts like works of art on display, where you wander up close, then back up, then look at how they fit in with other things hanging beside them. And then ask yourself;
"Why did I just say that?"
"What was that outburst all about?"
"Is this thing really what is bothering me?"
"What is really going on here?"
What holy space you are creating for yourself? Be curious about your emotions which are always speaking to you for your growth. Always. They offer information about what is taking place inside. It is a popular thing to talk about self care and frame that as hot baths, glasses of wine, golf, slow walks. And yes! those are wonderful things. But the truest self care comes in paying attention to what our emotions, bodies and spirits are sharing with us. Our minds want to say "It is about the bathroom renovation that isn't going well." But our emotions whisper "I'm ready to let go of this past hurt but I don't know how." Our minds want to say "Focus on how your partner leaves the vacation dinner table without offering to wash dishes." But our bodies says "My shoulders are always tight from feeling ignored and disrespected, like when I was 5 and my parents were arguing all the time and they would say "not now" when I tried to distract them."
Pay attention to yourself. Love yourself. Accept what comes up. Come to terms with the childhood wounds or soul wounds that are very real, but can only be met and healed by yourself. With help.
So, take a walk to the end of the pier, or put your feet up on the railing of the deck, or go for a cup of mocha on your own and give me a call. We'll talk about what is rising.
I'm always listening.