Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Travel Tuesday: Traveling Naturally Makes You More Mindful

Mindfulness has been a trendy thing for awhile now. I have read a few books about the subject and listened to a number of podcasts about being mindful and the benefits of that mindset in daily life.
It is unfortunately easy for me to tune out things and go into my own imagination or thoughts. But when I am traveling, my attention snaps into complete awareness and I feel fully present. That's probably why I enjoy and crave travel so much.

Over Memorial Day Weekend my family went up north to the Adirondacks for a mini-vacation. Two of my children were on a church trip, so it was just my husband, me, and our four youngest children. As we played in the lake and enjoyed the water, my attention was heightened and I started noticing and feeling the smallest details.

I found myself studying the lake, the reflection of sky, and the clouds. Birds chirped, chipmunks and squirrels jumped from tree to tree. Mosquitos and horseflies swarmed around with a slight buzzing noise.

A storm rolled in and I was captivated by the clouds and their colors. The sky is a very dynamic place to look at.

My two-year old daughter had such a magical time. As I played with her, I enjoyed the gritty texture of the sand we dug up. I delighted in her sweet chubby legs, tummy and cheeks. She cuddled with me for awhile and helped me flip through a magazine. She kept pretending to eat the cupcakes featured on the cover which made us both laugh.

My six-year old's cute smile and freckled cheeks made me happy. I loved watching him run and jump off the dock repeatedly. He was so proud of being able to jump without being scared.

My nine-year old daughter and 12-year old son were both so busy playing and moving I could barely capture them on camera. I noticed how much confidence my daughter showed in jumping in the water and swimming. Her stick thin legs made me giggle and reminded me of my own childhood.

 My 12-year old was supremely confident as he skillfully paddled the paddle board. I don't think either of us will forget how clumsy I was on the paddle board and how I fell off and couldn't back on. He kept laughing at me and trying to help me pull myself back upright. Then he cheered me on when I figured out how to properly remount the paddle board.

Watching my husband play with our children, encourage,and support them reminded me why I love him so much and am grateful for how seriously he takes his role as father. Snuggling up to him at night as we listened to the sounds of the forest outside our window and feeling content.

I think that is probably why all of us enjoy vacations so much. All our senses are heightened as we are taken out of our ordinary routines. We take time to stop and reflect and just be.

How do you work on being more mindful and present? Do you find it easier to achieve in certain situations? 


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