To my surprise (and my liking) 2018 was full of fun travels and adventures. I visited Boston (a bucket-list item) over the summer with my mom, drove to Daytona, Florida with my dad in December, and took many joyful trips to the lake with my family.
I was fortunate to have been able to start 2019 off with more adventures! Just a few weeks after a friend and I returned from Mississippi, my mom, boyfriend, and I hopped on a plane to Destin, Florida.
The beach is one of many places that make me feel whole, secure, and present; something about large bodies of water that bring out my inner light, ya know? While my boyfriend and I were off on our own little adventures, I made a point to make sure I was really soaking in the moment, to really feel like I was living, breathing, and enjoying life to the fullest wherever God placed me. Have you ever felt like your body showed up, but you mind is floating somewhere in space rereading your to-do list? I feel ya, sister.
Breath. Before you say, “Well, duh, Shelby. We all breathe”, hear me out. Connecting with my breath is a huge tool I use to come back to the present moment. Even when I was sitting in a kayak in the middle of the harbor, I still noticed I was kind of somewhere else; I was thinking about how I would get out of the kayak without falling in, if there were sharks following us hungrily, if my mom was feeling better (she was sick in the hotel). Those are all relevant thoughts, but it was pulling me out of enjoying the beautiful moment I was in.
I was in the middle of an ocean harbor in a kayak with the sunshine on my skin and a handsome guy in a backwards baseball hat floating next to me. What more could a girl ask for? If you feel like you’re floating in limbo even when your feet are planted on the ground (or butt in a seat), take a moment and connect with your breath. Feel your lungs expand, feel them empty. Focus on the air coming in and out of your body. Focusing on something close to you will bring you out of a trance in a heart beat.
“Deep breaths are like little love notes to your body.”
Root. This is another favorite, so I do it often! Rooting or grounding is probably something you’ve heard being taught in yoga class, but anyone and everyone can utilize this technique. It’s the practice of really feelingand focusing on your surroundings. It brings you back into the space around you, rather than the space you created in your mind which you escape to (and sometimes get lost in).
Using your five senses, try this little exercise. Name something you smell, see, feel, taste, and hear (I smell cold air, I see the sun, I feel the keyboard, I taste coffee, I hear the bath running). This will start to connect you to your own environment. You can also imagine roots are branching out from your body and spreading out into the ground below you. Imagine you are a balloon and you are tying yourself to a post so you don’t fly away!
Reflect. Of course, I needed to mention reflection! As a girl who has quite the collection of journals, I can say from experience that reflecting (in a journal or in your mind) helps to connect you to the moment, even if the moment has passed. While I was in Florida, I made sure to take a few minutes to jot down the happenings of the day in my journal, the fun and important things I didn’t want to forget.
Reflecting on how you feel, where you are, and something that made you happy will bring a greater awareness of the moment. This is also a great way to practice gratitude! Write down or think about ways you feel gratitude for the moment you are in (even if it’s gratitude for not being eaten by sharks). Ask yourself, how do I feel in this moment? What am I grateful for? What do I want to remember most about this time in my life?
I mentioned these three key mindful practices because I am so guilty of letting important moments pass by without me finding time to appreciate them. It’s hard to get out of our own minds, it’s hard to put down the planner or to-do list and see we deserve to soak in life’s moments, big or small.
Taking lots of pictures, writing journal entries, and immersing yourself fully in the moment you’re in will help you feel more gratitude and more alive, and less like you’re just a zombie going through the motions of everyday life. Life is meant to lived and feelings want to be felt!
I can’t say I was super desperate for a vacation (because I’ve been on vacation since December technically while I wait to start my job), but I’ll never pass up a new place to visit! Kayaking is my absolute favorite water activity and it was incredible to be floating around in the wake of much bigger boats and seeing all the beautiful homes residing by the water.
We ate at a lot of new places and gave my FitBit a run for its money as we walked for miles up and down the beach collecting treasures. I have so many pictures to squeeze into a Shutterfly book! A four-day trip to a beautiful island was welcomed before I start my new job on Monday!
Soak in every moment when you can, appreciate where God has placed you, and “live less out of habit and more out of intent.”
~ Shelby B.
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