Exactly a year ago I held some research groups that ran over a weekend. These groups took me to Durban and Cape Town. Once the groups were finished, I had to entertain myself until the next one. In Durban, I was fortunate to be able to finish the group and rush down to Umhlanga at sunset, run along the beach and splash in the waves in my jeans like a child (it also helped that I didn't know anybody in Durban so I could act like a moron and not worry about anyone I knew seeing me). Then a week later (terrible job that I have *not*) my research took me to Cape Town. The weather was stunning. I was able to go up Table Mountain for the first time in my adult life. I was amazed and walked/ hiked from one side to the next seeing beautiful Cape Town from all angles. Not only was the scenery breathtaking, I also remember the quiet - it was so very quiet that I could hear myself breathe (ok I may have been panting after that climb!) That mountain visit was nothing short of spectacular. I watched the sun go down while drinking a cocktail and finally descended the mountain in the cable car in the dark, seeing all the night lights of Cape Town *sigh* there is nothing like taking a bit of time to enjoy the natural beauty that South Africa has to offer. Those two unexpected "nature days" will stay with me for many years.
Since hitting a few speed bumps along life's highway, I've been forced to stop and smell the roses, which is proving a little more difficult than I thought. As usual when your body gives you a warning sign that it's not happy, the doctors tell you to reduce stress, eat healthily, exercise regularly, get enough sleep blah blah blah haven't we heard this all before? So I took stock of my life. I have
So I decided to begin eliminating as much stress as possible in my life - easier said than done, I do have 3 little people under the age of 7 who are energy vampires!
It was my birthday a while back and one of my awesome friends gave me the greatest gift of all.....she came to my house to babysit Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato on a Saturday afternoon for 6 hours! Woo hooo! Hubby and I were delirious with happiness! A whole afternoon together just the two of us, what a treat! After much debate we decided a lunch in the country would be perfect, surrounded by lots of water, a place that is completely child-unfriendly. It was awesome! We had lunch overlooking a majestic river and afterwards we walked down to the river. There, across a wooden bridge, we discovered a picnic site with a blanket and cushions, which I sat down on and said "I could just fall asleep here" and promptly did just that. I fell fast asleep for over an hour in the shade of the trees, meandering rivers surrounding us, birds in the trees and a gentle breeze. Again the quiet sounds of nature flooded into me. Absolute H-E-A-V-E-N! I felt refuelled, energised, like a new person, just as I had in Cape Town and Durban.
I recently read an article on Earthing (yes, what that brown wire does in a plug) - [see mom I did learn something at school]. I must say I had never even bothered to think about it, but when I started reading, it made sense. Here is a quick extract from the Earthing Institute (yes there is actually an institute!!)
Basically it is reconnecting with the earth. Stand on grass (barefoot), swim in the sea, be out in nature. Such simple things but do we ever find the time to do them? It was sad for me to realise that those trips were a year ago, when I last felt so connected. I have been on a few business trips since those particular ones where I was able to Earth, but although I've been to those cities again, I have been rushing onto a plane, off a plane, into a car, into a meeting room, out of a meeting room, back in the car and back onto the plane, back into the car, into the house. I've realised that even though I spend a lot of my time having picnics with the girls and going to wonderful grassy, open places, I never take my own shoes off (it's bad enough trying to find 6 shoes when we leave anywhere already!!) What brought this home (literally brought this home) is that I was told that I lacked vitamin D so I needed to spend some time in the sun, without sunblock (shock, horror with my blue skin!). We have a garden so I went outside and lay on the grass in the sun. Lettuce (2 years old) rushed out and tried to get me to stand up, he was so worried he started crying, he thought I was sick or I had fallen over!! Obviously it has been a long time since I lay on the grass, even though it's 1 step away from the house! Some people may call it Earthing, others connecting to God or the universe or whatever their spiritual belief, but I have come to believe that in order to de-stress we need to re-spiritualise and Earthing is just one of the ways in which to do this.
So perhaps this deviation from my expected life path will take me on a different journey, into healthy ways of living and more spiritual ways of existing, one thing is for sure, I will be stopping more often to smell those roses, slowly, quietly and barefoot!