Alex and I were very fortunate to be able to spend Wednesday through Sunday in Hawaii with Alex’s extended family, and we celebrated probably the warmest Thanksgiving I’ve ever had. I wasn’t cold once the entire trip – I can’t imagine what it’s like to live in a place where you don’t really need to own pants!
Of course we ate a ton of delicious Thanksgiving food – including a few recipes I hope to tweak and share here – we also got outside for an adventure every day. We spent Thanksgiving afternoon swimming and kayaking around a sandbar in the middle of the ocean after Alex and I went for a sweaty 7K in the morning.
One morning, we woke up early to watch the sunrise come up over the beach.Over the course of the trip, we went boogie boarding, walked along the beach, played with Alex’s little cousins, and ate a ton of delicious food. We hiked to a waterfall, watched a surfing competition, and horsed around in Alex’s grandparent’s pool.
One of my favorite parts of the weekend was getting my hair braided by Alex’s cousin. I got two different styles during our trip – French braid pigtails and a crown. My hair was huge when I took it out of the pigtails!
On Sunday as we waited out a flight delay with rain pouring in the background, I reflected on the trip and life lately. With so much natural beauty and intense weather around me, I was awed and humbled and reminded how much I have to be thankful for. I don’t think I’m alone when I admit to getting caught up in my thoughts more often than I’d like. This trip took me out of my head and helped me settle back into my body for a few days, and it’s a feeling I want to bring home with me.
For me, when I get out of real life – whether it’s a hike or a long run across the city to the beach or a vacation – I pay closer attention. I’m more tuned into myself, my environment, and the people around me. My new goal is to bring that level of awareness into my daily life and into all of my interactions with friends and family.
I also think this mindfulness will have a positive effect on my workouts and how I cook and eat. Sometimes I rush through cooking only to sit down and rush through eating, and at the end I feel sort of empty. If I could be more present and aware, I think I’d enjoy everything more, even if I still have to eat at lightning speed before getting out the door.
None of these are new reflections, but it’s amazing how a little bit of time out of my normal environment brings this all to the surface. Normally, I forget about it and it fades after a few days, but this time I’m choosing one-sort-of-two question(s) to ask myself daily to continue bringing awareness: “what internal changes can I make (right now) to cultivate peace externally and what behavioral changes can I make (right now) to cultivate peace internally?” This question kept coming up for me throughout the weekend, and really helped me stay in touch with my needs and how I could be helpful to the people around me.
I’m happy to be home with these new insights, and I can’t believe we’re already officially halfway through the holiday season!
Have you had any insights lately? How do you stay centered during the holiday craziness?