As you may know, I recently went on a trip to Greece with my partner. I’m not sure if solo travel vs couples travel is something I’ve spoken about in the past on the blog (I have spoken about sex and travel, or Tinder and travel) but this trip gave me some great opportunities to appreciate my spiritual journey while travelling.
Now I know that may seem a bit out there for some of you but I want to try and keep this blog as grounded and accessible as possible in order to maximise the benefit people could get from reading it. But I will say that if meditation or mindfulness seems a little out there (which is completely okay), this may not be the one for you. Feel free to head to my Instagram to look at some bad ass pictures, or read on ironically for a laugh.
I’m going to recount 3 experiences I had that really focused my mind and ended up being quite spiritually transformative for me in terms of feeling present and connected. I want you, if possible, to read it with an awareness that these are all things that can be adapted to your home life; if you went to a park, to your garden, or even in your house!
1) Focusing on the Senses
I was stood at the beach, feet in the water, hands facing the sun, eyes closed and taking in everything around me. It’s something that I was doing alone but when my partner approached I told them what I was doing and they decided to follow along. I took away all of my senses. Instead I chose to just focus on the sounds. The seagulls flying overhead, the ocean water rolling onto the shore. The kids laughing as they played nearby. I wasn’t aware of anything but the sounds. They became so vivid. So loud. There was nothing in my head. No stress, worries or fears.
We stood there for some time. I then added back in my sense of smell. The fresh, salty beach air. The sun cream on my shoulders. Then my touch. The waves rushed past my toes. The light wind brushed against my face. Until finally, after taking it all in for a while.
We were ready to open our eyes…
If you’ve ever fasted. You know the first thing you have when you break the fast. Your taste buds really go wild and ENJOY it like they’ve never tasted food before. It was like that. There were colours of the ocean I didn’t appreciate before. Shimmers of light I didn’t even notice. We stood there for a moment, beaming and pointing out all of the things we were noticing for the first time, that had been there all along. It sounds a little funny as I recall it but in the moment it truly was amazing. The process of allowing ourselves to be truly present, focus on our senses and really appreciate all of the things that pass us by, which are really quite remarkable if we give them enough attention.
This is something I could do alone, in a group, with a friend and practically anywhere I like. It’s always nice to do it in unfamiliar and beautiful places but the goal for me is to bring this level of awareness and gratitude into my everyday life. There’s a sort of romantic way we have of looking at the past. Things that we didn’t know we loved in the moment until we look back on them from the future with fondness. Hopefully I can walk through life with this level of love and awareness for the present. Hopefully.
2) Bring your Energy to Life
The second was really unexpected. We decided to take a walk around the area of the small stone house we were staying in on the island of Crete. It was nothing that we didn’t do regularly in London or elsewhere. But something about this walk just made me feel everything. I think my partners presence was important for this because it’s a feeling I’ve felt before, but having a loving and safe person nearby made the feeling effortless. I feel self conscious to write this but I’ll try my best to do it justice.
There was a little ‘game’ I made in my head many years ago when I was in LA for dance. When I was walking I would imagine almost like a health bar, or energy bar. For myself. For all the people around me that I passed. Every pet. Even every plant. At the time I felt so much gratitude that I was there, getting to do what I loved. I had worked for years to save up to pay for dance school, and was now getting to learn and dance with all of my heroes and some of my dearest friends.
Because of this I felt like my energy bar was overflowing. And I would visually imagine all of that energy transferring to the people that I would pass. Any frown, uncertainty or unhappy look. I’d imagine healing them without them knowing. Anytime I felt my reserve was starting to dwindle, the plants around me would be constantly sharing energy and refilling mine too. I know this is wild – but it was really like I was walking down the street playing a video game. I swear I hadn’t taken any drugs.
So this is how I started feeling on this walk. The energy between my partner and I was electric, and I could see and feel, without necessarily wanting to, or trying to, the same transfer of energy between everything around me. I felt so energised and happy it was unreal. This is something I really have to remember, because I’m sure anytime I’m down or maybe if I’m not communicating with someone so well. I feel like this practice would do more for me than I could imagine.
3) Stay in the Present
I actually went on this holiday with an intention. I don’t think I’ve set an intention while travelling before but this time, my intention was to be present. This aligned with a book I have been reading called “Practising The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. Through it’s many lessons, one that stuck with me was about being present. How so much of our stress and suffering is actually because of things that have already happened that we’re still dwelling on, or things that have yet to happen that we’re worried about.
“It is impossible to have a problem when your attention is fully in the Now. A situation needs to be either dealt with or accepted. Why make it into a problem?”
So it was my last day. I was leaving my partner and driving to the airport. Goodbyes ran a little long and I was running late to drop off the rented car and make my flight – not so late that I was screwed, but just later than the time I had set. So I was driving through Crete, feeling glum, missing them, stressing about my flight. When it hit me. I was with my partner just 10 minutes ago. I had an amazing holiday. I’m driving through a gorgeous island. On a sunny day. Surrounded by beautiful views. What the **** did I have to complain about? I know it seems so silly and obvious looking back now. But there’s so many times I’ll catch myself in a mood over something I could just accept and move on from. I just have to remember to be present.
Just writing this has been incredibly freeing (I’m now remembering the post I wrote about my Travel Diary). I feel lighter, happier, more aware of my joy. I should really start journaling. Actually, if anyone that reads this likes to journal. Feel free to hit my up on my instagram with some tips, advice or experience with the practice.[Note:] I hope someone has read this ironically and then acts out all of the above and becomes ironically present af, with some serious guru vibes. Like Mark Wahllberg in The Other Guys when he learns Ballet ironically to bully the Ballet kids when he was younger.
Have an awesome freaking August!
Love, Kallum <3