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Enjoying Your Vacations in Retrospect: A Meditation

The experience of a place in your life that burst with wonderment is literally waiting for you to recall it, anytime.


Some days you just wake happy, and everything seems okay, and makes sense, and will continue to make sense and be okay from this point on. This was one of those mornings for me, and even if I’m in a completely different place tomorrow, it’s worth savoring these moments when they show up for you.

I was talking to a friend yesterday about what it felt like to be in pain while travelling and surrounded by beauty, and we ended the conversation with the idea that if our minds can so easily recall rough moments, which shadow over a present experience, then we can probably also recall warm moments, and even appreciate them in retrospect, even if we weren’t able to at the time.

In particular, this morning I remembered travelling to visit great friends in their different states and countries, and recalling that even if I wasn’t 100% there at the time emotionally, I don’t have to beat myself up about that. I was there physically and absolutely loved being in those places with those people, and I can return to (and even summon) those refreshing moments and conversations years later.

I’m certain you have at least one very refreshing body memory, of physically being in a place of peace. Please take a moment today to close your eyes and remember what it felt like to be there. Everything about that memory — the smell, sounds, view, people, and all inner sensations — are still somewhere deep down there inside you.

A striking meal sits in your taste bud’s memory, and waits. Stubbing a toe sits in your foot’s memory. And the whole, 360-degrees experience of a place in your life that burst with wonderment is literally waiting for you to recall it, anytime you’re ready, anytime you want.

Bessel A. van der Kolk reflects on this well in this book, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma:

“Neuroscience research shows that the only way we can change the way we feel is by becoming aware of our inner experience and learning to befriend what is going inside ourselves.”

What better part to befriend first than a full-spectrum memory of being surrounded by wonder?


A Meditation

In case this sounds like too foreign a concept, a simple practice to be able to do this might begin with you closing your eyes if you like, to breathe, in a quiet place.

And as you breathe in and out… in and out… you notice the molecules of air as they move from outside your body to inside.

After a few breaths, begin by recalling a place you enjoyed, where you were able to take a moment in your own like, and just enjoy it.

Breathe in again, and remember breathing the air in this place. Know that some of the molecules of air from that place still sit in your body today.

Breathe out, and know that some of the molecules of drink or food you ate while you were in this place are still in your body.

Continue breathing and recall the sounds in this place… what are they?

Remember the colors as they entered your eyes… what were they?

And as you’re remembering this moment in time, check in with your body: how did it feel to be in this place? Where in your body did you feel the sensations of being here?

What were you like in this place? What was worth appreciating about yourself?

Breathe in, and remember wha tit was like to be enveloped by this wonderful experience.

Breathe out, and thank yourself for going there.


Every place is cached in your body memory and ready for you to access. Anywhere. Anytime.


Originally published at medium.com

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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