Upon returning home from Hawaii a month ago, a dear friend of mine asked me if there was anything in particular that helped me arrive home. It was a question no one had posed to me before in all of my travels and returning, at least not in such a way, and being the ruminator that I am, I began thinking about it. What helped me arrive? What were things that I did upon returning home that helped me to land? Were there foods that I liked to eat? Particular rituals that I performed? Or did I simply walk in the door, drop my bags, sigh and declare my return?
So, a month later, I find myself entertaining the same question, this time after a week in the Florida Keys with my family – a decidedly different experience than bumbling around a Hawaiian island, but wonderful nonetheless. I am faced with the similar feeling of missing the ocean (my life-blood) and this time around, missing family and the familiarity of a place that I have returned to over and over for the past 15 years. And it was vacation – in the truest sense of the word, slow and languorous, sun and salt water-filled.
Perhaps the question of arrival comes down to transitions. How do you face transitions? Do you jump right in, never looking back at what you’ve left? Do you dwell on what is no longer and only with a begrudging resistance give in to the new? Do you actually enjoying floating in the in-between, reveling in the uncertainty, in the pause between activity?
So, on my first day back in Boulder, a gloriously sunny day with an ever so slight hint of Spring on the way, I find myself thinking about what it means to arrive somewhere. Today I am taking the opportunity of an open day to go slowly. To unpack and put my clothes away, to do laundry, to sit in the sunshine with Lucy, to catch up with friends and to get my feet back on old familiar trails because all of these are pieces of my life here that I cherish, that remind me I’m home. And I am doing this today with an awareness of the felt sense of gradually settling back in to life. Occasionally, I will feel a contraction against that, a resistance to the reality that vacation is over. And I give in to that resistance as a part of my arrival.
Flying presents us with such a funny puzzle. On the one hand it expedites our travel-time, allowing us more of our precious vacation time actually spent on vacation. But it’s also somewhat disorienting in the way it transports us so quickly from one place to the next with little regard for the transition that is involved in leaving somewhere and arriving somewhere new.
I leave you with a few questions that are bouncing around in my head today, what is the difference between arriving and simply showing up? How do you notice it in yourself? Big or small, how do you face transitions? This doesn’t have to be arriving home from a trip, it can simply be walking into a room or a situation – meeting a friend for lunch – do you jump in or do you go slowly to allow yourself to settle in this new space you find yourself in? What is it that lets you know you’ve arrived?