Being in a new city can be overwhelming. You are seeing things for the first time, adjusting yourself to a new home/hotel/apartment, and adjusting to a new rhythm of life. What little sense of direction you had is completely gone, and it may be difficult to rediscover your true north. Perhaps you are surrounded by new people or traveling by yourself. Either way, there is ALOT of new input to process. During these moments, I find it even more important to take some time to just be. Sit in silence, close your eyes, and b.r.e.a.t.h.e.
Tuning into Radio You
I haven’t always been able to center myself. I don’t think I even realized that was a ‘thing’ until I tried meditating for the first time as part of a meditation and yoga retreat in Bali. I thought it was all very fluffy and extremely hard in the beginning. The daily meditation I did in Bali was an hour long and we circulated between doing breathing, dance, and chanting meditation. It felt very odd but after a few days I started to get comfortable with the uncomfortable and listening to my own thoughts for the first time. It’s as if I tuned into Radio Christina for the first time. So often, we are taught to brush our feelings aside or feel ashamed for thinking something that might be different than the norm.
After having had a tough personal year in 2016, however, I have completely changed my attitude and approach to life. Do not ever feel ashamed of your feelings. I do not consider myself a particularly religious person but I read somewhere that God is speaking through us every day. You actually have no control of your feelings so once you learn to give your thoughts some space and start observing them and listening to them, rather than judging them, you might actually learn something from yourself. If you’ve ever gone through any type of therapy, you will understand that the answer usually lies within. So why not set aside some time to tune into yourself for a little bit every day?
With life in general and particularly during travels, it’s easy getting swept up in FOMO (fear of missing out) and saying yes to doing everything on a trip or retreating into yourself because you don’t think you’re fitting in or belong. That is a normal feeling and 100% okay. Honor those feelings but try to reflect on why you might feel that way, what it means, and how you can turn that into a positive. Try not to judge yourself but practice being kind and empathetic.
If you’re interested in discovering more about how to connect with your inner home, wherever you are in the world, here are a few practices I took up over the past year that have helped me feel more comfortable in my own skin. By following these practices, I’ve been able to cut through the noise and chaos of traveling, and life in general, and remind myself of what my values are, what’s important, and how I want to live my life.
Practices to Help You Find Your Inner Home
- Read books that help you connect with yourself better. Two of my personal favorites include The Artists’ Way and Calling in the One, which are seven to twelve week self-guided courses. Each week requires reading one chapter and completing a lesson, or practice. Ignore the cheesy titles and artwork. I found both of these books life changing and soul centering.
- Start writing in a journal – daily. The Artist’s Way suggests writing at least three pages a day. It doesn’t matter how big or small the journal is – just fill three pages. You might be thinking this sounds tedious, and it might be in the beginning. The point is to just write whatever thoughts come out, whatever comes to mind. You’re not writing a story – you are literally writing anything…it might even be the same word over and over again. That’s okay and normal. Just think of this as the static you are hearing before you tune into your own channel. You can also use journal prompts like these in the beginning.
- Sit silently and breathe for a few minutes a day. Sometimes I do this for 3 minutes, sometimes 30. Sometimes I have my eyes open and focus on an object and sometimes they’re closed. Regardless, what you are trying to do is just listen. Listen for thoughts, look for images that might come to you, whatever you need to do to just honor being. You can also downloaded mindfulness, or meditation, apps like Headspace, Welzen, or Meditation Studio. The Whitenoise app is also amazing at blocking out noise.
- Go for a walk or do something physically active for at least 10 minutes a day. Getting a little bit of activity increases your energy levels and can help you refocus on what’s important. It can be as simple as doing a few jumping jacks, taking a short walk around the neighborhood, or trying out a yoga class.
- Go on a ‘date’ with yourself once a week. Just enjoy being with you. This is one of the practices from The Artist’s Way, and it was hard for me in the beginning. So often, we may hear of something we want to see or do but don’t do it because we can’t find someone to go with, we think others will judge us for wanting to do something or we’re afraid nobody will go if we invite them. So why not go by yourself? A few examples of dates I went on with myself are going to a burlesque show, signing up for a sewing class, attending a play, walking around a different part of town, and even just buying myself flowers. Treat yourself how you would want to be treated on a date, and you’ll discover how much fun you can be:). Here is a list of ‘date yourself’ ideas.
- Bonus Practice: Write a list of your top 5 values and repeat them over and over. Post somewhere where you will see them regularly (on your laptop keyboard, as your phone screensaver, etc.) if necessary. These will remind you of who you are, your true north. You may have to start with a list of 20 and narrow it down to your 5 core values. Honor these above all else! My values include being adventurous, brave, creative, kind, and staying strong. Here is a list of words to start from.
Over the course of this year, I am excited to explore and share the practices of how people in the places we are visiting center themselves. How does one practice being connected to oneself and the greater world in Thailand, Bulgaria, or Chile? Follow along my journey as I start to explore the deeper practices of the cultures I will be visiting.
I’d love to hear how you might center yourself?