Today I woke up disappointed. I was disappointed in the weather for bringing rain and overcast skies. I was disappointed I'd be going alone to something I'd once been so excited to do. I was disappointed in myself for hoping today would be cancelled.
I found myself driving to the riverfront with a completely negative outlook, grumpy at all of the things that haven't gone right or wishing for the sun to come out, only to complain again when it was too warm. I couldn't find balance. I couldn't rid my head of cluttered thoughts. I continually found myself stuck on even the most mundane of things and all of the happenstances I felt I had no control over. I was lost. But then everything changed.
I'd been interested in yoga back around junior high but I had never pursued it as an active component of my life. I'd only followed along with discounted clearance yoga dvd's or read books of poses, only to look at the pictures. In all honesty, I'd never taken it seriously. Sure, it would make me feel good whenever I did it, but I never understood the truer, deeper meaning to all of it and I'd never cared enough to try to look further.
The new start of this year was trying and hard and I couldn't handle much of what had happened. I decided I would take a restorative yoga class at Karma Tribe Yoga and it had completely reset my soul. I'd been awakened again. Something had changed. I cried when the class was over, for I felt a complete release of everything I'd been carrying, without even realizing the effect it had had on me for so long. I realized the importance of yoga and mindfulness in my life.
May you be filled with love and kindness.
May you be patient and courageous.
May you be well in body and mind.
May you be at ease and happy.
I'd done the Wanderlust mindful triathalon just one year ago, and I remembered its impact, which is what prompted me to do it again. It's a 5K run/walk, followed by 75 minutes of yoga, and finished with 30 minutes of meditation, and now that I've done it twice, I realize the significance of each and every part. To be mindful, you must be aware. You must be aware of every breath you take, every thought you carry, and every struggle you face. You must accept the strength inside of you and the power you have to overcome.
The rain had slowed, the sky still grey, and I stood at the starting line, surrounded by hundreds of other people with the same intention: to finish. It didn't matter how long it would take or how "well" it'd be done. The point was that it was done. 3 miles is 3 miles, no matter what. I looked around to find everyone of different paths - different ages, heights, weights, levels - and knew I was in the right place. I was exactly where I belong.
As we started moving, I felt my legs carry me not only forward, but they continued to push me further than I'd ever expected. I found myself actually jogging at a steady pace, extending each leg out with a new stride, each step further than the last. I took in each moment and quickly realized I wasn't in pain. My body wasn't aching. My muscles weren't crying. My body was strong and much more capable than I had given it credit. The only downfall were the lingering touches of the cold I've been trying to overcome for the last couple weeks, so my breathing wasn't as complete as it should've been, but the more awareness I had, the more control and the stronger I felt. I kept going.
We rounded the final curve of the course, the DJ echoing from the speakers ahead with praise for those who'd finished, and I'd decided I would run across the finish line. Again, I told myself, it doesn't matter how you did it, just as long as you did. And I did. I'd done it. I'd finished my first 5K in who knows how long and I felt absolutely amazing. I felt like I could've ran across the Bond bridge and up I-35 and head towards the open road, Forrest Gump-style.
Everything seemed to click. All of the thoughts I'd started the day with were no longer present and I had replaced any negativity and doubt with a sense of hope and understanding. Mindfulness. As I ran, I was mindful of everything: the birds chirping in the trees with the drops of freshly fallen rain on its leaves, the mechanics of my body propelling me forward with each stride, the oxygen in my lungs as my chest expanded with each breath. I'd realized that I was in control and all I'd needed was me. I didn't need fancy equipment or a set amount of time or even a destination. All I needed was a path before me and the energy and mindset to keep going.
I can't quite find the words to explain all that today had done for me. I'd realized the strengths of my own body that were already there, they just hadn't been awakened yet. I'd reignited the fire within me to find the connection between mind, body, and soul and maintain that balance, to keep that fire alive. I know some people believe yoga, essential oils, vitamins, meditation, tarot, and spirituality are complete and utter ridiculousness, and I'll be completely honest and say that I once agreed. I'd been pushed to a point that I needed saving, and I could only save myself. I didn't realize that all of those things were powerful enough to help me, give me clarity, and reassurance to continue this path.
I've found what works best for me and though it may not be for everyone, I realized today that everyone needs something that brings so much value to life, so much awareness and understanding to your mind, body, and soul. Some people dance, play music, paint, run, or even think outside the box, but it's whatever makes your soul happy that's worth pursuing and working to maintain that importance in your life. Making the inner workings of you an absolute priority at all times. To keep yourself in line with your center and in tune with your inner voice.
Wanderlust 108 was an incredible experience and I highly recommend to anyone who's interested in yoga and even if not, trying something new to broaden your horizons. To learn more of Wanderlust, visit https://wanderlust.com and find what works best for you. Find your true north.
Here are just a few tricks of the trade when flying and making the most of your next domestic or international adventure.
Best prices on Tuesday afternoons
Today, there are so many different avenues to booking flights with some even offering notifications to let you know when the price has hit its sweet spot for your budget. If you're thinking of visiting somewhere new and have enough time to plan it out, make sure you're checking for flights at least three weeks before departure and try to book on a Tuesday afternoon, when most airlines offer their best deals. You don't need to fly on a Tuesday, but when you're checking for searches, you may find more reasonable prices and flexibility than other weekdays.
Make a checklist
One of the most common packing mistakes is forgetting to pack underwear (guilty!) and while some of us may see underwear as the #1 necessity for your suitcase, it can be pretty easily left behind while your mind races to remember everything else for your bags. Between your cosmetics, carry-on luggage, checked bags, and any other totable goods, you're bound to maybe forget a thing or two. Make a checklist when you have a level head and a clear thought to make sure you don't forget anything. When it's time to pack, grab your list, check it off, and you're good to go!
Roll your clothes, don't fold
Instead of folding your clothes, try folding your clothes in half and rolling them individually. Doing so will not only give you more room in your suitcase, but can reduce wrinkles if rolled smoothly. Plus, it'll be easier to find your outfits when each piece is rolled neatly in a row, instead of stacked on top of one another.
Carry an empty water bottle and bring your own snacks
Airport security will prohibit any liquids over 3 oz., so you're not able to travel with a newly purchased bottle of ice-cold water, and those sold at airport vendors can usually face quite an expensive, inconvenient markup. The solution? Pack an empty water bottle. You'll get through security without question and be able to freely fill up at any water fountain, as needed. Also, food. Don't forget to grab some snacks for you to nibble in-flight and between gates.
Use your shoes
Not only should the shoes on your feet be easy to slide on and off through security, but the shoes in your bag can serve a greater purpose than just taking up space. Roll a couple shirts or shove your socks into the cavities of your shoes to save you more room in your luggage. Especially on the return flight back home, when your suitcase will have multiplied with souvenirs and goodies from your trip.
Use plastic bags and pack extras
There may only be a few things worse than reaching your destination only to find your shampoo has exploded all over your bag, making your suitcase overwhelmingly fragrant and a whole mess of Pantene. One way to reduce the risk and prepare your luggage for changing altitude is to place all of your gels and aerosols into Ziploc baggies. Most TSA security checkpoints will ask that your liquids be placed into separate bags anyway, but just to be on the safe side, double bag your products. Also, be sure to pack extras, as some may break or puncture in transit, and you'll still want to have that peace of mind on the return trip home.
Wear your most space-taking outfits
If you're changing climate between your origin and destination city, it's important to dress appropriately for both. Wearing layers may be the best way to offer the flexibility of adding or removing clothing as the environment changes. If you're traveling with bulky sweaters and tall riding boots, it may be best to wear these articles as you're traveling instead of risking the space in your luggage. Remember, you're more likely to come home with more than you left with, so it's best to keep that space available for souvenirs and other purchases.
Keep electronics, cosmetics, and a change of clothes in your carry-on
One of the worst feelings when flying is releasing your luggage to be checked, only to find it's been lost somewhere along the journey. It can be especially stressful if you didn't originally plan to check your bag, but the overhead bins are full before you've even stepped on to the plane, forcing you to check your bag at the gate and depart with all of your necessities. Keep valuable items in your carry-on to avoid their loss. Pack your toiletries, and an extra change of clothes with you so you can clean yourself up when you need, instead of waiting for lost luggage.
Of course, the unexpected could happen at any time while traveling, but you don't want to be stranded at an unfamiliar airport with a forever delayed flight and a dwindling battery life. Pack extra batteries, portable power banks, or juice packs to power your devices or fit your phone with a rechargeable phone case. Using an outlet adapter can also be useful when wall outlets are limited and you've got multiple devices to power. Also, be aware of the usage of your devices as some apps will drain your battery life and your plane may or may not be fitted with individual USB ports or outlets (learned this the hard way!).
Dealing with jet lag
When you're traveling for further than 2 hours, you're more than likely going to land yourself in a different time zone. Jet lag is a universally accepted effect of travel and knowing how to best deal with it can save you hours of sleepless nights and confusion. Try to sleep whenever you're in transit (without missing any layovers or transfers you may have), and use the time to your advantage. Sometimes, even the lightest nap can have the greatest benefit. When you land, follow the schedule of the destination and the timezone you've reached. If you arrive during the day, keep yourself awake until your "usual" bedtime matches that of the local time. If you arrive at night, try to get some sleep and wake in the morning as if your schedule hasn't changed. Dealing with jet lag can be easier said than done, but you'll eventually reach an equilibrium that'll balance your sleeping patterns.