Posted on Leave a comment

Maybe the Best Present is to Be Present?


We have been home from our family vacation/pilgrimage to Maine for about 2 weeks. I was essentially unplugged for the duration of the trip. Travel and family vacations are such a romantic idea. Seeing the world, eating wonderful food, making memories. I wish I could approach travel with that ideal. Although I make memories and see beautiful sites, a piece of me stresses about sleep, bathroom breaks, itineraries, expense, and food additives.

I have done a lot of study on personality types. Colors, Gems, Shapes, Enneagrams. I have taken all of the tests, and it always concludes that a big part of my personality is a green, an emerald, a square– or in other words, someone who likes routine and structure. I tend to get stressed about 3 days before we travel, then I have fun until it is time to start planning the return. My husband and I are opposite personality types. Following his lead in many ways has really helped balance my uptight-ness, and loosen my desire for control.

I have written a few times that I grew up in a chaotic home, and that is why I developed this personality trait. It gave me a feeling of security and control. I found order and success in my chaos by planning, knowing what to expect, and living somewhat as an introvert. Don’t get me wrong, I love people, connecting, AND having fun– I just require a certain amount of quiet to recharge my batteries.

Softening the rigidity of my personality is something I have been reflecting on since our return. Learning to go with the flow while running a business, and managing a family, as well as maintaining a balanced amount of discipline and structure is huge in my mind since returning from our vacation. Historically, summer stresses me out. My older son travels and spends many weeks away, we attend convention, and make a few other stops during June and July. I feel my entire schedule has to be written in pencil, which is difficult for someone who prefers permanent marker!

I am not bad-mouthing this quality within myself–being structured and disciplined can get a lot accomplished. I had the realization that I utilize a lot of mental intensity on thoughts of whats next? or why? or how? All of these questions are future based and by putting so much energy into trying to control the future, I often miss the good, or am not fully present to that which is right in front of me. Being present centered and not stressing about the past or future creates space to recognize the blessings in what I have created thus far, and allows me to see the beauty of all of my surroundings. This keeps my nervous system balanced and grounded, reducing stress by not putting energy into the unknown. I will never be a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl, however I will allow myself to feel safe and secure so that along life’s journey I can sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.