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Mindful : August 2018
By Elaine Smookler you can’t—and shouldn’t—solve from your deck chair. This can open the door to chronic stress, ongoing sleep difficulties, or a large bar bill for a trip you can’t remember. Even if you are able to leave your troubles at the door as you head out for a week of sun and sangria, life’s inconveniences have a knack for following you no matter where you go. With a mindful approach, you can pre- vent yourself from getting sucked into the whirling vortex of seeing obstacles and unmet expectations as a source of distress. Instead, you can learn to be present and curious about whatever comes your way. Take, for example, the all-too-common occurrence of luggage gone awry; whether your → Don’t Vacate Your Vacation Next time your thoughts are dragging you away from your well-earned holiday, instead try relaxing into the sensory world. A gentle breeze lazily rocks the hammock I’ve been lying in for hours. My breath is low and slow, and I’m smiling for no reason. It’s vacation time. It feels so good to do nothing on purpose, to stretch out, curl up, and let myself rest. It is necessary, but it isn’t always easy to relax and stop being so busy, even just for a while. It requires a clear intention to make room for some nourishing downtime. Vacations offer important oppor- tunities to rest, recharge, and put a spring back into our step. Even the word—vacation—seems to shimmer, doesn’t it? It may evoke palm trees and backdrops for perfect selfies. We fantasize about vacations, we save for them, and we hear that they are crucial to mental, physical, and social well-being. And yet, you might plop yourself down in the most glorious sunshine and still find it hard to unhook from the wild and woolly chaos of the un-vacationed brain, essentially va- cating your own vacation. Unhooking from the daily buzz can feel impos- sible, and you find your attention drifting to work or to other problems ABOUT THE AUTHOR Elaine Smookler is a registered psychotherapist with a 20-year mindfulness prac tice. She is a senior faculty member at the Centre for Mindfulness Studies in Toronto. She is the singing host of “Mindful Martinis.” 26 mindful August 2018 LIVING | inner wisdom PHOTOGRAPHBYNUBIANAVARRO