Friday, 24 August 2012

Reflections from the beach

I've just passed a lovely, lazy week in beautiful Nikiana, home of Serenity Retreat where I worked for two months last year. This year I was off duty, just relaxing and rejuvenating. So I've had plenty of time to reflect on the year that's passed and where I'm at, and how lovely it is to be on holiday - and this is pretty much where I got to.

1.  Resting is not the same as Recharging.

I've been working more or less non-stop for months, plus in the few weeks before I went I moved house, never an easy process. Although I was (usually) getting enough hours of sleep, I realised when I got to Nikiana that I was weary. And that lasted for 4 or 5 days while I slept, chilled out, sunbathed - this last being very important, I swear I'm solar powered, the sun does me a world of good. The lesson learnt - to find ways to have a proper break regularly, and incorporate this into my life more than once or twice a year. It also ties in with some strands of ideas I have about what I can provide to my lovely clients, but it's early days on that still, so no spoilers.

2.  Mediterranean tomatoes are the best.

They just are.

3.  I don't read enough.

I got through 8 books in a week, and well into the ninth. That may be a little excessive for business as usual, but still - I like reading, I devour books when I get a chance, whether classics, fun light stuff (love supernatural fiction at the moment, I covered vampires, shamans and zombies this week) or practical books on running a business. Why limit something that I get so much out of to a few weeks in the year?

4.  Sometimes you have to permit yourself to do nothing.

Permit being the operative word - as in give yourself permission. Actively. When you're self-employed, it's easy to be always on, thinking about the next thing to do, constantly aiming to be productive. You're not constantly productive, it's impossible, but you always feel you should be doing MORE. I'm sure the same is true of raising a family, organising a club, running a household, all the things we do with our lives. A wise friend told me years ago that it's important, not just to slow down sometimes, but to STOP. To let go, step outside "normal life", and breathe. He was right.

5.  Swimming in the sea is my favourite form of exercise.

Some caveats - it must be warm, clear, turquoise sea, preferably in a beautiful setting. So this isn't entirely practical in Hertfordshire. Nonetheless, I think it's useful to know.

6.  Talking to lovely people outside your day to day life is good.

It gives you a chance to voice concerns, to air ideas you're not sure about without second guessing your listeners' reactions, worrying about the impact it might have on them or what they might think of you. There's no pressure to follow through on something you discuss, or explain. I think this is one of the nice things about travelling - often the people you meet who have gone to the same places as you, chosen to do similar things, are your type of people. It's easy to share ideas, think out loud, just chat and see where the conversation goes. It's about the present, not the past or future, as you don't have either together (except maybe the odd Facebook update down the road). This kind of holiday conversation can also be good practice in relating to people in a straightforward way, without hidden agendas or manipulation, which is always a useful reminder to have.

7.  I'd lost my connection to my body.

Being in my body was a lesson I'd learnt and valued. I'd built up a strong yoga practice and went outside and walked regularly, knowing it grounded me, made me better. But since I have been doing massage full time, I've become lazy. A little ironic - I think that as I was doing a physical job, I felt I was covered, wasn't I? Uh-uh. Doing massage, the focus is on my client's body, not mine, and mine needs some love and attention. Which this week it got - walking (a bit), swimming, basking in the sun, and three wonderful, nurturing, attentive massages. A double dose of TLC - from the lovely Jane, but also from me: noticing how it felt, where the tight bits were, enjoying the sensations and feelings of being stroked, kneaded, stretched. How lovely it would be to have massages every other day all the time! Unfortunately, it's just not possible, but I can have them every week or two (unsurprisingly, I know a lot of massage therapists) and I can attend to my body in other ways - self massage, yoga, walking. Even a simple bath can be a treat if taken with care and attention.


  1. Lovely reflections honestly put that ring true for me too Lucinda. Thank you for sharing. A friend and I often quip that our aim is for every day to feel as good as the days we view as 'holiday' - this doesn't mean doing the same 'holiday' things but having the feeling of being really happy about how we're spending our time. We're both occupy that space a lot of the time although I'm feeling very much in need of the beach treatment at the moment - that's due to the transition that is getting the children back to school and a lot of requests for my time at the moment. Next year I think husband and I will do a beach holiday in Sept without the children to recharge ourselves in a very quiet, still way!

  2. Hello Jessica. Every day feeling like a holiday even if you're not on a beach every day - that's a great goal. I agree though, being on a beach SOME days is important. I didn't use to do beach holidays really, then a friend showed me how to do them properly. Now I love my beach time, and I'm pretty sure from how I feel afterwards it loves me!