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I’m lucky. When I travel, I tend to leave home easily. 

Admittedly,  I fret and race around a bit frantically just before leaving on a trip. There is extra planning and preparation involved because Kyle, my son with autism, is typically at home with caregivers. Sometimes I overthink and overdo the preparations. Perhaps trying to hang on to control. Yes, I know, control is an illusion. But it’s easy to forget.

When it’s time to leave, I take the leap. Without even trying I abruptly leave it all behind, let it all go. My head clears, thoughts settle. This happens almost the instant I get in the car to the airport or on the road if we are driving. If there are any remaining mental remnants of home concerns, they have usually melted upon arrival at my destination.

I’m free to immerse myself in the moment. The one I have travelled to enjoy.

Earlier this week, I arrived home from a double header. 

I spent the first couple of days in Austin with my youngest daughter celebrating our milestone birthdays at a wonderful spa. Totally immersed. Often literally, in the jacuzzi. I was able to fully enjoy this very special time with my daughter. Talking, quiet, reading, eating, pampering and more. 

Far removed from home life, thoughts about loved ones at home were to a tiny minimum. In fact, I didn’t even call every night. Not planned or purposeful. Just how it was. Just what I found myself doing.  When I go away, I really go away. And I love that I do that. 

My next stop was Denver to visit and help my older daughter. I took care of my grandson so she could return to work. I got to fully immerse in loving and caring for my precious 3 1/2 month grandson and supporting my daughter during her time of transition from maternity leave. 

There’s nothing quite like holding or playing with a baby to automatically plunge you into the moment. It seems to be a given. I didn’t fret about what was happening with regard to Kyle at home. When I heard of the challenges, they automatically washed away from me like the ocean takes the sand with each wave. 

I’m grateful for the gift of holding my grandson with a clear mind, enabling me to experience a deep sense of connection and love. His smile, his delight, even his fussiness, his cries… all moments. Fully present, I didn’t miss any. There’s nothing quite like it.

I see myself as lucky. Detachment or letting go when I travel, the ability to submerge in the moment, is not a skill I have “worked on” or “tried to cultivate”. It is a habit I have fallen into over many years of getting away for short and long time periods. I can’t honestly say I know how it came about.

What I’ve come to understand is like most states of mind and moods, it’s not something one can force or manipulate. Perhaps a light can be shined on it as a direction in which to head, but beyond that, since our state of mind is made of the energy of thought, we are not directly in control of it. This may not sound like good news but I believe it is. Hint, much less to micromanage. Trying to manage thought is a losing battle. 

I know many people, particularly parents and particularly those with challenging situations at home like kids with special needs, have difficulty detaching when they are away from their child. 

There have been times that I have too. I can see how it can keep me from being fully present…

to where I am

to the others, often siblings, I am spending time with

to my husband, often my travel partner

to the overall enjoyment of the travel adventure

With one foot out of the moment, it’s easy to miss out on some or maybe all of what’s in front of me. It’s done innocently and certainly not volitionally. Thought has a way of tricking me into believing I need to be mentally involved in something other than now.  As if there is something more important or better to be found elsewhere. It’s a normal human tendency. 

I wish I could offer myself, as well as my coaching clients, a prescription for living more in the moment with a clearer and more settled mind. The space of love, of peace. The space from which fresh insights bubble forth. The one we always have access to, yet at the same time, the experience of it may tend to allude us. 

What I’ve come to understand is dropping into the moment is not something that can be forced. It’s not a goal that can be checked off a list. We will dip in and out of the moment throughout our day. 

The desire to spend more time in that space, fully present and immersed in the moment in front of us,  is a beautiful direction in which to head. Noticing when we have slipped off that path may be the first step to finding our way back to it. 

I consider myself lucky to be able to drop into that space with such ease when I am traveling. It’s the same space I dip in and out of when I write. I wish I spent more time there. There’s no place quite like it. 

PS On another note, I haven’t been able to resize the images for this blog lately, hence the incredibly large photos.

gayle nobel