Creating Sacred Space On the Road (Or any other high pressure situation)
I recently embarked on a road trip from Minnesota to LA with my very favorite person on the planet and another very close friend to see one of our college friends (who I still absolutely adore) marry a woman who even this cold-hearted bitter single queer can see is his true love. This started off as a travel entry--how much fun I had in LA, how magickal this Pisces babe felt seeing the Pacific Ocean for the first time, the best food I ate, etc. It would've been genuine and it would've been great, but I'm exhausted. I. Am. So. Exhausted. It's not that I didn't have a great time. It was one of the best experiences of my life, but I could've taken better care of myself. I am a capital-I-Introvert, and I was with the QPP non-stop, our other friend most of the time, staying with a wonderful new friend (who had a weimaraner!), and visiting art friends and clients that moved to LA to follow their dreams. You know, on top of wedding stuff. This couldn't be avoided and I didn't WANT it to be avoided, but here's where I went a little amiss:
- I didn't write, not even in my journal, the entire time. My fingers are so itchy now to sit and write all the things and I definitely felt the pain of not documenting AND not taking the time to do for myself.
- My daily tarot practice also fell short.
- There were a few times I could've carved out an hour or two to sit and read or dip my feet into the apartment complex's pool while Manny was napping or otherwise engaged, and instead I usually flopped on my bed and stared at my phone for those times. Such a fail.
Carving out and creating that time for yourself is crucial, and I'm definitely feeling the brunt of it now. I didn't totally fail at carving out that time and space for myself though. Here's some tips/tricks/indulgences I did enforce that anyone in a highly people-d situation can do.
- Never underestimate the power of grounding stones and personal talismans. Manny gifted me an amethyst point with a moonstone set in sterling silver a couple of Christmases ago and I have worn it every day since, with the exception of days I forget or days I'm giving it a three-day moon bath for cleansing. I do daily incantations for both success and grounding so on the road clutching it, taking a deep breathe, and not incanting but just feeling all the good energy I already put into it made a HUGE difference. I also took some of my favorite grounding stones, and would just pull out hematite and jet and set it on my thigh, arm, tummy, or even just held it and breathed for a few minutes.
- My last day in LA itself I did some touristy things, but then I just felt done. I sat in the apartment hot tub and read a Carson McCullers book. Manny was technically there, but we were on opposite sides and I was totally absorbed in my book and vice versa. It was only 30-40 minutes or so but it was enough to get me ready for dinner with a dear friend I hadn't seen awhile. You won't always have a hot tub, but there will always be some place you can retreat too.
- I ate well! If you've followed me for any length of time or know me at all in real life, this is an ongoing struggle for me regardless of travel. I love nothing more than good bread, ethically farmed real butter, mostly vegan food (sans salty vegan substitutes) with occasional pizza or cheese-on-my-omelette indulgences and seafood if I trust the source. However, I often find myself at the bottom of a bag of chips with no clue how I got there, or alternatively, will realize it's midnight and I'm starving because I had four grapes for breakfast and nothing else all day. I started each day with my standard cup of coffee and glass of water, because food in the morning gags me (thanks thyroid disorder!) but I'm honestly so proud of myself for lunch on every day. I ate lots of high-protein, high-fat (it's a good thing for chronically ill people), low sugar and salt food everyday. I ate every time I was hungry and stopped when I was done. This might seem so basic but when traveling it is so easy to go wild on junk food or get so busy visiting stuff you don't eat nearly enough. Furthermore, good food has a spiritual purpose to me so even with other people that first bite of to-die-for mushroom chorizo grounds me and connects me to the local place it came from.
- I stated my needs (!!!) this is an even bigger struggle for me than the food thing, and do you know what happened on a 30 hour road trip when I asked my friends if we could "just be quiet for a few minutes?" They agreed, and even seemed relieved that SOMEONE had asked for this. Y'all. Tell people what you need. Trust me on this.
- I took time for JUST the BFF and I. No, it's not introvert time, but time to blow off steam with someone you love in a beautiful city (or wherever you're visiting) is restorative. We got to experience LA shopping and walking hustle on our own, frequently striding side by side silently (the mark of true companionship) pointing out only the silliest or most moving things we saw. And we complained about the stresses of the visit. I'm not the type of new age-r who thinks complaints automatically poison your positive vibes. In fact, if you keep every annoyance, actual contention, hurt feeling, and who knows what else inside you will have a meltdown.
- AND MAYBE YOU NEED TO HAVE A MELTDOWN AND THAT'S OKAY TOO. I sat on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and sobbed hysterically because that's what I needed to do, and then the entire rest of my day was just breathtakingly wonderful. Complaining and crying only become toxic if that's your default, your way of life, or if they hinder your ability to stay grateful. I am always grateful. I grew up with almost nothing, I've been abused and assaulted and stolen from and deeply, deeply hurt so many times and somehow I made it to a point in my life where with some careful budgeting I can take a trip to LA, buy my hosts thank you gifts, and still have money to eat with when I come back and I've gotten to a point where I can attend a friend's wedding out of state like a fucking adult and talk about my businesses in an honest but glowing way and live my life, my love, and my spirituality freely and there is not a single second of a single day where I am not overwhelmingly grateful for where I ended up and where I'm going, but all of those other things leave scars, no life is perfect, and you are not wrecking your mojo if you are 1,500 miles away from your biggest stressors and still sit on a beach crying about them. You are releasing that emotion, processing it, and that is so necessary. So have a meltdown, no matter how much fun you're supposed to be having. Just don't let those feelings wreck your whole trip--not because you owe being fun to anyone, but because if you're on a trip, you owe it to yourself to enjoy it.
I learned so much about myself and my limits on this trip, and perhaps that's the big takeaway after all. I pushed myself a little too far, and I'll be better next time, but I knew when it was time to call it on this trip and held firm, and I haven't self-advocated that well ever. I'm so beyond grateful for this trip for so many reasons, not the least of which connects to me learning even more about sacred space and time and how much I need it.
Until next time, blessed be.