This first week back in the city after that marvelous clothes free vacation had its challenges. Right away, I was bombarded with text messages, emails and conversations with people asking for tons of favors. Rather than jump right into it, I gave myself space to just exist. I spent Monday crying a great deal, crying and writing. Tuesday, I stepped out to the yoga studio and had my first clothed practice in over a week. And then wrote some more. Finally, Wednesday, I walked across the bridge, took the elevator up and opened the door to the office. And kept writing.
On the one hand, I was amazingly productive those first few days back at work. Wednesday, I lit up my to-do list, and Thursday I dominated all my tasks before lunch. I also practiced for an upcoming opportunity that took place over the weekend. And I continued to write. Indeed, I was full and fresh after that clothes free vacation. However, I also found myself quickly drained from all the busyness and running around. “What’s the deal?” I wondered to myself. I was so used to having a packed schedule, doing tons of things, meeting up with everyone. Why was I feeling not only exhausted, but also unwilling to step back into that life?
The things is, I felt effortlessly healthy and aligned during my clothes free vacation. Yes, there is an element of that experience that I’ve had before on other vacations…the opportunity to sleep a lot and the break from my jobs. I’ve had that before, so that kind of relief was familiar to me. But, there was a deeper level still of something beautifully healing from having spent all of my vacation days clothes free outdoors 24 hours per day. I don’t think I’ve ever had that much fresh air in my entire life, and my body loved it inside and out. My soul was effortlessly at peace.
I remember sitting in my fold-out chair in the open field just outside of the tent, staring into the beauty of nature before. I watched the clouds chase each other and the sun brush the face of the grass. I could feel its heat warming my toes as they peeked out from under the cover of the tarp. My lungs felt pure with the air filling them, and my heart settled with each fresh exhale.
“Was it like finding true north alignment?” One of my friends asked. I’ve heard a few of my teachers and trainers use that phrase before, “true north alignment,” and I didn’t have the slightest clue what it meant. Yoga talk. Ugh. I understood the principles of stacking the joints, but the phrase itself just sounded weird to me. Well, it did until now. When she said it this time, there was a tingle in my bones. “Yes,” I replied with a token of wonder in my voice. “That’s exactly it. I felt completely aligned in who I am and what I want.” My compass was clear.
“What, if anything, can you bring back with you from that trip?” asked one of my yoga teachers just after class. I almost wanted to roll my eyes at her. (She didn’t know it was a clothes free vacation, but she knew I’d spent all of my time outdoors in the woods.) Here we go, I thought to myself. More yoga talk. Blah blah blah. Oh wait, she has a point, though. Here I was, feeling quite upset about returning to my clothed life of running all day, all night, constantly working. Instead of just sitting around and crying, what could I do (even if while crying, if that release still needed to happen)? What was important to me, and how would I create it?
I found myself emotional at the grocery store. As I passed through the fresh produce, my eyes landed on foods that I didn’t usually mind before, because I had gotten so locked into one set routine with my eating. During that clothes free vacation, my friend and I had some awesome cooking adventures, and from that experience, I was wildly inspired to try some things that I rarely notice otherwise. I wandered over to the peaches, plums and nectarines and tossed a bunch in a bag. I slid over to the watermelons eager to grab one and play with new raw juice recipes (or, you know, just put my face in a watermelon). My grandfather used to pick them all of the time, and he was quite the pro at it. But, I never picked them myself. So, young tech-dependent generation that I am, I took out my iPhone and Googled “how to pick a watermelon” right there in the grocery store. I picked one up and let its weight marinate in my hands. I drew it close to my cheek, found the yellow spot and tapped it next to my ear. Boom, done. I grabbed lots of things off the shelves, inspired by the clothes free camping experience. The kitchen is madly stocked with all sorts of colors right now.
I’ve also given myself time to be alone and quiet. Several of my friends were eager to reconnect upon my return, but I wasn’t ready. I needed to keep writing, I needed time to cry, I needed time to be still. I also needed time to prepare for that exciting opportunity for the weekend. I was clear that I wanted space, so I chose it and didn’t compromise. “No, I can’t meet up tonight.” And I’m so glad that I honored my own needs, because that actually became a resource for me when that weekend opportunity came. Sure, I was nervous, but I also felt centered and well-rested. What was really cool, is that the opportunity was outdoors. So, I eagerly slid my shoes off and immediately the happy, confident nature goddess in me lit up. “Good morning, everyone! Welcome!!!” I chimed as my toes spread through the cool grass beneath my feet. And that experience turned out to be a complete success.
There are some other things that remain on my heart from that clothes free vacation. I know that I need to be closer to places where I can freely run about clothes free outside. I know that I want to spend less money on trying to exist in the city (rent, food, etc.) and more on actually going to various clothes free venues and events. And there are other things as well. These pieces might involve bigger steps, bigger moves over time. I don’t yet know what that looks like. But I know it’s there, and when the time comes, I’ll recognize it and step right into it.