The nomadic lifestyle is here to stay. We’ve left behind cubicles- and even corner offices, in lieu of jungle lean-to’s and ocean vistas. I love the life I lead, everyday a mystery, the unknown waiting to unfold.
This lifestyle is a no brainer to me, yet after so many years of programming ourselves into the former regimen of stagnant 9-5s, gaining stable footing with all this freedom, can be a challenge. There are days, sometimes even weeks, that disappear. I look back upon them dumbfounded at where the time has gone. “Ok, I did 6 yoga classes, meditated everyday, made new friends…” Yet sometimes the actual “tasks” on my list get pushed to the wayside in place of FUN.
In order to keep track, there are a few simple and powerful practices that keep nomads from losing grip on the structure, which now is self-imposed. This is the intersection of mindfulness, connection to nature, self-care, and maintaining routine to elevate our workdays, and sense of fulfillment. I have been using these methods to great success, and as a mindfulness coach, I know how important it is to give people a taste of the many ways in which these two very different versions of alternative lifestyles- the “conscious/spiritual” and “nomadic” can come together synergistically.
For the Roamers choosing Bali, a spiritual hub, for their work this might be a bit more run of the mill than for those in Tokyo – since keeping calm and tranquil in such a bustling city is much more of a challenge. To all the jetsetters constantly off on the next adventure; living out of a suitcase doesn’t have to mean limitation. Last year I took a carry on for 5 weeks in Africa, plus one in wintry London. With little to no extra “baggage,” you can get grounded wherever you’re off to next.
Literally acclimating yourself to a new place might seem hippy dippy- I promise you it will do you a world of good. The earth has an energetic field, most of us are aware of that. Here are steps towards connecting and grounding for higher productivity:
Take just 10 minutes, within the first few hours of your arrival upon distant lands, to get your bare feet in the dirt. The “foreign soil” literally, and figuratively will realign your system to massively decrease jetlag, and help you expedite your connection to wherever the office is this week.
2) GET WARM
Grab a hot water bottle! Grandma’s know a thing or two about sleep. This little trick works wonders getting you more quickly into dreamland, and enhancing the depth/quality. I’ve had a rough night or two on the road, sleep can be challenging if you’re rarely in your own bed or familiar surroundings. Not just for the insomniacs among us- Bruce Lee told us to be like water- there is no such thing as an obstacle if you are always in flow. While being hydrated is perhaps the most important thing about water- bringing this healing, nurturing element to your work day externally, used against whatever surface you’re sitting on, can be incredibly helpful to your back.
Heat supports realignment and energetic repair of our cellular systems by increasing circulation and speeding up the processes of our inner healing mechanisms. Benefiting alleviation of discomfort from tension in neck and shoulders, back pain, headaches, soreness, cramps, sinus pressure etc… Take this to the next level, and get into a nice hot tub, bath or jacuzzi, allowing yourself to submerge. Water helps to rebalance the system, and being able to sit let’s your whole body feel supported, giving it permission to fully release.
3) TAKE CLASSES
Find a class that does something you’re interested in. Whether it’s meditation, pilates, writing, painting, music, dungeons and dragons- I bet you can find it! I’ve found some AMAZING ecstatic dance, kirtan, pottery, and other activities which are part of my routine at home, just by looking around on the internet. There are meet-ups and facebook groups for just about anything these days! You’re more likely to meet locals, who can show you a deeper version of your stomping grounds, without having to wade through touristy stuff.
4) HAVE A TOTEM
Something special to you- a crystal, a medallion- I have one of those, is that weird? Do other people still carry medallions? Anyway, whatever memento makes you feel powerful, happy, filled with love and courage- bring that. Before you set out, create a little ceremony for yourself, no one is watching. Visualize what you’re most grateful for, and program that into your keepsake, like an anchor. Keep it with you. Anytime you’re feeling ungrounded or things get hectic, hold onto it to remind you of all the blessings and magic in your life. You are exactly where you’re meant to be, no matter what appearances may seem!
5) EAT CHOCOLATE
Cacao has been inducing that warm-hearted feeling for centuries. If you’re allergic, I’m sorry! Really l am. You can try your favorite grounding foods in lieu of that divine option. Kale and other green leafy vegetables that grow close to the ground, potatoes, onions, garlic and root vegetables that grow below it, strawberries, tomatoes, all are grounding foods you can manage to create with pretty easily.
6) KEEP A JOURNAL
Studies show that people who are able to process through their emotions with themselves, and the paper as a neutral observer/listener have greater self awareness and are more emotionally intelligent than those who do not. A study published in the New York Times lauded the benefits for cancer patients and those recovering from illness because these people gained the awareness of their creatorship of life’s narrative by writing in a journal. This is YOUR story! You are the hero! What kind of tale would you like to tell?
7) BE. HERE. NOW
This is your moment. Now, and now… and now. Being PRESENT is the ultimate key to staying grounded when your life is anything but. Take in your senses- what do you see, smell, hear, taste, and feel? For that last one, feel beyond your external sensory system, what emotions are you feeling? If it’s lonely, try step three, if it’s nervous, try step four, just take a moment to take account and get our your journal if you don’t feel comfortable processing with someone else. Shakespeare says “Expectations are the root of all suffering.” So if something’s not going your way, do whatever you can to accept it (step 8 is very helpful), and move forwards in whatever way you can.
If you take just 3 deep breaths, focusing on where you feel oxygen entering, and exiting your body, you will come immediately back to your present moment. Ok- sometimes it takes more than three, give yourself time and space for ten and I promise you’ll be better equipped to handle whatever is before you.
9) FOLLOW YOUR GUT
This is the age old way of telling us to listen to our intuition. I saved the best for last, because all the others can help you create a clearer channel for this guidance to reach you. If there’s a book in front of you someone left behind, and it calls to you, whether you’re in the middle of three others, or you haven’t finished one since college, pick it up. Give it a chance to share its wisdom with you. As if the author was sitting next to you at a coffee shop and you strike up a conversation, only to leave with renewed vigor and inspiration.
This also goes for taking the road less traveled. If a little voice in your head says to go left, listen to it. This can become an absolutely magnificent compass. Your intuition is kind, supportive, and never condescending. If it’s telling you “you can’t/wouldn’t/couldn’t” “you’re too afraid to do x, so just turn left”- nooo thank you! That is not the voice to listen to. If it is suggesting something magical awaits you in a different direction, “there’s something waiting for you there,” “this way will teach you something you’ve been seeking,” “It could bring you inspiration beyond your wildest dreams”- those are the little inklings we are listening for. At first, messages might not come in full sentences like that, which is why checking in with your FEELINGS comes first. Which way feels good? Exciting? Adventurous? Begin to train yourself to hear the difference between the voice that makes you feel empowered and the one which tried to keep you small.
These road tested techniques can bring you great joy and a sense of stability- it took me many long journeys to cultivate. I hope they come to you right when you need them. That’s my favorite part about this world in wanderlust, exactly what we, exactly when we need it tends to cross our path in what can only be described as serendipity.