Wow! It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted on my blog, & I’ve got to say I’ve missed it! It’s been a hectic two months between moving & this busy neurology service I’ve been on. I know all too well the pull that medical training can create between what you want to do & what you have to do. Needless to say its been harder than usual to balance the two extremes…especially when so many exciting things are brewing in my life right now.

Needless to say this balancing act has left me stressed & in major need of a vacation….a time away to think, breathe, & get back to who I am again. Sooo, hubby & I packed the munchkin & took a vacation to Italy! We’re actually here now as I write this. It’s the end of Day 2 of our vacation & I’m already nervous about packing to come home & entering real life again.

Having this time away has been amazing….it’s great to have the time to rest & just be OFF for awhile. Since being here I’ve been very intentional to practice some mindfulness & meditation techniques. These are practices I encourage my patients to do especially when dealing with anxiety.

In short, mindfulness is the act of being fully aware of your senses, emotions, and thoughts—not judging them or dismissing them.

Often times for me mindfulness includes passing those thoughts before God & essentially asking, “God, what do you think? I feel this way. I accept these are my thoughts. Is this ok God? If not, what do I need to do to change this or make this better?” Being on this vacation, mindfulness has looked like me being intentional to explore the airport shops in Brussels during our layover & not just mindlessly surfing the web. It’s been me buying a piece of bacon & maple flavored chocolate just to see what it tastes like & really tasting it in my mouth…not just scarfing it down because I needed a sugar rush to stay awake. It’s been me looking at my surroundings…like really appreciating the beauty of the Roman architecture in the piazzas or smelling the blossoms of the numerous honeysuckle bushes where were staying. It’s been me enjoying having no WiFi during the day so I’m not glued to my cell every second. It’s been me reading a magazine & actually reading it, retaining it & not just mindlessly flipping through looking at pictures that jump out at me. It’s also been me accepting that my mind is cluttered and I’ve got a lot on my plate and asking God what to do about that. I’m sure you get the point right now—it’s been all about me being fully present, enjoying the here & the now, and thinking through solutions to change things if need be.

Whats been distracting you from being fully present in your current situation right now? I encourage you to carve out a day (or in reality 5-10 minutes) where you can just sit, focus on your breathing, & your thoughts. You can pass them before God or your own internal filter as you decide…just do it. You owe it to yourself, & those around you.

Check out this cool article about how mindfulness helped one doc make some serious life changes. Though I’m not endorsing her nonprofit, I do think its pretty cool how mindfulness totally changed her around.

Also, here are a few photos from our Italian family vacation so far! Enjoy:)