Monday Morning Pages: Finding My Island Time

by Rebecca A. Watson on February 3, 2014

in beach, escapism, habits, Just Be, Monday Morning Pages

After spending a week on Gran Canaria, I’m happy to say I’ve returned in one piece. Since part of my trip involved paragliding and another included me crashing on a scooter, I think this is a pretty big accomplishment. Germany has never seemed so safe.

Sante had planned three days of riding and one of those days I’d planned a hike. But the other two I was excited to sit next to the pool in the sun and read or just lay there and knit or whatever people do on beach vacations. It had been so long I’d forgotten.

lake calhoun sand

Was 2009 really the last time I spent any real time on the beach?

Well it turns out that maybe I’m not so good at taking the lay-by-the-pool trips, because after about three hours I started feeling bummed out. It wasn’t that I was bored. I had things I could’ve done, but most of them involved sitting and letting my mind wander. Not good.

As I sat there in my anxiety, I realized that I never did this at home any more. Back in the day, I would spend most of Sunday doing nothing except listening to music, writing and reading. It was a lovely way to spend the end of my weekend. It was also my only day off, so I needed to reset for the week.

This time I spent with no real agenda was something I called “Just Be-ing.” As I sat on vacation struggling with the concept, it dawned on me that even in my most relaxed, since I’ve moved to Germany I have been doing something. German homework, house cleaning, building IKEA furniture, blog writing, figuring out how to get a drivers license, grocery shopping. Take away that, and I was a mess.

As I looked back through my morning pages, I realized that I really never mastered the art of Just Being. I have visions of how good I was at it when I lived in Minneapolis by myself, but I’m pretty sure a lot of that Just Being involved booze, which sorta negates the whole relaxed body, mind and soul thing.

In 2012 I wrote:

I’d like to do some more work along those lines — maybe for existential peace, since everyone I know seems to be going through that. Am I going through that? … Geez! Give yourself a break. Life is really nice when you make it enjoyable. Most of the stress you put on yourself is undue. Am I enabling others? Fuck that. Let go of the enabling you’re doing to yourself.

And in 2013:

Oh Universe, there is this sadness that begs to be let out lately, which is probably why I’ve been so engrossed in doing lately. It seems every time I take even the smallest breaks, I can’t get away from needing to check my Facebook, Yahoo and Gmail. And then there’s all the other things that I could do. I don’t want to slow down because … I’m feeling not empty, not lazy, maybe scared? Afraid of what’s going to come out?

Well I’d say I hit the nail on the head there. Since then I’ve been doing a lot more guided meditation, working out and obviously I quit drinking, so I feel like I am facing a lot of the shit that wanted to come out.

guru namaste

But clearly I’m no guru yet.

This doing I’m used to keeps me from seeing all of it. And take away the chores, the commitments and other people’s expectations and instead of feeling elated, I’m a little frightened. I have nothing left to fight it with, which I guess is the point. Then, the only way out of an uncomfortable feeling is through it.

So I’m returning from vacation with a renewed sense to of self, knowing that I can’t continue this doing mentality if I want to grow spiritually and heal mentally. I am not 100 percent sure where to start, but I wrote an article awhile back called Be More, Do Less. And unlike Alice in Wonderland, I’m keen on following my own advice.

It makes me smile because so many folks I know want to preserve their sense of calm after an island vacation. I’ve come back seeing that no island is going to bring me peace. Only me, weathering the storms inside and coming out the other.

Do you struggle with constantly doing? What helps you slow down?

Wondering what this Monday Morning Pages thing is all about? Read how it started. Or check out all the archives.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Bree August 29, 2015 at 12:17 am

Wow. I read your article and it feels like I am reading what I am thinking. Everything you said is exactly what I am feeling right now. In fact i googled ” depressed while on vacation” . Not totally depressed but I feel sad and can’t stop working even if Im in a remote island. I tried to be still and hangout at the pool like you and stared at nothingness but after getting used to working 24/7 with my online business, it now makes me feel guilty to just chill and do nothing. It makes me sad that I feel this way whenever I am relaxing, how the thought of ” i should be doing more important things right now” starts to creep in, the moment I try to enjoy doing nothing.


Rebecca A. Watson August 31, 2015 at 1:01 pm

Hey Bree, I am so sorry you’re dealing with that kind of problem too. It is SUCH a bummer because the whole point of doing the online business is to be able to relax when you want and work when you want. Bah! I hope you are finding some ways to combat that. Maybe that’s a good article topic…what do you think?


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