Last week I returned from Spain after having had the opportunity to explore Barcelona and Zaragoza with my sister-in-law. I hadn’t been to Spain since 2000, and could not believe how settled and at home I immediately felt. Where in the States my Spanish sometimes feels choppy and forced, in Spain, my words seemed to flow. Vocabulary I thought I had lost suddenly reappeared naturally in conversation.
I also remembered parts of me that I had forgotten. Over the past 10 years my life has been centered on my family and career. This is a statement, not a complaint. In fact, it is a happy truth. I am happy to have been blessed with an amazing family and a career in higher education. But being in Spain, reminded me of who I was before being a wife, a mother, and a cancer thriver. Being in Spain was expansive. My heart felt open and eager. My mind was hungry for adventure and exploration.
It was as if different parts of who I am and who I have been came together and reconnected. In some ways, I revisited the young 20 year-old I was when I first visited and lived in Spain. I was returning to my youth and remembering how it felt to believe so much in possibility, opportunity, and hope for the future’s unfolding.
In Spain, I also recognized distinctly the gravity of my years. I realized I have allowed life to feel heavy. Many events, activities, and appointments have weight to them. There is responsibility and accountability attached to everything I now do. There is so much to now do. My life has become one of doing and so much less of being.
As my adult self merged with my younger self I felt the burden of doing dissipate. I was not in Spain to do. I was in Spain to be. The difference was intoxicating.
The daily push for me now, upon my return to the States, is remembering how to authentically be my expansive, youthful self in an adult body living an “adult” lifestyle. Already I feel the pressure to do – to keep deadlines, to make appointments, to prepare for classes, to maintain the household chores, and to ensure my children are having all their needs met. Again, these “to dos” come with the choices I have made, and these choices are happy ones. Yet, how do I find harmony in all these doings while striving to nurture being who I am in essence and spirit?
I am exploring this question now before the fall semester begins. I look forward to reframing my heart and mind so I will not forget the free and expansive spirit I have remembered lives within. I see this spirit as a wild horse galloping hard through the bramble and weeds. She is free to run and completely herself.
Maybe we can all take some time to recall our expansive and wild spirit before we heavily structure our lives for this upcoming academic school year. Who will we uncover? Who do we remember being? How shall we nurture the exciting and wondrous feelings that arise with our remembering of self?
Please feel welcome in sharing your thoughts. I look forward to hearing from you.