We are home with new freckles on our noses, brown shoulders, sand in our backpacks, some handmade Mexican necklaces that we’ll probably never wear, a new t-shirt for Will, three new stuffed animal buddies for Jen, some nice pictures and a much-needed attitude adjustment. I saw plenty of people squeezing ginormous sombreros into the overhead compartment on the plane. Instead, I came home with a stack of plates on my head.
But yesterday morning, after my first night’s sleep in my own bed, I realized that I was afraid to open my eyes. I was afraid that if I woke up in my bed, in my house, in my town, that all the relaxation, calm, and peace from vacation would seep right out the open windows. I just knew that if I kept my eyes tightly closed that I could hang on to that vacation zen. But my desperate attempts at hanging on to the zen were, in fact, messing with the zen. I needed to find a way to ease back into ‘normal’ life while keeping the calm and the peace.
So I visualized walking through my day with a whole, uncooked egg in my pocket. That would require that I not be rushing, that I not get flustered, that I approach everything gently and deliberately.
And then I visualized the smashed egg in my pocket.
The next thought that popped into my still sleepy mind was a picture of a stack of plates perched on the top of my head. The plates were thin, fine china. Some were decorated with delicate paintings. The edges of some were wrapped in gold leaf. There were about 6 or 7 plates perfectly nested together in the stack. They wouldn’t make a clanking sound if I could remember to walk gracefully, but the slightest bump or slouch, and the plates would rattle and begin to fall.
I visualized myself walking through my day with elegant posture, poise and grace. Think Katharine or Audrey Hepburn. Although I’m too tall to be a delicate Audrey, so Kate, it is.
And one whole day later, I’m still walking around with those plates on my head. I’ve managed to keep them from falling. I haven’t broken a one. When I heard the phone messages from Mark, I felt the plates jiggle a little. I slowly reached up to steady the plates with the slightest touch of my hand. When thinking of bending over to tackle the mountains of laundry, I pictured the plates flying off the top of my head in all directions, so I walked out of the bedroom and closed the door. (I did address the cat box before coming up with the plate analogy.) I’ll go after the laundry today, but I’ll slowly bend at the knees to grab the sorted piles. And after all that cruise food, it wouldn’t hurt to do a few squats.
And so my plan is to approach everyone and everything with grace and poise.
I think know I can do it if I make a conscious choice to not get riled, to not allow myself to get upset, to remember the lounge chair by the pool, in the sun, on the cruise ship. I didn’t need cocktails to relax. My kids were beyond happy. We were all content.
It’s not lost on me that we were away from situations that cause stress, and that’s why were were so content. In fact I think we only mentioned the N-word (narcissism) maybe two or three times. We didn’t even pack our N tool boxes. Didn’t have to. It was freeing to put all that stuff out of our minds.
I was apprehensive about writing on the blog when we returned. I didn’t want to mess with the zen. It’s pretty obvious that I’d like to close the door on all this N business. But, our reality is that unless we move to Timbukseven, we will have to continue to deal with narcissism and all its bizarreness. (We like Timbukseven better than Timbuktu because it sounds farther away.)
Mark is coming over for a visit this afternoon. I plan on opening the door gently. I will be ready to steady my pretty stack of plates with both hands.