How to Light Up Every Place: 3 Energy Practices for Travel

I've been traveling a helluva lot lately. In the last two weeks, I've been to all your favorite hot, Southern cities: Charleston, New Orleans, Nashville, Miami. 

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I'm in reflection now as I try to remember my memories zooming through these places. Short moments on a short fuse. I realize now that many moments were lost, but many moments were not. And that's when I feel thankful for my presence practices. 

I even remember the places, strangers and things I learned and think fondly of the lessons learned. I'm exhausted now (and had to get a new phone), but it was life well-spent.

And as a mother of two young boys, travel is not always available to me. Even if it does happen at once, it's something. It's all a gift, a lineup of blessings presenting themselves to me.

I refuse to be hard on myself because I'm far from perfect, but there were moments of exhaustion when I was taking all the busyness of travel for granted--telling friends and family, "I need a vacation from my vacation." And immediately after saying it, regretting having said that.

What I am going to focus on here is what I did right in the last two weeks of travel. How I lived it up, but also focusing on what, perhaps, I could have been done better. 

How to Light Up Every Place: 

1. Listen:

Listening is a type of blessing. When you listen to the trees, the sound of the city, the sound of the ocean, the sound of the people next to you telling you about themselves, whether you know them or not, the sounds of the universe around you--this is lighting up the world around you.

Listening is not hearing. Listening is recognition. Listening is presence. It means forgetting your own voice in your head. It means truly feeling into the heart of your subject.

It is a way of bringing consciousness to your surroundings. This brings light to yourself and to the energy forms around you. When you truly listen (meaning you are not in your head voice, but in your body and heart), you are brightening your light and shining it upon your listening object (whether person, place or thing). 

Listening is a spiritual practice on every level. Open your ears. Release the voice in the mind. Listen to everything around you. 

It is one of the most beautiful forms of service, of love, of awareness. 

So I'm going to list the beautiful sounds to which I listened in between the spurts of unconsciousness:

  • One of my best friends telling me things I didn't know about her family

  • The sound of Atlantic waves (multiple times)

  • A New Orleans jazz band

  • The loud pulsing music of a club in Miami

  • Honking horns of traffic in a busy city

  • My husband and I talking about something other than our house and children, laughing and enjoying the friendship between us

  • A rock band at a bar

  • The clinking of glasses as we friends toasted each other at dinner

  • The laughing of my college friends

  • My children's voices screaming my name in joy

  • My baby talking nonsense in his carseat

  • Wind moving through the leaves of trees in my old neighborhood

  • My mother's voice telling me in person about her day

  • A stranger telling me about his favorite type of girl

  • All types of beautiful accents

2. Gratitude and Celebration: 

Food is enough of a reason to slow down and calm the mind. Don't miss the tastes.

I have had some of the best tasting food I've ever had in my life recently. I had biscuits that were to die for, a bread pudding souffle that almost made me cry. Wild mushrooms that I literally said thank you for out loud as I ate them, shaking my head in disbelief. 

Everything I put in my mouth was a present. Though gratitude for the margaritas started to get away from me, I was not lost to the fact that I was a privileged woman.

Celebration is the natural consequence of gratitude. And this is where I ended up, specifically during my time in New Orleans and Miami. I'm young, and I know when I need to step up into the moment. When I need to savor each second of fun. 

There might not be a clear "thank you" said mentally in my mind, but the emotion is there, the celebrated festivity of these rare minutes spent having fun. A kind of fun I don't usually have. This is recognized through my emotions, the live-it-up attitude that ended up taking over after conscious gratitude. 

Lots of dancing. Lots of looking. Lots of hugging. Lots of smiling. It's all part of that gratitude celebration.

It's a wonderful thing to celebrate your travel. It's a form of praise and adoration--a heightened vibe of gratitude for being in a new place. Celebration is beautiful. Don't be afraid to get embrace it, to step or two-step right into it. 

Sometimes this celebration gets the best of me, though. My lesson here is to slow down a bit when it comes to the celebration. Because when you're hungover and tired, it's not easy to be grateful. 

So my lesson there is to be kind to the future me, who will most likely be struggling the next day. Celebration has its limits. Gratitude does not. They are both so important for lighting up yourself and the world around you. 

If you need help forming a habit of gratitude (unbelievably valuable for your life), this is a free email course that's helped a lot of people:

(How many times do I need to learn that celebration lesson? Goodbye, phone. Hello, gratitude.)

3. Mindfulness, or at least Breath Breaks:

My meditation practice took a big hit during my travels. This was busy travel so there was no time for yoga or meditation. There was not even space for it. 

So I tried my hardest to tap into mindfulness and let me tell you, it was not easy. To light up the world around you, you have to light up the inside of you. This is bringing light to how your body feels, to emotions that pop up and sometimes consume, to thoughts streaming through the mind. 

Oh brother, this is hard when you're traveling. I was so trapped in my head. So I tried to employ moments when I took a "breath break."

A Breath Break is a new-age smoke break wherein you stop and tap into the breath, and by tapping into the breath, you take a look inside. This is consciousness. This is inner light. Again, when you power up your inner light, you end up shining it outward.

Once you have tapped into your breath, you can center and ground yourself to look around and experience the world around you more fully. A breath break is just what it sounds like. Get away. Go outside. Go to the bathroom. Stand on the balcony. Stroll around the neighborhood and take in the oxygen. It's more effective than smoking, more relaxing and stimulating. 

From here, you can experience the world from the river and center of your breath. Your attention and mindfulness of the world lights it up.

Meditation really helps to develop the practice of mindfulness in day-to-day life. It powers up your inner light so that you are more able to shine it outward into the world.

If you can manage meditation, I highly recommend setting aside a time and place for it. Especially during travel. You don't want to miss anything. Let's stay awake for it all.

If you don't have a meditation practice, try this free course that has helped hundreds to get into a healthy and beautiful meditation practice:

Whether you are traveling or living your wonderful, fantastic life, you are on a journey. Remember that. In a sense, we are always traveling. As in a fairy tale, it is our duty to spread the light, to love the world, to serve in some way and ourselves. It is my belief that we are constantly being rewarded for this. 


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Related: How to Wake Up Your Inner Senses: Real Mindfulness

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