With Thanksgiving taking place this Thursday, I think we can say that the “holiday season” is starting to get underway. The holidays are portrayed as a magical time full of joy, laughter and family and although this is true for some, it is not the standard for all. It is also a time where people are reminded of loss, triggering unexpected and deep-rooted tough emotions. It is a time where we often fall back into the same patterns of behavior we once had growing up. We play the role we were given in the family dynamic rather than what we have chosen to grow into as adults. This causes us to be in a state of reactivity treating the present moment as our enemy rather than our friend.

But what if this holiday season, we switched our approach? What if we treated this as a time of reflection? An opportunity to notice how much we have indeed progressed on this journey called life and yet, how much more capacity we have to grow. I often find myself in situations asking; what would Mother Theresa and Buddha do? Life is gracious and it will keep giving you opportunity after opportunity to learn your lessons. So let’s move beyond it this year.

Treat the present, as you would a beautiful moment in your life. Accept your life as it is right now and look for what is right. If you’re not able to find anything, please keep searching. You can start by being grateful for your life. For having a roof over your head. For your eyesight. For your voice.

Treat the present, as your friend, not your worst enemy. The other shoe doesn’t always drop. The other shoe could be a sheer figment of your imagination. All I’m saying is watch your attitude. Be honest with yourself. What are you truly creating?

You might even put yourself in an adult “time out” and take a few minutes to inhale up the spine and exhale out of your mouth. Connect to your physical self and shut down the thinking mind. If that still doesn’t work, remind yourself that you’re a bad ass and do a handstand even if you have to use the damn wall! Throw a spontaneous dance party!

If you’re life and family are perfect, great, but for the rest of us, let’s do this. See the good inside of you and others. Be kind. I guarantee you that we are all much more alike than we are different.

Traveling forces me out of my comfort zone and shows me both my strengths and weaknesses as a human being. I have a burning desire to see the world and experience other cultures but I absolutely hate flying. I find it painful both mentally and physically.
With the holiday season right around the corner, I thought I would share some of my travel tips that I’ve cultivated throughout the years. I’ve had the opportunity to teach workshops in other countries and I’m extremely grateful for these wonderful memories. So I hope you find these tips helpful.
1. Wear a backpack, not a purse.
Wear a backpack, not a purse. This one has saved my shoulders and spine. With a purse you have the tendency to always wear it on the same shoulder. The backpack offers your spine balance. Don’t resist this one. I have developed a backpack addiction and I have to keep them hidden away from my partner inside of my suitcase! I hope he doesn't read this.
2. Pack Snacks.
Pack snacks. My stomach can act funny while flying so I usually bring plain crackers and dry fruit. If I’m traveling from abroad back to the States and time allows, I’ve learned to go through the whole airport and find the best option for food. This tends to be a bit tougher if you’re vegetarian but not impossible. Stay away from curry! I made that mistake flying back from London!
3. Don't hate, meditate!
Don’t hate, meditate! So the kid behind you keeps kicking your chair and the baby in front of you won’t stop crying. What to do? Switch your playlist, set a timer for a minimum of 10 mins and focus on your breath up and down the spine. You can also count the in or out breath. When you get to ten, start again. Studies have shown deep breathing is the key to keeping centered.
4. Essential Oils
Essential oils. I always travel with pure peppermint and lavender. I use peppermint on my back and any other injuries and lavender on my temples to soothe my mind. Once I got stuck in London and they told me it would take 2 days to get home. I must have poured half of the lavender oil on me trying to remain calm but broke down anyway. The airline worker smelled the lavender, felt bad and found me a route home. I ended up next to 2 traditional Amish people, trying to hold my curry in and not cry as I colored.
5. Coloring
Coloring. Not your thing? Hear me out. I believe coloring saved me from doing an emergency landing while flying back from Australia. The flight was cramped, too long, and the food looked like throw up! (Thank God for #2!) Coloring makes you focus on one activity at a time. It calms the mind and keeps you centered. I created a playlist called “Flying.” I put on my cheap version of beats by Dre and transported myself into my Mandala coloring world!
Bonus Round
For my bonus round, I always like to travel with a dessert and pick a movie I would never watch at home. So enjoy eating your cupcake while watching Magic Mike!
What are your travel "must haves" or "traveling tips"? Leave your comments below!