The Sacred Mundane
Well, hello! I hope you enjoyed my husband's super-practical-and-important guest post about porting your US phone number over to Google Voice. I'm sure he'll be back for more in the future, so just be prepared when I randomly throw another your way soon. Alright!?
Three and a half weeks. I've officially been in Vilnius for three and a half weeks! As I sit back and reflect on this move, I can't help but want to remind my readers that it isn't all rainbows and sunshine. In fact, there's been quite a bit of rain along the way!
And you know what? I quite like it that way -- it provides contrast and color, a multifaceted experience. I've already lived so much life in my short time here: made incredible new connections, educated myself on the bagel's reintroduction into Lithuanian culture, prayed in the Vilnius Cathedral and sent love to everyone I care about back home.
But within all of these new experiences, I vigilantly stay open to both the highs and the lows. For me, it would be out of integrity to not do this. And so, I continue to come back to these three tenets:
Make the mundane sacred. When my husband and I made the decision to move across the world, we knew I would be leaving a good job with good people behind. Not having a job yet has given me a unique opportunity to view this city with wide open eyes, to stay present to things like: walking in the rain, taking in the fantastical baroque architecture, and creating my own daily rhythm. Because I've never been someone whose identity tied to their career, I may have eased into this more quickly than others - but still, the opportunity to see with fresh eyes remains.
Be okay with being alone. Truth be told, I'm already pretty good at being alone and recognize the difference between loneliness and being alone. However, I've had a huge opportunity to stretch my alone muscle since I've been here, whether that's making tea, having a daily yoga practice, or walking around Old Town and reminiscing this corner of the world with my ancestors. But as always, it's okay to feel lonely, too. I don't take for granted the fact that I get to create myself anew everyday, and part of that involves a wide open emotional spectrum. The honeymoon phase ends eventually, but with it comes a richer and more grounded experience. Instead of being fearful of that honeymoon ending, I'm allowing myself to stay open to that grounding transition. And, that truly demands being okay with being alone in process.
Find your own personal ways to root down in a new culture. For me, my first grounding activity was meal prep. The act of cutting vegetables reminded me I'm home wherever I place my feet. My second activity was surrounding myself with natural spaces like Vingis Park, or on rainy days, surrounding myself with the sounds of nature. And my third activity was human interaction, something I don't take for granted here or in the United States. Because I am incredibly deliberate about where I place my energy, I find myself fine-tuning this process on a daily basis (see my blog post, Friend Dating, for more on this!). It's so important to remain curious and open, while also remembering that it's okay to rest and pace yourself - that's my living prayer every single day.
A big theme of my life here has been about pacing myself and letting all of the newness unfold. Rainy days operate just for this reason: an opportunity to slow down and be reflective, check in, and sit with myself. In what ways do you root and ground yourself every day? If you're thinking about an international move, use this post as an opportunity to think about how you'd like to create grounding for yourself on a daily basis. It really comes down to mental preparation and then the application of that preparedness and visualization. As for me, I will continue to chop my vegetables, dance my prayers, and give space to, well, ... everything.
Playing with light at the Cathedral Square with new friends: