Conscious Choice: Tension v. Relaxation

Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”

~ Chinese proverb

I ran across this quote while cleaning up my bulletin board this week, and it really hit home for me, especially since I’ve just returned from vacation.

While I was away from home I gave myself permission to be—not do, just be. This is a difficult concept for me, being the Type-A kinda person that I am. To my delight, what I discovered was that I was more in the moment, less driven by the “have-to’s” in my life. Sure, I was on vacation and very few “have-to’s” were invited along on my trip. Yet, going with the flow gave me the chance to listen inwardly, feel what my body needed, and then honor those needs. No other voices barged into the conversation. Or if they did, I gently sent them outside to play by themselves.

There were few “shoulds”. Yes, I cooked, cleaned up, washed clothes, and yet I still found time to hike, meditate, take photos, ride a horse, sit in the sunshine, read, knit, and just be.

How did I fit in all of these things and still feel refreshed?

I think the key was recognizing my priorities and banishing any “shoulds” that niggled at me. I also was unconcerned with appearances and making an impression. No one knew me so I could be whoever I wanted to be. I realized that I unknowingly was concentrating on just being me—the “what you see is what you get” variety. I freed myself from constraints. And the reward? I found so much energy and vitality since neither was being sapped by worries. I found peace of mind because I took time to be still and listen. I was relaxed because I was truly myself.

My goal: to stay in this place—call it vacation mode if you like—every day. To be who I truly am, without personal or societal censorship.

Your call to action:

Think of a time when you were totally relaxed. What differences do you notice from how you regularly present yourself to the world? Why does that relaxed person disappear and how can you keep her more prominent? Who would you be if you banished “should” from your vocabulary?


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