mindful: relaxation

“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” -Chinese proverb

That tension is exactly what my "live in the moment" phrase is combating. I spent much of my 20's conflicted. I was conflicted about pretty much everything but really it all boiled down to the tension of who I should be. I don't think this is a unique experience; it makes sense that in your 20's you face a struggle between others' expectations of you and your own. It's a time where you try to figure out who you are, where you try out identities, friends, majors, jobs, etc. When I moved to Illinois, I began to feel conflicted between my life in Mobile and my life in Illinois, between my Southern self and the Midwestern experiences I was having. And I think it's okay to feel some conflict when change happens. However, my biggest problem is that I often feel conflicted about the tension I am experiencing. So that instead of acknowledging that tension exists and accepting it, feeling conflicted about the tension prevents any kind of understanding that might emerge.

As I have moved into my 30's I've realized that tension will always exist and it's not always bad. I've never been really great at meditating. You know, sitting silently and "clearing my mind," because when I sit in the quiet a lot goes through my head and then I begin to get uptight and more tense because I'm not relaxing. And I think, I'm meditating; I should be relaxing. Relaxing, though, is different for each person. I relax in a lot of ways, ways that might not make sense or even look like relaxing to other people. I watch TV; I read non-fiction; watch movies, history specials. I listen to music. I write on my blog. I code websites. All these things, hobbies or relaxation methods, whatever you want to call them are also part of who I am. So, for me, relaxing means accepting who you are, tensions, conflict and all but not giving too much time or concern to the tensions and instead focus on what you can learn when conflict exists.