Episode 64 – Project Alone Time
Listen to this episode here!
In this episode, Rachel speaks on the importance of taking alone time to rejuvenate and practice self-care. With the demands of everyday life, taking time for ourselves can be challenging but is so necessary if we wish to offer our best selves to the world.
Rachel begins the episode by sharing the emotions that surfaced as she left her baby girl and husband back in Sweden and arrived to Aruba alone. She discusses what led her to travel home early and why leaving Lea Luna was especially challenging for her this time. Diving further into this topic, Rachel speaks of the guilt and shame she places on herself as a new mother and we are often our own worst critics. With five days of alone time ahead of her, Rachel shares the fears she faced, what led her to a shift in mindset, and how she plans to fully embrace this opportunity to unwind, practice self-love, and focus on what she wants to do, guilt-free. She ends by sharing the first moments she spent grounding herself back home – the best destination of all.
[001:15] Hi and welcome to another episode of From The Heart: Conversations with Yoga Girl. This is officially the latest I have ever sat down to record this podcast. It’s pretty late Thursday night (laugh), and this podcast is released around 1 a.m. east coast time. So I am thinking that this week’s episode is as close to real time as it can possibly get. And this is, to me, a pretty interesting thing, because I love the format of podcasting, I record once a week and we produce it, and sometimes we cut it and edit it, and we add commercials and all of these things. I do them a couple of days in advance, even. Sometimes I have guests on, and it takes a couple of weeks for the podcast to be released. I like the medium of being able to really communicate as close to real time as possible, which is why I love social media so much, and I love Instagram Story, and I use that all the time. But normally with the podcast, there’s always a little bit of lag time, right? I’ll record it on Tuesday, and then everybody listens on a Friday. For me, since everything is From The Heart, usually so much has happened since then. (laugh)
[002:24] But this episode that you’re listening to right now is basically recorded in real time, so let’s see how this all works out. … Let’s take a breath. In through the nose, full, full inhale … And release through the mouth. … Ah, I’m just sitting here smiling right now. I just, literally just now, finished a really long trip, and just came home to Aruba after traveling for about, I don’t know, I think 16, 17, 18 maybe … hours. So my voice is a little bit hoarse, I’m super tired, I’m mega jet-lagged, and sitting down right now to share with you what is just a total roller coaster of crazy emotion. Holy cow. If you’ve been following along through social media, I just shared this actually right before I left, because I was a little hesitant to talk about it in social media. But I made this decision to go home, to go to Aruba after traveling for 10 weeks. We’ve been traveling around Europe for two and a half months. We’ve been to Spain and Italy and France and all over. Sweden mostly. And I made the decision to change my flight and go to Aruba five days earlier, before the baby and Dennis. So, I left my family behind! (laugh)
[004:02] Just saying those words is like, what the hell is happening right now? And yeah, I’ve gone through such an emotional day today, I’m probably going to cry as I record this. But I left my family behind. Just that sentence sounds so absolutely insane. But what’s been going on is, I know maybe this is not a big deal, it’s just I decided to go home a couple of days early, but for me it really is a huge deal, and judging by just the amount of comments I received on my latest Instagram post, I shared on Instagram how difficult it was for me to travel today, and I have something like, I don’t know, 1,500 comments from mainly mothers who really know this feeling, or this challenge of doing something for yourself, or saying bye to your kids for a day or two, or going on a trip or just, you know, leaving them for … not for a second, leaving for a second I think is pretty good. But yeah, for a trip like this. So, I think I’m not the only one who feels this way. But holy shit has it been a really really hard thing to do.
[005:13] I’ve been talking about this on the podcast over the past couple of months… Since we traveled, and this has been super interesting, but because I’ve gone through this back and forth, highs and lows, I have had such a hard time when it comes to really anchoring and to being in my body and finding calm. It’s been a super challenging thing. I’ve really struggled with my well-being overall. Of course we’ve had amazing experiences, and we’ve had our best friends got married, we went to three weddings, we’ve done so many things with family, explored, I mean, it’s been amazing. But overall, all throughout this amazingness and beautiful experiences we’ve had, me personally, I have had this sort of undercurrent of not feeling good … all the time. And this is kind of a hard thing to admit, because yeah … I don’t really know … I don’t know how to address it. I don’t know where it comes from, I don’t really know … I’m not used to this. Last week’s podcast episode I shared my toolkit, my emergency toolkit for well-being, so when I’m going through a tough time or something shitty, I have this little tool box that I open and I use different tools to get myself back into a good space. Everything from yoga to meditation to what I eat to little breathing exercises, things like that. The reason I wanted to share them on last week’s podcast is I have had this toolbox open every single day over this past trip, over this past ten weeks. Not just because it’s great to have a self care practice, no, it’s different from that. Of course I have a self care practice, I practice yoga every day, I do different things that are part of my routine to feel good. But this emergency toolbox, I call it, it’s really for emergencies or like, ugh, I’m not feeling good, I want to pull myself out of that.
[007:03] And I’ve basically had that toolbox open, yeah, every day for ten weeks, because I haven’t been feeling well. And it’s … yeah, it’s … It’s a hard thing to admit, I guess, a hard thing to address because it’s not like I’m, you know, I’m not depressed, I’m not working through something heavy. I have a super beautiful life, I’m mega-privileged, I have a beautiful family, and we just had a really beautiful trip. But there has been something going on inside of me throughout this whole time that has made me sort of, yeah, just feel a little bit … not home. I guess that’s as close as I can get to … it hasn’t been sadness, it hasn’t been anger, not frustration, it’s been this sort of agitation, a little bit, like I haven’t felt at home. I’ve felt completely, yeah, uprooted, not grounded. And this, of course, has led to a bunch of different things, and one of those things has been lots of arguments and actual a couple of real fights that I’ve had with my husband, and we never fight. I mean, literally, never fight. He’s a very, very difficult person to provoke, like, nothing provokes him. He never gets angry, I mean really, my mom said the other day, she’s like, “Dennis? What happens when you get mad? Like, when you get angry?” He’s like, “I don’t know.” (laugh) She’s like, “But I’ve never seen you angry. Like, what does it look like?” Like, you know, and she’s known him for eight years, she’s never seen him genuinely angry about something. He’s a super easy-going guy, really grounded, really at ease, and he takes life really lightly. So even when we argue or we discuss, very rarely do we get to a place of actually fighting about stuff, and it’s mostly because of him and not so much because of me.
[008:53] But over these past couple of weeks we have had a couple of genuine, real fights. And he’s going to come on the podcast, I think maybe next week, and we’re going to talk a little more about all of this stuff, because we have finally arrived at some learning. I say this all the time, I love sharing a really vulnerable, transparent, human, raw side of my life, and I love it when other people do the same. The people that I really enjoy following through social media, that I feel really inspired by are the people that are genuinely sharing what’s going on in their lives, like this really raw, vulnerable piece of themselves. So not so much the big inspiration of the people that can do great stuff with their bodies. That can be inspirational sometimes, but for me it’s more the heart, right? So being transparent enough to share not just the great and the easy and the beautiful and the inspirational, but also the lows and the shameful and the ugly and the insecure and all of that. So, what I do always try to do is whenever I’m going through something, whatever it is, there’s a difference between sharing something when you arrive at a place of wisdom, when you arrive at a place of realizing something, so usually that’s when I’ll have an epiphany of some sort, like, “Ah, now it clicked into place. Okay, I get it now.” Or, I get something now. Then I’ll write something together and then I’ll share it as a caption on Instagram. That’s sort of how I roll.
[010:13] But if you’re in the middle of this ongoing thing, I very rarely share it in that moment, because then it’s still connected to drama in different ways. So yeah, that’s why I haven’t spoken about me and Dennis fighting because I really haven’t been able to figure it out. And it is totally about me, I mean really. I mean of course he plays a small piece, but it’s really been me, it’s been something that I have been going through over these past couple of weeks. And yeah, we had, I don’t know, I can’t remember how many weeks ago we had one of those fights, and it really became, like, a fight fight. And what it’s been it’s I have been wanting to go home for a really long time, and Dennis has absolutely not. And somehow it became, you know, the more we argued about stuff, the more important it became for me to go home, and the more important it became for him to stay. So we’ve kind of just been going around circles. And then we stop fighting, okay okay okay, let’s just be here now, let’s just roll with where we are. But I still had this undercurrent of not feeling good, so inevitably we’d end up in the same place, like, you know, and round and round we went.
[011:18] Then, yeah, we had a couple of weeks ago we had one of those fights, and it really escalated and he got super angry, like really really really angry. And through that anger, like, it’s a beautiful thing, really … Okay, in the moment it’s hard of course, but yeah, him stepping in and owning that emotion is a beautiful thing, because it came with this big release, and this big moment for both of us to kind of unload stuff that we’ve been sitting with, and we talk all day every day. We do everything together, we wake up together, we have a baby together, we have a business together, we spend all day together, we go to bed together, travel together, we’re together all the time. But it’s easy to kind of slip into this day to day, you know, where you exist on one level and everything is good and fine, but there can still be things that lie under surface that has been challenging for him or challenging for me that we haven’t really arrived at, and for this trip, specifically, we haven’t had that regular, day-to-day … we actually have at home. We haven’t had the ability to sit and really share with each other, really genuinely be with each other because we haven’t, I mean, logistics has been one thing, we’ve been in hotels, we’ve shared a room with the baby, so when she sleeps at night we’ve been kind of forced to be super quiet. We haven’t been able to have those dinners where we vent and share and talk the way we normally do at the end of every single day, that’s kind of gone out the door. And our apartment in Sweden is tiny, we share one little studio apartment, so it’s the same thing there. So I realize how important it is, in Aruba, at home, where we live, every day, at the end of the day, I mean every day, we put the baby to bed at seven, and 7:30 we’re cooking together, we’re eating together, we have two hours, at least, where it’s just him and me, and we talk. I share my day, he shares his day, we talk about stuff, we get into if there’s any issues or problems, we kind of bring that to surface every day. It’s a really healthy, healthy part of our relationship.
[013:15] For this trip to Europe, we totally lost it. So, you know … And I can really see how that was such an important part of our relationship that we really need to function well together. We lost that, so we stopped communicating well, and then these little things started to grow, things just got worse and worse. So, after that big fight we had a couple of weeks ago, we arrived at a place where like, okay, this is just not working. We have to do something. And I decided, “Okay, you know what? I’m going to go home. I’m just going to go home.” It was actually him who said, “Okay, you know what? I would love to stay with the baby in Sweden, like really genuinely would love to stay with her in Sweden.” We have a couple of things happening in Sweden right now, which was a big reason why he didn’t want to leave, one of them being my brother. My brother, not his brother, but my brother who lives in L.A. is in Sweden now, and of course, you know, we both really wanted him to be with the baby and spend time with him. But for me, still, like this urge to go home, it’s bigger than everything else. I love my brother, I miss him all the time, but it was like this urge to go home was bigger than that. And Dennis really wanted to spend time with him, and one of our best friends from Aruba is in Sweden now and he really wanted to show him Stockholm, and we haven’t seen my dad a lot and he really wanted to go and spend some time at my dad’s house. He’s really like in this kind of family, friends, summer explore, like, really fun place right now. And I’ve been sort of a road block to all of that. So he suggested it. He’s like, “You know what? I’ll stay with the baby.” And I was like, “What? … Wait, we’re going to split up, I’m going to go to Aruba, I’m going to go home on my own? And you’re going to stay with the baby and, like … What?!” In the moment it actually, it felt like a failure, like we’re going to split up because this is not … Like we should get to a place where you’re happy and I’m happy. He’s like, “Well, apparently it’s not it. This middle ground isn’t it for either of us.” He was like, “If I go home because you force me, I’m going to super resent you, and if you stay here because I force you, you’re going to resent me, so let’s just… Like, maybe you need, like, a week, or a couple of days just to be completely alone. For no specific reason other than that you really need it.”
[015:35] This, for me, this idea of aloneness … Holy shit, I am never alone. I mean, really, I’m never alone. (laugh) Especially since becoming a mom, I’m with the baby all the time. The only times I’ve been away from her, and I have been away several times, it’s been for work, and it’s been one of those things like I have to go. So it’s sort of like the decision has been made for me, through the business. I went to L.A. for three days, twice. And both of those times … I mean so, actually, it was four days with travel time. So it’s not that far off from this trip that I have now, but it was sort of like, okay, well I’m going because it’s a work engagement. So it’s like I put on this work hat and I block everything else out, and I go. And that has been okay. It didn’t come with this big piece that came with me leaving now, which I actually haven’t felt at this scale before: Guilt. Yeah, guilt. So when I’ve traveled for work, it’s been shorter times, but it’s been for the business, I haven’t felt guilty about it because I’ve felt like, okay, this is something that I need to do to keep our business moving and to make sure we’re cared for and it’s for the family, blah blah blah. And I go and I work and it’s super intense. Not … The only time, I’ve had one time of really sleeping in away from the baby, and it was at a wedding last weekend with Dennis. We had one night where we slept in, which was amazing. But every other time I’ve been away from her, it’s been work, and it’s been more intense and more stressful than anything else I do. So I’ve never, I mean since she came, I haven’t had a day to myself just to be with me. And that’s kind of weird. (laugh) Isn’t that kind of weird?
[017:19] I was really back tracking, okay, she’s 15 months old … And also, I mean, before I had her, I mean I’m really crap at this, but at least then, you know, it’s a different life, like, life before motherhood was a different life than life now. But, you know, the times that I have been away from her, it’s been doing something, it’s been, like, we had a bachelorette party for my best friend, which was totally crazy. Like doing, or, you know, I don’t know … This place of resting and being alone. Like, I have not had that for so long, alone. And, you know, it was kind of the heat of the moment, and we arrived at this place, and then the thought of it, I started thinking about it, I was like, “Okay, well I could go alone. Let’s look at the flights.” So we went online and we looked at flights, and there was this one ticket on the 14th, which is right now, today, that was pretty good. Then the next ticket that was affordable was the 19th. He was like, “Okay, it’s five days. I can take the 19th.” He was actually supposed to stay until the 25th, but I could never be away from the baby for 10 days. He was like, “Okay, you go on the 14th, I’ll go on the 19th with the baby, and you’ll have five days to be completely alone at our home in Aruba, your favorite place in the world to just be with you. Not to work and not to, like,” you know, because that’s where my mind went. I was like, “Okay, well imagine how much stuff I can get done if I’m alone for five days! What? I could do this this this and this. I can get all of these things …” My working mind immediately got really excited. And it was Dennis who was like, “No! If you go … You can’t go, you shouldn’t go if it’s to work. If you’re going to go to work, you might as well stay in Sweden and you could just take every day for these five days and just go work. That’s not the point. You’re supposed to go because you need a break. You need to rest. You need to arrive back at that place of grounding that you’ve totally been missing for what feels like a really long time now.”
[019:17] I just said, “Okay.” The flight was there, it was affordable, we’re like, “Okay, let’s book it.” So we booked. And this was, I don’t know, two weeks ago maybe? And then I put it out of my mind, and I haven’t shared it with anybody. I didn’t say, really, through social media or anything. I didn’t tell the world, “Oh my god, I’m leaving,” because I felt really ashamed. That’s also an interesting … another emotion that I find is very tied to motherhood overall. Guilt and shame, what the fuck is up with that? Seriously, what is up with that? But yeah, I mean, and it took a while to identify, what is it about me? Why didn’t I shout it off the roof tops? Like, “I’m going to go and take five days and be by myself!” I didn’t because I felt ashamed. I felt like, “This is not a good mother thing to do. A good mother doesn’t just leave her baby.” Like, a good mother will leave her baby to go to work because, you know, we need to work and we need to have food on the table. So that’s something that a good mother is allowed to do. I mean, that’s really how my mind was going. But, does a good mother take five days to just be alone? Do yoga and take baths? That sounds so selfish. And I felt really really, yeah, shameful about it.
[020:37] Then I was like, okay, well, fork it. It’s going to happen, so let’s just roll with it. And then as the days have gone closer and closer and closer toward me actually departing and leaving Sweden, I have had this increasing sensation of absolutely anxiety building inside of me, like really. Especially the last three days before leaving. It just got worse and worse, and I felt like, oh my god, I canceled everything else, I just wanted to be with the baby. I didn’t want anybody to change her diaper, I didn’t want anybody else to give her a bath. It was so important that I got to soak up every little second of time with her, because I felt so anxious about leaving. You know, it’s just five days, it’s not like I’m leaving for five months or something like that. But that was the feeling that I had, like oh my god oh my god. How will I live? How am I going to survive without her? And the more I was kind of obsessing over it, the worse this anxiety got, leading all the way up until my last day in Sweden. I could barely enjoy being with her, because I was so anxious about the thought of leaving her. And of course she’s like, you know, the day before I left, she has the most amazing baby day. I mean, she’s a really happy baby as is, I mean, she’s a really really happy baby, but yesterday she spent all day, from the moment she woke up until the moment she went to bed, she was just sunshine. Like literally just running down the street, running up to random strangers, hugging people, laughing at everything. She’s just like … and this of course made my anxiety worse. I’m like, “I can’t leave her.” I mean, I love her so much that like that saying, like, it’s like having your heart beating outside of your body, it’s really true. But also, I feel like we are so attached I don’t know how to separate. And maybe it’s easier to separate when I’m working because it’s also attached to her well-being as well. And then I have this stupid notion that my well-being isn’t. Isn’t it the stupidest thing ever?
[024:10] Of course, when you think about it, it was like, oh my god, how selfish of me to go and be by myself. But it’s not selfish to go work. But isn’t it the most, I mean really, isn’t it the most important thing, that I take care of myself? Because what kind of mother can I be if I’m not feeling whole, if I’m feeling like crap. Of course, this should be at the very … Especially, it’s what I teach, it’s what I preach, it’s self care and self love. Here I am in this role of motherhood where I put my baby so high above everything else that I just feel guilty and shameful about leaving her, for me. So, it’s been a really … A really hard couple of days.
[024:55] Then, of course, I had to pack and it was a big mess, and getting out of the apartment and all of these things, and then finally now I had got everything together, and since Dennis is flying alone with her, I also took his suitcase and her suitcase. I had three ginormous suitcases that I was taking with me, and Ringo was flying with me as well. And then when everything was done, I had completely packed, I just laid back in bed and I just couldn’t stop crying. I started bawling. I couldn’t stop. It was just so awful! Then, you know, when you have one of those really great releasing cries, when you cry and you’re crying so much you make a lot of noise and there’s snot everywhere, and it’s just like a real cry, like a cry cry. Not like a pretty cry, you know, an ugly cry. I had one of those cries. With Dennis, of course, holding me. He’s like, “Honey,” … And then he got nervous. He’s like, “You know, you could just change your flight, you know? You don’t have to go, you can just stay.” And even that I mean, it was pretty close, I was like, “Okay, should I look at flights? Should I just stay?” But then I had, you know, three suitcases completely packed, everything ready to go, a taxi booked to go to the airport, all of these things. And then I thought about it. Well, what is the worst part? Is it leaving my baby who I love so much? But I have left at other times and it hasn’t been this hard, so there must be another component to this as well. Or is it this notion, or the fear involved with me being completely by myself? Because when everything else is stripped away, what’s left?
[026:28] That’s kind of an interesting thought. I mean, a little bit of a scary notion. Because I spend all day, every day engaged in doing and talking and being for and with other people, all the time. And, you know, there’s not a lot of time left in my day just for me. Space for me to reflect, space for me to really check in with, you know, what does it feel to be me if I’m not in the roll of mom? If I peel away the mom layer, and I peel away the wife layer, and I peel away the boss layer, and peel away the yoga teacher layer, all of these identities that I have, all of these hats that I wear, if I take them all off, what’s left? It’s like this, “Who am I?” I mean, really, like, what’s left? And, and, and … I mean, I’m going to be super honest right now, it totally terrifies me. (laugh) It’s super, mega scary, because it’s been so long since I was alone with myself, I just … this fear was that, okay, I don’t know what to do! What if I have a panic attack? What if I can’t relax? What if I freak out? What if I miss her so much that I can’t function? I don’t know what the worst case scenario was, but it was something about being alone, you know? It was really … and this, especially, these other hats, this motherhood had, the mom hat that I wear, it’s especially connected to this feeling of guilt, like I’m leaving her. You know, of course that’s not true. I’m not leaving her. She’s going to be with her dad who takes care of her exactly, you know, just as well as I do, who spends a ton of time alone with her, all the time. They’re super close. And not only that, she’s going to be with her dad and her uncle/my brother, he grandpa/my dad, her godfather who is now in Sweden, all of these amazing people who love her. It’s not like I’m leaving her behind to be alone somewhere. No. I’m the one who’s going to do something for me, and she’s going to stay in Sweden, super cared for, and then in a couple of days we’ll see each other again.
[028:29] But I felt so forking guilty. I just … I couldn’t get over it. So I sort of cried myself to sleep, decided that, okay, changing tickets, that’s an insane idea. And there was a little part of me that was like, “But I want to go.” Right? I mean, I booked these tickets for a reason. I want to go. I wasn’t looking forward to being alone. I was just sort of so focused and just kind of swept up in the idea of leaving that I hadn’t even really thought that much about actually being alone. But yeah, I ended up crying myself to sleep, woke up really early in the morning, and yeah, just put all the bags in the cab and I thought before, I said, “Okay, I’m going to wake her up and say goodbye,” because she normally wakes up around seven, and I had to leave around seven. But then, you know, she wasn’t awake, and then in the end I thought, you know what, if I wake her up now and then I have to say goodbye, it’s going to just tip me completely over the edge and it’s just going to be … No, it’s going to be like traumatic thing, so I just said, “Nope, I’m just going to go.”
[029:27] So I just got in the cab and I left. And one of the first things that happened is that the cab driver was a super sweet man, the first thing he asked, he was like, “Do you have children? Do you have kids?” And I was like, “Yes! (crying sounds)” I full on started crying in the car. “I have a baby, she’s the most amazing thing in the whole world!” Oh my god, I’m crying right now just saying it. “She’s 15 months old and I had to leave (gasp) her (gasp) in (gasp) Stockholm!” (laugh) And this guy was like, you know, trying to keep casual conversation, asking me if I had kids, and I just, you know, completely had a meltdown, crying about my baby. And he was like, “Well where are you going? Are you going on vacation? What’s happening?” I said, “No, I have to go home, and …” And then I said this, and this is also, like, I lied … I didn’t say, “No, I haven’t been feeling so well so I’m going to take a few days just for myself.” You know? I didn’t say that because … you know… I don’t know! Why the fuck didn’t I just say that? Because I didn’t want it to come off like I wasn’t a good mom or something. I don’t know. And why is it the notion of just being alone or taking care of yourself, why is that not synonymous with being a good mom? I really don’t know. But no, I said, “No, I have a lot of work to do, so I had to go a little bit early, but my husband and my baby, they’re coming in a few days.” Why did I say that? Why did I lie? Yeah, see … So it’s not so much, you know, that I really care what he thought about me, but that’s what I think about myself, and that’s the problem.
[030:59] And I was thinking about that too. Like, I don’t judge other moms, like, at all, at all. Someone asked me on Instagram, they said, you know, “If this was Olivia,” my best friend, “if this was her wanting to take a few days for herself because she hasn’t been feeling well and all of these things, you would be her number one supporter! Like, you’d be like, ‘That’s amazing! Go be by yourself and do yoga and meditate and take care of yourself and you’ll be a better mom and a better wife and a happier person, and it’s great for everyone.” Like, I would just cheer her on so much, you know? Really. So why am I so judgmental towards myself? Why am I so hard on myself? Why can’t I give that same love my own way? Like, why the hell? There’s nothing, really … And it’s so easy and so clear. There’s nothing more important than taking care of ourselves, so that we can’t give from an empty cup, we have to be full so that we can give. But yeah, when it comes to myself, I throw all of those teachings out the door and I just beat myself up about everything I do, all the time. So, I ended up having a very eventful cab ride going to the airport and this poor cab driver, yeah, he was like trying to console me and I was just crying and bawling.
[032:11] And then I got on the plane, and it was okay. Yeah, and then sort of the first, I had two flights, I had to go Stockholm to Amsterdam and then Amsterdam-Aruba. On the Amsterdam flight, if I thought about her, I started crying. (laugh) Really, it was like, that bad. I had to, you know, force myself to not look at any photos, like, I was really kind of, yeah, intense about it. And then right before I boarded the flight, this woman came up to me, she’s like, “Hey, I just read your Instagram post, I just wanted to say you’re doing a great job, and can I give you a hug?” And I was like, “Oh my god, what the hell? Yes, thank you, thank you, that’s the sweetest thing.
[032:50] And then here’s how, something, how it kind of got interesting. I land in Amsterdam, I didn’t have any time for the layover. I had to run, literally, to catch my flight. And I had Ringo, and, you know, life … And I board the plane, and of course, because I have Ringo on the plane, people are always really curious and they want to say hi to Ringo. It’s always, like, a thing, that I have the dog with me on the plane, of course. And this stewardess … She starts talking to us, and she’s super sweet, she’s like, “Oh, so you’re going to Aruba. Are you going on vacation?” And I said, “No, actually, I live there!” And she said, “Oh, isn’t that … that’s the best destination.” And I was like, “What, Aruba?” And she says, “No. Home!” And I was like, “Oh my god! Home! I just sort of, like, those words, the fact that she said that, that’s the best destination. Home, home is the best destination. And it struck a cord in me that wasn’t so much about this emotional space of feeling like I left my baby, or feeling guilty, or missing her, or you know, all of those things. But it struck a cord, like, deep in my soul. Really. It’s the best destination. Home, home is the best destination. Not just me going home, as in going to my house where I live, but going home as in feeling home in myself, which I just … I haven’t felt in such a long time.
[034:18] And I’m wondering, is it something that relates to motherhood in that way? Because, you know, we spend nine or ten months making a home for a new being inside of our own bodies. Like, you know, the body that has been my home for as long as I’ve lived also becomes someone else’s home. And then, you know, you birth that being, and then all of the sudden that being becomes more important than anything else you’ve ever had in your arms in your entire life. And it takes over everything. I mean, the love for her, it’s so big, I just, I don’t know how to explain it even. When she was born, Dennis had to remind me, he had to ask, he’s like, “Did you pee today?” And it could be like 4 p.m., and I was like, “Oh, shit. No, no.” You know? And I had to remind myself to drink water, to go to the bathroom, to eat, because I just forgot. I was so wrapped up in Lea Luna and her well-being and this love that was just, like, knocked me off my feet, that I forgot about myself completely. And I know this is normal, and I know every mother goes through this, to different degrees, and all of that. At some point, at least for me, I mean, I think for everyone, it’s also about finding our way back to ourselves, right? So not just, you know, I don’t like the term, “Getting back to normal,” because there’s no normal. I mean, the new normal is this space. And it’s better for my life as a mom, it’s better than anything I’ve done in my whole life. But there’s a part of me that has also missed me, I guess. That has also missed me just being me. (laugh) Having no one else to worry about. Because this love also inevitably comes with a big fear, and it comes with a lot of worry. I’m anxious about stuff. And yeah, it comes with guilt and all of that stuff as well. But what about me, if it’s just me, and not with that mom hat for a day, or five. What then?
[036:18] There’s needs and there’s things that I think are going on inside of me that I haven’t addressed the way I normally would since becoming a mom, just because I don’t put myself first anymore. And I know that’s just … it’s a normal thing, but I think that’s why, that sentence, like, “Home is the best destination,” I was like, “Whoa!” And in that moment, just something totally shifted. I don’t know, I can’t even explain it. Something totally shifted, and I went from that kind of tearful, slightly panicky feeling of, “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god. What am I going to do with myself for five days? Why did I get on this plane? Why did I leave my baby? I miss her so much, I miss Dennis, my family. Why did I leave my family behind?” And it became, like, “I’m going home.”
[037:05] And everything just changed. I could feel myself completely relax. And then the next thing that happened is I fell asleep. On a plane. I never sleep on planes. Never ever, not in a million years, never ever ever ever. Can’t sleep on planes. I fell asleep on the plane, and I slept, like, hours. You know? And it was in the daytime! And it’s just totally random for me to even be able to fall asleep. And when I woke up it was like, you know, like I just like … “Where am I? What is going on?” I felt so relaxed in that moment, just the realization of, “I’m going home.” And maybe going home, you know, my house and where we live here on this beautiful island, it’s a manifestation of feeling at home inside my own body, inside my own skin. And perhaps making my way back home has to involve a little bit, you know, of me coming back to who I am when I’m not a mom, right?
[039:45] That was what I kind of spent the rest of the flight really immersing myself in. And instead of feeling this panicky feeling of what am I going to do with myself for five days, it came, like, “Wait! What am I going to do with myself for five days!” (Laugh) It became this totally, totally exciting thing. Like, “Whoa! I have five days? I have five whole days alone?!” Like, but like, good alone. Like, alone where I can do exactly what I want. (laugh) I mean, really, exactly what I want. And it’s just, like, I can stay up as late as I want, for whatever reason. I can binge watch movies, if that’s what I want to do. I can sleep as late as I want in the morning. I can sleep in, I can sleep all day. I can go out dancing. I can work, and that’s what I want to do, but just like, the possibilities here, they’re sort of … They’re not endless. You know, because there’s a part of me that, you know, and sometimes like … and this is a super simple, stupid thing, Dennis and I will be watching a show that we like on Netflix … What are we watching right now? Oh, we watched Money Heist, really recently. If you haven’t watched it, you must. It’s so good. And it’s so good, you know, you want to kind of binge watch it and watch another episode and then another episode, and then inevitably it’s like, “Oh my god, it’s too late.” I start feeling guilty, like, I can’t be up this late because I don’t want to not be on my A game in the morning when I wake up, when the baby wakes up. I don’t want to be grumpy and tired and cranky when I’m taking care of the baby. I want to wake up and, like, be the best mom ever! This is legitimately true. I’ll be like, “No, we have to go to bed so that we can be fresh-faced when the baby wakes up.” And that’s also, like, there’s guilt involved in that, you know, little stuff like that, it’s just super weird that I even feel that way, that I even think that way.
[041:42] So the thought of just, okay, I can do whatever just because I feel like it, right? And that’s not really the route that I’m going. But I decided, okay, I’m going to make a schedule for myself, and I’m going to pretend that these five days are like a little mini retreat. Ugh, what the fuck, pretend? I don’t even have to say pretend. I am, officially, right now, in this moment, on retreat. I’m retreating. I’m not panicking. I haven’t left my family behind. I have gone on a retreat, in my house! (laugh) At home. Is there something wrong with that? Does anybody want to judge me? Because I’m done judging myself. I mean, I’m really done judging myself, at least for this time around, for this trip.
[042:25] I am going to … here’s what I have planned so far. I’m going to do yoga twice a day. Really, twice a day. And yes, I happen to know this great studio in Aruba, it’s called Island Yoga, if you haven’t been, you should go. It’s great. Yeah, I’m going to take classes twice a day the way I would if I traveled somewhere to go on a retreat. I am going to detox, even though I really don’t like that word, but really, I’m going to not drink any wine, because we’ve had a lot of wine over these past couple of weeks. The amount of celebrating that we have done … My body is totally ready for a cleanse right now. I’m not going to eat any sugar, I’m going to just, you know, get back to my regular, normal … I’m craving salads and green juice and normal, like, I’m going to make my own smoothies in the morning. I haven’t made a smoothie for ten weeks. We haven’t had a kitchen. Just normal, you know, nothing extreme, but yeah, no alcohol, no sugar, yoga twice a day, I’m going to meditate, I’m going to take long baths every evening, acupuncture, I’m going to take a massage, I’m going to get a pedicure, I’m going to really, like, all out just do things, just for me. This is just what it’s going to be!
[043:41] So now instead of feeling all panicky, I feel like I’m on a vacation! And it’s sort of the most beautiful way, and also interesting, because we technically, I mean, I don’t know if it counts as vacation if you work every day, and I work every day. But we have been traveling, and we have been doing beautiful things and gone beautiful places, but I haven’t felt like I’ve been on vacation once, like, not one day. Okay, probably because I worked a lot on the go as well. But it’s funny to me that I come home, and now I feel like I’m on vacation because I’m home, and this is the one place I want to be.
[044:20] So when I landed, and I got off the plane, and this is just so beautiful because I don’t know if anybody listening, if you’ve ever flown into Aruba, Aruba is a really small island, whichever direction you fly in from, you fly in over the ocean, and it’s just … it’s a special ocean. It’s special to me because it’s home, but it’s a special ocean because it’s turquoise and crystal clear and gorgeous, like, hues of blue, and it’s really, really beautiful. And as we approached the island, I just kind of feel all of the hairs stand up on the back of my arms. It was like, my body was like, “Oh my god, oh my god, it’s happening, it’s happening. We’re coming home, we’re coming home!” (laugh) And we land and get off the plane, and then, like, I come home and it’s this house, I love this house so much. I mean, I love my home so, so, so much. When we landed last time, when we flew from France, we flew to Sweden, Lea Luna did this really funny thing where, I mean, she hates flying, she’s really not great on flights, but she really really hates flying. And when we landed she ran around the airport when we were waiting for our luggage, and she kept throwing herself on the floor, touching the floor with her hands. It was like she was, like, checking that the floor was there and that we’re back on the ground, you know? And I thought that was such a beautiful thing, and that’s sort of how I felt when I came home. I walked, like, from room to room, the whole house, just touching the walls, my furniture, my dining room table. It was just like, everything here is so sacred. So sacred to me. Oh my god, I could just cry now saying it. But I … (laugh) I love it here. I love it here so much. And I’m in this space of just absolute, mind-blowing, insane gratitude to have a home like this. But it’s special because it’s special in a material way. It’s beautiful in a material way, but it’s home because we made it home. Right? And technically we could make a home anywhere, but here, like, my roots are here. I live here. This is my whole … my whole life. And right now, I guess, as a mom, my sense of grounding and feeling at home in me sort of relies on me having that space, that sacred space of home.
[046:33] So, I’m just not going to be traveling a whole lot, coming up. I mean, that’s a big takeaway for me. I like to go where happiness is, and clearly now happiness is in my home, so that’s where I will be.
[048:36] And after I kind of, you know, familiarized myself back with the house, and of course that’s the first thing I did before I went around hugging the walls and the furniture, you know, I hugged the dogs and the goats and I took them for a walk, and the girls, my assistants who were helping us take care of the house were sharing in the drive over from the airport that Penny’s, we have two goats, Penny and Lucy, and Penny is like she’s very territorial, she’s almost like a dog. She’s a really specific temperament, she has a really amazing personality, and they said that they have bruises from her ramming them (laugh). Because she’s been really territorial, and she doesn’t want anybody to walk into the pen. And then, you know, I walk into the goat pen and she just runs up to me and puts her head in my lap, and she just wants her belly scratched. I mean, she is like a dog. And I like, I just cried. Because I have this amazing, our family, it’s not just me and Dennis and Luny and Ringo, we have another four at home that just can’t travel, because they’re big. So yeah, I don’t know, I don’t know what we’re doing, this whole global going everywhere thing. But it definitely, definitely we’ll be scaling down. That’s really big.
[049:53] So now here I am. I took a swim, the first thing I did, completely naked, I just laid there floating, looking at the sky and the cacti in our garden around us. And I had another cry, of course, which is the cry that comes after a lot of tension, or after a lot of fear, or after frustration. A cry of release. I gotta say, it’s my favorite type of crying. I mean, I love crying. I love all sorts of cries. I am a very emotional person. But that cry, the release of, like, I mean, it’s the best. So I was just, like, floating naked in our pool, crying, crying, crying. Grateful to be home.
[050:40] And I was beating myself up, I mean, if you haven’t noticed by listening to this podcast, I beat myself up a lot, a lot of shit. I like to think everybody does and I’m not alone in it. Maybe I’m alone in sharing all of it all the time. But I beat myself up about a lot of things. You know, “I should be a better mom, and I should be … I should not be a better mom, I should be the best mom, always energized and happy and excited, and never leave my baby for anything other than, you know, putting food on the table. I should do …” Shouldn’t/should, like I “should” myself. Who is it that says that? Is that Jen Pastiloff? Jen, if you’re listening, is that you? Don’t “should” all over yourself? I think that’s a Jen Pastiloff quote. We have to get rid of those fucking “shoulds.” Like, all the should, “I should be doing this, I should be doing that.” Maybe I should not be doing anything else than just look for happiness. Be where happiness is. Or at least, you know, put myself in the way of happiness, at least. If I know, okay, happiness is around here, we don’t fight it, don’t struggle it, don’t go other places because I should, you know, “I should see my family more.” That’s another thing. Should I really? I see my family a lot. For being a person who lives on another continent, I see my family a whole lot. I should be, what more successful in my business? I probably should not, maybe even, you know, work more than I am right now. I work all the time. I should be a more present mom, like, I’m with my baby all day, every day. You know, I don’t go to a 9 to 5 job. All of these things that I tell myself, “I should do something.” Should this, or should that. It puts me in a place where I just beat myself up so much. I feel completely drained and sad and not enough, like, no matter what I do, it’s never sufficient. It’s never enough, ever.
[052:32] Or maybe I could just ease up a little bit. And this easing up, it’s a whole lot easier when you feel good in your body. So I think that’s why these past ten weeks I’ve been particularly hard on myself, because I haven’t been feeling good. And when you don’t feel good, you look for things and for reasons as to why things aren’t, you know, why things are wrong, or why you’re not doing good enough, or why things should be different. And now, here, I’m home (laugh). Very excited for these coming days. I mean, holy shit. One of my favorite things is coming back from a trip and unpacking. I love unpacking. I’m kind of a crazy person that way. No one loves unpacking. I love unpacking. I love organizing, I love cleaning, and Dennis hates it. And I just, it’s just, you know, when we come home from a trip together, normally he wants to just lie on the couch and just decompress and relax, and I want to clean the whole house and get everything in order. I like to unpack every bad, immediately, right away as soon as I get home, so it’s squared away and done. And now I can do all of that, and I can go crazy with it. I mean, really, I can do, like, guilt free. There’s no one asking me for anything right now. For all of these days! Holy shit, man! (laugh)
[053:45] I’m actually really excited. Of course, you know, as everybody knows, my emotions, I’m like a roller coaster of emotions. Maybe when I go to bed and, you know, I’m home alone in a dark bedroom, without my husband and without my baby, maybe I’ll feel super emotional and sad again. But if I do it’s okay, and I’ll take that as it comes. But I’m very determined right now to make the most out of this trip. Make the most out of this retreat. I’m not going to wallow, I’m not going to beat myself up, I’m not going to feel guilt or shame. I’m going to do what I want to do. I’m going to go to the beach, ah, I’m going to go to the beach every day. Swim in the ocean. I’m going to go for runs, I’m going to meditate, I’m going to do yoga twice a day. Maybe I’ll just, ah, like, ah, I’m going to find a new show on Netflix and I’m going to watch alone. Like, a show that Dennis normally wouldn’t want to watch. Ah! What else should I do? Oh my god, you guys, maybe give me some more suggestions. For a moment I was like, “I’m going to take a complete detox from all technology, I’ll put my phone and my computer away.” But then I felt like, no, but I want to be on my phone too. I want to talk to Dennis, and I want to check in with social media. So, I should do what I want to do, not, you know, not shit all over myself by saying I should detox and be away. I just, no fucking judgment of any kind, I’m going to do exactly what I want to do for these five days. Because it’s a privilege, holy shit, that I’m able to do this. So, no more wallowing in pity and … Life, man. (laugh) Life. Life, life, life, life.
[055:24] I want to … let’s see if I can seal this podcast. Hmm. If I can inspire you to move, if you’re moving through something similar, maybe you’re not, are you able, or are you doing these sort of things for yourself? And if you’re beating yourself up the way I am, I mean, knowing that I’m pretty, very very shortly, this is true, I mean, no one beats ourselves up the way we do. No one judges us the way we do. So, if you feel guilt or shame about taking time or doing things just for yourself, just see if you can drop it. And that’s, it’s a challenging thing, drop it, dropping an emotion and just arriving in a place of acceptance. But really, because what’s the point? I could spend five days in Aruba completely miserable right now, and I would not be doing anyone any good, and I would be just as stressed when Dennis and Luna come back as I was when I left. So, I really want to take advantage of this, and if there’s space for you in your life to do that same, I mean, I really needed that stewardess to tell me that, you know, home, home is the best destination. I needed a little click to snap out of that panic that I was feeling. And maybe you need a little snap as well. Maybe a friend, or maybe just ask the universe for a little bit of guidance. That’s also, it’s another part of my toolbox. I didn’t share a lot about that, but asking for divine help when we need it is a big thing. So, if you need a break, take it! Oh my god, take it. If you need a break, take it. If you’re nervous about being alone, try it. And of course, I’m very confident saying this Day One. Maybe we’ll get to Day Five and I’m like a frazzled mess. Who knows, who knows, who knows. And of course whatever comes my way over this next week, I will share that transparently as well. But if you want to take a break, take it, and you don’t even have to deserve it. You can take a break because you want to take a break. And if you have that space in your life where you get … if you have babies, you get a babysitter or a family member or someone to step in and help out so you can really take a day or half a day, or five days, or whatever you need. Just for you. And not fill that time with, yeah, with things that are on your “should do” list, like work or house or errands or to do lists. Whatever. No. Get out of the “should do” list and get on the “want to do” list, because that’s a totally different thing, at least it is for me.
[057:55] And I want to say a big thank you to every single person out there who has been sharing your own stories. Just knowing that I’m not the only one who feels this kind of guilt and shame when it comes to motherhood, it makes me feel way less alone, and it makes me feel more normal. Like, okay, maybe I can talk about this more, and I’m not just like a freak who leaves my baby. We all go through these things. So, share share share share share. I’ll see you next week! And, hmm, right now, actually, I’m going to go draw a bath. Holy shit! Okay, I love you so much, and I’ll see you next week. Bye.
[End of Episode]
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