Mondsee stuck with me not only because it’s a beautiful little town and I was in Austria for the first time, but also because there was a bigger lesson awaiting me at the end of our trip.
I admit it: I’m the biggest hermit on this planet. If I didn’t have to leave the house, I would be perfectly content. Not that I would do nothing, I actually love keeping myself busy. But how sweet the life would be if I didn’t have to leave my little bubble all the time? I have a mat (actually lots of them, Hendrik chimes in) for my yoga practice, I could get food delivered, I have a laptop to work from home.. Most everything I could ever need.
Although I love it so much and it’s so hard to get me anywhere, I somehow ended up in Mondsee. Last month, me and Hendrik went there to see his old (as in knowing each other forever) friend and enjoy an Austrian celebration of the end of summer. Think traditional folk dress, stuffing yourself with pretzels and doing fun stuff like trying to hit nails on their head with the sharp end of a hammer (really the best thing ever, reminded me of my childhood, aaah). Oh, and also lots of beer, let’s not forget the beer.
But let’s rewind a bit. You see, I can get pretty moody. And that was just one of those days. The day when you feel the weight of the whole world on your shoulders. Reminiscing about everything that recently happened. Longing for connections and answers. One of those days when you just want to curl up in bed soaking in your misery. And somehow, by coincidence, these days are also days when you cannot run away, you have to sit in a car for long hours and just stare. You have to be at a party and enjoy yourself. When you have a boyfriend sitting next to you who doesn’t know what’s going on. Because nothing and everything is.
It’s kinda starting to sound like it was the most depressing day ever. Yes and no. I enjoyed the party, I really did, but overall, everything looked pretty grey.
I think one of the reasons I loved Mondsee so much was the fact that the weather on that particular day was fascinatingly dull – grey, stormy, cold, a perfect mirror of how I felt. The photos Hendrik captured tell a very raw tale. I couldn’t say it better.
I stayed by the lake just staring at it for good 30 minutes, looking at the sky, the sun beautifully breaking through the clouds here and there, the mountains, the lake. The feelings were overwhelming but on the scale of everything they were just tiny drops of water. Drops that only disturbed the surface for a little while. I took it all in. Sometimes you find yourself in a special place and it just hits you like a sledgehammer, this strong and unescapable connection with the energy of your surroundings that somehow realigns your perceptions. The crisp mountain chill, the emotions – I still feel all of that right now as I’m typing this.
If I stayed at home, that very comforting first instinct, my story would be different. I would have slumped miserably, eating chocolate and watching tv shows all weekend like a chump. Total apathy. Do you know the feeling?
Just to describe this phenomenon a bit more, I’ll give you an excerpt from a book called Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist that I’m currently reading. I already have a feeling you will see more quotes from this one.
You can make a drug – a way to anesthetize yourself – out of anything: working out, binge-watching TV, working, having sex, shopping, volunteering, cleaning, dieting. Any of those things can keep you from feeling pain for a while – that’s what drugs do. And, used like a drug, over time, shopping or TV or work or whatever will make you less and less able to connect to the things that matter, like your own heart and the people you love. That’s another thing drugs do: they isolate you.
If there’s one thing to be said in the end, it’s this: Facing your emotions is the biggest gift you can give to yourself. Be it a walk to calm a racing mind, a gentle yoga stretch for some self love or this tea just because you love its smell. Even those tiny things you love can bring you back. In that particular moment of a total despair, I’m pretty sure you will not feel like doing anything, none of those things, and trust me, if I didn’t have to, I wouldn’t have gone anywhere on that day, either. But in the bigger picture of things, those tiny steps matter. They create a pattern. And patterns are the fabric of your life.
I wish you an awesome day full of tiny delights!