The Art of Slowing Down

Hi all! Elissa here ... I'm still on the road, traveling in Indonesia, sharing updates as your Evolution Through Vacation tour guide / guinea pig. And now, fully immersed in my adventure, it's time to continue exploring the second section of the Evolution Through Vacation guide, The Trip!

For you newbies out there, e>v ("e-thru-v") is all about experiencing vacation in a new way and, even more, experimenting with areas of life that might be calling out for some attention. Life areas I've been exploring on this trip around the island of Java are PurposeSpiritExpression and Play. These concepts have tapped me on the shoulder and, last week, I found an Indonesian activity that rolls them all into one.

OMG. Have any of you ever tried this amazing, ancient art? This exercise in patience and meditation? This incredibly difficult and detailed way to express form and function? If not – and, especially for you stressed out, 60-hour-work-week people – check this out ASAP. 

Here's why...

Among other fun exercises, the e>v guide offers great quotes and sentiments to ponder. The Trip section gave me this one: "We don't see things as they are. We see them as we are."

Crikey, do vacations have a way of exposing this reality.

At every turn – trying new foods, meeting new people and having new adventures – going on vacation is an amazing way to evaluate this idea. AKA, "Who am I in context of this big world of ours? And, after this adventure, who could I become?"

These are important questions because, if you're like me, life is busy with a capital B. You're busy with work, busy with family, busy just keeping up with being busy...

In today's world, this is often just reality. But, for many of us (aka, definitely me), this also means our stress levels are shooting sky-high. We've become a culture über-focused on outcomes. Workers who demand results. To-do list junkies who need some serious detoxifying. Because of this, many of us have lost our connection to our inner being who has a slower pulse ... takes the scenic route ... and lives for a larger purpose. 

Vacation gives us ample opportunities to tap into these other parts of ourselves. Emotions that might need some attention, feelings that want to be heard, challenges that seek a resolution. The parts of our beings that are lying dormant, waiting for our acknowledgment.

So, with my e>v guide in tow, I headed to my batik lesson with all of this in mind. And: wow. What a lesson.

Or: in addition to being an incredible skillful art, batik does one thing brilliantly. It makes you s-l-o-w d-o-w-n. It makes you realize how tense you might be. (Guilty.) It makes you realize there are some things you just can't rush. (Yep.) It makes you clear your mind and be fully present. (And how.)

For my first lesson, I thought I would be there an hour. Instead, I sat on the floor, joyfully creating my batik for 3.5 hours. Then, I went back for 2 hours the next day to continue working on my piece. And still, there's more to come.

I had no idea the lesson would bring my fear of "messing up" to the forefront. Or my drive to do it "efficiently" or "effectively." And, even better, I had no idea I would leave that lesson truly changed. 

With batik, I had to tap into those parts of myself that have been ignored as of late. The student who makes mistakes. The artist who is trying, seeing, learning, growing. The inner being who is simply awake and aware.

I was reintroduced to a relaxed, calm, centered side of myself. I left clear-headed, viewing the world a little differently. I left with a gigantic amount of respect for the art of batik. I left humbled and grateful for the honor of meeting my teacher and having this experience.

And, of course, I left with the evidence that, once again, these moments are the most exciting thing about travel. Trying new things that push us, expand us, help us grow. Being plopped in the middle of the most exciting discoveries that seemingly happen by accident. 

This was one of those happy accidents.

And I'm the better for it.

- Elissa


Batik How-To | NOTE: check out some short video clips from my first class; as we move on to dying the fabric, etc. I'll add more details here :)


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