5 Lessons From the Ocean & Nature • Lila

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I'm back in LA after my 3-week jaunt on the East Coast. I missed my home and routine, but the trip was better than I could have imagined. Rather than the anxiety, I was half-predicting, my days were filled with love, joy, laughter, sunshine, and feet in the sand. It was all truly magical - New York City to Cape Cod and back to New York City. Not a day amiss (okay, actually yes had some Mercury in Retrograde moments that may have tampered a day or two). I shared a bit of what I took away from my trip to Cape Cod on Mondays with Lila (tune in Mondays on @freeandnative!).

Yet, I've had time to reflect a bit further and want to share these discoveries with all of you: some takeaways I believe everyone can digest and benefit from.

i. Spend as much time as you can outdoors, frolicking, sun-or-rain-soaked, barefoot • I spent the majority of my time in Cape Cod prancing around under the sun, whether corralling children, strolling to the beach or walking down Main Street. It's hard to put into words the joy, the release of stress and the carefree feelings that accompanied the warmth of sunshine on my shoulders and bare toes wiggling into the cool dirt. My spirit felt at home, my mind at ease.

Find nature near you.

ii. Laugh often, surround yourself with people who make you laugh and be carefree • I feel the most like my authentic self when I am surrounded by people who embrace me for all that I am. No ego shell protection "required." While nannying in Cape Cod, I'm surrounded by people who love me regardless of the state of my messy ponytail and pimply face. I can laugh, get ice cream drips on my chin and let my bloat hang out in a bikini. It's so healing to let your guard down, to just be without second thoughts. 

Where can you just be? Who makes you feel this way - carefree?

iii. Be flexible • Sometimes our days don't turn out as planned, our meals come out with that buttery sauce we didn't want, the peanut butter in our cupboards has added sugar. My summers in Cape Cod have opened me up to the freedom in flexibility. Often, I feel, that there are so many wellness standards to live up to, exercises to practice to perfection, habits to adopt daily. Days can become convoluted by self-obligations, meals become complicated and stressful. While in Cape Cod, I don't have full control over my days or my meals. The first summer I remember this being hard. But slowly I was able to exhale the anxiety and found freedom on the other side. Life feels a bit lighter and easier.

Where are you becoming too much of a dictator over your own habits, day-to-day and regiments?

iv. You have time • This is a personal lesson for me, but perhaps can translate to you. I've been feeling that my days slip away, my weeks and months are gone in a snap and what have I done? I feel guilty, like I've missed out on adventure and moments I'm supposed to indulge in as a young twenty-something. But, while in my days and weekends I get panicky - I have work to do, errands to run, laundry to do, workouts to fit in. Hours feel filled before I even wake. In Cape Cod, on someone else's schedule but with my own duties to fulfill as well...I realized...I do have time. I have time to have fun, I have time to get my work done. It pulled my head out of the ground and it's helped me ease up on myself and my daily schedule. Liberating!

Where are you getting stuck in this narrative? And where can you pull yourself out?

v. Love and let love in • This has been the most important lesson for me on this trip. I've always wondered why the summers I've spent in Cape Cod have been so magnetic for me...and it's because of this (perhaps, or a combination of all the above): I've allowed myself to be loved. I've allowed myself to receive with such gratitude the love from the family I'm with on the Cape, from the kids I'm caring for, and myself. I don't feel this way when I'm back in my life here in LA. I've really struggling to receive. But this summer especially has opened my eyes to how important it is to allow yourself to be loved. 

Take a hard look at how you receive love. Do you allow it in? Or do you avoid it, push it away and tell yourself you're not worthy?

Cape Cod is always a magical place for me as I absorb the lessons I've learned from each trip there.

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Where or when do you feel the most carefree, loved and authentic?

Share it in the comments below!

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LILA SEELEY • EDITOR

A California creative with a passion for travel, art, frothy lattes and extra cinnamon.