During the summer most people take a vacation. It’s warm, the sun shines late into the evening, school is out and, let’s face it, most everyone is indulging in the reverie of green landscapes and blue green bodies of water. Come summer, although we visit cities, for the most part we are drawn to nature.
Vacation to self
I went on a road trip many years ago in the American southwest. I really had never imagined how incredible the landscape could be. Visiting the Native American ruins and being in the presence of the culture were incredibly transformative for me. Traveling allowed me to let go of my fears and anxieties and move in a more positive direction. I felt that I had left myself behind and entered a totally new phase of life. The canyons and rock formations starkly revealed how permanence is the illusion and constant change the reality. This permitted me to more readily accept that I had built a life that no longer suited me. To change I had to break down the barriers to my happiness which I, and only I, had erected and maintained. What a transformational experience! As a result I made major changes in my life when I returned.
Vacation from routine
I’ve written about contemplation, reflection, sanctuary and affirmation. I’ve found that all these things enable us to look inward and see how we might move forward on our path. A vacation can also provide us with a different perspective and lead to positive practical and attitudinal changes.
It’s funny how we use words all the time and don’t examine their meaning. To me, the word vacation really does mean vacating the usual daily routine to enter the spontaneous world. The days are unstructured. I decide what I want to do each day and may or may not get around to it. Whatever I thought was important to do suddenly isn’t. Things are unpredictable. I am able to discover things about myself that I can’t in everyday life. I take risks that I ordinarily wouldn’t. I find out how I am strong and weak. I build relationships with those I travel with, visit or meet. The constant chattering in my head is turned down from a roar to a whisper. There are so many benefits to taking time off.
Vacation as good fortune
I would be remiss if I assumed that everyone has the benefit of taking a vacation. Some people are working hard to make ends meet. Other people may have deadlines to meet or a project to complete that can’t wait. Many others are not working due to illness or prolonged unemployment. So, for those of us who have the privilege of taking time off, we might want to make good use of it. We can learn, stretch, give, relax, exercise, observe and socialize. We can vacate the old to bring in the new. Let’s not take this opportunity for granted.