Tuesday, August 25, 2009

On vacation

"Wherever you go, there you are."--Anonymous

We have been traveling the past couple of weeks, which got us to thinking about the concept of vacation. Now, there is certainly nothing profound about pointing out the reality that going "on vacation" simply changes one's physical location. Or, for that matter, the inherent absurdity that one man's vacation spot is another's daily grind.

However, one of the messages we continue to pound away at here is that the absurd can be found everywhere, often without looking for it. For example, we went on a dolphin watch the other day, during which we heard a couple of fellow passengers discussing the inherent wisdom of dolphins.

"They sure have the life," said one. "Yup," replied the other, "just eat, play, and sleep. Wish I could live like that."

We will pause a moment to let this sink in....

In fact, what struck us the most was not the discussion itself, but the fact that such discussions almost certainly happen on all dolphin cruises! Such lamentations have become virtually boilerplate, with people constantly complaining about their stressful and put-upon lives. If only, they wail, I could live the carefree life of that...dolphin, or dog, or cat, or some other animal that seems to spend all its time lounging around while I have to go stare at my computer screen.

Well, we have a revelation for you. You can live that life! And you don't need to wait until you have enough money saved, or until your children are grown, or until you are "ready." You can do it today - now - this minute.

Once you accept there is no "greater meaning" to life, you can choose to live however you want. And please understand - this does not necessarily mean quitting your job and retreating to a Buddhist monastery (although it could). The point is that once you realize things don't matter, it doesn't matter what you do. This is not only incredibly liberating, but is also a potent tonic against worry (about the future) and regret (about the past).

So go ahead and take a vacation - NOW. Stop worrying about what happened earlier today, and what may or may not happen tomorrow. Stop thinking about your job, your retirement, your family - whatever. Just...STOP. Then, spend some time in the present. Enjoy what you are doing right now, without all the baggage of yesterday and tomorrow and next week. Just be.

We understand this is difficult to do consistently - we ourselves struggle to maintain our perspective on a day-to-day basis. But try this. Next time you find yourself slipping back into old patterns, try spending a few minutes marveling at the wondrous miracle that is life - that some random collection of atoms can see, and hear, and smell and taste and touch...and actually attempt to comprehend this miraculous universe we inhabit. It might just make that very serious problem (whatever it is) seem a bit less overwhelming.

We'll be home in a few days. But our vacation will never end...


  1. It will end at some point.

  2. This reminds me of a blurb about the Dalia lama that I read a few years back.

    He is pictured drinking a coke or something like that with the caption "The Dalia Lama takes a break".

    When he sees this he(apparently)smiled and said " a break from what?"

    I love this, I cannot verify it....but still it's good.

    And thanks for the blog....