It's been 8 years since Keith and I have taken a real, actual vacation...involving air travel and a destination farther away than four or five hour's drive from Williamsport. We've gone to a five day conference in Berkley Springs, West Virginia...at the home church of Lynn Hiles...for the past four years. It has always been a time of blessing. We meet new friends and reconnected with old friends. We've made various trips to Ontario to visit Keith's family since he moved to the states. We've gone to Ellwood City (ooooh...big metropolis of Ellwood City) to visit my mom.
But we have not had a real vacation for about 8 years This is not because Keith hasn't wanted to. He has tried to convince me for most of those 8 years to take a real vacation. A cruise? A trip to Vegas? Oh...the expense...the kids...but most of all, I am a homebody.
This year when it was time for him to book his vacations for the year, he mentioned that we needed to plan a real vacation. I shrugged...okay...let's do it. We initially pondered driving to visit my dad in Florida...taking the girls..going to Disneyland but plans fell through...and we opted instead, to leave the girls behind and come to visit a long time (though far away) friend of Keith's in Corpus Christi, TX.
We started the journey at 3 am from Williamsport...3 flights and 12 hours later we ended up at the Corpus Christi airport. Geoffrey and Katherine have opened their home to us whole heartedly. We went on a condensed tour of the area. Omg..it is beautiful. And some of the homes on the bay are breathtaking. A spanish hacienda look...but some (most) were huge...with clay roofs. Simply amazing that anyone has the money to live in one of those homes. Today we are going to see the Lexington, and the local aquarium and some more sightseeing. Actually, Keith and Geoffrey are making plans for the day. I am in a really cool place. The NOW.
I was in the NOW most of the day yesterday. I will admit that air travel had me a bit lost in the egoic, fearful..."oh my God, we're all going to die" mindset. And it did surprise me (and not in a good way) when we went out to board the first plane and it was a little dinky thing...with propellers!!! Keith (former avid skydiver) said, "I've jumped out of planes bigger than this." During the actual takeoffs (all three of them), I did focus on the sovereignty of God and his ability to keep the plane in the air.
For most of the day, though, I was in the NOW. At home, I am keenly aware of the passing of time (and how I don't seem to have enough of it to complete all my daily duties) I am also in a chronic state of the should's...my mental list of all the things I should be doing. Some days I don't give myself any peace at all. My ego is a hard taskmaster. Do this, don't do that, can't you read the signs?
But yesterday I had no real list of should's. Well, obviously I knew that we should be at the right gate at the right time...but for the most part, I just kind of went with the flow...since there was really nothing else I could do but go with the flow. I observed the people, checked out the shops, took in the sights at four airports (Houston was by far the worst of the four) And when our final flight into Corpus Christi was delayed three hours, it was like...oh well. I'll just look at the people...observe the spring breakers returning home...watch the families traveling with (melting down) kids....find a plug somewhere...plop down on the floor and pull out the lap top. (No wifi at Houston unless you were willing to pay 7.95 for the day...which I was not because there was a possibility the delay might be shorter) Being present. It was great. It was tiring, the day was long, but it was great. Almost like a release from the clutches of my egoic mind.
Tolle says that if we become aware that we are lost in our thoughts and catch the ego in the act, at that moment, we are present. I do this often throughout the day...in my every day life...but I don't stay there. Yesterday, more often than not, I remained there. Present. Not always thrilled with what was happening in the present...but I was there...in the NOW....and accepting of it. Not fighting against it...but rather working with it.
It was really cool...and I see now it is an important aspect of vacations. To get out of the every day, every way grind of daily life and get out of the egoic mindset.
Now the trick is to learn how to live like that at work, at home, toting the girls here and there, at the grocery store. Living in the NOW. Once you have a taste of it and recognize it, that is a place you want to dwell.