We savor the idea of a vacation but hate leaving open projects in others’ hands or even worse, dealing with the deluge of items (email) when we return. But after weeks and months of working (doing), we need a break. For me, vacation jars my discipline as active daily writing is swapped for passive silent sightseeing. However, if we allow, vacations, with their requisite objective of relaxation, can be transformative.
The Power of Observation
Once I adapt my passive role, I relish being the observer versus the doer. It’s this shift in mindset that can open many pathways and leave a lingering effect even after vacations.
There is a silent and peaceful satisfaction in observing life. You need not do anything but look around, admire, and only engage if a desire is born. On vacation, more than our daily lives, a diverse menu of opportunities continually presents itself while we observe. Should I hike in a park? Swim in the ocean? Try this local restaurant? Should I sleep in or wake up early?
All these options, each one, more inviting than another, nudges open a doorway to our wishes and wants. They ask us the question What do I want to do (now)? repeatedly. And by answering honestly, they maneuver us to reconnect with ourselves.
We notice, we observe, and then with each decision we make, left or right, beach or mountain, we formulate a closer path to who we are and begin to recognize that familiar face in the mirror with greater clarity. I used to like bike riding. And in some cases, we hear ourselves for the first time. Why didn’t I ever try that before?
The Power of Choice
Like young children, we swoon at our options. And if we’re lucky, we succumb to the marvel before us – the sight of a magical waterfall or staring out at an amazing view and letting out a deep exhale of understanding. Once we relax, our vacation can present new avenues that we couldn’t even imagine while sitting in our air-conditioned offices. We awaken to the challenge of following through on our desires. It’s vacation, after all! Let’s get lost! Let’s be spontaneous!
From there, we start to trust, and make more decisions, to engage with greater abandon. Why not try that hula dancing lesson or swim with the stingrays? Who cares if I look silly or feel intimidated?
In our daily lives, we live in a known world with over 90% of our decisions already made for us. We follow the same routines, socialize with the same friends, pursue the same activities, and eat the same foods. Finally out of that environment, choice becomes intoxicating. Vacation is the modern equivalent of being Queen (or King) for a day. I shall decide my own fate for an entire 24 hours! It is a proverbial (and sometimes literal) passport to freedom ~ the freedom to choose.
But that process of evaluating options & making a choice just because we feel like it offers a subtle, clandestine reconnection process to ourselves. It is not the same as “thinking,” your way through an issue or “planning” a vacation – it’s much more powerful. It’s being on vacation! It’s a real time connection. Staying aligned to that self-connection provides the foundation for intuition.
The Power of Listening
Learning to listen to ourselves can help us when we return home. We can continue to listen (and practice listening) to that little voice, inside our mind, guiding us, and offering the best path forward.
Now, as we encounter situations, instead of just starting to “do,” to resolve the issue, we can take a minute to observe and ask ourselves the question, “What do I want to do right now?” Asking that question and then taking a moment to listen for the answer, we can pursue our daily life with greater clarity and less fear. We can feel our way through situations instead of blindly reacting to them.
We excel at being busy and “doing,” but taking a break and re-learning how to be observers directs us to the sweet spot of choice and the act of listening to ourselves before taking action. That freedom of choice doesn’t have to end with our trip. Vacations grant us an exclusive invitation to access intuition. Hold on to that skill even after you come home!
- Fun Summer Reading: What Lies Beyond the Stars
- Vacation follow-up: How an Exotic Vacation Made Me Appreciate the Ordinary