How to Live as Though You’re on Vacation
I love the line from Downtown Abbey where the Dowager Countess asks “What is a weekend?” Because an estate, like any other 7x24 endeavor is just that… 7x24. There is no letup in self-employment in any form. No downtime unless we build it into the structure of our lives and livelihood.
The best thing I learned from one of my partners was this: “Live like you are always on vacation.” When I first heard him say that, I didn’t think he was nuts, exactly, but I was working 20-hour days at a tech startup (which really is a form of purgatorial bondage) and the concept eluded me. You can perhaps understand why.
That day, he had just returned from Lake Tahoe, with a fresh reverse-racoon-tan from his ski goggles, a rejuvenated spring in his step and more of a twinkle in his eyes than usual. He had also just finished his weekly deliveries, driving all night to complete them just in time for his chosen ski run to open.
This man was always on the go. He ran four different businesses, taught martial arts and played soccer evenings and weekends at UCB’s pickup pitch whenever he had a free moment.
As I began to observe his life I realized that, to me, vacation held the connotation of lying on a beach or somewhere quiet, doing nothing, and recuperating from my day-to-day. Not having to think or research or find solutions or baby-sit others doing the same… not that I didn’t like solving puzzles for a living, which is the nature of information technology, but… my idea of ‘heaven’ or vacation was quiet, sanctuary-time. My true loves? Consciousness, the nature of truth, expanded awareness and the music or sounds that nurture those states of being.
Did my days include what I loved most? Yes. AFTER I did what had to be done.
This man’s idea of ‘vacation’ was getting to do something he really loved to do, even if it was physically exhausting. Fun, and even contemplation, lay (and probably still do) in action. He loved to drive the long highways of California making his delivery runs, because it gave him the time he needed to ponder things. He could have hired someone to make the deliveries, and sometimes did, if there was something else he wanted to do more.
I asked him, finally, how he managed to fit something in, every day, that he really enjoyed. I ‘got it’ that he didn’t need to take time off because there was nothing to take time off from. He lived what he loved.
“I decide what I want to do and make everything else fit around that,” he told me, as though speaking to a four-year-old.
I thought about that for about a second and a half and realized I had my priorities all wrong. I worked the tech job(s) to make money so that I could take the time off that allowed me the quiet contemplative time I required to be my signature frequency, to live my loves… and the price for how I thought I had to do this was way too high.
There are many stories like this one, and the writers thereof will tell you to focus on what you truly want to do or on what you love and they are correct. I was focused on those things too, but I had not make the choice to prioritize those things, and therefore my own well-being, first.
You’ve read a lot of articles about this too. Put yourself first. So had I. And I worked through my stuff about how I was taught as a child that that was selfish… all of that garbage we’re conditioned to believe. Only it wasn’t that either.
I had not put this simple equation into practice. Find what you love… and it’s okay if that changes. Choose one thing for today and for tomorrow (they don’t have to be the same thing) and focus on the joy that ‘thing’ brings. Make everything else fit around it.
Make everything else fit around what brings you joy. EVEN when you’re taking a break from your normal day-to-day. Maybe especially then.
Living this way means that, when you do take time out or a ‘break’ or whatever you want to call a change from your routines, you have the energy and the stamina to enjoy it. And the mental downtime will be all the more productive for our focus on what matters.
What if you had the energy and stamina to enJOY every moment of every day? Sound too good to be true? It isn’t. Even exhaustion can be enjoyed if you’re not sweating all the other stuff.
There are things like discernment and discipline and forbearance that will need to come to bear to accomplish anything, yes, of course. Building the enjoyment habit is like building any other. It needs the same tools.
Try this experiment for a few days. Maybe you already live this way. I do, and it is amazing. Don’t start with the have-tos. Start with “what do I really feel like doing today?” Your answer will change from ‘nothing, I’m too tired or uninspired’ to ‘wow… ‘this’’ very quickly. So start where you are. Start with that ‘this’.
“What do I really want to do today?” Focus on that. The feeling, not the thing. And use your intuition (and maybe your calendar) to fit all the other things around that feeling.
We all have the have-tos. When the have-tos become part of the JOY, our lives improve. I ‘have-to’ write everyday. It brings me joy. I have to move my body. I let my body tell me how she wants to do that today and every day and it is a joyful activity (if sometimes tough). I have to take the actions that support the place I live in… you know… the ‘stuff’. But, when ‘all that other stuff’ is surrendered into the flow of joy, it, like the other have-tos, happens organically and in divine timing, because I have organized my day internally and intentionally around JOY.
We could also call this love. One of our collective definitions of vacation is a period of time spent doing something we love to do.
Sometimes I’m asked, usually by a disgruntled student, something like “well, I want to go to China today and, like, that’s not going to happen!”
Argue for your limitations and they’re yours. ~ Richard Bach
Go into the feeling of what ‘going to China today’ means to you. Grab the essence of that desire. Really feel it. Now, prioritize that feeling as the most important for today. Choose to make everything else fit around it. Observe how your day begins to play.
And if a ticket drops into your lap or you find yourself teleported ‘to China’ let me know! You’ve tapped into a state of quantum reality that needs to become contagious!
Try it. Try to ‘play’ instead of or in spite of ‘work’ every day and make playing most important. Then take Yoda’s advice. “Do, or do not. There is no try.”
Old ways of existing change with a few baby steps interspersed with giant leaps of faith.
You can live what you love. If you feel like it, start today.
Call to Action
Hi. Thanks for taking the time to read this. It’s the holyday season so the everyday meaningless stress vibe has upped several thousand notches…
Or we can live a different way.
Everything is a choice. If you enjoyed this, or made it this far, please applaud so others might as well. And if you’d like to read more, check out my website blog or my newsletter or my blog on Steemit.
Follow your intuition and share the results! New realities are not built by solo artists… this is a multiversal collaboration where we each contribute our love and joy.
Thanks again. Namaste.