It is summer now, and I can feel my own and others’ thoughts of “…time to take a vacation!” vibrating in the air.
Years ago, I went through real challenge around taking vacations. I found that I was coming back from vacations more exhausted than when I left.
One of my problems seemed to be that I’m not a very good traveler! Long hours in a car, plane, or whatever type of transportation, really make me tired. I could go on a vacation and travel to some really wonderful or exotic, far-away place, have a great rest, then have it all “ruined” by the long trip back home.
Luxury hotels? Can’t afford them. Cheap motels or cabins? Icky vibrations!
Though I love to camp out, camping never seemed to work really well for me, because just about every campground I ever stayed in was filled with noise, rock music, and people I didn’t care to hang out with.
Backpacking didn’t seem to work for me because we usually had to drive a long ways to get to the trail-heads and/or carrying a heavy pack up and down mountains, sleeping on the ground, etc.–same thing! Spectacular scenery, I was inevitably tired out when I got home.
How many times I came home and said to myself: “I need a vacation from my vacation!”
Because I live in a gloriously beautiful place (Ananda Village), people who visit here often wonder why I would want go anywhere else for vacation? Why not just stay home?
Well, I tried that too and guess what? That didn’t work either. I wound up cleaning out closets and doing other needed work around the house. There is an endless list of that sort of thing at my house, and I do not want to spend any time off that I have working in that way. I truly need to get away from home and work and be in a different location!
So what to do? I hit upon what I consider to be a “superconscious solution,” because it really seemed to work for me! I sat down and made a list of all the things I wanted to be a part of an ideal (for me) vacation. I also took into account things like a limited budget (we can’t fly off to Hawaii every year, or even decade). And my husband needed to be able to enjoy it, too, since he’d be going with me.
Here’s my list. I wanted:
1) A place not too far from home, because I don’t like to travel long distances.
2) A beautiful place in nature and by the water where I can swim every day, with a combination of sun and shade.
3) A place very quiet and private. Ideally, I’d see no one but my husband for the whole vacation time.
4) A place to camp out (I love tent camping), but not in a public camp ground.
5) A place where I can meditate, chant/sing, read, write, do art work, string my hammock and take naps, eat good, nutritional food that I (not somebody else) would prepare.
I share this list with you primarily because I’m suggesting that you make your own list, though I’m guessing yours will be very different from mine. No matter! The point is to clarify your requests in writing!
Having made the list, I shared it with my husband, who was OK with it. Then I prayed deeply to have all, or at least as much as possible, of this happen.
And it happened! Miraculously, every single condition was fulfilled in the place that came to us. We go there almost every summer for about 2 weeks and have been doing so for about 12 years. I come home again truly rested and refreshed. I meditate more than usual while there, but also do the other things I listed as what a vacation should be for me (swimming, writing, napping, etc).
Why this great blessing? I think because I shared sincerely my wants and needs with the Divine in as humble and non-attached way as I could. Part of me (the puritanically stern voice in me) said: “You shouldn’t ask God for a perfect vacation situation. That’s not a very spiritual thing to pray for!”
I finally told that voice to shut up. I know that God loves me and wants me to be happy. I’ve found out that we are blessed even in the smallest and most mundane parts of our lives, if we share all with Him/Her and keep asking for help and guidance, and if we continue to try to live our regular, daily lives in service to and love for God and others.
If you need help with your vacation plans for this year or in the future, you might try my method. In any case, the best of all advice I can offer you on this subject is to take God along with you on vacation, no matter where you go or what you do.
(photos by Vajrini Buonagura)