Monday, October 26, 2009

Back in the world. Wait, did I leave it?

As you may know, I spent last week on vacation. I'd thought I could blog while away, but our hotel had a slow and expensive internet connection and, quite honestly, I decided simply to enjoy being on vacation. It was wonderful.

Re-entering the world, the every-day world, can be a bit challenging. Wait, it's not 85F and sunny? How come I'm not diving today? And why can't I drink a chocolate monkey (don't ask, I don't know, but boy is it good) anytime I want? You know the answer as well as I do, which is that my life keeps moving forward. Now is the time to do other things. Was that the answer you were expecting?

While I was away I thought a lot about what it means to live the big life. I've written about this before, about how the Big Life is actually the right now life, but there's nothing like a shift in perspective to drive this home.

Here is some of what I wrote in my journal:

"I am so glad for the break, looking forward to the time away from the regular routine and my own chaos. But this leads me to ask myself, why is it that we build our lives so vacation is a desperately needed break? We have one walk through this world, it seems such a shame that most of our time is spent doing things we don't want to.

"Thinking about this further, it could be such a statement of privilege. There are so many things that must get done - dishes must be washed, bills paid, etc. Someone has to do them and in my own life I should attend to my own needs.

"So that leads to - how do I take more joy in the tasks of the present, so the things I must do don't feel like such a burden? If I must work (as most of us must) and the work is not the work of my soul, then how can I engage in it such that I enjoy it as much as I can? I don't want to live my life yearning for the breaks. I need to live now."

After a week of what felt like really big living, I am giving myself the following challenge:

I am in the world, in the big life, every moment, whether or not I remember that I am. I was in the world while on vacation and am still in the world now; I never left. This week I want to remind myself to take joy in some of the small moments that might have otherwise been an irritation. I've headed one page in my journal to list them. So far I've recorded
  • the crackle of bubbles as I washed dishes
  • the satisfaction of throwing away things I should have tossed a long time ago.
I'm sure work and the coming week will give me more opportunity to add to my list.

Try it. Who knows what unexpected pleasures you may find. Perhaps taking out the trash will become a small vacation from the ordinary if you pay the right kind of attention.

p.s. if you want to see vacation photos go here.

(c) 2009 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License


  1. I, too, long for happiness in the mundane. Are we still looking for bigger moments in the mundane? Thich Nhat Hanh says: Present moment, beautiful moment. But when I try it, loving each moment sure slows me down.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  2. 1 shot banana liqueur
    In case you need a "quick trip to Jamaica"
    Chocolate Monkey!
    2 shots creme de cacao
    2 scoops chocolate ice cream
    1 oz chocolate syrup
    4 oz chocolate milk
    1 1/2 oz whipped cream
    1 cherry
    1 piece bananas
    Blend liqueurs with ice-cream, milk and syrup. Pour into a parfait glass, top with whipped cream and garnish with banana and cherry.


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