Air travel has made so much of the world accessible in ways it never was in the past. With the arrival of quicker travel, the idea of traveling well on the way to a destination has largely been lost. Our focus has mostly become the destination and not the road along the way. So much so, that taking the time to leisurely travel to any destination is now considered a luxury in many ways. We want to get where we are going as quickly as we can.
Time has become our biggest luxury item
Many of us grew up doing the cheap road trips in the car with our parents or relatives. Shouts of "Don't make me turn this car around!" and "So help me, if you make me pull this car over, you'll wish you hadn't!" came from many of our parents. Though, it didn't come from all of our parents. There are many people who've never experienced the joy of the parental road trip.
There are still opportunities where the travel itself is the destination. Cross-country Amtrak rides, extended road trips in the car, cruises, overnight kayaking trips, and walking the hiking trails between locations are all still done. They just seem rarer because they involve another modern luxury -- time. Time has become one of the highest valued luxury items in the current culture.
This week's practice involves this reminder. Your task for this week is to find an activity where the journey to get there is the actual focus. It's a chance to really live this metaphor for the journey of your life. It's also a chance to pause, breathe, and use everything about being centered in the moment that you've been practicing from the previous weeks.
These practices aren't so you can be better on the meditation cushion, they are so you can better embrace and live your life in a much more aware way. One of the biggest "wins" of any practice is that it short-circuits life's auto-pilot. Too often life turns into a checklist where we go to the next item, to the next item, to the next item, and then before you know it ...
The people I met in the hospice
When I volunteered at the hospice and sat with people at the end of their lives, I saw many different reactions as people prepared for their last few months. Some people changed absolutely nothing about their approach to the world. They seemed happy and okay with it being the end. Some people pulled out all their fanciest clothes and wore them for every day. Ball gowns and three piece suits for lounging in the garden or coming down for dinner.
A few people were quickly writing their memoirs -- trying to relive and record every last experience. Some paced all night -- afraid to fall asleep. Some were really scared. Some were angry as hell. Some were trying to negotiate and bargain with God to go on living. What were the differences between people? You already know that answer. I think people know this answer intuitively and certainly Hollywood emphasizes it in way too many movies.
This week, find and do at least one thing that doesn't count as being productive or involve quickly getting to your final destination. Take the time to deliberately plan and enjoy a journey so you can bring that awareness to your larger one. Learn now to be the person who wouldn't do anything differently if you knew the next few months would be your last.
Enjoy your travels. Enjoy the absolute luxury of the time when you find it. And, even more, when you deliberately make it.
Sundays – Practice Skills and Activities
Daily skill practices and further information to help you grow in your meditation practice or increase your emotional intelligence skills.
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