I’ve been away from the world of blogging for a few weeks–on a secret vacation. This vacation was different from other vacations that I’ve taken.
I didn’t tell anyone I was going on this vacation; I didn’t do any researching, booking or planning. I didn’t even know I was taking it, until this particular vacation just sort of nudged me–intuitively and organically.
This vacation didn’t find me floating in tropical waters, climbing granite mountainsides, or seeking out ancient ruins. In fact, from the outside perspective, this vacation didn’t find me anywhere far from my usual home and work life. No, this was definitely a different sort of vacation. And it took me by surprise.
For starters, it planned me. The vacation that appeared before me, looked like a vague and obscure mirage at first.
“It’s time to take a break from your usual thoughts and usual doings,” it announced.
“Yes, you’ve been ‘hiking the same trail’ lately, and it’s time to shake it up, open your eyes, and expand your horizons.”
Before I could get carried away by thoughts of remote and hidden hot springs or unexplored meadows, the vacation made it clear.
“Oh you’re not going to go anywhere to find adventure, fun, and peace. This vacation will show up and find you. The only thing you need to do is be O-p-e-n.”
And that was that. Before my mind could protest, I noticed a whisper of curiosity floating in my bones.
And as the door creaked open, the vacation blew in.
Travels in Openness
I decided to try open. I started small. Hmmmmm open….
Open felt like going with the flow.
It felt good to drive a different way to work. And then even better to find a new route on the way back. It was refreshing to see new places. It made me curious.
Open felt like being present in every moment.
I found myself wide-awake and paying attention in the now. I became engaged in play with my first grader without being distracted by to-do lists. I noticed that listening to someone with 100 percent of my attention instead of with half an ear was profound in what I heard, felt and received from that connection.
Open felt like going with anything that felt right – routine or not.
So, I brushed my teeth with my left hand that night, instead of my right – why not?! That’s good for the brain I had read, switching up small motor skills like that. I began changing up small routine physical tasks, creating new muscle memories in my body. My body felt good.
Open felt like following my heart.
So I dropped the “shoulds.” Whenever my mind told me I should, I turned to the impulses of my heart. I followed my heart to the garden instead of the computer. Following my heart invited peace.
And on and on it went. Until I was no longer following my usual routines, my usual doings, and my usual ways of thinking. As I began to let open permeate my days and weeks, an odd thing began to happen. The more I let in open, the more open I became; and the more open I became, the further I traveled away from my ingrained thoughts and habits of doing.
New creative ideas swirled into me. Possibilities rode in wave after wave. Different thoughts and solutions to old problems popped up easily like sprouting seeds in fertile soils. Willingness emerged as the new trail to explore. Willingness to try new things and have new conversations. Usual life flowed easily and felt brand new in open mode.
So when a dozen yellow-orange and black speckled birds landed in the garden and stayed for a couple days, I was not surprised.
When in the middle of a hard night of work, as I removed my fire gear and looked back at the burned up building we had just ventilated, I was not surprised that my eyes landed on a magnificent purple tree that bloomed high and wide above the burned house.
And, when one evening I looked out and saw that a blue rain had gently blown in and covered the droughtland in its cool hues, I smiled at the unexpected sight.
I don’t always have to take a traditional vacation, make plans, hop on a plane, see a new place, in order to get to a new place, I found. Sometimes all it takes is opening. Being open invites all kinds of new adventures. It invites renewal, refreshment, even rebirth.
What will your world look like when you keep yourself open? Open yourself up and see the yellow-orange birds all around you!