“Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence. Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”
― Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now
Maya Angelous is amazing. She’s just blessed with the wisdom and a wonderful expression. She gets it, and she gets it right everytime.
So yes, I was on a break last week. Away from the cares which were not withdrawing from me. I got back last Saturday, feeling totally revitalised. When I went to see my Life Coach yesterday, I was surprised at my more than normal loquacity, my clarity, my quiet and steely determination to be more, my inner calm. I believe it all came because of the vacation I took.
We’re busy people. Even if we’re not really busy, we like to fake busy-ness. It’s how our world is, how we’ve developed a harsh system where our worth is determined by how busy = doing something to make money/ career/ life = worth/ status = arrived in life/ esteem/ prestige/ impressions = acknowledgement/ recognition = continue to be busy = success = happiness (?) (perhaps).
When you really look at that above equation, what do you see? I see a vortex of inextricable isms, that we all strive towards. For whose sake? I don’t know. I know that for the longest time I was so caught up and shaken and stirred by that ‘ism that it caused a schism in my inner world. I’ve been scarred, brutally by what I thought and continue to think in a small degree that life is about what others think of you, of how you measure up to what people expect and deem as the benchmark of success. It’s of course nice to read about books that inspire you to ‘be yourself, quit the fucking job if you don’t like it, go make your own road, walk the path less trodden, work hard, follow your bliss, get a life’, but when push comes to shove, it ain’t easy brother. So what’s the best we can opt for? Stay busy. Fake it till you make it (we live on hope after all!). Till it comes to bite you in the butt.
And then when the mind is in a whirr, when the body is staggeringly exhausted, when the emotions are at a tipping point, compelling you to lean over the edge, you know you need to take a break. It’s so very welcome, oh my God, it’s like water to a parched throat.
I know that this time around, my break taught me:
a) Making time for yourself with your family is an absolute. No time for ‘no time’. It helps to reconnect and re-establish bonds.
b) Making time for breaks is again a non-negotiable. They don’t have to be expensive, 4-week and 6-week vacations to exotic locales. FB doesn’t care where you go, and if you’re a selfie junkie, well what can I say, get a life!
c) Short weekends or extended weekends are a must. Go alone if you have to, but go you must. They juice you up.
d) Age is a wonderful healer and teacher. It’s taught me to let go of comparisons. Hark now, the angels said, “this insight will come to you only when you leave your home and hearth and explore newer, fresher climes and places. March on.” This break reinforced my belief in myself. It’s nice to back myself up. It must be the hills I say, something about hills and hilly terrain, it makes you feel insignificant. Yup, that must be it.
e) Acceptance. Yes, strangely, this time, at a subliminal level, I think all the inner work that I’ve been doing actually helped me realise that I wasn’t perfect. But I was imperfectly whole. And that I may never be the best in anything, the smartest, the prettiest, the worthiest, the succesful-est, the wealthiest, the funniest, the fastest. So be it. This is who I am and where I stand is my square of earth. This is me. And that square of the Universe cares for me and I’m the mistress of all that I survey on that square. Yes, I’m an empress. If you’re one, good for you. Come, let’s clink our glasses.
f) Vacations are a practice. Not just fun, away-from-home experiences, but a practice. And practice makes perfect. I’m going to practice so often, oh boy,hooo haaa!
g) Our planet is magnificent. It’s peopled by truly extraordinary human beings with extraordinary cultures and practices. When I breathe all of that extraordinariness in, what do you think that makes me? :). Yup, extraordinary is good. I like extraordinary.
Didn’t I tell you that a little bit of hiatus every now and then is a good thing? It shapes you, moulds your thinking, makes you wonder about the shit you were pissed about. You go, “for that? really? waaa!” and roll your eyes. It’s an exploratory journey. About what makes you tick. What’s more, while your rambling along on that path, checking a crevice here, peeking into a cranny there, someone could slip you Cupid’s arrow and you could be intertwined with a new love forever. Now if that wasn’t reason enough to grab the last ticket out to anywhere, somewhere, maybe you need to go visit Mars!
Colbie Caillat I love you. Your songs make me feel bubbly. Just like hiatuses.