I went away for a week. I had to do some work (four meetings), but it wasn’t a work trip. I didn’t pack my laptop (I am not sure why), and when I arrived at my destination, I didn’t make any effort to find out how I can access internet or a computer to log on to something/somewhere.
My work and personal meetings were planned ahead of time. I had quite a bit of unplanned time on my hands. At first, I wasn’t sure how that would go: Would I die of boredom? Would I go into depression because I had nothing to do?… I mean we are talking about hours and hours of no planning, no work, no appointment, no email, …
At the risk of stating the obvious, I didn’t die of boredom or of anything else for that matter. I had the best time of my life. I haven’t felt so refreshed, so relaxed, so rejuvenated in a very long time. What happened? Nothing really.
Everyday, I woke up and wondered what to do. Sometimes I turned on the TV and watched something, whatever. Sometimes I went to the exercise room to stretch and sit quietly. Sometimes I rushed to the coffee shop in the hotel, grabbed a coffee, and read the morning paper. And then I tried to remember the last time I read the morning paper in the morning: I am not sure whether my memory failed me or that time just didn’t exist.
Then I went out and walked aimlessly about for hours (which explains pins and needles in my heels) interrupted by a cup of coffee or juice or a sandwich. One day, I had the whole morning and afternoon free. At first, I was overwhelmed by the number of things I wanted to do and tried to plan them all. Then I dropped all planning and just drove around, walked about, and sat here and there for a rest.
I am not exaggerating when I say that this was the best time of my life. Honestly. And yet, in a way, I didn’t do anything. What did I see that I can tell you about? Well, nothing worthy of a photo on facebook, no monuments, no fancy places, … All I remember is the pulps in a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice… if you are interested in that sort of thing.
Now that I am back, I keep thinking what was so good about this trip. Why can I not get over it?
I think it is being present in all the things I did. I experienced everything with full presence. I didn’t do anything that I hadn’t done before, but it was the way these simple things were done. Of course, I stretch at home either on my own or in a class. Either way, I keep thinking when it ends or look for a clock to see the time or wonder why the instructor does not move to the next pose or … And in the class, this is all happening when the instructor keeps saying: close your mind, focus, … (granted, I am focused but on when I can move on to the next thing, be it the next pose, or my next task, or on what excuse I can find to run out of class to get to the next thing, …).
This trip made me review and reconsider quite a lot in my life: I take on many projects and engage in many activities and try to do my best in all. But (at least) one thing I neglect to do, is to be fully present in the moment. This particular passing moment that will never repeat itself. I am in too much of a hurry to jump to the next one. As if this moment is created only as a means of moving to the next one which, in turn, is a just a transition to the next…
So, what is the next moment? Just another moment that I may be half-experiencing if I continue living and working in anticipation of the next one. I think you see where I am going with this.
I cannot/will not try to change who I am. I look at the world with eyes of wonder, I find so many fascinating things, and I throw myself at them as far as I can. And I love that. But I guess I can think of economizing a bit on the number of things I do to find leisure time, I mean unplanned time for doing nothing, for wandering aimlessly, for getting bored. Now that I seem to have mastered ‘the art of multitasking’, I am thinking that perhaps it is not much of an art and more of a bad habit.
I hope that idle moments keep flying to me, but if they don’t, I have decided to lure them into my overly planned/busy life. I want to make sure I have time for unplanned times and for doing nothing: to discover what the moment has to offer and what I have to offer to a particular moment. Wish me luck!