Recently I went on vacation in Berkshires. This was my first time in the area, in which Kripalu and other yoga retreats and meditation centers reside. I was there with a friend who was on a budget. We decided to recreate the yoga retreat feeling without spending the “cripple you” prices. (1 of 2)
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Our first day, the drive was excruciating. I must have stopped five times at rest stops, eating bad food, and checking maps, because our GPS was not working as smoothly as we had hoped. We shot past the turnoff for the resort, since it was poorly marked. When we finally arrived I wasn’t in the mood to do anything, except eat dinner and relax. Instead we had a heavy pasta dinner and entertained local spirits all night long.
The next day, we drove back to the Reception area and looked around. It was beautiful, but we were disappointed to find the coffee machine broken and the can opener missing from our kitchen supplies. We drove to Williamstown, MA, with the hopes of maybe finding ingredients for a summer cooler.
No such luck.
It was Reunion weekend and the clerk at the liquor store had run out of coconut milk. The alternative options were in Pittsfield, MA, which was 23 miles away.
On our way back we tried the local general stores but they looked either closed or unlikely to carry such a nonlocal item. In the meantime, the WIFI signal was weak and we couldn’t see the indicator on our iPhone, indicating where we were in relation to our resort. We ended up driving around in circles, looking for the turnoff we missed the day before.
Yet this time we found there were two turnoffs for Rte. 43. What are the odds?
None of this bothered me until we got back to the resort. I started making hummus on the VitaMix machine we brought. Suddenly my friend produced a recipe for guacamole hummus and complained that the avocados were not yet ripe enough. At the same time she also asked me how to sign into the resort WIFI on the iPad, but kept complaining that she couldn’t get on. It didn’t bother me that we got lost, because, according to her, “I had to get a taste for how she passes each day.” I don’t know if it was a culmination of a lack of sleep, the Full Moon in Sagittarius, or simply being in a tiny, unknown town in the middle of a place where cellphone reception was spotty. It was when she played for me YouTube videos about ripening the avocados in the microwave that I lost it.
Being a native from a tropical island, the thought of putting anything in a microwave was anathema to me.
I had to put my foot down, in order to really get the weekend started properly.
You really can’t rush certain things
Maybe it’s growing up waiting for everything, but you have to put away all your technology when you come to a natural place like this, and start afresh. You don’t need to stay in a grass hut or a tent, as they do in upstate New York, to have a Zen experience, but you have to realize that some functions in life, such as gardening, cooking or wine tasting, take time.
Multitasking won’t get you there sooner.
Nothing is in your control, especially when you travel, but you can plan around obstacles by learning from prior mistakes.
Growing up with chefs in the house, I take into account such factors as temperature, chemistry, and ripeness, when thinking about flavor enhancement; and you just learn to buy things at their peak of flavor, rather than force it to ripen by putting it in the microwave (and subsequently, destroying all its nutritional value.)
This was so loathsome a thought to me, I almost passed out.
Turn off the YouTube and learn to unwind
I hate to say this, but so many of us are used to such a fast, urban pace that if it can’t be Googled, or if it can’t be solved by an ‘expert’ on the Internet, it doesn’t exist.
Impatience is such an ugly byproduct of our modern, technological advanced world; that it breeds stupidity in even the most educated of people.
Lifestyle is an art; when you ONLY live to get it done, you miss out on the waiting, the anticipation, the build-up, the four seasons, the romance, the mystery, the finer points of appreciation for a full, and healthy harvest in life.
We want to hurry up with the basic necessities, such as eating, partnering, job hunting and paying bills, to get to responding to email or FB or texting, that we forget the mindfulness in participating in a life force that is greater than our smaller consciousness.
Law of attraction versus mental, brute force
I saw this great quote from a private Coffee Lovers group in Facebook recently.
Others live for the grandiose status update:
* I got promoted.
* I got engaged.
* I got pregnant.
Then there is me, with pure delight with:
* I got one more add to my coupon before I get a free coffee.
When you only appreciate yourself for big milestones, you are teaching others, too, to only validate you for only the physical achievements that they can read about in FB or LinkedIn.
The Universe stops giving you pleasant surprises, such as a vacation on the fritz, to learn to be in harmony with something higher and more beautiful.
This brings me to point out how everyone talks about the departure of patriarchy into the Divine Feminine, that many Westerners hear about but don’t seem to know how to walk in their daily lives. We still rely on the computer; logic; information rather than the wisdom of our own experiences (i.e. learning from mistakes) to guide us.
My dad taught me that the quality of life all boils down to having a learner’s mindset. A childlike wonder about the world. He taught me that the greater treasure in life is to learn how to be content, while on the road to your next big experience.
If you find ways to take life in smaller packets, you will get more done and it won’t be so frustrating. Then your heart opens up and you will see the greater opportunity in your trials.
… and in this case, he would’ve said, you have to WAIT until the avocados ripen.
Or just not get it done now.
And be okay with that.
Synchronicities are there to guide you; but if we ignore them and continue on a blueprint, either self-made or computer-generated, as with a GPS, we may end up at the destination (for e.g., promoted, engaged and fully ensconced in the American dream), but we may not enjoyed the sacrifices we made, to the quality of our life, to get there.
The dream hummus recipe could be a nightmare for the avocado
Ideals are sold to us all the time by the media to sell products rather than inform us of what’s good for us.
We don’t think it’s good enough unless it’s been systemized, analyzed and reconfigured for us, under some mathematically correct, engineering paradigm; or it’s been endorsed on Google or some computerized platform.
A specific example from real life:
As I learned from observing an integration effort in the last six weeks, a plan that looked good on paper (like a recipe) failed because of artificial processes and immature people. Factors included: people that are not motivated in the same way, are not wont to cooperate. Sometimes they are not motivated by the right directives. Sometimes they don’t have mutually compatible values, such as customer service versus ethics and compliance/control.
In this case, you could apply the metaphor of un-ripened avocados.
When you don’t spend time observing behavior (your own vs others); learning from mistakes; participating, instead of voyeuristically studying the attempts of others; and using discernment in the choosing both the ingredients (and the people) to execute them, your plans may cost you more effort AND bring you unsatisfactory results in real life.
This is why we need to slow down, take a break and meditate.
Because maybe you CAN’T do two things at the same time. In my friend’s example, you have to either hasten the avocados. Or deal with the emails.
And, in my real-life example, when the company continued on track with a plan that was already a year-outdated, the team with greater supplier relations (or supposed expertise on paper) was fired; and their work, redistributed to a more seasoned team with experience and better communications. Even this outcome could have been avoided, if someone recognized that what was allowed to develop naturally through market forces, was satisfactory already.
Activity (and change) doesn’t equate always to forward action. When you start to care more about the quality of your experience, waiting (and patience) sometimes is better than action for action’s sake.
We draw to us what we are ready for, so ponder very carefully what that is; instead of relying on images or exciting ideas on the Internet that seem to be the quick solution superficially,
Because Law of Attraction, combined with a resistance to change, will deliver it. Even if it’s a year or lifetime too late, and you’ve lost interest in that original recipe.
Savor the experience of life.
If you are lucky enough to have a time-out, learn to enjoy it. Don’t just eat. Taste it and appreciate its richness. Learn to cook. Feel music and not just listen to it. Play music. More than just listening, playing music allows you to express yourself. Sing. Gather with old friends. Take a walk in the park. Go hiking. If you drink wine, let it breathe.
Being receptive to what is, can only bring us closer to a better reality than following the ‘oft-times,’ clunkier efforts of forced-to-produce-results-now, type of mechanistic world.
Remember: “The deep breath you just took to show that your problems are bigger than you, is the final breath someone had taken right now in his life! As long as your breath is not the final one, you still have a hope!” — -Israelmore Ayivor
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