Don’t be a Tourist in Your Own Life
Did you know that you can actually do Yellowstone in 24 hours? I have the photos to prove it: Old Faithful and the other geysers, the Waterfall and canyons, herds of bison and elk, bear prints, moose crossings, eagle sitings, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with Pringles. We even listened to O’ My Darlin, Clementine in the car! If it was printed in the guidebook, we did it! It was like we were on the Amazing Race, determined to see and do everything humanly possible in the shortest amount of time. Armed with cameras, bear spray, and gorp, we were the great American Tourists!
The trip was a blur.
I don’t want my life to be a blur.
Do you ever feel like you’re a tourist in your own life? You are hitting the main attractions, crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s— you have the iPhone pictures to prove it. And yet, you are moving so fast, trying to do so many things at once, that you never really reside in your own life.
We live in a day and age where we are lauded for the most number of things that we can accomplish in one 24 hour period. It’s the art of multi-tasking. But it comes with a price. You see, multi-taskers are never really present in the moment. And life passes them by in a blur. Our culture has lost the art of relishing the moment. We are too quick to move on to the next attraction in the guidebook of Life.
My yoga teacher teaches the art of “conscious practice” both on the mat, and in Life.
Conscious practice simply means bringing all of your senses and a reflective soul to every encounter in life. I remember watching a documentary of Thick Nhat Hahn savoring an orange. It took ages for him to eat that darn orange! First, he admired the fruit before him, then he put it up to his nose and reveled in its scent, and finally, ever so slowly, he peeled the orange, savoring each slice. He left no doubt that every single cell of his body experienced that orange, especially his soul.
Life is not a 24 hour trip to Yellowstone. It’s meant to be savored in every cell and fiber of our beings.
This summer I was introduced to a Native American ritual called the “touch the earth” ceremony. When life is moving too fast and you no longer feel at home in your own life, or maybe you ate your orange so fast you missed its scent, get down on your knees and touch the earth. Find again the grounding of your being. You are fooling yourself if you think life is just carpool lines, to do lists, and a well-chronicled photo library in your iCloud. We only get one ticket on this fast moving train called life. We owe it to ourselves, the people we love, and to the world to be present, fully alive, and soul-attentive in every moment. There’s nothing cool about being a tourist when you can be a resident in your own life!!
Live in Hope,