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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Vacationing at Home

This is Labor Day weekend, but we are not going anywhere. Our traveling days are over. But it's okay, because with the right attitude, you can enjoy a relaxing vacation at home.

Bow sunning himself in the outer pen yesterday
They say that one of the factors in premature aging is stress. There is even research on the topic that suggests that people who meditate are prolonging their lives by cutting down on the effects of stress. I am a bit skeptical, however, as how would the researchers independently verify that the people who were meditating were doing it right? And, in fact, wouldn't trying to adhere to a specific practice of meditating as taught by particular practitioners cause stress in itself?

Bow and I don't meditate, but we cut down on stress simply by giving in to our interest of the moment.

When Bow feels like doing something, he does. That freedom in and of itself is a stress reducer.

Bow  gives himself over to whatever activity has him engrossed at the moment, so there is very little internal conflict.

It's all about focus. For me, concentrating momentarily on a flower can have a calming effect.

Everything else in that moment fades away, and all I can see is the thing I am concentrating on.

 When we give ourselves over to the study of a tiny, damaged butterfly, the rest of the world recedes into the distance. Just focus. Even when we look away from the butterfly momentarily, it is hard to see anything else.

This does not mean that we should never get angry or never argue, in order to reduce stress. On the contrary, you should give yourself over completely to your anger, and then the anger can pass. You should argue with all your might, as if nothing but the argument matters. I can imagine taking my argument all the way to the Supreme Court, perfectly at peace with myself. Someday, I'd still like to do that!

"Drink deeply, but never too deep." --Kipling
When Bow takes a sip of water, he savors it as if he has never had water before. Then when he's done, he forgets all about it. We should all be like that!

Every sunset and every sunrise is an opportunity to get lost in the moment. We live in a beautiful, quiet spot. We don't need to go away to have a vacation. Sometimes all you have to do is just close your eyes and relax.


  1. Lovely, Aya! Eckhart Tolle teaches us to be present every day. It looks like you have perfected the art of doing that. That's really all that meditating is. Some teach to "focus on the breath". Well, I prefer to focus on the colors of a butterfly and study the beautiful, richness of the hues, or I trace the ridges of my fingerprints and I calmly sit and close my eyes. I feel the tension in my shoulders & neck subside when I do that.
    I used to have a friend that would come over who claimed to be such a scholar of meditation and an expert at being 'present'. Yet, when we sat outside to listen to and watch my martins all she could do was chatter away, missing out on the beautiful song and the lively dance that they do in my backyard. I can sit outside and watch them for hours, lost in and often fascinated with nature. So glad you have found that peacefulness and appreciation in your life too!

    1. Hi, Kathy. You made me laugh with the words "expert at being present"! Some things are not a matter of expertise, but just internal, moment by moment experience. You have that, your friend didn't, BTW, I loved what I saw and heard of your martins.