Friday, December 31, 2010

Why We Travel

When Traditions Become Stale

Christmas Eve, Santa arrived in the Houston airport buzzing around on a golf cart which was appropriately adorned for this auspicious day.  Having completed our extended family Christmas dinners and gift exchanges, we began a journey I have always wanted to embark upon.  Leaving town for Christmas, skipping joyously out on some of the Christmas traditions that frankly seem way more exhausting than fulfilling.   Our daughter suggested it, having what might be her last significant break as a full time graduate student.  Elated at the idea, it took some convincing for my husband to jump on board and our son initially was quite annoyed but thankfully everyone came around.  Scheduling our annual Christmastime party which we have been holding for over 20 years with some dear friends was challenging but we did it early and no one even missed the fact that we did not have a Christmas tree.

Deciding to visit Guatemala's Mayan indigenous people of Lake Atitlan, which is about and hour and a half from Antigua, sounded like the adventure we were looking for.  Through an article I had read in the New York Times this summer, I tracked down Markus and Laura of Magic Carpet Rides, who placed us with a Mayan family in San Juan La Laguna.  My daughter and I will be studying the relationship between Mayan arts and their spirituality with our host family.

So this idea of taking a break, a pause from traditions that have become stale and unsatisfying gives us the opportunity to breathe new meaning and purpose into the rituals within our lives. Occasionally letting go of well kept traditions and throwing caution to the wind with wild abandon can be another way to gather up that yummy inner phosphorescence that keeps our lives sparkling with aliveness and adventure.

As you begin to end 2010, take a few moments to remember with gratitude all the goodness of your year and note if there are areas in your life that perhaps need a bit of tweaking.

We found this bit of  wisdom from Sarah Susanka in December's Whole Living Magazine and wanted to pass this on to you.

The Year-End Review

The Past Year - How have you spent your time?  What were you grateful for?  What were your sorrows and disappointments, and how did they change you? What books, films, etc. moved you?

The Present - How are you different from the way you were a year ago? How can you integrate the lessons of the past year? Is there anything you're trying to force into existence right now? If so what would happen if you stopped?

The Future - What do you want to focus on in the coming year? If you could sum up your desires and longings in one simple statement spoken from the highest aspect of yourself, what would it be?

This is not a New Year's resolution - it's an antiresolution. We imagine we have to make things happen, but when we're clear about what we love, those opportunities come unbidden.

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