I was in Chicago this summer and I was truly on vacation.
I flew out of Atlanta alone, leaving my family, work and life far behind. My brother lives in Chicago and we decided to be on vacation-time. We had no schedule and no agenda other than to be together. We spent one day of my vacation in the city where I rolled around in the reverie of being a tourist.
I took pictures of a few Chicago “must-sees”; the Sears tower, the Oriental theater’s neon sign. I don’t like doing new things with an air of having already seen and done it all. I like to take it all in as if I’ve never seen anything like it. It helps me see things from a fresh and quirky perspective. I see things I wouldn’t see if I lived there, or if I was at home. I see things with my Tourist’s Mind (much like the ever popular Beginner’s Mind).
My favorite picture from that trip was the result of Tourist’s Mind. It is a picture of the amazing, glass mosaic, Tiffany dome at what used to be Marshall Field’s and is now Macy’s.
The dome is more than one hundred years old, a real landmark in Chicago. On the fifth floor of Macy’s you can find both women’s intimate apparel and the best view of the Tiffany dome.
My FaceBook post that day read, “$4 panties and a Tiffany ceiling. I freaking LOVE being a tourist. Beginners Mind at its finest.”
Part of my ability to access Tourist’s Mind was being in a new and unfamiliar place. You are free to explore without memories or associations. Part of my ability to access Tourist’s Mind was because I had no agenda of time or purpose. My only desire was to just be wherever I was. It was unbelievably freeing and deeply relaxing.
Now that I am back home with my memories and associations, my schedules and agendas and responsibilities, it is a little harder to access my Tourist’s/ Beginner’s Mind. I must set an intention to find it at some point each day; to find a moment or two to breathe into the Present Moment free from expectation or agenda and just be.
A friend mentioned that while hiking this summer she overheard a father and his daughter. The father said, “Keep going. You don’t need a break.” His amazingly zen young daughter then replied, “Dad, I am experiencing this rock.”
There is a reason there was a commandment to remember the Sabbath and to keep it holy. We need to prioritize time to rest deeply, to meander without purpose. These moments allow the mind and body to relax and to notice where we are pushed by the energies of habit.
As vacations and the lazy days of summer begin to wind down, remember to breathe into Present Moments, to keep a Sabbath in whatever form that may take for you. Be in the Present Moment with wonder as often as possible. Each day intend to find your Beginner’s/ Tourist’s Mind.