REFLECTION: For each of the last fifteen summers, our family has spent a week at a lakeside cabin in northern Saskatchewan. The experience has changed over the years, but still each year there is the constancy of the lapping of the waves on the shore, the setting of the sun through the spruce, and the calling of the loons across the moonlit water. And each year we are there to witness the beauty around us and to be present to each other.
For many years now, a classmate’s cousins gather annually for a few days at the farm where they grew up.Though there is distance between them now, when they are together, the years and miles fall away. They live and play in carefree ways with those who remember where they’ve come from and who they were when.
You could say that those who engage in ‘same time..next year’ experiences like these are lacking in imagination, stuck in a rut, creatures of habit. Or you might say that they are connoisseurs of connection.
As often as possible, I like to lift up my eyes for the long view, and ask what kind of difference will this action or choice make in the end. It seems to me that when the busyness of our everyday lives falls away (the buzz of the blackberry dims, the to do lists of life are set aside, the distraction of ‘ the next big thing’ wanes) that what remains will be our connections to people and places and to moments lived and appreciated.
That’s the underlying allure and value of annual rituals like these. They allow us to mark our journeys. They let us add to and take stock of our storehouses of memories, to measure a life well lived.
ACTION: We need not reserve this experience for a recurring annual event. Take the opportunity any time to pause from the immediacy of life’s pressures – the getting ready, the getting done, the getting to it. Tune in to your experience along the way, and tap into the joy of being who and where you are.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Same, same. But different.” A Vietnamese saying that seems to sum up the ‘same time – next year’ experience to a tee.
RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: “Happiness Is An Inside Job” by Sylvia Boorstein. Ballantine Books, 2007.
READERS WRITE: Re John Izzo’s Book mentioned in the last edition of Pause, ES writes: I just devoured the same John Izzo book. It’s fantastic. There is a quote that jumped out at me from one of the women that John interviewed who spoke about risk taking. She said something like: Every time I had a big decision to make I would ask myself…when I am an old woman on the front porch, which choice will make the best story? How wise!