Labors lost

December 22nd, 2009

“If you don’t see the Way you don’t see it even as you walk on it.” – The Identity of Relative and Absolute

In this week of returns and revelations, I’m leaving sand on your doorstep with a few repeat posts. Enjoy your time!

At the risk of shattering all illusions you might have about how a Buddhist priest is supposed to live, I will tell you that I am vacationing with my extended family on a remote, but not too remote, Pacific island. It is not too remote, considering it is the number one holiday air travel destination for Southern Californians, such Californians including D-list celebrities like the one we think we spied doing calisthenics on the stretch of lawn beside our own.

I find myself here because life, or dharma, provides in all ways visible and invisible. My family is hospitable, you see. We get along. We share. We like one another’s company. For at least a week, that is, when one particularly generous sister has sprung for a seven-day rental of a beachfront home with separate bedrooms, baths and high-speed Internet for all.

I am lucky. I am so terribly lucky, and I’ve done nothing at all to earn it. One night’s stay in a place like this and right away I realize how lucky I am. It takes several more days to realize that I don’t have to do anything to earn it. Don’t have to do anything for merit or reward. Don’t have to use the time wisely. Don’t have to busy myself producing something. Don’t have to crack open the computer and write something. Don’t have to double-back and finish up the project I left undone. Don’t have to hurry; don’t have to crack down. Don’t have to deny; don’t have to forbear. Don’t have to ponder, wish or strategize. Don’t have to be someone else, doing something other than nothing at all.

Every time I take a vacation, I confront the obvious truth in the plain sight of our language. To vacation is to vacate. Vacate my own timeline, my own agenda, my own expectations, my own grind, my own restlessness and deep-rooted exasperation. Renouncing my point of view is true renunciation. I can enjoy the hot tub without a second thought.

When I finally empty my head and open my hands I find my tongue with a native’s ease.


The hula could take longer.

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  1. Wow, Aloha! You have taken the idea of vacation to a whole new level (or it has taken you there!) Happy vacating!!!!

    Comment by Shannon — December 27, 2007 @ 7:24 pm

  2. Sounds wonderful! And, I’m guessing that sister of yours begs to differ on whether you’ve earned it or not. In fact, I’m sure you’ve earned it.

    Comment by Shawn — December 27, 2007 @ 7:55 pm

  3. If you get to hula with The Hoff, there better be pictures!

    Comment by Mama Zen — December 27, 2007 @ 8:35 pm

  4. wow wow wow

    Comment by Wendy — December 28, 2007 @ 12:39 am

  5. Such fun! Enjoy. And Happy New Year, too.

    Comment by marta — December 28, 2007 @ 5:38 am

  6. Soak it in. Enjoy!

    Comment by Mika — December 28, 2007 @ 4:07 pm

  7. That’s wonderful! Enjoy.

    Comment by TZT — December 28, 2007 @ 8:18 pm

  8. Happy vacating!

    Comment by Moanna — December 29, 2007 @ 3:57 am

  9. confirmation on The Hoff, MZ. Negatory on the hula.

    Comment by Karen — December 30, 2007 @ 6:52 am

  10. If you master the hula, Karen, the sky's the limit!!! There will be press tours, hula on Oprah's couch… I am just so excited at the prospects!

    I bet the scenery is just beautiful! Mele Kalikimaka is playing in my head just thinking about it!

    Comment by Cam — December 23, 2009 @ 5:58 pm

  11. I didn't know you ever lost your tongue;)

    Comment by DQ's Windmill — December 23, 2009 @ 10:43 pm

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