Mediators talk about "being present" as an effective tool towards helping people we hardly know resolve very personal conflicts. It is a term borrowed from spiritual practices where meditators (not all mediators) tune into themselves in order to be more available and accessible to the rest of the world. So it was with some amusement that I found myself forced to be fully present during the last two weeks on my vacation.
For the first time, I traveled overseas without a book or even a pad and pen and project. On the first day of the cruise, a fellow passenger knocked down my Kindle, causing the screen to become unreadable. All of my planned reading went dark. I chose not to bring a computer or to register for the Internet on the ship. So I was forced, to my delight, to really tune in to my family.
The first week was an Aegean Sea cruise with 28 family members celebrating my parent's 65th wedding anniversary. We had both deep and light conversations and we played games. We sang and danced and dined and hiked and laughed and experienced so much together. It really made me aware of how distracting our modern technology has become--and how the key to being "fully present" may be the simple, but oh, so difficult act, of giving up the gadgets and tuning in to one another with intentionality.
The second week was a visit with my sister and her family in Bern, Switzerland and then three heavenly days in Paris. We had all been to both locations before, so we had no absolute agenda. We were spontaneous and carefree. In all ways, we were practicing "being in the moment"--which is really a great chance to renew and refresh in order to lean in to every mediation with the same intentionality. Fully present. No distractions. Time to think and listen more than speak. Now that's a vacation!