Today is the first day of my vacation. It's my family's annual trip to Tennessee for a week. I've been coming since I was a kid. An assortment of relatives congregate in the same fishing resort every summer. Some of these people I see only this one time each year (barring a funeral or wedding).
This place is the picture of relaxation. There's not much to actually do, but relax. It's right on a lake, so fishing is a big activity. For people like me though, who don't fish anymore, the main activity is "sitting around."
There's a swing set, basketball court, small beach with a swimming area. All of which were great fun as I was growing up. But now I like to just "sit around" with the other adults. Sit on the porch of our cabin and look out over the shimmering lake and green, tree-covered mountains.
It usually takes me a day or so to fully relax. I still feel like I should be "doing" something. Granted, I did bring my laptop, and I plan on blogging every morning (or almost every morning, depending on how things go). And I brought other "work-related" things -- like books to read. But even working here has an air of relaxation. The sense of "hurry" is nowhere to be found.
I arrived last night, so today is my first full day. It'll still take me probably another few hours for the "go-go-go" inside of me to subside. But I'm getting there.
Spending large quantities of time with other people, and often especially family, can bring out the ego. The ego wants to impress. The ego wants to tell everything it has done and how it is so great.
This will be a great week for me to practice letting go of my ego. To continue the work I started at home, on my own. It's one thing to do ego work when you're alone. But quite another to continue to practice it when you're surrounded by and interacting with others.
Other people can say and do things, without being intentional, that hit our egos. Just a casual conversation can get our ego all on its toes. Just watching someone else, and the choices they make, can get our ego all puffed up and self-righteous.
Here's something I'm trying to balance out: Sharing/talking/conversing... vs.... The ego wanting to be seen and heard.
I'll share a specific example. This morning I was standing around (the alternative activity to sitting around), talking to my sister, mom, and cousin (one of the people who I rarely see, since she lives several hours away in another state). My sister and cousin (who's in her 60s by the way, not that that matters, but just to paint the picture), each shared what their first job was. And I had the thought as I stood there listening... I wondered where the line was between the ego "strutting its stuff" and simple sharing.
Listening to my sister and cousin, my ego was all, "I want to share my first job."
Was it my ego wanting to "be heard" or my Spirit wanting to connect? That's what I observed and what I'm pondering now.
I don't have it all figured out, but the base of what I do know is this: Love is the root of the Spirit. If you're talking, sharing, acting in Love, then you're good. If you feel the "need" to say something in order to prove someone wrong, prove yourself right, to get attention... that's the ego.
And the very first step is being aware. Aware of what's going on inside you. Aware of why you want to say or do what you want to say or do.
So I look forward to the next six days. Six days of spending more time with people than I normally do. Six days of more interactions than I'm used to living alone in my house. Six days to notice the difference between my ego wanting to be heard and my Spirit wanting to connect.
I look forward to the week and to seeing what I notice and learn.
An actual picture of the mountain resort I'm staying at. I found this picture on google: