The Holiday Struggle

slow down, relax, take it easy

Have you ever been in a situation where you’re on holidays yet you struggle to enjoy it? Holly molly, I can vouch that the struggle is real.

For months I’ve been looking forward to my holidays. A bunch of holiday plans were made while I was counting the day until it comes. Going to places I’ve never been and have always wanted to go but always got no time, trying new baking recipes that I’ve never had the chance to get around, doing more yoga and meditation, write more, and catching up with friends were a few to name.

But they are more likely to be remained plans.

As soon as I got my holiday, it feels as if my body finally realised that I’m on holiday so it loosens up and stops the supply of energy that has kept me going for so long. It’s telling me to do nothing and just enjoy it.

Now, this is where the struggle gets real. Having been always working, I struggle with doing nothing. It’s been work, work and work, and I’m also back on study, the concept of ‘Doing Nothing’ is completely foreign. It’s basically an alien to me. Up until last week, I have always had something to do but now I don’t have to do it because I’m on a friggin holiday!

So I ask myself, why am I struggling with doing nothing and unable to enjoy my holiday?

To answer that question, I trace it back long to my childhood. I came from a working-middle-class Asian family. We were not awfully poor but my parents had to work extra hard to put food on the table and send us kids to school. And as the oldest child, by law I have to help my parents with taking care of my younger brothers and do chores. Simply put, there is no such thing as doing nothing when I was growing up. Having my bum sit on a couch in an afternoon is simply an act of laziness.

Then growing up, having the mindset of hardworking planted in my mind and with the assertion from the society, sadly I’ve become more familiar with the concept of ‘Do More’. This concept is not exactly bad, really. It has helped me achieving goals and enabled me to show how far I can reach. And I’m proud of what I’ve achieved, to say the least. What’s not good about it is, it makes me keep pushing myself harder and harder and harder until it’s too late to realise that I’m flushing myself down into the toilet.

In addition to all that, in my head I keep saying “I should be doing something to enjoy my holidays.” It’s a real struggle when your body can’t keep up with your mind. As a result, here I am, two and a half days into my holiday and instead of feeling relaxed, I’m juggling with what-should-I-do thought.

I did manage to do a couple things I like however, such as repotting the baby succulents and started on the one-thousand pieces puzzle my partner bought for me. And on the night of the third day, I decided to attend a Buddhist teaching at Tara Institute. It has been on my to-do list for so long but it’s always been pushed aside for ‘more urgent commitments’.

Knowing how my relationship with the Universe is, of course I was drawn to attend last tonight’s teaching. When Geshe Doga started with asking everyone to relax the body in order to enable to enjoy life, I knew why I had to be there.

In short, the one-hour teaching was about the important relationship between the mind and the body. When your mind is as busy as Times Square in Christmas Eve, you can never relax your body. With busy mind comes all sorts of negative emotion and if we allow them to override our mind, we tend to forget everything positive about ourselves and everyone surround us. And it’s making us to beat ourselves. As a result, we keep pushing the limit and do more until it eventually takes our physical body.

With that in mind, I’ve learned to take the affirmation “I am enough” by heart now. It’s my holly mantra for the time being. Hopefully, this will help me to be more relaxed and enjoy my holidays. I mean, I have the privilege to take some time off and here I am, complaining. (First world problem, indeed.)

I may or may not continue with my holiday plans but I know for sure there is only one thing I want: To just be.

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