April 21, 1998

No Reservations

NO VACANCY is not a sign that I like to see. Nor do I like to hear some customer service representative tell me that there are no rooms available on my chosen night. There are no rooms at the inn.

I got what I deserved. My wife and I had been planning a long weekend vacation for a couple of months. I should rephrase that. We were planning to take a vacation, but we were not engaged in planning it. That is because I was in charge of planning.

Planning has not been in my lexicon lately. I have been in a blue funk and the only planning I have been doing is choosing which store to go to in the next hour to pick up some sugary treat. No lists were created. No appointments were set up. I was living in the moment, but not as that phrase is usually used. I was in the moment but not present. I was stuck in the past and the future and unable to get off the mark.

I tried to make reservations at our favorite hotel in Newport, Rhode Island, but they were booked for a conference. So I decided to put off any further decision. We would wait to see the weather forecast just before it was time to go, and then we would decide whether to go north or south.

We went south, and so did most of the other families from Massachusetts, since it was school vacation week. We went to Newport but all of the hotels and inns were full. We tried Jamestown, across the bridge, but only one musty old place was open and I did not want to die during the night from a mold attack.

We headed further south, in the rain. Oh yes, it was raining hard. We were checking places and making phone calls, all in the rain. We finally landed at a small place in Mystic, Connecticut. The place was fine but boring and we were cranky.

The next day we tried to find another place, but the bigger hotels in Mystic were all booked. We headed north and Foxwoods Casino was also full. We headed further north, figuring we could eventually just go home, and we found an inn in Westerley, Rhode Island. Again, it was okay but boring, except for the smoke alarm above the bed which went off in the middle of the night.

The conference at our favorite hotel in Newport finally ended and we moved in for the last night of our vacation. All of our favorite things were there or close by. It was grand.

So what did I learn from all of this? Do not go places without reservations. That is the easy part. But I also learned something about expectations. I was unable to enjoy the other places which I visited, because they were not what I had planned. A lot of other people had visited those same places by choice. Why could I not enjoy them?

When I have expectations, any detour will not work because I shut down to the possibilities of life. I have decided exactly how life should go. I want to be in control. Life is still going on around me but I am too locked in to one view to notice all of the other views around me.

I need to live life with no reservations. I am not in control. I am not in charge. The offerings of a single day are beyond comprehension and belief. I need to receive from the world and just be part of it. Otherwise, I will be forever locked inside the small and boring rooms created by my mind.

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