I started this a few days ago, prior to departing Bulgaria:
I realize that I haven’t written much since I’ve been on this journey, and I suppose there are a few reasons for that. One is that since leaving France, I’ve met up with Lidia at a beach resort area in Bulgaria and I find it difficult to write about interpersonal stuff in a public blog, partly because I tend to be more private that way and partly because I’m not always the best at fully speaking my mind in relationship so it becomes that much more difficult to write something publicly that I haven’t perhaps yet said privately.
We are also at a touristy-type resort area and so there really isn’t much adventure/exploration happening here, simply time in the sand, eating at the buffet, avoiding the midday sun/heat by relaxing in the room, and strolling in the evening and perhaps stopping somewhere for a drink and conversation.
The main issue that is coming up for me lately has been around the concepts of acceptance and preferences. There is absolutely no question in my heart that places like this (Golden Sands, Bulgaria) are not really for me. Parasailing behind a power boat, strapping onto some bungee device, or laying under one of 5,000 colored umbrellas for rent just doesn’t do it for me. I need to be in the world, with real people, living real lives, on real buses (not choo choo shuttles), eating at real restaurants. As you can tell I have a very strong preference for how I want to travel and where I want to spend my time, which is exactly the issue I want to write about today, preferences and their effect on our state of happiness and well-being.
Reality is exactly as it is, and it doesn’t matter whether it takes place in a sacred Buddhist temple, on the crowded banks of the Ganges River, or on a Choo Choo shuttle. The only difference really has to do with our preferences. I deeply believe that as humans, our natural state has flavors of joy, ease, happiness and peace, among other things. What tends to pull us away from these states is our lack of acceptance of the situation that we find ourselves in, whatever it may be. Why should I be any less content riding the choo choo than I am relaxing with friends in my own living room. Clearly it is because I prefer the idea of being with friends in a familiar place over the idea of the choo choo. But should our preferences drive our happiness? They certainly move us in the direction of things we like and don’t like. But if we look at these things closely, we see that they are still just preferences. Our state of happiness on a moment to moment basis throughout the day is simply a reflection of the distance between what we are experiencing and what we wish we were experiencing.
So my test while here has been to simply allow being here to be completely fine. It would be foolhardy to have too much resistance to a beach holiday, even if it may be in a non-ideal setting. Indeed it has been fine with me to be here. My state of mind lately has had a strong flavor of accepting what is rather than fighting it. I’m trying to move my life towards a place where I fully accept everything exactly as it is, and do so without judgment. That acceptance includes people and their behaviors as well as places, situations, and life circumstances. The biggest chasm to cross is one of full acceptance of self. I know I have a long way to go to get to these places, but someday perhaps you’ll see me riding the choo choo and loving it with a simple glee.