A weekend away

I went on a trip to Chicago to see my cousin this weekend. She just had a baby boy 3 months ago. The last time I ventured out there was for her wedding, which was three years ago, so it was great to see her and be back in Illinois again. Seeing her as a mother was really cool.

Saturday we went to brunch in the city then walked around Millennium Park. Got to see the Bean in person for the first time; a new landmark in Chicago that was built four years ago.

The highlight of my trip were the evenings at the house; Erin and I chatting with Cal passed out on her chest. I missed feeling that special connection that we have with each other. Since I am an only child (with only a step-brother and sister) and my dad and that side of the family are no longer in contact with me, it’s good to feel that bond with a blood relative. I have that with my cousin. We kind of look alike, she finishes my sentences…it’s great! Although my visit was short I got to do all of the things that were on my list of things to do; meet the baby, tour the city, and eat sweet corn! Check, check and check!

I got home on Monday in need of some down time, so I took myself to a movie and saw “Eat. Pray. Love.” I left the theater feeling inspired. Oh how I often wish I were able to go on a spiritual journey like that. It reminded me of the quote on my calendar for the month of August that reads’ “Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.” (-Denis Waitley)

So I’m wondering if it’s possible to go on a spiritual sabbatical without actually going anywhere. Even though I would so much love to drop what I’m doing and hop on a plane, I sure as hell can’t afford to travel to a handful of third world countries. That would also mean that I would have to quit my job and possibly sell off all of my belongings. Some would say that’s part of the journey, but I have a feeling it would cause added stress. If I can take the advice of the quote on my calendar, then I don’t need to go anywhere to find true happiness. I just need a few lessons on how to find it within me.

As I set here at my desk at work, listening to the soundtrack of “Eat. Pray. Love”, a list begins to formulate in my mind. If I cannot physically go to these locations that are considered for spiritual healing, I can still learn about them. I can still plan out my own spiritual journey by doing things on this list:

  • Read books and watch videos about other cultures. Discover why their religious and spiritual rituals are so sacred and important to those people.
  • Meet people that also appreciate and practice these cultures.
  • Take a mediation class
  • Sign up for yoga or other forms of spiritual exercise
  • Cook meals from these other cultures
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