Having just returned from San Francisco (and the “words-cannot-express-how-amazing” 2011 Yoga Journal Conference), I find that I am mentally still there and not here. While this may be a temporary glitch that can be easily fixed with a half bottle of wine, a few episodes of E! News (will someone please find Giuliana a new stylist?), and my willingness to accept that there are, in fact, 15+ inches of ice-capped snow on the ground, my dazed-and-confused return to the East Coast is definitely not consistent with the advice of some of the most skilled yogis: live in the moment.
No, sadly, I am not living in the moment. Rather I’m stuck in that post-vacation trance that many of us know well. That renewed state of innocence in which all of our senses are suddenly more alert to sights, scents, and sounds. This doesn’t seem so strange when we think about how any vacation momentarily plucks us from our ordinary, routine existence and makes us perceive the newness of our surroundings with awe and intrigue. So…instead of seeing the same highway, the same coworkers, and the same broken coffee machine day after day, we, the “vacationers” are jolted into an extraordinary environment simply because it’s different, no matter how mundane it may be perceived by its locals.
Case in point: during my recent travels, I made a morning trip to the one of the 66 Starbucks in downtown San Francisco last Friday (yes, there are 66!). A British man in line behind me told the barista that he’d like a cappuccino.
“What’s your name?” the barista asks.
“Othello, ” he replies.
“It’s from Shakespeare, my dear.”
Then, looking at me, he says, “I felt like going with Othello today.”
I smiled. This British man, in the most unexpected of places, reminded me that play and creativity are as essential to our daily lives as our morning coffee. Now I’m not recommending that you order a Starbucks latte under the name “Boo Radley” (unless you really want to) but challenge yourself this month to do something slightly impractical or daringly unusual. You may just brighten someone’s day.