The Resounding Yes and the Firm No: this game has been the beginning of a beautiful practice. It had made me remember that when I was a young child I operated very much in two modes only:
- Neutral, open, observing mode
- “Ooh, I like that” mode
I remember clearly coming out of an art house play at the Bristol Old Vic with my Dad (I was maybe 9?) and hearing people criticise the play. I recall the feeling of astonishment… Why would someone come out of their homes to have the extraordinary experience of watching people doing something crazy, original and unique in a darkened room… only to speaking poorly of their own experience after? It seemed such a waste. I knew even then (maybe having grown up in a tiny hamlet without access to much culture) that what we’d experienced was outrageously out of the usual. Wasn’t that enough? Why impose a view? Why need to drop into some kind of ‘I’m better than the brave wonder I’ve just witnessed’ mode? I guess I was witnessing people’s ego at work, and my fresh young mind could see it for the yucky diminishing joy-sucker that the ego is…. before I myself fell into that judgment mode out of the inertia of mimicry a mere few years later.
But what about a conscious return to that gentle open, observing mode of: watch, watch, watch, oooh I like that, watch, watch, oh heck yes!, watch, watch… I sensed some of that yesterday. G and I are on a Weekend Away. Yes! What bliss. I could feel, as the cares of the working week ebbed away, the clear sense of “Everything is unfolding wonderfully” as we pootled about as tourists in a state of ‘watch watch ooh yes watch watch wow watch watch I like that watch…’
The tourist mode.
Yes! I was in tourist mode! Is that what we want to bring to daily life? It is, isn’t it? No need to weigh up, judge, critique, cast opinion, hedge, impress, jazzhand, be smart, impose one’s self…
The Tourist Mode is most certainly your most ‘allowing’ state. It surely is your ‘receptive’ mode. Because you bring a state of relaxed, open awareness, while leaning into appreciation. The tourist is looking for things to snapshot in a state of appreciation.
I love that. Yes, so true. When we’re tourists we’re in wonderland. Everything is new, and there to delight and invite us.
The same goes for daily life. It is wonderland, there to delight and invite. The opportunity is to see the constant newness in the seemingly familiar.
What do you mean by that?
When you think you know what is at hand, think again. Bring an open perspective. Keep the sense of being a tourist, even in your own home.
By nurturing your sense of wonder. In that theatre when you were a child, you were Alice in Wonderland. The ‘hoighty-toity’ critics were the Queen of Hearts casting judgment (“Off with their heads!”) or even the White Rabbit hastening on through to some ‘other’ more important date or destination.
In daily life it is easy to be focussed on some White Rabbit-esque destination that is simply ‘not where we are’… “I’m late! I’m late, for a very important date!” There is no place or time more important and pressing than right here, right now… That is what we forget in daily life.
It’s almost like you’re saying we should eliminate goals, targets, appointments… How would we grow, or get stuff done, or earn our livings?
Hm, what now?
By resting. Were you to rest in the present as much as you rushed to the important date, you would achieve all you want to achieve.
Controversial, my friends. I’ve tried that…
No you haven’t. Not really. When you stopped working, were you satisfied with your decision? When you admitted you needed rest, did you bask in that rest?
A little bit. I learnt to a little bit.
Excellent. So now it’s time to learn more of that. Your ‘Firm No’ – does it include saying ‘No’ to events which exhaust you?
I thought we were here to go watch watch ooh yes watch watch…
How about: watch watch no watch watch ooh yes watch no thank you…
Does the tourist say no?
If she didn’t she might fall off the pier or the cliff edge. She is not a lemming. She remains discerning.
Aha. So it’s Resounding Yes and Firm No, in Tourist Mode?
Tourist Mode is simply open appreciation of what is. Tourist Mode is looking out for the best, while keeping an eye out for safe boundaries. Tourist Mode is aligning with the most beautiful things as you come to them, and snapshotting yourself right there. Tourist Mode is about sharing the journey with fellow tourists and exchanging tips for best experiences and travel hacks. Tourist Mode is appreciating the wonders of the landscapes, towns and villages that locals might even take for granted (but truth be told, usually don’t). Tourist Mode is going slowly enough to take it all in. Tourist Mode is about pointing out beauty, wonders, astonishing sights, marvels and new understandings. Tourist Mode is about feeling alive and being ‘tuned in, tapped in, turned on’ (as Abraham-Hicks would say) to the moment, to the place, to the opportunity to bask in what is. Tourist Mode is about pacing ourselves so we don’t bust a gut or lose energy for more explorations.
Exploration. That’s such a good word. May I bring a sense of exploration to my days. May I put binoculars round my neck and a magnifying glass in my pocket, each day, whether in new places or the apparently familiar. May I treat each moment as an instance in Wonder Land, for it most surely is. Awaken my eyes, my mind and my heart to the wonders of my daily life.
Your Heart is fully awake to this already.
Then may it teach, guide and lead forward my eyes and mind. May my Heart be the Tour Guide to my days.
Your Heart most surely accompanies you, and invites you on its magical tour, daily.
Then may I get into Tourist Mode and follow the raised umbrella of my Tour Guide Heart more faithfully and ever more attentively each day.
Today I am in Tourist Mode
PS. G reminded me later of the concept of ‘Holiday Consciousness‘ by Colin Wilson. It’s Level 5/7 in the stairway upwards, the point where life becomes self-evidently delightful, life a spring morning… just before we reach the level of life reconciling itself with us…. Lovely.
I’ve had an explore of Colin Wilson and have ordered his book Super Consciousness. It’s on ‘peak experience‘… those levels 5..6..7. I’m interested. Maybe this is my next topic of enquiry after MEDS….