Tending the Fire

by Simon Goland, July 16, 2014

2014-06-28 11.53.26Vacation is a wonderful thing. Especially when it meant spending 10 days in Spain with my beloved. We started in Barcelona for the first half of it, and then took the train to Madrid, where we spent the other half of our time together. And there was also a day trip to the beautiful and ancient city of Segovia, with narrow alleys, castles, old streets and buildings, and sky filled with birds. We walked a lot, ate and drank, saw places, stumbled upon magical little hidden gems (as we both love to not to make too many explicit plans, and would rather meander through the neighbourhoods and alleys, being open to surprises), saw incredible live flamenco performances, experienced the craze of the Summer Equinox in Barcelona (Sant Joan), visited some museums, passed by others, and delighted in the vibrant and life-loving Spanish culture everywhere we went.

Most importantly, though, we got to spend uninterrupted time together.

“Many people think we travel to rush out into crowds of people, but most of us travel to travel within. There is no more quiet and central space than the anonymity of being in a foreign place without ties or obligations. In quiet moments sitting alone in a cafe, looking down on a village from the edge of a cliff, or in suspended peace of a soaring cathedral, we can pause to look back with objectivity and forward with intelligence and hope. Travel can be a series of these small epiphanies. With distance we can see patterns, themes, and questions our life has posed to us, and sometimes, in a faraway place, the answers come.” – Judith Babcock Wylie

We are both self-employed, with multiple projects, clients, meetings, errands, and administrative tasks going on in our lives on a daily basis, tagging on our attention during all hours of the day. Weekends too. Add to it our love for variety and juiciness of life (OK, this might be more me), family, friends, a dog, and it creates very full lives where it becomes challenging to maintain and deepen the connection between us on a regular basis.

These 10 days have been invaluable – magical really – for us. We had the time, focus, and each other’s presence to experience the magic of what we have between us. Moments of depth, of unraveling another layer between us. Moments of joy and fun. Moments of deep vulnerable intimacy, emotional or physical. Moments of silliness and laughter. Moments of emotions and tears. All of it was beautiful, delicious, magical, and real. Much like what falling in love feels like.

And then, the vacation is over, and life is kicking us into its usual pace. Yet, as our vacation was coming to an end, we posed ourselves a question. How do we intentionally focus on the relationship when there are so many other things that pull on our attention? How do we make the “vacation way of being” be one that is with us on a daily basis?

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” – Einstein

The question, perhaps, is not really new. It had been with us before. It just became stronger in light of the immediacy of our experience. We keep talking, exploring, thinking about ideas, akin to being swept away by a beautiful yet fast river, while looking for the peaceful and tranquil beaches along the way. We also welcome your perspectives and experiences.