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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Luxurious Presence

 A Luxurious Presence
When we planned a weekend away together, we were seeking to find a place where we could escape from the business of our day-to-day lives. We needed to go to a place that would allow us to put things back into proper perspective, focus on our lives as a couple and to examine our priorities.
     After we checked in, our first interaction with another guest was our encounter with the man and his fancy car in the circular driveway in front of the Mansion. He was blocking the narrow driveway, car parked, door wide opened. We could have easily continued along, if only he would have closed the door to his car.
The concierge ran up to our car window with a sense of urgency and a hint of authority uttering that was something wrong with the hydraulics system of the car. We quietly sat in our car, observing the man with his broken down, door wide opened Jaguar.
My husband is a skilled auto technician with a good heart who has worked on the finest of cars. I knew that my husband was fully present in our quest to create space where we could focus on our lives together when he chose not to engage in the stranger's situation or try to rescue him.
Several minutes passed before the car owner approached us with an apology. He explained that the car was inoperable and that he could not close his door, as his hands had gotten dirty so he could not touch his car door to close it to allow us to get by.
The man with the broken down Jaguar's reality was clear to us, the cleanliness of his car door should take priority over our ability to exit the driveway at this time.
My husband's reaction was calm. He went to his toolbox in the back of our car, pulled out a clean rag, handed it to the man and suggested that it could be used to close the door so that we could be on our way. The man seemed a bit hesitant to accept such a simple solution to what seemed to be a very difficult situation for him, but he accepted the rag, closed his door and watched with a rather puzzled look on his face as we drove away.
We arrived at the building where we would stay for night and agreed to head out for a walk and some lunch after dropping off our bags. Our room was on the lower level of the building. It was well appointed with amenities, spacious and bit dark as it lacked the capacity to allow natural light to come in.
We noticed the note card on the bed almost immediately. It said that the resort as environmentally conscience and would only wash sheets every other day, unless otherwise requested, in an effort to conserve water.
We both agreed that we were happy to be in such and environmentally conscience place, as conservation was something we both are compassionate about.
We held hands as we walked and discussed the lessons of Eckhart Tolle that we had engaged in earlier as we set out to explore the place of luxury.
We checked out the spa, to see what it offered as a means of "getting away from it all." It was a busy place, filled with people dressed in fancy white bathrobes and black plastic slippers where fresh towels abound. "So this is what luxury looks like", I found myself thinking. I refilled my reusable water bottle while were there and we were on our way.
After observing the spa, we found an outside café that seemed like a great spot to stop for some lunch. While we waited for our salads, we talked about how we were both surprised that the same facility which washed sheets every other day rather than every day in an effort to be environmentally conscience, did not have a place to recycle all those plastic cups in the spa.
As we looked out over the golf course, we wondered if they kept the greens looking so lovely without the use of chemicals. Our shared effort to live with as little impact to our planet as possible was the topic of conversation during our lunch together.
We examined the options available in order to make the best choice possible with regards to the enormous amounts of left over salad on our plates when we were done eating. Our waitress explained that people complained if large quantities of food were not served. She also explained that almost no one finishes those large quantities.
We asked if they composted. We found out they do not. We discussed how using the restaurant's disposable container to take the leftovers with us would create additional waste beyond what we already were looking at. We resolved to not take the leftovers and to bring our own reusable container from now on when we go out to eat.
We made the most of the rest of our trip to the luxury spa. We used their facilities, dined at their restaurants and did our best to hold true to our own beliefs along the way. We learned that one man's luxury differs greatly from another's. The amenities at the spa that were placed there for our comfort in the first place, were the same things that made us uncomfortable. We do not like to support, create or contribute to avoidable waste. We did not give careful thought to what we were doing when we arranged to come to the luxury resort. We focused only on finding a place that we could rest comfortably and be together. When we came across the luxury spa's website, it seemed perfect at the time.
Would we go back to the luxury spa? Absolutely not, but not because they did not provide everything they promised. We will not go back because when we slowed down to think about it, if we were really present when we sought to find the perfect "getaway" spot, we would have recognized that the luxury spa was not a place we would want to support. This was a place that would put any environmentally conscience person outside of their comfort zone, us included.
We did however get exactly what were seeking in the first place. What we sought, we did not find by the golf course, in a fancy white robe or even inside the resort's swanky castle. What we got, was our return to presence, something we possessed all along and had lost sight of. We learned from our experience at the resort and left with a new appreciation for what comfort and luxury really mean to us.
Most importantly we will remember that the only place we will ever need to go to experience what we sought in the first place, is within....
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