Walt Disney had a vision of a world in which creativity and imagination through story could bring humanity together. I don’t know that WD stated his “vision” in those exact words but as I experienced Disney World for a week that is my take away.
The struggle in every Disney story is the struggle for life. The struggle for survival. Though often outmatched, love, goodness, purity find a way to triumph. Victory is achieved when the hour is darkest. Tried and true storytelling at its best.
You might be thinking, how does this relate to staying mindful and how did it enrich your vacation?
Patience, I am getting there.
Yes, Disney stories are grand themes that are larger than life. The stories are woven into every aspect of the Disney parks. The corporation has turned rides into movie franchises and turned movies into rides.
Each story is about the unseen inner struggle that we all have. For the hero to turn defeat into victory, he or she must experience a deep change of heart. If they are to overcome and be victorious, there must be a fundamental change in how they see themselves and how they see the world. Their attitudes irrevocably altered, their doubts subdued and conquered, they must believe in themselves and the imaginable possibilities. The seed is sown deep in the heroes creative imagination before victory becomes a reality.
I could have very easily missed the blessing.
The temptation to get caught up in negative, disgruntled, complaint oriented, ego-driven thinking was a major temptation. The temperatures and humidity were typical of Central Florida in August. Daily, park temperatures exceeded ninety degrees Fahrenheit. Gauged by the sweat stain on my ball cap and the continual state of dampness of my t-shirts each day, I suspect the humidity almost matched the temperatures each day.
Crowds! CROWDS! CROWDS!
Crowds on buses! Crowds on the monorail! Crowds in boats! Crowds in line for rides! Crowds in lines for shows! Crowds for lines for food. My personal space was constantly encroached. I am a bit of an introvert and LOVE WIDE OPEN SPACES.
So, yes, I was tempted to derail my moments of vacation enjoyment through negativity.
How did I subdue the beast?
The Miracle of Breathing
When I realized that negative thinking dominated my mind, I would send those negative thoughts away to ride the wind of my breath. I would begin focusing on my breathing. It is amazing how simply turning your focus on an autonomic function such as breathing in and out quickly brings you into the present reality and out of your head. It was in that space that my attitude shifted. I repeated the practice often as needed throughout the day.
Leave Work AT WORK
By staying mindful and present, let go of work. YOU ARE ON VACATION. I understand that work-related emergencies happen. Sometimes — to remain employed — you have to respond to that email from your boss. Set aside time to check email periodically, but turn that D@#^ email alert off and relax and enjoy yourself.
Live Each Day
Something I have experienced is that when I realize that my vacation is coming to an end, I feel a letdown. This could happen on Thursday or Friday and I am not leaving until day six. Why does this happen? Because we are projecting into the future.
For some reason — maybe age, I don’t know — I lost track of time. When I realized it was Thursday, the future projector in my mind kicked on and the LETDOWN started to rise. I had two days left. I refused to allow those feelings shipwreck the last two days of my vacation.
In-breath, out-breath, the feelings subsided and I let go of the future and returned to the present.
A New Openness Awakened
Some observations I made while keenly alert in a present state of mind:
Despite the heat, the humidity, and the large crowds, a connectedness existed between the vacationers. I rarely see this level of connection between people in everyday life.
Maybe the common goal of relaxing, the goal of forgetting the usual stressors of life at the gate, and enjoying their experience people were able to relax, be kinder, more patient with one another.
In that short week, I met people from all over the world and the results were the same. Despite language and cultural barriers, their kinder natures had surfaced.
As I observed people, I saw something you don’t see every day. The media usually sensationalizes all of the negative things in the world.
I was awakened to the greater possibilities for our generations and generations to come.Could this have been Walt Disney’s vision?