The Table

Mosaic Tree of Life table

The Table

This is a handmade mosaic table of the Tree of Life we bought while in Jordan last month. It was made at a mosaic center employing disabled artists. A program created by the Queen of Jordan trains disabled adults for years to work with mosaics then places them in artist centers to create stunning pieces by hand and with naturally occurring rock colors.

As soon as we heard this description, I knew we were going to buy something there. Then the kicker, all taxes and shipping back home are covered by the Queen. Wow! I thought, then quickly realized that just meant all of that is built into the prices.

My wife Lori called me over saying she loved this table. I said, great, get it. She asked the price, and in my multi-country, currency-confused, vacation high it didn’t really connect with me. I recall it seemed expensive, but was glad to support this place and international travel always makes me realize how fortunate I am. I saw a wall piece depicting Petra that I liked and said we want that too.

Petra mosaic

Petra mosaic

Our guide came over to help negotiate a lower price, which was still high, but I was strong with my decision since Lori really liked it. It didn’t hit me until later how much it cost. The entire place seemed very excited we were buying the table. They gave Lori extra gifts of some Dead Sea mud products and sent a big box of cookies to our bus as a thank you.

Regret was quickly building as somehow I heard hundreds when it was actually thousands.

For the rest of the trip, I secretly hoped my credit card would reject it, or the table would be lost in shipping. The table became a symbol of my stupid decisions and short-sightedness. For the rest of the trip, I joked about not buying other things by referencing the world’s most expensive table waiting to join us back home. “The table” became an ominous thing bringing financial ruin and doom.

We were home for two weeks before it arrived.

When it did show up, I felt even more like an idiot. Not only was it the most expensive table I’ve ever owned, but I’m also pretty sure its the most expensive piece of furniture we’ve have ever had. Which may seem outlandish or point to the fact that I’m pretty cheap when it comes to home furnishings.

Yesterday, I was home alone looking at it and decided instead of having this bad joke of a decision haunt me; I was going to forever see this table as a symbol of my wealth and abundance. The Tree of Life always brings more. More growth, more fruits, more fuel. I’m more than worthy of a beautiful, handmade, mosaic table – especially if my wife wants it. 🙂

#reframe #royalty #worthy #TheTable


Emotions and Vacations

Everybody loves vacations, right?

Apparently not, since 47% of Americans didn’t take all of their vacation time in 2017 and 21% left more than five available vacation days up for grabs.

Above the Treasury at Petra

Above the iconic Treasury at Petra, Jordan.

My wife and I recently returned home for a two week trip to the Middle East, spending one week in Israel and the next week in Jordan. The rock-carved city of Petra was the main reason behind the trip. But both countries had a lot to offer and warrant repeat visits.

We had a fantastic time full of ancient sites, sacred places, and friendly people. I learned a lot about the religion and politics of the area and found I had many misconceptions about the Middle East from growing up in the US. My time in Israel was probably the most intellectually and politically challenging trip I’ve taken. We talked with Arabs, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Palestinians, Isralies, and Jordanians.

Toward the final days, I noticed moments of sadness that things were winding down.

The sadness was mixed with a feeling that two weeks was long enough and I was ready to return home. I recalled years earlier when it was normal for me to feel depressed with days remaining of a vacation because I so dreaded my return to daily life.

Some people like vacations of sitting on the beach and doing nothing. I prefer active holidays where I do things I don’t usually do, especially when I worked as a cube dweller for corporate America.

When I tried to just lay on the beach in the past, my thoughts would turn negative. I’d focus on all the things I didn’t like instead of relaxing. Then I’d drink to remove those thoughts. That worked in the short term, but if I just wanted to drink, I could do that at home much cheaper, so I quickly stopped those sort of trips too.

I’ve visited such places as Machu Pichu, Stonehenge, and Easter Island. I’ve been white water rafting, rappelling, and hiking in Europe, South America, and Africa. A staycation can be nice, but my favorite vacations are ones when I need another vacation to recover from them.

Floating in the Dead Sea

Floating in the Dead Sea

Even today, I can recall being in the jungles of Belize in 2005, but feeling very down because the following Monday I’d be back at work. It was a time that I thought I hated my job, and sometimes my life. Yet, a few days prior, I was enjoying myself and life.

These realizations helped me learn the power of being present.

When fully present, I felt better. I wondered why was it that I was time traveling in my thinking.

Why was I ignoring the fantastic experiences I was having to jump forward to my return to the mundane?

I decided that since I could be full of energy and joy on a vacation when I was present and focused on what I was doing, that I would do my best to live like I was on vacation. All the time.

I did pretty well at that for a long time. Treating each day like it was new. Looking for things that were unusual, special, and fun. If those weren’t apparent, I find a way to bring those elements to what I was doing.

The Western Wall

The Western Wall, or Wailing Wall, in the Old City of Jerusalem.

So as I noticed some sadness as this trip was winding down, I explored what exactly I was feeling sad about.

I was going to miss the people. We were a group of 13 in Israel and then 16 in Jordan. I liked my instant family of global citizens traveling, sharing, dining together for long days full of once in a lifetime experiences.

Back home, I often work in isolation. I sometimes forget to admit to myself that I actually like people. I was going to miss having a guide take me to amazing new places every day. I was going to miss having every day planned by someone else when I just needed to show up and be marveled. I would miss walking into restaurants and recognizing a dozen faces. There was no responsibility or stress. Just being present and amazed.

Realizing that I was sad over what was ending as opposed to what I was returning to, made me smile.