Skip to content

Holiday Vibes – That is GOOD!

January 25, 2017

img_2549Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer” – Anonymous

Summary of this week’s Torah Parsha (Portion) Va’eira from

G‑d reveals Himself to Moses. Employing the “four expressions of redemption,” He promises to take out the Children of Israel from Egypt, deliver them from their enslavement, redeem them, and acquire them as His own chosen people at Mount Sinai; He will then bring them to the land He promised to the Patriarchs as their eternal heritage.

Moses and Aaron repeatedly come before Pharaoh to demand in the name of G‑d, “Let My people go, so that they may serve Me in the wilderness.” Pharaoh repeatedly refuses. Aaron’s staff turns into a snake and swallows the magic sticks of the Egyptian sorcerers. G‑d then sends a series of plagues upon the Egyptians.

The waters of the Nile turn to blood; swarms of frogs overrun the land; lice infest all men and beasts. Hordes of wild animals invade the cities; a pestilence kills the domestic animals; painful boils afflict the Egyptians. For the seventh plague, fire and ice combine to descend from the skies as a devastating hail. Still, “the heart of Pharaoh was hardened and he would not let the children of Israel go, as G‑d had said to Moses.

“It’s no coincidence that the word ‘holiday’ suggests a holy day, or that the longest book in the Torah concerns the Sabbath. If you wish to advance in any sphere, the best way is to take a retreat.” – Pico Iyer[i]

I have just returned from a family holiday with my parents and family. My holiday has enabled me to reflect on life in general. In last week’s Parsha Shemos, it says “A new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Yosef” The Rabbi learn that the Jews living in Egypt began to integrate into Egyptian society. Historically, attempting to emulate other nations and integrate into their cultures has not improved our relations with our host nations, on the contrary, it has caused a backlash of catastrophic consequences. This may be true, but there are always lessons that we can learn from other cultures and our experiences. I Will try share some of my thoughts:

  • Patience – My family know that I am not always the most patient person, which is not the best character trait, but it is a trait I am constantly trying to improve. While in Bali I went for a daily run, the sidewalks are not great, so I ran on the roads amongst the cars, motorcycles and busses. (not sure if I would bike ride?) Loren thought I was crazy, but I kept commenting that people did not hoot and get impatient. I was just another ‘vehicle’ on the road and felt totally relaxed. Loren was also convinced that people entering the traffic had the right of way! Yip this would never go down in Melbourne. There is a lesson in the patience of the drivers and the people in general. To end I bought a RELAX t-shirt! I think this is a reminder tip, to relax and be more patient!
  • Smoking – Throughout the holiday we were so surprised how many westerners were smoking. My kids were having an ice cream and there were some guys smoking that my Dad was talking to. Not sure how smoking came up in conversation, but these Australians mentioned that they were making the most of being allowed to smoke in public places. Every morning when I went out for a run there was a guy sitting on his balcony in our resort smoking – The questions I am asking – Why???
  • Never too old – As a family we were always amazed by my late Grandmother’s enthusiasm for life and how she inspired us. On this holiday, I realised that it runs in the family. My Mother, Granny Tof was always game to do whatever was on offer from swimming under a waterfall, to daily walks & hikes and to climbing rocks to get to a beach for a swim (I stopped her from swimming as I said it was dangerous). She never wanted to miss out on an opportunity to explore! (maybe it was FOMO) In a note from Loren to my parents, Loren said “…Your energy and willingness to engage in every opportunity is an example that teaches us and our children more than any school can teach….”
  • Reading – One of my holiday highlights is reading. I love to read, but normally I don’t have or make the time to read enough “Reading (learning) is the ultimate meta-skill and can be traded for anything else.” (from “Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers” by Timothy Ferriss). On this holiday, I read two books in which the authors questioned their faith. (Elie Wiesel in “Night” and “The May Beetles: My First Twenty Years” in which the author Baba Schwartz talks of her husband and her own faith) I cannot comprehend what life must have been like during this period, but it was very interesting to read and get an understanding of their feelings. For me it was interesting to talk to the Hindu Balinese about their faith, they all have a very strong connection to their faith, which is always tested. The fundamental principle underlying Hinduism is that there is order in the cosmos, known as dharma. There is also a disordering force, adharma. Hindus seek balance and harmony between these two forces of ‘good’ and ‘evil’, ‘yin’ and ‘yang’ or ‘black’ and ‘white’.
  • img_2686Family – We all have busy lives which has an impact on the time that we can spend with our children and spouses. Holidays without doubt give us more time to spend with our family. I have often read about people who have said that they have tried to individually do something with each kid on a holiday which I thought is a great idea. I took Michaela for an ice cream one night and had a good heart to heart chat and I took Sam for a drink at a stadium bar that he wanted to go to (for the record he had a coke) overlooking the hustle and bustle of Seminyak. It is always good to spend time with Loren away from the household chores and we love being together. I noticed a brilliant quote[ii] from Andre Agassi talking about his relationship with Stephi Graf “Our relationship works because we constantly make an effort, we communicate and prioritise each other in our lives”
  • ‘Special’ – In an article on Optimism by Rabbi Berel Wein he comments “Part of the joy of seeing generations in one’s own family is the sense of optimism that there is continuity…” Loren and I decided to invite my parents to join us on our holiday. We thought it would give them the opportunity to spend more time with the kids and us and to go to Bali. “…We’ve loved Bali but especially sharing this special experience with you all...” – Granny Tof. Speaking to many of our Balinese drivers, waiters and other people that I had met, I sensed that the Balinese people have a very strong link to their family and that this was an important part of their lives. From what I understood often the youngest son once married would live with his parents to help them as they get older!
  • Yoga – I have never tried Yoga as I think that I am too inflexible and uncoordinated, but decided to join Michaela and Loren for a few sessions at our resort. I honestly enjoyed these classes. They were beginner classes, but it is a start. There is so much that can be learnt and achieved doing Yoga. Listening to a Podcast this week with Guru Singh[iii] he made the following statement that applies to Yoga and to life in general “Yoga is not an Olympic contest—we’re not here to prove what we can do, we’re here to improve what we can’t do.”
  • Holiday exercise – As I mentioned on a social media post that I love my holiday runs. img_3086They give me an opportunity to tour, exercise in different conditions and to search out cafe etc. But one highlight was on a run, I passed these magnificent rice fields. I stood there staring in utter amazement. I never carry my iPhone, so could not take a pic, but I did try stop a few motorcycles to ask them to take a pic for me without success. These moments allow you to reflect! Another quote from Guru Singh “These are always options — like beauty being in your eyes when you see it — like all the more conscious sensations in your being as you exercise your freedom of choice. …. make these conscious choices to find the beauty within each encounter; that you discover the options that maintain your power, and enjoy the perspectives of your moments . . . appreciate what’s really going on.”
  • Get the look – One of the highlights for me on this holiday was seeing some of the architecture, store design & fit outs and the homeware stores. I was totally blown away!
  • Breakfast – I would say that most Balinese are not over weight. This may change with people swapping home cooking and the local ‘Warrung‘ for other fast food chains and for swapping the more natural & healthy red rice for the cheaper & higher GI white rice. Why breakfast? Loren and I were totally amazed on how much food some people put on their plates – the bigger the person the more food on their plates. I know that holidays may be a time to let loose, but your health needs to be something you always think about! – “A Good Diet Matters More Than Bad Genes” by @SHBergquistMD[iv]
  • Pigs – in Bali the national food is suckled pork, but most people cannot afford much meat and this is something of a treat. Not sure why I mentioned this? One of the highlights of my trip was seeing how friendly the Balinese people are. Balinese unlike their Indonesian neighbours are Hindu’s, and trying to learn about their religion was very interesting. Arriving back in Melbourne and waiting for a bus, we were 1st in line, but others sneaked their luggage on the bus so my family had to catch the bus without me and I had to catch the next bus – WTF, people are pigs! Having just read Tim Ferriss’s book “Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers”, one of the takeaways was that when things go wrong you should just say “GOOD”. This he learnt from a Navy SEAL, Jocko Willink. Jocko, when asked how do he deals with setbacks, failures, delays, defeat, or other disasters? He said “I actually have a fairly simple way of dealing with these situations. There is one word to deal with all those situations, and that is: “”” He goes on to say that when things are going bad, there is always some GOOD that will come from it, so no need to get frustrated. Take this situation and turn it into something GOOD and go forward.

On the last day, I noticed a grown lady who was covered in henna tattoos, had her hair img_2867braided and was wearing the compulsory Bintang t-shirt and I commented to Loren that she must be re-living a childhood fantasy. Over the holidays I did not shave much, as I guess I was lazy and I dropped a blade from my electric razor down the drain!  In an article[v] by Matt Holden[vi] that I read on my return, Matt said “Maybe a holiday beard is the Dad equivalent of getting your hair braided in Bali: it looks great on the beach in Seminyak, but you feel silly about five minutes after you clear customs…” Somethings may look silly on your return, but there are lessons, thoughts and ideas that can be learnt from your holiday experiences. Remembering to say GOOD on my return with the bus mess-up, reminded me of the lessons learnt, to let those “holiday vibes” continue, to be more patient and to just RELAX!

To end a thought from the Guru Singh Podcast[vii]. Guru Singh was questioning his 82-year-old teacher while taking their daily hike on how the old teacher could do the hike so quickly. The teacher answered “When I walk the mountain, all I do is walk the mountain, when you walk the mountain, that is only part of what you do.” I think that with focus and determination we can do anything, but on a holiday, we need to slow down, focus on our family, the beauty, the sites, the atmosphere, the experiences, other cultures and on relaxing. That is GOOD!




[iv] Dr. Sharon Bergquist – Emory physician, researcher, speaker specializing in #lifestylemedicine and #healthyaging; inspiration, tools, resources for increasing healthy years of life





From → Uncategorized

One Comment
  1. Mom permalink

    Great blog Ian – having shared this holiday with you identified with so many of your feelings and thoughts. Well done1

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: