Amid the cacophony of everyday life, it's not always easy to hear the inner voice that can guide you to the right vacation for right now. Use this meditation from psychologist Stephen Cope to tune in.
Find a quiet place where you won't be distracted or interrupted. Sit comfortably with your journal and favorite writing implement nearby.
Now, close your eyes. Take a deep breath and let it out with an audible sigh. Just sit and follow your breath for a while. Relax your face and your belly. When you're ready, pose this question silently to yourself: "What is my soul longing for?"
Don't think too hard about the response. Your unconscious will respond intuitively. If an image comes up, move into it so that you can see it in more detail, like tuning up a fuzzy TV screen. If a feeling arises, move into that more closely.
When you're ready, pick up your journal and begin to write spontaneously. Again, no need to think too hard about it. Just let the words and images flow. When the words stop, put your journal down and close your eyes again. Reconnect with your breath.
When you're ready, pose a second question: "Could I create a vacation that would meet some of the needs of this longing? What if I had an entire week, or two weeks, to respond to this inner voice? What would I do?"
Again, allow images to come, and thoughts, and words, and fragments of visions. Don't censor it—it's all important information from the Self.
When you're ready, pick up your journal and write. No need to write in whole sentences, and don't worry about making it practical. Honor the voice of the unconscious.
Over the coming days, allow yourself to return repeatedly to this inquiry. Let the questions live in your unconscious. But gradually begin to bring in the practical, planning side of your mind. Ask, "How could I really do this?" Map out several scenarios. Match them against considerations like cost, time, family obligations. What feels right? What feels do-able?
Finally, make a commitment to one of the more workable plans. As you develop it, keep referring back to your original question ("What is my soul longing for?") and your original intention. If your intention has been clear, your vacation will reconnect you with disowned, disavowed, or previously unrecognized aspects of your Self. It will feel like coming home.