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The Joy of Boredom

by Todd Pequeen
I have lived out of a camper van for months at a time.  I sincerely hope to again have my bed, kitchen, and living area in five meters of space.  There is something very liberating about having everything one needs in a small area with the ability to be able to hit the road. Upon my return to Manuel Antonio my house, car, and possessions weighed me down.  I don’t mean they bummed me out, I am thankful for the things I have.  Rather, I feel my time spent dealing with everything, organizing stuff, requires time away from something I grew fond of while on the road…boredom.  Amazing boredom.  I mean exactly that, boredom became a comfort and with luck, will be a friend for life that I can get to know more.

Sitting and cutting through my thoughts was as special as the wildlife I saw, the experiences I had, and the people I met.  I’ve done this before in a way, but I always used breathing or the physical body as a focus, a center.  As a life long distance runner I’ve spent hours jogging which is gratifying, to others it is pure hell.  I’ve learned that the meditation or the distance running were just things I somehow needed to hold onto.  I was “here” but trying to concentrate on something “there”.  That, it seems to me now, is goal orientated.  With goals comes journey’s.  To have no goals, no journeys, no focus on awakening or transcending, I find to be very calming.  Simply to be mindful of what is happening was different than how I behaved in the past.  Nothing was happening, it was absolutely boring.  I didn’t do anything at times and had nothing to e-mail my friends about, or to talk about when I skyped with family.  My journal even sat latent.  My previous expectations (because of money matters, weather, and the length of the journey) were challenged and forced me into days of sitting in the van.  That, I am thankful for!  It seems to me now that my patience and the finite space created a “cooling down” of my previous self.  Being removed from my normal routine, and having boredom mixed with repetition, I found a new sense of self.  In no way was it militant or rigid, like arriving at a monastery in Asia would be.  It happened as an afterthought, and until writing about it now I would have had a hard time discussing the process.  How beautiful, and fortunate, to have arrived at this point with such little effort.

I get asked over and over by visitors every week, particularly during my massage practice, what should they do while they are here.  In the past I would jokingly tell them simply to book another massage!  This year I will have a new answer for them.  Try to find boredom.  Sit on one of our beautiful beaches, find a quiet spot at the pool, and do nothing.  Put the book down and turn the music off, don’t worry about where the next meal will be.  It shouldn’t matter what is happening next.  Seek out boredom like it IS the reason for coming here, because I bet your life at home rarely can have this activity.  I don’t believe one has to be in a van for two months to benefit from this under appreciated action, but I do know it can produce surprising results.  I remember complaining to my mother as a child, “I’m bored, there is nothing to do.”  I am elated to have found a new hobby and will never be bored again.

Todd Pequeen is a Graduate of the N.Y. Institute of Massage and a pioneer of the spa industry here in Manuel Antonio since 2000.  He works independently at his home studio or at your location and can be reached at 8830-7727.

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