10/04/2013 12:40 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Having a Hard Time Taking Time Off? Learn From Mindy the Monk Seal


Owning a business is very rewarding as far as time flexibility and personal fulfillment but it can also create the need of always having to work. Many entrepreneurs struggle with not being able to relax -- the there's always something to do feeling has such a strong impact on business owners that pure relaxation is often too difficult to achieve.

Starting the day with a workout or taking the time to have breakfast may seem like a part of the day for many but business owners will quickly convert these activities into "the time they could be working instead." Lunches are eaten at the desks, vacation days are left unused -- all that because of the guilt of taking time off and the scolding voice in our heads. The guilt of taking time off is especially present in entrepreneurs in the early stages of their careers. As time goes by, they usually get the wake up call either from their significant others or from their own bodies, demanding relaxation.

Last weekend I saw Mindy the Monk Seal arriving on Kaimana beach and falling asleep just minutes after. She slept for hours moving only to adjust her position depending on the shade. As the day progressed, the ocean moved closer to Mindy and the waves started gently touching her. At first, she was moving away to stay dry but then she just let the ocean take her. She ended up going for a swim but only by the shore taking advantage of the breaking waves, which were moving her slowly in the water. She then got back on the beach and fell back asleep. Watching Mindy the Monk Seal on Kaimana beach this past weekend made me think of how easy it was for this cute animal to just listen to her body and respond naturally to her needs. I truly doubt she was laying there and enjoying the sun but thinking about what she should have been rather doing. She just let herself go, being in the present.

The being in the present and enjoyment is something that many of us strive for. We all have experienced the feeling of samsara, which according to Buddhism is the feeling of discomfort. Samsara is the discomfort of longing for what we don't have. However; achieving something we have wanted doesn't make the discomfort go away - we're already thinking of something new that could entertain us. Samsara is the opposite of going with the flow and being happy about it, samsara is the opposite of Mindy the Monk Seal's lifestyle.

Watching Mindy the Monk Seal made me think that once in a while we should all just throw ourselves into our favorite relaxing activity with no time limitations or rules. Let's let the waves take us and let's enjoy the blissful ride of pure relaxation. Our minds and bodies will thank us.