Family vacation—two words that have long inspired such terror in me, that when I told my 16-year-old son we’d be driving to the IONS conference on global transformation with my partner Robert and his kids, I was shamed by his bright reply: “Oh boy, my first real vacation!” Had I been ruled by my past that long? I remember childhood vacations, trapped in a car made miserable by my parents’ bitter relationship, with my sister and I drawing furious lines in the back seat, “This is my side, don’t cross it!” Every town was a nest of tension, arguments and disappointment as my mother glared, “You’re supposed to be having fun!”
At least that’s how I remember it. Cancer rules the moon, family, and memory, and now, being over fifty years old, I understand that memory is flimsy and unreliable. Who knows what really happened. It’s the stories we tell ourselves about the past that become as durable as the crab’s shell, as confining as a prison. It’s what I keep recalling about family vacations that makes me terrified.
So now I embark anew, having what I lacked as a child: a hard-won ability to break through self-limiting perceptions with fresh awareness. It’s spiritual work to say: “Oh, that was then, it doesn’t have to be true now!” And it hasn’t been. We’ve traveled three days and over 900 miles, two adults trading off at the wheel, with a sixteen-year-old, a seventeen year-old, and a twelve year old in the back seat. We’ve all melted down at least once, but unlike my traumatic past, where wounds festered and joy dissolved, this time, everyone recovers quickly, forgiving and forgetting, and having fun. What a concept! So at this Cancer New Moon, I have a simple yet wonderful thing to celebrate: a summer vacation with my family. May your Cancer cycle begin just as remarkably.