I am in paradise this week. Pristine beaches – ones where you can get to the balmy 87-degree ocean water without having to step over bodies. Spanish moss hangs off the trees, bringing just enough eeriness to remind yourself that you are not home. Add to that not needing an alarm clock or make-up or even a watch. Life seems just about perfect.

And, then, as it always does, life reminds me that it is life. It ain’t perfect. To this island of heaven, we bring ourselves. The whole damn lot of who we are gets packed in the suitcase. Our feelings, issues, challenges and triggers. They didn’t get left at home.

When my kids were younger, I used to say that we were taking a family trip rather than a vacation. Because the reality was that no one was vacationing. Yes, there might be a better view out the window but we were still getting up at 5 AM. Kids were still throwing tantrums. Dinner had to be made and dishes cleaned. There is no break from the work of parenting.

And yet, now my kids are older. They can put themselves to bed and pour their own cereal. They can even self-entertain. We really should be able to take a real vacation. Right?

Nope. We don’t even get that. There is no break from the life of emotions and relationships. Because no one takes a vacation from themselves. The unconscious does no click an “off” button because you have driven eight-hours south. All of who we are shows up. And, sometimes even more so given that we don’t have the routines and known conveniences of our daily home life as a distraction.

Don’t get me wrong. I love being in paradise. I am saddening as the departure bell will ring in a few days. But, I am reminded that life never goes as it is “supposed” to go. We are stuck. Trapped in ourselves. Taking all of us wherever we go. Having a real-life experience, even when the sun is setting on our sanded toes.