“Just run around the world, no matter what you do, well the teardrops, they’ll follow you.” - Nick Waterhouse, from the Time’s All Gone album.
Something small in my mind began growing as I hopped on that first plane. Throughout the last three months it has grown larger and yet is still not quite reachable. Right on the tip of my tongue I want to say yes, lessons of self-love, money rationing, or planes, trains and tuk tuks are in the colored truths behind this expanding thing. Those things might contribute to it, as I write this monologue on a bouncing non-AC train in Thailand, but alas, the ever present lesson to be present teaches me that none of those things are “it”, this small growning thing.
I wanted new. New experiences and new cultures. New places to see, new physical & spiritual explorations. I got new in spades until I felt exhausted, and ready for ritual and routine again. Realizing that each day will bring new, whether I am traveling to India, Bali, California, or the yoga studio down the street. Life is the adventure. Breath is the ritual. As I breathe in the fresh air and laugh at myself for running toward the pleasure and pain, I realize there isn’t some big thing just beyond the tip of my brain. It is here in the small things. It’s here when I realize I have been holding my breath, when I realize I am right on the edge of tears or laughter or both. It’s here when the train is 30 minutes late, when I take pictures of ancient massive stone carvings, when I miss that connecting flight, or when I see a great flat-back sea turtle at the Great Barrier Reef. It is here when I watch a perfect sunset on a perfect beach in Thailand, or when I have an hour and a half conversation with a stranger on a train learning their story. It is here when learn to dance west-African style in a nightclub in Nepal, or when I taste delicious Hawaiian food in South Korea. It is this ever-present guiding force that brings my awareness back to my highest self, back to my angels and back to my soul’s purpose. It is sipping the nectar from life.
This trip has been a string of experiences, of days, of moments that are unforgetable, life-altering, extravagant, yet simple. I am here in this world. I am one of billions. I am. My reflection is mirrored in the curious side glances and outright stares of strangers. Those “strangers” are just like me. A resident or an alien in a foreign land. We are all visiting this Earth. What we have in common is so much more than our perceived differences.
Slowly, day by day, I let go of the grief, the overwhelm that the past two years have brought. Knowing most of all that there isn’t some huge truth I need to figure out. Knowing that my truth lies in these experiences, from moment to moment, from breath to breath. I can listen to that truth in the rhythm of the train clacking down the track. I can listen to it in the American blues on my I-tunes, a Korean rap, or Balinese acapella group of singing men. I can hear it in the cadence of 30 different languages in the hostel or the silence of meditation. That truth leads me back into myself, seeing the reflection of what I know in all I see and do. I love this mirror, reflecting me back to me.
This truth stokes a sincere inner joy. It reminds me of the Dali Lama’s spontaneous laughter between wise quotable insights. It reminds me of the women gossiping and telling stories in the temple as they create elaborate offerings made with fruit, baked and dyed sugar and flower sculptures, and coconut palm leaves woven into baskets. Mostly this truth, for me, even more than being seen and heard, it is felt. I feel emotions like the giant waves in Bondi Beach in Sydney that the surfers rode. I feel them like the quiet sleepy watchfulness of the koalas at the zoo. I feel them watching my friend with her daughters, or my other friend with her lover. I feel the joy, the love, the sorrow, the frustration, the pain, the exquisite bliss. All of it reminds me of the deepest kind of love. The love for this God that can never really match her love for us. This deep love is reflected in so many ways and it will always be. The story will always change, with new settings, characters and plots, but the not knowing, the letting go, that’s the root of allowing. I am allowing this love to fill me.
“In the grace of thy heart, in the flow of this crazy crazy life, I meditate on my name, burning inside like a warm, warm flame. Take me in, take me in, to where I end and you begin, to the place where i don’t know exactly where this story will go. In your love, in your love, I can finally breathe, I can finally be me.” - Snatnam Kaur Khalsa from the Light of the Naam album