I’ve been home for 3-months now, but I still feel like I’m traveling. This is a good sign. I’ve landed this ship with ease, and with so much thanks to the incredible amount of support I’ve received from from close friends and family. The bay is a wonderful place to call home.
At this moment I’m sitting on my bed glowing fully with gratefulness, optimism, and love. Grateful for all the opportunity that has come my way, grateful for the wonderful food that nourishes my body, grateful for all the teachers that have shown themselves in my life in their many forms, grateful for friends, community, creation. Optimistic for the potential of the future, that it will all work out, that it’s all okay, no really it is all okay. Love. So much love. A love in my heart that wants to give give give, a love that can only be expressed while staring into the eyes of another at your side, a love for a brother, for a sister, for family, for community, for music, for dance, for the endless and infinite expression of life.
My Daily Mantra:
We are so blessed. We are so loved.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I put my camera down for a few months, though so much has happened. Below are a few photos from my remaining time in Nepal, Indonesia, and more recently Burning Man.
Stillness…everywhere, always. Nowhere to go, nothing that has to be done. Always here. Perfect, brilliant, stillness. Here are the directions: take the pathless path till you find the gateless gate that swings open to reveal what was never hidden and never on the other side.
There’s a blanket of peace that I’ve been finding rest in this past month. A peace that everything is as it should be. A tangible feeling and understanding that this peace, stillness, God, whatever you want to call it, rests in all of us. Is all of us. That there is no search that needs to be carried out, that there is no teacher that needs to be found, that there is nothing that needs to be done. Its right here, this very moment. Can you dig it? “Be still, who is the ‘I’ that Is, in stillness?”
Rumi says “and when you’re looking for God, God is in the look of your eye, in the thought of your looking, and closer to your Self than yourself. No need to go outside.”
And with this feeling I’ve been taking it slow. Deepening the journey inside. Radiating love on the outside. Being grateful…grateful for my food, grateful for the teachers I meet along the way, grateful for the challenges, grateful for ease. The time I’ve spent this past month has been rich and slow. The moments come back in little snapshots; bathing in the ganges in rishikesh, attending satsangs with a beautiful soul who goes by Mooji, living in a pyramid, charras, symbolizing another year of life by shaving my head, feeling close to those who are far away, yoga, mountains, meditation, books…lots of books and chess.
I don’t have many photos to post…not that I’m uninspired, and not that I haven’t been to places I want to share. There’s a rule that I follow with photography: Either be in the moment, or capture the moment…don’t try to do both. So below are a few scattered photos from Rishikesh, Dharamsala, Mcleaod Ganj, Dharamkot (all in India), and lastly Buddhanilkantha, Nepal where I currently am for the next 6-weeks.
“Be like melting snow…wash thyself of thyself”
The simple and astonishing truth about India and Indian people is that when you go there, and deal with them, your heart always guides you more wisely than your head. There’s nowhere else in the world where that’s quite so true.
There are so many things I want to say about India, but it’s too much. To much to put into words really. Anyone who’s spent some time here knows this. India is everything…sometimes everything all at once. When you slow down enough you really begin to experience the magic of this holy land.
My stream of thoughts when I think of India:
Warm chai around every corner which breaks days up into many moments while you sit and sip and sip and sip. The symphony of horns that fill the streets…and not just regular horns, horns that play a crescendo of notes. The hypnotic sounds of puja (prayer) that echo from the temples in the mornings and evenings. Head wobbles. The raw displays of human life. Cows, goats, donkeys, monkeys, cats and dogs all sharing the streets all with mutual respect. The color that fills the walls of every building. The way richness is measured by the well-being in your mind and your heart and not by your pockets. Sitting on the side of the train as the countryside blurs by and the sunsets while you feel an overwhelming sense of freedom and peaceful.
India…you have my heart.
There were Africans, Arabs, Europeans, and Indians. Languages and music changed with every step, and every restaurant spilled a different scent into the boiling air.
The truth about traveling in Thailand, is that it’s quite easy. The tourist’s path is well beaten; You can ‘trek’ in the jungle, hangout with a tiger, ride an elephant, and go white water rafting all for the easy price of 1000 baht! Its almost overwhelming the amount of advertising you see for these adventures. I had almost two-weeks to kill in Chiang Mai while I waited for my Indian visa to process and going on a pre-planned tour wasn’t an experience I wanted.
(…read more below)
So what to do? Browse the internet of course! I came across a video a friend shared on Facebook about a man who walked across China. The video sparked a bit of inspiration in myself; Pai is a small town 127km/80mi N.E. of Chiang Mai and the road to get there winds in out up and down through the mountains…bicycle, Bicycle, BICYCLE! I rented the closest thing to a road bike that I could find, stocked up on starch and protein heavy foods, locked everything but a change of cloths in a locker, and set out the next morning for Pai. Maybe not as challenging as walking across China, but something off the tourist path.
Route 1095 heads all the way to Pai and has relentless climbs and rewarding downhills…that repeat and repeat and repeat. I was almost 2/3 of the way to Pai and headstrong on making it there that evening when a local pulled over and offered me his home for the evening. He gave me directions to his property about 3km away and left with an open invitation. Taking him up on this offer is what made the entire ride to Pai worth it.
Chon is an engineer who has spent the last 3-years building a sustainable living space on his property. His open air communal space and kitchen is all crafted with bamboo from the surrounding forrest, his housing is crafted with clay and he’s in the process of creating drip-irrigation on his garden plot. The property itself is hidden away in the valley and surrounded by a river that’s fed from the mountains. I settled in, took the nicest shower of this trip, and talked with him over a fire for the rest of the evening. I slept next to the fire listening to the rush of the river as I drifted off grateful for the kindness of a stranger. Chon wouldn’t let me pay anything for his hospitality.
Experiences like this are the ones you hope for while traveling. The formula for such an experience is always changing and even if you did have it right, they seem to happen when we’re not looking for or expecting them. Stay open, challenge yourself, ask yourself ‘what do I want’ and follow that. Detach yourself from the results or expectations of an action and anything that comes from it can be seen as a gift. This is a sort of mantra I’m trying to repeat.
“Be melting snow; Wash yourself, of yourself”
All signs point towards India…