It’s been a month, me, my pack and lessons that are best learned on the travelers road. Traveling feels like home somehow. I feel most at home when I’m growing and expanding the definition of myself thereby creating space for versions of me I didn’t even know were possible.
Traveling to faraway lands has taught me to rely, not only on myself, but to receive the help, guidance and support of my fellow humans. In doing so, I close the gap of separation in the “us vs. them” mentality we are taught to have. Deep layers of conditioning fade when you are in a culture who doesn’t care about upward social mobility, who can’t afford a new shiney car, and who share food freely as an offering.
Things are a little more easy going in Mexico
When you travel across imaginary lines, together, piled in one small bus, you are equal with even the chickens who occupy the space.
As soon as I begin to experience the oneness, the dualities become brighter in my awareness. Dualities are the opposites of our reality and they exist in most things. We have the sun & the rain, the sadness to our sheer delight; we have turmoil, & we have peace; We experience silence and we experience sound, and we experience both pain & bliss. Dualities, and the possibilities in between, are the whole symphony of notes that we can sing out.
Yoga can help us transcend duality. Yogic philosophy teaches us to accept that these are the waves of life, knowing we can ride those waves without attachment to the destination, is a beautiful ride. However, it’s not that we wake up one day and say we are a Yogi and poof, transcend the opposites. Humans must experience both to understand success and failure, and then release attachment to either.
There is a middle way, as the Buddah identified, but how to experience a middle, without first experiencing the ends? The Buddah himself didn’t really feel the whole of life, until he experienced suffering for himself. If we only ever experienced blue, we would not know the full range of color in the rainbow of life. there is just you at the center of your universe experiencing reflections of the choices you make.
In my universe, I’m often presented with the opportunity to play with the shadow and the light. Our shadows are the parts of us that we try to ignore. They are our hurts, our reactions, our traumas, and our secrets. We are often taught to hide dark emotions, stuff down sadness and anger to present to the world a more positive demeanor. But there is another way folks.
Shadows are like areas of darkness that reflect the light. We are made from love, but our shadows jump out like furry little demons and say things like: “you can’t make it”, “They don’t love you”, “You’re not good enough”. Blah blah blah. At least my little demons say that to me. But these feelings are a part of me, and that little demon just wants to be heard. So I say back, “I hear you” little furry demon who also just wants to be loved, and I send the shadow parts of me love as well.
Meditation in Chichen Itzá, Mayan Ancient Ruins. Sending Love and Light
A wise friend reminded me recently that even when you love your darkness, It is still love. He was dressed as the devil, and drinking Mezcal from a bowl, but I think thats what we need to do to live more loving and connected lives. (love ourselves fiercely, but feel free to drink Mescal from a bowl). The deeper we stuff so called negative emotions, pretending we are ok all the time, the more surprisingly they surface when you least expect them to or in a completely inopportune time, like starting a new relationship, or a new job, or beginning a new travel.
Love all of yourself.
Our demons, our reactions, our shadows are a part of us. By shaming ourselves for having human emotions we are devaluing a piece of ourselves. I don’t believe that is the most productive way to heal. Its not that we grip on to our heavy egos, or that we get to yell at our friends without any consequences, but we get to choose if we accept ourselves for being human and having human emotions. Sometimes my desires get in the way, I want to push when someone pulls and to pull when the world is pushing. And that’s ok. When I can get out of my own way and see with clarity that my little demons are running the show again, then I can pause and reflect. I can meditate and respond from my heart. I can meditate and allow. I choose to send a loving vibration outward, and also within.
Vulnerability is authentic, and vulnerability is beautiful. Vulnerability is defined as the capacity to which we allow ourselves to be hurt. If we didn’t take risks, or put our authentic selves forward, we wouldn’t know the reward of it all. On the other side of that notion, maybe we would never be hurt either. I’m learning that the hurts are where the growth begins and risky behavior is built into our DNA for a reason.
When I travel, I am like a walking wound. All of my shadows peek out to the surface fairly quickly. This is because travelers rely on people we just met as our main source of companionship, community, and social interaction. We are far away from family & long time friends, and we are challenged to open up, work together, and experience community with strangers turned friends in the blink of an eye, who you are sure to separate from in a few days or weeks at best. You can see how any insecurities can bubble to the surface over & over again. Saying goodbye actually doesn’t get any easier after the 100th time, you just tend to realize it’s not goodbye, its see you in 5; 5 minutes, 5 days, 5 years, 5 lifetimes. You are never alone.
The family, 4 different cultures represented, many colors of the rainbow
I am taught again and again by the kindness of other traveling humans and locals alike, that the world is a good, safe, place for expression of all the colors, all the notes, & all that makes up the human experience. The thing that has always held me back is myself. I have to get out of my own way, and maybe that feels familiar to you too. It is my own distorted perception that I think I must prove myself to be taken care of that I need to shine the light of love on. This is my shadow.
I think with traveling, the universe can feel you on the move. The energy is getting churned up, and the world shows up with more opportunities to practice contentment, non attachment, and other yogic principles. Its easy to feel the peace in an ashram environment when even the mosquitos are soothed by the silence. But when you go wild camping on a beach with sand fleas, they will bite until you are blistered to test how you will react. (I wasn’t the nicest, and I whined a LOT!)
Wild Camping on the Mexican Island of Holbox.
In one month, I’ve had all of the ups and downs. Being held in deep sisterhood, crying over seemingly nothing, wanting to return to the safety of my van, & swimming in the Caribbean sea until my fingers prune from delight. I’ve wanted to give up under the weight of my pack, while longing for the friends I left behind, and dreaming of the friends who left me behind. But in the end, this road is my ashram. This travel road is my sacred, special, place where I get to find myself over and over and where I get to cuddle with my demons, & show them love and light.
In my very first retreat this April, along side life long friend Bethany Brown, we will dive into matters of the heart. We will show ourselves fierce self love and learn to lean into the flow of life. Click here to register
Feel free to reply, shoot me a private message, or comment to reveal a shadow or color of the rainbow you are working on. In essence, we are one big traveling community as we spin through the universe on our blue orb called earth. We have eachother, and although I may be far away physically, I am here for you.