As I write this, I feel peaceful and settled in my spirit. Nothing too wild and grand to share, although my life seems to have no lack of those things. More than anything, I just wanted to share a brief update and a bit of inspiration.
I’ve been living in Mexico with Nancy and Violet since the end of October last year. We’ve settled in a small beach town on the West Coast that we love. Roosters wake us in the mornings and horses still clod through town. Violet has a school that she loves as much as we do, and despite the media coverage of Mexico’s violence, we feel exceptionally safe here. Our intention is to make this our primary home base.
May will mark 5 years from the day I left my “normal” life in the US. Somehow that date feels like it will never lose its significance as a marker in my life. I still remember a friend asking me how long I would be gone, and I remember experiencing a complete inability to answer that question. It felt unknowable.
This summer we are off to Thailand for a training with the Asian Leadership Institute which offers a wonderful facilitated on-line course we have been taking.
I think of it as action-oriented mindfulness for the modern life. I was skeptical at the value I’d receive before starting the course, but have been amazed at the transformation I’ve witnessed in myself and in Nancy. We are simply much happier people because of the work and practices we’ve been doing in this course. It’s not that there are so many new concepts for us in the course, but they provide a structure that really helps us to effectively implement the principles in our lives. And that has made all the difference.
Once I finish a stint of a couple of months in Thailand, I’ll head over to Sweden and eventually back to the US and then Mexico in the Fall.
Nancy’s being a BAMF (that stands for “Bad Ass Mo Fo”) right now as she’s in the middle of a 5 day solo dark retreat – that’s 5 days in a room with no (and I mean NO) light by herself doing meditation and other practices. She’ll follow that up with a few more days of meditation in the light before returning to me (hopefully). To some it sounds like torture, but this ancient practice is usually an experience of deep rest, rejuvenation and insight. I’ve done a three-day dark room retreat and can personally attest to the power of this practice. I’m incredibly inspired to have a partner who is brave enough to do that depth of practice and exploration.
Here are a few photo highlights from our time here in Mexico:
And yet, I don’t want to leave you with the notion that my life has always been some perfect paradise in these past 5 years, because that would just be a lie.
What is this life of living the world over?
I couldn’t have imagined where life would take me or where I’d be now – sitting in a brick-roofed, wood-walled cafe in a small Mexican beach town.
These last years, the highs have been so high and the lows, so low. Most people just see and hear about the good times, the awesome pics of aquamarine ocean views and the exciting adventures – because that’s what we tend to share as world galavanters.
We don’t take pictures of us lying in bed depressed wondering what the hell is going on with our lives or feeling like shit for who-knows-why, and then feeling guilty on top of feeling like shit because we are in “paradise”, aren’t we?
Again and again, Life shows me that paradise is within. Certain external conditions facilitate that experience, but these are relatively simple conditions – a sense of community, enough time to “just be”, enough sleep, healthy food, living in alignment with my sense of purpose.
I’ve come to appreciate the great importance and value of feeling in alignment with my own purpose – the purpose of this form in this life. What is it? Sometimes it feels like the instruction book, the great guide to life, got ripped apart and the pages strewn to the corners of the earth. Sometimes I feel like I’m just scrambling around trying to find another page to understand the story a bit more clearly. Little by little, it seems to be taking shape.
And yet, even though the Great Peace comes when the searching stops, the searching seems to be a part of the process. It’s easy to say, “stop searching”, but the searching has to stop of its own accord, when it’s ready. I think the one piece of advice I’m still trying to heed on a daily basis is to find appreciation in life for the things I don’t like, for the stages that I don’t prefer.
I want clarity, I want to know what’s next, I want to have it all sorted out – that’s just what my personality prefers. But in many areas I haven’t, and the challenge for me is to embrace that unknown, to love the exploration, the taking-shape of it all – and sometimes I just don’t, and then life is hard, even when it doesn’t have to be.
And I’m reminded by Life, “You’re here to love the journey, even when the journey seems unlovable, even when you don’t like the journey, even when you desperately want the journey to be different, completely and radically different. You’re here to love the journey.” And when I don’t love the journey, Life reminds me in so many ways and calls me to come back to loving it. That’s the only state that keeps me open, aligned and inspired – when I can surf that sweet spot, that edge, where awareness and love are not attached to what I like or want, but follow what I am called to do – not what my ego feels I should do, but what I am deeply called and inspired to do.
I find that edge razor thin, and falling off of that edge sucks, but it’s Life’s wake up call. “You are out of alignment. You are off your center. You have overextended yourself. You are heading in the wrong direction.” Just like getting pummeled by a wave when you get out of balance surfing. Nothing to do but get back up and try again, until you just get it and flow with it, and that – that is such a sweet feeling – so clear, so awake, so alive.
May you find your edge of clarity. May you surf it with joy. May you even enjoy falling and getting back up, because this too is part of the process, part of the loving Dance as it finds its way through this miraculous play of consciousness incarnate.