After finishing our errands in LA yesterday, Seth and I killed some time watching Finding Dory then headed to the Bob Hope USO at LAX. The name had made me imagine the glamour of the golden Hollywood era. Instead when we got there is was more like a massive version of a dormitory common room complete with overstuffed couches and 200 rowdy 18-year-old boys. The women who ran the place were lovely though. They offered us a place to store our bags overnight, overseas calling cards to check in with out folks, and access to a massive buffet before we headed off to bed. We ended up sleeping in a dark “napping” room with 6 wooden recliners and people curled up on the floor in the corners.
One of my biggest fears about this type of travel has always been how draining it is for me to be around other people and away from my own space. I greatly value being able to find sanctuary and recharge When backpacking one doesn’t really have a home base. In the past I had used alcohol, Xanax, weed, whatever, to cope with the anxiety of being in large groups for any great length of time. Even then I would go home feeling exhausted and socially hungover for days. This last year I’ve really leaned into my yoga & meditation practice to find more balance without the numbing effects of these substances but also have tried to honor my sensitivity by not going out as much. This morning I brushed my teeth, got through 5 minutes of meditation and 5 Sun Salutations before the rest of the troops got up. It was enough to shake out the built up stress and physical tension. I’ve set the goal of squeezing in some meditation/yoga everyday while traveling and to maintain my practice of writing down things I’m grateful for in my journal every morning. So far, so good! I’m feeling more and more ready to get on this flight!
We’re all packed. Today is our first official day of travel toward Asia & seeing ELEPHANTS!!! We’re putting Cherrywood (our RV) into storage, dropping Indiana Jones (our dog) at the boarders, and cruising up to LAX from San Diego. Tonight we’ll be staying at the airport USO before getting on our flight to Singapore tomorrow.
There were more than a few hiccups getting to today. There was a lost passport, canceled flights, massive rebooking fees, difficultly finding a new dog sitter and one broken toe. I started to question whether the universe was telling me not to go and whether my wanderlust drove me away from my own intuition. Had I pressed onward at my own peril? Well, I won’t be able to answer that for a few weeks but this morning as Seth and I split a piece of German Chocolate Cake for breakfast (the only thing left to eat in our home), I know in my gut that this is what I’m meant to do. For the last two years I’ve dreamed of, had visions of, set goals about and manifested elephants. I see now that that was just a single point of focus on a much larger journey to grow and experience more of the world. I can’t wait to find out what comes next!
It’s almost swimsuit season and what better time for a complete detox? I’m not suggesting hitting the gym, delving into a juice fast, or sweating off the winter weight in a sauna (those things are good too). What I’m talking about is dropping the stuff that’s really weighing you down–letting go of those things which no longer serve you.
Often times, despite maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle and a nutritious diet we find ourselves bogged down in low energy. Perhaps you’ve experienced feeling fatigue despite having a full night’s sleep, maybe you find there are certain situations that cause you anxiety for seemingly no reason or when feeling stressed you develop flu-like symptoms. This is because of the close link between our physical, mental and energetic bodies.
Similar to the effects on our physical bodies, when we consume mental and spiritual “junk food” (perpetuating gossip, being inauthentic/lying, fixating on past events, maintaining relationships with ‘toxic’ people, indulging in excessive media, etc.) our chakra systems are thrown out of balance. These imbalances and blocks manifest mentally, physically and emotionally. Luckily, just as we are able to detoxify our bodies through diet and exercise, we are able to cleanse our minds and energy fields using mindfulness, meditation, and intentional release.
“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness.” Thich Nhat Hanh
How to Drop Unwanted Weight
Letting go of what no longer serves you can be simple (donating old clothes to Goodwill) or it can be complicated (releasing emotional trauma from childhood). However uncomfortable it may be, it is an important practice to maintain and return to often. Letting go creates space for gifts more inline with our deepest desires to flow into our lives.
- Develop a personal mindfulness practice. Through cultivating intuition and awareness of your own life you will be better able recognize thoughts, energies, patterns and habits that are not serving you. You will also become more in tune with your desires and able to make thoughtful decisions that best serve you. Some examples of these practices are daily meditation, journaling, quiet walks through nature, creating artwork, or yoga. What is most important is establishing routine.
- Adopt an attitude of loving acceptance and forgiveness. Forgiveness is simply giving up the hope that the past could have been different. Holding on to those desires inhibits personal growth and keeps us stuck. Nostalgia and looking forward to possible future opportunities are traps that prevent us from moving forward as well. Accept your intuition that letting go is in the interest of your highest Self.
- Honor what once served you. Letting go of something that was once held dear or that has helped to create your identity is often painful. It is important to hold space for what has passed and honor it so you may heal and grow.
- Trust you live in a supportive universe. The Law of Abundance dictates that there is an unlimited source of everything we need or could ever want. This great abundance is already ours, infinitely available to all of us all the time. When you let go of what is no longer serving you the universe will refill your cup.
I’ve been waiting to start a blog for a while. I thought a good jumping off point would have been right as I quit my painfully mundane job as office-bitch for a hydroponics retailer. I would get all fiery about the injustices of a patriarchal workplace and include lots of clever quips to retroactively prove my over-qualification. That was back in October.
Once it felt like I’d let too much time pass I planned to launch a witty blog about my traumatic move from single-lady beach bungalow to ’92 Tioga motor-home with my new husband. I was busy actually moving so that didn’t happen either. Then the shower exploded. Our toilet revolted. El Nino flooded us. The propane ran out in the middle of a wind storm. It was 90 degrees with no AC. Life continued to to happen.
If I was looking for the perfect time I may have never found it. As Lemony Snicket wrote, “If we wait until we’re ready, we will be waiting the rest of our lives.” There may never be a moment when the stars align, I’m struck with divine inspiration and the dog doesn’t need to be taken out. So this morning, with 5 sacks of laundry, dirty dishes, and sandy floors waiting, I turned on my computer and began to write. What I kept coming back to was the concept of “now.”
Now is our only reality. There is a Buddhist story of a warrior who is taken prisoner. While he lay awake at night wondering what will become of him in the morning, he is reminded of the words of his Zen Master, “Tomorrow is not real. It is an illusion. The only reality is now.” This soothed the warrior and he was able to peacefully drift to sleep.
The power of the present moment has been recognized by religions and philosophers for millennia. Philosophical Presentism, put forth by Saint Augustine of Hippo, supposes that the past and future do not exist and only Now is real. It is the “knife’s edge” between the memory of our past and an imagined future, because we cannot be both in the past and present, only Now can exist. In newer schools of spirituality, both Osho and Eckart Tolle teach time as an illusion and that only the present moment can be perceived. Even Emily Dickinson wrote, “Forever is composed of nows.”
This moment is where we will live forever, so how can I not do the things I want right now? Getting through my first post was a daunting task. Just like the headache of a job that didn’t suit me and the stress of a difficult move, that struggle writing only exists in the past. My nerves about posting are only fear about an imagined future and any worry this isn’t the perfect scenario for publishing will likely be totally unfounded. Now, in our only reality, I am deeply satisfied to have just completed it.