What I've learned from sheltering in place.
1. I love silk painting!
2. I am able to focus much easier without all the pressure of social activities.
3. Less is more
4. I love my own company
5. Turns out, I'm an introvert after all!
It’s very hot here today in Thailand, and since my scrapes and bruises are still healing, snorkeling or going to the pool is not an option. I need to let my wounds dry out and heal. So, I decided to lay low and do some introspection.
One of the reasons I came to Thailand was to take a deep dive into how to shift my career from corporate trainer into something more meaningful.
That’s why I’ve been studying hypnotherapy. I see it as a powerful tool that can help people move through deep-seated traumas, get better sleep, reduce stress, and much more. But, the idea of being my own boss has brought up a lot of fears.
I struggle with being self-motivated. My corporate career has been mostly “reactive”; I’ve always worked for someone else who sets the goals and I simply implement. There’s always been someone “telling me what to do” or at least providing the overall direction. Being my own boss brings up fear of failure and feelings of inadequacy, so every time I come close to diving in, I get scared and go back to what’s familiar.
Here's proof that I am a failure!
I had a taste of being my own boss when I had my art studio, but it was never financially successful. I have proven to myself that I am unable to be a successful entrepreneur! See, I told you...I’m a big fat failure at being a business owner.
So, I keep going back to my comfort zone. Sometimes, going back to the corporate world is a blast, like when I worked at Google for two years. Other times, it’s not so much fun, like my last assignment, where I sat in front of a computer for 6 hours a day. No thanks!
Now, I am more motivated than ever to move past my fears, and have another go at being my own boss. But this time, unlike the art studio, I have a community of other practitioners who are super motivated and determined to make this work.
In the spirit of being held accountable for my actions, I’m going to share my intention for how this might look:
By the end of 2020, I will be part of a holistic healing center with other practitioners offering hypnotherapy, Reike, sound healing, past-life regression, Yoga Nidra, sensuality/ tantra sessions, and more.
UPDATE: June, 2020
The world has changed, and so have I. I decided NOT to focus on hypnotherapy after all. I landed a SWEET project with Esalen Institute, am taking a deep dive into silk painting, and plan to travel to scuba diving destinations, as soon as Covid restrictions are lifted. I'm in the FLOW!
I need to be patient with myself!
I spent four years as an undergrad in business school, and 2 more years to get my masters in Organization Development...that education provided a solid foundation for a successful career as a corporate trainer..so now, as I move towards something new, I need to keep reminding myself that it’s going to take time to build these new skills, like it did with my last career. The important thing is I am doing something that I feel passionate about.
So, I’m going to stop beating myself up for feeling a little unsettled (and terrified) as I move through this transformation in my life.
I came across some info on commitment and determination, to help me stay focused.
What are you committed to in your life?
I'm staying at a place called the Dearly Hostel here in Koh Tao. You might ask, "Why a hostel? Can't you afford a nicer place?" I guess that depends on your definition of "nicer".
This place is super clean. Has a beautiful pool, free breakfast, AC, free roof-top yoga every morning, and free taxi to different beaches every day. They have a variety of room options available..I chose the 6-bed, female dorm room. I have one roommate, Grainne from Dublin...and we have become good friends in the 3 days since I"ve been here. She's traveling around southeast asia, and she's super cool.
So, maybe I could have stayed in a "nicer" place, with my own room, but then I would have not met Grainne and a number of other people who are staying here...nor would I have experienced the 3 beaches we went yesterday on the Beach Crawl!
But, today, I rested. The scrapes from my scooter mishap have gotten infected, so I went to the local clinic and got them cleaned and am taking antibiotics so it doesn't get worse.
Maybe tomorrow I'll have the energy to venture out again, but for now, I'm hunkered down...reading and napping, and I just finished giving a hypnotherapy session to my roommate!
Here's some photos from the beach crawl yesterday.
It's day 5 of my 18 day stay here in Koh Tao, a tiny island in the Gulf of Thailand. I'm sitting in a cafe sipping a fruit smoothie, enjoying the sea breeze, and basking in the afterglow of a wonderful Thai Massage. But I've had a couple of mishaps along the way...
Upon arrival, my host, Alex, took me to the scooter rental place, as that's the best way to get around the island. I was terrified. If you know me at all, you know that I usually dive head first into most things...but this was different. I felt a visceral, deep-rooted fear...more on that later. On the surface, my fear is well-founded...I have zero experience with motorcycles or scooters...so it's natural that I would be afraid. I prefer my bicycle!! I thought, can't I just walk everywhere? that's not a realistic option around here. In this heat, and after seeing the steep hill leading to the hostel where I was staying, walking was not an option.
So, after a short lesson on how to make it stop and go, I hopped on, nervously, and took my scooter out for a spin...I drove it across the road and practiced on a little dirt path.
I tried to ignore my beating heart, and resist the urge to RUN FOR THE HILLS. "STAY FOCUSED", I told myself. Everyone else seems to be having fun. " I CAN DO THIS!! Don't accelerate too fast. Release the throttle to slow down, THEN apply the brake. Don't make sharp turns. Stay away from SAND on the road! The scooter might slip out from under you..."
After awhile, I graduated from the dirt path, and ventured onto the road, which wasn't very crowded, and there was plenty of room for me to stay close to the edge of the road so others could easily pass me. But, my body was on high alert, my hands hurt from tightly grip on the handles, and my nervous system was all hands on deck.
After 3 days, I finally began to feel more comfortable...although I was still careful, and still drove very slowly.
And then, it happened. I approached the gravel driveway that leads up to the hostel where I was staying. As I pulled in, the scooter got away from me and I went into a panic..I yelled out loud: STOP!! (to myself?) but the scooter kept moving!! My hand was not listening to my brain, and was stuck on the throttle "LET GO!" my mind yelled...this time, my body listened. The scooter (and me along with it) began to fall...luckily, once I fell, I was down...but the scooter kept moving forward a few feet from the momentum. (otherwise, it might have fallen on top of me!) The scooter quickly stopped as it landed in a rut.
The scooter and I were both pretty much ok, just a couple of minor scrapes and bruises. But my ego was very bruised. I felt old, lame, and embarrassed. I got up, checked my injuries, wiped the blood off my leg, and gave myself a pat on the back for having the foresight to wear long pants and long sleeves JUST IN CASE something like this happened. I am convinced that my injuries would have been much worse had I been wearing shorts!
I tried to pull the scooter out of the rut, but I was badly shaken and it was just too heavy, so I got some help and then spent the evening cleaning up my wounds, which I knew would heal...but I wasn't so sure about my ego.
The next day, I went into town and booked another room at a hostel located on flat ground. No more steep winding roads and precarious driveways for me.
Deeply Rooted Fear
That happened 2 days ago, so I've had time to reflect. My body is still sore, so I'm taking it easy. Instead of running around scuba diving or doing other typical island activities, I'm writing, reading, and getting thai massages every day!
And, I'm pondering why I have so much fear around driving that scooter...most other people seemed to enjoy the freedom, the wind in their hair...why did it make me such a nervous wreck?
I thought back to my childhood and teen years, and came up with two possible reasons.
1. I'm 5 years old. It's a nice sunny day. I'm riding on the back of my mom's bike, to visit a friend in the neighborhood. I'm so excited! This is fun!! WHEE!!! And then...CRASH! I tumble to the ground...I open my eyes...I begin to cry...my mom scoops me up and carries me to a nearby house, where her friend lives, and who happens to be a nurse. She cleans my scrapes, dries my tears, and gives us a ride home. That was the fist and last time my mom ever took me for a bike ride.
I never wanted to get on a bike again...eventually I did, but I have always been very cautious when going down steep hills! Now I know why.
2. As a teenager, some of my friends had motorcycles. My parents FORBID us to ride on one, they were way too dangerous. One time, my brother hopped on the back of a motorcycle to retrieve his model rocket that landed in a field about 1/2 mile away from the launch site (his hobby at the time) and my parents were furious. He never did it again, and the fear was drummed into both of us. I believe this is the real reason for this deeply rooted fear. My younger self is still inside me yelling: "THIS IS UNSAFE! YOU MIGHT DIE! " It all comes down to fear of death, right?
So, now that I know, maybe I'll be able to stay more calm while I ride around, but I also know that this fear might keep me safe at some level...staying cognizant of the dangers, wearing my helmet and long pants and long sleeve shirt just in case...
At least I don't have to push my limits beyond my comfort zone, by venturing up and down that steep hill anymore, and maybe taking that little spill was just enough to make me realize that even if I do fall, I'll be ok and might even learn a thing or two about courage and pushing through our fears.
What fears do you hope to overcome? What steps are you taking to make that happen? Have you engaged in any acts of courage lately? I'd love to hear from you!
I really don't know where to begin. This trip was no ordinary vacation. I"m going to break it down into few sections, because there's so much to say about so many things, that's the only way I can even begin to sort it out in my mind. Before I dive into any of these parts, I'll share the biggest take-aways.
The Country: Ecuador was full of beauty, volcanos, and warm people.
The Jungle: beautiful, alive, life giving.
The Indigenous people: peaceful, humble, open-hearted.
My travel companions: Ten of the most incredible travel companions EVER! These were my people. Open-hearted, willing to share, full of love and adventure. We learned so much from each other...my journey was their journey.
The medicine: We embarked upon two journeys during the trip. More on that later.
The Take-away: The whole point of this trip was to learn about the local tribes, the land, and the urgency of sharing their message with the outside world so we can take action to stop the oil extraction and other damaging effects that the western world is having on the rainforest. Please visit Pachamama.org to learn more. Or, donate to my personal fund-raising page. HERE.
First stop, QUITO!
Quito is at a high elevation, It's a beautiful city...we stayed at the La Rabida hotel, about 2 miles from old town Quito. It was a quaint little place, with a courtyard and a bunny rabbit! He stole the candy from my nightstand one evening, as he visited my room...I chased after him and stole it back!
As our group arrived, one by one, we hung out and got to know each other. We quickly became friends...after all, we already had a lot in common.
On day 2, we walked to Old Town Quito and enjoyed a local parade, fresh mango and other fruits, an art museum, and an amazing old church.
Next: bus ride to the next place, stayed overnight, got our rubber boots for the jungle, enjoyed dinner and hot tub, hammocks, walking along the river, and camaraderie.
Quito Video below
Days 3-8: Achuar Territory
The airport was an experience in itself. We enjoyed a sermon from a local who worked at the airport, in spanish. it was intense and moving. In small groups, we boarded the 4-seater planes, and headed to the rainforest. For about an hour, all I saw was green...as far as the eye could see. Eventually, we came up on a river, which was winding back and forth through the jungle. Then we saw the tiny airstrip...carved from the trees by hand. there was barely enough room to land!
Upon arrival, we were greeted by a smattering of Achuar family members, who scooped up our duffle bags and disappeared into the jungle, heading towards the camp (a mile and a half away!!) that we would call home for the next 5 days. We found our way to the shade, and waited for the other two planes to arrive.
Once we were together again, we hiked through the jungle until we reached a river, and then we boarded a canoe, which took up upriver to the beginning of another trail. We walked more...in the mud...untli we reached the camp, called Tinkias.
Tinkias bunks were built under a thatched roof platforms, there was a fresh water shower (cold water only) and flushing toilets. Each bunk had mosquito netting...I hung out in my bunk right after dinner, because as soon as it got dark, those mosquitos were out! And they were hungry. But, they didn't really bother me much. I took vitamin B for a few days prior to coming into the jungle, and kept taking it throughout the trip. it worked! I never had to use bug spray!
We enjoyed fresh cooked food three meals a day, all of it was carried in by the Achuar people...including the water! These people are strong and generous. We ate simple meals of quinoa, beans, some vegetables, eggs, plantains and fruits.
Much of the time spent here involved hiking through the muddy jungle with Nuja (pronounced Noo-hah) who taught us about the trees, the plants, hunting techniques, and how they make everything they need to survive, from the jungle. He was enthusiastic and never seemed to tire of our endless questions.
We also learned about their handicrafts, including weaving and making bowls from clay. We also got to try using a blowgun...I didn't do to well at that, but it was fun to try!
One morning we woke before dawn and hiked to a family that lived close by. We shared their morning ritual, called Wyousa tea. Each morning, the families wake before sunrise to share their dreams in a sacred time called ‘hora de wayusa.’ As early as 3 or 4 am, Achuar people arise and share a tea called wayusa, made from a small shade-grown tree that is cultivated in most family gardens. Because the wayusa is caffeinated, it acts as a mild stimulant as the families recount their dreams.
The other big thing was the ayahuasca ceremony, on the third day. We had a nice breakfast, then fasted for the remainder of the day. We hiked to the black lagoon, went kayaking, and then prepared for our journey. We gathered under the common area with our mats, blankets, water, and headlamps. The shame arrived and after a short ceremony, one-by-one, we drank the brew that took all day to make.
This was my first experience with ayahuasca, which is called Natem by the Achuar. it tasted bitter, and left a nasty aftertaste in my mouth. I sat on my mat, and waited. After about 30 minutes, I felt slightly dizzy, so I laid down, closed my eyes, and spent the next 90 minutes or so on a beautiful journey up into the universe, through the stars, then through a portal...I spent a lot of time traveling through the portal...and when I came out the other side, I ended up landing in my grandmother's kitchen! it wasn't exactly like her kitchen back here on earth, but she was in fact baking, and was very happy, just she always was here on earth. We had a lovely chat about my kids, about my life, and about how happy she was to finally be together with the love of her life, my grandfather, Irwin, who also made an appearance! After we visited for awhile, I noticed that my mom was present as well.
We also had a great chat, and she shared that she was with me always, was proud of me, and that I had done a great job of raising my boys. it was so great to see her. Next, my kids showed up, and one by one sat down and had a talk with my mom. I was so happy that she got to spend time with them!
Next, my Uncle David showed up! (he was tragically killed in a car crash a couple of years ago) He was also happy and at peace, and shared his perspective for having a happy life...laughter and joy! He said, if you're not having fun, then something it wrong! I shared how much I enjoyed spending time at his house when I was a kid, because he always jumped into the pool with us, and was the life of the party.
Soon after that, my dear friend Bobby, from high school, appeared. He also was tragically killed in a car crash at the young age of 18. Bobby was the sweetest, funniest, most gentle soul I had ever met. Despite a difficult life, he always had a smile on his face, and spread the love to everyone he met. I shared how special he was, and how I still remember all the fun times we had in high school.
The rest of my vision was too hard to explain here, but feel free to ask me, next time we chat and I'll try to explain it! I learned many many things both from my visions and from the entire experience. It changed my perspective on life, that's for sure.
Days 9-13, Sapara Territory
We departed the Achuar territory with tears in our eyes, as we had come to love the people and the jungle and our little camp. But it was time to move on...another hike, another canoe trip, another hike...and we were back at the air strip. Eventually, we arrive at the Sapara territory, and was greeted by the tribe members, and Manari, their leader.
The first of many tobacco ceremonies, we were brushed with tobacco leaves, covered in smoke, and then we snorted tobacco juice. It works much faster than coffee to get you going in the morning!! it was quite the welcome. Manari then shared information about the tribe, and then we began our hike to our new home in the jungle, called NaKu. There are about 500 Sapara people left, and their numbers are dwindling.
We arrived at our camp, which was next to a small but clean and refreshing river, after a couple of hours. We rested, bathed in the river and shared a delicious dinner.
The next day, we hiked through the jungle again, this time up a steep incline. We learned about the history of the Sapara, about the significance of the Jaguar, and the struggles they have endured over the centuries.
The Sapara are a spiritual tribe, and Manari was an eloquent speaker, who spent much time sharing his passion and knowledge about spirituality and about his heritage. We also did dream sharing every morning, which was fun and informative. It was interesting to hear the dream interpretation...the tribal culture is so connected to the forest and hunting and family relationships...but we dream about other things like our jobs, offices, homes, cars, traffic, whatever...things for which they have no context. But, they were still able to find meaning in our crazy dreams!
The ayahuasca ceremony here was quite different from the other place. The brew was more gentle, but still provided us with what we needed to see. My journey was much less prolific, mostly because I chose to have a lesser dose...due to the string reaction I had from the pervious experience.
Aside from that, we spent time in the river, had a special tobacco and meditation time down river, hiked a lot, observed lots of large bugs, had many chats with Manari, and just enjoyed being in nature and with each other.
Days 13-15, Sierra Alisos
Our last few days were spent in the beauty of the mountains. Sierra Alisos was a home, converted to a lodge. It was a very long drive up a cobblestone road...and when we arrived, we were delighted to find ourselves in such a beautiful and cozy place. Maritsa was our hostess, and she took such good care of us! the food was incredible, the views spectacular, and the air pristine. From here, one by one, we departed for home, or for another destination. My life is changed forever...touched deep in my soul by the jungle, the people, and the spirits. Thank you Pachamama, for teaching me a different way to see.
Six months ago, I signed up for a trip to Ecuador. This isn't just any typical vacation. This is something special. On Friday, I'll fly to Quito. On Monday, I'll meet up with my ten fellow travelers for breakfast. Then, we'll hop on a bus, drive 4-5 hours into the rainforest to a town called Puyo, and that's when the journey really begins.
The next day, we'll board a small plane and fly over primary rainforest, land in the jungle, then embark on a canoe trip down the river to the Achuar Territory. Once there, we'll be cut off from civilization, except for a satellite connection for emergencies. We'll learn native cultural traditions including ceramics, basketmaking, and weaving. We'll learn about medicinal plants, and participate in storytelling around the fire.
Other activities include hike through the rainforest to a sacred waterfall, purification ritual under said waterfall, and optional participation in the evening shamed ceremony. Dream sharing, swimming in the rive, and sleeping in open-air huts round out the adventure.
The purpose of this trip is to learn about the indigenous tribes of the region. Run by the Pachamama Alliance, these Journeys are purposeful, transformative travel immersions that go well beyond traditional eco-tourism or adventure travel. Their indigenous partners invite us to visit and learn from their ancient cultures and pristine rainforest so that we may carry their wisdom and message home. We're not considered tourists...but more like friendly visitors who are eager to learn firsthand about the challenges and visions of our indigenous partners, and how we can join them in ensuring this global treasure remains intact.
I'm grateful and humbled by the opportunity to participate in this life-changing experience, and I look forward to sharing more details upon my return. Aside from the first and last couple of days, I won't have access to internet, or even electricity! That's 11 days completely off the grid, away from civilization as we know it.
I can't wait. I'm nervous...excited...and look forward to the experience of a lifetime.
Please wish me well, and while I'm gone, I challenge you to reduce your foot print on this earth. That means...no single use items ( Bring your cloth shopping bags to the supermarket! Buy items from the bulk bins, instead of things wrapped in plastic! Refuse to use any plastic items, including straws, cups, plates, bags, single-use water bottles. It's not that hard...just be mindful of your daily activities, and think for a second before you walk out the door...where will yo be going? Can you bring your own coffee mug to Starbucks? )
And if you want to learn more tips for saving the planet, check out my Climate Hacks Podcast!
See you at the end of the month.
My first meditation experience was over 10 years ago, when I attended a personal intensive retreat in Topanga Canyon, CA. I had no idea what to do, how to do it, or what benefits i would gain from the experience.
After that weekend, I was hooked. Although I can't say I've maintained a "regular" practice over the years, I have learned a lot about how meditation can have a positive impact on my life. I attend guided, group meditation sessions twice a week, and try to do my own meditation daily (not not always successful!)
Recently, I've been struggling with what to next in my life. Stick with corporate training, or start on a new path? And what might that path be? I've thought about a few ideas. Life Coach, End of Life Coach, Travel Blogger, Writer, Environmental Activist, Podcaster. The last three, I actually started doing last fall, and I'm still working on those projects, but I needed something more.
Last week, I found out about a Silent Meditation Retreat at the Jikoji Zen Center, a place I had visited once a couple of months ago, so...as is typical Lori, I called and reserved the last bed in the women's dorm room. Two days later, I found myself immersed in quiet, secluded, beautiful wooded setting, off Skyline Drive in Saratoga.
Now, one thing you need to know is, I have not studied Zen. I have been exposed to Mindfulness Meditation, so this whole Zen thing was pretty new to me. I was a bit nervous about the whole idea of spending almost a week in silence, just sitting and meditating most of the day...which, looking back, seems like a strange thing to be nervous about. I mean, i would be spending time with MYSELF, and with my mind, trying to stay in the present moment. What's so hard about that? Well, if you've ever tried meditation, you know that the mind does not like to stop thinking! About things that happened in the past, or might happen in the future... That's it's job, after all, to think! The idea in Zen, as in other meditation practices, is to stay present, in the moment, and when thoughts come, which they ALWAYS do, allow them to be there and bring yourself back to the present moment.
As with breathing, the mindset is essential in the practice of Zen meditation. The right state of mind emerges naturally from a deep concentration on the posture and breathing. During zazen, it is normal to have images, thoughts and emotions coming up to the surface, appearing from the unconscious mind. Do not pursue them or fight escape from them. The more you try to get rid of them, the more attention you give them, and the stronger they become. Try not to attach to them. Just let them go without judgement, like clouds in the sky
At Jikoji, and maybe in other places, they suggest giving the EGO something to do during mediation, to help stay focused on the present moment. How? By counting backwards from 10-1, over and over.
Ok, back to my experience last week. There's so much to share.
The meditation hall, called the Zendo, was a smallish, plain rectangular room, with wood floors, heated by a wood stove. Everyone took a spot around the perimeter, on either a Zafu (mediation pillow) or in a chair, or a number of other contraptions designed to make sitting more comfortable. This, I discovered, was my biggest challenge...sitting in the lotus or other similar position. My back did not like it, and my neck kept stiffening up too. So, i cheated. I alternated between sitting and lying down, with my feet resting up on a chair. Because in Zen you're supposed to keep your eyes open, I didn't fall asleep. (well, maybe once, for a few seconds :)
So, I proceeded to do...nothing. Just count backwards, over and over again. When thoughts crept in, and trust me, they did...i practiced focusing on my body, to get back to the present moment...since, really, that's all we have anyway! Now, one might argue that any thoughts hat come up during the meditation, are, in fact, happening in the present moment...so, it's ok to have them...but the idea is to not let those thoughts take over.
So i tried to observe myself having these thoughts. Sort of like seeing the forest through the trees. And I think that was my biggest take-away from the week...getting a new perspective on whatever is happening for me right now. I've been so immersed in the process of "trying to figure out what to do with my life" that I lost perspective. it didn't really hit me until the last day, and even more so when I got home..that I need to just allow whatever I am going through to happen, because really, what else can i do? I can't force myself to all of the sudden KNOW what to do! it will come when it comes. In the mean time....
Another thing that happened during the week was, we met with one of the ZEN teachers for conversation, questions, of just to sit in each other's presence. When it was my turn, I shared my struggle with trying to define the next part of my life. One thing I also realized was that for the past 20+ years, I have revolved my life around my kids. They were my anchor. Yes, i did some really cool stuff. worked for a bunch of different companies, had my art studio, went on retreats...but it was all within the context of making sure I was there for the kids. Having a flexible schedule, working part time, working as a contractor, even the art studio...enabled me to attend their sporting events, be home (most of the time) after school, drive them around, make dinner...etc. Even choosing where to live was based on the quality of the schools.
So, there I was, being MOM all this time, which was such a blessing and the best thing I have done in my life. and all that time, I saw other people struggle when the kids left the nest...they were feeling lost about what to do with their life. I thought, wow. That will NEVER happen to me! I wasn't in a hurry for the kids to be out on their own, but I did have the thought that when they were out of the house, I had a ton of things I wanted to do! I would NEVER be bored, lost, or confused about what to do! I had hobbies, and friends, and places to go, things to do!
Well..guess what. I was wrong! Now that my kids are out of the house, I AM in fact VERY lost! I guess it's one of those things, a blessing and a curse. I have the freedom, now, to pursue what I am passionate about...the problem is, I can't figure out what that is! I mean, I have lots of passions...but which one should i move forward with?
So...my ZEN teacher, Joe, suggested the following.
1. He asked if I knew how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. Not really, I said. Well, turns out the caterpillar turns into goo before it transforms into the butterfly! it completely disintegrates and when the butterfly comes out, there is nothing left from the caterpillar. SO, he said, I'm in the GOO stage right now! Soon, the butterfly will emerge.
2. He suggested that I keep the word "maybe" in my mind. Whenever I think about what I might do next, just say "maybe".
3. Unless there's a reason to, don't rush it. These things take time. If I put pressure on myself to figure it out NOW, I might end up in the same quandary in a few weeks or months.
4. That said, he also suggested that I TRY THINGS! Maybe I want to be a writer. Try writing for 30 days, and see how I like it. If I do, keep going. If not, TRY something else. Rinse and repeat!
And there you have it. This blog post is an example of me TRYING something! I'm going to try and be more disciplined about my writing. Maybe I'll even research how to be a professional blogger. Because one thing I know is, I have a lot to say. I've been writing for most of my life, but to myself. In my journals. I have a suitcase full! Maybe it's time to share these ideas with the rest of the world.
The next Sesshin (that's what they call the ZEN silent meditation retreat) is in the fall. i can't wait for the next one. In the mean time, I'll enjoy the process of being gel, trying new things, and saying MAYBE a lot!
Now that I've been back home for week, I've had time to reflect back on my trip.
It turned out to be a pilgrimage...not just a trip.
I had three intentions when I set out on this journey
1. To give myself the gift of time and space to JUST BE..without the pull of friends, family, obligations. I didn't even want to be in a place where there was a beautiful beach nearby, for example, because I didn't want to feel "obligated" to spend time there.
2. I saw this as a test of sorts, a test for myself to see if I was committed enough to one of my personal passion projects to get it launched.
3. Visit Crater Lake
That was it. Very few plans or expectations. This enabled me to follow my own intuition about how to spend my time. And that, I believe, was where the magic happened. Even the lead-up to the trip itself...I was planning to go to Costa Rica to the Artist's Residency. The two other artists dropped out. I did still have the option to to there, but something told me NO. That was my intuition speaking! So, I pivoted and planned this trip instead.
From the get go, it was obvious that I had made the right decision.
One thing lead to another, and by the end of my time there, I had accomplished the following:
1. Made new friends...for life!
2. Learned a lot about organic and biodynamic farming, how to make soap, how to re-establish a forest and wetland, growers markets, Shakespeare, devotional yoga, the importance of soaking in warm hot springs, community, and medicinal plants.
3. I learned that people LOVE sharing their passion, whatever it is. Everyone I approached with the question "Can I interview you for my podcast?" said yes, and then I got to see their face light up as they shared their stories about how they ended up doing what they were doing, and how much they loved it.
4. I had a spiritual awakening, of sorts. Right in the midst of a devotional yoga class! And, everyone was supportive and I felt loved and understood. When it was over, I felt a great release and calmness.
5. Completed 8 interviews for my Climate Hacks Podcast
6. Because I spent over three weeks there, I got a real feel for the community and one thing I learned, they like to cook and have awesome pot luck events! I was invited to people's homes, where I left with a bag of fresh tomatoes, or some other garden harvest...or, with a full belly...I had fresh apple cobbler, freshly baked bread, enjoyed goat's milk soap, a pizza party and musical gathering, and tons more that I can't even remember.
7. I think one of the most important things I learned was about the Pachamama Alliance, a global community offering people the chance to learn, connect, engage, travel and cherish life for the purpose of creating a sustainable future that works for all. Pretty much in alignment with my goals for the podcast! So, I'll be leading symposiums and getting more involved with them...
8. I'm motivated more than ever to get involved with my own community right here in Campbell.
Obviously, I feel like this trip was a great success. I learned a lot about myself along the way...now, I'm planning my next adventure! What might that be?
I'll keep you posted! (hint: maybe something around volunteering for an animal rescue organization)
I was planning to post more pics from my last week there, but my phone was stolen the day after I came home, so those photos are gone. Here's a few from previous weeks.
Thanks so much to those of you who followed my journey! I'll be heading back to Ashland this winter to visit my new friends...can't wait!
The time has gone by kinda slowly, maybe it's the slower pace of life up here! It's great! I feel like I've been here for months.(that's a good thing!) Here's a summary of the past few days.
Moving to motel, & Interview with Coco (Thursday Sept 28th)
I moved out of the Ashland hostel where I've been for almost two weeks. It was a great place to stay...cheap, ($31 per night) VERY CLEAN! We were instructed to remove our shoes when we entered the house...and it was a house, like a bnb but without the breakfast part. I was in a shared room with 2 bunk beds, but I only had a roommate for 2 of the nights so it was like a private room! The kitchen was well stocked and people left free food on a shared shelf...so I cooked when I could and experimented with things I don't usually cook at home. Like, tomato soup...tomatoes came from someones garden.
Also, on the little dirt road next to the hostel, there was a big plum tree so I gathered yummy plums from the ground the last few days.
I met Molli at the hostel, she's visiting for 2 weeks from Calgary....and since we both had to move out for the weekend cuz the hostel was booked, we decided to share a motel room for the weekend.
After I moved out, I interviewed Coco Waddell about her Farm Wench website...Coco is amazing. She never stops moving! She's passionate about sustainability and about helping others get started on growing veggies and composting or whatever small things they can to...her site will provide tips and she's share what she learned from her mistakes. Then we had lunch and then we peeled scallions from her garden...then visited the horses, and collected eggs from the chickens. It was a lovely morning!
Crater Lake, music, and healing (Wednesday, Sept. 27)
I drove out to Crater Lake...it was well worth the two hour drive, which was spectacular too. The lake was amazing...huge and so blue. The thing I noticed most was the QUIET...once I hiked away from the lodge, all I cold hear was a few birds cawing off in the distance...I laid down on the side of the trail for awhile and just enjoyed the silence. It was really cool.
Enjoyed a bowl of beed stew at a local pub, then watched street musicians, then participated in a Goddess Kirtan chanting event at my favorite place, the Jackson Wellsprings. Inside a yurt. With about 25 other people. POWERFUL!!! (but a bit cold...)
Cowhorn Winery Interview (Tuesday, Sept. 26)
Drove about 45 minutes out to the Cowhorn Winery, to interview Bill Steele for the podcast. Wow, that was so educational and fun! What a beautiful farm they have...they practice biodynamic growing practices...it's very interesting...it's a few steps beyond organic. Listen to the podcast to learn more! (it'll be out in a few more weeks.)
It's been a whirlwind of activities: pot lucks, interviews, feeding the homeless...podcast editing (yuck!) and meeting fun and interesting people who are making huge strides to help the environment. I've been attending as many events as possible, and there are many to choose from! Not everything is connected to the podcast, of course...I've also been going on long bike rides, attending yoga classes, and soaking at the hot springs!
Last night I attended an event and learned about the Pachamama Alliance, a global community that offers people the chance to learn, connect, engage, travel and cherish life for the purpose of creating a sustainable future that works for all.
I also learned about a local group called Southern Oregon Climate Action Now (SOCAN) who offers a ten week Master Climate Protector course, which teaches current information on the status of our climate and current trends and projections that result from the climate pollution we are releasing into our atmosphere.
Every day I learn more and more about people, community groups, and organizations that are working towards a better future for humanity and the earth.
More to come!