I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world ~Mary Anne Radmacher
I wholeheartedly believe that travel transforms, heals and reconnects us to the heart of human existence. In fact, each time I step onto that plane, I embrace the truth that I will return transformed. The journey ahead is a mystery ~ but it’s a mystery I welcome, a practice of embracing the unknown. This future expedition exists within the sea of the unknown…but, dear ones, that sea is rich with depth. Each moment of our lives is an opportunity to fall in love. For me, travel is my great love affair with the world’s colors, textures, languages, foods and fascinating ways of survival. With new eyes and receptive hearts, travel becomes a deep, alchemical mindfulness practice.
In a few days, I will be guiding an incredible group of mindfulness mavens to Thailand for a retreat in collaboration with Pravassa Wellness Travel. This retreat, “Presence: Awakening the Inner Light” was created to honor the Buddhist roots of mindfulness practice as a portal into our own heart-centered awakening. Focused around the Buddhist lantern festival, Loy Krathong, our group will release lanterns to honor Lord Buddha, visit a sacred Elephant Sanctuary and trek to other-worldly temples. Far from the familiarity of home, surrounded by our group’s sacred sangha, we’ll journey inward. Through the eyes of the Thai people, we’ll peer into a piece of ourselves, and the truth of our interdependence will unfold.
To embody presence is to reclaim the essence of self. Rituals create the spiritual serum of presence, awakening our heart to receive the world’s wisdom. Here, I share three sacred rituals I use while traveling:
There’s always a reason I’m drawn to a certain part of the world. Whether I’m guided into the temples of SE Asia, swimming in the Mediterranean Sea or hiking the Redwoods, the depth of heart led me there. When you’ve settled on a travel destination, find some stillness and silence to ask yourself, “what brings me here?” Ask yourself this question dozens of times. Pause to journal what emerges for you. Buddha taught that, with our thoughts we create the world. Listen to your soul’s soft whisper and align with your deepest intention. Bring this intention into your thoughts. When alignment occurs, weave this intention into your travel experience. Reconnect with it time and time again. The alchemy of your growth will manifest.
Gifts of Gratitude
When we’re stuck in our perpetually busy, IPhone-pinging lives, our sense of connection to all beings becomes tamped down. Wherever we’re traveling, there’s a tremendous opportunity to cultivate the vibrational energy of gratitude. While traveling, commit to the practice of gratitude for simply being human. Witnessing how other humans survive around the world automatically shifts me into a grateful, compassionate heart. Use the mantra, “gratitude for being alive flows through me now” while you’re interfacing with the world’s being. A grateful heart supports better sleep, more joy, increased empathy and a felt sense of wholeness.
be a creature of the cosmos
I remember traveling to SE Asia as a child and peering up at the moon in my mother’s South Vietnam village. I was always awe-struck that this was the exact moon that my friends at home were seeing. As Mary Anne Radmacher wrote, “I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” The ritual of looking up at the clouds, sun, stars and moon allows us to be humbled by the universe, feeling as if we belong divine Mother Earth. The ritual of looking up at the cosmos was second nature for our ancestors. Now, we’re primed to look down at our computers and phones. Travel liberates us from that incessant screen-time, offering a journey of awakening to beauty of the world. Pause to look up each morning and each night. Make this your spiritual commitment. Practice this mini-meditation daily and become a creature of the cosmos.
In honor of the beautiful beings who have joined me on retreat and those who will journey inward with me in the future, I bow deeply to you.
For more on how to ignite your inner light through mindfulness, spiritual healing and travel, I lovingly invite you to subscribe to my blog and to follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@Mindful_Healer). See you on The Path.