Travel: Finding Purpose Through Presence
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”― Mark Twain
As a mindfulness-based psychotherapist and wellness travel guide, I'm perpetually fascinated by the intersection of psychological healing and travel. I own a mindfulness business where my day job involves seeing individual therapy clients, speaking at events and teaching personal growth workshops. My love affair with travel propelled me into guiding spiritually-driven, mindfulness vacations alongside Pravassa (NYC-based wellness travel company). People frequently ask,"how did you create your business?"... often expecting me to rattle off some killer 5-year business plan. My actual answer? A refusal to betray my soul and the practice of travel. You can imagine the perplexed faces.
The inspiration I receive for a new project, event or partnership often comes when I'm exploring the world, absorbing how other human beings survive and thrive. It's when I'm outside of myself, sensing the interdependent nature of The Universe when spiritually-guided inspiration hits. Presently, I'm writing this after visiting the Incan citadel of Machu Picchu. The cosmic conviction of the Incans remains embodied in the structures of Machu Picchu. Staying present to the energetic power of Machu Picchu upleveled my spirit to a higher consciousness beyond space-time perception, beyond the constrictions of our day-to-day thoughts. This is when creativity and courage take over. In this space, I can step back into my life with clarity. This clarity is birthed by my travel experiences, over and over.
Constricted By Stress
As a society, we've been conditioned to follow prescribed paths, committing exhorbitant amounts of time in jobs that, quite frankly, are making us stressed, anxious and depressed. We've spent our lives listening to external messages of what we should do and who we should be instead of turning inward to attune to what reflects the essence of self. When our external lives are misaligned from our internal values, desires and sources of joy, we become caught in the sticky web of inauthentic living. I see this in my office everyday. The expectations of constant connectivity through technology and little to no time for stillness and silence have escalated levels of stress, anxiety and depression. According to the American Institute of Stress, 77% of Americans experience physical symptoms caused by stress. Left unchecked, this chronic stress turns into disease in the body as inflammation skyrockets. So how do we prioritize our time to design a life that supports our health and happiness?
Get Still & Unplug
I often say that busyness is our modern day epidemic. Our hunter gatherer ancestors experienced significant amounts of idle time for rest, reflection and contemplation throughout the day. Today, we are addicted hyperscheduling every minute of our lives. It's important not to demonize the amazing technological advances that have increased global connection amongst other benefits. Balance is about bringing consciousness to how we interact with our tech-heavy lives, weaving in time for inner contemplation. Stillness and silence are two of our wisest teachers. Through the art of meditation, we can begin to strengthen our relationship with stillness and silence, as they become our portals into excavating purpose. While traveling the earth, I carve out intentional time for mindfulness meditation and connection with Mother Earth. When we turn inward to listen to our needs, desires and passions, we learn how to show up for ourselves with self-compassion. In these moments, we untether our minds from the constriction of stress, awakening to the world around us with new eyes and an open heart.
"For me, travel has become a mindfulness practice like no other — a sensory immersion of the sights, smells, sounds and tastes of a world far beyond the confines of my own mini microcosm. Away from the frenetic pace of daily life, we can access parts of ourselves that have been repressed or denied for weeks, months or even years." ~Lena
How Travel Heals
Stress, anxiety and depression are correlated with an inner sense of separation from the world. Traveling with the intention of being present to the moment inherently fosters a sense of interconnection with all of creation. Getting out of the daily rhythms of life to immerse yourself in the world awakens the human spirit. When our minds and hearts open to the sights, smells and sounds of a new land, stress naturally melts away. In these moments, we begin to feel a part of the world rather than separate from it. Your life's purpose is the intersection of your authentic personal gifts and the needs of the world. In this convergence exists potential to create a life of limitless meaning. When we see a piece of ourselves in the eyes of another, separation dissipates and inspiration ignites. On your next trip, bring along a journal and record what you're doing when joy, inspiration and love arise. These are the clues that will lead you into purposeful living, moment-to-moment, whether that means creating the business of your dreams or committing to a daily intention.
Mindful Travel Mantra
Buddha taught that "with our thoughts, we make the world." In witnessing the challenge we face in a hyper-connected, perpetually busy, over-stressed world, I'm committed more than ever to teach the ancient practices of mindfulness for the expansion of human awakening into more adaptive ways of sharing this earth as one human family. Currently, I've put a mindful mantra to use during meditations and in day-to-day moments. Trusting our innate goodness and wholeness becomes challenging when living in a society that privileges striving, grinding and doing-more-with-less. The sacred pause is a practice I began implementing during my travel experiences this year. 3-5 times per day, I'd stop in my tracks and repeat this mantra 3 times: I dwell in the space of soul trust. Life can only happen NOW. The urgency we sense to live a life of meaning is the voice of your soul. Whether on a weekend getaway or a month-long excursion across the world, I encourage you to pause, breathe, drop-in and listen to your soul's calling. It's the most awe-inspiring voice you'll ever hear.
For more on how to ignite your purpose for living, I invite you to follow me on Instagram (@Mindful_Healer). I also extend a loving invite for you to join me on my next Mindfulness Travel Experience HERE.