Wherever You Go, There You Are
Updated: Aug 18, 2019
Damn it. I was afraid this was going to happen. Major confession time. Despite months of anticipation that this sabbatical from real life would instantly solve all of my external and internal issues, I am confronted with the age old Zen mantra that “Wherever you go, there you are.” Meaning, you can’t run away from yourself.
It's been 6 weeks on the road, and despite the really great times we’re having, I am still mired in old bad habits. I don’t seem to living any of my intentions. I still hesitate or say no to new experiences outside of comfort zone. I am still forcing myself or finding excuses (or just forgetting) to meditate and do yoga. I have yet to get into a writing routine and immerse myself in creativity. I still too often reach for my devices during downtime. I am still reading the news (ARGH!) when I don’t know what else to do. Yes, I have a few moments of impressive shaka (letting go and going with the flow), but there are still way too many moments of being uptight and cranky. I find myself eating mindlessly and the weight hasn’t magically melted off after releasing the stress of a bad job or house angst.
Essentially, I am still me. Damn it.
Okay, as I type this and you read it, I know it all sounds ridiculous to have put so much pressure on this trip to “fix me.” But if we’re honest with ourselves, we do this routinely. “If only…” thinking is what I’ve worked for decades to escape. And yet I fell into the trap again. Whenever we plan a big event or transition, it is so tempting to assume that our problems will be over. And even though I knew this to be a false promise and knew the odds of feeling exactly like I do now, I did it anyway and am disappointed.
So, I am going to make these feelings public in hopes that by shining light on the darkness they will dissipate. I want to own my unrealistic expectations so I can now let them go. And I want to be kinder to myself and this experience.
Because I know that transformation, especially through travel, can only happen in retrospect. You can’t plan it or force it. I have faith that there are tiny embers flickering within me that over time and with enough oxygen will burst forth as new fiery passions to light my world. And I can start doing one little thing each day to support my intentions.
I can notice when I say “no,” and change it to a “yes.” Whether it’s Lucas wanting to play a game or my friend inviting me to dance hula.
I can notice when I absentmindedly pick up an electronic device, and then put it down. Instead turning to my boys or a book or my journal to occupy my time.
I can kindly and compassionately invite myself to meditate and do yoga…for just 5 minutes. I can do anything for 5 minutes (and usually it will lead to more).
And I can notice when I mindlessly put something in my mouth, not with judgement or shame, but with awareness. And then make a choice to sit down and savor it, or spit it out and feed the real hunger.
Finally, I can celebrate every time I choose to flow rather than control a situation that I have no control over anyway. The more I notice and congratulate myself, the more this habit can replace the well-worn groove of worry and over-reaction.
And I can honestly face that no matter where I go in the world, there I will be. And I can think of that as a good thing as I finally trust my own companionship.
I’ll let you know how it goes.