“What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.” – Buddha
Nowhere to go, nothing to do. This seems to sum up the pervading feeling I had the first two months into this European experiment. I found myself with a lot of time on my hands and I started analyzing my life and myself a bit more than normal – and I would venture to say a bit more than healthy. I’ve always thought of travel as my passion, not the only one of course, and chose to spend much of my free time and money on it. To a large extent I do still feel this way. There is real value in travel and I cannot begin to explain the ways in which it’s opened my eyes and heart and excited my sense of adventure. It’s given me permission to see the world and my place in it differently. I think everyone who travels probably feels this.
However, something started to shift. I can’t say exactly when, a few years ago, maybe when I first started fundraising to go to Haiti. This was not my first experience volunteering but it’s around the time I realized I wanted to spend less time focusing on myself. In fewer words, I want to do more for others. This is not to say that I’m not grateful for all that I have. I feel overwhelmed with gratitude for my life. Ezra and I say to each other once or twice a week how unbelievably lucky we are. We have many opportunities that much of the world does not have. We have our health, loving families, we’ve had wonderful experiences and maybe most importantly, we truly recognize that we’re lucky. This can all change in a second and someday it will. It’s easier to be grateful when contemplating the impermanence of life. My life may not be for everyone, but for me it’s been very very good. So with all this in mind I’ve been frustrated with myself, instead of easing into this experience, I’ve been resisting it.
I recently saw an article about a Moral Bucket list. It’s a bit catchy and flippant but it does capture the essence of what I’m feeling. I recognize I could be doing something a little more useful with my time. The more I learn about myself the crazier I think I am. In Five Element theory I’m a Water type. In Myers Briggs I’m an INFP, Kerisey says I’m a Healer. My dosha changes from a tri-doshic to just Vata. But my Vata is definitely out of whack. I’m an A Blood type. What all of this tells me (and probably tells you more than you care to know) is that I like peace and philosophy, a strong value system, creativity and I have a rich internal world. I like community but also a good amount of solitude for a sense of well-being. I avoid conflict, I’m sensitive to criticism, an overall idealist and can be perceived as detached. I don’t always use logic or take advice. Instead I rely upon intuition and arrive at decisions sometimes not even knowing how I actually came to them. To be balanced I need routine, should lay off caffeine (one positive is I can have a glass of wine), meaningful friendships and not travel so much. So its no wonder I’m off, I’ve been neglecting major parts of what keeps my crazy self in balance. Otherwise I am prone to fear, stress and anxiety. Um okay check, check and check.
While I actually require a lot of alone time, I was feeling more isolation than balance. I’m craving yoga classes, digging in the dirt, getting acupuncture and I miss doing bodywork. I recognize these feelings aren’t actually coming just from this experience, I’d only been gone two or three months. But I’m coming off of years of traveling and nomadedness. I’m wanting (gasp) a routine and a home base. Exactly what all my doshic/ personality/blood types tell me. So why do I resist?
In order to pursue a few of these things we decided to go to Spain. My Spanish is rusty at best but I can at least communicate a little and I could focus on taking classes. It’s hard to explain why we weren’t just staying in one place. We talked about this a lot. Some places were just expensive and I’ve already mentioned telecommunications have been an issue. We also wanted to take advantage of being in Europe and see things we hadn’t before. While I was figuring out a purpose, traveling at least gave me something to do with my time that I enjoy. I also had ample time to read, meditate, do yoga and exercise. (Yes, lets pretend I did these every day.)
So after another trip to London we flew to Barcelona for a long weekend before making our way to Granada – which is where we were planning to stay permanently (well for 2 or 3 months) if the stars aligned. I of course walked around and saw Cathedrals, the Picasso Museum and went to multiple stores looking for a SIM card and good plan for Ezra. I was not very successful. Ez and I had a fun tipsy night of Sangria drinking followed by a tired morning of Gaudi at La Sagrada Familia and Park Güell. The most memorable moment though was getting caught in a hail storm and walking through a shower of flower petals that were being shaken off the newly blooming trees. We ducked into a bar and watched this magical sight that brings me back to a feeling of gratitude.