what an incredible experience this past week has been. full of generous gifts from the earth, from other humans, and from myself.
leaving ohio and coming here was exactly the medicine i needed, as it’s been a reminder of the intricate weave of gratitude and the way it enhances our lives.
i don’t know how to talk about leaving just yet, because to be honest, it’s causing pain in my heart, thinking about getting on that plane tomorrow.
but the story of how i got here reminds me of all of the ways my life has been touched by something beautiful, and all of the ways left for gratitude to transform my reality.
at the end of last year, i fell face first into a really dark place. i’d been through a training in bali that left me heartbroken and disappointed. the way that it churned up my inner world also invited a relapse of depression and severely disordered eating. so there i was, alone in bali, with just one friend from my training. we hadn’t spoken a lot during the training, and after the intensive nature of the experience, we both craved a tremendous amount of alone time. that said, we still carved out a few hours to meet up one on one for carrot cake and processing.
i went home to saigon and began the slow and painstaking path back to some semblance of sanity and balance. we stayed in touch, and when i returned to the US, she invited me to come to aspen.
and here i am, in another new moon of my life, another rebirth and transition, with the same friend welcoming me for carrot cake (actually this time it was turmeric lattes) and processing. and i had the immense pleasure of showing up on the other side of the country to find out that the person who picked me up, someone i didn’t know all that well, is someone who i love, respect, and appreciate more than i can say. someone who doesn’t introduce me with a disclaimer. (it’s a standard thing, really. when friends introduce me to their friends. “o, rae, i mean…she’s great. but…she’s…she’s a lot.”) someone who understands quiet time (because she needs a lot herself.) someone with so many gifts and such a beautiful and generous spirit. someone who drove 3 hours one way just to get to the denver airport!!! (not to mention, as much a bit of luck in bali as now, someone who eats like i do.)
we swam and hiked. we talked and listened. we slept in and woke up early. we saw hot air balloons, splashed in rivers, and visited a yurt. i did a lot of sunning my bare bum. and the biggest achievement of the week was that i started by sleeping with all of my clothes on and the space heater next to my bed, and i ended in no clothes and no heater, fully acclimatized to the weather! (…the early september weather. haha, i sure as fuck wouldn’t be here in february.)
i remember that there are still places in this country, this place that has damaged so much and so many, that are beautiful. where people are motivated by the natural magnificence of the landscape and therefore spend time, energy, and resources protecting and preserving it. i remember that friends are the most valuable resource we have, and that investing in the people we love, wherever they are in the world, is worth more than anything else. and i remember that travel, no matter how close or how far, changes a person, and invites an open mind.
i take my relationship with travel for granted. i couldn’t tell you off the top of my head how many countries i’ve been to, or where that castle was that i may or may not have seen in 2007, or whether that trattoria was in venice or florence. but i can tell you that on a molecular level, on an even subtler level, i am changed by every single place i go. that i am informed, somewhere deep inside of me, by every single trip. and that this world holds so many more miracles than i could ever, ever know.
and no. it doesn’t make going back to ohio any easier. fuck. i don’t know anything that can. but i have learned how to appreciate the beauty everywhere else in the world. maybe it’s time to learn to appreciate the beauty of the place i was born.