The circle game

In a profound circle, I find myself at the final country of this trip, my first last year. For our South Africa orientation, we are staying at the backpackers where my TBB travels began seventeen months ago.

My first photo from last year's trip, taken at my current accommodations
My first photo from last year’s trip, taken at my current accommodations

As I crawled into the bed I first slept in at the onset of my international tour with TBB, a rush of memories flooded my mind. Faces of students who are now dear friends resurfaced. Conversations and views played on a loop, cycling through various joys and adventures of TBB.

I fell asleep laughing with my co-worker and friend, another repeated experience.

This morning, I wrestled with the water heater and then found a flat spot to lay my yoga mat. Every action is simultaneously new and repeated— not in a boring sort of way, but in a centering one.

With this return to the beginning, I am reminded of the thrill and excitement of the start. My eyes are opened once again to the beauty, the wonder, the daily gift of this life abroad.

On the road to the students’ homestays where they’ll settle into later this week, there is a curve just at the top of a hill. As you round it, it reveals a stunning view of the ocean. The water stretches out behind a row of houses, with the sky as expansive just above. Every day as we made this drive last year, Beth would say “take a moment!”. With brimming gratitude and disbelief at our job, lives, and world, we would look out at the view and feel all that we’d been given.

In truth, this same job is now routine; this life, sometimes tiring. Yet this world is still full of wonder; gratitude and awe are still the appropriate responses to the opportunities before me. Long forgotten in the normalcy of my extraordinary, today I took a moment.

Greeting the sun with some salutations, I felt at home. It was a feeling of at home in the universe that Parks speaks of and to which my blog title alludes. I was rooted in a connected orientation to life.  One that Knows gifts when they are given, that takes time to remember and experience wonder anew.

As I moved through the asanas, the sun rose above the clouds shining directly on me. I stood in its light, in my own Light. I circled back with a smile and sensed that my return is not only to South Africa, but also to self.

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Wake up calls

Photo credit: Anya Zakhour  Jaipur, India November 2013 Title: India Struggles
Jaipur, India November 2013
Title: India Struggles
Credit: Anya Zakhour

Writing to you from India! Where tuk tuk drivers are sages and sages hail from Canada to teach you Everything You Need To Know. Where sages then tell dirty jokes and play dirty tricks to get your number or get you to their home.

I’m spitting out the bones and still chewing the meat as my friends, the Christians, say. Continue reading “Wake up calls”

Looking to love

I’m declaring it a year of love.

There are so many things that this already means to me, and I am sure it will continue to develop as I do.

Above all, I want to love the journey. In reflecting on last year, I drew a map of significant moments, lessons, places, people, questions, and learning. It was a zigzagging chart with great highs and deep lows. In 2014, I discovered much about who I am and realized many things that I need. Continue reading “Looking to love”

Looking back

Commitment was my word for 2014.

In general, it was a word that served as an umbrella for multiple themes and intentions: family, health, spirituality, and movement to name the foremost categories.

What specifically I was committing myself to within each area morphed as my year did— as I did. I enjoyed having a word for my year, and having fluid guiding questions to move with me…What do I need to commit to in this season? What does commitment look like for me? Continue reading “Looking back”

Moving on, always

There is only one constant in my life right now, movement. Let me catch you up to speed: after enjoying the shoreline of Portete, I bounced from Bua to Quito and the mountains south. I ventured to the Cuyabeno River deep in the Amazon. I traveled to Peru where I enjoyed a stunning trek through the Andes. Finally, I flew to Thailand, where I write to you from today. My time in the Amazon aside, I enjoyed all of this with my students and co-workers with Thinking Beyond Borders.

Even since being in Thailand, we’ve yet to stay put. We lingered for a long weekend in Chiang Mai celebrating the Loy Kratong festival where we floated boats of flowers down the river that surrounds the city. We spent a week at the Upland Holistic Development Project’s demonstration farm learning about their efforts while participating in many levels of food production on a farm. Two nights ago, we settled into home-stays with Thai farmers just outside Chiang Mai city.

All of this movement brings with it unique pleasures and challenges. As of late, I have been feeling the latter as my life lacks any resemblance of a routine. In our constant transitions, I’ve lost consistency and discipline in my reflective practices.

Let me be clear: there is incredible privilege in the itinerary I just laid out— in the life I live. There is a burden too, though. Continue reading “Moving on, always”