“Hello Madam, where are you from? Are you married?”
I am astonished by the way I reply with “Yes” so easily.
“So where is your husband?”
“In Europe, I am traveling on my own right now”.
How often would I still repeat this lie? Maybe I should even buy a ring to make it more credible. Saying “yes” just makes it easier to not be disturbed any further, however friendly the guy might be. So here I am sitting at a restaurant table on the beach in Negombo, Sri Lanka. Warm humid air caressing my skin, palm trees swaying in the breeze, a cloudy sky that fits my mood of the moment: a little melancholic, tired and wondering what this day might bring. In front
of me I see a little girl talking to herself as she stands on top of a fishing boat that is turned around. In her hand she holds a stick to which a red, little kite is connected. The kite peacefully floating in the air.
Three weeks ago this was the place where I had the first Sri Lankan dinner with my parents and sister. Two weeks of amazing experiences we shared in this country. Traveling from place to place, held by the comfort of family connection, with all the challenges and blessings that come with it. Writing down these words I feel my gratitude. How special to share this experience together, discovering a country we all didn't know. New places, new people, green hills, wide-stretched beaches, soothing waves, crazy traffic, Sri Lankan rice and curry, tea plantations, stalls with coconuts and bananas, hammocks, wobbly roads, elephants, whales and sea turtles. And the list could go on and on and on, this country is so rich, so diverse, colorful.
Last week I hugged my family goodbye with some tears and deep sighs and there I went. On the road by myself, a backpack, yoga mat, ukulele and guitar traveling with me. A heart full of trust and excitement, and some fears and anxieties knocking on the door. Where will this road lead me?
I am continuously reminding myself to trust the way of the heart, simply following as it speaks to me. And it speaks loudly.
Yesterday I returned from a mountain top in the green hill country of Sri Lanka. Five days of silence and meditation in the Nilambe Buddhist meditation center. Crossing my legs several times a day, to sit in silence with my thoughts, emotions, sensations, observations. Breathing through whatever comes and goes. Welcoming all the visitors with friendliness and presence, as Rumi wrote so beautifully:
~ This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond ~
(The Guest House by Rumi)
I watch the endless horizon of the ocean in front of me. This is all there is right now. Funny how my mind often wanders to past memories or future plans when I know that all I need is here right now, always. For such a long time I was longing to travel and now that I travel I find myself nostalgic for moments from before I left. It's a funny thing, this mind, this idea that happiness can be found only if I had this or that thing like I had in the past or might possibly have in the future. It is a continuous challenge to live in the present moment, but it is so worth it, seeing things for what they really are.
“Commitment is so important. If you’re at 99% commitment, you’re fucked. If you’re 100% committed, you’re golden. It’s the 1% where the mind knows it can come in and be like, well… what about this…” (...) I remember this quote from Erica Jago in the interview that Allie Stark held with her on having the guts to live truly and loving with whatever is presenting itself in life (listen and read full interview here).
Yes, I am 100% committed, but I will fall and rise many times, being human and no Buddha yet. I hope you can remember this for yourself as you read these words, being gentle and loving with whatever appears into your life. Breathing through it. Knowing that you are always supported. To all those seeking sincere truth and presence in their lives, I say: “Aho”. I see you, I feel you, I can relate, I am so grateful for your effort. Now by the end of this piece of writing, I feel how everything inside of me changed again, like life: ever-changing, waves coming and going on the shore.
I feel we are creating a new world filled with presence and love. Knowing that I am part of something bigger, paving the path for generations to come and others around me too. Shining light on all the aspects of my being, in every changing moment; it is the bravest and purest act of life.
Seeing things for what they really are, we can create more love, connection and understanding in this world. And it is happening already.
I will flow further on the waves of life, giving away this piece of writing to the virtual world and adding some photos of this beautiful and challenging journey so far. Feel so very welcome to share your thoughts on these words.