I love the time after any trip, when I return home to (borrowing from TS Eliot) “see the world with new eyes.” Now that I’m out of the forest and into the routines I call my life, I see my loved ones, my garden, my friends with such gratitude. I love savoring this time, slowing mind down, checking it out to see what’s different. I have a habit of making notes and lists in my journal, a kind of trail marker the next time I get a little lost (or my eyes get “ old” again).
Here’s what I notice after this trip. Even though the stress of some of those around me has escalated, my mind has remained calmer. Last week a participant at the retreat referred to Deep Soul Diving.. So this time my list looks like a string of pearls, distilled loveliness that serve as a reminder to myself about my latest the journey into my inner world.
Slowing down the mind allows it to open, revealing its treasures. When mind gets questioned and is allowed the time to answer, this closed oyster opens enough for the pearls to be seen. Now that I’m home, when I remember to go slow the hummingbird, the summer breeze, the spider in the corner , take me directly to my heart. I can return to a sense of spaciousness any time I notice, and when my mind is too cloudy to see how, I can ask some questions and wait to be surprised.
No new thoughts. As they say in Bali, “same, same.” Every time I work with someone inquiring into their thoughts, I discover my own. So the one in front of me gives me what I need to find myself. We seem to be recycling the same thoughts: my body isn’t right, my kids would save themselves grief if they’d listen to me, talk show radio hosts are Satan in drag. It’s all in me too. Same, same.
Time Can Expand. Riddle: When is two and a half days not two and a half days? When I slow down to go fast! I notice a spaciousness to time even now that I’m home from the dive. Note to self: now is a good time to stare at the ocean, sit with the dog, slow time down. Even for a few minutes. Now.
Gratefulness for the miracle of the human heart opening. When I get real with myself and the folks around me, the world changes. I develop a deep appreciation for sound of the heart opening. Each time I experience this within myself or with another, I am blessed.
This summer, give yourself a little time after a vacation or trip to see your life anew. Bring out your souvenirs. Make some lists.
How is your world different, even a little, than it was before?
• What moments would you like to keep in your memory? The toddler with ice cream on his face? The kindness of a stranger in the airport?
• As you look back at your experience, what would you change? This is a good place to star to questioning the mind. I shouldn’t have eaten so much potato salad. Is that true? Find out. Question the thought that whatever happened wasn’t for your learning.
•What pearls of wisdom do you bring back? What did you learn about yourself? Others?
• What advice do you have for yourself about future trips? I find this a great way to remember what ways I was kind and unkind to myself so that I can plan future trips with more kindness.
• I love putting a physical thing I bring back or that reminds me of my experience on an altar or someplace that I’ll see it when I wake up in the morning. Each time I see it, I’m reminded of the new pearl on my strand.
Enjoy your pearls with new eyes. Summer is young.