An adventure of meditation, solitude and consciousness
I’m 10 days into being home alone. I’ve been damn near hermetic actually, going out only for hikes and groceries, engaging with clients, friends, and family over the phone only, and seeing no one. My definition of heaven. I’ve relished having every moment to myself to spend working, writing, binge-watching, and even cooking. Only four more days left to go before I hit the road for a few days with my family to NYC where I also have few gigs, including my longest keynote speech ever at Hay House’s “I Can Do It” conference, and then a long-ass overseas flight to meet up with my man in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
That last part, about Thailand, is something I never expected to come out of my mouth. But wait, there’s more. Not only will I be there for three weeks, but just three days after I arrive we are off to Wat Ram Poeng, to the Northern Insight Meditation Center for a 10-day Silent Vipassana Meditation Retreat. Yes, you read that right. I’m going to spend 10 days in a monastery, sleeping in a room of my own, waking before 4 a.m. to practice sitting and walking meditation until retiring at 10 p.m. If I squint my eyes and strain my ears, it looks and sounds a lot like my current home-alone time — minus the binge-watching, of course. And the talking. And someone will be cooking for me although there are only two meals offered each day, the first at 6 a.m. and the next at 10:30 a,m. I honestly don’t even know what to think about that.
A few weeks ago, I noticed that if I started to allow myself to fully grasp the details of this adventure, I found myself in deep resistance and fear.
Do I even need to tell you how far out of my comfort zone I am going? For my honey, it’s no big deal. He’s been living in Aspen for 20-plus years and, as is the culture in resort towns, he works seasonally. So he hits it hard there in the winter and summer, and then gets out into the world for a couple months at a time in spring and fall. Over the years he’s travelled extensively in India, Nepal, Indonesia, and has done several 10-day Silent Vipassana Meditation Retreats – plus one 35-day retreat!!! — at the very monastery we’re going to in Chiang Mai.
Me, not so much. But, this past spring we did spend six weeks living in Moab, Utah, which was a start! Thankfully, my work is mobile, making it possible for me to be anywhere. Even Thailand.
But, not since I was 25 (and that was 25 years ago!) have I traveled for any length of time without it being for work. And the voice that still arises, even after all the acknowledgement and integration of it, is thankfully quite faint now but I can still hear it say: Who are you to take three weeks away? What will your clients think? You’re committing career suicide!
And I reply:
I’m not abandoning anyone, especially not myself. I’m adding to my own experience and nurturing my relationship, which can only enhance my life, love, and work.
And, of course, I’ve calculated how to still do my radio show and coaching group calls while I’m away!
To tell you the truth, I’ve been doing deep work around this with my coach and my therapist. And I know that the more I continue to immerse myself in fully experiencing and inhabiting my own life, the better service I will be to others who are overcoming overachieving, perfectionism, fear of leisure, workaholism, and the need to fill every moment to avoid feeling or dealing with what’s really happening. I have been there. Trust me. That kind of compartmentalization and the glorification of staying busy are a few of the elements that allowed me to stay in my past marriage for far too long.
And now, the gift here for me is that the part of me who just wants it to all be over so I can be back home with my creature comforts is receiving permission and being reminded — daily and lovingly — by the other part of me who longs to evolve to stay present with what is, to drink it all in, and not miss a moment.
And I am able to acknowledge myself for everything I’ve done, for this life I’ve created, which makes this trip possible. As I fly, I embrace this unrecognizable self I’ve become — someone who can do this! — while willing to dive into the unknown trusting that no matter how I emerge, this experience can only be a game-changer pointing me toward positivity, empowerment, embodiment, expansion, and toward being a beacon for others.
I promise to let you know how it all goes. Look for me on the other side, with Part 2 in our next issue!
Read Part 2 of this article, Meditation Extreme.
You may also enjoy reading The Sacred Pause: The Art of Activating Healing Energy by Travis Elliot