"Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before" - The Dalai Lama
It's been almost a month since my last post. I went to Bali for almost 3 weeks and had little access to a computer there, and my eyesight is too poor to compose a post on my phone, sheesh. Anyhow, upon returning I stumbled onto the above quote by The Dalai Lama (one of his instructions for life) and obviously loved it.
Exploring Bali was an amazing experience. It is a beautiful, spiritual, laid back place with such kindhearted and devoted people. Almost immediately upon arriving I felt that internal shift happen, the one that often does when I travel, maybe imperceptible to anyone but me, and yet completely altering. A change in perspective and also (especially if I'm in nature) a sense of peace and calm. There is something about removing oneself from the familiarity and predictability of everyday life, and plunking yourself into a different environment, that can really make a person feel alive and adventurous. This is almost always accompanied by (in my case at least) an intense feeling of gratitude for being alive and for all of the things I am so fortunate to have. So when I read this instruction for living, the importance of it resonated with me in a big way.
This instruction for living doesn't specify how far we have to go, distance-wise. Perhaps the thought of flying for almost 24 hours across the planet makes you sweaty and increases your heart rate... or maybe there's a year where taking a vacation seems financially impossible. There are many places, practically in our own backyards, that most of us have yet to explore. A stretch of beach we've never been to or a hiking trail we've neglected. In my case--Yosemite. What am I doing?It's so close! Seeking these places out regularly can enrich our lives and improve our mental health, I'm sure of it and so is The Dalai Lama.
San Fraaaaaancisco... boy can this city quickly shatter anyone's dreams of keeping up with the Joneses. Living here has definitely caused me, and many people I know, to have to reevaluate wants vs. needs. It causes us to have to be honest about which "wants" will really benefit us and our families vs. the typical life achievement markers that we are taught to believe we have to hit. Get married, buy a home, have a great career, kids... etc. What if hitting one of these milestones is out of reach for us? What if it won't actually make us any happier? What if keeping up with the Jones's lands us in a life that isn't truly ours? This constant looking ahead, onto the next goal, the next milestone... might be costing us happiness in the present. We are not our friends or neighbors, their lives are not our lives. What may work for them and make them happy won't necessarily work for us. Let's feel free to do what makes us happy, and to cultivate a life that is genuinely ours, even if it doesn't look like anyone else's.