The Art of Detachment

I recently had the experience of watching Tibetan Monks create a beautiful mandala out of colored sand.  The Mandala is a symbol of the universe, created in a circular shape to represent universal connection.

After creating the mandala for several days or weeks, the monks mindfully and meticulously wipe the sand away, representing detachment as the lesson.

In life, we are continually faced with letting go, whether it be to a job, a relationship, or an unresolved issue or problem.  By holding on, the Tibetan concept is that we suffer, and suffering causes pain.

Unless practiced, detachment can be a difficult thing to do.  Think of something in your life that you can say goodbye to, let go of, or detach from.  What are you holding onto that is causing you pain, creating suffering or preventing you from truly being happy?

The art of detachment begins with acknowledgment of what is causing suffering, then making the conscious choice to release and let go.  Impermanence is a fact of life.  Today embrace what brings you joy and happiness, as no one is guaranteed tomorrow.  Through the art of detachment, we can free ourselves from unhealthy suffering and be in the present moment, a beautiful lesson from Tibetan teachings.

Advertisements

Super 8 Hotels, Chinese Food and Cat Smuggling

There are adventures and then there are adventures…

I recently took a long road trip across the southwest with a good friend of mine.  The trip was not planned out, but more of a quick spontaneous trip that allowed us the freedom to stop anywhere we wanted along the way, which included dive hotels, the world of junk food and other unexpected finds along the way, including Pie Town, New Mexico.

With no itinerary, we drove as far as we could each day, traveling approximately 10 hours or more until we were too tired to continue, stopping at Super 8 Hotels and eating Chinese food along the way. The first night in Texas was fine, the hotel was good, the Chinese food mediocre.  The second night in Kansas the hotel was filthy, and the Chinese food was superb. The 3rd night was uneventful and unmarkable.

We were hoping to reach our destination of 1700 miles on the third day, but due to a snowstorm, we were forced to stay in a hotel another night.  This time, we just pulled off the freeway and found a relatively new hotel to stay in.

I had driven almost 13 hours that day and there were no other hotels nearby so I made the decision to sneak my cat into the hotel, thinking that if they did not accept pets that we would have to drive on ice covered roads in search of another hotel.  Normally I would never do this, but I was physically and emotionally exhausted so I put my cat into his carrier and quietly snuck him into my hotel room.

An hour later, I decided to order Chinese food and hungrily waited for the delivery person to arrive.  After about 30 minutes, I heard a knock on my door.  I quickly put my cat into the bathroom and shut the door.  I paid for my food, set my dinner down and tried to open the door to let my cat out, but the door wouldn’t open.  I realized it was locked!  I started to freak out. I continued to try to work on the lock but nothing worked.  I started to panic as I knew I had to call the woman at the front desk to open the door and she would know that I had snuck my cat into the hotel.

I dreaded making the call but told the woman that my bathroom door was locked.  She thought that was odd.  I thought what kind of crazy hotel would put a lock on the outside of a bathroom door!  The woman came to my room with a large keyring full of keys.  I knew I had to tell her before my cat came out of the bathroom that he was in there.  She tried six or seven different keys, none of them worked. I started panicking.  I eventually said, “My cat’s in there.”  I thought she heard me but she didn’t respond other than to say that none of the keys were working.

Eventually, the last key turned the lock and Lucky, my cat strolled out.  She looked down and said, “Oh, you have a cat.”  I said yes, this chain is pet-friendly right?  She said, “No, no it isn’t.” I swallowed deeply and was thinking about what to do or say, when she said, “It’s ok.  I only make $11.00 an hour.  You can keep your cat, but you will have to sneak him out in the morning because the manager will be here.”

Relieved, I calmed down, ate my Chinese food and fell asleep.  The next morning my friend called me to ask me if the manager had knocked on my door.  I said, “No why?” He said that the manager had just knocked on his door.  I panicked and hung up on my friend and put my cat into his carrier and got him out of the hotel as fast as I could.  My friend later told me that he had left his door open and the manager was only inquiring if he had checked out.  I laughed and wanted to strangle him at the same time.

After a trip of 1700 miles, 4 days of hotels and Chinese food and cat smuggling. I made the decision to never try to smuggle my cat again into a hotel again. I also developed a strong addiction to dive hotels and Chinese food.

The Spiritual Path

After a long transition, I felt the call to quiet contemplation and spiritual direction and found myself driving to St. Anthony’s Spiritual Sanctuary, a Franciscan retreat center in rural Wisconsin.

I had no plans, other than to spend a day in silent prayer and mindful walking but shortly after I arrived, I met with the Reverend and spent some time talking to him about life transitions and spiritual practice.  I then roamed the Sanctuary and was mesmerized by the long hallways that hundreds of young men had walked before me as they prepared for a lifetime devoted to spiritual practice.

Sometimes we feel we have to journey far to find a retreat or place of solitude, but the sanctuary is closer than we think.  The silence, the serenity, and tranquility that we seek is within each of us.  Our spiritual journey is visible when we clear the weeds from our minds and step intentionally onto the path that we were given.  Sometimes the road leads us in a different direction than where we intended to go, but that is when we need to trust that we are being guided and that the new path will be smoother, lighter and brighter than the path that we chose for ourselves.

In life, sometimes we choose a path, and sometimes the path is chosen for us.

 

Life in Transition

What do you do when life challenges you in unexpected ways?  You drive a U-haul across the country, leaving behind life as you know it.

Unexpectedly I found my life shift and change, forcing me to make decisions that I did not want to make.  I realized that life is unpredictable.

Driving a 20-foot U-haul and towing my car behind was completely out of my comfort zone. My friend and travel companion reminded me to breathe as I began the journey driving the wrong way into rural mountains with no place to turn around.  I white-knuckled the steering wheel as I drove further into the unfamiliar mountain range.

For four days, we were enchanted by the beauty of New Mexico, laughed across the state of Texas and wanted to kill each other in the cattle fields of Kansas, but we survived the journey recognizing that our adventure together was a test of strength, endurance, and patience.  We ate Chinese food every night in Super 8 Hotels along the way and saw Dorthy’s house from the Wizard of Oz.

We survived the journey together and I have surrendered to the fact that I will probably make more unexpected journeys in my lifetime, and that’s ok.  I no longer hold onto a false sense of security as life is truly an illusion.  What feels safe, isn’t, and what feels fearful is safe. Life is a paradox.

I could have stayed in one place my entire life, but then I think about all the people I would not have met and all the experiences I would not have had, both good and bad.  Not that I have chosen all of my life changes, on the contrary, most of them were forced upon me, but I no longer fight them, but accept that I am being guided to a new place, a new experience or back to a familiar place where I am to resolve the past.  Wherever life takes me, it will be a journey…

 

Oxygen 02 Bar

On a recent trip to Phoenix I joined another fellow explorer and together we ventured into the world of alternative health and wellness.

We unexpectedly found ourselves standing in front of an oxygen bar. Having driven to Phoenix, a trip of almost 200 miles down the mountains at an elevation drop of over 5000 feet in altitude, and still struggling to acclimate to the region, I thought the oxygen bar would provide me with an added boost. Once inside, it was explained that oxygen aids in good health by boosting energy levels, increasing endurance, reduces stress and toxins as well as increasing concentration and focus.

Natural scents are added to the oxygen such as lavender and eucalyptus to enhance the experience and to create a feeling of relaxation or as an energy boost.  The scents are extracted from essential oils.

Sessions are priced depending on the amount of time selected. I was offered a special for $25., which included a hydro massage. I laid down face first fully clothed on a hydro massage table as jets of water sprayed up and down my back from my neck to my feet. The water pressure could be controlled for personal preference from mild to firm.  I ended the session with the oxygen bar, which left me feeling relaxed and energized at the same time.

Feeling sluggish?  Head for your nearest 02 bar for a quick and natural boost.

Flying High in 2019

Breaking away from old patterns, negative people and difficult situations, 2019 brings a sense of adventure, new energy and promise to all those who seek a new beginning.

Adventure calls in many ways.  Be open to exploring both your inner self and the world around you. A new path emerges, as the old one fades away.

Fly into the unknown and brave the future.

Adventure is calling…