PAY ATTENTION

ramdass
RAM DASS

Pack Light: One of the greatest gifts I ever received from travel was when I walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain. This was long before Face Book and Twitter but the internet was available and I joined
a few chat groups about the walk before actually embarking on it. The one piece of advice I read over and again was not to bring much, the Camino will provide. I was living in a Buddhist monastery at the time and didn’t have much so I was thrilled to follow the advice although I still carried too much.

Even so my watch broke at the airport the day I left. I lost a book during a layover in Amsterdam. And I arrived in Madrid with one backpack and a brand new 2-person tent and a disposable camera. (Told you I over packed.) But an amazing thing happened. Without the book I was forced to chat with people. Without the watch I had no way to schedule things so my days were free. The camera had a limited number of snaps so soon I was free from taking photos. I simply was. I was one woman on the Camino. I was one person walking westward. I was one human drinking coffee in small cafes near tiny villages. I was free to be. And I was. 

BTW the Camino did provide. I didn’t use the tent once.

 

Be Present: When I was in Peace Corps, there was this young woman who I sat near during our daily trainings. Everyday she would glance around the gazebo we used and shout “We’re in Fucking Africa!” and grin with such joy her body shook. Everyday the rest of us had a reminder to be present and realize we were privileged and how terrific our lives were. At that moment no matter what else was happening we had an opportunity to stop and appreciate where we were and how beautiful it was.

present moment

Turn Off Your Toys: When we were in Bali, Marci and I were invited to a Balinese funeral. I had read a few things about these funerals and really wanted to go and record the experience so we could show our friends. But as we walked up we realized that this was no place to document our travels. This was one of those things we would have to talk about but not tweet about. And for us that was perfect. I felt more relaxed once I didn’t or couldn’t photograph the happenings. It was certainly photo worthy with people dancing and entranced to the point of waving knives around. But it was also so personal that I would have felt intrusive if we had taken a few pics for the blog. Instead we felt welcomed and the community seemed quite proud to share their ritual with outsiders. We smiled politely and watched. It was one of the best times I have had on this never-ending journey of ours. We are grateful.

Share with us a time the world opened up and surprised you.  Were you seeing it through a camera lens or were you letting you mind wander? Did it sneak up on you in the early morning? Were you making your way home after work? Leave us a comment. Thank you.

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