Long journeys inspire deep contemplation and recently I was on yet another airplane taking another long journey. Though it is easy to think of long distance traveling as a singular experience, it is not. Much like a trans-oceanic flight, all of life is a long distance journey. You set your sights on a destination and then after an arduous adventure you arrive, hopefully where you were intending, always where you are meant to be.
This time at 30,000 feet above Japan I noted that the airplane I was on was full of passengers speaking foreign tongues. Much like me they were headed somewhere, perhaps to home, perhaps to new places they had never been before, but each of them on their own unique and individual journey and yet also in a special union with the rest. I myself was not an exception as I noted potent smells triggering my awareness of a combination of new, interesting, and putrid shared environment. Such a stirring of awareness was not new to me. Once I took a train across a good portion of Europe, what I remember most about that trip are the smells, so similar to this recent flight across the pacific. Perhaps, my mind, rather than try to make sense of all the sounds that are strange and hard to categorize locks onto smells, the familiar, the new, and the ones to avoid. I have always derived a great deal of information through all of my senses. How does it feel seems to be the most informative, most frequent question I ask myself. And how do I feel to be on such a long flight, on such a long journey, was the question I began to contemplate somewhere over Japan.
My back hurt, nothing new there. My legs were cramped up, a burden that goes hand in hand with having long legs. This is definitely one of the downsides of flying. Yes, you get there quickly, but I would not describe it as traveling in comfort. This is the same as the train that I took in Europe. They are designed to fit as many people as possible, and as such are overly cramped. This is why my favourite way to travel is on a cruise. It takes longer, but I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. You are not using it simply as a mode of transport as you do with a plane or train. It is an experience and becomes part of your travels. The best part of any cruise for me is the peace you feel when out on the deck. Hearing and smelling the water is calming and the sense of detachment from everything else (as you can’t see anything but water at times) is enlightening. It’s a great time for self-reflection and the perfect time to practice some yoga. I haven’t been on a cruise for a few years now as things have been so busy, but I am going to start looking for some cruise deals soon, as I miss it. For those of you who haven’t tried a cruise, I recommend you do the same. As I sit on the plane, flying over Japan, I noticed being extraordinarily tired as well as excited as we rounded the corner on hour ten of the fourteen-hour flight. I may be uncomfortable, but my mind is calm, at ease, in and out of contemplation but not grasping at thoughts. Certainly on a journey and full of adventure and uncertainty.
I spent a night in Shanghai. I have always had a strong desire to visit China. And though this was not my final destination on this journey I made a point of pausing, even if just for a moment, in this metropolis of a city in a country that so peaks my curiosity. And with this curiosity is also a pang of anxiety. How would I get to where I wanted to go if I could not read the signs? How would I find my way not speaking the language? How hard would it be to communicate with the people at customs? And though these were valid concerns, I knew that I would work it out, because now, and since the inception of this journey, it feels right and much help has guided me along the way.
Life, like traveling to far off distant countries, is a journey of uncertainty, because all we really have to navigate us is a tool that even when used in a most rational fashion cannot accurately predict the future one hundred percent of the time, if even at all. So how do we get to where we want to go especially when we don’t know the answers to the how’s? Tune into how it feels. Tune into how it smells. Tune into what it looks like and sounds like, and then step forward, or pause and wait for the invitation to move forward. It’s all too easy to over think it and all too often over thinking it is overkill. In the end the best we can do is to buy the ticket, board the plane, take flight and enjoy the ride. As a result we will find ourselves in far off lands of the unknown with the opportunity to have an experience, which seems to be what life is all about no matter if you are moving forward, backward, in circles or just plain standing still.
With Love from Thailand, Always, In All Ways, For Giving, In Joy,
For more info on Shree Yoga, please visit their site listed below this post.
All photographs care of Genevieve