Well I've been away from normalcy for two and half months. There has been no normality for me since the middle of December. But I ask myself "what is normal anyway?" Waking up at the same time everyday. Having the same 8oz-decaf-hemp-mezzo from a coffee shop down the street. Going to the office. Answering emails. Attending meetings. Being stuck in traffic. Making dinner. Falling asleep to the talking heads on the TV? Normal is what happens when my eyes, heart and spirit feel closed. Indifferent. Complacent. Before embarking on this adventure, I believed that I thrived off of a routine or by following patterns. However, in my time away, I learned that this normalcy I thought I had, that brought consistency, actually created ruts, or samskaras. The more I believed them, the deeper they got.
Abre los ojos (open the eyes) has been a phrase that I've repeated silently to myself since we left the states. Being in Spanish speaking countries, it seemed relevant to have this as my mantra while traveling in Guatemala and Peru. Not until the end of our adventure, did the light bulb come on as to why this phrase has had a repetitive nature in my mind. Open my eyes! See the world around me. The lakes, volcanoes, thermal baths, rivers, mountains above 6000m, Inca ruins, white sand beaches, and crowded cities. See the people. Their smiles, colorful wardrobes, amazing food, not so amazing food, listen to their stories, build new friendships, exchange contact information, hope to see them again. See my adventure companion. Feel his love, gaze into his eyes, comb my hands through his beard, laugh out loud, be annoyed, learn about him, and notice my patterns in our relationship. See myself. My Self. The higher Self that gets to experience all these amazing places, people, and love. Feel my eyes open with curiosity for all that is.
As my eyes open wider, I begin to realize that they're not open at all. I've only just started to see the light. I find more places I want to see. Subjects I want to learn about. Vrittis that I want to uncover. And what I realize is that it is not normalcy that I'm searching for - it is an intentional ritual. Some practice that I can take with me no matter where I am, so I can keep my eyes open, so I can learn not only about each wonderful place, but also about the depths of myself. Something that I prioritize above all else, that is fresh each time, creates mindfulness, maybe some movement, and a calming of the mind.
When I was in Guatemala, I learned the Gayatri Mantra. I learned it without necessarily knowing what it meant, what the intention was behind the beauty of its words and harmony. It just so happens that in the book that I've been reading and contemplating while traveling, The Yogi's Roadmap, by Bhavani Silvia Maki, breaks down this mantra for all to understand. She explains that in chanting this mantra "we recognize that there are many layers to work through," but that we will be linked to our "deeper aspirations" and "unconscious desires." From the first time I chanted these words, I felt a deep connection to it. A heightened vibration that shifted my perspective, directing my consciousness intentionally towards something bigger than me. The Gayatri Mantra has become my source of ritual. A place to calm my mind and direct it into a space of opening. A place where time and space don't exist. A location where my finite being feels infinite, connected to all that is, to anything other than normal.
I am on the journey to create joy and live with full happiness. And my wish for you is to do the same!
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