Sunday, June 26, 2011

June 26: Get Some Inner Peace

My friend and I went to see Kung Fu Panda 2 yesterday, and two words have been reverberating in my head ever since, "Inner Peace."  It's something I've been trying to achieve for a long time, ever since I read "The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire." 
It can be hard, in the hustle and bustle of life, as appointments and "to do lists" and calendar days fly by, as our differences cause us to clash and collide, as disappointments and frustrations deride us and we feel restless, upset, or hopeless, to achieve and maintain that inner peace.  This weekend was really fun, but it also involved some serious conversations, and a lot of thinking about things that are lacking from my life.  Sometimes we think we have things figured out, only to have a thought or realization that throws everything up in the air again and has us trying to put together a puzzle we've already put together, dangit!  When moments like this arise and we feel ourselves on a precipice of change or big decisions, it can be wise to pause, reflect, and gain some inner peace.
I love to turn to writing, reading, and meditation, but a nice long talk with my Mom also helps.  We are impatient creatures, but it helps to slow down, take a deep breath, think things through, and realize that answers usually come when we need them, things work out if we are true to ourselves, and the Master is aware of every possibility our lives contain.

“Anything is possible when you have inner peace.” Shifu

Sunday, June 19, 2011

June19: Take Matters Into Your Own Hands

So I have been here a few weeks now, and though we have been to some really beautiful places and done lots of fun things, I am definitely at the mercy of my friend.  She's a wonderful person, but we are very different.  She doesn't like to explore the way I do.  I dragged her along paths, on long rides, and into cathedrals with me, but in general she just has no interest and would rather stay home. 
I was stuck between being her guest (where I don't really know people and the area and should mostly keep by her) and being myself (inquisitive, restless, and anxious to wander).  I thought things might get kind of ugly.  But today I had a genius idea that has led to a major breakthrough.  I printed out a google map of the neighborhood- Itea Court in Regents Park, all the way to Browns Plains (where the mall is and where I have occasionally persuaded to walk with me, even though she hates walking).  There are 9 parks on this map, 9!  And I am pretty good at finding my way around when I have a map.
So this afternoon I got my ipod, my camera, and my map, and I headed out to explore!  I was gone for about an hour, walking along neighborhood streets, south to the market corner, east to Acorus Park (where I found a 1.5 k Green Loop, along a beautiful natural trail, and just before dark arrived back at home.  I marked my path on the map and it's gratifying to see where I've been and how much is left to walk.  It has become my new goal while I'm here to walk as much as possible and go to all 9 parks.  And I thought, this is a great thing to do no matter where you live or how many times you've walked your streets.  Print a map of the neighborhood, or a neighborhood nearby, and find some treasure...

Monday, June 13, 2011

May 15- June 12: Wherever You Go, There You Are

Well, it is the end of my 12th day in Australia! Yes, folks, I am finally here.  Unfortunately it has also been weeks since my last post.  There have been so many events and moments packed into these past few weeks that I hardly know where to start as far as small changes and lessons learned.  Australia is not how I imagined it.  Outside my window are lush hills with tropical trees and flowers, just like in Guatemala, and in the city are Parliament buildings, clock towers, and cathedrals, just like in England.  And so rather than feeling like a whole new country to me, this place feels strangely familiar.  My friends' family have been welcoming and I am already feeling quite at home with them.  There are many days of change and discovery ahead, but first I would like to discuss the biggest lesson I've learned so far:  Wherever You Go, There You Are.
Or in other words, you can start with a whole new army of shampoos, body sprays, face washes, even clothes and accessories.  You can start a new day, a new week, a new month.  You can travel to the other side of the world, live in a place where no one knows you, and you are surrounded by new things.  And yet, you are still You.  Every time I embark on a new phase of life, I have so many hopes for making changes in my life, and this newest adventure was no different.  However, I quickly discovered that I would have the same struggles here as at home, or anywhere.  To make real and lasting changes, they must come from a place deep within.  They must start as a spark within us and be fanned with enthusiasm and persistence.
And so, here I am, still me, liking to stay up late and sleep in, inconsistent and flighty, just in another country.  I wanted to become another person while I was here, but what I should have focused on was being a better version of myself.