Where you are is exactly where you need to be.
Thailand is a land of beautiful temples and balmy weather; a place where you can slow down and unwind by doing activities such as yoga and Thai massage.
I first tried yoga on a trip to Thailand, and it made such a difference to my well-being, after just one week!
Before my visit to Thailand, I had been taking care of my mum. She had been diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor, and I took care of her for six months. Shortly after she passed away, I broke up with my boyfriend.
I needed to heal.
So, I travelled to Thailand for a good rest.
I think I would have spent my entire holiday doing yoga if I had not also made plans to travel to Ayutthaya and Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand.
As much as I would have loved to remain there, travelling and doing yoga, I knew that was not to be. After my week of yoga and visiting Northern Thailand, I returned to my very different life in London, to start work in a bank.
But even though I was back in London in body, I was dreaming of being back in Thailand, doing yoga, and feeling the benefits to my body and soul. As winter came and went, my longing to return to Thailand continued. I dreamed of attending a month-long yoga retreat.
To make matters worse, not only was I still in London and working in the bank, I had now developed migraines. I thought, “If I felt so much better after just one week of doing yoga, how good would I feel after doing yoga for a whole month?!” It was a difficult time in my life, and yet, I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
Finally, after five cold winters of city life and office work, I was able to turn my dream into reality: I felt the call to return to Thailand, specifically to the same yoga retreat I had visited before, just after my mum had passed away.
I quit my job in corporate banking and left for Thailand. This time, however, I planned to go on the retreat for a whole month, followed by a “Life Change Holiday” and a massage course. Although all of these activities were quite relaxing, it was a busy schedule! Ever since I can remember, I have been enrolling in courses to better myself—I like to learn, meet new people, and challenge myself, and I am sure this will never change.
However, once I’d started the one-month intensive yoga retreat and before the first week was over, I found I didn’t want to be inside a yoga hall all day.
The weather was beautiful, so I took a day off to go to the beach. Bear in mind that for the past five years, I had suffered debilitating migraines from working long hours in an office with hardly any daylight. Being outdoors, enjoying the sun, and just being without any physical pain felt so good!
The course included evening lectures. These lectures were interesting, but I didn’t feel the need to attend every night. By this time, I had attended so many courses, yoga holidays, and retreats that I somehow resisted taking in more knowledge about healing.
Instead, I wanted to have fun, meet people from all walks of life, see new places, socialize, and get to know more about Thai culture.
Nevertheless, I finished the retreat and decided to stay in Thailand for three more months—but this time with no plan and no course to attend!
Why was my second experience so different to my first time?
In the five years between visits, I had done a lot of grieving and some unexpected healing. I didn’t realize (or notice) that being back home and connecting with my roots had actually helped me in healing some of my wounds.
Although I completed the second retreat, in hindsight I realized that I was holding on to the same great feeling I had experienced a few years before. All I remembered was how great I felt after that first week but what I forgot was that I wasn’t the same person I was five years ago.
What can you and I learn from this?
1. Check in with yourself.
It’s important to listen to your body and to ask yourself, every now and then, what it is that you need right now. Early morning meditation provides a particular good environment for that. Become still and listen to answers that are already there. Sometimes, we hang on to an old feeling without realizing that every moment in life is unique and we are not the same person we were even a year ago.
2. There are many ways we heal.
There are times when we heal by deepening our yoga studies, seeking solitude, and by going far away from the places that hurt us, but there are also times when we heal by connecting to our roots. We also heal by making ourselves vulnerable and open to love.
Sometimes, we can just be and enjoy life because whether we like it or not, life itself will bring challenges that will help us to grow.
3. Sometimes less is more.
Although a workshop will give us new knowledge, and no doubt bring something positive to our lives, there is no need to overachieve and run from one workshop to another.
I remember my mum always saying to me, “Oh no, you are not doing another course!” and maybe she was right by saying that another course won’t necessarily make me happier.
We think that by pushing ourselves more, we will be happier and more acceptable to others, but sometimes we can simply enjoy life for what it is without putting additional pressure on ourselves. Remember: I am enough.
4. Detaching from yoga and self-improvement.
Detaching from yoga and self-improvement is not lost time. When you take a break from yoga and spirituality, you get to feel the benefits of your yoga practice, physically and emotionally. You may notice that you have made shifts in your way of being. You may notice a difference in how you deal with people or how you handle certain situations. You can enjoy the calmer and more confident person you have become through your yoga practice.
5. Respecting others on their journey.
There are so many layers to healing our wounds, and it is important to recognize and respect that everybody is at a different stage of their journey.
Being non-judgmental makes everybody much happier. Someone might be at a stage of seeking solitude, someone might go deeper in his/her yoga practice, and someone else is just busy with other priorities in his/her life. It’s all fine. Priorities and the stages of healing change.
6. Slowing down.
Not having fixed plans and slowing down gets us closer to our heart.
We make room to align yourselves with the universe. We open up to opportunities that we may not see if we are too busy all the time.
By slowing down and having a smaller schedule, we are making room for things to emerge naturally. By slowing down and letting go of attachments and expectations we might even discover new insights about ourselves.
Healing ourselves has so many layers. We are all on our individual journeys and there is no road map. We can only trust the process that we are exactly where we need to be.
Where are you on your journey right now? What is your heart telling you? Do you feel the need to go inward and spend time on your own or are you ready to get busy and take on a new project?
Maybe life doesn’t seem to make sense for you right now or you feel you are not moving on as quickly as you would like to—trust every part of the process and learn to let go and not control everything.
“Life is a balance between holding on and letting go.” ~ Rumi