I am on the plane heading home from my trip to Thailand. This trip was unbelievable on so many levels that I am still processing its innumerable elements. One thing that stands out is how indescribable it is to travel alone. I am blown away at how long it took me to do this. All those years of searching for someone to travel with me and feeling more than once like a victim. Once again I see that playing the victim does nothing but limit one’s life. I speak often in my coaching about victimhood. Just like all the other times that giving up victimhood leads to major AHA moments; this was no different. I was excited the whole time to be making it work and getting around and I couldn’t believe how wonderful all the people were that I met. First I was at a beautiful emotional and physical detox spa and I don’t think I met another person from the States the whole time I was there. That was such a different experience for me. I felt very international. Connecting was easy. I am gifted with the ability to open to others which facilitates their opening up to me. The fact that most people were there working on something, made it even more intriguing. A group of us just became a little discussion group, openly discussing what was coming up around our sessions with the most amazing coaches and energy workers I ever experienced. Unlike most of the people I met, I didn’t come with an agenda. I came because as a coach I am always looking to explore deeper and deeper in to the wild and crazy psyche of mine. I grew as an individual as well as a coach. Amazing how Universal people’s issues are. I have clients who are executives experiencing burn out and this spa has a program called Burn Out. There was a large contingent of executives and entrepreneurs who were “over” being the leaders and money makers of their past. They wanted a different life and they just weren’t sure what. The passion was gone or the drive that kept them in their past career had changed and they were unhappy without understanding why. They had achieved what they originally set out to do and yet it was no longer making them happy. There were also women working through “missing the marriage boat” and deciding whether to continue alone to have children. Listening to their prospective was rewarding because I also have many clients struggling with biological clocks. The biological clock is a fact of nature and their bodies are fighting hard to get their way. Some embraced a big career so they didn’t have time for men and then because they didn’t have a significant man they kept working harder and harder till suddenly their time was running or had run out.
My next hotel was the most beautiful Asian boutique hotel. I didn’t see another American there and it was extraordinarily beautiful. The beauty of this hotel was the only time the entire three weeks that I felt a moment of loneliness and it was more an observation that this would be a wonderful hotel to share with a partner.
Thailand is the most spiritual country I have ever been to. The people are so friendly and have a spiritual backbone which colors their very existence and the belief that material things are not related to their happiness. The “Wat” is their temple and every single town has many. The towns people take pride in their Wats and they clean them and maintain them and put most of their money in to keeping them up. Regardless of what their own living space looks like.
The next day I joined my group of U.S. Backroads bikers. It was here that most of my lessons showed up. There were five single women on this trip including me. Everyone accomplished and adventurous and each had come to Thailand alone. Each of us had or was doing another leg of the trip alone. I was bonding with women who were doing exactly what I was doing. What an exciting gift. We had so much in common; even with much that was different. What a terrific way to meet and make new female friends who already can and do travel the way I wanted to. We had a blast getting to know each other; as well as the other two couples on our trip. I didn’t have a moment of those eight days where I felt anything but totally grateful to be there. We stayed in some of the most beautiful hotels, and every moment of every day, I was so grateful for my life and the opportunities I had and the opportunities I was taking advantage of.
Biking on mountain bikes was different from my usual biking and I felt many times that I had thankfully just missed a chance for something to go wrong. We were mainly on backroads but cars and motor bikes appeared out of nowhere and we were riding on the left side of the road and sometimes I had a near miss with a vehicle. On some days, we would end up in a town like Chiangmai during rush hour traffic and being clipped in on my bike was challenging. There were many opportunities for me to stay in the moment and on total alert.
I had two challenging moments that ended in accidents. One day a few of us did the long option which included a technical off road dirt section for many miles. It was also raining for the first time. I was the only one with clips on and the others also walked their bikes when it got too steep and too technical but I was ahead of them and the messy steep hill was upon me before I had time to think it through. I was clipping in and out as I went up and down the hill depending on how slippery the roads were and how dug up. On this one section the hill and the ruts were upon me and I was so in the moment that I Just kept pushing it out and saying “Oh Shit” to myself over and over. It was too late to clip out or at least my mind didn’t register that as I pushed through. And then, I knew I was done. I was out of momentum and I was going to fall. I can still feel the sensation of knowing I was going down and instead of fighting the moment; I surrendered to it. I went with the flow and not against. I couldn’t change the situation but I could change the outcome by letting go. I crashed. I was still clipped in and many times that ends in a cracked pelvis of broken ribs from the handle bars. I had neither. I had a bloody leg from the dirt and gravel but I landed softly because I was relaxed. It took me a few seconds to know I wasn’t broken and I got up and assessed my damage. I was lucky. I wiped myself off and when the others joined I was able to receive a little medical clean up and then we continued our ride for another few hours.
Many take a-ways. One is that I am resilient. Game was not over. I was still in the rain and still on dirt with the worst biking shoes and clips for that type of riding but I still rode. My reaction to my accident did not take me down. The way I interpreted it left me able to continue. Two was I allowed others to help me when I needed it. Three and most importantly was my outcome by relaxing and accepting and surrendering saved me. My leg continued to be every shade of black and blue but there was no pain and nothing broken and it had no effect on the rest of the trip. Great take away and lesson for my life.
The second incident happened while riding an elephant. We were at an elephant Orphanage where the Mahouts have moved off the streets where they were begging with their elephants. Without a lot of information, we found out selves riding these humongous elephants. They gave us a brief demonstration of how to get on the elephants and a few commands that came in and out of my mind in a flash. After the demonstration, they asked who would like to go first and in the same breath asked me if I would go first. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to go but there I was being cheered on as I tried to follow their directions and make my way on top of this humongous animal. It was scary. They are huge and we had nothing to hold on to and were supposed to squeeze our thighs on the sides of their head and lean on our hands to balance up there. They walk slowly but it is not a secure feeling and a fall from up there would end badly. We walked on these animals for about an hour and a half and I kept thinking “where is the short option?” My girlfriend yelled over “Do we feel in control now?”
I saw fear and partial enjoyment on each of our faces. It was a point where we had to give ourselves up to the Universe because we did not feel safe and not in control.
They lead us to the river and without a true understanding of what was going to happen, we were lead down in to the water. Once again my elephant was first and he didn’t seem to want to go in so my Mahout was yelling at him to go in. In, we went. Then the routine is they kneel in the water and use their trunks to spray us with water. Not sure who thought that was a fun idea: those on the elephant or the elephant. My Mahout was yelling at my elephant and I think my elephant wanted to show him who was boss. He should have asked me-I would have given him complete ownership of the “boss” label. My elephant started bobbing his head fast in the water and then bucked his back just enough to throw me in to the Mekong River. I never saw it coming and yet there I was. The river had a fast current and I immediately yelled out “I am o.k.-I can swim”. My Mahout jumped in also and finally grabbed my arm and after a few minutes I saw he was standing in the river. I had no idea I could stand. But we never would have made it out with the current. Another Mahout with his elephant came in to the river to save me.
I reflected on this moment and realized that the Universe challenges me but always sends me the exact help that I need. Again, resilience came up and acceptance and surrender. Knowing that the Universe always has my back was evident once again. Just as significant was my understanding that I need to be able to receive help when it is offered. I am not an island unto myself. I am one with the Universe and as I continue to do these challenging things-I am so grateful that the Universe is with me; protecting me and challenging me.