Tag Archives: meditation

No Return, No Regrets


When I returned from the Appalachian trail it was easy to feel. My emotions, like my body and breath, ran strong and deep. Emotions surfaced suddenly and ran their course like summer storms. I was an empty vessel, quickly filled with feelings without notice; and just as quickly they poured out…

“I am large; I contain multitudes.” – Walt Whitman

The meditation of thru hiking stripped away patterns of normalized anxiety. I had constructed my behavior, and my emotional self, on my ability to engage with work, email, social media and to-do lists. Outside these dominant forms I found myself rich in emotion – overcome by abundant wonder, fear, sadness, humility, excitement, laughter, gratitude and love. I realized I had been using the crutch of anxiety, the “glorification of busy” to define my whole identity. Busy-ness had overridden the diversity of my person – my body, emotion, and intellect. I had allowed my mind, and my wandering thoughts to take over completely.

The meditation of walking allowed me to release myself from this egoistic pattern, and experience again the full spectrum of human emotion in an immediate way, becoming emotionally available to myself and those around me.

Being back in the city now I’m trying not to fall into the trap of wandering stress, aimless anxiety and endless to-do lists. I fought so hard to free myself of this anxiety on my first thru hike, and again on our trip to Guatemala, but it’s not unlike depression or addiction, where the pain itself is known, and it’s familiarity has become comforting.

And here it is. Returning to the city I return temporarily to the shackles of perceived productivity, busy-ness, email chains and social obligations. I am awake now to the trap of these samskaras (negative patterns of thinking) and know they don’t define me. Yet I am still temporarily enthralled by their siren’s song… fooled into thinking they are important somehow.

I hike, meditate, practice yoga – I do all these things to preserve the purity of what I accidentally experienced on my first thru hike; a true unmediated vision of myself. A comfort in a mind that has burned out all thoughts. An experience of joy in my body, my breath and movement. Mind, body and emotion inextricably connected.

I want to make this my new normal. I want to return to the state – where through physical exhaustion, the magnitude of nature, or the quiet of purpose – I understand that everything I need is inside of me. Where I can finally release my addiction to the stresses of civilization, realizing they are just my ego distracting me. My truest purpose; just being. Myself!

As the Moon Rises


The full moon approached as we explored San Pedro during a couple of well deserved days off – our first after a long stretch of work-for-stay on the Mystical Yoga Farm. The day began with a juice date with Jananî, the spiritual leader of the farm who we had shared transport with.

Andrew, a Canadian friend who had just left a position at the farm to travel Central America showed up unexpectedly. Being one for extremes, he took two juice shots in 15 minutes – the first a ginger, the second garlic. He then spent the next hour doubled up against a wall in a gravel parking lot across the street sweating garlic and trying not to vomit. Note to self – no garlic shots. Especially at 10am.

As Andrew repaired himself we progressed to the local Hebrew hummus joint HUMMUS YA for a delicious and filling 25Q roasted veggie lunch. Our mission after lunch was setting our lodging straight – we found a hotel near the public dock with a private room, lukewarm showers in a private bath, shared kitchen and a roof terrace – all for Q60 (about $8 US). The room even came with an unexpected guardian – a 7 legged spider the size of a small cat.

Mystical Yoga Farm values community and we often end the days by sharing time with people around us in a variety of mystical summer camp type activities; sweating in the temescal, kiritan style call and response fireside singing, gift sharing ceremonies (basically a yogi talent show), or guided meditations. The full moon is especially potent and sacred for such exchange, and we envisioned our rooftop terrace as the perfect place to share an intimate ceremony with Jananî.

The blossoming of the full moon is a perfect time to set an intention for the next cycle of your journey. The ripe moon allows us to meditate on where we are at in the moment, and what the next month looks like offering us a discreet frame to view our actions and manifestations.

The lunar cycle pulls us, as the moon pulls the tides, reminding us of other constant cycles in our lives and our constant state of flux. And just at the moon circles the Earth – outshining even the starts for a moment – we are able to chart our paths.

We met Jananî and slowly climbed the 4 flights of stairs to the roof of Hotel Peneleju as the the moon slowly began it’s ascent in the cloudless sky. We bundled up and spent 30 minutes in an unchoreographed clown show trying to light candles on an unsheltered rooftop on a windy night. Finally, all candles went out and we began our ceremony, calling in the 4 directions of the Medicine Wheel. Our other SYI friends were performing a simultaneous ritual near Yellowstone in California, praying for rain to end a 3 year drought. We spent some time talking about the nature of things like drought and human intervention. Our conclusion was that it’s impossible to wish a specific outcome for any situation – any wishes using the genie’s lamp inevitably go astray. So we wished for things like limited suffering, abundance of food, allowing equal and just access to resources, and realizations that water is one of our most precious natural gifts – hoping that it remain free and accessible for all.

We then discussed our own personal manifestations for the coming month. Creating this ceremony on a clear night with full bellies, abreast a beautiful lake, with a soft bed to sleep in and good friends around us we realized – who needs more than this?