“Mommy, I just realized: you’re excited to go away because you have an adventure. We’re not because we’re still at home. It’s like you’re going to camp.”
These were the insights from my darling daughter just last night about my trip to India winter 2014. It’s a major breakthrough because when I accepted my client and friend Katherine Austin’s generous invitation to accompany her on an India retreat, blogging, photographing and otherwise using this spiritual journey as a public relations opportunity, my daughter was adamantly opposed.
In the first months after I announced this trip, she would spontaneously tell me how much she didn’t want me to go, and how incredibly long three weeks is. Never mind that I accompanied a client a couple years ago to Bali for 10 days; she was nervous as can be about my absence then and we got through it just fine.
Which was what I said when she expressed dismay. But inside, I was feeling nervous myself.
What if three weeks IS too long to leave my children? Am I a bad mother by going? Selfish? Indulgent? And by the way, India – exciting and also India – terrifying!
Scenes from Slumdog Millionaire cycled through my mind as my headstrong daughter’s whines played a soundtrack. Finally, I stood on the precipice of a cliff, about to cancel.
And then, last week, at an inspiring conference with Ted McGrath in San Diego, I participated in the breakthrough meditation and got a very interesting message.
Eyes-closed, I saw myself standing on the top of a snowy mountain peak, the brilliant sun gleaming above me in a crystalline blue sky. My head tilted to the sun, eyes closed, and my arms were open wide, as if to embrace the gorgeous scenery all around me.
Back home in the embrace of my family, I realized this is my destiny, in so many ways. I am on a path of spiritual interfaith leadership – what better way to solidify my standing by immersing in the world’s religions and spiritual centers?
The practice of yoga is one of those bridges between cultures and belief systems; this client, this journey, this part of my career is so key to getting to my leadership place as an interfaith minister. I am on the road to modifying my mission to something like this: empowering people to embrace spiritual entrepreneurship.
I’m going to India. As soon as I was solid on it, my daughter’s objections diminished. She’s not happy about being away from me, but she is accepting my journey and hers as well. And my children are starting to learn that love transcends geography, that love is an emotional bond that need not require physical proximity.
The journey is a literal one, to the other side of the world, and an internal one as well. Daring to travel beyond my comfort zone, embracing a different culture, taking chances.
Last night, I searched for information and opportunities to make this trip my own as well as a work assignment. I am looking for a way to trek in the Himalayas without missing too much of the International Yoga Festival. I am certainly going to take a day to raft down the Ganges. And you can imagine how much shopping I am likely to do in Rishikesh.
If we don’t push ourselves past the familiar boundaries, how can we ever grow?
And the biggest lesson I take away from this is one of following the path we’re on rather than fighting it, jumping off into the bushes or trying very, very hard to get ourselves on a different path.
Life is a flow of energy. If we try to swim against the current, we’re only going to struggle. You can only tread water for so long without getting tired.