Well, there's nothing like an epic bout of food poisoning to cut you down to size. There I was, romping around Northern Thailand like I owned it. No cares, no worries, no troubles in sight. Then BAM.
Okay universe, I get it - I don't have it all figured out.
But let's not get caught up in the brutal reality that has been the past 36hrs of my life, because, really, this week has been amazing. I love Chiang Mai. I love Northern Thailand. This week, I fell in love with color over and over and over again. I made friends with the most magnificent creature I have ever known. I trekked through the jungle with a hilarious bunch of Thai gentlemen. I rode along the Ping river on the back of a motorbike. I spent a day with Embee, a beautiful Thai farmer and cook who taught me how to make some of her favorite dishes and also happened to have the most amazing laugh ever.
I ate. I drank. I sang. I meditated. I walked and walked and walked and walked. I found a lovely little whole in the wall restaurant called 'Aum' where they had an old guitar lying around... oh man did it feel good to get my fingers on those strings again.
It's been a good week :)
The highlight of the week for me was undoubtedly getting to frolick with Tong Jai, a rescue elephant living in a sanctuary near Chiang Mai. The sheer size of her was mindblowing. At first it was quite frightening being near her - her trunk was so strong... it was clear to me that she could've easily crushed me. In fact, it probably wouldn't have taken much effort on her part at all. But as we got to know each other, and I proved I was a friend by feeding her plenty of bananas and sugar cane, we both warmed up to each other. I even got a little kiss on the cheek! It was an elephant bloo-bah!! (For those of you who don't know what a bloo-bah is, just ask my siblings!)
I'm planning another trip back to the sanctuary this week to visit more with Tong Jai and the other elephants there. I can't wait... there's something about those creatures... I don't know if I've ever been more blissed out than when I was playing in the water with her... sigh <3
And then there's the blessing... Sheesh, talk about hitting the spot.
"... Learn to be a good friend to yourself, journeying to that place in your soul where there is love, warmth, and feeling."
I did that this week - I was my own best friend. I held my own hand and journeyed into the depths of my own soul... and in doing so, I felt more connected than ever to the world around me, to my new surroundings, and all the new faces in my life on this adventure.
But for the first time, I felt completely disconnected from my life back in the states. Logically I knew that my life there was a good one, full of friendship and love and family and music... but physically, emotionally, subconsciously... I couldn't feel it anymore. It was so strange. It was as if someone had just flipped a switch and turned that part of my life off. The few times I connected with friends back home over the internet, I would say "I miss you" and though I knew the words to be true, I couldn't find the real meaning behind them. It was honestly so bizarre. I started to wonder if maybe I should move to Chiang Mai - maybe I was living my life in the wrong place. Maybe the universe was trying to tell me something.
And then I puked for 36hrs straight (ha!) and my heart immediately sought comfort in the hearts of friends back home.
At the end of the blessing this week, O'Donahue writes... "May you never be isolated, but know the embrace of your Anam Cara." The words Anam Cara are Celtic for "friend of my soul" and represent rare friendships that transcend time and distance. <3
Maybe the universe does want me to live in Chiang Mai... I don't know yet. But what I *do* know is that I am blessed with true Anam Cara in my life.
Blessed. Blessed. Blessed.
I have one question before I sign off... for those of you who made it to the end... if you met someone who could see into your future, and they told you that you could ask them three questions... what would you ask?