A personal story about how I learned (still always learning) to accept myself, my experience in Thailand, and stay connected with my spirituality.
My spirituality sprouted from the roots of my soul while I was in college. I had ended an abusive relationship with an alcoholic and it wrecked me. My university offered free yoga classes at the gym and I started going to them every day.
Yoga class was not just an exercise, it was also about spiritual growth and coping with trauma. During meditation at the end of class, the instructor would come around and massage our temples with lavender essential oil. They would read us quotes and excerpts about letting go of anger, being in the present, finding yourself, etc. It validated that I was lost, that I needed to get back on the path, and build a fulfilling life. Back then, I was learning about all these ideas for the first time and so they begun to change me.
I became so intrigued with yoga that I minored in Asian Studies. The philosophy, religion, history, and art of Southeast Asia and India fascinated me. I read excerpts from the Bhagavad Gita, Daodejing, and other Buddhist and Hindu texts in my philosophy and history courses. The texts put my abstract, unorganized thoughts into eloquent ideas. It explained things that I felt I had always known deep down in simple ways.
While in college, I volunteered in Ghana and taught yoga to pregnant women. I worked with them one on one, with a translator, and taught them poses to help relieve pain and release tension. The women and the nurses in the clinic were very receptive and excited about what I taught.
All I wanted was to travel, see new places, experience new cultures. I had a longing to go to Asia that I knew I would never let go of. Eventually, timing and opportunity aligned and I packed up and moved to Thailand.
T H E S P A R K:
I went on an 8 day trip to Italy when I was 16 years old with my high school Latin class. I discovered magnificent architecture, history, a new language, and a completely new way of living life. It made me realize that there are SO many beautiful things and experiences that I must see for myself, in person. And this sparked something within me – more profound than curiosity. I unearthed a longing and duty to travel.
S I E Z I N G O P P O R T U N I T Y:
After Italy, a girl in one of my college english classes told me about a travel course to Ghana and I immediately went and signed up for the class. I ended up spending a month in rural Ghana teaching maternity yoga and volunteering at a junior high school. This adventure made me realize that I wanted to volunteer in another third world country. 4 years later, I found myself in the Dominican Republic volunteering as a preschool teacher. In between these trips, I backpacked through the USA working on farms because it saved me money and all I desired was to travel. After I returned to school, I made the spontaneous decision to spend my senior year of college in New Zealand studying at the University of Auckland. Now, I am a full-time kindergarten teacher in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
S E L F R E F L E C T I O N:
I have always had an independent, adventurous spirit…but I think that I am looking for something. There is something within me that needs to go somewhere new. Each place enchants and frustrates me. Methods of daily life in each country create a new space in your brain, a new alternative that you never thought of before. You learn about people, how we all want the same things and, also, how we clash.Read More