I haven’t posted a new blog because the last week has been on and off good, and tough. I was experiencing a ton of feelings, frustrations, annoyed, lonely, dirty, bored…The list could go on, and believe me, I made a list in a journal.
I got to cycle 85k with a group of friends in recovery I had met in Chiang Mai last Saturday. I call it the tour de Thailand…haha it was a blast, it was difficult, it hurt, but riding along with other recovering addicts doing something mentally, and physically challenging just sparked a light in me, I felt right at home. The guy who set up the ride pointed out that myself and a few others had never ridden this far before. Oh, and let me tell you when I showed up that morning to ride, almost everyone that was going was in legit biker gear, padded shorts, the shirts, helmets…I thought “oh no, what did I get myself into… I sweated so much I had salt stuck on my skin like I had swam in the ocean, but worse. My butt hurt to the point that stopping felt more painful than pushing through. Good conversations were had, a great lunch in a town called Lamphun ( the town we rode to). Quiet town, with very old temples. The path back was along the Ping river the entire route. It was peaceful and calm, I saw what fish hatcheries look like in Thailand. We did get on the highway towards the end, and actually rode on the freeway merging and changing lanes, getting on and off exits ON A BICYCLE! I was freaked, but had to keep up and just follow suit. It was crazy to be riding a bike with cars and motorbikes going 40-50 mph. But what an experience. Overall I felt I was right where I was supposed to be, I really enjoy and connect with the people in recovery here. Even though my body was sore, my heart was happy. I even got a thai massage that night.
The following day I had the opportunity to share my experience, strength, and hope with a recovery house in Chiang Mai. My friends from Portland showed up for support which was comforting but also increased the nerves. I prayed, and shared from my heart. I felt so honored and blessed (so blessed 😉 ) to be sharing with recovering addicts from all over the world.
Maybe the dopamine from the bikeride, and the increased joy, and happiness and all around love I was experiencing lead to me feeling like I was coming down. From a high on life. But I struggled with loneliness, frustration, feeling dirty and hot and well bored the following days. I didn’t do much, and I guess feeling like every day has to be an adventure of amazing stories got to me. Realizing I am still running from myself even across the world in a foreign country when the only constant is myself and my creator. I found myself waste deep in pain. Regarding a lot of which I shared about on Sunday, so maybe thats the universe showing me I have more work to do.
My arrogance, my selfishness was full fledge. I could not stop complaining in my head about the heat, and humidity and having no escape. I was sick of the bathroom situation, the lack of toilet paper and paper towels. Almost all toilets are squat toilets, so if you hold your pee and finally find a restroom and squat in a flat ceramic “thing” on the ground it splashes you, only to look up and find no TP and your sweating profusely became very frustrating over and over again. This would be because I was walking around the city instead of taking taxi’s. Constantly buying water, constantly smelling sewage, fish, or what I am convinced is either chicken cages or dog cages inside buildings. You walk past and just smell a smell that makes me almost throw up and I dont throw up from smells. I was feeling alone, and pissed off and dirty and annoyed and I just wanted to give up. I wanted to go home and see my mom, my dad, my family, my friends. I wanted to get a good workout in, a yoga session, swim in a clean and cold river. I wanted to go back to everything I know because it sounded easier and comforting. And I had only been in Thailand a little over 2 weeks.
I prayed a lot, I wrote a lot, I walked a lot, I reached out to my sponsor and my best friend. I pushed through, or sat in my feelings. I cried, I napped, I walked an hour to get to a womens meeting only to find out I went to the complete wrong place. I cried some more. I got upset and jealous seeing couples, and friends all together. At times I wish I drank so I could go out and meet people that way. I tried to meet others, struck up conversations, I tried to communicate with the locals that got hard quickly. I could go on. I think I have complained to much as it is, but I think its important to share the struggles. Not every day on this journey is going to be rainbows and butterflies. Its going to get hard, its going to hurt, I am going to want to give up and go home but I have this opportunity to grow instead. I have this opportunity and precious time to focus on nothing but myself, to look at myself internally and develop a greater understanding of who I am and what I want in life.
I have the opportunity to do this with a clear and somewhat innocent mind becasue of the hard work I have put in the last 3 years. I am not going to spend every day adventuring, everyday with myself in a foreign country is an adventure.
One of my last days in Chiang Mai, I got to meet and chat with a manager at the treatment facility in Chiang Mai. It changed my whole perspective on things. It went well, and if the opportunity arise’s I could find myself staying at least to find out if I could make it permanent. Who knows what will happen, and I am continuing my trabvels, but staying open to everything…the best I can ;). Anyways, that same day I ventured to a temple to sit and speak with a monk. He brought tears to my eyes mutltiple times, and shared with me some very wise words. I asked if living the monk life was difficult because of temptation. He shared “the monk life has 237 rules we live by, these rules are to help us not hinder us” “Buddha believed that suffering comes from the mind, and happiness comes from the mind.” “If we are living with greed, hate, jealousy, obsession, we are suffering” “Happiness can lead to greed, hate, jealous, and obessesion which leads to suffering” “Practicing control of the mind through meditation teaches us how to control our minds” He shared a lot more with me, a lot of stuff that tugged on my heart strings and I am not sure he meant to. It was incredibly enlightening. I mean Monks have 237 rules they live by daily, they walk around in the mornings to collect donations for their one meal a day, one meal, they live in the monestries at the temples. They eat, sleep, and breath buddhism and “monk life.” My problems are so miniscule and self inflicted. What I gained is to work on my mind, work on myself internally.
I began to realize how selfish to complain about toilets and luxeries such as tp and paper towels, being in a developed 3rd world country stuck with my americanized mind. It sometimes upsets me that I am so conditioned to luxeries that most of the world does not have access to and when I get them taken away I freak out like a spoiled child. Remembering being back home and getting upset with foreigners because I could not understand them, and here I am in a country and the further away from tourism I get the less english is spoken or known. The more I feel ashamed and embarrased that I am trying to speak english like they should know what I am saying. I mean I got dropped off in the pouring rain at a gas station because of confusion and language barriers and I didnt want to get stuck on bus heading a few hours south of the town I was headed to. Luckily the gas station was in the town, but I was very confused and again frustrated. I act like they should know english, like duh. Thats so not right, and I have to constantly change my thought process when I am in this situation. I guess all of this adapting and feeling alone and frustrated is part of the process. part of the Journey. That is the conclusion, and I have to be willing to change, and look at these feelings and learn from these experiences, otherwise I will make this trip miserable for myself.
I found gratitude again, I pushed through the lonely feelings and just stayed out and about all day my last day in Chiang Mai, after seeing the monk I met up with a fellow solo traveler that blog and photographs and went to the infamous Ladyboy Caberet and it was off the hook. By far an amazing show, amazing energy, a blast.
I know my blogs are super long, imagine when I write. These are for me to reflect back on as well.