As I zip along on my slightly rusty one brake bike on the Island of Gili Air, I am struck by the child like character that seems to be emerging from the depth of my adult body. Every day I ride, the comfort level rises. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing for the relaxed tourists standing in the middle of the road not able to choose a direction. This bike and I have become friends. We’re like playful children, gently menacing the neighbors and terrorizing the town. I ride with a speed and intensity that makes me nervous, yet also sets a permasmile on my face, where the chance of being smacked in the teeth by a tropical bug is a strong possibility.
As I careen around corners, I lovingly speak my truth, “Excuse me!” “On your left!” “On your right!” and “Whoa, Whoa… WHOA!!!” I smile, wave and laugh towards complete strangers, confident that my inadvertent ridiculousness will bring a grin or a giggle. Or maybe I’m just freaking them out; either way, it’s all good.
The paths on this little Island, to say the least, are like a primitive playground. I bounce, dodge, hop, side step, skid, lean and grind to a halt depending on the quality of the dirt. At home, this constant road block would cause me to feel irritated and impatient. But here, the spontaneous obstacle course gives me yet another scenario to realize that life is a series of adventurous paths. Some will be perfectly smooth and other roads will be made of soft sand; which means that we'll have to get off our bikes and start pushing.
The fucking sand! Seriously. Have you ever tried to ride a bike through sand? You can try, but you’ll look drunk and eventually slam to a halt. So you jump off, grab the handle bars with a solid grip and start to push. Man, that sand is one tough bitch. She’s all sweet and kind when you lay on her during the day, but when you wanna ride on her, she’s all tease this and work harder for that. Ugh… give me a break. She doesn’t give you options – when it’s the middle of the night and you’re on the beach, there’s no way out but to push ahead; one exhausted slipping foot in front of the other. But at least the momentum is forward.
My life trails are a combination of easy breezy and really challenging. There’s never a dull moment in my journey, because I am aware that my life is meant to be full of bumps. I demand growth and when one asks for that, the Universe will support. Which means, inevitability, I am going to go through sand.
You and I need to move through tough situations to become stronger, more independent and to trust our own abilities. Without all the struggles how can we relate, encourage and “get” each other? And so, we need to keep riding. Some days I’ve got the wind in my hair, laughter in my heart and people diving out of my way as I cruise around, yet other days, I’m stopped dead in my tracks and want to give up.
But we NEED to keep going. We’re too valuable and precious to stop progressing. So take a break and sit down. Recalibrate. Then once you have relaxed, take a big ol’ breath of fresh air, grab your bike and simply keep walking.
Can be brought on because of death, and also loss. Since my car accident a few weeks ago, I have felt sad, depressed, introspective, euphoric, peaceful, withdrawn and just down right tired. The real impact of this situation came crashing down on me like a tidal wave that tossed me around like a rag doll, when I finally saw the wreckage. My first thought was awww poor car and then as I stood back and stared at all the twisted metal, I saw that car as a symbol for all that has been dying inside of me. My heart became instantly heavy and tears flooded my eyes. I am aware of my good fortune, to not have been hurt further. But this is not about a loss of life - this is about a loss of who I perceive I am.
We all are programmed from the time we are little to "be" a certain way. Over the past couple of years, I have made a conscious effort to become aware of who I "think" I am.
There are many expectations placed on us in life - by family members, loved ones, work and other external situations. Sometimes out of necessity we become a certain way to survive, to make due or to avoid conflict. The issue with this, is that our character develops, not from an deep sense of our own truth reality, but from outside pressures and expectations. However, this evolution is natural. Most of us start from this place of unconscious living and perceptions and work our way to our true essence. What it may feel like, for some of us, is a loss. A death occurs when we realize with complete and utter love for self - that we are NOT who others think we are or for that matter who we thought were... and HOLY SHIT - is that a wild devastating, beautiful eye opening, earth shattering journey.
I am picking up my new shiny red car today. In contrast my old car was dark grey. The symbolism seems obvious but I'll state it anyways... and that is the darkness that once was, is shifting into something bold and brilliant. I am a goddess who is aware of my growing personal power and expansion. I am breaking free, opening up and letting go. It's hard. I feel like I'm fighting with my old self at times... but that's ok. It's a process that we must go through, if we want to find our authenticity, true voice and a place within ourselves where we are not wearing a mask. We need to mourn. We need to take the time to witness and cry.
You will discover YOU, when you are ready to let go of the flimsy walls that surround you. When you're ready... take a test drive. See what it's like to step into the new and improved you. Then slowly place your foot on the gas and knock that shit down.
Wan·der·er: 1. a person who travels aimlessly; a traveler 2. To move about without a definite destination or purpose.
Recently, on one of my get - away - from - it – all trips, I landed in San Diego; with sun on my face, an open heart and a nagging feeling that it was time to get another tattoo. Yes, I realize I have a mild addiction, but this particular quote, “Not all who wander are lost,” from JR Tolkien, had been calling me for a while. I went to a reputable and attractive (just sayin’) artist named Chowdah Bowl, who I had been to before, at “Above all Tattoos” in Pacific Beach. After I picked out the font and showed him some random art work, he was ready to go.
The design was simple and perfect. Once the tat was done, I took a look in the mirror and almost cried. A deep wave of emotion came pouring into my being and a weight lifted from my shoulders. I now owned the fact that I am a wanderer, a traveler and a Gypsy soul.
As cliché as some people will think this tattoo is, I just don’t fucking care. I actually really love this well-known inspirational phrase inked directly under my left collar bone. Chowdah Bowl did an exceptional job adding shadowy birds fluttering their way up my long neck into the direction of my untamed hair line. I love the symbolism. Generic as it could be perceived, the attitude with which I rock it is not.
I have lovingly been called a bird, a free spirit and an adventure lover. I agree with all these descriptions, even though I am not a fan of labels. But at least these descriptions, just by their nature, give me the ability to detach and fly away.
As I travel, I discover so many wild things about myself. I learn about the deepest parts of me as I interact with my new environment. The uncovering of who Becca truly is; without stresses – bills, failed relationships, self-doubt, and fears; leaves me felling rather vulnerable. I am tempted not to go there at times. But with no agenda or expectations, I rest in the glory of no responsibilities. I am able to come to truths that I never thought existed. I cry, scream, laugh and stand in awe at the depth of love I feel. There is nothing that replaces this journey to go beyond. Beyond our preprogramming, beyond our safety and beyond what we perceive we need to be.
When you come home, how does one incorporate this new found knowledge of self? When you look around you may feel like a foreigner speaking an unknown language and trying to desperately explain yourself with big ridiculous movements, as people stare blankly, nod and smile.
Those who travel will get this, and that is, when coming home; integrating back into regular life is one of the most challenging things to wrap your head around. It always feels like the environment has stood still and yet many changes have occurred within the depths of our cells, which ultimately makes us feel like a stranger in our own communities. The project then of sharing how the “trip” went is a mind boggling task to come up with the right words for the short summary, which inevitably comes across as overly simplified and diminishing.
For most of us wanderers, we have to come back. Coming back to the place we left, is generally part of the process. Work, love and our “regular” life awaits us. The permanent traveler may learn to incorporate the lessons learned as they move on, but for me, bringing myself back down to earth is a key to my development. When my feet finally touch down, I start the sometimes painful process of making change in circumstances that seem stagnant. I do not find integration easy, which is why I choose to do it over and over and over again. As I take one day at a time and slowly allow my journey to absorb into my every day surroundings with career, love, play, friends and family – that is where my inner work truly gets tested.
Many of you who are not world travelers are still journeying. You are making your way in a world of madness, as you walk down the road of truth with a capital T. Who are you? What will you stand up for? What makes you feel deeply? What changes need to be made to connect more fully? What layers will you shed to find an authentic voice?
What I know, is that once you have started to awaken, you will be challenged. However, whether you are hopping on a plane to unknown lands or traveling down an uncomfortable path in your home town, you will find your way.
Taking time to develop a plan to integrate some basic pieces about your new found knowledge is imperative. Try not to become burdened by life so quickly. You can still be YOU amongst the circumstances of life.
Make a decision day to day of how you will interact, set boundaries and continue to nurture your soul. You will grow, face fears, navigate to your core, and mindfully move moment to moment. Because that’s all we’ve got – is this moment. But you already know that…
Be a wanderer; a traveler; a bird; a gypsy; an open heart; a wild lion; a goddess; a god. The journey is not easy, but nothing worth digging for and uncovering, ever is.
Yoga is not about how bendy you are, how strong you are or how beautiful your body is. Yoga is not about competition, comparisons or you versus me. Yoga is not for the elite, the rich, or the cool kids. Yoga is not about what you wear, what your yoga bun looks, or how much you sweat. Yoga is not gossipy, mean or unkind. Yoga is not about who you know, where you practice, or how many people are in your class. Yoga is not about being popular or pretty. Yoga is not a business.
Yoga is love. Yoga is beautiful but also challenging. Yoga breaks you down, tears you wide open and then helps you heal. Yoga connects, creates and uncovers the most raw parts of us. Yoga helps us realize our essence. Yoga is laughter, joy and peace. Yoga allows us to strip away layers and to live authentically. Yoga is inclusive, nonjudgmental and wide open to anyone. Yoga is a studio, a church, or a home. Yoga is you and me; me and you. Yoga is where you are at. Yoga is a teacher. Yoga is everything. Yoga is nothing.
During my initial yoga teacher training in 2007, we played a game called “the beauty I see in you is...” Each student was paired up with an unfamiliar person in class and asked to sit crossed legged facing each other, knee to knee. One of the things I have always enjoyed is my personal space. I was convinced that this yoga program was determined to break this quality down in me and force me to become a close talker. Super uncomfortable about being in such tight quarters, to self - preserve, I said something along the lines of, “Sorry, had onions for lunch,” and maniacally laughed. What a perfect way to start; making my partner think that I’m one crazy bitch.
The purpose of the exercise was to repeat this phrase, “the beauty I see in you is…” over and over again with direct eye contact. The sentence needed to be finished differently each time. For some reason I can’t remember who my partner was or what was said, but I do recall tears streaming down everyone’s face as the words began to shift from the physical beauty of a person to more abstract images. For example: the beauty I see in you is, your radiating heart, as opposed to outwardly attributes of face and body. Sweet, simple affirmations to help the person seated across discover themselves and become closer to their truth. It broke a lot of us down.
However, some things don’t change. If I can feel your breath on my face as we talk, no offense, but I will back up.
Let’s be cliché shall we? As we all know; beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What one person perceives as pretty or attractive is not necessarily how another will acknowledge it. We all have thoughts on what we deem as sexy, gorgeous, handsome and cute.
There is no right or wrong; it just is.
But what does seem to be true across countries, is the idea that if we connect to the positive energy of a person, animal or place, it generally creates a stronger sense of attractiveness. Most people will say in a relationship that once they got to know the heart of their partner, they became even more handsome; also, the reverse can be true.
Either way, physical beauty is only so deep. If you have a shit personality, no amount of hotness will save you.
Indonesia is fucking gorgeous. I don’t care who you are or where you’ve been. When you drop into these Islands you’re going to have a mental orgasm. She’s a stunner. She’s not perfect, but pretty damn close. If you stay here long enough and dive into the culture, you’ll see her flaws. A few blemishes will become obvious: burnt garbage, the division of rich and poor, the unsavory smells, the way some animals are treated, and the inability to walk on the streets without tripping over uneven cement. But I’m conscious that these issues take place around the world, so overall she’s got a lot to offer.
I choose to look beyond these things – not ignore, but I’m not here to change this country in an aggressive “look at the perfect foreigner” kind of way. I’m here to change myself and hopefully make connections that will ripple effect into my home, community and beyond.
I stare into her heaving bosom. She breathes so vibrantly, that I can’t help but breathe in rhythm with her. She’s so inspirational. So soothing as she fills me up moment by moment with the most amazing sights sounds and experiences.
As I write this, I am in the interior of Bali. This is an area that was recommended to me by a good friend. He said that this place would blow my mind. It has. My house is about $50.00 US and could probably handle a family of six comfortably. I am traveling alone; but it feels as if my extended family has come to visit: the birds, crickets, cows, moths, snakes (I’m sure) that surround my house in the hills make me feel right at home.
When I woke up this morning, I started to make my way across the open air patio to the precarious spiral staircase down to the toilet. Bleary eyed and pee pee dancing, I took a moment and looked out into the distance. Immediately, I felt this massive wave of energy blast my body. I stood still and observed the intense colors and beauty surrounding me.
Holy shit, I’m in paradise.
Through eye snot, I blinked a few times to clear my vision. Directly in front of me stands the largest volcano in Bali; reminding me, it could take me out at any time. I backed up and bowed.
My connection to this place just reached a new level.
I cried. In fact I bawled. I can’t even tell you why; except that the power of this place brought me to my knees.
I don’t miss the traffic, the busyness, the noise and the distractions. This place is a reflection of me. I look out in nature; the roaring ocean, the delicate sand and the greenery that’s laid itself out like an acrylic painting to support the distant mountains, and I see me.
The early morning haze hangs in the sky, much like the veil that gently covers our own beauty until we warm to the fact of how precious and perfect we truly are, from the inside out. As dawn turns into late morning, the clouds slowly disappear and the radiance of our souls begins to shine thorough. The sun just turned up the dial and we’re glowing. If nature has taught us anything, it’s to allow things to unfold in an organic ebb and flow. What we can be sure of, is as the night flows into day, our mist will clear and our beauty will be known. Do we resist? Sure. Are we scared? You bet. But for the first time we can look beyond our skin and truly feel the staggering beautiful person we are becoming.
You are nature unfolding day by day. And you can't hide nature.