The rain woke me this morning.
Rain and the wind rushing through the tree
Limbs outside my bedroom window.
Stormy gray skies boiled above me
And the grass whispered below.
The leaves are changing colors now,
The blackberries giving up their final stand,
The lawns are dead, flowers wilt,
The rains will come again.
In a month I will fly to Bangkok to start a 5 month individual learning contract entitled: “The Golden Triangle: Photography, Writing, and Buddhist Belief.” It all came together so quickly that it seems as if my mind hasn’t completely decided to believe it’s real.
I went to the bookstore today, made my way through it’s doors, out of the calming gray overcast skies and cool breeze, into the too-hot, stifling shelves of Orca Books. I immediately went in search of the Lonely Planet guides, hoping to find Thailand and Cambodia, but coming up empty. I looked across the shelves of movies to the Buddhism section and wended my way through the aisles until I came upon the meager selection. I spent an hour looking over each individual title, opening covers, reading random pages throughout, trying to determine if this book or that would be appropriate to use for my contract. I came away with six new titles, three from Thich Nhat Hahn, two him His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and the small “Pocket Pema Chodron.” All in all a successful trip. On my walk back to the car I tried a little walking meditation, counting my breathes, “in, I am breathing in, out, I am breathing out” and allowing the sounds around me to fill my body. The leaves of a nearby oak fluttered loudly in the passing breeze and a car horn went off in the distance, but I was more aware of the sound of the clouds than anything else. This may be hard for one to understand, but it made perfect sense in my mind as I closed my eyes and breathed in the scenes around me.
This meditation exercise was the first of many I will be having in the very near future. It got me excited. Told me, “heck yes you can do this, Haley. You just have to listen to yourself.” Part of the ILC, my mom’s idea, is to participate in a meditation retreat in one of the countries I will be visiting. I hope to do this in Thailand, perhaps during one of the first few weeks that I will be there. I remember last December going to a meditation workshop with my mom in Delhi and not being able to sit for more than ten minutes without getting fidgety and bored. I think that this will be a big challenge for me, ten days or so of no talking, probably ten hours a day meditating, unable to move, readjust. A lesson in overcoming what your mind transmits as pain, but what is in fact, just a general discomfort misconstrued as something else.
My excitement for this journey ahead is undeniable. My nervousness is as well.