I made the choice to go with a faith-based decision rather then a fear-based one and moved on from Chiang Mai (where I knew people) to a new place three hours to the north called Pai. Pai is a hippie, artsy, small town in North Thailand which was made famous by a movie I have not seen. There is food market for locals in the morning and a craft market for tourists in the evenings. People ride bikes and scooters or walk -- there are no taxis and few cars. A river runs on the edge of town and many bamboo bungalow are on the banks. One of these is my home for the week or so that I am here.
A few days ago I turned 29. I was used to celebrating my special day with family and friends and was a bit lost as to what to do while traveling. I made a conscious decision to let go, not make any plans and allow the day to flow as the universe intended! In the morning I had a Skype date with my family who had all gathered to celebrate my birthday at home, through the webcam they showed me the flowers, the cake and the food. I was touched that they had gotten me flowers from halfway around the word!
I've been reading a book about a woman who rides a motorcycle across New Zealand (thank you Gary Whitman). Inspired by her I decided to do something daring! I rented scooters with a friend I made on the bus ride here and decided I would celebrate by learning a new skill. On my birthday I would learn to ride a scooter! They rented me one without a license and let me ride off with it even after I asked them how to turn it on. I worked for a scooter magazine years back and they taught me how to ride in a parking lot. But this was completely different, there were people, dogs, cars, bikes and other scooters on the road. At first the mantra in my head was "please don't crash, please don't crash" but as time went on it smoothed out.
We rode around the countryside looking for waterfalls. But since neither of us was good with a map, we never found one. We rode on the main road and small bumpy dirt roads, around a bend we saw elephants and stopped. This was amazing! Elephants on the side of the road.
We bought bananas and fed the elephants bananas, sugar cane and burned rice with the encouragement of the trainers. It was surreal! What am amazing gift! Afterwards we went to see a tree house where you could stay overnight and climbed up to see it. On the way back I decided to go visit a spiritual man who wrote a book on energy and the nature of reality I was reading at a local restaurant the night before. It turned out he lived in town.
I wanted to stop by to pick up a flier at the desk but when I arrived at the house I was invited in by his wife. He was sitting in his room in front of a computer using what looked like the equivalent of Facebook. He sat me down in a plastic chair and asked about my life and what I was looking for. He gave me the book I was reading at the restaurant the night before, and a copy of some of his other writings.
He leads a retreat from his guest house where participants meet every morning to breath deeply together. What ever emotions come up (fear, anger, love) participants are encouraged to express verbally or physically. It's not OK to physically harm another but yelling at someone is OK. During the breathing he walks around and touches the participants anywhere he wants to help them release that which holds them back. Also, the guy smokes pot to help him be in his body. This was not the place for me! I was, however, very grateful for the experience, thanked him for his time and the book and was on my way. A nice dinner after rounded out the amazing day.
When I look back I am blown away by the many gifts I received that day! Not anything physical I can put on a shelf but experiences and memories that are priceless. I could not have planned that day if I tried. It flowed smoothly and events unfolded naturally and magically! I vowed to let go and allow things to flow more often as results are beyond my wildest dreams!