Am I living it right?

Am I living it right? While I would love to give a detailed description of my recent, nearly year-long travels, no matter how strong my intention is, I cannot sit down and write them. My thought process is something similar to “I should really sit and start to write these experiences down and share them with the world” - however, it never feels quite right to share my experiences in that way. There were epic, hilarious, scary, sexy, and completely ridiculous experiences on this journey. Not to mention countless lessons and incredible people I have had the pleasure of learning from this past year and I cannot express my gratitude to be as amplified as it truly is for these blessings. To be perfectly honest (with myself and you!), the idea was to share them as I went along, trying my hand at “travel blogging”, but this was a short lived idea as each day I awoke to something new I needed to be present for. There was purpose and meaning for each day and I did not want to miss a thing. The simple notion that this collection of unique stories belongs to me and only me is sweet enough. Even during the times in South Africa, when I would spend my days simply caring for myself in a much more relaxed way versus when I was hustling and struggling in California, this was enough. Nothing miraculous needed to happen, but there was new-ness, unfamiliarity and I felt that needed to be invited fully into my realm of being by being very present and allowing for things to flow. Sometimes, I feel myself crave the whole world, wanting to see every inch, experience each new soul, soak it all into myself being mindful to not take a single precious second for granted. There are days like the one hiking through the riverbed of Bainskloof, South Africa and then sipping crisp Chenin Blanc and eating hummus on the rock bed or the time in Laos I hiked up a mountain side in cheap sandals to get to the top and rock-climb the intense limestone formations but yet, many other days that would be seemingly mundane. But the new-ness of it all made it each day remarkable, no matter what took place. All experiences traveling could be described in detail, being given their full glory but for now my awareness is drawn to the present moment. This is where I need to reflect, my intuition tells me. 

Vang Vieng, Laos. A most curious place with big heart and some of the most epic scenery I’ve seen yet!

Vang Vieng, Laos. A most curious place with big heart and some of the most epic scenery I’ve seen yet!

I know a few things for certain; this year was a series of unplanned adventures and what I can only describe as magical workings of the universe however, I still needed to allow things to unfold and be content with whatever shows up on my path. Resistance feels to me like old patterned-behaivors rearing their ugly heads. There is a letting go and a bond to ones’ own sense of trust (how much trust you can hold and harness is extremely valuable) that gets me through any uncertainties I may have had or do have now. Trusting ones’ self is imperative. Getting there is the struggle of un-becoming that which is no longer true for ourselves. I started to really understand this during the last leg of my journey, while in the fifty-shades-of-green just outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand. With space, freedom, nature and compassion surrounding me there I often felt like I was tapping into a presence that was so much bigger, loving and far more divine than I. I felt safe and loved by this prescence of ‘something bigger’ and felt that it exuded a strong encouragement to heal. Trying to understand what the feeling of un-becoming and being content meant for me while in the present moment is something I think we are all continuously at study for. Seemingly small little break-throughs started to happen during that 3-month stint, teaching yoga and helping to manage what is now one of my favorite places possibly ever- Suan Sati a eco-friendly retreat center. I can still now, even being back in California, mentally place myself up in the yoga shala meditating or moving through asanas, the jungle surrounding me and I can feel that divine presence and sweetness holding space for me, as I try to process and understand more fully what it is I am here to learn. 

Angkor Wat, Cambodia; some of these carvings just commanded more attention than the others.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia; some of these carvings just commanded more attention than the others.

Yes, these reflections are past tense but I love this about life, we never understand things holistically as they are happening or perhaps do not have insight enough to fully appreciate them but then all of a sudden something will click and an association in our minds (or the soul) will form and rise to the surface, connecting a few pieces of the puzzle. That is the ah-ha, epiphany type moments that all-too-seldom strike us. The coming together of lessons learned and letting go has formed a few magical epiphanies in my life, so I give this airy-fairy type of idea some credibility and validity. In my project of life, these are the concepts I am currently working to understand- carefully attempting to download the important lessons into my conciousness.

I recently had a dream, after coming back to California and feeling quite conflicted on my current state of limbo in life and this is my inspiration. This was one of the more beautiful and insightful dreams I have had the pleasure of having. In this dream experience I was told by someone or something that I was in Bali and that everything I needed was here, if I needed help I could ask. The amazing feeling of that ‘something bigger’ was with me here too, what a joy to feel its’ warmth. The person(s) or energies communicating this were not seen but rather felt. I was walking around outside and saw the most beautiful trees, with thick branches winding down towards the earth, creating monuments of themselves. The light of the bright sun was pouring in from several angles all around the trees and brush in the spectacular way that the sun will reveal itself at just the right moment of day. I smiled and felt my heart so happy in that light and in the safety of mother nature. I continued through this forest (which by the way, looks nothing like actual Bali!) and saw a small arched, wooden bridge and immediately felt like I should cross over it but about half way through I turned around and felt like I needed to question my decision a bit more; I wasn’t certain of my choice and ran back in the other direction. Thats where this dream experience ended for me; I awoke feeling utterly compelled to dwell in this insight I had just been given and write it all down. 

Koh Lanta, Thailand. There is something magical in that water!

Koh Lanta, Thailand. There is something magical in that water!

This dream was so full of light, color and that feeling of ‘something bigger’ with me there. I often ask myself why and how can this force reach us all evenly, without tiring from our humanity and our nonsense? How much love, space and compassion can the collective unconscious be holding for us? Safe to say I believe in the power and weight of it all. Regardless, it is a most curious feeling to feel so alive during a dream there with my true self but in dream state- how do we possibly conceptualize the experience of it? These are thoughts I have allowed myself to explore deeper in the lingering effects of this dream; it feels like a gift.  

Every morning I “take myself on a walk”. It is something I have been doing most mornings for quite some time now, maybe even close to ten years. This, above many other forms of therapy I have partaken in, has been my one of my favorite ways of healing myself. The natural world is full of so much healing, we can only hope to understand a fraction of what mother nature is capable of providing us. So, the morning following the dream was no different; first thing I go out for my walk but now I’m pondering this intense dream and letting my imagination aid in the recovery of the details of it all. Another side note: I am always listening to music, full-blast, through my headphones and I’ll even admit…it’s an addiction. Through trying to remember the intricacies of the dream, breathing in the fresh morning air and analyzing my new thoughts I decided to turn off my music and try to connect to the sounds of nature around me. Albeit my walking surroundings are beautiful, they are also fairly suburban. This being said, when I decided to get really quiet and listen to the world around me all I could hear was the busy street, neighbors cutting grass, people talking in the distance and then faintly, birds. The birds weren’t the first thing I heard and this shed light on really how I’m feeling being back in a suburban environment. In my heart and apparently in my dream state, I crave the natural world. That is one of the best things to come of me traveling-the realization that I can be simple, submersed in nature and thrive! And why settle for anything else but well, thriving? If there is a way to prioritize ones’ goals to reflect the true self, absolutely thriving and being authentic, lean into that.

The yoga shala of dreams; Suan Sati, Chiang Mai, Thailand.

The yoga shala of dreams; Suan Sati, Chiang Mai, Thailand.

So whats next? I am both self-encouraging and allowing others to encourage me to re-integrate back into a life in California, I feel a hesitation tugging at me. It’s something I can most simply refer to as my inner rebellion. That which wants to experience more newness, in the process abolishing rigidity in life and opening to whatever unique, fresh story wants to play out in the journey. This inner rebellion has been questioned and put on trial (in my mind at least) and I still wish to follow it, concluding that resistance would be futile. Going along with the grain and following all the rules has it’s place and time in ones’ life and for me, at least at this time I have to shift my focus to being more authentic, even if others disagree with my life choices (the ones that affect only myself, to be clear). In finding my own true happiness I have realized one important indicator that gives decent feedback as to the current state of my overall wellbeing: How passionate am I? If I am waking up with passion for life, gratitude and a desire to explore, I know I am happy, I can feel it in my core. So, I continue to pursue adventure and the great unknown.  After all, we are a collection of stories, in additon to the roles that we play in each of them and I believe we have an exponential reserve of power in being the author of our own story. One idea I believe is true is that feeling of ‘something or someone bigger’ wants us to take ahold of this divine right to create and explore this being human. My intuition tells me following all the rules, all the time and living what is referred to as “The American Dream” is not always the best route for us to explore this being human. All of this to say, this is my way of connecting and unbecoming, simultaneously.

Maybe I’ll forever be presenting myself with one question: Am I Living It Right? 

XOXO Kayla

I know few things for certain, this being one of them. Cheers to what lies ahead! This was taken in my happy place, the yoga shala of suan sati.

I know few things for certain, this being one of them. Cheers to what lies ahead! This was taken in my happy place, the yoga shala of suan sati.