List of things to do this summer:
- Have a deeply spiritual and life-changing experience while traveling
- Return home and volunteer again at Wanderlust, where I hope to have a deeply spiritual experience.
- Work on making my yard into a walking meditation garden reminiscent of Park Guell in Barcelona, where I can have deeply spiritual experiences.
There seems to be a common theme here…
One of the best things about me is that I tend to romanticize things.
One of the worst things about me is that I tend to romanticize things.
So my vision of a tiger in yoga class spoke to me as a calling, but what –exactly- was it trying to say?
As I have researched Tiger Temple, checked weather forecasts for June in Thailand, and been disturbed on both accounts, I am second-guessing my decision to volunteer. Many reports say that the facility is not set up to keep tigers happy, that the trainers are abusive, that the practices are cruel. If that were the case, what could I do? Spend the month in denial, plotting how to make a jailbreak for me and dozens of striped wild animals? If I smuggled them home, wouldn’t they eat my dog, and possibly my kid? Could I sit back and participate and not let my heart break if there is indeed neglect, abuse, and less than ideal practices? And what of my faith in Buddhism if this is all true?
And could I, 50 and not zealously outdoorsy, take the long days of work in stifling heat and humidity? Sleeping on what looks like a large stone countertop? For a month?
So maybe the tiger in my vision was not speaking literally, but metaphorically. Do I have a tiger metaphor I need to address in my life?
Is the tiger in my vision…. ME?
I have been through a lot in the last few years. I have made a major transition – I left behind a 5 year relationship (it was destined to end, anyway, but still I had to separate from someone I loved tremendously and come to terms with the fact that he did not want to commit to me.) I quit a job in the only school district I had known (without thinking about how different the next one would be.) I left an updated home and wonderful friends that were the reward of 16 years living in the same place. I left behind a daughter – grown and on her own, but still hard to leave. These were difficult decisions.
I traveled for almost a full year, recognizing the blessedness of the opportunity, and thinking it would “get it out of my system” for a while. It didn’t.
I moved back to beautiful Colorado – the place I grew up. I’m a person who doesn’t long for what I used to know. I long for something new. So moving back here was bittersweet. I’m enriching my relationship with parents and siblings I used to only see once or twice a year (now I see them several times a week.) But I have already lived here, darn it! There are a lot of places I don’t care if I ever live, but what about all those other ones? My youngest daughter has joined me here, bringing the Best Dog in the World, and I have a job I love and a house I really love living in. I have a lot to be grateful for, and I am.
But my soul is still restless.
So what can I do with my month that I will dedicate to travel, the first month of my summer, if I don’t go play with the tigers?
Maybe it’s time to channel the tiger within.
What do I still need to do, what gnawing hunger can I satisfy? What is there that I want to pounce on to grow spiritually and to become strong and feline and fierce?
I am off to buy a tiger-striped meditation cushion and explore my options!