I love Wanderlust for many reasons. I volunteered last year and had an amazing time; it could hardly have been better. I was introduced to my new favorite inspirational yoga teacher, Janet Stone, and had several classes with her. I won a pair of Lucy yoga pants that I could never have afforded to buy. I met new friends, including a wonderful girl I later visited at her San Francisco home. I learned what it is to be a part of something (and not just a participant) by volunteering. I was inspired and touched by Aron Ralston’s story (he is better known as “the guy who cut his arm off.”) I grooved to reggae beats with Ziggy Marley. I was motivated by Deepak Chopra. I even met a publisher who expressed interest in my memoir (which is still in the works.)
This year was different. At first, I lamented that I wouldn’t have the same kind of experience. After all, nothing is ever like your first time. This year started with my friend who I had planned to go with bailing out at the last minute. Janet wasn’t there this year. The music was by nobody I knew. Even some of the volunteer duties were going to be different and, it seemed, less fun.
But once I got over the fact that it wouldn’t – and of course, couldn’t – be the same, I had a Wanderful time!
I took classes with new inspiring teachers, none of whom would replace Janet in my heart, but were powerful in their own right. I met new friends. Volunteering was better than it had promised to be. The sun shone, my heart beat, I breathed in mountain air, and I became a part of the experience.
What I ultimately realized was that although it wasn’t the same, it was still good. I am not the same as I was last year, either. Last year I was new in town, and fragile from a big breakup and a big move. I’d traveled for a year, which left me raw and open and forever changed. I’d completed a 200 hour yoga teacher training course, but was uncertain what I would do next.
Life is full of changes. What Wanderlust 2013 versus 2012 taught me is that change is natural. Things won’t be the same as before, and we wear ourselves out trying to make them so. My life is not the same as before; it’s better in most ways, poorer in a few others. But this, too, is temporary. Good things can disappear or change, bad things get better – or worse. The point is, we never know. We can’t expect things not to change and shift and grow. And we set ourselves up for disappointment if we can’t allow for this to happen (because it’s going to happen whether we “allow” it or not!)
Healing and growth has taken place in my life, slowly and subtly. When Ashley Turner gave her Urban Priestess class, ending with an exercise of self-revelation, forgiveness, and facing our truths, many women ended up sobbing and sniffling. Last year, I would have cried right along with them. But this year, I didn’t.
Change can be good.