There’s No Place Like Home

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Traveling can be such a liberating and magical experience. One of the reasons I love to do it so much is because it pushes me to go out of me comfort zone while learning from others who may vary drastically from myself. I’m very grateful to have been able to travel throughout Thailand and explore this beautiful country. It’s helped me grow as a person and view the world through a different lens.

Even though I’ve only been back to the States for a little over two weeks, there is so much that I miss about Thailand. All of the wonderful people. Pook. Ulf. Our taxi drivers. Lina. Just to name a few. I also really love the pace of life there. People seem to be more tuned into their surroundings and those around them. There is a sense of community that lacks back home. Let’s not forget about all the delicious food and drink. Massaman curry. Bubble tea. Papaya salad. Thai tea. Red curry. Cashew chicken. Did I say curry? There is such a wild energy throughout Bangkok. People zipping in and out of the streets in motorbikes and tuk tuks. The energy of the city pulsates everywhere you go. And then there’s all the history and beauty that comes with each region of Thailand. Whether that be driving through the mountains in the North or taking in the endless sunsets and crystal clear waters of the beaches of Koh Samui in the South.

Traveling also has given me a deeper appreciation of living in the United States. I no longer need to put my toilet paper in the garbage when going to the bathroom due to challenges with plumbing. Or worry about expressing my opinions openly without censorship or punishment. Communicating without having a language barrier has also been something that I have missed. There’s also the ability to be closer to family and friends without be separated from an ocean. And of course being able to brush ones teeth from the sink or drink tap water without worrying about getting sick.

Thailand will always have a special place in my heart. It gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in yoga and stressed how important self-care is in life. I will look back on my travels with fondness. Now it’s time to look for a permanent job and make my home more stable. Despite this, no matter where one ends up in life, a slice of home can always be found within ourselves.

Sarah Masse

The Importance of Finding a Balance Between Mind, Body, and Spirit

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We live in a fast paced society that focuses on the importance of output and productivity. When there is silence or a lull during the day, we don’t know what to do with it. Working in healthcare, I’m very guilty of putting all of my time and energy into my clients care. Lately, I have forgotten to take time to take care of myself. On flights we are taught to put our oxygen masks on first before helping others. Why aren’t many of us able to do this in our day-to-day routines?

Balance is something that is very difficult to obtain. Despite this, it’s important to strive for it. Traveling to Thailand has made me aware of how unbalanced my life has become. When I arrived at my yoga retreat last week, I had so much free time on my hands that it felt unnatural to sit in silence. Now I crave it and try to take advantage of it as much as I can. This is what most people really need the most. Time to sit and reflect on our thoughts so that we are able to really question what we are striving for in life. It’s easy to get caught up in the motions of things, that before we know it, we wonder what purpose it is serving.

Doing yoga twice a day has made me realize the value of taking care of my body. Slowly, I am starting to feel more elongated. My muscles are getting stronger and I’m releasing tension that has been building up for years. I have also found myself more cognizant of what I am putting into my body. A good friend of mine once told me you are what you eat. And it’s so true. Giving your body the nutrients it needs to grow and replenish itself is key. We only have one body, so cherish it. Initially, I was very hesitant to go vegan for this retreat. Since eating vegan, I have had more energy. It’s made me aware that I need to stop skipping meals or eating what is convenient in order to meet others needs. This is not doing a service to anyone. While at work If I took my lunch regularly and had 30 minutes to refresh, maybe I would come back more in tuned and connected to what others are experiencing.

Being mindful of the body is just one component of self-care. It’s also important to factor in the mind. Prior to my trip, I took a Transcendental Meditation Course as I tend to get anxious on flights. Since Thailand was my longest flight, I knew I needed to do something to help calm my nerves. Otherwise the 20 hour flight would seem NEVER ENDING. Since traveling, I have made the allotted time to do meditation 2 times a day for 20 minutes. I’m not going to lie, sometimes those twenty minutes can seem like an hour but overall it has been getting easier and easier to quiet my mind. It put me back on a schedule. I realize how important it is to have quiet time for one’s thoughts. When I meditate regularly, I feel more connected to those around me, energized, and present.

Last but not least we need to take care of our spirit. Sometimes life can throw us some pretty horrible blows when we least expect it. Trying to knock us off our feet and crush our spirit. Whether it’s through meditation, yoga, nature, or religion it’s important to find some sort of spiritual outlet to feel more connected with the world around us. This is one area that I still struggle with. However, yoga has made me feel more in tuned to my surroundings and myself. I’m able to see something bigger than just myself to live for.

Balance of the mind, body, and spirit is something I will continue to strive for after returning to the States. It may never be fully obtainable but it’s worth spending more time on these areas regularly. Once work starts, it will be more challenging to make time for my mind, body, and spirit but even if it’s for a short period during the day, that’s something. If we don’t care about taking care of ourselves, who will?

Sarah Masse