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Back Home: Back to Basics

Updated: 2 days ago

Just over a week ago I was transitioning through the skies, rocking around in an airplane imagining how I might integrate back into life post traveling India and Nepal for six weeks. If I were to live of course. Being thrown across the atmosphere going hundreds of miles an hour in a chonky aircraft seems like a serious act of faith to me. We made it, but it wasn't without some on-going self-soothing measures as my body rocked around 35,000+ ft skyward, my mind dragging me through all the worse possibilities.

As much as I hate to admit it, my brain has become prone to worst case scenarios and more self- depreciation than what is healthy or what I've been accustomed to. Being a mindfulness coach and a guide for others over the years, coming to this moment feels like defeat. I've officially fallen off the bandwagon of "I'm the person to help you find your answers," and back onto the ol' dusty trail with nothing but the clothes on my back.

Life in the trenches. Which in someways feels like a relief. Self promotion and feeling compared to the sea of self-grandiose influencers was becoming a drag. I don't want to be on any high horse platform or needing to ask AI for the top 10 things I can do to get people to be here or purchase from me. I don't want to pretend I'm anything other than what I am.

In coming home, it's especially apparent I don't know exactly who that is anymore.

The first day and a half of being home were fine, exciting even. Soon after though I was met with one of my primary life challenges at this time: My health. My health here in the US that is. My body functioned completely different in India and Nepal. Minus some to-be-expected stomach issues, my energy levels were up, body aches no where to be found. Depression infrequent, although paying me a visit a time or two just for good measure.

Depression and my physical health often go hand-in-hand. You might find this to be the case, too.

In coming home, my body immediately reacted with an extreme response: A flair up of body aches, major fatigue, followed by a new situation of swelling and extreme pain running through my joints that has ceased to subside since the onset. It seems I've officially entered into my arthritis era. A family inheritance, no doubt, a gift rich with learning and the opportunities to deepen into my path of discipline and silence in the suffering.

At just a week fresh of being 36 years old, I thought I had more time before this would become part of my life. Now there is an adjustment required to determine my needs and explore: how do I continue to show up for myself and find fulfillment in this ol' life of mine when it seems chronic health issues are here to stay?

I don't currently have an answer for that, but in spite of this last week's inner turmoils, I seem to be better leaning into possibility now. There's a whole new revamping happening around my health care, my personal team of teachers, and staying open to renewed future outcomes.

With this, as you may have noticed if you have looked at my website, I am no longer offering client sessions during this time period. It's important to me to refrain from holding space for clients if I find myself not grounded in my own strength to do so. And thus, this is that time where I sit it out, dig deeper for my own answers and own new pathways in order to better accept and navigate the ways in which I as a human get to experience suffering in this lifetime. ...As well as how I will personally cultivate joy and meaning.

In the grief that has developed with these new symptoms, grappling with that this means for my future, and losing myself at times in the onslaught of a mind unkempt, Buddhist practice and study has been my primary focus. Back to the basics, so it seems. No inward journeying, no trying to make sense of my situation by looking to the past, no tracing my pains back to their origins.

Just silence. Just breath. Just patience. Just being.

Just achy knees and feet falling asleep, only to shake them out and begin again.

Sometimes mantras of forgiveness, for myself: "I forgive you, dear one."

At other times, mantras of forgiveness for others: " I forgive you for not understanding."

Occasionally, too, just resting on: "May all beings be free from their suffering."

Fingers glide across my mala beads, one after another, focusing my mind and freeing it of the burden of unruly thought. With years of having to be in charge, in control, on top of all the details, knowing what is exactly is happening when and with who... it's not always easy for it to stop.

Always thinking, always planning, always worrying.

This is one of the many reasons I had to end my land stewardship business last year; it was absolutely destroying the presence of my mind. I'm still very much healing from the busy, critical and over-worked pathways that position wrecked my mind with at the time.

So I'm trying to heal the mind as it confronts these new found difficulties of the body, while it frets on relationships issues, simultaneously daydreaming about the next career, while still glitching from the overuse I put it through with the business and the trauma I sustained prior to the business. It was all too much. My brain feels like way too damn much.

The mind is apt to rolling around in its ideas and judgments, like a dog wiggling about on top of a pile of its imagined prey's poo. Just because you immerse yourself in the fixation doesn't mean you're any closer to catching the solution. With this analogy in mind, meditation is like washing the poop off a dog's back, only to watch it roll in something stinky minutes later.

Fortunately the more I meditate, the less frequently the mind seems to be rolling in so much shit.

So that's where I'm at, in the fires of my own transformation, just sitting in them, trying not to flail. Sitting here, submitting and surrendering to the way they scorch back layers I've been tired of carrying anyhow. Working to stay curious to who I'll become in the process; it's already apparent some part of me has disintegrated over these last few years. Who will move in to replace that piece, only time will tell.

Additionally, when I'm not working on meditative practice and contemplating the right way, whatever that is, I'm also taking this time to work on my book.

That's right. I did it.

I finally wrote a book. So, slowly, I'm cleaning it up and figuring out next steps. I'll add in updates here as I get closer to releasing it. This book, capturing my fiance and I's adventures through India and Nepal, is my aim to bring together all my unique skills, experiences and education (learn more here if you're curious), capturing what its like to travel abroad, grow through experiential education, mindfulness, spirituality, sustainability, as well as thoughts on globalization, ethical business and more.

This blog and future offerings will also be here to better capture these themes.

Also stay tuned for some rebranding. I will likely be changing everything over to my soon-to-be name post marriage this August: Drake James.

Well, that's all folks. Carry on and see you next time.

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