Do you remember what it felt like to go on a school trip?
Weeks of excitement up front.
Your little rucksack packed with all kinds of goodies and candies you normally wouldn’t get.
The energy of an entire bus filled with children on a sugar and adventure rush and a couple of stressed out teachers to spur you on.
It’s a very buzzing and awake feeling.
And it doesn’t go away until the end of the trip because that’s the benefit of being a kid isn’t it…you’re not burdened with yesterday or tomorrow…there’s just excitement now.
As adults, we have a whole lot more trouble of finding and holding on to this feeling and we bend ourselves over backwards to make sure that we do.
Which is why people drink, and smoke, and do drugs, and chase after sex, and binge on tv shows, and do all those other things that help us not deal with the actual reality of being in the moment (because we’re usually not happy with what we see and feel if we do…).
One of my main escapes has always been travelling.
It would get me high on adventure, life and usually really good food!
But a couple of years ago something changed…
It was a warm and aromatic night and I remember sitting in front of my beach-side hut on an almost deserted island in Vietnam watching the flying fish jump in the shallow waves whilst the moon reflected on the water…
…it should’ve felt like utter perfection!
You know, like that school trip high. Or slightly euphoric at the very least.
But it didn’t…
Now of course, I’ve had experiences whilst travelling that weren’t necessarily a whole lot of fun. But still, this felt very different.
Because nothing bad was happening or had happened.
I wasn’t feeling depressed, melancholic or otherwise negative.
But like there was nothing else but ‘this’ right here and it was very clear that there was really nothing else but ‘this’ no matter where I would go and what I would do.
There just was being me.
Though I’d been making giant spiritual and emotional steps before that moment and was very aware of concepts like non-duality, consciousness and ‘being’, this actual feeling and experience was new to me.
And as someone who’s always loved chasing the high peaks of life (so not to feel and deal with the lows), this was quite the revelation!
So I embraced it with open arms!
And there are 4 main reasons (and lots of little ones) why you should learn to do so too:
1. There’s less reason to run from reality when you’ve fully embraced it
What’s really ‘real’ is only that what is happening right here, right now (and that includes emotions and gut feelings).
It’s like you’re always able to see that the emperor is wearing no clothes and though there are definitely people who’d rather not hear of it (because they’re perhaps not ready to deal with it), there’s really not much more valuable than this truth.
And because you’re able to see this, you’re also much better equipped to deal with it (instead of the old-fashioned running from it).
2. You’ll make your life a lot more comfortable when you deal with the reality of the moment
I still escape (give me a new season of Downton Abbey, a thermos of herbal tea and a big bar of dark chocolate and I’m off…) but I do it to take a conscious short rest from my sometimes hectic life, my head and my heart instead of running away from it.
In fact…no matter where I would run now, I’d bump into myself in literally seconds…so there’s really no other option than to just deal with what there currently is (like have that awkward conversation or decide to not go to a particular social event because you’re feeling sad and need your space).
It means you’ll sometimes have to go against the conventional social rules we’ve created for ourselves, which means it can get temporarily uncomfortable, but, in the end, dealing with these things is the only way you’ll create space to live and breathe for yourself!
3. Being able to let your intuition guide you is priceless
If you’re living to chase the peaks of life, you tend not see and let alone feel what’s happening right now. And it makes you miss important signals.
And for that, you need to live in the NOW.
Being tuned into the world around you and follow your intuition will help you trust that everything will turn out right. NOT because the universe will fix it all for you (that would make life a bit too easy wouldn’t it?) but because you’re in tune with your instincts and vision and are able to take the right decisions accordingly.
4. You’ll become enlightened. Well…sort of…
Now to say it’s proper enlightenment (if there even is such a thing but I won’t get into that now…) would be stretching it…
But…when you’re ready and able to consciously face and deal with your fears, your projections and your crazy hangups the moment they pop up…you’ll for sure not make yourself any heavier!
Now, I’ll be honest…put me in the wrong situation, with the wrong crowd and there’s nothing light about me.
And when I need to deal with an authority figure who I don’t acknowledge as such, things can get super heavy. Like really super heavy…
And that too is reality, and part of me embracing being me.
And you know what? From this experience, I’ve also learned that it’s okay to not always be zen.
It’s okay to be stressed out and moody at times.
As long as you’re ready and able to own up to it and apologise (preferably upfront but at least after you’ve snapped and bit someone’s head of…).
We’re human beings on a lifelong path of learning, growing and expanding and we need to embrace everything that comes with that.
Even those things we’re not so happy with!
And if you’re able to create that freedom in your life…I’ll guarantee you that that will bring a joy that is a million times more real, more lasting and way more intense than any schooltrip has ever been.