Lessons From Travel, No Expectations, and Not Asking Questions
Back in November when I booked my trip to Maui the intention was to be a vacation. A week off. Some much needed space from my partner (we OD’ed on a each other bit when we moved in, couldn’t have known that was possible til it happened!).
In the spirit of trusting the Divine and adventure, I didn’t ask any questions of my sweet friend Noa who I would be staying with. I didn’t know until the day before that I’d be in the jungle. And I didn’t know until I arrived what staying in a jungle for a week would be like.
I learned a lot about myself that week. The kind of stuff that only comes up by throwing yourself into a completely foreign environment without expectations. Some of it was sublime as you saw if you follow my Facebook or Instagram.
I loved making this list after getting some space from an experience and seeing the ways in which I invited it all in, where the places are that I’m being called to address my own stuff, and how I can always be more loving or open in the future. I hope you can find something in here that inspires you, moves you, or pisses you off. All of that is gooood.
Here are my lessons.
1. A little preparation never hurts. While it does feel fun, wild and adventurous to be impulsive sometimes and not ask questions, that’s not the best idea when the environment is completely new. A little prep would have gone a long way for me this week.
I certainly can’t control everything nor I do have a need or desire to, but I can ask more questions so I know what I’m walking into and prepare a bit so if it is a new or drastically different environment, it’s not such a culture shock. There’s nothing wrong with setting yourself up to adjust easily. Things like bug spray and a flashlight for example, or an extra towel.
2. Know thyself. I’m still a Virgo and an ENFJ. As open and flexible as I’ll ever be, I do enjoy some level of planning, even if it’s just a few “for sure” things over the course of a week AND while I’ve come a long way in the control and patience departments, I am never going to enjoy waiting around for people. Having access to reliable transportation be that public or my own car is my new policy moving forward for sure. I am rich. I can afford it. Amen.
3. Radical self-responsibility. There were a few people also staying on property who constantly asked others to change or modify their behavior or activity to accommodate their personal sensitivities. As a person who practices radical self responsibility, this really tested my capacity to be compassionate. Of course there are extenuating circumstances, but after a while enough is a enough. Make your point, make your sensitivities known, then drop it and do your best to take care of yourself without constantly badgering other people to make adjustments for your benefit.
I will be very conscious moving forward of anytime I want to inconvenience someone for my benefit AKA putting my own needs before anyone else’s.
4. Certainty/Uncertainty. I have high tolerance for uncertainty in specific context. I don’t mind not knowing where my next paycheck is coming from or how much it’s going to be. I love the ever changing and evolving creative process and all the variables of running a business. Danielle LaPorte calls this “risk erotic” which I love.
When it comes to uncertainty around things I prefer to be certain – electricity, internet access, hot water, shelter (this involves noise, bugs and creatures running through my walls in the middle of the night), I have a lower tolerance for this and will be mindful of that in the future. Unless I’m specifically planning to unplug and go off the grid, this can cause unnecessary frustration, worry and distraction.
The upside is coming home and seeing what I used to take for granted as the luxurious privileges they truly are.
5. The elements are powerful healers and teachers. While on Maui I finished a few books I’d been reading one of which, Natural Rhythms by Lisa Michaels was perfect for the week. Connecting and opening to the different expressions of Earth, Water, Fire, and Air around me was WILD. I’m still feeling the surges of new energy and pathways in my body I had never recognized before.
Particularly from these two moments:
Standing under a waterfall, touching the rocks, the moss, letting the cool water cleanse I don’t even know what from my body-mind-soul-spirit.
Getting topless on the beach, laying bare-breasted in the sand, letting the waves roll over me. Feeling safe and without shame around other naked strangers. Defying rules of “appropriateness” I’ve agreed to most of my Life. Felt. So. Good.
More general observations – We’re allowed to be uncomfortable with and even afraid of things that are new to us.
Doesn’t matter how evolved you are or how much you trust the Divine, some stuff is just scary or freaky depending on what you’re used to. If you grew up going camping, being around animals, or doing a lot of outdoor work, some of the things that really got to me, might be nothing for you.
There’s a billion scenarios we can give examples about here – maybe you’re from cold weather place and heat is unbearable for you. Or you’re used to dry heat like the desert and humidity makes you feel like you’re suffocating. Just know thyself so you can adjust accordingly or at least have some level of expectation and openness for navigating some discomfort.
Communication – say what you mean. Passive Aggressive behavior and communication is the WORST IMO.
Notice if you are feeling the need to defend yourself, if you have needs that aren’t being met, if you feel like you are giving or doing a lot for people.
Are you giving or doing things they actually asked for and they’re not appreciating it? Then maybe you want to share that you feel badly when they don’t express appreciation and leave it up to them to be more conscious from there. It saves us a lot of energy to not be so attached to whether or not they do either way.
If you notice yourself giving and doing things that people DIDN’T ask you to do or help out with, remember, you have no right to be upset if they’re not over the moon about it. There’s no reason to take that personally. A great resource in this situation is the book The 5 Love Languages.
Often when we feel under appreciated or loved it’s because we give/receive love differently than the people around us. My #1 love language for giving and receiving is touch. So I’m a hugger, a back rubber, a massager. If someone doesn’t really like to be touched, they’re not gonna dig my primary way of showing love very much, so it’s just good to notice social queues or when in doubt, just ask.
Solid clear questions and communication is more than a courtesy, it’s a beautiful practice for creating ease, intimacy and highly enjoyable relating.
Above all else, always, always remember that the best way you can serve those around you in any environment is to take exquisite care of yourself and full responsibility for your own well being. -Click To Tweet
Coping mechanisms. Can you phone a friend or in my case, text a brother? Sometimes I just need to be my most un-evolved self and get mean or judgy comments out of my system. The best person to do that with is my brother. I’m never judged and often, his replies are hilarious. Then I immediately feel better. I don’t need to say mean shit to people, but I do need to get the anger, snarkiness and sarcasm out!
Maybe shaking it off, going for a walk or a run, or some other kind of movement, writing in your journal or a letter you don’t send feels good to you. Exorcise your demons when they appear. Don’t let them fester.-Click To Tweet
Here’s a list I brainstormed after the trip to run through for anyone to use before taking an adventure or plunging into a new situation or environment:
-What levels (scale of 1-10 is fine for estimating) of certainty/uncertainty am I comfortable with and in what context?
-Make no assumptions and have no expectations but ask questions!
-How do you feel about relying on others to make plans or be on time? If that’s not your thing make sure you’re set up to have freedom, flexibility and autonomy.
-Do you have sensitivities of any kind? food? EMF? dust? noise or etc? Proper communication of these things and polite requests can go a really long way, but remember, they’re YOUR sensitivities which means as lovely and accommodating as your fellow humans might be, it’s not their responsibility to cater to you. Be prepared to compromise and relax a little.
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