When a tropical vacation doesn't feel blissful at all... A lesson in surrender and letting go of expectation.
First off, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
I hope that your year is filled with blessings, abundant prosperity, and a ton of growth (which often includes some level of challenge and hardship..!).
As some of you may know, I recently arrived home with my fiance, Curtis, from a 3.5 week vacation in Tonsai, Thailand, and boyyyy was it a doozy. I mentioned in a few Instagram posts (@brittlynnyoga if you don't already follow!), this was the most challenging overseas trip of my life. C and I are both rock climbers, and really wanted some time to unplug, reconnect and spend with each other. With both of us taking new (and exciting!) directions in our careers (more on this later!), we knew that 2018 would be busy. Somehow, the Universe heard our calling, and flights to Thailand were only $460 roundtrip. And right before the New Year. December is usually our slowest month, work-wise, so we leaped at the opportunity, and booked the tickets super last minute, in mid-October.
I don't know about you, but when we started planning the trip, everything had a very romantic feel to it. Something about 'bungalow' sounded very quaint and unplugged and everything we were yearning for... In hindsight, the rose-tinted glasses we had on were everything our hearts truly needed. That being said, there is nothing romantic about bungalow life! We arrived, sticky, in Tonsai, feeling as if we were gulping the air (85 degree, 100% humidity), checked in, were walked to our bungalow, and relished in our cute little space. An oscillating fan, mosquito net over the bed, and a connected bathroom with open air (mosquitos/scorpions/geckos/spiders welcome!) and Eastern toilet (this means there is a bucket of water next to the toilet with a cup to pour water down the toilet. Self-flush, if you will.).
And for the first few hours, we had to gather ourSelves.
C had a hard time coming to terms with how remote it was, and began feeling instantanious regret at having chosen that place to spend nearly a month. Tonsai is quite remote, and runs off a generator. This means electricity only runs from 6pm-6am, and wifi is found few and far between, also with hours of operation. There is no grocery, the restaurants and vendors all serve relatively the same dishes. He began to feel trapped. Immediately, I knew we were exactly where we needed to be.
It's often what we fear and are immensely uncomfortable with that our souls need the most. Not being able to accept and understand things says a great deal of our current processes and realms of comfort. For C (Aries Sun, Taurus Moon), not busying himSelf with non-stop activity and electronics was harrowing, hence the immediate feelings of regret and distress. I, on the other hand, began to really decompress and secretly felt as though we were led here for this very purpose. To dive in, fully. To surrender. To be stripped of our comforts, and left in solitude, to entertain ourSelves. Left, without a choice to get closer, and experience a place we've never known together.
And how right I was. Over the next weeks we were blessed with very tender and beautiful experiences. Right before we left for Tonsai, I realized that having a companion with a devout spiritual practice is, probably, really intimidating for Curtis to have to freedom to begin his own, and I left my tarot deck at home. This was possibly the biggest piece of magic on the trip. For my to give up my daily practices in order to provide C with space to explore his own realm, for the first time. He had been having a connection with a Rider Waite tarot deck that I'd been gifted at Spirit Weavers Gathering earlier that year, and I really wanted to see what might become of it. Leaving my cards behind was also a big step outside of my own comfort zone.
It took a few days, but we really started settling into this slower, timeless life, finding refuge in it's simplicity. I started really diving into my journal, decompressing and beginning to sort out a multitude of attitudes and intimacies inside mySelf that have been holding me back, that I couldn't seem to let go of. From the very first tarot draw, on our first afternoon of arrival, Curtis began having incredibly loud and impactful, direct messages on surrender, and letting go of expectation. Tarot started to become a regular practice, he would draw for me and a few friends we made along the way. There's something about the beginning of a divination practice that is so magical, there's nothing like it. Hard-hitting, frank messages that are often, hard to hear, but so so needed.
What I mean to say here, is that often, many of us are so comfortable in our Westernized lives, where we are obsessed with the ability to 'control' much of what our world looks like. We can liken this to the feeling of living in our own bubble. We choose what relationships we let in, the emotions we allow ourSelves to feel, and when we don't want to experience something, we push it out and redirect attention. If we're living a self-aware life and open to constant growth and change, we come to realize that leaning into discomfort is one of the greatest things we can do for ourSelves. Creating the space to witness how we naturally respond to what we'd normally consider 'stressful', sit with it, and work from there.
This trip offered us growth we've never know, both in our relationship and as individuals. After both of us experienced food poisoning, we became a bit disenchanted with the lax sanitary practices, and skipped out, visiting another island, Koh Lanta (aircon!!), and eating a ton of western vegan food (safe to say, I'm not touching Thai food for months). We treated ourSelves and relaxed into what we originally thought this vacation would look like.
The lessons learned through this experience are totally invaluable and I couldn't be more grateful. This is another one of those lessons that I relearn often. Truly surrendering and giving way to whatever lessons present themselves, and leaning into the discomfort, getting curious about what's meant to be learned in that moment.
I wouldn't trade these uncomfortable experiences for anything.
The most beautiful gifts come in unexpected packages.