First, I planned a trip to Colombia. Then, a dear friend set her wedding date in California. A few days later, my dad broke his hip in Texas. I live in Florida, so now, I have three big trips planned in the next 2½ months.
Here are three questions I plan to take with me in my hip pocket to help me use my energy wisely, make the best decisions I can, and travel with purpose this summer.
What’s Meaningful Now?
Meaningful experiences can be elusive. It’s no wonder we want to travel on big adventures to far away places! Maybe we’ll get some meaningful luminosity into our veins that we can bring home to light our world.
All the meaning we experience in life, we create ourselves, out of our own minds. The world itself remains inherently neutral. That’s why “What’s meaningful now?” is such an important question!
My first meditation teacher, Sarah Powers, taught “What’s meaningful now?” as a way of staying with the heart and taking responsibility for ourselves.
The question calls up present moment guidance for making decisions and prevents us from sleepwalking through life. It taps us into creativity and frees us from ideas about what we should do or be. It helps us take advantage of opportunities and prevents regret.
This summer, ask, “What’s meaningful now?” and follow the thread.
What’s Really Going On?
Life can be dramatic, emotional, confusing.
“What’s really going on?” takes us below the surface with curiosity about what we’re not seeing. It asks us to stretch beyond our assumptions, into wider realizations about the world and deeper understandings of ourselves.
“What’s really going on?” teaches us to reflect things as they are. It illuminates causes and context, so everything stands in its true shape, free from the light our preferences may cast.
I regularly use “What’s really going on?” for insight into anger. It always uncovers a more vulnerable feeling underneath, like fear, hurt, fatigue, or embarrassment. Then, I can honor that feeling instead of being driven around by my anger.
If your travels take you into situations, places, or cultures that are new to you, this question will help you get out of your head, pay attention, and engage more deeply.
You will be tempted by this question to analyze or tell a story about what’s happening. Don’t try to figure anything out! Feel into your body, and make more subtle observations. Maintain kindness.
How can I help?
If we’re not careful, a big vacation, a travel adventure, or an international retreat can end up being all about me, me, me! “How can I help?” provides an antidote to becoming self-absorbed and spurs us to connect with others.
When you’re traveling, “How can I help?” defers authority to local wisdom and makes you a good guest. Asked with humility, this question can pierce through awkward circumstances of inequality and shift you into listening and respect.
This question also makes us aware of our gifts and our agency. It points us to what we can do in this world of overwhelm.
“How can I help?” is an evolutionary question that leapfrogs ego’s desires and complaints to reconnect us with generosity and abundance. An attitude of “How can I help?” makes the world safer for everyone to explore, take risks, and grow.
Are you picturing yourself planting trees or feeding the homeless? Great! Also know that helping can look like taking a step back and giving space to others. It can look like patience. Or a smile.
Practice these questions. Put them in your pocket this summer, and take them with you… to the beach, as you step off the plane, while sipping your morning tea, to plan your next adventure.
Let the questions be touchstones – a way to take refuge in wisdom. Some days, they’ll reveal great insights. Other days, you’ll get silence in return. That’s ok! “I don’t know,” is always a valid response! Let yourself experience “don’t know” mind. Become better acquainted with uncertainty.
Notice how the ritual of being with these questions develops. Keep them with you until they’ve served their purpose, then let them go, and begin your next practice on life’s journey.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Delana Thompson helps spiritually-inclined entrepreneurs express their hearts and expand their influence with authentic copywriting, project management, and professional delivery of their online content. Her clients include teachers and practitioners of meditation, yoga, ayurveda, shamanic healing, astrology, and fine art. When she’s not writing marketing emails or designing landing pages, you’ll find Delana salsa dancing, practicing meditation, planning a trip, listening to a podcast, speaking Spanish, or missing all her faraway friends. Visit Delana on LinkedIn to learn more about her business.