Saturday, May 25, 2013

Preparing for Provence - Answering the Call

"All travel is inner travel... our trip is very much a journey of self discovery and personal transformation."  Joseph Dispenza, from "The Way of the Traveler."

I am interested in the global community. I am interested in other countries, cultures, languages, and customs. I like to know what's going on in other places. Growing up, I dreamed of travel and exploration. After high school, I joined the Air Force for four years, and years later was managing an international team allowing me to travel widely.

Now, I like to experience life from the comfort of my chair. HDTV can bring the wonders of all places right to me, via Nat Geo, Science, Discovery, and History channels. This is been a perfect fit for my aging and less-abled body.

But a few years ago, I started feeling a sensation of yearning. Yearning for the sidewalk cafés of Paris. Yearning for the neighborhood markets of Germany where I used to shop using a wicker basket instead of paper or plastic. Yearning to lunch in the shadow of a fortress in Austria.

My yearning turned to despair as my body began to lose functionality, especially my right leg. My chronic illness was progressing and I was never without a cane or walker, making the idea of going to a place that might not be handicapped-accessible a nightmare. Driving became troublesome, and even being driven caused me to experience dizziness and fatigue.

Oh yes, the fatigue. The ever present chronic, debilitating fatigue. “Of course I can't travel,” I would tell myself.

I did attempt a few short trips, all enjoyable yet all exhausting. “Of course I can't travel," I would tell myself.

Yet I continued to yearn for an adventure.

On 30 December 2012, I presented a New Year's Eve meditation service at church, with the title of "Letting Go."  I presented a little ritual encouraging the congregation to let go of something in their lives to make room for good things that the new year has to offer.  After the service I was feeling good and saw a woman who, for the past few years, has been offering meditation retreats in France during the summer. She rents a house, and acts as a tour guide, driver and teacher.

I asked her, "If I go to France with you, what's the worst that could happen if I have a fatigue attack?" She replied, “The worst that could happen is that you’ll sit by a pool with a glass of wine and look at beautiful scenery and be surrounded by beautiful people."

At that moment, the sermon that I had just preached sunk in. I let go of my fear of travel, released the attachment to my fatigue and disability as controller of my destiny, and said “I can do this.” The next day I gave her a deposit to hold my room. 

The day after that, I woke up happy.

Thus began my journey to Provence, a journey that really started six months ago and is more than just a trip oversees for a week.
"We go out to find and recover that which has been lost, or that has been missing in our lives." - Joseph Dispenza

Next: Part 2: After the Call is Answered