Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Nepali Flat....or not so flat

Nepali Flat ......This is the endearing term that the beautiful folks in this amazing country use to describe some of the terrain I have walked over the past few weeks....This sweet, sweet term is their kind way of saying the following: "Actually, there isn't really much flat in the Himalaya so rather than disappointing you, we'll call it 'Nepali Flat' which really means a ton of uphill, followed by a little down hill, interspersed with some rolling hills and then more uphill and more rolling hills."

The thing about 'Nepali Flat' is that on some days after all of this uphill and downhill you actually end up at the same elevation as you started at (hence the reason they can call it "flat")...One some days you find yourself on higher ground and you have actually gained a little elevation....Either way, you've always shed some sacred sweat, gained a little distance, been humbled and have at least learned something new.

I've actually come to love Nepali Flat - both the term and the terrain - for a number of reasons. I love walking the terrain because it sure beats walking downhill (i'm not a big fan of the downhill). And, I love the term because of how many metaphors we can draw from it.... Many of us have emotional, physical, mental and spiritual journeys - spanning a day, week, month or year that can be described as 'Nepali Flat'......These journeys challenge us and for many of us this is exactly why we seek them - because we grow in quantum leaps when we are pushed/push ourselves.

I particularly like the idea of 'Nepali flat' because it so accurately represents many of our relationships and much of the inner terrain I am exploring and that many of us walk through each day....On some days these explorations are strenuous, require a lot of up and down and we may end up at what appears to be a similar height despite our struggles...But some days (and these are the days we remember), we cruise through the Nepali flat, enjoying each step of the journey even though it may be difficult or painful. At the end of the day, we find that not only have we've gained a little elevation, but we've also gained a ton of perspective - perspective we could not have gained had the path been truly 'flat."

So - as I get ready for the next part of this adventure to start tomorrow - another trek - this time in the Annapurna Range - I am excited to explore more 'Nepali Flat', as well as a ton of 'gradual' up and even some serious steeps....

Love and light and courage for the varied terrain.....

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Happy Birthday, Ma!

I'm a few days late because I was deep in the mountains and just got out today, but i figure better late than never....so this post is dedicated to my Mom: the woman who always said, "Chris, you can do anything if you put your mind to it" and who backed up these words with her actions and her unwavering faith and belief in me....

This amazing lady (with a little help from my dad and sisters and brothers, too) made me who I am,  instilled in me the very sense of independence and bravery that has led me to be where I am right now (both literally and figuratively) and for this she is one of my heroes. My ma is a one-of-a-kind woman: she's tough, she's courageous, she's sweet and brilliant, beautiful and she is grace under pressure....plus, she can feed a crowd like no one else i know.

I know that the path I've chosen has caused my mom more worry than is probably fair, yet through it all she has always shown me love.She's reveled in my successes, laughed with me when spirits were high, she's picked me up from my failures, she's kicked me in the pants when i've needed it and she's been a shoulder to cry on during heartbreaks....

So, MA - here's a Himalayan Happy Birthday and here's to many more years of celebrating - Hope this trip around the sun is your best yet....Maybe next year we can celebrate in the same time zone!

Love and light and happiness to my Ma and to y'all...Namaste.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Air May Be Thin....But the Energy is Sure Thick

From Gorak Shep - at 5, 180 meters. Yesterday reached 5554 meters at Kala Pattar w/ incredible views of Sagamartha (Everest - Head of the Earth) and her sisters and brothers - Luptse, Nupse, etc. Today went to Everest Base Camp....

The Himalaya astound me! I am humbled with each step and each meter gained.

Rising with immense power as they reach to the heavens.
Weathering each storm with unwavering grace and beauty.
They shine with unending and unmatched light and hope.
Effortlessly exuding strength and beauty.
Bringing mindful awareness to each moment.
Humbly demanding respect while giving love and compassion so easily and freely.
Illuminating the answers that already lie within each of us.

It is impossible to be anywhere but here Now.

Love and light and Himalayan humility.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Made It !!!

Namaste from the Himalaya. Safely made it across the ocean via a whopper of a 17 1/2 hour flight from LA to Bangkok sandwiched in between 2 shorter flights! Everything went smoothly and the big flight was empty so I could spread out and slept a good part of the time.

Unfortunately, my backpack did not travel so smoothly and somehow it missed one of its flights! Perhaps the draw of a night in Bangkok was just too much for it? Luckily, it will be arriving tomorrow and I was prepared for this so have enough stuff with me for a few days.....No worries there. Met up with easily with, Jody,  my wonderful traveling companion for the first part of this adventure at the Kat airport and are settled into our hostel - excited to begin our trek to Everest Base Camp on Wednesday....

The highlight of the day was flying into Kathmandu and seeing.........the magnificent, amazing, towering, powerful, compassionate, kind and awe-inspiring (enough words for ya?) Himalaya.....Everest towering above the clouds was a sight that brought tears of joy. The tears that can only come from realizing a dream and following your bliss.......try it, you'll see what i mean.

Love, light and a slower than molasses internet connection :-) 


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Leavin' and Leafin'

In a few hours I will board the first of three westbound planes so that I can end up in the Far East (sounds backward, doesn't it?). I am ready and excited, but also a bit sad about what I leave behind. I have only lived in Flagstaff since December and yet I feel more at home here than I have many other places....the power of the people, the Peaks, the Canyon, the trees and the wind in this part of the world is palpable and I am SO grateful to have been led here. I will be happy to have a place like this to return to....

                                View from Lockett Meadow - 10/2/09

I hiked to the Inner Basin yesterday in search of fall's bounty and I found it in the form of rich golden, amber and burnt orange leaves quaking in the wind on the arms of magical aspen beings.This time in the mountains energized me and pressed my internal reset button (as time in nature always does), re-centering and preparing me for all that is to come.

I'm psyched for this pilgrimage and I have no doubt it is the right thing to be doing at this point and time. While hiking yesterday, however, I realized that a lot can happen in 3 months...I am curious what will happen for those I love during that time - my family and friends - knowing I will miss chances to laugh, cry and just be with them. We say that fall is a time of change, but really the only constant is change ...things are always morphing, growing, dying, becoming, beginning, and ending and it goes on whether we are there or not.

And so, as I embark on this journey, I will do my best to be in the moment, to be fully present where I am - whether hiking in the Himalaya or splashing in the waves off of Bali.....of course, my thoughts and love and a piece of my heart will be always be with my family and friends even if i am thousands of miles away.....

Love and light and Himalayan hugs!

Exasperated Q amidst all our gear in my living room

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Why "Ripples Make Waves"?

Namaste and welcome! I grew up with my Mom (an amazing woman, by the way) telling me ‘The Starfish Story’. It goes something like this:

One day a man was walking along a beach. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. Off in the distance he could see a woman going back and forth between the surf's edge and and the beach. Back and forth this woman went. As the man approached he could see that there were hundreds of starfish stranded on the sand as the result of the natural action of the tide.

The man was struck by the the apparent futility of the task. There were far too many starfish. Many of them were sure to perish. As he approached, the woman continued the task of picking up starfish one by one and throwing them into the surf.

The man said, "You must be crazy. There are thousands of miles of beach covered with starfish. You can't possibly make a difference." The woman looked at the man. He then stooped down and pick up one more starfish and threw it back into the ocean. He turned back to the man and said, "It sure made a difference to that one!"

This tale has stuck with me my entire life and has driven much of what I do and how I approach my time on this earth.

A similar idea –‘ripples make waves’ – guides my daily life and is the reason for the name of my blog. If you’ve ever spent time next to a lake and watched the first raindrops of a summer storm fall gently to the earth or if you’ve ever sat by a pool and seen a child gleefully cannonball into the water, you’ve seen this priniciple in action... What begins as a gentle raindrop or a small child, quickly creates an impact throughout the entire body of water. I live my daily life with this in mind….every action, every thought, every word, every bit of energy that I send out is a raindrop - extending beyond just me - creating a ripple. Only I am in control of that first drop of rain and the vibration it will carry. I choose if it will be positive or not.

Everyday is a journey for each of us with boundless opportunities to create positive, loving, sweet ripples that will ideally gain momentum and become incredible waves of compassion and kindness. This can happen in a simple interaction at the grocery store, how we decide to respond to traffic, a smile we give to a stranger and on and on. Realizing this sure adds to the importance of each seemingly small action throughout the day, doesn't it? 

In 2 days (yikes!) I am about to embark on a more defined journey. I'll be traveling for the next 3 months to amazing and sacred lands in Nepal, Thailand, Bali and wherever else the wind happens to guide me. I know that much of this journey will occur within me as I explore my internal landscape and traverse new terrain - terrain that I have never before explored, but that has always been inside.

As I do this I intend to be especially mindful of the ripples that I create and will make sure they are positive and true. I am by no means looking to save the world by taking this trip and I have no grandiose beliefs about the impact of my time on this earth. I am, however, conscious that what I do and think and the energy I cultivate within me does matter, does make a difference – even if to just one person, starfish or place. Thanks for joining me on this journey.