Generosity can look like a lot of different things.
Heck, the world itself can look like a lot of different things!
I became acutely aware of both of the above when zipping up my suitcase in Portland, and making the long trek to Myanmar. It was the furthest I’ve ever been from home — a whopping 12,000 kilometers, and with an impressive 14.5 hours time change! — and took both my body and psyche to new and foreign spaces. My journeys were replete with experiences that felt extraordinarily different than the reality I’m used to; my daily rhythms and patterns had only the faintest resemblance to those that my “normal” Portland life encompasses. I found this newness overwhelming, humbling, terrifying, and completely exhilarating.
My mom and I traveled around Myanmar in boats of all types, propeller planes and big jets, automobiles with the steering wheel on the right side — and even the occasional bus, tuk tuk, and bike taxi! We stayed in five main locations, ranging from big bustling cities (Yangon and Mandalay), to centers for industry and tourism (Inle Lake/ Nyaung Shwe), to havens of history and natural beauty (Bagan), to the most pristine beach I’ve ever encountered (Ngapali). While so many of our circumstances were continually shifting, I relied on a few select and invaluable tools to keep me grounded: good nights of sleep, big nourishing meals, and a journal. The latter I used for personal reflection, but also to create a ritual each morning and evening. Early AM, my mom and I would set an intention for the day; something that inevitably would crop up in thoughts and dialogue, and served as a framework to remind me of the joy of reflection, presence, and awareness. In the evening hours, usually after a long and leisurely dinner, I would assemble a list of daily highlights: experiences that were oftentimes not the most showy or flashy on the surface, but had filled me with fulfillment, comfort, joy, simple pleasure. I also took 2-3 short videos per day, which capture a deepened sensory understanding that my photos do not. It is amazing to me how much the sounds of a place can give an astonishing representation — and create a vantage point that’s so unlike even the most stunning of photographs!
And now, back to generosity. I observed so many variations of generosity during my sojourns. Some were personal, some societal; some explored in connection with others, and some in a solo contemplative experience. (exchange). I am hereby launching a new chapter of The Generosity Chronicles: one exploring different forms of generosity and chronicling the highlights of my travels. I’m excited to showcase previously-unreleased video footage from my trip, and writing about the daily intentions and that my mom and I set. These intentions were all deep practices of generosity, in one form or another, so I will be using them as rough framework for the showcases that lie ahead.
My hope is that these chronicles will serve not only as a unique vantage point into an exotic land, but also allow you to journey with me through contemplation, consciousness, and new cultural understandings. I invite you to share in my daily intentions: to see what they evokes for you personally, to see how it feels to let a particular sentiment (set to stunning scenery!) serve as framework for reflection. See how you can embody the generosity of whatever intention you’re exploring.
You are also so totally allowed to simply watch, read, skim, squeal, scoff, smile, adore, ignore, go on your merry way without devoting another iota of brainspace. As you wish.
In whatever form feels most delicious to you, you are cordially invited to ride to Myanmar with my mom and I. Buckle up your seatbelt on your plane or tuk tuk — our journey begins tomorrow!