Travels, Day 4: Yangon Pagodas

Intention: openness.

Openness. To me, this implies peeling off many layers of reactivity and past conditioning, and inviting whatever experiences life may confront me with. I am reminded of a quotation I read recently by Geneen Roth: “Feelings are in the body, reactions are in the head; a reaction is the mental deduction of a feeling. And beliefs are reactions that we’ve had so many times that we believe they are true.” How can you unpeel from the stories your thoughts tell, and allow yourself to feel and experience things truly as they are? How can you stay open, while simultaneously setting authentic and love-based boundaries to keep yourself feeling safe and supported?

Highlights:

  1. Our guide Thon’s laugh! It was infectious, melodic, gleeful. Our favorite was when he laughed at himself, even when his jokes were decidedly lame.
  2. Pagoda 1: The incandescent gold paneling and detail work, and the sparkling mirrored walls of the adjacent room.
  3. Seeing the wild festivities that occurred in a ceremony celebrating the temple anniversary: the donors of the temple threw money and snacks into the undulating and jubilantly greedy crowd, before releasing dozens of bouquets of helium-filled balloons far into the sky.
  4. Marveling at all the fish — here, they are called “Nya” — at the wet market, in all their states: live, recently live, dried, jerky, grounded into paste, covered in flies.
  5. Pagoda 2: a gigantic lounging Buddha with meticulously carved feet and stunningly feminine features.
  6. Pagoda 3: The seemingly limitless “Buddha’s Disneyland!” Here, a Burmese woman from the rural countryside beckoned my mom and I over, beckoning us with a request to take a picture with us. After we obliged, she proceeded to line each of her 10 or so family members over to us, and captured photos of all of them individually with us the sheepish and awkward and very bemused Living Novelty Items.
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