Travels, Day 9: Mandalay Day Trips

Intention: curiosity and lightheartedness.

Lightening up is, ironically, sometimes one of the hardest things for me to do. I spend a lot of my life in a relatively serious mode of inquiry; being honest and open often means to me “baring my vulnerable parts,” which is inherently a little scary. Not to mention, my vulnerable parts are often the darker sides of my psyche, and Being Real becomes heavy indeed when the only Realness I focus on is the aspects I’m ashamed of.

There’s another part of me, however, that wants to shine and bubble and celebrate and be goofy. Not in an attempt to deny the other scary stuff, but in an attempt to invite in ALL experiences, and to let my spirit shine. To be honest about the darkness and also dance in the light. So today, I urge you to laugh at yourself. To do something that feels silly or playful or absurd. Dancing is one of my favorite ways to bring lightness into my day — either with curtains closed, speakers blasting, pulsating and undulating my body in any way that feels best… or sometimes strutting my stuff in a dance-walk down the sidewalk outside my street. Whatever play looks like to you today, go for it.


  1. Waking from yet another good night of sleep and reflecting on my rich dream terrain.
  2. Plain oatmeal and scrambled eggs for breakfast. After days of exotic and heavily-spiced morning meals, I never thought I’d enjoy bland European food so much! (Soy sauce was today’s only Myanmar-influenced add-on.)
  3. A peaceful charter boat ride to Mingun; I sat out front in the sun, listening to my mom’s extensive conversation with Snow about politics, schooling, families, etc. The smile of our dear woman
  4. A recently whitewashed stupa, so blindingly bright-white I had to squint!
  5. Watching an old man at the temple grind up dead fish, mix and mash it up with a plate of rice, and then feed the expectant crowd of mewing kitties (and one lone tail-wagging dog). We called him “The Cat Whisperer.”
  6. A group of Myanmar men dissolving in laughter after seeing me and making jokes about how tall I was. Snow told us they spoke of me being able to fly down the hill with my giant wingspan!
  7. The stunning reflection of clouds in the moat surrounding the Mandalay Castle walls. I had a moment here of walking on my own, with earphones in, experiencing the beauty and escaping from the buzz of busy Mandalay around me.
  8. The plate of salmon lox we were served at our hotel for dinner. It was an ENORMOUS quantity of smoked salmon! In the U.S., this easily would’ve fed 5-6 hungry bellies, and cost 10 times more than the $5 we spent.


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