Travels, Day 10: Mandalay to Nyaung Shwe

Intention: connection.

Cunnek-shun. When I’m in a good space in my life – however that might be defined – connecting with others seems to happen effortlessly and intuitively. In these times, I love sharing my truth with the people in my life who are close to me; love comparing “life notes,” bouncing ideas off one another, telling stories of the highs and lows, the arcs of our days and the direction that we’re moving in. I love the feeling of supporting, and being supported.

And then there are the times when I’m struggling — be it emotionally, mentally, or physically. Times when I’m depressed or anxious, feeling down, lacking hope or clarity or answers. These are the moments that I’m less inclined to reach out and more inclined to turn inward, to withdraw, to hide my pain from the world. However, these are the moments when connecting with others is most vitally important. It is the reason community exists: so we can witness each other’s highest highs, but also hold space for each other’s lowest lows. I recently had an experience of “humbling myself” and reaching out to my inner circle when I was feeling afraid and hopeless, and the results were extraordinary. I felt fully seen and heard and held.

So today, I invite you all to consider connecting with someone(s) you love about an area that is tender or vulnerable. A soft underbelly that you might not normally share with the world. Share you truth. Dare to be real about your flaws. See if it helps dissolve some shame, or allows your load to lighten a bit. In my opinion, truthfulness is the epitome of radical generosity.

Travel Highlights:

  1. Giving our sweet friend Snow her first hug!
  2. Discovering (with amazement and delight) seaweed, vegetable, and honey butter flavored Pringles.
  3. Lunch!! Mama’s favorite meal of the trip. “Shan state traditional food:” stir-fried pumpkin with peanut & mild oil, green peppers stuffed with ground chicken, topped with hot chilis, onion, cilantro. Soft mashed potato salad (with chickpea flour binder?) with chopped carrot, diced green beans, julienned red onion, sesame seeds. Salad of cooked cauliflower stems, with tops separated thinly and tossed with sesame seeds for bright texture and delightful crunch. Sautéed local vegetables: snow peas, cabbage, broccoli raab, garlic, ginger, in barely detectable sauce but perfectly salted. The meal started with a bright soup of stewed soft lentils and cooked cucumber! Amazing. And chickpea “tofu” crackers with spicy dipping sauce. All felt fresh, light, vegetables as if they had come moments before from the farms next door (as they most likely did!).
  4. Stumbling across school field day, with races for girls (waddling as quickly as possible while balancing books on their heads) and boys (gallumping down the grassy meadow in sacks!). Besides the delight we got from watching the kids, this was a true moment of connection with Twin-oo and Min, our guide and driver. Rather than being “us and other,” it was WE: watching, laughing, anticipating, enjoying from the same vantage point.
  5. The idyllic drive from the caves to Nyaung Shwe: windows open, sunny, snoozing in the back seat, listening to the sounds and smelling the smells of the gorgeous rolling countryside of farms around us.
  6. Stumbling across several different renditions of local sports games: “the hacky sack one” — Myanmar’s national sport — plus soccer and volleyball.
  7. Evening stroll with sunset on one side, bright moon on the other.

 

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