Travels, Day 11: Nyaung Shwe Trek

Intention: “Be a Live Water.”

This phrase, “Be a Live Water,” comes from a Buddhist story we were told by a Myanmar local. It can be roughly translated as a reminder to remain adaptable and flexible; open to life’s experience; softening, rather than hardening, in the face of fear. How can you be a Live Water, today? How can you bend gracefully into the circumstances surrounding you, rather than stiffening? Even in times of fear, can you practice being gentle and supple — with yourself, and with others?

And if you succeed in this endeavor, will you teach me how? 😉

Highlights:

  1. Trek!!
    a) Unbelievably beautiful views.
    b) Walking through small villages: witnessing the modest life of the “poorest of the poor” but receiving no shortage of smiles.
    c) Encountering several tiny monastery schools, amidst the rolling Nyaung Shew hills: students reciting from texts in unison, played and ran in the yard. The giggles of the “baby nuns,” when we asked to take their picture, were priceless.
    d) Twin-oo’s many nostalgic phrases, while guiding us through barely perceptible paths and winding dirt roads: “These places I know so well…I could walk them with my eyes closed…when I was younger we walked these paths…collecting firewood and playing and foraging for food and water and just being so happy.”
    e) Twin-oo’s stories were just as enchanting and evocative. He told us of spending the night near the waterfall, out in the open; of riding a horse and deciding it was “not for him;” of trekking with his father when he was younger.
    f) Twin-oo’s ease and friendly conversation with all the villagers he came across was truly infectious. “Remember me?” he’d holler, before catching up a bit, asking questions, gently teasing, and yelling to people across the fields.
  2. Wine tasting at the stunning Myanmar Vineyard! Delicious wines, and so wild to marvel at the contrast between this idyllic, peaceful escape, and most other pockets of our Myanmar experience thus far.
  3. Our $8, 90-minute massage with an ever-repeating music track. The same 3-minute piece looped for the entirety of the 90-minutes! Thank goodness it was a moderately relaxing tune… 😉
  4. Sharing a Tara Brach podcast with my mom before bed, which served as a sweet reminder of home life, in addition to being a conduit of connection for mom and I.

Note: the cover photo for today’s entry is one of my favorites from our journey. This was taken in a large cavern that we came across during our trek; you can see the silhouette of a monk with red garb walking up the stairs into the light. Breathtaking.

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