Travels, Day 12: Inle Lake

Intention: balance.

Balance. People who know me well know that this is a word I sometimes have an indignant aversion toward. To me, balance feels like inherently precarious; like it could be disrupted by a gust of wind, or an ounce more of weight. As a yogi, I think of balance as strength, but also as an endeavor that often, in striving toward, involves toppling over a whole lot. I tend to prefer the idea of “harmony,” which to me implies an end result where all parts are working together, rather than balance — trying to offset a weight or experience or sensation with perfect symmetry.

But today, I think of balance, and consider that perhaps the fact that imbalance or “being out of balance” is so common that it makes balance even more sacred. Achieving that sweet spot of alignment can be simultaneously simple and revolutionary and profound. And not only is this type of balance possible, but I’d go so far as to say it’s discernible everyday, if we look closely enough. Where can you find balance, today? Perhaps it’s a bite of food or a beverage being not too hot or not too cold. Perhaps it’s in the rhythmic way your left foot steps, and then your right, as you walk. Perhaps it’s bass-meets-treble in a well-mixed song. Perhaps it’s speaking with deep honesty, but still still managing to be gentle; balancing inner yin and yang.

Travel Highlights:

  1. Listening to the one and only Paul Lippert’s music soon after waking, serving as a joyful and loving welcome to our day.
  2. Riding over the rapids on Inle Lake!
  3. The spectacular juxtaposition of layers of three colors of pagodas: bronze, silver, and newly-polished gold leaf.
  4. Talking about Katy Perry with Twin-oo (who had never once traveled outside of Myanmar), and being tickled by the unexpected connection we established while singing “Firework” and “Roar” together!
  5. Being handed over a set of tongs by a street vendor, and frying my own tapioca-sesame cracker over hot coals.
  6. A great lunch conversation about anger, in which my mom and I delved deeply into our relationship with this intense emotion, the triggers that arose from our past, and patterns of suppression vs safe expression.
  7. Feeling the genuine delight and unbridled curiosity of trying foods I’d never tried before: sauteed artichoke root, and a whole fish emptied out and stuffed with herb-spiced, flavorful fish cake!
  8. Some of the most epic scenery I have ever experienced, on our sunrise and sunset boat rides back and forth from Nyaung Shwe to Inle Lake.

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