I think there are few experiences in life that are more inspiring and invigorating than travel, especially traveling to a brand new part of the planet. I’m in the air en route to Sydney. This is my first time venturing south of the equator, and I feel like a child on Christmas Eve.
What is it, exactly, about travel that is so enriching and simultaneously unraveling? For me, it isn’t sightseeing or the usual tourist activities. In this day of Google Earth and travel shows, it’s too easy to virtually visit various worldmarks. I’m not interested in seeing the generic or the generically-deemed sacred. I’m interested in visiting the sacred within myself. Just as different people bring out different aspects of us, different places serve as reflections uncovering inner truths that perhaps otherwise wouldn’t be coaxed into awareness.
In this way, traveling is a deeply spiritual experience for me. Sure, it’s fun and interesting, and oftentimes delicious. But so much more important than all of that is the opportunity to get to know myself better. And to me, that’s what it means to be “spiritual”…it is having a relationship with yourself, making a conscious effort to understand all your layers, to own and embrace every part of you that is “good” and “bad”, and to then earnestly serve the world from this place of truth and clarity.
As I gaze out the plane window at the magnificent sky, the sun shining its ever-present light on layers and layers of clouds, I am filled with awe for this breathtakingly beautiful place we are blessed to call our home, our Mother Earth. And I am reminded of how small I am in the context of the planet…not small in a self-deprecating way, but in a way that overwhelms me with respect and reverence and, perhaps most potently, gratitude that I get to be a part of this amazing project of Life.
I am also reminded of a notepad I had as a child. This notepad had cartoon, personified potatoes on it, and the caption read: “In the big scheme of things, we’re all just small potatoes.” At the time I bought that notepad, I actually had no idea what that saying meant. I’ve never been particularly good with American clichés, as we didn’t use them in my family. So I assumed it was nonsense, like the nonsensical sayings you often find on Asian stationery (ex: purple blooms fancy in the morning bear). But now I understand that what seemed to be silly gibberish was a rather poignant and layered lesson. We are all small potatoes rooted in our shared Earth and supported by Mother Nature, with the not-so-small purpose to contribute to the flourishing of all forms of Life. And all of our seemingly enormous yet ephemeral problems themselves are small potatoes when considered in the context of all things, in the big scheme of love unconditional and life so abundant.