|  Traveling Psychologist   |  Sometimes You Have to Leave “Home Base”

Sometimes You Have to Leave “Home Base”

“Humans cannot exist if everything that is unpleasant is eliminated instead of understood. When the unwelcome comes, surrender.”
~Marlo Morgan, “Mutant Message Down Under”

I grew up playing softball. I loved it too! I started when I was about 7 years old and I have to say, I was pretty good at it. I tried my hand at first base, third base, catcher, and then finally ended up as a pitcher. When I came up to bat, the outfield took a few steps back. Softball is an interesting game…a ball gets thrown at you and you have to try to hit that ball with a skinny bat. Once the ball is hit, you have to leave home base and run! The hope is that you don’t get called out before you make it back home.

As I embark on my travels overseas, I cannot help but compare my life at the moment to a softball game. I know that sounds weird but I have thought about the parallels several times. My game began when I “ran” from my home base to experience an adventure that required faith and for me to put fear aside, much like when you are up to bat and excitement and fear are running through your body at the same time. My equipment is two suitcases and a backpack instead of a bat, ball, and glove. My “game plan” for my trip is very similar to the strategy ball players go over in their heads right before they are up for bat. My strategy included where I wanted to go (much like deciding where to hit the ball in the field when you are up to bat), how far I wanted to go (do I want to hit a home run or just hit a double?…or maybe purposely allow myself to get called out to help another player advance?), and moving from country to country (running from base to base).

It is scary to leave “home base.” Home base is where you are comfortable and surrounded by the people and things you know. As humans, we like to feel comfortable. We tend to dismiss and even try to eliminate the uncomfortable hoping to hold on to the last bit of control over our lives that we perceive we have. There is one problem with comfortableness…it does not allow us to grow.

Visiting the elephant sanctuary was one of the highlights of my trip to Thailand.

I would be lying if I told you that my trip so far has been all candy and roses. Honestly, I have really been struggling. Trust me, I know how blessed I am that I have the means and the opportunity to travel but blessed does not coincide with easy. There are times in our lives when the lessons that we are ready to learn cannot be learned in the place we reside…this can mean your home base, your job, your relationship, etc. This I knew, which is why I decided to embark on this journey. I was feeling unsettled and way too comfortable for too long and knew I was not growing. Frankly, I was bored with my life. My yearning to venture away was my soul trying to communicate to me that it was time for the next chapter. This yearning came in the form of emotions. So, I did what most of us do and questioned what I was feeling and tried to justify it so I did not have to change and feel uncomfortable. First, I thought I was crazy, then I thought I was menopausal, then I questioned whether I was running from something I did not want to face, and finally, I realized that I was being called to do something different that could not be done from where I was sitting. How we feel is everything and the actions we take are our way of expressing the intent of our emotions. Faith and fear cannot exist together. When one is present the other one cannot express itself. So, I decided to choose faith in the unknown rather than give into the fear I was feeling.

It is amazing who you see on the streets when walking in Chiang Mai!

As I end my time in Thailand and head “down under” to Australia, here are some things I have realized so far:

  • Although there are many things in life we are not meant to do alone, there are times when we need to be alone and just “be.” Being alone has its ups and downs but I believe that we all need to learn to be alone and be ok with it. Many of us begin to feel very anxious when we are alone (myself included) and I have learned that being alone allows me to get to know myself on a much deeper level with no distractions.

    Blessed to spend time with my good friend Beverly in Chiang Mai. We had not seen each other for 10 years!

  • We are so busy “doing” all of the time that we forget to just be. We are human beings, after all, not human doings! I have learned that I do not need to be doing something all the time to feel productive. Sitting and just enjoying my surroundings is healing and productive in and of itself (and it is very challenging at first!).
  • I have had to learn to feel secure and at home when I am in an unfamiliar place. Making wherever I am “home” in whatever way I can has become key. I have even had to revamp my definition of home. Home for me now is the feeling of inner peace I have or that I can create wherever in the world I may be. I have released “home” as being only a physical place.

Skugga Estate…a coffee and chocolate farm I would gladly call “home!”

  • I have learned that when I future think too far ahead I panic. Staying in the present moment is challenging and I have had to remind myself several times a day to stay in the now and trust that the future will not only take care of itself as it is meant to be, but that I will also be OK.
  • Looking at social media makes me feel worse on all levels.! We have become so obsessed with social media and recording and posting everything we do that we are living our lives through our phones rather than through our bodies and spirits. I only look at social media a couple times a day now (and have learned that I cannot look at it when I first wake up in the morning!) and I also make a conscious effort to experience the amazing things I am experiencing through my eyes first and my phone second.

Me and my Skugga Estate guide Sam (a chocolate expert from Switzerland) – who I think is a Jeremy Renner look-a-like! 🙂

  • My inner peace, well-being, and soul growth are my priority. What I have found is that there are some places and unfortunately people, that I have needed to gently let go of that are not part of my journey. I know that may sound harsh, but it is the truth. Although I have had many people who have been amazingly supportive of me on this adventurous journey, I have had an equal amount (if not more) people who have criticized me, been passively aggressive in their comments, and shamed me for what I am doing. There are also some who I thought would be supportive who have “disappeared” due to possible jealousy, envy, or a projection of their own fears for what I am doing. And then there are others who I have considered only acquaintances up to this point that have been wildly supportive! People continually surprise the shit out of me! I have learned to never filter decisions where my well-being and soul growth are at stake through those I do not trust or that make me feel unworthy.

I truly feel as if we have many lives in our one lifetime. We have chapters that are amazing and ones that are tragic. We have ones where we learn lessons and others where we get to use the lessons we learned. I believe our life on Earth is a school and we learn and are tested along the way. The only way we can pass any test while we are here is to take it. As I continue on my Earth school journey and head to Australia next, I can’t help but think of the kangaroo, the snake, and the dolphin. I have made these animals my spirit animals…

The kangaroo is incapable of stepping backward. It can only go forward.

The snake frequently removes its outer skin (the old self being replaced by the new self).

The dolphin sees all life as a fun adventure.

The Elephant Parade started its journey in Thailand and now these beautifully painted elephants travel throughout the world!

As I round third base during the world series game of my travels, I remain open to whatever this chapter wants to teach me and I am committed to being fully present as I am called to bat on whatever adventure is presented to me along the way.

See you down under,

Me at my own private Thanksgiving dinner!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chris

 

 

 

 

Comments:

  • December 3, 2022
    Sandra Vertuno

    Very enlightened. So excited to see you at your next stop in beautiful Australia! I continue to be inspired and so proud of you.

    reply
  • December 3, 2022
    Kirse

    You are absolutely inspirational! Thank you for sharing your journey, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your updates. Your helping the courage inside of me grow, regardless of my age!!

    reply
  • December 4, 2022
    Cindy Clark

    Chris ~ Merry Christmas. I love reading your blog and I truly think this adventure is amazing. I read that you will be back in Phoenix in mid January. I am returning to Phoenix for a few months after the holidays and I really hope that we can connect again this year. Enjoy Australia. I just talked to a friend who was there in November and she said the weather was hot and humid but she loved it so much there. She said the natives were all such wonderful people. I would have loved to have gone to Thailand. My sweet neighbor lady wants me to go with her sometime as she has family in Thailand. But I’m not thinking that I can really afford a trip like that. But who knows… Having a tour guide for with me would sure be nice. And you have certainly helped me accept my being alone as a good thing. I have started to step out of my box here in MN and doing a few volunteer events with the church and other organizations. I am growing as well and your blog has helped me. Love you Chris. Take care and hope to see you in AZ in 2023.

    reply
      • December 5, 2022
        Cindy Clark

        I have not set a date yet to drive out. I guess it will depend on the weather since I will be driving in my little Prius and have to have good roads! Thank you for the compliment Chris. You look Amazing as well and I am so happy you are doing what your heart wants to do. Big hugs to you as well. Happy Holidays and blessings to you in all you are doing.

        reply

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