On social media you only see the fruits of my labor… you don’t see what goes into trying to work remotely. The cost of having a remote office.
I had to calm myself down and tell myself that all I had lost was money. It was material. That can come back. What I was going through right now was worth more than the amount I had lost. It took everything to not try to beat myself up the way that I was trained to do. I tell myself that I should have known better and that I should have not come to Nepal if I had to work remotely. That I should have known that the internet during this trip would have been spotty or I should have just put an out of office reply in my email. Maybe I should have but I didn’t at the time. I also had to realize that this was not my fault and that there were factors that could have changed the circumstance but I had to live with what I had chosen. I wanted to save the client’s trip and deliver on the original quote I promised even if the rates had changed so drastically and I was not getting much mercy from the hotel to honor the original rates. It was annoying for sure but not the end of the world. One day, hopefully in a few months, I’ll just laugh that off as another adventure. But right now it was feeling very real. So many thoughts of insecurity going though my mind - why did I do this? Why did I choose to work remotely while traveling so intensely? Why didn’t I stay where I know the internet connection was good? Why didn’t I choose a more straight forward safer path in life? Maybe I should have just gotten married. Maybe I should have taken that 9-5 job. Maybe maybe maybe. So many crazy thoughts flowing through my head.
All these silly thoughts. And I let them flow over me as I breathed in meditation. There is nothing guaranteed other than this moment right now. The last moment has past and the future has not yet begun. In this moment I was in pain but I knew that I would get through it. This was not the worst pain to have but nonetheless, it still hurt and I had to honor that.
In the most basic form of Buddhist meditation, you sit cross-legged on a cushion on the floor or upright in a chair. You quietly watch the rise and fall of your breath. If thoughts, emotions or impulses arise, you just observes them come up and go like clouds in a blue sky, without rejecting them on the one hand or being carried away into daydreaming or restlessness on the other.
I was exhausted. I was running on empty. I was tired of trying to control everything and of fighting. It’s closer to the truth that we are at the mercy of the universe… but how we deal with what is dealt to us is what makes the difference.
I couldn’t even think straight. I was in Nepal, thousands of miles away from my office in New York and all I could think of was the client, the office, my loss, my stupidity. What I could have done to prevent it. Nothing.
I was not in the present moment. I was up since 4am, anxious, trying to get out of paying $1000 of my own money in order to save this client’s trip. I was in tears. That morning I didn’t even know whether I was going to make the scheduled trip to Bhaktapur. Maybe I should just cancel the trip all together.
After I calmed myself down… I thought about all the things I was grateful for. I was grateful that I had the opportunity to even be here in Nepal, to be witness to this ancient culture and this land.
No work disaster was going to take that away from me. Even if I did have to pay a thousand dollars out of my own pocket for this loss, it was a set back and not a real loss. I was still alive. I still had my health. My family still loved me and I was grateful to be in Nepal. There really wasn’t another way that I could have done things differently. I had to accept things exactly the way they were.
I had no choice but to go on with my day. Enjoy the things that I did have and the company of the people who were with me in the present. I did end up going to Bhaktapur and enjoying my day instead of letting this work slip up ruin my entire day and the trip. I will admit it was a little difficult to focus on enjoying the day when I was worried about this unexpected payment for my business! But I plugged along and made new friends and enjoyed the sights. I also shared what had happened with a few colleagues and they shared in their sympathy. Talking and connecting with people always helps!
I have the tendency to replay over and over in my head events that have gone wrong (or right), to relive that experience. That’s a drug. An addiction. A longing for a feeling that is no longer there. I need to be in the now. In the present. This pain is a part of my journey.
I remember when I visited Bodhanath Stupa when I first got to Kathmandu.
As I walked around the stupa 13 times, I repeated my mantra Om Eim Hrim Klim Chamundaye Viche Nahama, my go-to mantra for meditation. A mantra seeking blessings from Mother Durga, who has forms of Saraswati (Giver of Knowledge), MahaLaxmi (Giver of Wealth), Mahakali (Giver of Justice), to give us a shield of strength and energy to untangle ourselves from the knots of negativity and evil from our mind and body.
I asked for the strength to fulfill my life path of encouraging world peace through travel and finding peace within myself is the beginning of the journey. In order to do this, I needed to grow comfortable with discomfort and be excited to see what else life brings.
I have to accept the world as it is and love it, even if I am feeling pain. I have to accept myself, my decisions and my life circumstances as they are and love them. I need to accept the people around me as they are and love them. Once I accept this and surrender to this and not fight it, I will feel peace within myself. This is the beginning of world peace. Love and peace within yourself extends out to love and peace for others and for humanity.
It’s about being present and honest with our circumstances. It’s about being vulnerable. It’s about being honest about how you feel. Even if it’s hard. Radical honesty is tough. It’s not trending. It’s not trendy. Not everyone is going to like the truth. You might not like how you are feeling, but you need to honestly feel it before you can let go and be at peace.
'Not to do any evil; to cultivate good; to purify one's heart - this is the teaching of all the Buddhas.'
There is the compassionate desire in Buddhism to cause no harm to all beings including animals, plants, and the world in general. Buddhism places great stress on self-reliance and the Buddha himself told his followers not to believe without questioning, but to test it for themselves. This is another reason why I felt drawn to it. Buddhism is also very practical and aims at helping people to live their lives peacefully.
I practice the Buddhist virtues actively in my everyday life with the final goal of bringing about that same awakening that the Buddha himself achieved through an active transformation of the heart and passions and the letting go of I. Will you join me on this journey?
If you feel compelled to do so, as I did, I encourage you to travel to Nepal, on a pilgrimage or whatever - either with me, with a group or by yourself, I want to help you do it. Let my wisdom be your guide. Reach out to me in the form below to start a conversation. I’m waiting to hear your story.