I am just returning from a month long trip in Europe, where I visited family and friends in England, walked down memory lane of my Dads childhood in Ireland, saw my god-daughter in the Bavarian Alps, visited my girlfriend in Spain, and holidayed with my man in Corfu where we participated in a Tantra Mantra group with Miten and Deva Premal. I am feeling sun kissed, inspired and a lot lighter than when I left home.

Traveling sure does confront you with a lot of stuff. Even though I travel a lot I am always anxious when I leave home. As a “Self Preservation” type on the Enneagram, I am happiest when I know where I am going to sleep, (preferably in my own bed!) and when and what I am going to eat!

But none of that is certain when we travel. Apart from the major hassle of luggage (what to take, how much to take, will it be climate appropriate?), there are so many unknowns we have to face such as security hassles, missed flights, changes, delays, new situations etc. (of which we had our fair share!).

Even though traveling can be fun, it is definitely not comfortable a lot of the time. However it is a useful spiritual practice. We get exposed to so many other cultures, people and situations that we don’t normally, which challenges our identity, beliefs and concepts about who we are and what the world is like.

On this trip, I have had the opportunity to let go of a lot of baggage, not only material baggage but also so many old and outmoded patterns within myself that I realize don’t serve me any more. Staying at home it is so easy to get stuck in a certain modus operandi, becoming over identified, with “ This is who I am and this is the way I like things.” On the road we have to let go constantly, in order to be fully present in the now.

In Europe I have been tuning in very much to the world news, and have been deeply affected by the plight of the thousands of refugees fleeing to Europe because of war and ever more desperate conditions in their home countries. My heart is opened in compassion for these people having to leave behind literally everything they know, to make a very dangerous journey across land and sea, for a very uncertain destination, often being met in less than friendly ways by the authorities here.

On this awakening journey we are on, I am reminded that two things are important. One is to remember that life is impermanent, that nothing we hold dear is going to last, and the challenge and the art is to let go. Only Love abides in the end so constantly reprioritizing our life around this is a skillful way to live. Also in the larger world, everything is shifting and changing so much. We are heading into very precarious times as the climate shifts and systems and structures break down. In the light of this, it is important to remember that more than identifying with a certain race or religion, we are a human family. Opening our hearts in deep empathy and compassion to our fellow human and non-human family is essential at this time.

As my dear friend Miten says in one of his songs “ We gotta drop the Baggage, we gotta travel light, we got a long way to go, and we’ll be moving day and night.” On this awakening journey the less we hold onto, the freer we are. We have to constantly let go of the person we think we are in order to become the person we are meant to be.

Here are a few gems I offer to you:
Find some time to stop and go inside. Close your eyes. As you breathe in, say, “I am here now”. As you breathe out, say “I am letting go.” You can do this anytime anywhere. Allow yourself to sense the silent presence that you are, beyond the mind and the endless to do lists.
Take a notebook and write down what old emotional, mental, physical/ material baggage you are carrying for a sense of security that may not be serving you any more. What can you consciously let go of to help free up your time, energy and Spirit? Breathing out, say to yourself “I am letting go.” Breathing in, say “I am here now.” Drop the baggage
and travel light!
Breathing into your heart, take in the suffering of others; breathe it in deeply. As you breathe out, send out love, compassion and healing
to others.
Beyond the mind and endless to-do-lists, allow yourself to sense the silent presence that you are.

Deva Premal, Rajyo and Miten in Corfu