Monktastic times abroad

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Expanding my world (monastery) is essential for a life monk, and at the moment I am bundled up in Toronto, Canada.

While visiting a new place is usually all but meditative and introspective, amidst sticking to a hectic schedule and trying to see everything there’s a lot to be learned about oneself.

New places are like big gurus — they teach quickly and their lessons can often be blunt and painful, yet enlightening.  Just like how a great teacher can make me question the most basic of my actions, travel forces me to re-learn the daily routine and I am humbled by experiencing a new way of life.

At home it’s easy to have the mind wander beyond the present experience.  I get dressed, eat, and go about life, but my mind can often be elsewhere — usually in the past or future, thinking about the next thing rather than what’s in front of me.

Thrust into a new environment, I suddenly have a new focus on the present moment.   Getting dressed just-right for 30 degree weather is a science for someone used to more tropical climates, and figuring out how to get into the city takes focus and planning.   I will remember feeling a little lost and working with a different currency when I return home — it will make me more aware and empathetic to all the tourists.

I have been reminded how good receiving a smile and patient kindness can feel, as well as the effects of those who are quick and callous.  In the blind routine of daily life it is easy to forget how far the smallest of things can go.

Exploring the beautiful city has of course been a great experience, but I believe it’s all the little things that educate me the most and stay with me the longest.   Travel, just like life itself, can be utterly imperfect but that is when I learn the most about what affects me and those around me, and how I function out of my comfort zone.

Discomfort means I have just entered learning opportunity, how will I react?

I could make up excuses — I’m tired, I’m hungry, stressed, jet-lagged, cold… or I could grow some introspective spiritual balls and realize that this discomfort is the true test of one who loves and studies life.

Living with imperfection as artfully as possible… easier said while in the comfort of familiarity.

Traveling anywhere — to the next town over or around the world  — is a wonderful test, brilliant teacher, and a life monk essential.

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To be the change, I must seek to experience change…inside and out. Broadened horizons lead to bigger hearts and better minds.

5 thoughts on “Monktastic times abroad

  1. Othmar says:

    Welcome abroad, welcome to Canada, fellow ‘monk’. Thank you, Tracy, for sharing your impressions.
    It is a humbling life lesson to learn, that most people in most places on this planet are strangers, foreigners, not from here, not from there: Because home is such a small shelter within our universe. Every time we leave what we understand as home, we potentially expose ourselves to learning opportunities. Every time we leave it, we have a chance to avoid building up confirmation bias. Every time we leave it, we can practice going about with an open heart and an open mind.
    It is now two and a half years since I have last maintained a permanent, physical place called home. It is a liberating practice to be on an ongoing pilgrimage and simply visiting, where ever I go.
    Happy trails,

    Othmar

    • Tracy Konane says:

      Hi Othmar! Very well said!
      Traveling anywhere, whether it be physically, mentally, or spiritually opens us up to so many new ideas and lessons; it’s so very important to keep on moving and growing in any way we can.
      I strive to be so bold to live a similar life as you, the traveling ‘monk’ 🙂
      Thank you for reading and for your thoughtful input

      • Othmar says:

        Blessings on your journey, Tracy. I am setting out shortly to spend some time in a traditional monastery, one with walls and rules and observance of silence, worship, and labour. It will be a different kind of journey and learning experience, again. I have a fascination with the limitlessness of the universe, but each smaller organism constitutes it own universe that is equally vast and worthwhile to explore.

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