Spiritual Journey~

TracyIf you decided to go on a “Spiritual Journey” where would you go and what would you do?


“Your life is a sacred journey. And it is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. You are on the path… exactly where you are meant to be right now… And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity, and of love.”
Caroline Adams

Spirituality has long been associated with religion, deities, the supernatural, and an afterlife.  Many equate spirituality with religion, but the two are separate entities, religion being one way man experiences spirituality.  Spirituality may include introspection, and the development of an individuals inner life through practices such as meditation, prayer and contemplation.

Spiritual Journey’s can change and enrich your life.  Whether you ride your motorcycle down to Monument Valley or Hike in the Himalayan Mountains a spiritual journey is a very personal exploration of ones self.  We usually embark on such quests when we are aware that our spirituality need attention.  It can be described as an “Aha Moment” even.  It’s when you venture out of your comfort zone and look inward for answers to questions we all have.  “What is my purpose or path in life?”

If I were to go on a ‘Spiritual Journey’ I would pick one of two.  I would love to spend time with Buddhist Monks to learn about Meditation, Intention and Karma and I would also like to learn about Kabbalah. I have always believed that meditation is a huge part of being spiritual and can calm our souls and shed light on issues we all have.  Meditation means awareness.  “Watching your breath” is meditation; listening to the birds is meditation.   As long as these activities are free from any other distraction to the mind, it is effective meditation.  Meditation is not a technique but a way of life.  Meditation means ‘a cessation of the thought process’.  By meditating you are able to let go of your physical self and get in tune with your metaphysical side.  That is the Spiritual Journey I would like to embark on!

Post Insert Jacquie When I was in my twenties I had small kids that needed to be taken care of and the journey I was on was one of survival.  Mine and theirs.  I believed it was my sacred duty to make sure these young souls felt safe, secure and loved.  Now that I’m no longer necessary in quite the same way, I’ve felt the need to find other  ways to feel complete.  I’ve decided for me that means reaching beyond my comfort zone, past established boundaries and out into the community I share with my global neighbours.

I could answer this question metaphysically, but what I really think Tracy is asking in this post is for a literal description of where I want my spiritual journey to begin, or take shape.  I’ve actually been looking into a place in the Kootenays, about 9 hours from Vancouver near Nelson, BC, called Yasodhara Ashram.  I’ve never been anywhere near this area but I’ve heard of it’s natural beauty and peaceful majesty.  Yasodhara offers yoga, meditation and spiritual guidance for beginners like me all the way up to advanced practitioners.  I would love to spend a week or two by myself totally immersed in the everyday Ashram comings and goings and at the complete mercy of the program.  I would arrive with an open mind and heart and actively seek enlightenment or whatever came my way.   My spiritual journey is about enriching my life with experience and knowledge and I know a stay at the Ashram will only begin to heighten my awareness of all the work I have yet to do, but it’s a good start.   Think of it like an all-inclusive for the spiritual cherry-picker.  It may take several pilgrimages to find what works for you, but each attempt brings you closer to your goal.  Keeping an open mind is key.

Bonnie Johnson's Post

There are many places in the world that are considered “holy” or “spiritual” places to visit.  Places like Jerusalem, Tibet, Machu Picchu, etc.  Eckhart Tolle, who wrote “A New Earth” and “The Power of Now” has said he felt that the west coast of North America and specifically around Vancouver, BC had a strong positive energy which he was drawn to in order to write about his own spiritual journey.  I don’t doubt this.  I have been in different places in the world that seem to awaken something deep within me.  But a true spiritual journey is really about going within your Self.  I don’t think it matters as much about the ground beneath your feet as it does about the degree in which you can tune in to your Source (God/Spirit/Universe/insert whichever label you are comfortable with).

I believe a true spiritual journey is one that inspires you to connect with your own spirit.  I have felt that way when sitting on a flat rock beside a babbling creek in North Vancouver, while floating in a canoe in an underground river deep inside a cave in New Zealand, while looking out at the ocean on a beach in Australia, while exploring our beautiful British Columbian outdoors, and even while watching a spider working on its web in my own yard.  If a place inspires and stirs your soul then it is worth a journey to.  It may be its beauty, its energy or simply a memory it stirs up for you.  Wherever that is for you I hope you are able to go there often.

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History of a Tattoo …Thai ~

Tracy History of a Tattoo Thai Style is next on my list for those of you interested in the Art of Tattooing.  In previous posts we have covered Polynesian and Japanese.

Traditional Thai Tattoos~

In Thailand tattoos were the norm for nearly all men.  Men would be tattooed as a sign of spiritual and religious faith.  Very rarely were they done as some kind of meaningless artistic display, but more often as a catalyst for change or to mark a stage in their lives.  To me that is a perfect reason to have your own canvas inked.  I like the interesting story behind a tattoo, it’s meaning is what makes the process complete.  Thai tattoo

The most popular style of tattoos in Thailand are the depictions of Buddhist Temples or Buddhist deities, such as Arya Tara our Goddess here on Tara Cronica.  Those who got these temple tattoos or Buddhist deities believed that they contained power to protect them.  These tattoos are usually done by Thai monks using India Ink or Rotring ink and were often accompanied by prayers while they were being done.

The mythical monk is still today one of the most popular creations in Thailand and Myanmar.  They are put on the human body by monks who incorporate magical powers to the design while tattooing.  Women are excluded because monks are not allowed to be touched by them and because Thais believe women do not need the extra boost as they are already strong enough on their own. How can we not love that ladies! 

Unlike Western style tattooing traditional Thai tattoos are done using hand tools and Bamboo and don’t use the same kinds of sterilization methods as you would in a shop-front tattoo studio.  Although apparently other things are added to the ink such as battery acid, plant extracts and snake oil which supposedly kills bacteria.  After being through the process myself, I can appreciate how painful the Thai method must be.  Having the religious experience brought into the art of tattooing I can understand how many are attracted to the Thai style.

Authentic Traditional Thai Bamboo Tattoing in Chiang Mai City, Northern Thailand.  Pik was a student of Grand Master Ajarn Hnuu Ganpai in this ancient art.  Angeline Jolie uses this Grand Master for her body Art

Svaha!

Tracy signiture

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Tripping for me

I feel compelled to write about travel today because it seems to me that everyone on the planet is going away somewhere warm with the exception of me.  And with our recent snow fall you can’t avoid daydreaming about being somewhere warm and exotic.

Juara Bay Tioman, Malaysia

I’ve had a few Tripping adventures in my life but you can always use another!

By the time I turned the ripe old age of 25 I had explored over 46 different countries in the world.  My parents exposed me to the travel bug at the age of 11. That was a huge chunk of the 46 right there. We sold our house, they quit their jobs and put everything we own in storage including the dog. We gallivanted around Europe and Asia for a year.  Not many families did that in the 70’s!  I was young but still to this day it was the best experience ever!

Villa Margarita Costa del Sol Spain

Travel shows us that, like the universe, there is far more out there for us to explore than we can ever imagine and that there’s no place like home all at the same time. If you love to travel you will agree with me that life experience and memories far outweigh anything you own.

You can travel or vacation. To me there’s a big difference.  Both are top on my list of things you should do as often as you can.  A traveler gets off on going to places they’ve never seen before.  A vacationer likes the ease of planning a trip where there are some comforts of home.  Both have their purpose.  It just depends what your looking for.

Boys will be boys! ThailandTravel (in my opinion) needs to be a visual experience as well as a cultural experience.  I want to meet the people who live where I’m going.  Get to know the locals.  I like there to be a language barrier!  I want to come home with a better understanding of what it’s like to live somewhere completely different, like the Hill Tribes in Northern Thailand or The Costa del Sol in Spain.

dirt biking to Burma

Meeting new friends is one of the greatest gifts of travel.  I’ve been writing to Sylvia, a pen pal from the Netherlands, for over 30 years.   We met in Spain where we lived for 5 months and her family vacationed.  Although I still receive letters from her, I miss the letters of broken English because it made me even more aware that she was different.  It reminded me of my childhood adventure every time I received one.  Her letters now are more easily understood and I love receiving them still after so many years.

Bonnie & Tracy down underTraveling when I was younger gave me the desire to continue when I was older.  At 21 I gallivanted with Bonnie through Australia for 6 months.  Now that was a completely different adventure!  I think at 21 traveling away from home is one of the best growing experiences you can have.  You find out quickly what you are really made of.

I  backpacked throughout Malaysia and Thailand in my 30’s with ‘a really good friend of mine’. Scott with Thai boys That trip literally changed my life.  I learned more about myself in 3 months than I thought possible.  I believe I came home a better person.  I came home thankful for what we have here in North America but it also made me realize I don’t really require a lot to be truly happy.

Hill tribe trek in Pai, Thailand

So you see, there are experiences out there waiting for us. We just need to get out and make them happen.  So the next time you pack your suitcase or back pack to travel or vacation, slip out of your comfort zone a little and really enjoy it for what it is~ life experience, memory making and expanding your circle of friends.Tracy

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