Although I’ve been back from my holiday in Thailand for about a week, I’ve not been able to write about it until now. Not only had the work been piling up while I was away, but I also didn’t have a clue where to start to explain how all these wonderful experiences have affected me spiritually, as I don’t feel I have as yet been able to internalise it all. I’m having recurrent and other dreams every night, which started while I was there and which have become stronger and more persistent since I’ve been back home, waking me up every hour of the night. I know that something important is trying to break through into consciousness, but so far I couldn’t put into words what it is or where it is leading.
I could of course tell you all about my physical holiday experiences and leave it at that, but this blog is about being spiritually awake and aware whilst in the physical body, and how, by being aware, we can use our physical experiences to grow spiritually. So what I really want to do is tell you about my experiences and about the deeper insights I’ve gained from them so far – at least I’ll do my best to put them into words.
Getting to Koh Lanta, which was our first holiday destination, took a full day and meant travelling in two trains, two aeroplanes, two cars and two ferries. As you can imagine, we were absolutely exhausted by the time we finally arrived. But being there was worth all the hassle of getting there – it was hot, there were palm trees everywhere, and the lovely sandy beach and emerald green Andaman Sea were right outside our hotel window. My daughter and I felt like we’d arrived in Paradise! As I hadn’t been on any long journeys for so many years and was feeling pretty apprehensive about the travelling beforehand, I was amazed at how calm and collected I was throughout all of it – I had no fears at all and didn’t feel the slightest bit stressed. If I ever wanted proof of having worked through and cleared out all of my fears, this was it!
We had a wonderfully lazy first week – doing nothing was an awful lot easier than I thought it would be! We swam in the pool, strolled along the beach looking for seashells, explored our surroundings, and tried out different restaurants for dinner in the evenings. Apart from a small village just down the road, the surrounding mountains were covered in jungle and rainforest. We often heard the calls of monkeys, but didn’t see any until I went for a stroll along the beach very early one morning and came across a group of around 30 long-tailed macaques, that may have come down for a dip in the small stream that joined the sea there. They were on the edge of the trees and there were lots of little ones playing and chasing each other, while the adults groomed each other. I so enjoyed watching them and seeing them in their natural habitat. Sadly, I hadn’t brought my camera and although I did go back and look several times, I didn’t see them again. I also spotted a golden eagle that soared overhead a few times, but it too played hide and seek as soon as I got hold of my camera.
We had planned to go trekking into the jungle on elephants, but when we arrived to book it, we stopped on the other side of the road and couldn’t go any further. We were both upset by the obvious distress of a young elephant which had been chained up by one leg and stood there, with this leg in the air, pulling at the chain but unable to free itself. We presumed that its mother must be one of the elephants used for trekking and that it was left behind because it was too young to work and would have distracted its mother. Its distress was so palpable that we could have cried and we decided there and then that we couldn’t be a part of this. We sent it lots of Love and went back to the hotel.
Our holiday package included a whole day at a hot spring spa, which was deep in the jungle, and one of the highlights of our stay. The whole experience was traditionally Thai and gave the impression of being very much a ritual cleansing ceremony, as it all had to be done a certain way. We were given a traditional outfit for bathing and had a body scrub to start with, after which we rinsed off in open-air showers before being directed to go into a warm pool of about 30 degrees Celsius. The next pool was hot – 40 degrees C – where we stayed for some time, before being directed into another cooler pool of about 20 degrees, which was a wonderful relief after the hot pool. After a while, we went back into the hot pool for some time. Then we were given a bottle of mineral water each and asked to sit on the side whilst doing yoga exercises for a while before being given a neck and shoulder massage with fragrant herbs. To finish off we were each given a fresh coconut with the top cut off and a bamboo straw to drink from. After a very tasty and spicy Thai lunch we were shown how to fold flowers from leaves, which was fun, before being given an hour long massage. We left there feeling totally relaxed, renewed, and another wonderful experience richer.
Part 2 coming soon……