Sixteen hours of airline travel, coming home, excited? Yes…and surprised at this feel of reluctance, the tug of Paris still strong, time carved from the norm, daily adventure, wandering with abandon. Wondering about “the norm”, the possibility of not falling back into it, the magnetic pull of habit, the comfort of the familiar. How to maintain freshness, awaken each morning wondering what might happen, do something different. 

Break free, drop the same old same old, move out of the box.

So at the heart of a 5Rhythms practice. Travel inherently holds this practice possibility. Take the rhythm of flow: how many ways can we let things in? Travel just invites weirdness: long luxurious bath looking down Tuscany hill slope, circling and turning 360 degree on high ground, feet meandering narrow shadowy passages, brutally affected by immigrant beggar in Metro, letting Monet in through thin skin, harp on the steps of Sacre Couer piercing heart..flowing with whatever comes. Or watching overwhelm turn to stubborn inertia, taking a deep breath, waiting for it to pass.

So much opportunity to do something different lifted from the guiding realm of staccato. Following directions, maps, GPS. Tracking the sun and orienting to the compass. Turning left, turning right. Watching rigidity develop around all that, exhaling, dropping it. Feeling guarded, internal, shy…new people everywhere, odd customs, strange language…letting ourselves out anyway. Making connections wherever possible: waiters and clerks, park benches and bus seats, hotel staff and guides. Watching the heart close. Opening. Getting uber-tense. Shifting to a softened clarity.

Many moments of chaos. How about the time we completely lost our way hiking and ran out of water as well? Breathing fully, gathering and assessing, trusting intuition…in the psychic empty space, someone appears who knows the way. Or that time, unbenownst, failed to properly validate train ticket. Mean spirited conductor, $120 Euro fine on the spot. No confusion, just a quick and total knowing to let go, shake it off, move on. Another moment: on the Metro, deep in the earth bowels, train stops, lights off, pitch black, interminable. What else to do? Keep releasing, shifting weight, surrendering. Apparently a cat on the track. Every bone tells us to get off at the next stop and do something different. We listen.

All this awareness and attention just sets the stage for utterly long stretches of lyrical existence, following our feet and hearts, knowing when to pause, when to go, treasuring the smallest of things: a cobblestone crack for yellow flower so alive, grapes pregnant with promise, children on skateboards speaking perfect Italian, arugula so fresh it makes your whole mouth pucker, heart melted by hot tears, sharing such a timeless experience with someone to whom a glance is the only necessary language. Feeling spacey, coming back.

Long stretches of complete stillness: a bench in Luxembourg Garden, a cafe chair in filtered sunshine Montalcino, a let’s not get up yet in more places than one. A day after day lesson witnessing the unified field: going to work, dropping the kids at school, caring for infants, giving up a seat for the infirm, shopping, enjoying food and drink, worshipping and celebrating in community, burying and honoring the dead, building up, tearing down, inevitable warring, the struggle for peace…we are the same everywhere.

And now it is time to come home and do all that in my own community again. Return to a formal practice that opens the door to freshness, invites us to actually follow our own feet, the deep belly, vulnerable-ize our heart, clear our mind for the juicy stuff. Pave the way for full expression of this once-only soul. Hollow us out for spirit to move on through. Tall order. Come practice. 

Missing you. Ready. Maybe. 

love, bella