#WPLongform, ageing, nomadic life, spirituality, travel, trust
What came up strongly for me after we got back to Vancouver from our latest adventures were fears about the future: what will we do if and when we can’t continue travelling around the world from country to country, or if and when we’re not well enough to housesit for others? Eventually I came back to a place of trust: trust The Mystery to provide everything we need. Last summer was when I really began to learn the value of trusting the guidance offered by The Mystery and it has never steered me wrong. So now when fears arise about the future, or about the past, that trust is what I need to go back to every time. I have no idea what will happen to me, to us, but I’m convinced that The Mystery has a plan or an aim or a goal for us, or at the very least has a far better idea of what direction we need to move in from moment to moment than we do if left to our own devices.
What The Mystery wants for me is what I want for myself at the deepest level: there is no separation. There are times when I’m writing that I get a direct download from The Mystery and I’m no longer writing down my thoughts but have the experience of taking dictation from a higher source. This was what came to say after I’d written the previous paragraph: ‘So stop worrying about the practical nuts and bolts of health care and insurance and focus on what it is you want: what kind of life do you want to have? What kind of travels do you want to undertake? Where do you want to go and what do you want to see? Those are the only important questions. Everything else is just details, and God is Great at taking care of details: just look around you at the incredible wealth of detail in the apparently simplest organisms. So let go of fretting about the details and the nuts and bolts of how to make your journeys work and focus instead on the beauty and the joy and the excitement of travel: what makes your heart sing, what makes you joyful, what do you most want to see and do? Those are the only questions worth asking at this most stimulating time in your life.’ What a wonderful reminder that all is well and that I/we have nothing to worry about.
So what have I been learning about aging of late? I’ve learned that aging bodies can and do heal in much the same way that younger bodies can and do heal. I’ve learned that I’m about as old as I feel, and that my level of optimism from moment to moment depends almost totally on my degree of belief in the stories that my mind tries to tell, and sell, me. I’ve learned that aging is not for the faint of heart: sitting in doctor’s waiting rooms recently brought forth the realization that there can be a lot of decrepitude in old age. It takes courage and strength and commitment not to buy into the collective beliefs about inevitable deterioration and disability: some people remain healthy and active well into their 90’s. I’ve learned to be less concerned about my appearance than I was ten years ago. There’s lots of learning about life available to me as I get older, I just have to look and listen and observe the world around me. One other thing I appear to be learning as I age, though I still need to be mindful about, is to be less judgmental of others and to have more compassion instead of judging people by their appearance. One of the big lessons I’ve learned about life from travelling all around the world is that once you get beyond the social masks people are just people everywhere you go, and that, with rare exceptions, openheartedness is greeted with openheartedness everywhere.
From time to time recently I’ve been feeling more optimistic about our lives as nomads, travelling the world in search of adventure. We can do this as long as we keep on remembering to Trust The Magic and Trust The Mystery, and stop listening to and believing the mind’s fear-based stories. As long as we stay reasonably healthy we can continue to travel. I read somewhere that today’s 65 year-olds are as fit as 45 year-olds used to be. That’s very good news. Travelling can be strenuous and stressful at times, but it can also be very enlivening and its certainly making our lives more interesting than they were before we began all this travelling. We’re still in the early stages of planning the details of our next trip, though Ali tells me that she’s been doing some research already, and it looks as if we’ll head to India from Australia and then go to Southeast Asia last, including a trip to Myanmar from Thailand.
Photo of the day: at a family ceremony in Ubud, Bali
All words and images by Alison Louise Armstrong unless otherwise noted.
© Alison Louise Armstrong and Adventures in Wonderland – a pilgrimage of the heart, 2010-2015.
Don, I truly enjoyed this small open window to your mind/heart/thoughts. Thank you for sharing these parts of yourself here.
Thank you Kate for your kind words. As someone once said “Writing from the heart is easy: you just pick up a pen, open a vein, and start writing!”
The above comment was from Don, even though it was headed ‘Alison said’
That ‘someone’ was wise — and experienced, I think 🙂
Steven kerner said:
I’ve been traveling since early January on large pat because it was too painful to be in my NYC apartment was too painful after my wife’s recent passing. Ive been mostly in Mexico experiencing much and trying to morph into a new way of being in the world without my wife. I just read what you wrote about trust and also judging others. I was just thinking about both in much the sMe way that you described. A curious example of trusting: in the Mexico City airport for a short trip to Havana I realized I’d been wanting a rubber band in several airports I’d been in. I’d learned to say rubber band in Spanish and asked but to no avail. But there on the seat next to me was a rubber band. In Cuba I arrived not realizing my credit card wouldnt work and suddenly I was very limited financially. It amazed me the generosity I experienced from “lowly” bicycle cabs to the owners of the Casa Particular where I stayed
I’m likely returning to NYC on march 20 and apprehensive about being there without my wife, but the “universe” will no doubt provide.
But I’m already thinking about my next trip — lisbon
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Alison and Don said:
Hi Steve. I’m so sorry for your loss. No doubt it is a huge adjustment. I love the story of the rubber band. Just like my story about the cord and toggle for my hat which I’d been wanting and showed up on a seat on a bus in Chile. You will find people are kind and generous all over the world. We certainly have. I hope your return to NYC is not too painful. You are right – the universe will provide. We try as much as possible to rest in the not knowing, and then let things unfold. Decisions get made only in the moment that they need to be made, and each small decision leads us on our path. Thank you for commenting. It’s nice to meet you.