What Is The Transition From Chiang Mai Back To The Real World Like?
So many people have asked me to write this post, so I am. It’s hard to put these thoughts into words, but I’m going to try my level best. Sometimes these feelings are felt easier, but when you try to put them into words, they are slippery and do not want to be pinned down. You can try but the harder you try, the more they slip away from your hands, like grains of sand.
This epic journey. I lived in Chiang Mai for six months surrounded by so many creative people. I moved there to work on my online business and learn from the Digital Nomads that are concentrated in Chiang Mai. I learned and did so much more that I’ll talk a bit about in this post.
To start off, I have to say that I dislike the word ‘real world’, because to me, every experience is real. It doesn’t matter where I am, or what I am doing. As long as I am the experiencer, I am experiencing reality. Even my dreams, if real enough to me, can and will be the real world. That’s just a side note, though.
Most of all, as I sit here on my parent’s comfortable couch, a couch that I haven’t had for the past six months, I feel content. Comfortable. Joyful. Excited. Fearful. Hopeful.
Mostly positive emotions. A couple of negative ones.
I am so excited for this new chapter in my life. Perhaps I’m a weird individual, but all of the meditation and mindfulness practice that I have built into my system, has taught me that the only thing that matters is the present moment. I don’t want to be cliche about it, but memories get tangled up and convoluted. I have memories of Chiang Mai as being perfect, but there were some imperfect moments in there. There were definitely some moments where I felt out of place, and annoyed, and wanted to go back home to my mommy. So memories aren’t always a true measure of what the past was like.
A lot of times the past is actually something quite different. I have realized that I have a tendency to romanticize the past, and downgrade the present. In my current journey, my most ardent desire is to upgrade the present to be the only moment that matters. If I go in thinking this way, then I am only going to be thinking about what is going on right now. The words I am writing, the sound of the furnace down in the basement, the TV blasting Korean dramas as my mother sits in the reclining chair and watches them, the smell of curry in the air… and so on.
I am not discounting the past at all. The past is what made me what I am today. But if I lived too much in the past, then I would hate being in Toronto, and I would want to go back to Chiang Mai. That wouldn’t be a warrior-like move. I want to be a warrior of the mind. I want to be stronger than what I am right now. And that strength is a practice. In each moment, I practice being a mentally strong person.
A warrior like me who is present realizes that if I am here in Toronto and the signs all point to me being here, then I am meant to be here. That is all.
There is no negotiation required with the universe. I ended up in Chiang Mai, even though I wasn’t planning to be there. I ended up there because that was in God’s plan. It was written down a long time ago and it was meant to be. I couldn’t have fought it even if I wanted to. And now it’s in the plan for me to be in Toronto. So I am here. I tried fighting with the universe, but it didn’t matter.
I am done fighting with what is. I am going with the flow. I want to be like water that flows with the shape of the rocks and the land, or like a bamboo reed that doesn’t snap when a strong wind blows at it, but bends with it, allowing the wind to shape it.
Now that I have written down what it’s like in my mind about being here, I would also like to say that the universe is munificent. The universe loves me so freaking much, you guys have no idea. The universe wants to give me everything I ask for.
Before I left Chiang Mai, I asked the universe to give me a solid financial foundation in the form of passive income, so I can focus all of my days on writing my words, creating my courses, and becoming an author. As always, the universe obliged, and now I am working on a plan with my father on making that happen. I don’t know what will happen in the future. But for now, I know, for a certainty, that I am on the right path.
Absolutely on the right path. There is nowhere else I need to be. There is no one else I need to be. There is nothing else I need to be doing.
Shhh, it’s all coming together for you as well. It’s all coming together perfectly.
Now, I would like to tell you a bit about what I have learned and how I have changed. I have learned so much from Chiang Mai that I don’t think I could write about it in one blog post, but I’ll summarize a few key things here.
- I learned that I am enough. Before going into Chiang Mai, I didn’t know who I was, but I knew that I wasn’t enough. I felt like I had to become something more in order to be loved and appreciated. After Chiang Mai and during, I realized more and more that I am enough. It was mostly because so much unconditional love got showered upon me that it made me realize, Wow, I don’t have to change, People love me as I am right now. It was such an epic realization that this epic journey was worth it just for that one learning.
- I learned that even though I am really weird, there are weird people out there like me. So I don’t need to feel alone anymore. In Toronto or in other places, I would sit down in a crowd of people, and realize I am the only one who thinks the way I do. But in Chiang Mai (CM), I would say everything that is on my mind, and the people sitting with me, would nod along, as if saying, Yes, yes, that’s true. It’s not crazy. I think the same way. Or I understand what you are saying. I’m on the same level as you. Yikes!! It made my whole world come apart. I am not crazy. I am normal. There are others like me. Yay!
- I learned that big dreams, and big ideas are what move people. Before CM, I thought small. I used to think what can I do to get through this year or this month or this week. But now I am thinking what kind of legacy can I leave behind so I can use my skills as a storyteller, healer, creative, and teacher to change people’s lives. I am thinking big, because everyone in CM thinks big without blinking an eye. It is normality.
- I learned that I am alive and that is all that matters. I am worthy because I am alive. I am happy because I am alive. All that matters is that I am alive. I am so lucky to be alive, but I don’t have to do anything to prove my worth to the world. I don’t have to prove myself worthy in any shape or form. I am worthy because I am alive. It’s such an important learning for me, because before this, I was always ‘working it’ somehow to prove to the folks around me that I am worthy of their attention.
- I learned that shadow work is one of the most important things we can do with our time here. Everyone that came across my path in Chiang Mai made me realize how beautiful I am, and how awesome I am. But also made me realize what my shadows are and how I can use them to build a connection with others. I don’t need to be perfect. In fact, my imperfections were the reasons most people in CM connected with me. When I told them about my deep dark fears, and all of my dirty secrets, they seemed to want to be my friends even more. It was odd. I was doing it to push them away, to make them realize I’m not worth their time. But the more I shared about myself, the more enamoured they seemed to be with me. What the hell? Big learning indeed.
- I learned that nothing I do is a waste of time. When I went in Chiang Mai, I decided that things would be different. I didn’t want to repeat the same patterns over and over again freaking hell. So I made a list of things I have always wanted to do and never did. Like Improv, and Voice lessons, and writing groups and Nanowrimo. I decided these six months would be different. I made a plan and I did all of these things and more that I would never have taken on in Toronto. I did them, and I realized I was actually great at them. I mean, I was not a world class improver or singer, but because I had so much fun while doing it, I was good at it. I loved every moment of being un-Shikha like. It was also good for me, because I had caught the disease that most people in the world have that I am only going to do things that are going to make me money. Most things I did in CM didn’t make me money, but they gave me so much joy, they changed me from the inside out, and they gave me awesome connections. All of these things are more precious than any cash I could have acquired.
- I learned how to be shameless. I learned how to ask over and over again. How to be needy. How to ASK for more and more. How to ask even if no one replies. I posted in FB groups asking strangers to dinner, and no one replied. I posted online asking people for voice lessons, and no one replied, except to say how brave I was. I wasn’t brave. But my self-esteem isn’t associated with people’s replies or comments on my posts. In fact, a lot of times, I wasn’t actually posting to get replies, but I was just putting out my thoughts into the universe, so the universe knew what I was looking for. That way, the universe knew what I wanted, and could connect me to the right person when needed.
I learned so much more than this, but sometimes words don’t describe those feelings. All I can say is that I’m different. But it’s not over. In every moment, I realize that this is just the beginning.
It’s always just the beginning.
I’m just getting started.
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