Appreciation

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Hello, blog world.

I’ve been quiet of late.  Partly this is because I’ve been up on a mountain without a strong or reliable internet connection.  This time was nice.  It consisted of reconnecting with old friends and making new friends — many of whom felt as though they were old friends I’d only forgotten.  It also consisted of cold nights and bright moons, too many dog fights, and some amazing food made in outdoor kitchens.  I was enjoying the time so much that I called my little brother in Connecticut to see if he’d be able to come out and join me.  Not this year, but for sure next year — that was the plan.

Then, I came out of the forest and a girlfriend said she had a note on her facebook from one of my aunts that my family was trying to contact me.  Worry swelled — I wasn’t sure which family.  (I’m blessed to have many.)  On reconnecting online I learned the devastating news that my little brother had died.

The first day I met my little brother.  He was 6 and I was 18.

The first day I met my little brother. He was 6 & I was 18.

I was blessed to know my brother for 16 years.  I always thought there would be a time when we would live in the same place, or at least both be in one location for longer than a week or two.  Sadly, that didn’t happen, so I’m left feeling thankful for the moments we did have, short as they were.  My favorite memories involve hiking with him, watching him laugh, or getting teased by him.  Even though he was my little brother, he’s been taller than me for some time now.

I think anytime we lose somebody close to us, it has the potential to reverberate some big changes in other areas of life.  I’m feeling this in a re-evaluation of how I spend my time.  I’ve been so, so lucky to be able to travel and get to know different cultures and people, sharing my gift of yoga with all who I meet.  This tragedy does not change my desire to travel, but it does create a stronger sense of urgency to include more time with people that I love.

Since I left the country almost two years ago, I’ve hardly returned to the States at all.  I’ve been traveling south and south and further south still with every opportunity.  One of the major gifts of this life I’ve manifested for myself is the gift of time.  I am no longer constrained by a traditional 9-5 job with only two weeks of vacation a year.  I am currently grabbing hold of that gift by re-adjusting my life to include more time in the US that will be spent with those dear to me.

I was so gifted my first few months of travel to have my sister stay with me.  That was the most time we got to spend together as adults!  I vow to consciously create more opportunities for connection and appreciation of the people I love.

I’ll continue posting my travel updates and yoga updates.  Yogically, I’ve strayed a bit from the path.  Camping in the cold mountains didn’t lend many opportunities for asana or meditation, so I am finding my way back to the comfort and regularity of my practice.  Travel-wise will see me in Africa for the new year before returning to the US.  I’ll post more on that adventure as it evolves.

This day, I pause in a moment in appreciation of all the people I am blessed to have in my life — from family to friends to friends who have become family and friends I have yet to meet.  As we approach this week of Thanksgiving in the US, relish the time you are able to spend with those you love.  Take a moment out of the hectic rush in holiday preparations to find yourself fully present in the moment and take that gratitude into your heart, let it flow throughout your body and into the presence of all with whom you surround yourself.

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