As I experience life in Chiang Mai, I smell colors, vibrate with the sounds, and feel touched by the many delicious tastes of the city… amidst the cloudy exhaust from motorbikes and songthaew vehicles. Lanterns line the moat around the Old City during the beautiful Loy Krathong and Yi Peng Festivals, which honor the water spirits, the Buddha, and the things that need to be released or let go of. Chaotic traffic… but nonetheless, people move harmoniously around each other without much of a peep of frustration… Not the rage or beeping you might hear in Chicago! The miniature shrines and sacred spaces outside of shops and alleys whisper to their mothers- the majestic and ornate Buddhist temples that cradle much of the city’s heartbeat.
Chiang Mai is the perfect place for me to slow down and absorb myself in trust, ease, and allowing.
During my first several days here, I found myself being stressed about whether I would find the right place to stay for the next two months in Chiang Mai. I feared being stuck somewhere uncomfortable and wanted to have it all locked in, and immediately. I knew fears would come up and they were welcome, but this time, I re-acted with them.
Internally, felt a subtle frantic-ness and worry as I roamed the city looking for the right place, talking to anyone that might have a suggestion, and checking out the few I had scoured, and that expats online and a friend had offered. I could feel myself constricting in my body and beginning to have a more forceful and narrow vision. A one-track mind.
Feeling Through a Part of Me
I was aware that this is how our bodies respond when we are activated and believe there is a threat (or there really is one). My nervous system shifted into sympathetic activation which showed up in bodily tension (the preparation to run or fight), narrow and sharpened vision (keeping my eyes on the threat), heart rate increase, more shallow breath, and more adrenaline (to move quickly if necessary).
Also, I was aware my Pusher made its way to the front. She can often get scared!
This is a part of me that forces things, wants things immediately, fears the most awful outcome, acting as if this is the only way to get things to happen.
But the Pusher that was emerging wasn’t who I came to be or to let take the lead. It was uncomfortable, a struggle, and I was even losing a lot of hair!
Could I become comfortable in not knowing and allowing instead? What did the Pusher in me need or want me to know?
As I dialogued with it with gentleness, this part of me only needed to feel safety and to trust that I could truly attract and draw towards the absolute right place.
You’re safe with me I assured it. I trust that the right place will come along. If it doesn’t, I know I’ll be safe still.
I felt through some of the fear that this part of me was having and I held this part with a loving inner mother, an adult part of me that I’ve developed to bring love and safety.
Letting Inner Guidance Take the Lead
Before my trip, I intended to step into more ease and let my soul lead, knowing that I wanted to shift out of some subtle, but sometimes potent parts of me that may want to push or force things through. While letting my soul lead is something that I have practiced at least a few times a day in a spottier form (it has taken me lots of healing work to get here!), actually putting it into practice in a moment-to-moment full on way is something I’ve wanted to challenge myself to. Every moment was my chance, and this one was certainly worthy.
That next morning, I said to myself, ok, I’m going to let the divine lead… Inner Guide, please show me the place that would bring me to towards my highest potential.
I could feel myself shift into safety, openness, exploration, and trust. My body was calmer and spacious, my gaze soften and was more expansive, and I was breathing a bit deeper.
I found a promising place on Airbnb that evening. I walked in the next day to check out the place to discover that I HAD BEEN THERE exactly 24 hours prior- having lunch at the cafe door- and that I had even taken a photograph of the small and adorable sign that marked this guesthouse!
I had completely forgotten.
But it was also that I wasn’t so open the first time I saw it to explore it.
What a synchronous feeling when I realized I had already came across it! But that I was too stuck in my narrow vision and acting from the fear to let it sink in. Do you ever have the feeling that the right or best things are already trying to catch your awareness, and maybe more than once? I had already stumbled upon a beautiful place and was just needing to open my eyes.
I stood behind myself and feeling of fullness and placed a deposit for the room. It felt marvelous.
My new home for the next few months feels like a sanctuary! The shared meditation and yoga space, kitchen, laundry (handwash) area, private room, wifi, were all completed with the homely good vibes and friendly people to greet me and answer all my questions. Better than I could even imagine.
Pictures of my Chiang Mai home
I am now returning to my inner sanctuary as I merge with this outer sanctuary and the confirmation that I can trust myself, my inner guide.
I let my loving inner mother comfort my fears.
I practice letting my inner guide show me what daily steps are right by being open, listening and seeing what’s already revealing itself to me, and in letting my body show me how it feels about every decision. Slowing down to allow every decision and moment to matter to myself.
Develop and Trust Your Inner Guidance
While you may or may not be in a similar space on your path of inner trust and intuition, I’ve gathered a few questions and practices that help me along as an offering to you in case they might be of inspiration:
-When have there been times that you’ve trusted your inner guidance? Practice embodying this as a daily life meditation/intention by feeling into the moments you have felt this. Notice the body sensations, emotions, movements, and experience of it.
-What does trusting my inner guidance feel like in my body?
-In which areas am I feeling my Pusher come through?
-What areas of my life do I want to release into trust?
-What happens when I consciously allow and witness the feelings of fear or activation (when I’m not trusting myself)?
-If you open your eyes to the moment that is already happening, can the answers be revealed to you?
-How can I let the divine (inner guide, Spirit, love, God, higher Self) in me lead?
-What is the resistance that shows itself when I try to trust? Who or what is this part of me? How does it feel and what does it need?
Having a compassionate loving person and/or a skilled healer/therapist to support you through your exploration can be deepening, safe, transformative and supportive.
Feel free to reach out to me for support or to share your explorations.