At the beginning of this month, a good friend visited me in Thailand. Our paths had crossed at a yoga retreat in Cambodia and it was an easy friendship. She was a friend that was working on the same spiritual path as me. She was an easygoing woman that made a strong connection to my heart.
And I’m always interested to share with my friends my current here and now. As an explorer, the here and now is constantly changing, but for this moment it was situated in Northeast Thailand.
It was great to share my local night market. It seemed to have a glitter of newness when looking through her eyes. It was great to introduce my friends here with a friend that I had met there. It was great to bring homage to my yoga practice and extend it beyond a room full of strangers. It was great to fill up my space with something other than my stuff.
My friend is one for truth and honesty. Attributes that I highly appreciate in this egocentric universe of ours. It’s comforting for conversation to unravel without filter or retrieve. Speaking how it is, and how you want it to be.
But before she left, my friend told me something that really hit me. She told me I was different than in Cambodia. She told me that I was serious. That she missed that happy, go-lucky Nora that wandered barefoot. And I couldn’t help but feel taken a back. Hurt, even. And she insisted that it was ok, that we are all human.
Yet after our goodbyes, and on my walk to school, I became obsessive over her words. I have become serious. The words came out of her mouth and I immediately swallowed them as judgment. I tried to explain myself to myself. The inner dialogue spewed for thirty minutes: I have a job. I have to have some sort of accountability and responsibility. I teach 26 babies all day, I get tired and worn out. I went on and on, justifying why being serious was ok.
And as I walked through the gates, to my class of kindergarteners playing outside, I was still thinking: why so serious? But then it happened, as it does everyday: the embrace. A herd of three and four year olds jumping on me, screaming, “Teacha Nola! Teacha Nola! Go-od mor-ning.” And their smiles and our laughter erased any sense of judgment I was making on myself. It’s all good.
If I appear to be serious, so what? Serious has gotten me here. Here, a beautiful opportunity where I feel overwhelmed with love everyday. We are on this universe to ebb and flow. To explore. To learn. To change.
I can attest for myself that I am happy. My attributes might change, but that is one thing that never will. I am forever happy.