From June 2009 to September 2010, I was fortunate to take a 15-month sabbatical from my practice. During this time, I traveled around the world appreciating its beauty and wonder. One of the highlights during this journey was the opportunity to meditate over three months on several different continents and in several different traditions, including Zen, Vipassana, Metta and Tibetan Buddhist practices.

Through mindfulness during my meditation, I learned about impermanence, non-self and suffering. As my mind became quiet, I was able to clearly see how everything is changing in every moment. By being fully aware of the present moment, by not losing myself in the past and future, I tapped into some of the wisdom each of us holds deep within ourselves.

We really do not know what will happen in the next moment. We have much less control of our environment and circumstances than we allow ourselves to see. In the first month of my sabbatical, I lost control my bike, flew off of a 12-foot embankment and missed slamming my face into a boulder by inches. It was a great reminder that life is precious and precarious.

I learned there are many ways to live and be happy. I stayed in amazing hotels and resorts and felt the pull of desire for beautiful things. I slept outdoors on the porch of a house in a Laotian village with no running water or toilet and saw the beauty of their simple way of living.

Like the rest of life, travel does not always go according to plan. There are delayed flights, full hotels, and unreliable guide books. I learned that I can survive and thrive with only one suitcase of possessions. I am a little less attached to possessions as well as outcomes.

With mindfulness, I learned to live more fully in the present moment, to rely on my inner peace and be less swayed by the vicissitudes of the outside world. I focus more on my reactions to the circumstances rather than the circumstances themselves. During this year, I touched quietness that I never thought possible. I am grateful to have lived, laughed, learned and grown so much during this time.

I return to San Francisco with gratitude, excitement, wisdom, compassion and mindfulness to share.

Contact me today if you want to learn more.