Mary Morrissey has described a pilgrimage is an outward journey for an inward purpose.  That truly captures the intention for my self-made spiritual pilgrimage to Thailand.

In coming to Thailand, I set as my intention to learn what it had to teach me… about God, others, my Self, and my contribution to the world.   Here are some of the things I have learned… and re-learned…

I have learned the joy that comes from sharing the universal language of a smile, and in so doing, communicating that I recognize and honor the Divine in you.

I have learned that igniting joy and inspiring well-being is an opportunity I have each moment in every interaction. It’s not just something I do when I’m ‘working’.

I’ve learned that learning to meditate is probably a life long process.  My driver, Sam, was raised a Buddhist, gets up at 4:30 AM to pray, followed by sitting meditation, followed by walking meditation, and still he just came back from a three-week meditation training.  He is 65.

I have learned in a concrete way, that whether it is the Buddhist monk meditating in the temple, or my ‘fortune teller’ channeling Popu to tell my future, or my Thai massage therapist blessing me before she begins her work, there is one Universal Power and Presence that connects us all and wants only for our good.

I have learned to appreciate the closeness the Thai people have to the earth.  They not only know the name of a fruit, they know the tree it came from, it’s health benefits, and 13 other uses for it.

I learned that kindness is universal as exemplified by Sam, when he walked an hour through the rice paddies and morning heat to return my wallet I had left in his car.

I have learned that, when I am in someone else’s country, it is my responsibility to understand and be understood, not the other way around. I think this applies to all relationships.

I’ve learned that my flow of creative ideas is directly proportional to how closely I stay connected to my Creative Source through meditation and gratitude.

I have learned the power and pleasure of a non-negotiable morning routine of meditation, yoga, journaling and study.

I have learned that, when the unexpected happens, there is always an opportunity for something greater to emerge.

I have learned the power of gratitude, especially “for the things, which as yet one owns only in imagination”.

I have learned that the greatest way I can serve God and others is by being the best ME I can be.

I’ve learned to be compassionate toward my body, especially when I don’t feel like it is cooperating.

I have learned how much I love the site of low hanging fog against the mountains and rice paddies glistening green in the morning sunlight.

I’ve learned how much I love new experiences – from eating fried bananas and quail eggs to having a fish pedicure.

I have learned how much I enjoy the simple pleasure of a scooter ride through the countryside.

I have learned that a Thai massage is not for wimps… and sometimes I feel like a wimp.

I have learned how much I love to get up with the sun.

I have learned that I love my bigger, smaller life.

I’ve learned about visas and border crossings.

I have learned to not take myself so seriously.

I have learned to make peace with bugs.

I have learned to eat less.

I have learned that I’m a teacher through and through, and when I’m not teaching, I miss it.  I have also learned to listen to my Self…

…. so when I started feeling like I wanted to be back in the States where I could more easily do what I love to do – teach about those things that transform lives, I paid attention.

I have a commitment to engage in outrageous thinking, extraordinary decisions, and bold action in service of my work in the world.  While in Thailand, I intentionally carved out time to think outrageously about how I can ignite joy and inspire well-being all around the world. This exercise generated lots of excitement, energy and enthusiasm for my work.  So much so that I’ve been feeling like I want to be back home ‘on the ground’ where I can more easily teach and coach and line up my programs for the New Year.  Consequently, I have decided to come home earlier than expected and will be back in Laguna Beach, in my old apartment, on November 2nd.  I’m psyched to head home and to finish out the year teaching and preparing for 2011.

Oh, and I’ll be continuing my bigger, smaller life adventure, as I move the contents of two storage units into one 600 square foot studio with NO storage.  I’m looking forward to the next part of the journey and what it has to teach me.