Stepping out and stepping in – who leaves and who comes back?

It’s truly amazing to me that thanks to modern air travel, in the space of 24 hours I went from a tiny village in the highlands of Chiapas back to my home in Santa Rosa, California – two such different realities.

But the really interesting thing is that, just slightly more than 24 hours after my return, I realize I am not the same person who stepped out from my front door two weeks ago.

It’s peculiar- how many times a day, a week, a month, do we step though our front doors, go out into the world, do our thing, and then step back in…. without even thinking about it, and probably assuming that the person who stepped out in the morning is the same person who steps back in some time later?

So what is it about life’s experiences when we are out in the world that changes us in some profound way? I’ve often had the experience of going on vacation and coming back refreshed and renewed, full of new memories and experiences, a more relaxed and happy person. Or of witnessing some challenging or even tragic event, and coming back shaken and vulnerable.

This 2-week time period time in Chiapas feels different. Not a vacation, but an immersion into another reality, a time of such intense focus that the rest of my life seemed almost like a distant dream. I realized it’s rare these days, with so many responsibilities and distractions, to spend a period of 2 weeks with such single minded concentration.

I don’t know if I could tell you what it is that has changed in me, what layers of inner transformation are making themselves slowly known. But I do know that as I allow it to be revealed, and give myself the time to sit in silence and contemplation and resist the temptation to rush helter-skelter back into the daily realities of life back home, that the mystery and the grace of embracing a new opportunity and challenge will continue to reverberate in my being.

But perhaps it doesn’t really take a 2-week odyssey into foreign territory to precipitate a change in consciousness, maybe all it takes is a willingness to be open and vulnerable to the mysteries that always surround us, and to give ourselves the gift of a pause when we step back in the door to reflect and integrate the day’s gifts.

So dear reader, who will you be when you step back in the door tonight?

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