Today’s Challenge: New Friends and Moments of Zen

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It’s amazing what one conversation with two new people can unlock. At our homestay, we met two lovely Brazilian girls, who are traveling through Kerala, to a Holi festival and then to Bhutan. Over breakfast, we talked about everything from work, to spirituality to embracing the unknown (typical India breakfast conversation.) We laughed about the habit of creating goals and delivering on frameworks (they’re marketeers too) to letting go to make the transition to one’s deeper purpose.

Over the past week, I’ve been wrestling with my need to control and achieve: to ensure that we stay at the “perfect” hotel, find the most hidden gem of a restaurant, have the most unique experiences, meet the most interesting people, unlock the deepest moment of clarity. Through talking with Renata and Mariana, I started to realize that this is my work mind, wanting to create great outcomes, and how being so focused on “doing” or “fixing” something means that I miss the richness of experience and the entire process of getting there. (Does this make me a spiritual Machiavellian?)

This way of thinking is a habit, and one that’s quite comfortable, so exploring a more holistic, deeper and gentler way of thinking and being continues to be surprisingly uncomfortable. Frameworks and goals don’t really work in India, and thinking in this way has led me to inevitable frustration, which could be a microcosm of my daily struggle for purpose and play, achievement and entertainment, meaningfulness and mindlessness.

“It really is about the journey and everything along that journey… It’s bigger than the outcome.” Renata said. “And if you let go of the outcome you want and think you know, and just experience the journey, you get more than you imagined possible. If you can only imagine one outcome, then you miss the thousands of other outcomes that are even better than what you could imagine. Just let go.”

Perhaps that’s what makes India such a special place — a place where you have to let go and embrace beyond the intellectual, a place where the journey is greater than the result, and a place where even the result is greater than the result. I can’t wait to explore more and even to embrace this discomfort and just let go.

Thanks for the great challenge, Liz Kabler, and Mariana and Renata, it was amazing to meet you both… you always have a place to stay in NYC!

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2 responses to “Today’s Challenge: New Friends and Moments of Zen

  1. Glad to see your Western cocoon is beginning to crack and a beautiful soul being freed for good in the world. The strictures of business careers are to maximize profit but at considerable personal cost. Best to remember we are part of the process, not the process. Safe travels and transcendent experiences. Pxxx

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