The moments of “lost” exist so that we can know the contrast in the moments of “found.” As opposites, one cannot exist without the other. If we desire to feel like we’ve got “it,” we’ve also got to be willing to feel the moments of complete confusion.
I traveled from Bali to Thailand three weeks ago, firstly because I needed to do the trusted “you’ve been here too long already visa run.” I’m not one for running, I thrive on reasons and purpose in the places I visit that for me need to go beyond “cause the visa said I had to.” I thought I was set up for a successful “run” by organizing some social media strategy work in addition to learning a new skill: Chi Nei Tseng abdominal massage technique.
In Chiang Mai, the Chi Nei Tseng teacher I thought I would study with fired himself on Day 1.
I was sitting in my expensive hotel room in Phuket when I realized that the work I thought I’d generate income from was not going to happen.
Twice in one country, I FOUND myself LOST.
This begged questions: Why am I here? What is here for me – both in this city and in this lesson? Where will I find work to sustain me? Am I not supposed to learn Chi Nei Tseng? What am I supposed to be doing?
LOST and FOUND Part 1
I flew to Chiang Mai to train in Chi Nei Tseng (a Taoist technique of abdominal massage) with a recommended teacher I’d been in touch with for the past month. He agreed to train me out of his house that is “just” outside of the city.
Day 1 was rough. On my motorbike out to his home I’m pulled over and fined for not having an International driver’s license (a way the Thai cops make sure their pockets get filled). On top of this, “just” outside town is an hours’ drive in 85 degree heat on stinky highways that even my face mask couldn’t save me from. Being a new driver with no one but this Thai teacher really knowing my whereabouts, I was praying that LOST would not become a geographical issue too.
Upon arriving to his home, he required me to meditate and not ask any questions for awhile. I quite enjoyed this request to surrender and I oblige. But, once we got into the actual teaching, I couldn’t help but ask questions. I like to understand what I’m doing, particularly if I’m to find internal organs and provide healing, I want to know what they are, how they function, why they get blocked, how the therapy helps it…
It looked like my teacher was having a heat stroke. I sat by his side as he laid down on the massage bed, one hand on his forehead the other on his chest, “I don’t feel well,” he said.
“It’s ok,” I soothed him, “We can take a break. Let me know what you need.” I saw beads of sweat drip down his bare protruding belly, hitting the towel he’d laid down to keep the bed protected from massage oil.
“I’m confused,” he said, “I don’t know the answers. I’m teaching 10 years and I don’t know the answers.”
Turning to mama mode I offered, “We don’t have to keep going. Do you want to just continue tomorrow?”
“I don’t know,” he replied, “We can talk tomorrow. I don’t know anything. 10 years and I don’t know anymore.” It seems like my teacher was LOST.
I left realizing that tomorrow wasn’t happening with him.
Upon reaching my dorm style cement floor to ceiling room, I collapsed into the bed, mind racing with LOST. Now what? Tears. No conclusions or answers, I went to meet an old friend for dinner.
I had planned to ask my dinner date, Lisa, who runs a well-known vegan cafe and school for Burmese refugees if I could teach active meditation workshops at her school while I was in town. Despite a good attempt at meditating into a new space, at dinner I was still out of sorts from the confusion of the day. I let go of any asks and our conversation flowed into the areas of perplexion the day had presented.
Deep down I knew that my sailboat still had a rudder and despite the murky seas of LOST, that eventually there would be a clearing where I could see. The desire to get out of LOST quickly is like turning the motor on when you’re sailing in the dark. You might get somewhere faster, but it’s still going to be dark until the morning light shows you where you are.
It was when I surrendered to being on a sailboat in the dark that time did that thing where it lined up what I had “asked for” and the daylight began to shine.
In that dinner with Lisa on my second night in Chiang Mai, unprompted, she asked if I’d like to teach meditation in her cafe. She also gave me the name of a Chi Nei Tseng teacher who was walking distance from the center of town.
I began teaching meditation at the cafe that week and training with my new Chi Nei Tseng teacher the following Monday morning.
LOST and FOUND Part 2
I was living out of an expensive hotel in Phuket when the client work I thought I’d lined up fell through. LOST crept in and I wandered to the beach.
I passed by cosmetic surgery as readily available as a $6 massage, a happy ending from a lady boy or a fresh coconut on the streets of Phuket.
I felt like maybe I was here to get a “nonsurgical facelift” so I’d look as attractive as a 23 year old again and find high-paying work I enjoyed like I did so easily when I was 23.
When the sunset shared even more beauty in her final phases, it knocked me out of my self-critical behavior and away from horrific thoughts of facelifts gone awry in favor of the simple desire to have my photo taken by the sea.
I looked around, no one who wasn’t making out was nearby. I walked closer to the waves to take in my favorite element.One minute later, “Can I take your picture?” A young man seemed to appear out of nowhere. FOUND.
He gave me a full-on India-style-I’ve-never-seen-a-human-like-you-before photo shoot before he said, “whatever you’re doing to look like you do, keep doing it.”
I realized that this LOST was all about feeling good. I wanted the client work and the money so that I could feel good. So I asked what makes me feel great? What was I doing that this young man attributed to my good looks?
Easily the answer came to me.
I decided to spend the rest of my time in Phuket at a wellness and natural detox center.
I ate delicious raw vegan cuisine, worked out, took infrared saunas and colon hydrotherapy, met with the resident doctor and shared meditations and stories on my Instagram. I also did my taxes and did online course work (hey, it’s not all play!).
Not only did this kick off an incredible 14 day cleanse and detox that has me feeling svelte, but I’m in talks to do work that I love at… a wellness and natural detox center.
Being in the LOST is our opportunity to ask ourselves important questions. It’s enough to just ask these questions because we can’t expect the answers to come immediately. We steer our own ships but we can’t steer if there is no light. So we must ask and wait for morning light to come. It is enough to realize we are in LOST. But when we are, reminding ourselves that FOUND comes only after surrendering within LOST.
If I had been working in Phuket with the client I thought I came there to work with, I never would’ve spent time at the detox center, leading me to the exciting opportunity I have now. If I would’ve continued working with my first Chi Nei Tseng teacher I never would’ve found Ohm, who loved how many questions I asked her.
It is in LOST that we can align ourselves with the questions we need in order to bring in our shining moments of FOUND.