When I booked my Thailand trip a few months ago, my daily schedule consisted of:
- waking up early
- having a stressful commute to NYC for work
- trying to squeeze in a gym session during lunch
- going to MBA classes at night
- then coming home late and decompressing before going to sleep
For the past 4-years, this is what I grinded 5-days a week…sounds fun, right?!
By the time Friday rolled around, I was completely shot and just wanted to crawl into bed with a bottle of vino and Netflix.
Which brings me to my next point: One of the goals of this trip is to help clear my head from the NYC rat-race, to let myself step back from all the stress & distractions and think about what I’m doing in life, where I’m going and what I want out of it.
Clearly my “mental strength” was not on par with my physical strength, and this needed to be worked on.
Nick, Dan and myself were sitting around drinking beers the other night and the topic of meditation came up. Nick suggested a place down the road, Phuket Meditation (http://www.phuket-meditation.com) so I went Thursday morning. The instructor Toby Warzinek was from somewhere in Europe.
Since most of us were new to meditation, he gave us an introduction about it. Then he asked us why we meditate and the positive aspects of it, followed by what are the negative aspects if we do not meditate. Here’s what I remember for the positive benefits:
- Mental strength – Your mind is like a muscle and needs to be trained and exercised
- Allows us to step back, focus, evaluate ourselves
- Be happy
- Better relationships with people
- Be able to cope with the stress of everyday life; don’t “judge”
- Give us direction in life – Toby spoke about how a fly randomly moves around on a wall…it buzz’s around, lands on a spot, then goes in another direction, hits the glass window and lands some place else.
- Learn to “live in the present” and not dwell on the past or worry about the future.
- Better memory – He mentioned reincarnation and that just because we don’t remember it, does not mean it did not happen. We don’t even remember what we ate for dinner last week, so how can we be sure we didn’t live a previous life? Regardless of what religion you follow, I thought this was an interesting way of looking at this.
If we don’t meditate, there are negative aspects:
- Fear and death can overshadow us
- We become “zombies” and do things day-in, day-out, going through life aimlessly.
- Not “living life to its fullest with no regrets”
As we were already sitting on a mat with pillow and legs crossed, we started our 30-min meditation. He said that we’ll probably have discomfort from being in this posture and to just accept the pain…acknowledge it, but don’t “judge it” to be good or bad… “observe the change” The first part of the exercise was to feel your legs, the impulses and breathing. Then torso and arms. Lastly, your head. Somehow I made it through the 30 min and felt amazing afterwards. Definitely more relaxed. I gave a donation, said thank you and started my day with a cruise down the main road.
As I pulled in to the driveway back at Fern House retreat, I bumped into Nick and told him about the awesome experience I just had. He suggested we check out the beaches since I haven’t been yet…Di (Tonjaa’s visiting friend from Bangkok) joined us as well. Beaches: First one we hit was Nai Harn, everyone’s favorite. It has a lagoon. Before we left, Nick brought us to this secret part with a restaurant / bar and we had a drink. People were also meditating there as well. Next was the elephant farm. We fed one that was 40 years old, beautiful creature. As usual, it began to pour so at the top of the hill, we stopped by a reggae bar and had dinner. The sun was starting to set and there was a great view. Last beaches we stopped at were Kata and Karon I think.
Later on, we had dinner #2 at a Thai bar-be-que place down the road from us. They basically have hot coals surrounded with water, and you place the food on top of it or in the water to cook. There’s a “food bar” where you go and pick out what you want to cook…meats, seafood, vegetables and already-cooked apps. By the end, we were stuffing ourselves because we didn’t want to pay the $100 baht penalty fee for leftover food, lol. All for a 140 baht.
Friday – I made it through two Muay Thai classes, but now I wanted to really focus on technique and get 100% attention from a kru, so scheduled a private lesson with Kru Lucky @ Top Team. I did my own 20 minute warm-up then he wrapped my hands and had me shadow box. We blasted through a bunch of rounds on pads and I lost count which was fun. He worked me really well and I wasn’t too gassed by the end. One of the cool things we worked on was my spinning elbow, I felt really bad-ass afterwards, haha. In sparring, we worked on blocking a punch, followed by a quick side step kick. Finally, we did some clenching and I got my toe a bit twisted, but think it’s ok.
Afterwards, Dan gave Di & I a tour up to the Big Buddha. The ride up was fun and felt a bit like an off-road excursion. On the way down, we saw a baby elephant.