A Letter To My Friends At New Life Foundation – Mindful Retreat; Chiang Rai, Thailand

The last 3 weeks of my life have been spent in a mindful retreat in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Below is a piece of writing addressed to all the people at New Life Foundation.

I signed up as a means to escape. A relaxing get away that would recharge the batteries and prepare me for the next chapter of my journey is how I thought this would all play out. Boy, was I smacked in the face by reality after realising that this place is a paradox in its own. Geographically speaking, a beautiful utopia far from the hustle of every day reality, however mentally, emotionally and even physically, I quickly learned that this place was going to present me with such moments that brought me closer to reality unlike any other experience ever has before.

My first week was a struggle, to say the least, and for someone who is totally open for any experiential challenge, this place just caught me completely off guard. A perfect balance in the contrast of stimuli, having witnessed the raw beauty of the Thai countryside while attending to some of my most persistent existential questions and internal annoyances; small steps of progress lead me to learning more about the nature of my mind for all its peaks and valleys.

As for an escape from reality? I can’t think of anything further from it at this point. In all its irony though, the results couldn’t have been more profound.

To be surrounded by such a bunch of intelligent, resilient, courageous and open minded group of people was one of my most greatest pleasures here. The respect I have for all of those people who have suffered and continue to suffer, yet get out of bed each and every day to show up and keep fighting is immense. Not only did you guys teach me so many things about yourself and myself, but you also gave me the strength and perspective to continue on with my own personal path. This was something so vital, especially during this very pivotal point in my life where strength and wisdom is needed the most.

Over a year ago I made the decision to move to Cambodia so that I could confront human suffering first hand. Since then, I have come toe to toe with some of the harsh truths of third world poverty. For me to continue on with my mission in service of humanity, my skin must remain thick and my mind centered. Hence why I will take these lessons learned and strength gained here away with me as my journey goes on.

Thank you to everyone, from the people who I formed close bonds with, to those who just went as far as exchanging waves and smiles each day, your presence and energy was enough to set me off in new and positive ways.

A special thanks to Cazi Verjoustinsky for the transformational birthday gift.