World Travel with a Twist of Zen - Fields of Indulgence  
 
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Mmmm....El Pastor Tacos!
Columbus, Ohio! We arrived last Wednesday to visit my old college friend Natalie and her partner Rayn. Nat & Rayn took us on a culinary tour of the city as we enjoyed the city’s taco & BBQ trucks as well as my new obsession - delectable macarons from Pistacia Vera! They also took us to a Columbus Pecha Kucha event (the Japanese Word for Chit-Chat, pronounced “pechakoocha”) where we heard people give 6 minute presentations on everything from the powerful influence of radio to their love of photographing food that arouses desire in the viewer ("food porn").

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Pabst & Chit Chat - can't beat it!
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More macaroons please!
A conversation I had with Natalie while we were hanging out in her kitchen struck me. Taking this grand journey with Neda has excited both of us, but has also provoked feelings of fear and vulnerability as we take a financial risk in order to stimulate non-material growth (i.e. wisdom, creativity, etc...). Neda and I have enjoyed the readings of Eckhart Tolle and the way he speaks about bringing awareness to when we identify with fear-based reasoning. In other words, the underlying fear we have about not being in control of our lives colors our reasoning so that we  justify making decisions that limit us and prevent us from growing.

Natalie introduced me to the metpahor of “floating downstream” from her work in the Abraham spiritual tradition as another way to work with this idea. In this tradition, the universe is seen as moving all of us in a synergistic way towards what we need for growth and fulfillment. When we focus on what we don't have in our lives and what we don't want in our lives (i.e. fear based reasoning), we are attempting to swim upstream. This futile attempt to control the sweeping river of our lives slowly and inexorably exhausts us, leaving little room for creativity or spontaneous flow. Instead, life becomes a single minded focus on a few ideals that are born out of fear instead of flow. 

As we arrived back in Philadelphia on Monday night and started working on all the preparations for traveling to Bulgaria, Neda and I felt the familiar constriction of trying to swim upstream. It is easy for us to get tunnel vision when we feel overwhelmed by how much we have to do. The question for all of us is whether we can see that constriction in our mind and body when it occurs and notice it without judgment.  This witnessing allows us to float along with the universe towards whatever destination awaits us to next.

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An attempt at food porn :) Fried chicken topped with fried plantains, cheese, and onions from a Honduran food cart in Columbus
This post concludes the “American Tour” part of our trip for the time being. We will make preparations in Philly for our international exploits before leaving for Bulgaria at the end of September. Along the way we'll try to get up along the East Coast to say goodbye to our friends there. Also wanted to send thanks to Josh & Anne for being wonderful hosts as we visited them in the small town of Granville, OH. They both continue to be inspirations to Neda & I for their free-thinking and creativity. See the rest of the pics from Columus here!


8/23/2011 06:45:53

Hi Neda and Jeff,

So happy to be following you through your traveling journey. Jeff you have a way with words and said so eloquently much of what I attempt to practice in my daily life. Miss you in person but happy to see your pics and read about your wonderful experiences with what seem to be amazing people. Way to manifest all that you need. Still want to plan a trip to Europe at some time and hook up with you guys.

Love and miss you, M

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