Mindful Travel Musings from the Garden

Kelsey Stratton

November 16, 2017

Dear Diary,

Today I realized I would really like to deepen my connection to the moment.

The poet r.m. drake said,
“you have to find that place
that brings out the human in you,
the soul in you, the love in you.”

Suay, chai mai?
(Beautiful, isn’t it? as we say in Thai)

So where is this place?
As travelers, we go all around the world looking for it.
Searching far off lands in quest of… something.

A view so profound we can carry the memory of it through our entire lives and be at peace knowing it exists in the world. An experience so life altering, it just might lead us to the trajectory of the rest of our lives.  The path of our true calling that we just can’t grasp without perspective.

We put a pin on the map and stuff our backpacks and declare,
“Farewell, I’m on a journey.”

By bus and train and motorbike and boat, we drift around. Taking in the wonder of foreign scenery, adopting new cultural norms, engaging with people from all around the world on the same path of magnificent exploration.

And we have these moments of pure bliss and faux pas and horror at our sleeping arrangements in the budget hostel and absolute peace sitting in the sand after dipping our toes in the ocean, like nothing else in the world could ever matter other than this moment in time.

And what about that time we were so ignited we almost quit our jobs to pursue an idea with the passion fuming from our hearts?

In his short film titled “The Existential Bummer”,  Jason Silva describes his feelings on transience:

“I do not accept the ephemeral nature of this moment,
and I’m going to extend it forever, or at least I’m going to try.”

So, how do we do this?  How do we take all the pieces of everything and everyone we have loved along the way, all that we have absorbed through the pores of our soul and even begin to take it from head through heart?

First we grab a pen.
And a piece of paper.

And we kindly say to the ego, “Thank you for the help, but this is not for you to censor,”
and we let it flow from head to heart.

We let our story wash through every crack that’s been held together and take a ride to the one true place left pristine in the world:  within, to our internal landscape.

Among the trekking boots and cameras and travel yoga mats and water filters and first aid kits and all the things we carry, a space to record our true experience is our most imperative tool we can use to hold the spark.

Travel journaling.

Because this life is the story we tell ourselves.

The movie we watch as a third party observer.

Which is what makes traveling is so… interesting.  It breaks all that is routine and gets us out of our place of comfort and makes us face something unknown and shows us that there is so much more to the human experience than the boxes we unconsciously confine ourselves to.

And with just a pen and piece of paper, we are empowered to craft the plot.  To curate the crescendo and orchestrate the audience.  We see the light of perspective and alter according to our wishes.

Because even the best of experiences can go numb if we don’t give them room to breathe, and it’s in the sharing of our stories that we grow from the inside out.  Even if we’re the only ones to read them.

And finally we realize, the real journey is within.
Sometimes it just takes a world of distraction to understand.

Rumi : The Guest House
This being human is a guesthouse

Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you our
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them all at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each guest has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Like asana and mediation, yoga extends to the practice of life.

That’s really all this is.  A practice of the human experience.

Think about one event or moment in life that felt really terrible.  Like, the worst.
Does it still feel that way?

Acknowledge one way in which it changed your life for the better.

One of the highest vibrations of the human experience we can encounter is gratitude.
Life happens.  It’s how we respond to it that defines our reality.
And if we truly trust in the process of life happening in our favor,
every moment holds a magical opportunity.

Tools of Harmony

The Garden of Mindfulness:

a pin on the map at the intersection of yoga + permaculture known as Suan Sati.
A plot of land developed with intention: to make steady changes in the world, one step, person and breath at a time.

“Little actions turn into a big movement… a change in consciousness.”

Explains Pee Will (Big Brother Will),
the man with a vision who turned it into action to make a place in the world for people to grow while giving back to the land.

A place to balance all the doing of life by just being.
Abhyasa and vairagya, the yogis call it.  Effort and surrender.

So how does the practice of movement and meditation translate to working with the land?

In more ways than not.

Yoga means union, to yoke or to join.

Permaculture is a practice in living harmonically.
One with the Self, one with the Earth.

As above, so below.


Both concepts a tool for continued development through awareness, reflection and intention.

“Same, same”
Thai people would say.

Robert Swan explains,

“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else is going to save it.”

Same goes for ourselves as individuals.
When we develop questions in our lives, some kind of deep seated conditioning has made led us to believe that the last person to know the answer to our question is the person who asked it in the first place.

As Rumi exhibits though,

“Why are you knocking at every other door?
Go, knock at the  door of your own heart.”

How do we make a change in the world?

We start local.

We sit with our hearts and listen to the answer.
We sit in the garden and let it tell the story.

As within, so without.
Peace in our hearts, peace in the world.

Om Shanti.


About the Author

Kelsey Stratton

Guest Author, Former Teacher, and dear friend at Suan Sati instagram.com/xo_kelsita

About Suan Sati

Suan Sati runs on-going meditation and yoga retreats in Chiang Mai, Thailand throughout the year. We welcome those who are new to yoga and meditation, and also to those who have an established practice and want to deepen their understanding. We offer guests the opportunity to come and join our family for a yoga retreat of a few days or a few weeks. We welcome those who are new to yoga and meditation, and also to those who have an established practice and want to deepen their understanding. We offer a range of all-inclusive meditation and yoga retreats in Thailand at an affordable price for those on a budget. Whether you’re new to meditation and yoga or a seasoned practitioner, we’ve got something for you. We also host our own 200 hour yoga teacher trainings in Chiang Mai multiple times per year.