It’s always fascinating to me how the lessons I’ve learned along my travels continue to show up for me when I need them most. I guess that’s how life tends to work though, you simply have to be open and willing to receive the message.
Let’s start with my climb to Doi Suthep a couple weeks ago. The hike through the jungles of Thailand was nothing short of amazing. The quiet solitude nature provided was a much-needed escape from all the noise of the city. Almost halfway through my climb, I was greeted by the sound of a rushing waterfall which accompanied me to the summit – the home of Doi Suthep.
Doi Suthep is one of many Buddhist temples throughout Chiang Mai. This one is an exceptionally beautiful golden temple high atop a hill overlooking the city, making it a hot tourist destination. As I strolled through the temple, I overheard a tour guide explaining the significance of several Buddha statues with flames burning in front of them.
Each statue represented a day of the week; and according to their traditions, the statue representing the day of the week on which you were born gives insight into the type of life you will live. As the guide gave a brief description of each meaning, I took vigorous notes on my phone. Temple guests pour oil over the burning flame in front of the statue as an offering to keep their own internal flame burning. Curious, I googled the day on which I was born – Wednesday. (Wednesday actually has two statues, but I referenced my notes for the daytime Buddha.)
According to the guide’s reiteration of the belief, the Wednesday daytime Buddha is holding a bowl and was begging for food. When his father saw this, he told his son to come to him. It was not his place to beg for food. Instead, people would come to him with offerings of food and he’d have more than enough. People would always see to it that he was provided for, and he needn’t worry. The guide said those born on Wednesday will never have to worry about having enough. They can trust that they’ll always be cared for and loved.
Fast forward to my crazy day today. First, my Nook was lost (maybe stolen) yesterday. Then, my phone has been giving me fits for the last few days, but this morning it was out of hand. I couldn’t even type a sentence without the phone crashing. I opened the calculator and couldn’t complete a simple addition problem before it shut down. Three hours, software and app updates and a complete factory reset later, the problem persisted.
Frustrated, I looked at my bank account. I hadn’t budgeted to replace my phone. This was going to put a big dent in my monthly budget. However, not having a phone wasn’t an option. I began to question what I was doing. Where am I going? Why am I traveling? As my funds continue to dwindle, maybe I should return home, get a regular job and give up. What is a girl to do?
UGH! Dealing with phone and financial issues are such a hassle and not how I had hoped to spend my Saturday. I had my hotel call me a taxi and soon found myself at the local mall (which was festively decorated for Christmas by the way and brought the biggest smile to my face). After talking to three different stores, I found the Thai version of the Apple store. Now, iPhone 6 or upgrade to iPhone 7? After some inner dialogue, I settled for the iPhone 6 which was half the price of the iPhone 7 and wouldn’t make as big of a dent.
As I walked out of the store, I looked up and saw the Wednesday Buddha. And that’s when my eye glazed over with tears (You knew there were going to be tears, right? You’ve been wondering where they were this whole time!). My lesson from the hike revealed itself to me again through a simple statue in the mall.
It’s going to be okay. Phone and money issues aside, I will always have enough. Enough time. Enough money. Enough work. Enough play. Enough rest. Enough love. I don’t know what my future holds. I know I’ve been gone 12 fantastic weeks making amazing friends and memories. I may be back in 2 weeks, 10 weeks or 2 years. The one thing I do know, more than ever, is that I’ll always have enough.
*Don’t quote me on the meanings behind the weekday Buddha statues! I haven’t fact checked the tradition or meanings that the guide discussed. I’m just rolling with what I heard and the life lesson it presented to me.