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What My Bluenose Pit Bull Taught Me about Love

dogs love travel yoga May 22, 2020

When I used to travel a lot as a magazine writer, I tried to work fast so that I could explore more of the countries I visited. I gravitated toward holy sites. Temples, churches, ashrams, ancient ruins, active charnel grounds. I wasn’t a believer, so I wasn’t even sure what “holy” meant. But those sites, with their dim light, pungent incense, burning candles gave me a holy feeling, as if I was connected to something greater than myself. And then, several years ago, while on walkabout in Israel and Palestine, aka, The Holy Land, I learned something important. The holy feelings that I’d been seeking weren’t coming from the places I visited. They were within. And these feelings? Well, they were the tip of the iceberg.

I still love to travel. But these days, my vessel of discovery is yoga. I practice because I want to wake up. Way more than a physical activity, yoga shows us life as it really is—the good, the bad, the ugly. It pulls me...

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How to Be a Spiritual Finder Rather Than a Perpetual Seeker

Transformation is hard. It takes work to break old habits and create new ones. We must stay diligent at “doing the work.” Yoga, meditation, self-inquiry, and therapy are methods that, when practiced regularly, can lead us back to our true selves. But I’ve learned that there are pitfalls to focusing too much on “the work.” Sometimes I catch myself being too diligent at doing the work. I forget about the other path to transformation: self-acceptance. When we focus too much on “the work,” we can easily become self-aggressive and escapist. As important as the work is, we must accept, maybe love, the person we already are. We are all we have, right. And wanting to be different is a trap that keeps us separate from our true selves.

For example, I am a lifelong seeker. I seek knowledge, wisdom, connection, even God. I read books about spirituality and self-growth. I travel to experience new places and new people. But I suspect seeking is really...

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Reflections on a Twelve-Hour Mystical Experience in India

india mysticism travel May 19, 2020

At the age of twelve, I had a brush with death that changed me.

On the first day of a weekend father-son canoe trip in the Ozarks, the canoe carrying my dad and I capsized, and we were both sent overboard into the cold, fast-moving water. In the chaotic next seconds, my lifejacket snagged on a submerged tree, and I was trapped there. Though my mouth remained above water, the rest of me felt the fury of thousands of gallons of water running through a narrow channel. The upriver current flung my torso violently into the log at the same time that the downriver current seemed to claw at my spindly limbs, enticing me to be free. I was terrified, and, for ten minutes, I believed I would die. Because of the way my lifejacket cradled my head, all I could do was stare at the wide blue sky.  At first, I screamed. Then, I raged. Then I stopped. I prayed and bargained at the same time: "God, I'll do anything you ask me if you save me." 

After ten minutes, I heard a loud...

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