A few weekends ago, Alicia and I went to Murphys, CA for a weekend getaway. We both have demanding careers and when we’re not working our day to day office jobs, we are working on Swamy’s Kitchen, helping take care of her grandparents, and making sure we get a daily dose of exercise. It goes without saying, but this trip was a welcomed respite to our busy lives. When you work your ass to the bone, a vacation no matter how short, can be extremely cathartic. This trip was no exception. I wanted to take the next thousand words to share our experience.
We stayed in an Airbnb in a retreat-like center called Gaia Tree (about 30 minutes from Murphys, CA). Even though we arrived close to midnight on a Friday, I immediately felt a sense of calm. I couldn’t clearly see the center because it was dark, but I can recall the sky being beautifully littered with stars. Before going to bed, we took an outdoor shower. The warm water, fresh breeze, and tall trees made this simple routine extraordinary. We spent the rest of the night laying on reclining lawn chairs in front of our Yurt looking at the sky. Nature has the uncanny ability to remind us that we are a part of it. It’s easy for us to forget this in the city. Perhaps the tall buildings cloud our judgment. In any case, I was happy to be in the presence of the stars.
The rest of the trip was amazing. We ventured to the town of Murphys and had great food, saw cool trinket like shops that catered to the generous tourist, and simply enjoyed being away from a desk and the 9-5 grind that perpetually takes a little bit of our souls every day. We encourage you to take a visit with your friends, family, or spouse. In a nutshell, our trip was amazing, but today I wanted to share the breakthroughs we had.
Gaia Tree had a meditation room conveniently situated a few steps from us. It was the first place we headed after waking up after our first night. The meditation room was filled with spiritual books, pictures of religious deities from the East, and smelled of purity, if there is such a thing. Alicia is much more into the metaphysical than I, but she convinced me with her cute persuasive smile to join on the fun of it all. She handed me a pack of cards with pictures of animals on it that came with a book referencing Native American folklore. She told me to pick one. I picked the Coyote.
In the Native culture, the Coyote is known as the trickster. The Coyote is able to trick others, but oftentimes, also tricks itself. It’s clever, but sometimes in its haste to outwit others, it outwits itself. Lessons from the Coyote much like many of the cards are purely subjective, but I decided to step out of my logical, and at times unimaginative self, and see what personal meaning I can derive from the Coyote. I learned that I often doop myself into thinking things are okay when in reality they aren’t. Practicing gratitude is extremely important and an innate part of my spiritual practice, but being thankful and staying in situations that cause unhappiness isn’t the right solution. This is something that I have fallen prey to in the past. The Coyote taught me to look inside myself, assess situations from within, and see them for what they are, and not - what I wish they were.
Alicia picked the turtle. A reference of the hare was made on the card. It’s an age-old tale where the turtle and hare race. The hare is fast off the gate, but eventually loses to the turtle, however, slow he/she may be. The turtle is always running its own race, and not concerned with the hare. It doesn’t have the need to compare and eventually beats the hare. For Alicia, the turtle is a symbol to run her own race and not someone else’s. The fixation on what others do does absolutely nothing for the soul nor does it help us in getting closer to pursuing our passions.
After we read the cards, we looked at each other and cried. We cried about everything that we had to go through to find each other. We both endured struggles throughout our lives. Many of which will stay sewn in our hearts, not as an excuse to feel sorry for ourselves, but rather to know that the stories we have etched into the crevices of our soul make us who we are. We vowed to continue evolving mentally, physically, and spiritually, using all of our energy to live passionately within the endless spirit of creativity, and by the rules governed and architected by us. Cooking and spice creation is a calling for something greater than ourselves. We are on our way to pursuing our calling and sincerely hope you are to.