Greetings fellow travelers!
I write to you now from the cozy confines of a less-than-trendy coffee shop adjacent the impressive Arkansas River my wife and I spent the morning rafting down. All my senses are tingling with the aliveness only direct connection with Nature seems to offer. And alas, the feeling fades as I enter again into the digital realm of emails and blogs. How fortunate indeed you all are to have the rare and oh-so precious opportunity to, for four full weeks, leave technology behind and allow Real Life to embrace you fully without distraction in a corner of the world saturated with vivid color and unique subtlety.
My name is Gregory. You can call me Greg. For most of the year, I live on an organic farm, located in Northern Thailand, near the Myanmar border that specializes in the ancient art of seed-saving. However, like seeds, I move and shape-shift with the turning of seasons and quite often can be found cross-pollinating with the mountains of Nepal, India and Colorado. Like you, I once set out for a study abroad journey while young and, well, that trip has never ended. My lust for learning and desire to know what it means to fully be human has only intensified with time and it is my great honor to be able to share a little of what I have learned with all of you.
As fate would have it, the woman who first trained me years ago in Kathmandu to be a Wilderness First Responder was also on the river with us this morning. She allowed me to guide our raft and as I navigated through Browns Canyon as the blue bird sky swiftly turned auspicious and grey and the white waters quickly merged with rain and eventually snow I couldn’t help but think forward to the trip we all are about to go on together. As with all great expeditions, we make plans, and The Gods laugh…
I imagine all of you to be going through all the potential experiences we will have together in your heads now. Indeed, I am too. But what I learned long ago was, although it is crucial to plan properly, in the end, the trip itself will unfold in a mysterious and unexpected way, showing the traveler things they never knew were so important beforehand, and are oftentimes entirely unrelated to the original intentions for taking the journey in the first place.
In Myanmar, we will be learning about arguably one of the greatest teachings ever presented to humankind; The Dharma, the teachings of Buddha. And as you may already know, a core foundational teaching of his was to not be attached, to live with disciple and plan accordingly yes, but ultimately, to let go and simply observe. So I encourage you all to begin this practice now. Read all you can about Myanmar, and for that matter, all of South East Asia (as it is all intimately entwined) . Watch films about the history of Burma. Journal with great zest and zeal all you can regarding your hopes and fears leading up to our send off. Call or write to us directly and ask us lots of questions. And then…. Let go. Breathe and smile.
All of you are coming of age in a very important time. Learning the often overlooked details of our greater human family’s profound Story is arguably more important now than ever before. It is big work. Learning to see with new eyes is challenging and there will probably be moments of fear and doubt. But the rewards of seeking wisdom are beyond compare.
I tip my hat to all of you for choosing to see deeper, and to go further. I look forward to meeting you in person soon.
I tip my hats to all of you and look forward to meeting you soon in person.