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The Tiger's Nest in Bhutan. Photo by Chelsea Ferrel.

Dear Me

Dear Me When I Get Home,

I issue you this challenge: go one day without planning ahead or contemplating what’s next. I can’t say for sure that this is humanly possible, but I do know that regardless, it’ll be quite the task for you. I am constantly looking down the road and at home I can usually give a pretty accurate description of what lies down it—I enjoy the power that knowledge and control brings. On the flip side, I treasure spontaneity, both for the surprise at its center and for the feeling of releasing the reins.

While I’ve been in Nepal and Bhutan I’ve carried on my habits of schedule-interrogation and have found great wells of comfort in distinguishing short-term events to look forward to. Of course, other adjacent wells are brimming with anxiety that, time after time, has turned out to be largely fallible and unnecessary; I’m stronger than I think and I’m slowly learning that the world is more often a delight than a formidable opponent. Just today I found myself beside a sheet of paper that outlined our last three days together as a Dragons team, and I automatically began reading the list out of the corner of my eye. Then I stopped. It occurred to me that I’d much rather, for these few days, separate myself from longing and dread and try out that well-worn phrase, ‘ignorance is bliss’. Of course, in a face-palm moment, not five minutes later my efforts to detach were derailed as we were fully debriefed on the upcoming schedule and, as usual, I inwardly groaned at some points and smiled at others.

I’ll make no assumptions if I can, though, and my hope is that you can extract some of our emotional go-with-the-flowness and apply it to our brain’s relationship with time and maximization of the future in order to leave your awareness vacant for the present. With all the attention I’ve given to planning my return, I have no doubt that you will have wonderful times and, at other moments, you will be disappointed when reality falls short of imagination. The thing is, you can’t be disappointed if you see only the wonder of the now; acknowledge that you want to keep reading even though you need a shower and laugh at a stock of lentils insufficient for a recreation of that dahl you ate this summer/. All the time I spend preparing for a moment is of no consequence when, at the top of that hill, I turn my focus to the ride back down. Anyways, this is just a long way of saying that you/I/we can’t make the world run perfectly, so, please, just experiment and see what antiplans unfold.