You’re probably wondering, who am I and why do I call myself The Accidental Seeker?
I’m no different from you. I’m just a regular person, largely a product of my environment and my upbringing. Six years ago, I was your typical American upwardly-mobile, college-educated married mother of one trying to figure out how to have a career while living up to my ideal of what being a good wife and mother meant without going crazy and sacrificing my very soul to the corporate world in the process. I had “yuppie” written all over me. I was “workin’ for the man”, following the program. I had a nice house, a new car, plenty of friends, abundant travel and more than my fair share of designer shoes and purses (albeit, many purchased at outlet malls on credit cards – Midwestern frugality was a big part of how I was raised and I fought it every step of the way). I was content, but I can’t exactly say I was happy. Something was missing.
A sudden but welcome job opportunity for my husband took us from Chicago to Florida. I had long desired a move from the frigid northern Midwest to a warmer climate. Although I didn’t know it at the time, the move was my first big success in manifesting desires. The move was also to become a powerful reminder that the universe always puts you in exactly the right place for your own personal growth and development, no matter where that might be, even if it’s in the eye of the storm. We drove into Florida on the eve of hurricane Jeanne in 2004. (But incidentally, “Florida” means “blooming” in Spanish, my second language).
No sooner had we moved than I joined a local health club and developed a strong attraction to the yoga teacher, also my personal trainer. (You’ll have to subscribe [to your right] to hear that story one of these days). I chalked the crush up to stereotypical mid-life angst, but the pull and the teacher were really something entirely different – a doorway into what my soul had been seeking, what everyone at their soul levels is seeking – the answers to who we really are and what we’re doing here.
Without intending to, “yoga boy” led me to a local ashram and twice-weekly meditation run by a small loving local spiritual community that shattered my conditioned beliefs, helped me quickly dump my emotional (and other) baggage, and introduced me to a process of spiritual practice, self-exploration, and discovery that finally – almost four years on – I am able to write about.
All of it happened completely by accident, or so it seemed. After all, I hadn’t gone looking for this. I was nothing like the “professional” seekers of the Beatles generation, of the baby boomers who had come before me and lived with Indian gurus or what not; who had been commune-dwellers and fringe-wearing, peace-sign loving hippies and war protesters. I had no clue what that was all about. I had completely missed all that 60’s stuff.
When I was new to the ashram (which followed the self-inquiry process and teachings of Ramana Maharshi) Eastern and Indian religious and spiritual traditions couldn’t possibly have been more foreign to me. The devotees who lived there were always using Sanskrit terms like “sadana” and “Samadhi” and “satsanga”. I just wanted the straight talk, but I did love their vibe. Still, I could do without all the seeker-speak and vegetarian meals, new and intriguing to me though they were. My intuition told me it didn’t have to be so hard.
And really, it isn’t. Which you’re about to find out if you haven’t already.
There’s one last thing you should know about me. Since I was a young child travel has figured predominantly into my life, also quite by accident. I guess I’d say that “journeying” is a fitting metaphor for my life. My grandmother used to take me – of all her grand kids – on trips with her when I was just six or seven. My parents vacationed as much as they could afford with three (then four) kids – even though these were often long road trips in the station wagon with the luggage strapped to the roof. I was fortunate to enjoy 8th grade and 12th grade school trips – the latter my first foray across the Atlantic (to London).
Finally fate brought me to my husband – a Mexican citizen no less – who not only shattered my stereotypes, but better yet, gave me my first authentic experience of a foreign culture which continues to fascinate and delight me twenty years later. My career took me around the US, and my husband’s has taken us around the world and well out of my comfort zone. (No matter how comfortable you get crossing borders and switching languages, I’ve found there are always new boundaries to be pushed.)
In my life philosophy, nothing – good, bad, horrid, amazing, easy or difficult – is wasted. So I’ve often pondered why this gift of travel has been given. I use it to expand my own growth and development and plan to add insight and perspective gained from it here.
I hope as I continue to travel – literally and figuratively – physically and spiritually – that you’ll enjoy the journey as much as I do. Welcome aboard!
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