Bhutan: Honor the Earth
To Travel Is to Experience Our Identity and Unity to All Life. As a young child, my grandmother shared the natural world. We birded, hunted for mushrooms and gathered clay so my young eyes could learn and understand life. I didn’t realize how these excursions would lay the foundation for my future.
I am a seeker. One who strives for adventure. I align with universal energy and stay open to life and all its possibilities. Twenty-five years ago, doors opened and I started a nature business to lead tours in the Tetons. I felt the urge, the call to create and share. I used my biology degree to build a company so I could lead, teach, and engage in a fun and informative way. I became an interpreter.
To join a guide makes the natural world come alive. As one past client states, “Anyone can walk in the woods, but understanding the diversity of life makes it special.” I make it special by deepening the experience. When I travel, I hire guides for the same reason I’ve chosen to be one: to learn so I can share to enhance discovery and connection.
Nature is everywhere. The granite peaks in Grand Teton Park are sacred sentinels that overlook Jackson Hole. A circle of rocks in alignment with the night sky and grounded in the earth make up The Enclosure. It’s a sacred area near the high peak, the Grand Teton, where you can close your eyes and feel the earth’s pulsation. Feel the energy within and without. A sacred ritual allows you to align with yourself and your place in the natural world. The wind whispers past intentions. This ecosystem is biologically rich and you can sense, in the symbol of the landscape, the energies here.
As we travel, we experience new energies and new landscapes. I arrive with wonder to learn about different cultures, nature and myself. I have come as a leader and a participant. I go with a sense of newness and shed all layers of expectation. I am open to what comes. As a leader, I create, steer the vessel and hold the container. I align with experts in each country. As an adventurer, I naturally align with my innate being to lead and help. I enjoy both roles and the richness that I bring to a situation. I dance in the middle. When I first went to Bhutan, the happiness of the people was apparent. It’s a small country in central Asia bordering India and China. Broad smiles welcomed me and I could sense true compassion. I came as a guest to trek beneath the sacred peaks and immerse myself in a country with a strong Buddhist foundation. I trekked as prayer flags whispered in the wind. I learned of daily rituals to honor life, death, the spirits and nature. Bhutan is a country that balances the mental, physical and spiritual realm. My life changed as I hiked beneath those majestic peaks.
The Bhutanese know their connection to nature. As the rice is harvested, the women whistle to call in the wind. Call the breeze to separate the grain from the husk. You watch and the wind comes. It sends a chill up my spine to witness such a link, such energy. The Bhutanese live with this alignment. Each mountain pass gave the opportunity to leave a rock to honor the earth. Our guide, Namgay, shared their traditions and taught us about Bhutan and Buddhism. Namgay would pat his heart and share his mantra “all is well.”
The Bhutanese use the lunar calendar. As I continue to seek and travel, I have become aware of the solid connection between earth and sky. The universal web supports us all. I take these teachings with me and carry them in my heart.
To travel to Bhutan opens your eyes to a solid spiritual foundation. The Punakha Dzong, a monastery and fortress, is the winter home to the largest monk body in Bhutan. As you trek, you visit monasteries to learn about the culture and traditions. You circumambulate the chortens to honor the earth and your place on this amazing planet. Dochula Pass has 108 chortens aligning nature with numerology. New sites welcome you at each turn as you learn about a country steeped in nature and rich traditions. I now return as a leader to guide fellow travelers on this path of discovery.
Why travel? Travel to appreciate life, experience, and learn about others and yourself. As you travel to sacred places, you see a slower way of life and one where people connect to universal energy and their place on this earth. They honor and cherish each moment. As I travel as participant or leader, I practice a state of presence. To experience what is shared. To peel the layers of who I am, the seeker. To connect the visible plane with the invisible. My heart is happy. All is well.
About the Author
Founder of The Hole Hiking Experience in Jackson, Wyoming in 1989, Cathy is a true leader and naturalist. Her company reaches thousands of people each year to inspire with nature through lively interpretation. The trips are fun and engaging, and clients are given the opportunity to connect to natural processes, wildlife, and learn innate natural connections. Cathy has traveled to Kilimanjaro, the Galapagos Islands, Italy, New Zealand, Peru, Nepal, India and Bhutan to pursue natural exploration and cultural experiences. She enjoys the synergy of life found by balance. Her interests include meditation, yoga, qi gong, and a universal connection to all life. www.holehike.com, www.bhutanhimalayanexperience.com