Between Two Worlds

Feb 02, 2024

Vacation high and travel lows — getting out of our comfort zone can be a mixed bag for sure. The key is finding the thread of grace that connects it all

Boy, despite the pretty postcards and social media posts, traveling these days isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s like you have to take a deep breath and prepare yourself. 

I just returned from a few glorious days away in the Caribbean (pictured above) — stolen moments escaping the cold and gray, and routines of daily life — a welcomed breath of fresh air. The newness of adventure always expands my horizons and reinvigorates my curiosity about life and the world around me...the ‘getting there’ part, not so much. 

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned how I’m essentially a water baby (albeit one who gets seasick even swimming in the waves), but I digress. I am in awe of Mother Earth and the divinity of her waters. It is a happy place for me. The ocean has always felt like another planet to me — otherworldly in her abundant wonder. 

This living, moving, cleansing water with multiple life forces within her enlivens my senses and washes over my nervous system...calming, healing, revealing. The clarity and color of the Caribbean ocean is simply breathtaking...thus the nonstop picture taking. It never gets old.

Within her embrace I feel the fish moving in an orchestrated way beneath me in a shoal (a large group of fish swimming together in harmony, which serves as protection and plays a vital part in their reproduction and communication — the ultimate in unity). Aaaah, yes. The interconnectedness of community.

I recently learned of term ‘ecotone’ — a region of transition between two biological communities. That’s what traveling feels like to me — a passage between two worlds — leaving behind and entering anew. Back and forth across this intersection.

The intersection is what I want to talk about here.

As I excitedly prepared and packed my luggage, visions of sand between my toes, warm sunshine beating down upon my winter bones and the melodic sounds of waves crashing upon the shore danced in my mind. I envisioned afternoons languishing on the beach reading, splashing in the water, laughing...napping...rejuvenating.

However, I hadn’t prepped for my experience of JFK on my way to St. Thomas that day. [deep sigh] 

Even my overflowing enthusiasm and giddiness couldn’t deny the energy that hit us upon arrival at the airport. My empathic nature felt like I was hit by an oncoming train. It was intense to say the least. I certainly had stepped out of my precious little countryside bubble of protection. 

The frenetic energy spiraled around me and tried to enfold me in its grip Emotions ran high. Hustle and bustle was the entrée du jour. I could feel the angst, the sadness, the anger, the isolation...the disconnection...everywhere. Why are they moving about like this? What’s up? I wondered. 

From the travelers to the airport workers and employees, I could sense a get-out-of-my-way ‘bully vibe’. No eye contact. Bumping into one another. Aggressive communication. We were herded like cattle in long lines as people complained and spread angry energy. We were yelled at multiple times and it began to feel like we were being consumed by this contagious ugly energy.

What was going on and what was beneath all of this aggression? 

Beneath all unsavory behavior, a wound, unhappiness, pain can be found.

I fought not to get sucked up in it — which is easier said than done. Hey, I’m a girl from Queens. Need I say more? I may not look like it, but I know how to defend myself and those I love when push comes to shove.

But I don’t want to push and shove. It’s not how I move through life (or airports).

So instead, I pray (my default setting). I prayed for these ‘rude’ people I was encountering right there in the midst of it all.

I prayed for whatever circumstances had put them in this state.

I prayed for their healing.

I prayed they would be released from the grip of their pain and suffering.

I prayed for society.

I prayed for peace.

Could we learn to move together as a shoal? What if we got back to nature, to our natural state of being and lived in harmony, took accountability for our actions, reactions and emotions and recognized that we were a part of the collective?

I don’t think this is pie-in-the-sky thinking. I believe it’s possible. And of course, life is chock full of ups, downs and all arounds. Life will feel hard and painful at times, but it will also be gorgeously radiant at others.

Two truths can exist simultaneously. We can be in pain and seek beauty. We can reach for a better feeling. We can smile at a person having a rough time. We can be a helper. We can choose to show up better for ourselves and others.

Yep, folks, we are in this thing called life together. So perhaps we should drop the ‘othering’. We are not so different. Different circumstances, yes, but connected by the thread of grace no less. Even in a traffic jam, or a bustling airport, or a disagreement or disappointment.

I’m going to hold this vision and intention for us all — may we remember that we are each a part of this same magnificent ecosystem — that we have a responsibility to care for her and each other...and oh how much better off we would all be if we did.

This is my prayer for humanity and the humanness within each of us traveling between two worlds — because this is the space where we will find one another connected by the goodness and heart within each of us.

— Lea Haas, Owner, The Garden Cafe Woodstock


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