My passport is being held at the Indian Consulate as they process a visa I applied for less than a week ago. This means that I've been unable to leave Thailand since Tuesday; practically shackled within its borders. No, I'm being dramatic, but it does feel a little strange being unable to leave whenever I want, so I've taken this time to just be still...
There's fun stuff to do here in Chiang Mai as I wait for the visa. I think I've done it all, though: seen the Wat Pra Singh, rented a motorbike, driven up the mountain to Doi Sutthep, whitewater rafted, bamboo rafted, elephant trekked, seen the night bazaar, gone to the movies, eaten plenty of papaya salad, spent a weekend in Pai, etc.
Now I'm being challenged by this waiting time to sit, listen for God, pray, read, and to try not to plan for the future too much. Stationary times like these can be incredibly challenging to me.
So, in effort to fill my days and not drive myself crazy, I've been attending yoga classes held in an open air studio in the heart of the old city. It's a 2-mile walk from my guesthouse--past bars, nightclubs, the night bazaar, hookers, massage parlors, tuk tuk drivers, traffic, moats, roadkill, a bridge, and nasty dogs. I move hurriedly through the traffic and smog, anxious to reach this safe, bamboo-fenced refuge of peace and deep breathing.
These sessions have given me a designated place to obey God in and be still. Simply focusing on breathing has made me think about His ability to sustain life. We're not really supposed to be thinking a lot during these sessions, "acknowledge the thought and then let it go," teacher says, but I can't help it. It's like worshipful meditation for me. I cry a grateful cry every time.
When I leave the studio I am walking relaxation. I am aware of my steps, I am grateful for the oxygen filling up my lungs and expanding my belly, and my mind is clear. The world is chaos, but I'm slow motion.
I've no choice but to be here, still in Chiang Mai, so I'm determined to be still while I'm at.