Feeling Free during Songkran


I had a moment the other night where I felt in my bones how I have never felt as much freedom as I’m feeling right now. It’s not just the freedom to go wherever I want or do whatever my heart feels. That’s true and that’s amazing. It’s the internal freedom I’m uncovering that makes what’s happening now so powerful. It’s the emotional freedom that is unfolding that compels me to say what I’m feeling, when I’m feeling it. Not wait until after so it’ll have less of an impact on someone.I’m caring less and less about what people think about me and caring more and more about whether or not I’m speaking my truth. How often am I saying what I mean and meaning what I say? Each day I’m aligning with that more and more.

I was standing on a boat when I first had that moment. We were going back to Phuket from Phang Nga Bay and the sky was full of stars, lightening was flashing every 5 minutes or so and there was a warm, soft, tropical wind blowing. It was one of those breathtakingly beautiful moments that I shared with a few other people on the boat as we all soaked up the beauty of the night. I recognized that internally there’s an emotional tsunami happening inside me. My dreams are sometimes hard to describe the next day, filled with symbols and signs I can’t understand yet I’m waking up with a deep feeling of things being churned over like the ocean.

The next day was Songkran, the Thai New Year. The Thai celebrate the New Year with a massive water fight throughout Thailand. Spiritually, it symbolizes a cleansing for the year to come. They call it a “Water Festival”. What I experienced was thousands of big kids of all ages lining the streets, people on motor bikes with big water guns, loads of people driving in pick up trucks filled with people in the back throwing water buckets at everyone and anyone. Scantily clad tourists with massive water guns (see below) and waterproof cameras. The whole area had the childlike freedom of being one big water fight. You couldn’t walk five minutes without getting a bucket thrown at you and being fired at by someone’s water pistol. I realized halfway through the day I was only using my water gun in self-defense. ..and that putting my hand up didn’t actually do any good to stop the ice cold water in the bucket that was being thrown at me. After 4 hours of walking through the mayhem, I treated myself to some serious gelato, being the big kid I am.

That morning just before the craziness started, once again, I was having breakfast at Uncle Nai’s joint near my guesthouse.

As I sat there having breakfast, I read over what I had written the night before and simultaeousIy I had a moment with Ratdech at Uncle Nai’s that warmed my heart. It made me aware of when I don’t really speak the truth and when I’m not living in the moment. I arrived at my table hungry, with my laptop in tow and knowing the madness that is Songkran had already started. I really had to eat and felt completely compelled to do some writing before the day got away from me. I’ve become so engrossed in the blogosphere I was up late the night before catching up on the whole “Texts from Hilary” story (how brilliant was that??). Ratech, Uncle Nai’s wife came to greet me and offered me her special Vietnamese breakfast to which I happily said yes, (it looked good and I can tell her what I can & can’t eat) so she prepared a mini feast for me. In the course of serving me breakfast we had the typical conversation about where we are from and she was so excited I was from America. Next thing I knew, she brought out 4 mini family photo albums of the family holiday in 2000 to Washington DC, Boston and I think the Cape. She excitedly starting showing me pictures of her daughters and all the places they went.

I was so hungry and could hear the mayhem of Songkran building around us. (In fact as I wrote this I was surrounded by 8 Russians with massive waterguns…barely missing me in the line of fire)
Ratech wanted to go through the albums with me, she was so proud and so enthusiastic that I sat there starving and having the running commentary in my head of the next thing I wanted to do, which was eat and write (running commentary is the signal I’m not in the moment).
I realized I couldn’t say to her,” These are lovely, really, but I have to eat right now and do some writing, could we take a look tomorrow?”

Nope, that truth was not coming from my mouth. She was so excited and so sweet. So I did what any self-respecting tourist would do and I nibbled at my breakfast, smiled and shifted my attitude to, “how adorable is this woman?”. It was funny. I sat there looking at family holiday photo albums and eating breakfast. Not to mention whenever I put them down to write this I felt compelled to pick them up again when she walked by my table. I was able to tell her some of the foods I simply won’t eat as she kept bringing me plate after plate of food. I am getting real about speaking the truth about food, my friend Rony would be proud.

By the end of breakfast the craziness had begun in Kata. Uncle Nai had the sound system set up on the sidewalk and Ratdech was covering people’s faces in baby powder and dancing with the crazy Russian crowd. Joan Jett’s “I love Rock n Roll” was blasting from the sound system and the Russians were shooting everyone that went by on a motorbike or anyone who came in their line of fire. I resigned myself to the fact I couldn’t possibly bring a camera out with me and if I was lucky I’d get a few pictures on my phone. I laughed at myself and felt how lucky I was to discover my own freedom and be in a big old Thai style water fight at the same time…

Happy Songkran and Happy Passover!