Past in Present

In the air, flying away from Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, away from Thailand and away from all of the people that have become my makeshift family over the past month.    I know that I should feel excited – heading to Australia.  But I don’t.  I can’t explain the sadness I feel.  It’s just here.  And it’s heavy.  And I’m uncomfortable because I don’t know why I feel like this.  My life is stunning, amazing.  Truly.  I am living a dream right now.  My dream.  How many times have I said, “If I could do anything, I’d travel the world”?  I’m doing it.  I am existing in a world full of possibility, a world in which I can do anything I can dream, go anywhere I wish.  And I know that tiring, lonely days are all a part of the dream, but it doesn’t make them any easier when they come.

Leaving India was hard.  I didn’t feel ready.   Getting on the plane in Delhi, bound for Thailand, I felt like I was leaving home.  India had essentially become my home.  It was familiar.  I knew what to expect – and that was to never have ANY expectations.  It was comfortable.  It was filthy.  It was hot.  It was hard.  It was home.  I belonged there.

I spent my last month in India bunkered down in Bhagsu / Dharamsala learning Reiki, shamanic crystal healing and color therapy from a truly amazing spiritual healer, Dr. Usha.

Dr. Usha

I did a past life regression session, a rebirthing session, studied Yoga and Pranayama with an Ayurvedic doctor, and taught a Yoga class of my own.  I met a beautiful, lively Israeli/British girl, Samantha, who reminded me of the importance of laughing and being silly.  I met a stunning, searching Israeli/American man, Sagi, who reminded me that a spiritual quest is worth sacrificing a lot, and that I too, still have desires.  And with these two beautiful souls, I discovered the comfort and joy of kinship -the beauty that comes in trust, group laughter and shared interests.  Together, we hiked up through the Himalayas and became one with Mother Earth; we caressed her trees, rooted into her soil, her boulders, conversed with her waterfalls and felt the pain of pollution.  We discovered a family energy with each other.

Hiking up the Himalayas

At the waterfall

We looked forward to every morning when we would walk to Yoga class together and share breakfast afterward and every evening when we would reconnect over dinner, share a dessert and talk about what we’d learned, what we’d experienced that day since breakfast.

Samantha, our Yoga teacher, Me, and Sagi after Yoga class

It was at one of these dinners, talking about our day, our classes about tantric sex, about jade eggs and the Taoist principle of exercising the vaginal muscles, about Buddhist meditations, Tibetan massages and singing bowls vibrating at specific chakra energies when I suddenly burst into laughter.  Sagi looked at me and said, “What?”  Since he had spent some time in the South, in the conservative, Republican, Bible Belt of The States, I knew he would understand when I replied, “I just realized that I am a LONG way from Georgia and the NRA.”  And I was.  I am.

I left India as a Reiki Level 2 practitioner, crystal healer, color therapist, and with a solid job offer.  I left India with an interest in hypnotherapy and a desire to get my Holistic M.D.  I left India secure in the knowledge that everything and anything is possible and that the right thing, the thing that is meant to be will always surface.   I know what I want.  I want to help people heal themselves.  And I know that if I choose, I can go back to India, get my hypnotherapy credentials and work with Dr. Usha.  I can help her open an office in Goa and work part of the year on the beach and part of the year in the Himalayas doing exactly what I want to do – spiritual healing in the form of Yoga, Reiki, hypnotherapy and lecturing.   The offer is there.  The choice is mine.  And, deep in my heart, I know that it is the first of many opportunities to come.


I book a flight to Thailand.  I had planned on going to Nepal after India, but the monsoon is hitting it hard, so I decide on Indonesia and book myself into a 10 day Vipassana Retreat – ten days of utter silence and 10-12 hours of meditation per day.  But, the airport that I am to fly into in Indonesia doesn’t issue visas upon arrival.  So, I end up settling on Thailand.  Thailand kept coming up in conversations, in emails, so it feels right. I trust that feeling and book my ticket to Bangkok.  The night before I fly out, I am surfing the Web and come across a Muay Thai Boxing Camp in Phuket, Thailand.  Something about it grabs me.  Something about it feels so right.  With less than 20 hours before I am to fly out of India, I add a flight from Bangkok to Phuket and head to Thailand to learn Muay Thai Boxing and get my soft body back in shape.   Little do I know that I have a family waiting for me there as well.   Little do I know how perfect my decision to go to Phuket really is.


I box a couple of days, then decide to start the Fasting/Detox program.  It really isn’t on my “to-do” list, but my body is just so unhappy and so round that I decide it will be the best thing for me.  I’ve always struggled with eating healthy due to my unnatural love of sugar, so I figure this will provide me a solid platform to a healthier me.  Seven days of fasting, colonics, lots of water, and psyllium husk and bentonite clay shakes.   I will spare the details of my first colonic, but trust me, it’s horrifically funny.  I am left alone in a room with a small basket, a toilet with a board sticking out of it, a five gallon bucket of coffee water hanging from the ceiling with a tube extending to the toilet, a little bit of KY, a rubber glove, and a, well, sort of a sprinkler shaped butt gadget.  Yeah.  Not a good time.  But, a funny one.  I manage it.  For eight straight days.

The Colonic Room

The fasting is lonely.  I am amazed at how all socializing revolves around food.  Dinner, drinks, coffee – these are the ways in which we socialize.  We gather in kitchens, in restaurants; we gather around food, around drink.  So, when the Rawai boxing group is going out to dinner, I decline.  When they go out for drinks, I decline.  I’m sad.  I’m lonely.  I don’t connect to anyone.  For the first time in my travels, I’m homesick.  I miss home.  I don’t know what I’m doing here.  Something deep inside me knows I am doing the right thing for my body, but this is hard.  And it’s not the food I miss, it’s the people, the connecting; it’s the memories and the feelings that the food holds for me, the comfort it provides me.   It’s not the blueberry muffin I miss, but the lazy, married-life mornings of baking with my husband.  It’s not the grilled chicken I miss, but the easy happiness that dances around a cookout with friends, family, and sunshine.

The detox center is a little over a mile from the boxing camp.  I walk from my room at the gym every day to the center, and then back to the gym at night.  It’s like simultaneously living in two different worlds.  My world by day – quiet, meditative, focused on purity, and my world by evening – surrounded by people who have been boxing and working out all day and are obsessed with dinner and getting enough protein.  It’s challenging to try to find a balance.  It’s challenging to meet people as I am in such a different mind-space than the boxers I am living amongst.

Rawai Muay Thai Boxing Gym --#3 door on the left is my room


Arcan:  The first person I meet at the boxing camp.  He’s Canadian.  Well, he’s Iraqi-Canadian and lived in Turkey for a while.  Listening to his family story is like reading an unbelievable novel of sad fiction.  I go to the beach with him and one of his friends. Arcan is nice enough.  He invites me to the movies.   I accept.  He tells me that he was a soccer player and is recovering from an injury.  He has come to Thailand to train, run and get back in shape.  But, his injury is keeping him from doing the training.  He’s running a lot instead – – – he says.

My Roommate:  Let’s call her Liz.  I usually don’t change names, but there are times when the guilty need to be protected.  After two days of having the room to myself, a young Welsh girl moves in.  She’s here on her summer break from teaching.  She’s here to train hard, get in shape, and prepare for a fight.  I think she’s sweet.  There seems to be a small group of friends forming, but I can’t really hang out much because of the Detox Program.  I am gone from the grounds all day everyday, and since I am fasting, I can’t really go to dinner.   Liz and I chit-chat.  We roughly get to know each other in the few minutes when we’re in the room together.   She strikes me as young – I don’t mean physical years, I mean emotional maturity.  It’s like there is a depth missing, but I can’t put my finger on it.  There is just something. . . . She keeps telling me about American Zak; I haven’t met him yet.

MattE:  Ozzie Matt.  Matt Emery.  We are in beginner class together on his first day.  He helps me with my kicks.  He tells me that he has just come from Indonesia and that he’ll be going back in September.  Indonesia – my home nine years ago.  When I connect to someone about Indonesia, it’s on a deep level.  Part of my being resides there, has since I was evacuated in 2001, and speaking with someone about the place wakes up a part of me that has been dormant ever since.  So, my first connection to Matt Emery is this.  And MattE becomes even more to me.  My breath of fresh air, my hope in humanity restored, my eyes open to fully living life.  I love everything about him.  Not romantic love, not sexual.  Just pure love.  Pure appreciation for the beauty and hope residing in another soul.  His energy is amazing.  It is youthful appreciation for every breath he takes, every person he meets, and every new experience he has.  The more I am around him, the more I want to be around him.  The closer he is, the closer I want him.  He speaks with an awkwardness that just make me want to laugh and wrap my arms around him.  When he looks me in the eye, I swear I can see the most beautiful heart I have ever seen, sitting right in his eyes.  Right in his being.  Radiating from the center of all that he is.  And the tragedy that he has seen and experienced,  the pain and selfishness wrapped up in his past that he so easily spills is all still so innocent.  The fights he’s been in, the pain he’s been through – they have not diminished his youthful hope; they have only encouraged in him a yearning for a more beautiful life.

Me and MattE

Dutch Matt:  Matt from the Netherlands – Matt who is so smart that it makes him just a little bit awkward and so incapable of small talk that he says exactly what he’s thinking.  And this is usually innocently inappropriate and funny; it includes remarks like, “I didn’t really know you, but have a nice life.”   Bad driver Matt who no one ever wanted to get on the back of his scooter, especially after he admitted that he slowed suddenly so that girls would lean forward and broach his back with their breasts.  This made all the guys laugh really hard because they all know they do it as well -they just aren’t brave enough to admit it.  Matt who is so serious about soccer that even at a Saturday morning beach game, he will throw elbows and hit little children if it will edge the team closer toward victory.   Matt who is not on Facebook and who swears his girlfriend isn’t on Facebook either – – – until we find her account and show him.

Dutch Matt

Brad: We’ll call him Brad – another name changed to protect the guilty.  The very guilty.  Brad, the sweet faced Welsh man who spews gentleness and inclusiveness wherever he is.  Brad who always makes sure to say, “Dana, are you coming?  Dana, are you going to join us?”  He is easy to be around and his observant eyes see the truth in the matter – all the matter.  Yet, I just wish I could breathe more confidence into him, just pull him outside himself long enough for him to see all that he has to offer to someone and how beautiful  and giving he really is.  Because he is.

Zackery:  July 4th, coming back from detox, I meet Zak – Zackery.  Protective, take care of every situation, in control Zak. Zak, who knows what he wants in every moment and knows how to work a situation with humor in order to get it.  And Zak and I start talking, and talking, and talking.  He’s one of those people with which there is instant connection, easy to talk to.   Our first conversation charters depths that most people are uncomfortable with; within twenty minutes of conversation, we know more about each other than some acquaintances I’ve known for years.  Talking to Zak is a little like visiting home for a moment; there is a sense of peace within the communication, a sense of safety.  And since he’s American, there is instant camaraderie.  It’s July 4th; we have to celebrate.   But, I’m going to the movies with Arcan.  I speak to Arcan, and we decide to go to the beach with the BBQ and fireworks before catching our movie.   And, I’m so glad because July 4th is probably my favorite holiday.  It’s a time for family and friends, laughter and solidarity; it’s a time for being with a group.  And I know I need it.

Me and Zackery

Arcan and I go to Friendship Beach and wait for the others to arrive.  It’s sort of dead; it’s early and the band hasn’t started playing.  The others arrive, and we gather around a table.  They order food; I order water.  Arcan is quiet.  He seems to be uncomfortable.  I am loving the group dynamics, lovely people all around – Zak, my roommate, Ozzie Matt and Dutch Matt, Brad – people smiling and laughing.  And quiet Arcan.  We leave after about fifteen minutes; “We need to get to the movie,” Arcan says.  In the cab, I say, “Are you uncomfortable in groups or do you not like those people or what?”  He replies, “Sometimes I am just quiet.”  But there is something deeper that I am feeling; Arcan doesn’t play well with others, and I don’t like that.  We get to the movies, but we missed it – – by an hour.  He’d never even checked the time.  We go back to the camp; I have a DVD we can watch.  We get ready to watch it, but he says, “hang on,” and he steps outside to get high.  He comes back inside reeking of pot.  And there’s his truth.  He stays high all the time.  He’s not training, not running.  He’s smoking.  I want to puke.   But I don’t.  I finish watching the movie.  Arcan leaves.  I don’t want to have anything else to do with him.  He has thrown my past in my face; he has shown me that he is the sort of person I do not want in my life – in any capacity.


He reminds of deception, of being lied to.  This deception is a clear scene from my marriage – a crystal memory of rushing home after shooting a BoJangle’s commercial.  I call Troy to let him know I am coming home early and we can go to dinner together.  I pull in the driveway and rush out back to see him.  He’s standing there, busy working on laying a new slate patio.  It looks amazing.  I tell him this.  I hug him.  I lean back.  I look in his eyes.  And I can see.  “Are you high?”  I ask him.  “No,” he says.  I laugh a hurt laugh.  “You are high, and you’re lying about it.  Why are you lying?”  He backpedals, begins making excuses.  I look at him again.  “I am going to dinner,” I say. And I leave him standing there, surrounded by sand and stone.  I drive around Charlotte for a few hours; I eat dinner in my car – alone.


Shortly after Arcan leaves, Liz comes back to the room.  She immediately starts talking about Zak.  “I think he is trying to sleep with me,” she says.  I laugh.  “He’s a male. Of course he is.”   But I know that her saying this is akin to her pissing on her territory.  Basically she’s said, “He’s mine.  He wants me.”  That’s what I hear.  And, I’m okay with that.  So, I talk to her about it – ask her what she thinks, how she feels.  And she says that she sort of has someone back home that she is interested in, likes, but that they are not serious and she’s not sure what Zak wants and how it will work. . .. So I tell her, “You have to check in with YOU and see what YOU want.  Do you want to sleep with Zak or not?  Know that it is meeting a physical need and that is it.  Don’t expect or want more, because logistically it doesn’t make sense; don’t worry about what he wants or expects or what may happen.  If you do have sex with him, know that’s what it is and it’s because you want it.  Otherwise, don’t.”  She replies, “You are wise.  I like that.  Good advice.”  And I can almost hear her sigh of relief as she feels like I have gotten the message that Zak is her territory.  And it makes me laugh.


And this is just the beginning of Thailand. . . . .


~ by Dana Childs: Intuitive on August 11, 2010.

3 Responses to “Past in Present”

  1. Dana, I only came across you blog for the firs time today. I am suppose to be working but I am finding difficulty in tearing myself away from your blog. As I read I feel goosepimples all over, thank you for sharing your journey, and yes, please update, I am hooked!!!

  2. Dana,
    its good to hear from you again.Love reading your profound and authentic writings.They always stir up something in my heart!Take care!

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