“When you realize that you have come to your wit’s end, you can begin meditation. Or meditation happens, and that happening is simply the watching of what is, of all the information conveyed to you by your exterior and interior senses, and even the thoughts that keep chattering on about it all. You don’t try to stop those thoughts, you just let them run as if they were birds twittering outside, and they will eventually become tired and stop. But don’t worry about whether they do or don’t. Just simply watch whatever it is that you are feeling, thinking, or experiencing – that’s it. Just watch it, and don’t go out of your way to put any names on it. This is really what meditation is.”

– Alan Watts

I am burdened with what the Buddhists call the ‘monkey mind’ – the thoughts that swing from limb to limb, stopping only to scratch themselves, spit and howl.
—  Elizabeth Gilbert

Lop Buri, Thailand, June 30, 2015


Mount Popa is an inactive volcano in central Myanmar that is best known as a Buddhist pilgrimage site. In its direct proximity, the volcanic plug Taung Kalat features a Buddhist monastery at the top. It is inhabited by hundreds of Macaque monkeys that linger on the 777 steps leading to the top. The monkeys spend their days observing visitors, and occasionally aggressively stealing everything that’s not firmly attached to its owner. In this case, a monk is (unsuccessfully) trying to persuade the thief to return his prayer beads.

Part of my series Animals of Myanmar (6): The Thief | Mt. Popa, Myanmar

Woke up, saw the sunrise, taught three hours of yoga, cried in Savasana. Coffee with coconut milk, pancakes and home made blueberry jam for breakfast. Shower, then a caravan drive with the group into the jungle. Swam in a waterfall, leaves twirling, elephants in the distance. Sat on a rock with the sounds of water earth sky nature life all around. Went to a Buddhist temple, met a monkey. Got bitten by monkey 11 times (love bites!?), tried to purchase monkey to set him free, no success. Saw the big reclined Buddha, had lunch at an organic farm. No electricity but best Pad Thai we’ve ever had. Green papaya salad, fresh coconuts. Handmade chocolate next, and cappuccinos. Crystal palace for handmade silver, bought a ring that looks like coral sticking to my skin. Next stop; coconut farm. Got to eat sprouted coconuts and open the coconut husk and squeeze the pulp and rub ourselves with sticky oil. Cuddles with the happiest dog ever, all smiles, all love. Went to the crafts market at the beach to see the sunset, missed everything because I found a dog on a chain. Happiest pitbull I’ve ever seen, longing longing longing for love and attention. Got covered in slobber and kisses, heart aching from the fact that people put dogs on chains and leave them there?! Tried to buy dog to take him home. Success, only slight. Will know more in the morning. Went down to the rocks and put my feet in the ocean, found more dogs, brought husband to cuddle with pitbull to try to convince him we CAN bring dog from Thailand to Aruba (husband: voice of reason, success rate zero). Back to the beach, reggae bar and puppies everywhere. Pincha Mayurasana in the sand with tiny puppy pulling at my hair with his teeth. Realized I left my purse somewhere with some dog (so many all around), slight freak out, husband found purse (pitbull was guarding it), party neon light taxi home, stir fry and morning glory and cold beer for dinner. Now, bed. Tomorrow, yoga.

This was our day. My heart is full. I will save all dogs that need saving. Sharing more soon. Xo (PS can you get rabies from monkey bites??) #yogaretreat #iykohsamui #adventure #thailand (at Koh Samui Island)

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