Just A Butt In The Wind- What Travel Can Do To Your Ego
Hey, remember me? It’s Gabi. We used to be friends, you and I. We used to talk a lot, share a lot. Laugh and cry until the coca cola came up your nose (burns so badly) from the unreal, and overly embarrassing things I shared. Let’s see, we’ve talked about my kids knowing too much about sex, shitting in nature, and that famous entry that should never have been written (some say) fuck, fuck, fuck. Like any amazing friendship; we walk together, until it no longer meets both of our needs, and then we lovingly part ways, grateful for what we both gained from that precious time when we walked hand in hand.
Now, I’m not gone. I’m not. I just don’t walk anymore here. I skip, I think. I’m in a different phase/dimension/passion than I was then. I’m still around, and still write here and there, but not like before. The Nomadic Family has shifted to reflect the changes in our lives too. So, what happened to Gabi? What’s happening in our lives? What’s going on here? Someone tell me WHAT HAPPENED? And what is ‘the butt in the wind’. Oh, that’s me, but I’ll explain. Read on…
And so, what happened to Gabi? These days, we call me, “Buddhalala” jokingly in our family. I’ve gone to my first Vipassana Meditation (kicked my spiritual ass beyond belief) and came back not caring so much anymore. Not that I don’t care, I’ve let go. I’m developing anicca (‘impermanence’ in Pali) and therefore, don’t get as stuck with stuff anymore. Far from enlightened but a few huge leaps further on my way; I got over fighting with Kobi over The Nomadic Family. I got over controlling, keeping things “the way they were”, clinging to it being just so. I just got awakened to the fact that if I let it go, and accept change; it will bring such peace to my soul. And, it has.
The Nomadic Family was everything, but everything for me. It was where I expressed myself, where I recorded our journey, my thoughts, my emotions. It was a huge source of ego. (I write a lot about my ego) eWe’ve won this award; we have this many fans on Facebook; this major newspaper wrote about us or this cool blog interviewed us; we’ve made a millionaire’s dream come true on a pauper’s salary. God we’re amazing, right?
The Nomadic Family was my shield to the world, “Look! Look! Look! Look! Look at me!” Kobi and I have always loved the stage. We’ve always been the center of the party; we both tell stories, Kobi tells jokes that make people pee.
I love the spotlight. As the regional president of my high school youth group, covering three states, just give me the mic. Give me a live audience and I’ll mesmerize them. As the executive director of a non-profit improving the life conditions of low socioeconomic Latinos, just let me speak at a live event. Always, always, I’ve loved television (live is better! I think from my childhood modeling days), radio (had a live show in Israel), and live audiences (around the world). And so, The Nomadic Family became my stage. And what a stage it was! You couldn’t even throw tomatoes on me from how high I was on that stage!
My ego, my identity, my very definition of self became that. Traveling is this unreal, never-ending, therapeutic renunciation process. Nekkhamma (“renunciation” in Pali) is the process of letting go to all the things we hold onto- material possesses, roles, traditions, ideas of how the world or I am supposed to be. And I am, in that order, actually, letting go. I left my world as a spiritual family therapist and became “just a butt in the wind”.
You can follow my process here from what I used to call it before I left which was “naked and free” (scroll down) in the beginning, to the way we started to see ourselves relative to the people we met in the world which was “perpetually barefoot”, and now “just a butt in the wind.”
In Huanchaco, Peru, when I shit in the sand dunes, out there, I was “just a butt in the wind,” no prettier, more special, unique, exotic than the next butt. I was just another human flesh-bound soul with her butt in the air, taking a shit. No one cared that I had had a radio show, that I had this or that degree, that I had dragged my butt (and the butts of my entire family) half way across the globe, that my butt had had some unreal, unearthly amazing experiences. No one gave a shit, literally. (How often do you get to say that, with ‘literally’ behind it, right?)
So, I’m just a butt, and so is The Nomadic Family. I love The Nomadic Family, I do, I do, I do; but ego-aside, it is simply another butt in the air. A nice butt, a lovely butt, a butt that farts with the smell of tropical roses on a Pacific Ocean breeze. A butt about one cool family doing one stupid, crazy, awesome decision to live their lives with intention and passion and adventure; but, still just a butt.
When I went silent for ten days, and then stayed away from my family for 16 days total; I realized some things. The main one is that very little matters. One day, I was in the hostel in Battambang, four hours south of my family in Siem Reap (Cambodia), and I was checking my email for my allotted hour a day online. I really just wanted to read my mail from Kobi and the kids, and close the computer. There was nothing there.
What? They can live without me? What? I can die tomorrow, and they will go on and lead a happy, fulfilled life. And online, what happened? I was on Facebook for hours a day, forums, groups, emails, stats, posts, keep that social marketing alive. Hours a day. I would connect to the internet before I connected with my family, or myself. I’d roll out of bed and onto the computer, much like my greatest travel mistake over a year ago (I’m a slow learner). And now, two weeks with zero online contact, and, dear Lord on High, nothing happened. Nothing. The world went on without me, without me, without me. How liberating was that. A sickening, lonely knot in my stomach, at first, helping me realize that with all my ego, how insignificant I really am; and still, liberating.
So, we are still friends friends. I will still write for The Nomadic Family for I love our adventure, our lives, and sharing that. But, Kobi writes a great deal now, and I’ve released the ego that went with being sure he did it in a way that reflected MY LIGHT just the way I like it. I now put a great deal of my soul to my spiritually site Gabi Klaf: Towards Enlightenment, One Step At A Time, and into my family. I realized that “I’m making this The Nomadic Family blog so that one day my kids can look back and have a living record of our adventures” can only hold weight so long. I could even see through my own lie. Pushing them away, constantly, so that I could work online, is not worth any recorded history. “Oh, yeah, I remember these times when Mom was so possessed in recording our memories that she stopped seeing us. Ah, those were the days…” Eh-hem.
So, these days, I’m online an hour- an hour and a half a day. I give three hours+ to their studies and am not multi-tasking (except to make them us a luscious breakfast). I meditate two hours a day, exercise about an hour and a half (back to running and toning, every other day), two hour lunches (in which we play games, talk, or I read aloud). I am writing, reading, listening to audio books by Ekhart Tolle and Jack Kronfield, and loving my kids, my husband, my life, my body, my health, my spirituality, my writing, my good fortune.
We’ll be leaving Siem Reap, Cambodia in a month. We’ve lavished this quiet time. As the skies keep pouring, my family keeps singing along to my very-limited guitar repertoire and enjoying reading, cuddling, and chilling. Sooner than we’ll know it, we’ll be on the road again. We plan to spend November – February-ish exploring Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and Northern Thailand. And then, India and Nepal, or so we think. We’ll see.
Have you missed me? We’ve changed a lot of things in the energy around here, things I like. One is that the kids write a mantra for themselves each week and say it twice a day. Solai’s this week is: I love myself. I miss myself. I am special. Oh, so have you missed yourself? Ever been a butt in the wind? Ever felt so liberated that you were no one and owed nobody nothing? Ever danced with the devil in the pale moon light? ( I know I already used it. I like it so much!) Ever walked with a friend, and then let it go?
I love you,
Come visit me at www.gabiklaf.com Towards Enlightenment, One Step At A Time. I’ll be dancing there , dancing to a tune playing ever so softly in my soul. Good night.