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October 08, 2023

I dreamed of one day visiting Upper Mustang, and finally I made that dream come true. Upper Mustang is a remote corner of Nepal on the Tibetan border, a pocket in the Himalayan range accessed by the Kali Gandaki valley carving it's way between Dhaulagiri and Annapurna, two of the highest mountains in the world.  In the past, Upper Mustang was known as the “forbidden kingdom of Loh”.

Closed to all the world until 1992, this unique place is still only open to 5000 visitors a year.   It’s not easy to get here!  Many people trek in and out on rugged trails. We drove in a jeep on the only road, unpaved, dusty, bumpy and rocky.  It was a long day’s journey through spectacular and unexpectedly arid landscapes with pockets of green, a landscape that changed by the hour, and always with the high Himalayan peaks ever present.

It’s so hard to capture the magnificence of this unique and beautiful place in photos and even in words.  Perhaps the best way to express it is to say it’s like visiting a very long Grand Canyon in Switzerland. We drove past “chortens” and mani walls to remind us of the omnipresent divine spirit.  The ancient villages are a step back in time, and perhaps to old-world Tibet. And finally we arrived in Lo Manthang, the ancient walled capital, home of the former king, the heart of this wild and mystical kingdom.

My journey…and each of the journeys that you decide to embark on throughout your life (be it choosing your education, getting a new job, starting a business, improving your wellness, buying a new home, creating a work of art or writing a novel, reinventing your life…), each journey begins with a dream.

The dream may triggered by an outside circumstance.  It might begin with a discovery or with a desire.   It might be a mix of these things.   Your dream calls you to move away from your comfortable ordinary life and into the unknown towards something new.  Dreams are the seeds of future growth.  So give yourself permission to dream.  Unconditionally.  Without boundaries.  Be sure to take notes along the way.  And know that the seeds of your dream might blossom into something very different than you imagine at the beginning. That’s the beauty of endless possibilities.

For your dream to become a journey, you need to be intentional about the way forward.  Set your intention to create your guiding light.  You don’t have to have a clear vision of the destination when you start your journey, or even of the pathway to get there…but it really does help to have a certain idea of the direction you wish to head in.  This is your intention.

Every journey requires a map of some kind…so that you don’t get lost.  It doesn’t matter if you switch directions once you’re on the path.  Once you’ve set your intention, then make a plan to align your intention with actions.  This might be a business plan, a project outline, a health plan, a travel plan….  A plan means putting down solid roots so that you can rise from a strong base.

Dream the dream.  Set your intention.  And then focus strongly on bringing it to life.  It’s really true, what you focus on expands.

Here are three easy practices to help you to set and hold your intention:

  1. Set your intention - Remember that your intention is your guiding light.
  2. Holding your intentions in the light of a candle - Clarify your intention, gather your candle and sit in a comfortable meditation pose. Breathe into your heart. Invite your body to feel your intention as though it has been realized. Imagine your cells lighting up with the energy of what is coming.  All you have to do is believe and allow.  Light your candle, and as you watch the flame catch and rise imagine that light energy is fuelling and holding and shining on your intention. Meditate on the candle flame holding your intention for as long as you like.  And when you blow your candle out at the end of practice, send your intention out to the universe…and let go of any expectations.
  3. Honour your intention - Write your intention on a beautiful piece of paper, roll it into a scroll, tie it with a ribbon and place it on your altar (or in any special place that you will see regularly).  You will be reminded every day of why you set out on this journey.

And just begin it!

Happy travels.



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