Spiritual Journey, Travel

The Next Stage of the Adventure: Snow in Atlanta, Cancelled Flight, Deeper Surrender

Yesterday I left Karme Choling where I’ve been living and volunteering in the kitchen for the past three months. Somehow I managed to take all the prerequisites there that I needed for the temporary monastic program at Gampo Abbey that starts in January. See my post about how the first three worked out thanks to the kindness of friends.

Since that post, I took refuge as a Buddhist. I received my Refuge Name, Kunga Datso, which means All-Joy Moonlake. Very fitting indeed. I completed levels four and five of meditation training, sponsored by Karme Choling for my volunteer leadership, kindness, and hard work in the kitchen. I even completed the online course I needed. All was on track for my departure and the next stage of my adventure journey.

The plan was for my friend Leah to generously drive me to Boston, where I would catch my flight to Atlanta, and then complete my final prerequisite, Rigden Weekend.

As it turns out, Atlanta was having a very rare snow storm that had shut down the airport. All planes in Atlanta were grounded, so there were no gates for incoming planes to park.

My flight was delayed two hours, then another hour, then another hour, and finally another two and a half hours. The captain and crew would have exceeded their service time had we taken off at 7:30pm instead of the original 12:10, so the flight was cancelled.

The lines for rebooking were long. A kind airport staffer told me to leave airside (beyond security) and go to the ticketing counter landslide (before security). I was seen by a helpful woman who told me some bad news: the earliest flight she could book for me was Saturday at 7pm. Meaning, I would get into Atlanta late Saturday night and completely miss the program Saturday. Bummer. But what could I do?

My crazy adventurous mind went to the obvious conclusion: overnight road trip! I checked rental car prices and saw that to go from Boston to Atlanta would take 17 hours. Did the math. If I drove nonstop without breaks, I’d get there around 11am. But I was already sleep deprived from my last week at KCL…you know, that anticipatory insomnia that accompanies major transitions. And the storm in Atlanta was traveling up the east coast, right along the path I would have driven. So that was a no go.

I surrendered and booked a room at the airport hotel. I shared my travel update with the program coordinator, ordered a bathrobe and room service, and got a good night’s sleep. No other choice really.

Upon waking up, I received messages from the coordinator telling me to stay home. That it’s not recommended to just do one day of the program.


I emailed the coordinator that staying home isn’t an option for me. I told her I had spent the last three months at KCL volunteering and living there to take the prereqs for the temporary monastic program at Gampo Abbey. That this is the last prereq and the last time this particular program is offered this year. That I was sorry about all the weather and flight cancellations. That I thought about renting a car and driving overnight but knew it wasn’t safe to do so. That I feel ready for the program and really need it.

Meanwhile, I let go. I let go of going to Atlanta. I let go of the Abbey. I surrendered to staying longer at KCL and applying to be on staff and living there another year before trying the Abbey once more. That option seemed quite workable. I was sad and stayed with that sadness. I also felt acceptance.

Then I got an email. The coordinator said they would accommodate me. Rejoice!

Everything along the path is a teacher. Planning and plans not working out and surrendering and trusting that the highest good will manifest. I know it will. It means I’ll either go to Atlanta for Rigden then Halifax and the Abbey. Or not go to Atlanta and return to KCL where I have loads of amazing friends and a kitchen position waiting for me.

It will work out. It will be done. God’s will be done. The universe’s will be done. Mind’s will be done.

I remember my friends at the Abbey saying that obstacles popped up for them as they journeyed there. Out of nowhere. It’s auspicious, all of it. The obstacles reveal how badly we want this, how far along the path we are, and whether we are truly ready.

Can I be calm, accepting, surrendered, and assertive? Can I want with all my heart to go to the Abbey and remain neutral and unattached to that desire? Can I be loving and kind and realize how little control I have? Am I a vibrational match to the Abbey? Am I ready to be a monastic? Am I quick to give up? Am I lightly persevering?

Turns out I am, lightly persevering that is. I am content with whatever arises. Whatever transpires. My options are good. It’s snowing in Boston today, so I don’t know if my flight will even get out. I don’t know if I’ll ever make it to Atlanta and to Rigden Weekend.

I have complete faith and trust that whatever is right and in the highest good will unfold.

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