The picture is taken from the top of Sri Pada in Sri Lanka, November 2005, at just after 6am.
A month before, I had been physically exhausted, mentally stressed and spiritually empty, after a run of challenges in both my work and personal life. Some were undoubtedly my responsibility … others, not so much.
I was also stretched far beyond my financial limits, and so decided to sell my home, clear all the debts, and start over. Looking back, I can see that I was burned out – although my pride wouldn’t have admitted it at the time.
Ending up in Sri Lanka was pure serendipity. My friends Zoe and Robin happened to be teaching out there and offered me a bed for as long as I needed it – so off I went.
I ended up staying for three months – travelling, surfing, cycling, reading, writing, meditating – it’s also where I began practicing yoga for the first time.
At the time, it felt like an extended holiday – but I see now it was far more meaningful than that. It was where I finally started to get comfortable in my own skin.
Sri Pada translates to ‘the sacred footprint’, and legend has it that an unusual rock formation at the top is the footprint of either Buddha, Shiva, or Adam, depending on your tradition.
Or perhaps the footprint belongs to any of us? All of us? A reminder that, to paraphrase MLK, we don’t need to see all of the mountain. We just need to take the first step.
Thank you Zoe, thank you Robin – and thank you, Sri Lanka.