Gosh, I wish I had more time in Chiang Mai! There are still so many things that I want to see and do!! Regardless, I was incredibly excited to visit the Doi Suthep Temple. It is known to be one of the most beautiful Buddhist temples, especially here in Chiang Mai.

This experience was:

Once we arrived at the base of the temple, we were greeted by quite a few Buddhas seated amongst the foliage of the forest. I had a lot of fun trying some yoga poses in front of the statues to somehow create the peace that I was hoping to feel when I entered the temple. I yearned for some spiritual guidance.

My friends and I came to a massive staircase with an entrance guarded by two magnificent dragons. Little children from the local tribe were dressed in their brightly colored formal cultural costumes. They sat on the steps pulling each other’s dresses and hair, clearly irritated that they had to sit there all day in the heat while we tourists took snapshots of them. Apparently, their parents made their children do this in order to earn some money from us Westerners. I felt a little bad for those kids.

As I climbed the 200 steps to the top, my legs started shaking from exhaustion. That elephant ride yesterday really took it out of me! Once I got to the top, I was greeted with a spectacular view. A temple of shimmery gold stood majestically, beckoning us to come and pay our respects. We paid a small fee to enter, slipped our shoes off, and walked inside.

Buddhas everywhere! A wave of serenity washed over me. I was safe here. I was protected. I was calm. We bought some offerings for the buddhas and started walking around marveling at all the beauty and statues.

I came across one room where a monk was blessing people. I had to get in there!! I stood in the doorway patiently with my head bowed to show my respect. The monk beckoned me and @girlwhoflies in with a big, welcoming smile on his face. He told us to sit up front and close to him. We crawled on our knees to a spot next to several kids and their parents. He asked us where we were from. When we said “America,” he exclaimed in delight, “Oh yes! America! Good!” We laughed and bowed our heads. The blessing began. He chanted in Thai a protective blessing wishing us a long life, wishing us much success and happiness. As he spoke, little drops of holy water hit my face and body. The sound of his voice reverberated in my chest and the vibration shook all the angst and sadness out of me. My heart began swell with a surge of joy and happiness. It felt like it was about to burst out of my chest! He finished with a short prayer in English (hooray for bilingual monks!) and sent us on our way. I lifted my head and met the monk’s gaze with a fresh pair of eyes. I thanked him in Thai for the blessing and he gave me the biggest and most compassionate smile in return.

I emerged from the room feeling so serene. It felt like the weight had been lifted off my shoulders and all the hurt I had been carrying around was released. I was overwhelmed with a sense of relief. Everything was going to be okay. This was trip was truly the ending of a rough chapter of my life. And a bright, brand new one was beginning. There is now a clarity, a certainty, a knowingness that very good things are in my future ✨