The vista is extraordinary. The birds calls, foreign to my ears, sound throughout the lush treetop, accenting the languid rush of the foam-white stream. A frog calls to an unseen mate then pauses to consider a dragonfly as it flits across the water’s surface. The creature dips its abdomen in a rhythmic dance as it banks sharply aside from the would-be ambusher. All this motion, all this Life, paradoxically bringing me closer to stillness. To an experience of a lifetime. It’s close and well within my grasp, I tell Myself. The gain is well worth the risk and it’s not the first time I’ve done it. After all, I am here.

But Doubt, unconvinced, assails me as a wave of fear courses through my nerves and stays my hand hovering over the cell phone. I tentatively respond: Time is not my ally. The more I wait, the less likely the ticket will still be there. But Doubt smirks in it’s clever way and responds in a smooth, knowing voice:

"You should plan further. You haven’t even applied for the Visa yet…You might not qualify for Religious Studies Visa…You don’t even know if the monastery has truly sent the letter of recommendation…You have a degree…What if the application process takes even longer than two months? What do you expect to find there that you didn’t find in Austin? Slacker’s dream is what he said…What will you do when you return? Can you return? How about…."

"SILENCE!!" I command in my most overbearing mental voice. Doubt merely sneers at my bluster for He knows my heart all too well. I am concerned. But what Doubt doesn’t know is that It’s existence is all more the reason to pick up the phone. To prove Doubt wrong. Because I can.

I pick up the phone and dial the number.

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