Well, of course, you can’t.

But I did and many have, through one simple, powerful action. Leaving the country.

Expats may “escape”, consciously or unwittingly, from their day-to-day geography, but life is life and there is no actual escape.

Life is work and play and everything else. Enough with the departmentalizing. Life is flowing all the time; we can choose to float on the river or fight to swim upstream. Life is mind, body, heart, soul with no separation or borders.

Escaping geographically is amazing. It has been for me, at least. Compared to my self ten years ago, at age 29, living in Austin, Texas, USA, driving a car around and going to gigantic stores and going to work at a public elementary school five days a week, etc., nowadays I am so, so much less stressed. Not that I have no problems or am never stressed.

I have simply simplified my lifestyle: living in the woods, off-the-grid, no car, no insurance, no credit cards, enjoying a flourishing freelance writing and consulting career. Teaching yoga overlooking the lake and volcanoes a few mornings a week. On the other hand, instead of just me and my dog, it’s now me, my daughter, husband, three cats and a different dog in the family.

So you can escape geographically but patterns, issues and problems will follow you unless you escape mentally, i.e. change your mind.

Changing our minds leads to changing our words, actions, behaviors, habits and patterns. It actually all starts with changing the heart.

Our hearts are amazing organs. The heart center is the center of our being, the middle energy point, the connection of east, south, west and north; fire, water, earth and wind. Grandfather sky, grandmother earth. Father sun, mother moon. The four directions, above and below, all culminate at the heart.

Ways to work with the heart energy include: writing, journaling, poetry, nature, pranayama/yogic breathing techniques, connecting with air/oxygen, green color therapy, chanting the long “A” and “YAM”, metta/lovingkindness meditation, listening to calming instrumental music, floral essential oils including lavender, rose, ylang-ylang.

By opening our hearts, we learn to let our emotions flow rather than denying, avoiding or repressing them. By opening our minds, we learn to do this with the thoughts passing through the mind, allowing them to come and go naturally without getting involved in any particular train of thought. Here’s a simple mindfulness visualization technique from Jeffrey Davis:

Regard the mind like an aquarium in which all kinds of fish float by. Then imagine you have an inner amused observer, an awareness that can watch all of those fish – the stray thoughts, sensations, feelings, worries, regrets – float by without getting attached to any of them. 

Heed the goldfish. Every once in a while an insight goldfish might float by. Note it.

That’s it. Watch your inner aquarium for five minutes. No big deal.

Meditation and mindfulness practice are excellent ways to hone the mind, by developing concentration, awareness and attention. Visualization, too. It’s not a New Age/law of attraction thing so much as a natural method of the human brain to imagine.

Imagine what you want. Imagine your needs being met. Imagine how you can serve and benefit others. Use your mental power to inspire your action in the world, your ways, big and small, of being more present, grateful, compassionate, kind and beneficial.

Could it really be that simple?

Change your heart, change your mind, change your actions, change your life.

shallow focus photography of school of fish
Photo by Emir Kaan Okutan on Pexels.com