giveaway! choose your metaphor: a 10,000 mile spiritual journey (book)

giveaway! choose your metaphor: a 10,000 mile spiritual journey (book)

“The spiritual path is often described as a journey or quest, but for me, it wasn’t so much about “finding” as it was about the struggle to come to terms with my ignorance and vulnerability.”
– Daniel Goldsmith,
Choose Your Metaphor

Author Daniel Goldsmith has been on the road for a good part of his adult life. In his first self-published memoir and travelogue, Choose Your Metaphor, he takes us along on a journey through five countries, an informal lesson on the world’s major religions, and an adventure of the heart.

Driven by curiosity and a desire for self-knowledge, in his travels Goldsmith encounters monks, sages and swamis, everyday travelers, and his own assumptions. He holds advanced degrees in Philosophy and History from McGill University, which have given him the framework to interpret his travel experiences with intelligence, sensitivity and critical thinking. Check out Goldsmith’s introduction to Choose Your Metaphor.


IAYB and Daniel Goldsmith have teamed up to give away three copies of Choose Your Metaphor! We want to know: Has travel influenced your spiritual practice? In which ways can traveling deepen self-understanding? 

Answer in the comments section* below before 5pm EST on Friday, August 9 and you’ll be entered in the giveaway. Three winners will be chosen at random and notified by email.

And if you’re in Montreal, come on out for the Choose Your Metaphor book launch, Sunday August 11, 8pm, at re:source yoga (5141 St. Denis).

* The email addresses for all entries will be added to the IAYB weekly mailing list. If you’d prefer to not be added, simply write OPT OUT at the end of your comment.

Photo credit: Offering prayers at the festival celebrating the sun god (Surya), Daniel Goldsmith (via Facebook)


TEDx toronto & the world thinks yoga = a woman in her underwear upside downMichael Stone will be speaking at TEDx Toronto on September 26. TEDx are independently organized events under the TED brand, “designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level.”

In anticipation of his talk, TEDx released a teaser video. … Read more

  1. Travel had most certainly influenced my yoga! This winter, after my 18 year old and only child moved out undecided to travel to a Spanish speaking country for a couple of months. With 20 years of basic Spanish, a practice in Iyengar style yoga and vipasanna practice I was off to Guatemala. Restorative yoga was key to my mental health and emotions as unadjusted to being in a foreign country, learning the language, teaching/volunteering to teach yoga to children and young adults. Traveling as a 48 years old woman by myself in this immersive experience was all once amazing, scary, joyful, educational, peaceful, beautiful, scary and at times stressful. Restorative yoga and salute to the sun poses were key to me in learning to rest and lean into where I was in that moment, moment by moment.

    • Interesting how a trip to a foreign place was the way to get you to slow down! I think that one of the aspects we crave about travel is that it takes us out of our routine and our web of obligations. We’re free to explore a new side of ourselves that would be more difficult to do in our daily context. Hopefully we can bring back and integrate some of what we learn, since the wisdom of living moment by moment is not something that’s limited to being on the road!

  2. Traveling (aka road tripping) to various places throughout my relationship w/ my boyfriend from Miami to Vermont has taught me to go with the flow in new (& old places) by not mapping out ever second of your day because that leaves out the moments where life takes hold. Plus the importance of enjoying every moment from in funny car banter, siesta naps,
    & museums in between.

    • I think travel certainly can put you more in touch with spontaneity. Again, the trick is how to integrate this. It’s easy to flow with taking naps and back roads, but can we do the same with mortgages and screaming kids? Traveling is like stepping outside of Plato’s cave, where we can see the ‘shadows’ on the wall of what we formerly thought was important. It’s all about gaining that perspective.

  3. (Sorry for leaving out this last sentence) Translating “enjoying the moment” into my home yoga practice by being present from the days I wiggle/ stumble to when I glide from one pose to the next. 🙂 Hope you see both comments as my complete entry. Thanks!

    • If you travel you need to be inventive to find a space for yoga practice, it may be when you need it most
      I definitely need my neti pot after a flight and have had to improvise to find suitable floor coverings on which to practice. Recently I worked on trying to give some practice ideas to someone in my class who was going on a long-haul flight, so that she didn’t arrive stiff and sore the other end.

      Yoga is like a tool kit you travel with, always there to turn to for yourself or others.

      • Very true. I’ve found that having a practice to take along with me has been vital in keeping me grounded and centered on the road. That’s one of the things I love about hatha yoga the most: I can just strap my mat on my bag, and I’ve got a portable alter! All the other larger aspects of yoga are also easily portable 🙂

  4. Le voyage m’a permis de me libérer des pressions sociales et des rôles que j’avais l’habitude de jouer au sein du même groupe de personnes et de la même culture. J’ai pu ainsi, m’explorer moi-même (!) en voyage, tenter d’Être autrement, dont en vivant avec une autre culture,d’autres influences, avec ses autres habitudes de vie, ses autres rites sociaux, son autre humour, ses autres préoccupations, etc… J’ai pu ainsi prendre distance de cette identité habituelle, mieux conscience de mes conditionnements culturels et de ceux que je m’impose par moi-même. J’ai pu prendre conscience de ce qui me tenait vraiment à coeur, de ce qui m’émerveillait et de ce qui n’était que pour moi une convention sociale apprise. De voir, comprendre et finalement vivre le normal et l’anormal d’une autre culture, totalement différente de ce que je vis dans ma culture d’origine, est venu choqué mon ego et mes idées reçues à plusieurs reprises et m’a forcé à comprendre que dans le fond, je connais bien peu de choses, que ce qui est choquantr c’est notre interprétation d’un évennement…. et que la vie est immense et infinie! J’ai pu VIVRE et devenir conscient d’une autre réalité, puis d’autre autre et de vivre et ressentir l’infini nombre de réalité qui co-existent sur la planète. J’ai aussi surtout ressenti avec force la liberté totale dont nous jouissons,mais à laquelle je ne croyais pas avant. J’ai appris ainsi que ce que nous voyons parfois comme des obligations ou une prison est en fait un choix que l’on fait jour après jour…mais pour quelles raisons? Le voyage nous amène en dehors de nos habitudes à la découverte de nous-même, de notre fibre créatrice face à tous les obstacles et aventures du chemin…nous permet de réapprendre à vivre de façon plus “méditative” en appréciant la magie de l’instant présent…Bref, retrouver l’enfant intérieur qui prend plaisir à découvrir et ressentir la vie telel qu’elle est et apprendre, plutôt que de la vivre telle qu’on la conçoit.
    Et plus encore surement…mais voilà!

    • Absolutely! Traveling raises all these issues about who I am exactly. If I am not my job or my role that I play in everyday life- if all those things can shift so easily- then what remains? Many times it can be uncomfortable to come in contact with the fact that we are no-thing, and free to recreate ourselves at any moment. But, as you mention, it’s also very liberating and exciting.

  5. Travel has affected my spiritual practice. It makes me see that there are so many ways to live, yet no matter the culture we all have a common thread that runs through us all.It makes me work to strengthen that part that we all share. Travel deepens understand because it isn’t until we leave our normal environment that we can really examine who we are without our habits.

    • Very true. One thing I’ve gained from my travels is in seeing the ‘unity in diversity’- that even though cultures are remarkably diverse, there are still some commonalities that run through everyone, namely the desire to be happy. We take many different means to achieve that end, but I think that everyone regardless of race religion or culture is really motivated to find happiness. Now, where exactly we find that can be difficult to locate- it can even take years or decades to really learn for yourself. Traveling has enabled me to see what exactly are the vital elements (friends, family, daily practice) and what can be left aside (most material things, worrying about image and status, etc.)

  6. I have learned by my travels as a flight attendant that even though we may appear to be different, just a look into a persons eyes will show our common divinity. Travel teaches patience, understanding that different does not equal wrong, and to truly be where you are. It has taught me to pay attention, to appreciate, to expand and experience new things, and to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Flying through the clouds on a 777, I think that even Leonardo never imagined anything as beautiful.

    • Comfort with being uncomfortable- I love it! I would say that travel has taught me this on many, many levels. In India, it certainly takes a physical form- heat, dust, noise, ect. But India also teaches how to be ok with not knowing where you’re going (on the road or in life), how to hold yourself open to the mystery that you are, and in many other vital, existential aspects.

      • India … yes, definitely not the most “comfortable” place that i’ve ever been, and this is on many levels. Maybe the most uncomfortable place … But it is the first place where i met saints whose eyes glow in the dark, and where i learned to look more closely at the light within. I look forward to reading your book and thank you for your reply.

        • That’s the thing that shocks people the most about being there: how is it that one can be totally at peace- and even radiant- in conditions that most people in our country find appalling. That was a huge shift for me, to come to understand how our happiness really doesn’t depend on outside circumstances, and really has more to do with your disposition toward the situation. Looking forward to continuing the dialogue with you through the book!

  7. Ah, great questions! I think that the attraction of travel and “going away” is, at least at first, the permission it gives us to try things differently, see things anew, and let go of unfulfilling habits. When you feel like you’re “on the road,” you feel like it isn’t your “normal life.” On the road, we can be crazy and spontaneous and connect with “strangers,” and take risks…without justifying it. “I’m travelling” is a sufficient reason. In these unknown or unfamiliar spaces, we are more alert and engaged, trying so soak up the experience of being there, which leads us to imbue each decision with more intention and attention. There is little desire or opportunity to make a ‘default’ decision. This is cool, and nourishing for the spirit… eh?

    The secret that I discovered in my “travels-as-distinct-from-my-so-called-normal-life” is a big element of my spiritual practice. The secret is my greatest souvenir and it goes like this: we are always on the road (of life)!

    When every day life is imbued with that same intention and openness to possibility that is so easy to have while travelling, there’s magic. Like Proust says: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” You can have new eyes anywhere anytime, no ticket needed.

    My spiritual practice is: ALWAYS BE TRAVELIN’! And in doing so, I keep enlargening the context of interconnections of which I am a part.

    So, bon voyage!

    • I too love the freedom of reinventing identity on the road. One time I introduced myself as a surfer from California and just went with that and saw how people reacted. Another time I pretended my name was Marius. Sometime it was just to mess with people, but in each case it showed me how we really are the story we tell about ourselves. And if we don’t like the story, we’re free to change it at any time, regardless of context.

      And new eyes: it’s remarkable how much we don’t even notice about our own everyday environment. We take the same path, go to the same stores, meet with the same people. It is hard to keep that enthusiasm and excitement of treating your home city like it was a foreign place, but every now and then I manage to talk to a stranger or check out a different area of town just for the fun of it…and I’m reminded of how easily we stay in our habits without even recognizing them as habits.