We thought you might enjoy this summary of an experience one of our guests forwarded recently. It captures a visit to this fascinating land in very few words.




When my children were little I used to tease them and say, “Don’t grow. Please don’t grow- I want you to stay just as you are now- Can I freeze dry you?” Of course it didn’t happen as things are in a constant state of change. The people in Bhutan know and accept this as a way of life. But that didn’t stop me from begging them keep their country exactly the same when I toured there recently.

Bhutan is a small, charming Himalayan country of 700,000 people, called the “last Shangri La on earth”. Sandwiched between superpowers China and India they only opened up to the Western World 50 years ago and still maintain an innocence lost in our modern existence.

Citizens wear a traditional dress that resembles a neatly groomed house coat. No one is in a hurry and they measure their progress on Gross National Happiness, believing that prosperity is more than economic growth. In fact, all political decisions are considered in the context of,”Will this increase our happiness?”

The last independent Buddhist nation, Bhutan’s religion is represented on the flag and is given equal billing alongside the head of state. As a result they have a very Feminine Energy culture. Dogs are never put down and an abundance of them freely roam the streets. There isn’t one traffic light in the capital- they installed one once and found it was too impersonal.

Their strong belief in karma means they are constantly “paying it forward” and looking out for the other. It also means that they haven’t much crime. Who wants to kill in this life and be a wart hog in the next? For the Bhutanese it’s not about individual happiness, it’s about the collective. Happiness is interdependent, they believe.

The environment is a priority. Smoking in public is prohibited and laws preserve the forests. It is also beautiful. Clean rivers rush through tidy and orderly towns where streets are lined with homes that have large eves and slightly curved walls, an attractive architectural design unique to Bhutan, so if you want to visit this unique country, you can find an agency which offer tours to Bhutan so you can visit this beautiful country.

In the country many homes are painted with a large phallus. They are in all shapes and colours, some even tied with a bow. The theory is that if you look at a neighbour’s house you’ll see the phallus, be embarrassed and look away. This will prevent envy, the enemy of happiness!

Overlooking all this are protective mountains covered in thick stands of evergreen trees, clear blue skies, white cotton-candy clouds and an abundance of sunshine. It could be a fairy tale, making it easy to imagine Heidi coming around the corner momentarily, or Julie Andrews emerging to  break into the song “The Hills are Alive”.

Bhutan was truly a delightful place to visit and I’d hate to see it change. But change could bring some upside as well. For example, almost every shop hangs out a “General Store” shingle and carries the same inventory as the proprietor next door. If they inserted some Masculine Energy and differentiated themselves from one another they’d probably all be more successful…

However, their Feminine Energy says they don’t have to do that. They just have to “be” and things will be  resolved on their own. This theory was explained to us by our handsome and charming guide whom we nicknamed the George Clooney of Bhutan. He described how happiness turns into suffering just as suffering will change to happiness. Nothing is permanent and we are constantly in motion from one polarity to another. That’s how the world finds balance.

The Buddhism they lived in the 16th century is different than today he warmly explained as the world is different and everything is exactly as it should be. We just have to get our thinking straight, let go of expectations and accept what is. It came to me then that Bhutan is a metaphor for my children- though I didn’t want them to change I am glad that we have grown and evolved together.

And as for the country, I know it will change- technology and media are invading the ancient secluded kingdom. If I am ever able to return I have to accept that whatever I find it is exactly as it should be. In spite of that, I am glad to have experienced the power of its philosophy, the magnificence of its nature and the uniqueness of its culture today. It’s calm demeanor is an true antidote for the a the stress and anxiety of our work a day world.