January 8, 2013 § 2 Comments
I left Mysore the afternoon of Dec 21, the day the world was supposed to end. In some ways, it was the ending of my little yoga cocoon and the dawn of the next one: reality. It was a quiet departure, after a week of cumulative goodbyes, and a quiet confidence that it was only a matter time before I would return. Still, there were tears.
I landed in Tokyo almost 24 hours later, freezing, but happily reunited with the husband after six long weeks. On the quiet speedy train from Narita it struck me that I had landed in a city that couldn’t be further away from the organic mess of India. I’ve come to realize that travelling turns me into a space cadet of sorts for the first 24 hours, as my mind catches up with the geographical displacement of the body. I have a friend, a romantic, who firmly believes in the value of taking the slow route when travelling. Buses, trains, cars….anything but the plane. This way, you allow yourself to get to know your destination before you arrive, to see the changes in the landscape and the light, visual cues for the mind to help with the transition. It’s a lovely idea, and very possible when you’re just travelling between Seattle and San Francisco….it’s a little harder when you’re going halfway round the world.
Tokyo was fun, but also showed me how I’ve moved on in my interests compared to my last trip five years ago. Love the shopping and the food still, but because we were in bed by 10 every night, there was the other part of the city – the spontaneous, party-having, club-hopping side – that we missed out on. Got the flu at the end of our trip and the first week of 2013 was spent in bed under the spell of the Flupocalypse. It’s an interesting experience being so sick that you’re not able to stand for 10 minutes without feeling faint. Particularly when you were in a state of robust health and flexibility just a week ago. I could feel the muscles tingle with each wheeze and cough, feeling completely uncoordinated with lead-heavy limbs and the mind in a brain fog. It has been a long time since I caught the flu, seemed pretty auspicious that I spent the New Year battling it – getting rid of the poisons and baggage of the old year, starting afresh in the new one.
So. Back “home” now after all the travelling. It’s supposed to be permanent, one’s “home”, where you sink your roots and build your life, yet I see how temporary it is, as if it’s a matter of time before I’ll pack up again and travel somewhere else. When we landed last week, I felt set adrift, detached from this “home” I supposedly lived in, far removed from the connections and routines I had before I left. It struck me that this is one of the products of immersing yourself in a spiritual practice for an extended period of time, with no distractions. The layers peel away. Responsibilities become more distant. Relationships become memories. It softens the shackles of one’s connections with the real world – a dangerous prospect that underscores the importance of leaving the cocoon. After a youth spent rebelling against notions of “duty” and of things that “one should do”, I finally appreciate the importance of having duties to fulfil – it is an anchor that grounds us in the world we live in, and completely part of the SKPJ tradition, the householder practice. Without responsibilities, our practice remains in the lab, and really, who wants to be a lab rat for life?
Happy new year everyone.