It’s been a few days since I touched down on US soil. The post-India world has seemed rather blurry and uncertain. I returned to work after getting home partly because I needed to be back and partly because I was trying to reset my internal clock to CST time. The first two days were rough, by Friday I was feeling more settled in my “normal” timezone and routine, but still lost mentally and emotionally.
My trip home was long. I ended up waiting in the Bangalore airport for 8 hours, but I made the decision to leave Gokulum so I would be traveling during the daylight – in hindsight I don’t know that I would do that again.
My first flight to Frankfurt was easy to sleep on because when we took off from India it was 3:30AM. I flew Lufthansa back home which is a nice airline with halfway decent airplane food. That flight was just over 9 hours and when we landed in Germany it was cold and rainy, a long walk through the Frankfurt airport including going through security again and I was back in line waiting to board my second 9 hour flight to Chicago. Again flying Lufthansa we got plenty of food and beverages.
Upon landing in Chicago I discovered my last flight home to Moline, a 35 minute flight, was delayed due to lack of a plane…so after an inordinate amount of time waiting for my checked bag (I swear it was one of the last) I was able to get through customs, security, more security, and finally to my gate. I did stop to buy a crispy salad since I had a wait, my first in a month! Yum!
When we landed in the Quad Cities I was eager to see Wade, our flight was so quick when I texted he wasn’t quite at the airport yet so I told him I’d meet him at baggage claim, pretty sure I knocked the wind outta him when I saw him. After collecting my large Osprey pack we headed home so I could shower and eat. We ordered a pizza and cuddled on the couch, I almost fell asleep halfway through my dinner. By 8pm I was crashing pretty hard from 2 days of travel.
The next few days I tried to re-orient myself to life back in the Midwest, in winter – not easy. India has left what seems to be a gaping hole in my life. My time there seems to have brought to the surface so many emotions I’m having a hard time sifting through them still. It’s been almost a week since I stepped on my mat too, I just haven’t been able to get back there yet. Normally my mat is a place where I find comfort and stability, but since I returned the most I could do was roll it up and put it in it’s bag. I know I will get back on it soon, but the readjustment period for me meant I needed a little time away from my physical practice.
This is not the first time I have felt this shock of returning to my every-day life after time away, but I think this time it has hit me more profoundly. The labels and identities that I am used to don’t fit the same way they did before I left. And the roles that I played are not the same or even part of my present right now. For me, India was hard, it kicked my ego’s butt and has left me feeling like there is a big open space in me. What this means is at the moment I feel a bit hollow which seems sad and terrifying, but what I suspect it really means is that India and the whole experience started a process of cleaning out things, titles, roles, identities that weren’t really part of me and created space for something new. The scariest and most exciting part of this slow realization is that I now have been presented with an opportunity to fill that space with something new – it’s like a part of me is getting the chance to start again.
Something that resonated with me recently was listening to the John Scott interview with Peg Mulqeen on Ashtanga Dispatch during my plane ride to India. John talked about how at the point that babies start to talk and identify their parents, themselves, and their world, they start to conform and transform into “normal” people. But in those precious moments before, babies have the freedom we all seek from attachment, ego, identifying and portraying themselves as part of society. Before a baby realizes they are an individual they are part of the larger whole, and that’s something yoga tries to re-instill, that we are one, together and connected. If you haven’t listened to the John Scott podcast interview you can find it here or download it from iTunes Podcasts. It’s worth a listen, and probably several listens.
In an effort to wrap up my latest ramblings I just want to end this blog with a thought for consideration. If in your life you feel a hollow or empty space does it excite you to realize it is that space between the roles, the racing thoughts, and various to-dos that you could cultivate something entirely new? And it could be anything, but you have to decide to throw it out into the universe and be brave enough to face whatever the universe returns.