Breaking the Surface - Finding Home Right Where You Left It
My blog was on hiatus after the descent of my Macbook Pro into a dark but temporary coma. Thankfully she was revived with little discomfort ((financial or physical)). However, a lot has happened in the space of this blogs silence... the most pressing matter being this: I returned to America. On September 20th I left the land that I came to call home.... I left the street dogs, the temples, and the holy river. I said goodbye to the friends that became a dysfunctional kind of family. 16 hours later at 4:35am, I stepped off of United Flight 83.
As if returning to America wasn't difficult enough, I stepped off the plane into Newark, New Jersey. I dont remember my first breath of air, I think it was warm and thick with hesitation… but I remember telling myself "just go along with it". That was almost a month ago now… and the dust is finally starting to settle around me. Reintegration was about as difficult as I expected it to be. There may have been a breakdown of tears outside of the grocery store where the vegetables not only seemed like plastic, but like a monetary crime…. there may have been more than one of those, actually. There were countless other moments of difficulty… like the feeling that the dogs were too wild here, and somehow lacking in spirit and character… the lines were to straight… the walls were too smooth… the concerns were too… complicated by western systems. I suddenly needed a new car… and insurance and registration and permission to move. I needed a schedule to fit in with the world. But then something happened… I crossed over the Vermont border on my way home from New Jersey. As my own tradition would have it I rolled down all of the windows as I crossed the border to let in the sweet, clean air of home. The sun was setting… and the tips of trees were set aflame in all of natures Autumnal glory. The grass was golden. The cows were healthy. My chest suddenly opened up… and I could breathe again. All of the love that I had left in Vermont rushed in with the Green Mountain air… and I knew that I was entering exactly where I was meant to be. Right there. I began both of my jobs again, with more enthusiasm than I thought possible. I cleaned the hell out of my tearoom because I had a new respect for it. I lifted weights until I could barely sit. I overfed my cat in a very Italian attempt at garnering forgiveness (I don’t think she actually cared to begin with). I stopped drinking coffee. I stopped smoking cigarettes. I saw my friends and I fucking loved them more than I thought possible. The language was like water, the respect was inherent and they were GENUINELY happy to see me. I drank tea for days (and nights)… no exaggeration. I woke up at 5 am and 6 am and 7 am and I didn’t even care because I had tea and foliage and a car to grant me freedom. I started blueprints for my future... led by the crisp clarity I had uncovered. And I didn’t even bother to think about what I had just done… what I had just been through… what I had lost and gained and understood and misunderstood. Those things just showed themselves to me on their own. The humility. The discipline. The compassion. The patience. The acceptance. The openness. The clarity… and most importantly… The Gratitude. One day I sat in my tearoom… and I looked around. I looked at the teapots and the tins upon tins of tea. I looked at the camera gear. The home temple. The carpet. The walls. The roof… and I felt so overwhelmed with gratitude that I choked on it… and for a second I could not believe that I even deserved any of it. But I realized that maybe all of those years of pain and suffering were finally taking a break… maybe I was on the up swing… maybe all of that self sacrifice for the smiles of others was coming back around... And that feeling of gratitude has stuck with me ever since. …Because I KNOW I am unbelievably fortunate. I have a life that some people could not even dream up. Home. There is nothing else like it. It doesn't have to be where you were born… it doesn'tt have to be where you will die… but home is a place that you come to when the crust of the earth is swarming up around you, to be reminded that there is a place where you can close your eyes and breath, a place where there are someones arms to keep you up when you're too tired. I’m not sure if India can ever be the same kind of home as Vermont… but she is without a doubt my Motherland, a holy watering hole for my spirit, my heart and my strength… a life source I will return to year after year after year… and most likely life after life after life. India. Her name goes straight to my ventricles.