Oh India, I am so grateful for you and for this trip. It may have been a lot shorter than I had anticipated but it feels like I was there for an eternity. You inspired so much in me. Planning for my trip to you led me to move out and leave San Diego. I had been ready to leave but was not sure exactly where I wanted to try next. It eased me into releasing my duties, and open up a huge space for the next step to come in. You got me to purge loads of clothing and other belongings that I really did not need and to buy things that I really did need (like a hard case for my laptop).
While I was with you in India, I of course became uber grateful for all of the luxuries I have. I was not freaking out without them (in fact I am leaving my phone shut off for a while), but I am present to the fact that I really do like living in the US. Which is almost shocking for me to say, as I recall stating a year or two ago that I wasn’t sure I would live in this country for much longer. Sure, I am not a fan of the media, and lots of other things but really I do choose the US right now. I visited 26 countries just in 2009. Granted, I did not spend extended amount of times in them (anywhere from 24 hours to 3 weeks), but I was there. I did get a feel for them and there are many, many, many that I do love and thought I would love to live in. I am actually sitting here in shock right now that I stated that I choose the US, but the truth has spoken.
A huge thing that India helped me to realize is how much a truly love my own way of being. I was able to notice my interactions with children, elderly, travelers, businessmen, swamis, and people of all sorts. My conclusion is that I interact with them all the same. I am compassionate, joyful, and most importantly and impressively I am able to be with all. I can sit and listen and have conversations with each and be who I am at all times. I can talk with someone who is trying to swindle me out of money and not feel the urge to get angry or to give them anything out of sympathy or fear.
As I stated in another blog, I had no intentions for India, no places I had to see, nothing. It was merely a country on my list. I was on tour from February to December last year and thought, “okay when tour is done I will have my own time. I will go to India.” I didn’t have anything else lined up in my life and really had no idea what else I wanted to do, so why not just book it open ended. I figured maybe I would stop back through Bali and Thailand too, as I have visited both before and enjoyed them. It is pretty cheap to survive in these countries, so I could just live off what I have saved and not have to think about making any income. Then, when I discovered I was writing a book, I thought, “Aha! I booked this trip unknowingly to write!” So that is it. Those were my reasons for my trip, to have time to myself, to live cheaply, and to write. I am pretty sure I can do those things anywhere; just the interpretation of cheap will change.
So, really this trip to India gave me a lot more than I bargained for. It led me to see that I favor Western styles of yoga (vinyasa, jivamukti, anusara) over the original asana styles created in India. Of course, these would not be in existence without India, but being there made me realize what I want in my asana practice. India did give me a start to my meditation practice and re-initiated my love of kirtan. India made me realize that I deeply love my friends and family and that I WANT to be near them and to spend time with them. I don’t need to do everything by myself anymore. I don’t like it as much anymore. It used to be my choice to do everything on my own, but India told me to soften up, to open up even more. India gave me an invitation to a new city in San Francisco and a desire to not just write my book, but to search for work writing for a magazine, newspaper, or online source. I know I would make a great critic or reviewer!
Today when I landed in DC I almost did a little tap dance when I reached American soil! Of all my travels overseas, I have never really gotten excited to be back. I even lit up in a smile at the sight of Starbucks (which i am not a usual consumer of). I think for the first time I can honestly state that I am proud to be an American! As, I stood in line at customs I looked at the other passengers in the US citizen line and got really present to the fact that almost everyone of them looked as if they could just as easily be in the foreigners line. All of these people of vast descents and cultures came here to make the USA their home and for the first time I really got that. I am grateful for these United States of America. We may not be perfect, but it is home.