Gross. Awesome. Dirty. Lovely. Ecstatic. Violent. We all have different associations with the world of intimacy. Some have wonderful safe places and some others might associate intimacy with manipulation and darkness.
I’ve always had trouble meditating except when I had just returned from India. When I went back to Humboldt after that trip I was a recreated person. I remember the joy I felt each time I closed my eyes because all the memories would flood back to me. I went to work early each day and my productivity soared. I was full of energy. I was waking up early in the morning and meditating. I would walk to school feeling light and happy and full of peace. But like most highs, the feeling of empowerment and peace began to fade. Since then I have been yearning to return to India.
I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I felt like there was a part of myself that I found and now was losing and I didn’t know why exactly. I stopped being able to meditate and returned to my busy-minded ways. It all felt like a weird dream. Did that really happen? I found myself thinking. I just knew there was something out there thay I wanted to find again. So all year I have been waiting. I have been finishing my degree relentlessly because I wanted nothing else but to return to India. I will be myself again. I will be at peace again, I thought.
So when I landed in Thailand, I couldn’t understand why I felt the same. Maybe I just need to go to India, I thought. Maybe Thailand isn’t home for me like India is. But it’s here too. It’s actually everywhere. After a few days of walking, of swimming, of thinking- it is starting to creep back into my consciousness.
I’m here in Surat and it’s wonderful. This is far from a tourist destination. It’s the first place I’ve been in India that doesn’t have some ancient breath taking castle or sights of the sort. It’s a residential city in a sense. The two big industries are textiles and diamonds, both of which I’ve learned a lot about staying here. But the truth is, the sights are a by product of traveling. The most wonderful part of being in another part of the world are weeks like this.
I learned how to make yogurt. I saw how obvious it is that I should own a sewing machine. I spent hours going on midnight tea runs blasting dance music in the car with my two host sisters and their friends. I spoke to a group of preschool teachers and got them all to try slacklining and acro yoga!
I am learning and growing at a landslide pace, and I can’t keep up. It’s weeks like these that leave me beaming as I fall asleep. It’s the in between moments, looking out the car window, sitting at a street food stall, feeling the wind in my hair on the bicycle… that make everything worth it.
“What is the purpose of this… this slacklining? Why do you do it?” A teacher asked at the session I gave. It’s a good question. The truth is, there really isn’t much of a purpose. But does there have to be? Balance, sure. But it’s more than that. It’s something that just adds to my life. It’s part of the journey that I want to live. It’s not about a measure of productivity, I just like spending my time this way. All these moments add up.
“What is the purpose of traveling?” This is a tough question.
The crunch of bone is a sound that’s hard to miss
First there I am falling through the air
Then my reflection of some sunglasses
Pain contorting my face.
“Does anyone have some whisky?”
A figure steps forward and tries to lift me,
Only to be met with my screams.
Hold my hand
Carry the stretcher, when it comes.
Scour for my lost belongings
Return in the morning with flowers
Drive 5 hours to meet me
See me and speak kind words
Brace for my screams
Spend the night beside me.
I know so many heros.
Still have yet to find someone that defines love as you have to me.
I denied the memories of you.
I can’t compare I tell myself.
You were rare.
One can’t expect someone like that to come around more than once in a lifetime.
its funny that memory can bring us into the past so vividly.
i remember nothing as cleary as i remember you.
Falling into your arms without hesitation,
so completely, unapologetically yours.
The sight of you now overwelmes me.
A mixture of love and fear swells where there used to be nothing but trust.
If I reach for you and you reach back,
will I be ready?
I have loved you endlessly,
Our lives once intricately intertwined have wandered so far from touching.
Maybe you’ll come with me.
Maybe you will be by my side.
But that’s how it will have to be.
You adjusting to my life-
and I don’t know that you’d want that.
Love, as you showed me, is devotion and kindness.
Love is tender warmth and steady understanding.
Love is sacrafice and committment.
I was always lacking what you so fervently gave.
You won’t see me again unless I’m willing to return it.
A love that I’m still painfully tangled in.
A love with reprocutions that scare me deeply.
I am not sure that exists anymore, in any other place than my memory.
I am now living in Los Angeles.
Years have passed since this body resided here.
It used to be a breathing part of my known world.
Yet now everywhere seems like home.
Just as much as here.
A visitor, a sleeper, a worker, a snacker.
Sentimental streets now just remind me what used to be familiar.
I get lost in the jungle of highways.
But again, I am home.
Just like home finds me in the rainy bicycle paths of Denmark.
Or the lonely walks in the Himalayas.
Needing less and less, but absorbing more and more.
I remember who I am through the storm of Christmas.
Consumers march through the stores, greedily filling their carts.
I join and forget about money.
I have come so far. But I am still in the same body.
A body who was fed and clothed in this city.
A city of fast cars and dying spenders.
Who treat themselves to the pleasures that only the material first world offers.
I absorb this world so differently now.
I’m thinking of who I am and
my mind rolls back to memories and thoughts,
it’s like I am in all the places I was all at once.
I am alone with my mind again and we say,
We have so much. We need less.
Yet I click yes on the check out and get excited when the packages arrive.
Yet I was born in this world of consumer binges,
And the thrill sinks into my skin.
Should I even fight the desires that tug at my wallet?
What is frugality, if it’s only replaced with fragility.
To be so unable to loosen a grip around the number in my bank account.
I must learn to balance enjoyment with consideration.
I wonder who this body will turn to be,
Dreaming of a world where I belong no where and to no one.
Including the capitalist net.
I continue on filling my cart, like a good Christmas daughter/sister/friend/cousin/etc.
But this year, I enjoy it.
I am happy because I have the choice to be a part of it all.
I decorate the Christmas tree with my grandma.
I wonder if it is a choice for her, or if we ever really make choices in our lives.
She does it every year.
What would happen if she stopped?
Some philosophers would argue, No one has choices.
I was baffled when I first heard this. How could that be?
They argue, nothing we do is out of free will.
But I beg to differ.
I buy the gifts.
But I place letters in the boxes.
I know the value of this moment. It’s my chance to say I love them,
while I’m still close enough to do so.