adventures of a fearless (mostly) globe trotting seeker...
wondering, wandering, barefoot, nomadess

Thursday, February 25, 2010

stalking myself

feb 24, 1pm

sarnath, india

i woke up this morning and looked in the mirror. there are new lines in my face. i am in india living my dream. is this the point of it all? i age, my body decays and yet i feel more comfortable in my skin. i feel a bit weary. it feels grounding.

india strips away my layers of comfort and coping like layers of an onion. i spend my life stalking myself, india is an excellent place to stalk myself. the travel, trains, the filth, the constant confrontation of the highs and lows deconstruct my identity and leave me raw. bruised and mosquito bitten. tenderized like a piece of meat. i am the hunter and the prey.

i asked my teacher this trip, "why am i attracted to Kali, the black goddess?". he said because i am not afraid of the dark things, the emotions. i bring them to the front for healing. three years ago when i asked him the same question, he said, "kali is power. you are attracted to what you don't have". i was puzzled by his answer then. perhaps now his different answer reflects some change in myself. this trip he told me that i have moved from being a bliss junkie to a healing junkie. he told me that have healed myself. that is hard for me to grock because i am always thinking about how i can change. but maybe i am more healed than i think i am. or maybe healing is different than i think it is. maybe my endless quest to live in the perfection of a spotless mind is the very thing that blocks me from feeling healed.

my teachers answers are often contradictory, spontaneous and puzzling. they change according to the person asking or the time of the asking. days when i feel low, he says things that lift me up. days i feel full of myself, he says things that knock me down from the pedastal i have placed myself on. he says the gurus job is to break the disciple's ego. so the disciple is not happy when they are with their teacher, but they are also not happy when they are away from their teacher. a catch 22, but isn't all of life about making peace with living contradiction? the opposites of pleasure and pain, joy and sorrow.

my neck was locked with pain this morning when i woke up. i feel how the poverty in this village triggers my own pain. i said i came here to teach these women, to try to change the world, but i am really here to change myself. to see the ways i hide from myself. my coping mechanisms that isolate me from life and other people. it is my own pain that has brought me here to try to empower others.

i am riding in a rickshaw on the way to teach in the village. i am sitting beside my friend rohan. i rest my head on his shoulder and hold his hand, his dark fingers interlaced with my lighter ones. i begin to cry. not a pretty crying. the muscles of my face ache from the crying. it is a release. this is releasing what is locked in my neck.

yes, i am here because my own pain drives me to try to create the kind of world i want to live in, the kind of world i can feel safe in. i look inside. but then i get lost in my own self. my own pain is as seductive as a sirens song, it is easy to drown in the deep waters of it's dark, thick sweetness.

the rickshaw pulls up outside the school. i get out to teach. i feel as weak as water, my joints feel fluid not strong. i want to hide in the rickshaw and go back to my hotel and hide in bed. i don't know how i will find the energy to teach right now. i take a deep breath. i walk toward the school. i decide to look at what is around me instead of drowning in myself. i see their faces, i relax. i don't have to be perfect, i just have to be here. the first few days i put up a wall to cope, then i dropped the wall and felt my own pain deeply. this is the first time i feel relaxed and present, able to actually see and here the women around me.

the class goes well, i am laughing as i teach. yoga really works.

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