About Me

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"I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather my spark burn out in a brilliant blaze than be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy, permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time." ~Jack London

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Wandering Light


How to even begin? For a variety of reasons that I'll explain later, five of us have "parted ways" with our volunteer program. We weren't exactly planning on it, but weren't exactly devastated by the news either. I think it really was for the best, although it certainly would have been easier to stay.

Still, easy isn't what I want out of life. Easy and comfortable don't move me forward, don't push me to my limits, don't aid in my growth as a human being. I need more. I need adventure and fear and life defining choices. I need to be brave and strong and independent. I need to let go of myself in order to find myself, to discover exactly what I'm capable of.

Which works out well, considering I'm currently aimlessly wandering around India. I'm living with three of my friends at the moment in Bhagsu, although in a few weeks, two of them are leaving to become monks and the other to do a meditation retreat. I still have no idea what I'll do or where I'll go from here, but I'm really enjoying dwelling in the endless possibilities I have before me. I'd rather be wandering with uncertainty than stagnant with contentment. I'd rather be here, feeling daring and wild and free, than being looked after and lead around. I'm in India. I'm free.

I haven't shaved my legs since I've been here - seven weeks now - and I'm not planning to until I get home. I love the way it feels, not so much the hair itself, but the freedom to look and feel and act any way that I please. I'm free from judgment. I'm free to just exist. I'm free to just be me, whoever that is, whoever I choose it to be. I love this place, but more than that, I love who I am here.

I'm in a town brimming over with British and Israeli hippies, and for the first time, I feel genuinely at peace with everything and everyone, especially myself. Each day I go and sit upon a cliff overlooking a gorgeous valley and write. Each day I leave and return to one of many small restaurants where I sit barefoot on the floor beneath a canopy and observe the world around me. Each day I feel more and more like the person I've always longed to be, living the life I've always longed to live.

I used to believe that I loved people, but it's so much more than that. I love people, but not just the ones I've met. I love every person, every object, every feeling, every grain of sand and every burning star. I love life, but not just mine. I love the earth for being alive, and for being the keeper of so many living things, and so many non-living things, and so many things lingering in between. I love my existence, but more than that, I love all of existence. I love being a part of it.

I am consumed with a kind of love and gratitude I've never felt before. How can I even begin to explain it? It feels like a light, burning at the very center of me, pulsing and expanding and pouring through every inch of me like some unstoppable force. And when I smile, that's the light pushing through. And when I cry, my tears act as tiny prisms, dripping with light, casting rainbows across my face. And when I laugh, that's the light spontaneously bursting within me, erupting into the universe to resonate in the abyss.

That's what it feels like to be me, or at least, that's the best I can explain it. So, who am I today wandering aimlessly around India? Today I am a light, a fire, an explosion of joy. Today I burn with love and life and the enchanting potential for more. Today I am my favorite version of me as I wonder and wander through the world, smiling all the way.

Always a smile. Always optimistic. Always light in the dark. Always me, through good times and bad, always, always me. And I laugh, and I laugh, and I laugh, because I wouldn't want it any other way.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Finally, An Update

I'm not even going to attempt an apology for not keeping in touch here. What I will offer is the promise to fill in ALL of the many missing details as soon as I return. I have them all written down, I just haven't had the time to write them here. Soon, I promise, soon.

I'm in Dharamsala now, way up in the Himalayas. It's absolutely gorgeous. I was lucky enough to be placed in a flat with a balcony overlooking the entire city. The mountain range gleams in the distance behind a sprinkling of mist. The sky has never appeared so vast and infinite in all my life. It's a phenomenal feeling to stand and watch the world illuminate beneath the sunrise every morning, to see every star burn in the dark night sky. It's so quiet and peaceful and amazing.

Of course, it's incredibly different from Delhi. We've added a whole new level to the India "roughing it" idea. In truth, we're just in a much poorer area. We can't take showers, but rather fill a bucket with water and pour it over us. We can't flush anything down the toilet. We (obviously) still can't drink the water, but have to be that much more careful here. We have no fridge, and often, no electricity. Still, like the locals, we're happy. Still, we continue on. It's really funny how little we need the things we've always thought of as necessities.

My volunteer work here lights up my heart to degrees I can't begin to express. Every morning I awake and walk down to the local water pump with my school supplies--crayons and paper and books. We get driven up and then down another mountain, past the dry river banks, past the fields of cows and workers, past the speeding sign that asks "what's the hurry?" We arrive at a small building, one room, and are greeted by 10 to 15 little Indian children all yelling good morning. They may be the sweetest things I've ever seen. I just adore them.

I teach them games and numbers and colors. They laugh and cry and learn. We dance, oh goodness how we dance, as the teachers drum along on old boxes. There's so much joy in that little room, so much unbridled happiness. I awake each morning smiling, just knowing that will be my day. One of my kids is named "Love," and I think that just says it all. I am so, so, so very happy.

Things have been noticeably different here than they were in Delhi though. I have much more down time to sit and think. The "market" is much further away and so we've spent very little time venturing out at night. Still, it's been a different kind of wonderful. We've sat out under the stars getting to know each other better. We have 16 new volunteers, so it's been a complete change from the group of original 9 we've come to know and love so well. I'm so glad to know them. I'm so grateful to them and for them, especially because there's been some upsetting home-life news slipping in via the internet. I'm so lucky to have these beautiful souls by my side to explore the infinite abyss, and not a day goes by when I don't think of that.

The love I feel to and for and from India is a love I never knew existed. It is truly the most comfortable and friendly place I've ever been to, and I feel more comfortable and friendly in it than at any other point in my life. I'm sure I sound like a broken record at this point. I know you want details. I'm just so consumed with the emotional aspect of my life here that the details have comparably become almost insignificant.

Still, I promise to share them all with you. I promise to share the beauty and suffering, the strength and fragility, the highs and the lows I see and feel here each day. There are a countless number of phenomenal moments to share. I just hope that one day, I'll be able to do them justice. I hope that one day, I'll be able to bring you here with me, to this place of magic and wonder and life. I hope that one day, I'll be able to make you experience the all consuming love I feel right now. One day I will. I promise.