A year ago August, me, Iliana, Emerson and my mother-in-law, took a trip to India for 3 weeks. It was a monumental trip as I hadn’t been to India since before being pregnant with Iliana, so always solo before, and this time I had my family with me. I look at the above photo and I wonder about that time, and how much has changed since then. It is so good, I feel, after doing a trip like that in which the point was to go deeper within, in the setting of an ashram, meditation practice and being with one’s teacher, to take stock a year later and look at what has happened. Since then, my little boy is no longer so round in the face as he was at 5 (almost 6) months in the above photo. My little girl has become taller, wiser, and sassier. I have let my bangs grow out, wear glasses most of the time, and still look pretty drawn in the face due to nursing. Yet, those are mostly outer observations. I’d like to say that I have grown wiser, as I said of my daughter, but is that true? I hope so.
We now live in Boulder, Colorado, something that took a little over a year to put in place. We’re navigating the waters of a new school, unschooling, waldorf homeschooling, a charter waldorf school, and a more buddhist inspired early childhood school, trying to figure out what’s right, what fits, and what’s affordable (and what we can get into as school is about to start). We’re settling into a new home, a new neighborhood, and truly a new town, even though I lived in Boulder many years ago, it feels very new in a way. I spent years living on the outskirts in Longmont, CO, and being back in town, I find myself running into people I haven’t seen in 10-12 years, since I last worked and lived in Boulder. And here I am now with two children in tow, a completely different experience of Boulder.
The time I spent in Illinois, since being in India, toughened me, in a good way. I had to rely on myself and my practice much more than I’ve ever had to. I felt really like a fish out of water, the people, the climate, the culture, challenged me so much. I was quite isolated, which is still hard for me to talk about, as it brings up such sadness. It was hard to have a newborn in a new house, new town, and in one of the coldest winters on record in Illinois. All I could do was practice, practice, practice, by going within and trusting that I’d get through it. At times, I did not think I would, and only now, being on the other side of it, can I say I did.
It’s not that being here in Boulder is easy, peasy, but things are different. The abundance of people, people that I know and have known for long periods of time, running into people in restaurants, at school introductions, at meditation retreat centers, makes it so nice and so comforting to feel known. My confidence level has risen just in the fact that I feel connected again.
I still struggle with my emotions, keeping steady instead of being at the whim of anger, desperation, fear, but I have developed a working way of moving through them. I’m aware of the build up and if I can catch it, I can remind myself that it’s temporary, that it too will pass, and if I breathe, I can regain my composure, my balance, and my patience. It’s so hard in the moment, but there’s such power in remaining calm. I can feel it in the strength of my will afterwards. It’s like building a muscle. When I let loose with whatever emotion at the moment, it’s like a watershed and it all wants to come pouring out. Which most of the time leaves me exhausted, kind of lost and ashamed.
As the summer is winding down, and cool evenings and mornings are becoming more and more common, I find myself being drawn outside more and more. It feels so important to be connected to the soil, the plants, the air, the water, and the beings who inhabit such places when all of these come together. The nature deities if you will. I don’t know if I can say that to all you people out there, or if it will just sound weird. The truth is though, you can feel the power of nature, of what it evokes, when everything is in harmony. I think I’ll say I’m striving for harmony, for a kind of balance in my life, in which every aspect of my being is heard, nourished and replenished. I hope I can give that to my children. I hope I can help to create that in the world.