Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Observations, a February compilation

(the following is another compilation, this time culled from journal entires made between 12-24 February 2010)

The Tibetan cook at Moonpeak Thali is catching large black flies from inside the restaurant and releasing them out from the balcony. Kindness to all beings… Lovely. True spirit of McleodGanj.
I am shocked when the Indian guy who minds the host/cashier/desk, with whom I have been chatting amiably my past few visits, speaks to Tashi in Tibetan…and I chime in with a Tibetan comment of my own.
What a masala! We are American, Hindi, Tibetan…all of us speaking in a strange mix of the three languages…
I am trying, perhaps a little too hard, to get down my thoughts on what it is like to be here. Why? I feel like there is some danger of losing it when I leave.
Maybe I really feel afraid I will lose myself (again) when I leave, afraid I will lose the beauty of what has awoken inside me.
I am not the same woman who came here in the end of November (not even three full months ago?)

Strange how easily and casually strangers from western countries become companions, here. Something to do with comfort zones, common language,  or safety in numbers, no doubt. 
Just when you think you are going to be alone, abandoned, someone unexpected “rescues” you! YAY and thankfulness for that.

This life is so strange. I have called so many places HOME and yet I have never been at home…not since I was about 12 years old. 
I have lost everything…but mostly I have lost myself. I have no idea who I am. I keep looking for me in weird places. I have looked in England, Scotland, Ireland, France…I have looked in India and in this Tibetan refugee community. I have found pieces of myself everywhere, but the whole is still missing…Who am I?
I am still lost and confused. 

It’s a very funny thing. I always talk about how much I am going to miss people, even places. But the truth is, what I really miss is myself.
I lost myself when I was so young.
I moved so often, surrounded by so many new people and experiences, that I never really developed an identity.
I think I am a poet, a writer, a gardener, a cat lover who loves to color. I think I am a home maker who enjoys cooking and decorating and doing the laundry.
But I live so far away from myself…running here, running there, like the world might end, like there is never enough time. I always “have to” see another set of ruins or learn another language before it is too late.
I will run around in circles until I come back to my center and can breathe, again.

I am simply lost and lonely and searching for grace. I long for a second chance at innocence. I want forgiveness and salvation and I want to be chosen and I want to GET IN.
I am always afraid of god, always afraid of going to hell. Christian hell, Buddhist hell. All hell‘s terrify me. Deep inside, I feel like an eternal sinner. I have done things which I must account for. I have been accounting for them for years. Perhaps I will be accounting for them forever.
“I believe in you“, all my friends have told me this week, as I express a multitude of fears. Why do they have such faith in me when I cannot?

Things are changing. And change is good. But change is also frightening because I do not know what lies on the other side. I know McleodGanj. I know my way around, I know all the places I want to go, I know so many people here, I know what to say in Tibetan and Hindi in enough situations that I do not feel like a foreigner. 
But I do not know what will happen next. I do not know who (myself included) will say or do what between now and Monday evening. So I cling to routines…to familiar places. I walk slowly through the shortcut listening to the morning sounds from the monastery, watching young monks play karom~pa. I ignore Indian beggars and slap donkeys and cows on the rear to get them out of my path. 

The world is full of joy and secrets this first week of spring. Perhaps the fact that it is spring is making it all the harder to leave. Mostly what I’m working on is getting through the day. Hour by hour, I get through each day, and each day slides away, bringing me closer and closer to Friday Pizza Night, to my Saturday farewell party, to my wait at the bus station on Monday evening…

Something incredible is building up inside me. I am afraid I may have to climb to Triund and HOWL down the mountainside all night to release it.
Maybe it is the old parts of me dying that are making these sounds.

His Holiness returns from America today and there are special ceremonies continuing at the Main Temple, across the street from the cafe where I post these entries.
I wish the young staff at One Two would turn OFF the obnoxious modern dance music they are playing this morning and let the sound of the monks' chanting resonate through the morning air...

Resistance and Release

Five days from now I will be leaving my heart's home.
I am experiencing the strangest blend of resistance and release.
I am trying to act like nothing is about to change...denial. And yet, I accept that it just is what it is and I am not going to rush around trying to do and see MORE.
There are fire poojas going on at His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama's Main Temple, here on what I've come to call "the corner of holiness and nowhere" (from where I write, at a wifi cafe overlooking life on the edge of the Himalayan foothills).
But instead of attending, instead of being curious, I stay in the cafe secure with my caramel latte and warm banana cake, uploading pics and interacting with my various social networks (both online and off).
This is my safe place. It is my home inside this town, having replaced LIT when we had our winter closure.

School is re-opened, now, just since yesterday. I had been looking forward to things getting "back to normal", meaning, back to the way they were earlier in my stay, when there was a comfortable routine.
But of course that is impossible.
Life is not static.
Even in the 5 (6?) weeks since then, so much has changed, internally and externally.
(the pooja must have ended...a stream of red-robed monks is flowing out of the temple, up temple Rd and into the short-cut to Jogibara Rd...some of my friends included...)
Some days they look at me, maybe look FOR me, they wave and smile and yet...they keep their distance. THIS has hurt. Yes, we are from different worlds. Yes, I am their "teacher"...but oh how I also long to be their friend, to be included, to be able to walk and talk with them as if language and culture did not divide us)...
That is the resistance part.

The release? Knowing in some part of my soul that everything IS as it should be and that what will be will be.
I learn that and forget every few days and have to remember...over and over and over.

I release the need to rush around and try to grasp at people and places and things...maybe partly because of the above, or party because I know in my soul that I will be back.
It seems like a long long time between leaving and returning and yet...I will hold everyone and everything alive in my heart and if it is my karma I'll be back before October!