As I was sipping champagne, dancing in fountains in Paris, and basking in the hot Bali sun a shift began to occur. Somewhere between Frankfurt and Borneo I changed. The Rachel of the last few years melded with the new improved Rachel. I went from being the one constantly seeking affirmation to the one who freely gives anticipating nothing in return. Went from being the one needing lots of shoulders to cry on to having broad shoulders available for the tears of my loved one.
In the last week or so I have sent five tome-length emails to friends and loved ones facing hard decisions. And as I lay on my porch writing to them, I know that really I am talking to myself. Sure, maybe I am addressing her when I say – live in the Now, and him when I say – let your joy be admirable not your suffering, but really I am telling these things to myself.
More impressive perhaps is the part where I am hearing myself and adhering to these tenants in daily life. I am living a joyful and calm life. Opportunity litters my path at every turn as if t affirm that I am making the right choices.
I feel a heightened sense of awareness, especially now that my time in Bali is winding down. A walk on the beach at sunset exposes colors in the sand I never noticed before, reflections of clouds in tidal pools or a stronger scent of salt water than the last time I took notice. During my walk to the front desk to order breakfast the other morning, I notice frogs as small as a lentils hopping amid the river rocks. And last night my heightened awareness lead my eyes to the scorpion next to my foot while I was showering, which in turn lead to a manic episode where I spent an hour shaking out everything I own.
Perhaps the biggest change is in my eyes. I look in the mirror and the woman looking back at me has these sparkling blue eyes – so full of wonder and curiosity. In those eyes I see a hint of an old friend, one who I lost track of a while back. The eyes I stared into the past few years were flat, lacked sparkle and seemed vapid. But these eyes are crystalline, deep, and vibrant, these eyes are seeing the world anew.
And then there is the promise of my impending Vipassana retreat. Everyone I know who has been to one tells me I won’t recognize myself when I complete it. I got news for ya… I hardly recognize myself now, not really sure what’s left to change.
Along with my outlook on life, my body has changed dramatically. In the height of my winter depression I managed to lose nearly 20 pounds. I was sickeningly thin and frail. But now I am back to my fighting weight and my seven yoga classes a week ensure that I am strong and can touch my toes with aplomb.
I have this amazing inner strength now that alone makes it hard for me to believe I am the same person. The other night my drunken neighbors mistook my bungalow for theirs. I awoke to someone yanking on my sliding door whole-heatedly trying to force it open and utterly confused by it’s stubbornness to acquiesce. In years past this would not only have sent me into a state of sheer terror during the act, but it would cause months of restless, fitful, nightmare-filled evenings and sleep would only come with the aid of pharmaceuticals. Instead, I got out of bed, opened the curtains and said – Piss off! Then I fell back asleep.
I had succumb to fear in many ways prior to this trip. I’d acquired a fear of heights, of being alone, of speed and roads without guardrails. Yet here, in three short months I have gone from fearful to hell on doughnut-sized wheels! Why just yesterday I rode my scooter all the way into Seminyak for a morning yoga class and then I rode it on the bypass home – averaging a whopping 50 kilometers per hour! I ride like a local now with complete disregard for any semblance of merging protocols, I regularly turn without using a blinker and if provoked, I will beep my horn repeatedly until stray dogs part a path for my chosen trajectory.
As it turns out my flight off of the Island of the Gods is set for November 4, Election Day.The US election has been a hot topic of conversation as of late. Barrack Obama lived in Indonesia when he was young, as a result it seems there is a sense of ‘rooting for the home team’ among all Indonesians. When I am asked where I am from and I reply – the US, the normal response is a chant of O-bama…O-bama…Obama, usually accompanied by a wide-toothed grin and a fist pump.
I assume that everyone who reads this site is intelligent and conscientious and that a reminder here to vote is unnecessary. But maybe someone just accidentally, misguidedly stumbled onto this site today. Perhaps some E-Harmony search for unemployed + mid-thirties + recent divorcees erroneously led you here and so to you, wayward soul searching for divorced 35 year-olds, I say VOTE, I say ROCK THE VOTE… I say BARACK THE VOTE!
And on the off chance some ex-pageant participating, non-magazine-reading, rape-victims-should-pay-for-rape-kits pronouncing Alaskan has mistakenly stumbled upon my little world... I say – Please leave. And by leave I mean not just this site but, this election and politics altogether, pretty please, before I have to resort to pharmaceuticals to keep the nightmares at bay again.
Begin at the Beginning
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