I think it was Sunday when I couldn’t remember what day it was.
That is the definition of vacation.
Letting go of time, losing track of days, not being tied to the calendar – where do I go now, what’s in an hour, where do I have to be next, oh shit I’m late…
It’s good to let go of the schedule. I was sitting at Tip Top, a thatched roof, second-story restaurant overlooking the Ganges, and I had no idea what day it was or what time, and truthfully I didn’t really care.
I ordered a pizza with spinach and eggplant and a banana lassi and just watched the water as it passed by down below. We were mellow, having done 8:30 yoga and then shopping in the later morning. We sat at one of four tables in the entry part of the restaurant, while inside, on the low couches, some of the premier yoga teachers at this festival were holding court with their friends, followers and students.
Deep in conversation, deep in thought, in deep.
There are few places here to eat if your stomach is used to the West, so it was a treat to have another option than our hotel. It felt like we had been here forever, but it had only been a couple of days. And while the festival itself offers a schedule filled with classes and lectures and celebrational ceremonies, the days are our own entirely. Go, don’t go, decide at the last minute, go late, leave early, try something new or just wander down the street.
What would it be like if we did this at home?
Is it even possible?
I think about it heavily here, since I own my own business. In theory, I can go into work when I want, right? Leave when I want? Do yoga in the middle of the day, work in the middle of the night, dance in my pajamas with my kids at 4 o’clock, never wear a suit.
What is it about getting away that clears your mind and resets your focus? Is it going so very far away, to the other side of the world, to a different way of life that gives us this gift?
I think that is part of it. Because if you come to India and stay locked up in a very posh Western hotel with food like you eat at home and TV to thumb through in the room, and no shortage of toilet paper, you haven’t really left.
If you let yourself get uncomfortable, however, and venture out into the neighborhoods and the streets (smartly, of course), you start to see the world.
We tell ourselves in America that we have it best. In many ways we do. We lack for very little and our problems are mostly in our heads.
Don’t forget, we also have an obesity epidemic and skyrocketing rates of depression and suicide and a divorce rate that makes anyone shake their heads. (I can say that. I am among the 60-some percent who have divorced.)
So while we may have money and comfort and neat little houses and pretty good free education, we have a huge bundle of issues to ruminate over late in the night when we can’t sleep and have only the television blaring to comfort us.
When you start to cultivate reverence and inner peace, you don’t need as much on the outside.
This week and a half in India, I’ve worn the same clothes over and over, and I’ve spent the day in the clothes I wore to yoga in the morning. Who cares. Why not. Everything is possible.
Because it is.
I have sat and conversed with incredibly soulful people and it doesn’t matter for a minute where either of us lives or in how big a house or what I’m wearing or whether I am the perfect size or weight.
It’s deeper than that.
Getting out of our comfort zone is a good thing.
When we arrived on Friday, I was ready to take off for Oprah’s favorite spa up in the hills above Rishikesh, where the $600-a-night rooms provide every comfort and convenience.
Serenity. Familiar quiet.
Last night, Katherine asked me if I still wanted to run away to the spa. Hell no, I told her. I am loving it here. I don’t care if the wifi doesn’t always work or my laundry hasn’t come back in three days and they promised one. Whatever.
I’ve let go of the need to control my surroundings and get where I want to go with the least amount of trouble. At home, traffic drives me crazy, as my hands tense around the steering wheel and I swear inside my locked car when I can’t make the red light. Nice energy for all of us, great example of my kids. (ha!)
This morning, I had to wait for a cow to move to finish my walk to the Yoga Ghat. Ok. I waited. Without a thought in my head or a feeling of anything. So what. I’ve let go of the schedule, and I’ve really let go, and it feels amazing.