My senses are pretty overwhelmed. Travel is a tough thing. I wonder if it gets easier the longer you do it? Or the longer you stay in one place? Or the older your kids get? Or maybe it makes a difference if you travel with a friend or spouse with whom you can share the newness of it all. I feel like maybe it's like learning to ride a bike--you fall off, time and again. You feel unsteady on your wheels. You rely on training wheels or your dad to hold you up. Then one day you get on and go--and eventually you don't really remember how you ever got to this place or what it felt like to be scared of trying. 

It's disorienting to be without my people--my husband and kids. They are my compass. They point me in the direction I need to go: school, work, mealtime, laundry time, cleaning time, snuggle time, bedtime. I am discovering possibly for the first time how much energy I expend outward, away from myself. Partly because of the nature of being responsible for others, and maybe now I think partly because it's easier to focus on anything but what's inside me. 

I sit at this coffee shop alone while my friend teaches Cloud School, her inventive solution to a poor education system in her village. She gathers four children together in a garage. While they work, I sit and practice being alone. I write. And think. 

I find myself having ADD--like when intro to meditate and after 10 seconds or so start to panic: what if I can't sit here the whole time? What if my nose itches? What if everyone else has some kind of epiphany and i don't hear anything? What if I'm not equipped to do this?

But what if the question really is how to be ok with focusing on my nose itching?

I look around. There are dogs. Lots of dogs. Everywhere. A tall, white man in cut-off teal pants walks wih his arm around a dark-skinned man with dreads tucked inside a woven hat with colors from the African flag on it. Across the street, a man in the wine store parking lot stares at me--for longer than I'm comfortable being stared at. I look up again and he's gone. Another man has taken his place, this one leaning on an aluminum crutch, struggling to take every step. His scruffy canine companion follows closely by his side, pauses to check the scent on a nearby rock. An Indonesian man at the table next to me lights one Pall Mall cigarette after another while his dog barks at every passerby. A blue vintage Mercedes drives slowly by. The clouds hang low on the mountains in front of me. I hear German, English, and Afrikaans--they intertwine and hang in the air. 

Yes, maybe focusing on the itch is what will ground me. 


Popular Posts