A Year After My Trip To India

I squatted on the ground in the back pasture, my hands in prayer over my heart, my elbows touching my knees.

The moon was not quite full and it was overcast, but still bright enough for me to see.  It was somewhere around 3 am this morning and I had been lying in bed trying to sleep for over an hour.

My mind was spinning with thoughts of India.  It’s just over a year since I went to Kolkata where I taught some of the women at House of Hearts to make potholders, to help them support  themselves and their families.

Yesterday, I went with my friends Mandy and Athena to the Warren County Health Department so Mandy could get the vaccinations she needed for a trip she’ll be taking to India in just a couple of weeks.  When I needed the same vaccinations over a year ago, they both came with me.  It seems it’s becoming a tradition.

I didn’t realize, till I lay in bed trying to sleep, that our afternoon at the Health Department triggered memories and feelings from my trip to India.

I lay in bed as images accompanied by intense feelings played out inside of me like a  movie.

Although I did accomplish my purpose in going to India, in many ways it was not what I thought it would be.

I found it hard to connect to the people I was traveling with.  Maybe because they were all experienced travelers, most had taken this same trip year after year,  and had figured out their own way of dealing with what we were exposed to.

To me it was all new.  I had never seen anything like the slums of India, the beauty of the flower market, or the children who lived in the Red Light District.  Even the seemingly mundane act of being driven from one place to another was unprecedented for me.

My  phone calls to Jon and being able to write about it on my blog was what got me through from one day to the next.  Both gave me the grounding that I needed.

I was slow to see that the trip was very emotional for me, it turned out to be about much more than teaching people how to make potholders.

It was both beautiful and painful. It was troubling.  I’ve been trying to work it out all year and this morning I think I finally got to a better place about it.

I was thinking of Mandy’s trip as I lay awake in bed this morning too.  India had awakened me, not for the first time.

A small, mean part of me wanted to say, I know, I’ve been there.   And I was envious of her trip, where she will be visiting sacred sites with a group of people she meditates with.

I wanted to feel again the excitement of traveling to a place I had never been before.  To see and experience  things I never imagined, with people I trusted.

All this swirled through me as I squatted in the pasture in the moon light.  Until, gradually, I began to feel the pull of energy from the ground, in my feet.  With my eyes closed, my mind began to quiet.

When I open my eyes, I saw  the donkeys and sheep had followed me and were grazing. Fate was  in a herding crouch ready to “get the sheep.”

I stayed where I was, still and quiet, and eventually Lulu walked slowly to me, close enough for me to lean my head against her.  Then she circled me, and I could feel her energy as if we were performing some kind of ritual.

When she stopped she lowered her head and nuzzled my hair with her nose.  We spent some moments like that, our heads together.

That’s when I heard the words: I’m where I want to be.  This is the place of my journey now.  

Within moments the trauma of India started to slip away. And I felt a genuine joy and excitement for Mandy and her coming trip.

I stood up and looked out over the pasture towards the house.

I felt the woods behind me.  I thought how Jon and I get to live surrounded by all this space, all this countryside.  I though of our house.  All the rooms inside of it, just for the two of us.

In my mind I saw the room where ten children sleep on one mattress on the floor in the Safe House I visited in the Red Light District, in Kolkata.  A room half the size of  my studio.

The landscape around me glowed gold in the moonlight, and I knew this is where I wanted to be, this was my home. And it was from here that my journey would continue.

I went back into the house and made myself a cup of tea and piece of toast with butter.  I sat by the wood stove and finished a drawing I started the evening before.

It was still dark out when I went back to bed. Gus was curled up next to Jon and grumbled when I got under the covers and moved him to the bottom of the bed.

Sometimes you have to go far away to come home.










8 thoughts on “A Year After My Trip To India

  1. Insightful post and very touching indeed. It has been nearly 30 years since my time in India and believe me it still haunts me every so often. I love your words: Sometimes you have to go far away to come home.

    Over the years I have felt like that when just a week away at the beach or in the mountains makes me feel another kind of home which is purely nature based and I feel so connected to everything.

  2. Oh, Maria! This is so beautiful and so painful! I was remembering in February that your trip to India was a year ago, when with so much courage and generosity you stepped into the poverty and pain of others. Annie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Full Moon Fiber Art