In my hotel room I’m taking a break from packing to reflect on my experiences and emotions over the past eight weeks. Closing my eyes, I recall feeling butterflies when boarding the plane in Houston – having no idea what was ahead. Relief washing over me each time I found and boarded the correct train as well as when I exited at the right station. Anxiety creeping up upon reaching a new destination – for each has its own sights, smells, sounds, tastes, and vibrations assaulting my senses. Elation at meeting and bonding with my soul sisters in Bhagsu (and sadness as we said “see you later”). Frustration arising when seeing folks littering all over place. Awe and curiosity overflowing when in the presence of the divine – whether a small temple or Ma Ganga. And astounded by the number people living at a level of poverty I had never witnessed before.
Being here, traveling alone, and moving about at a slow and steady pace, I have taken advantage of the opportunity to languish in each emotion as it arose. There has been no one for whom I had to don a brave face or dress up or crawl out of bed. No one except me. I have remained in a places of vulnerability and have been rewarded with immense joy.
I traveled to India with an open mind, an open heart, and open arms. In return, I feel that Mother India has embraced me with an intensity that will linger as long as I am breathing. Although I have not yet begun my journey home, I already long to return to this country where I found a part of myself I never knew I lost.