I’m sitting on a plane bound for the Philippines and I can’t help but reflect on the last 6 weeks that I spent at home in California. I was anxious about coming back to the States about two weeks before I left. Most of me didn’t want to come back yet. And part of me was actually afraid of it. Home represented the place where I was stifled; laid comfortably to rest in my beautifully adorned coffin of a life that I had worked tirelessly to construct, not knowing that it was the psychic death of me. I was scared that coming back home after just five months of traveling would push me back into the hole that I clawed myself out of. I imagined stepping foot onto the curb of San Francisco International Airport and the energy capturing me immediately; creeping through my being like ivy that refuses to be tamed. Am I strong enough to resist my old ways? What if I fall into the trap of the same old rat race again? I got out once, will I be able to do it again?
I had no way of gauging what my experience of coming home for the first time would entail until I finally just did it. And here I am, 44 days later and just now taking it all in as I leave for my next destination.
It only took about 5’ish days for me to start feeling disoriented. I stumbled into this perplexing place of being relieved and contented to be back home, but noticed that I was perpetually in a state of psychological discomfort. I was soaking up the blissful energy of being with the people in my tribe, getting tight hugs and sharing detailed stories, indulging in all the food that I had missed (chicken flavored top Raman with ketchup on it – of all the things, I know!), and taking hot showers without the worry that the water would run out at any moment. But I could tell that my spirit wasn’t at ease.
The energy at home, no matter where it was I went, felt like a soda can that had been shaken vigorously and was ready to pop at any moment. I unintentionally started holding my breath all the time and I could have worn my shoulders as earrings, they were so tight and raised all the time. I constantly felt like I was in someones way or holding someone up. I kept feeling like I was late for something, or needed to go faster, or had to fit in just one more thing before the day ended. I quickly fell into scheduling myself too full and spreading myself too thin. The final nail in the coffin was my seemingly complete inability to be present anymore. I did mental side lunges from the past to the future and only caught a glimpse of the present during in-between breaths. You know something really isn’t working for you when you desperately start to plan things just so that you can have something to look forward to.
And there it was. My tell-tale habit. Grasping onto a future that is supposed to make me happy and that will allow me to make it through all of these present moments.
It’s a seriously strange experience to fall back into “home” (be it a tangible place or a familiar land within you) and feel like you don’t fit into it anymore. There’s a grieving process that unfolds before you when this day comes. When I left the States the first time around, I left with the intention to simply expose myself to as much beauty and wonder as I could take in. As I leave this second time, it’s now with the intention of exposing myself to as much beauty and wonder as I can take in and to see where my heart decides is my new home. A home that puts my spirit at ease, while allowing it to ebb and flow in whatever pattern it decides. A home that allows me to drink deep from the cup of life and paint a life more stunning than my most vivid technicolor dreams.