So... what’s it like?
Ever since I got home two and a half weeks ago, this is the question I hear the most often, when talking with people. What is it like to be back? How are you adjusting? and sometimes... How long are you staying? The last one puzzles me a bit since really, this island is where I live and unless someone knows something I don’t know about my own life (which wouldn’t be the first time), I have no plans to leave, other than for Happiness Retreats.
About the first two questions, and mostly the first one: What Is It Like to be Back? That’s such a big one and a great one and I sense that when I am asked these words, it comes from both a place of caring and a place of curiosity. Something like a mixture of “are you still the same person I know?” and “how disruptive is it to do this, and how would it affect my life if was I to take off for six months, too?”
So, as much for me as for others, here is what I am finding so far, about being back:
1) it’s super sweet.
Because my home, my cat - and my car - were so well taken care of, it was very smooth and gentle to slip right back into my home life. There were some boxes to open and things to put back in their place, flowers to put in vases and photos to add to the fridge, and that took about a week. A very pleasant, slow week of moving back into my own home. During that week, I saw a few people and had some great hugs. There again, it was lovely and easy and I loved the process.
2) it’s weird.
Sitting in my bed one night, I realized that while everything looks the same around me, my insides have been subtly yet powerfully re-arranged. My guess is that this had been happening for a good while but since the outside was also foreign, I did not notice it as much. Back home in my white fluffy comforter, there is no way to ignore the contrast. And there’s nothing to do about it except to notice and trust that it’s perfect. No stories, just noticing and trusting.
3) it’s suffocating.
When I first walked into my home, I wanted to get rid of almost everything from my kitchen and before my coat was off, I was piling extra plates and bowls into a bag and asking my son what he wanted to take (not my Le Creuset pots, I had to specify that part).
This went on for a few days and then it was time to open my closet, which I knew would be tough. After months of only having a few choices of what to wear in the morning, I am finding the rows of clothes unsettling and demanding. I find that I don’t want to give my fresh morning energy to my choice of what to wear. At all. So I have been pretty much wearing the same things as I have gradually tackled my closet. Now that it only holds about 1/3 of its original contents (and shrinking), I find that I am able to digest it better.
4) It’s exciting.
After six months of working from the road (or the plane, or the sidewalk), I find it very exciting to be able to actually focus on my work from a desk and for hours on end - and the most exciting part is that as life will have it, my work has been responding enthusiastically. It’s as if something, somewhere knows that I both need this grounding and also have reserves of energy for it.
5) It’s big.
Most mornings, I wake up to a message from someone I have met while traveling. A little hello, a photo, an idea... something. These connections remind me that my newly rearranged heart has grown a few sizes and made room for more. More love, more heartbreak, more possiblities, more questions.
And somehow, all of it brings me back to how happy I am to be here now.
This morning, I received a quote which summarizes so well what I have experienced and continue to experience:
"Stay awake to the things that break your heart. Be present with your growing passions and talents. Trust the decisions that move you toward combining the two. Who knows what might happen at the intersection?"
So for those of you who are wondering if I am the same person you knew before I went - I would say both yes and no, and as far as what happens after one takes off for a good while, this is what’s happening for me.
A whole lot of good.