To answer my own question

What have I come here to learn?

That I have only so much to give.

The world feels smaller and the tiniest bit like home when I see someone I know.

The headlamp is among modern life’s finest inventions.

I am here to be here…on this cushion, on this porch, in this house, in the protective shadow of the Himalaya.

The dirty yellow dog napping on the warm concrete is more at peace in the world than I am, despite a roof over my head, food in my belly and a friend at my side.

Water on-demand changes people’s lives.

I won’t leave this country again without a trek under my boots.

It is possible to eat too much rice.

Soul wants the same thing here that she wants at home: to allow my experience—whatever it is—to be exactly as it is, without manipulation, without judgment.

Unfiltered water turns bleached hair orange.

Showering in a dark bathroom feels like swimming through a dream.

Shopping in foreign markets is still shopping— initially exciting, increasingly intense, endlessly tedious and ultimately exhausting.

The choices I was born into as an American female in 1950 do not exist for most females throughout the world. More than feeling lucky or even grateful, I am humbled.

Healthier diets, less disease, finding work, erasing the stigma of AIDS, decreasing the spread of AIDS, having options, connecting with the outside world—change begins with education. What I once knew I now understand.

Roasted popcorn served with steaming chai at sun-up is a wonderful start to the day.

When I am 8,000 miles from home, an email from my husband that “we are fine, all is good here, enjoy your last two weeks,” does not make me feel better.

I want to read how much he misses me, that home isn’t the same without me, that he isn’t the same without me, and yes, everyone is okay.

Good writing unfolds like a Nepalese garden growing on the page.

Word security: saying exactly what needs to be said and nothing more.

To lose solitude for an extended period of time is to grow thin from the inside out, to watch my spirit curl into a ball and hide.

I do not miss phone, laptop or car. I miss clean air, bicycle and electric toothbrush.

Opportunity is not the same as equal opportunity.

I am in the world differently and the same as everyone else.

Parting advice from Pasang, a Buddhist monk from Kopan Monastery: Be happy, don’t worry, make your life meaningful.

Twenty-four days here, wrapped in a pashmina kurta, four of us packed like sardines in the back seat, bumping along the roads of Sunakothi. Stripped of illusion, I reach inside for the drive, the stamina, even the desire I have relied on for as long as I can remember, and find but a few droplets in the vast well. What I find instead are love and emptiness and a clear, uncluttered path to my essential truth: I am tired of taking care of others. I am tired of serving in the old ways. Something new and unknown is about to unfold.

Life will look different from now on.


14 thoughts on “To answer my own question

  1. Rebecca…your writing and observing move me in ways that I so appreciate. I want to do a trip with you…wow. what a remarkable soul you bring to this needy world.
    xoxoox tracey

  2. hey beck. i must say, i’m in no hurry to take the trip you did. but, i can see you learned a lot from having gone through it. i will take the lessons from you so i don’t have to let my bleached hair turn orange. oh, i’m just begin silly! happy mother’s day to one of the best mothers on earth. i love you!

  3. Nunu,
    If I looked as good as you in bleached hair, I wouldn’t care about the orange. Tony couldn’t wait to get his hands on it when I came home. Indy… OMG another gorgeous child. Love to you and the boys, B

  4. Your words touch me. Know that your journey creates journeys for others, like dominos…

  5. Becky,
    I follow you with “Life will look differently from now on.” Looking forward to what is unfolding for you. I’m already hearing the changes.
    With respect and love,
    Patty Beth

  6. You’re the queen of change, Patty Beth, handling what comes with grace, wisdom and open arms. Really looking forward to a summer rendezvous. Love, Becky

  7. Hi Rebecca,
    I have read your blog post over and over, following your intricate path of truisms, not to an end but a beginning. Crisis / opportunity. I am uneasy.

    Do you know the work of the artist Jenny Holzer by any chance? Wonderful documentary on Netflix streaming.

  8. Ed, would love to know more about your uneasy. I don’t know Jenny Holzer but will find her. Hope you’re painting. The world needs your work. R

  9. Oh my,
    The most powerful punchy pithy acute honest funny piece yet. Foonahootoo big sister.

  10. And thank YOU for returning safely. Looking forward to hearing the stories of Greece, revisited… and the writing group. I’d love to join you one of these years. xo

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