What have I come here to learn?
That I have only so much to give.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.