To Return (Home)

“Whenever I was home, I wanted to get away, and whenever I got away I wanted to go home again.” – Erica Jong, Fear of Flying

Sometimes I wonder if certain things will ever change. Actually no, I wonder if certain things are even meant to change. I have been so enamoured with the possibility of transformation, of escaping (one’s self/environment/bad habits), that I have failed to acknowledge the importance of those parts of life and of my sense of self that remain resolutely unaltered.

Recently I have been longing to leave Mysore. The routine of the days no longer comforts me but leaves me feeling trapped. Though escape from Mysore is not possible so instead I sleep away my days, finding a familiar refuge in my obscure yet increasingly repetitive dreams. On waking I am initially nestled in the pleasant suspension of all realities where I do not even remember my own name. But then the burden of context descends and I feel heavy again with the knowledge of my present and my blurry and indeterminate future.

As the night continues to refuse me sleep and my mind chooses to escape the day in slumber, dreams and realities merge and my skin grows paler, lacking the stability and sunlight the daytime hours bring. I realise the patterns of my days here in India remain as incoherent as my life before, back ‘home’. Staying up late, eating too much of the wrong things, spending hours drinking tea alone in a cafe reading, staring into nothingness and feeling restless. All with the persistent thought in my head of wanting to escape – no a persistent pounding of my heart, my heart, that longs to get away… But I am away and as I acknowledge this I am engulfed in a panic; even in my escape I am not freed from whatever I am running from.

And so is what I long for to go home again? Yet wanting to go home – this is a futile longing for someone such as I who does not have a home. How to reconcile this dilemma? This ambivalent back and forth motion of dissatisfaction? It is feelings like this that my yoga practice can normally remedy, even if it is only transitory. But now my practice is failing to fully save me. As I leave the shala the emptiness is there waiting for me in the early morning darkness, enrobing me once again. I hurry back to my bed to shed its overbearing mass in the lightness of sleep.

But still the sleepless nights torture and the clock measures out my impatience, my anxiety. Another day left unresolved. And again the long unbearable wait for tomorrow, for the start of another day. Another day in which I will escape over and over again in pointless journeys that lead me back to the same place.

I keep writing the same story. Perhaps it is time I gave up my childish expectations of transformation, of change, of escape, and began to learn to resign myself to the impermanence and unfulfilled nature of life. Maybe then I will finally find my way home.