I thought not eating meat would be the hardest part of staying at the ashram for a week. I figured I’d be able to handle being disconnected from society with limited Internet and cell. Heck, I was kinda looking forward to that part.
What I wasn’t prepared for was the withdrawal from the sensations of my everyday life. The quietness was almost deafening the first night. For the first time in longer than I want to admit, I was hearing nature…the natural rhythms of the earth.
There was no TV or music to cover up the harmony of the night. Nothing to distract from the sound of the cicadas…frogs…wind blowing through the trees…rain drops. There were no city lights to block the view of the stars. And there were so many of them to see…I’d almost forgotten they were out there.
Just as I settled into this new way of living, it was time to go home. Time to pack up and head back to our regular lives. The first hour or so of the drive, we couldn’t bring ourselves to even turn the radio on. I think we were trying to hang onto the peace as long as we could.
When we did finally start playing music, it was quiet…calm music. A lot of it didn’t even have words. This was how we started to ease ourselves back into our old reality.
Walking into the restaurant for breakfast was a bit of a shock. The people…the noise…the smells. For 5 days, we’d eaten what was made for us without even thinking about it. Now we had an entire menu of choices and it was overwhelming. As the ashram, you took only what you knew you’d eat…and you ate everything you put on your plate. Conscious of the fact that we were sharing food as a community so nothing should be wasted. Yet at the restaurant our plates were filled with more than we could eat and we left half of it sitting there…to be thrown away. These types of experiences and awarenesses continued the rest of the trip home.
Today, as we woke up in our homes and went about our day, Princess Grace and I were left unsettled. So many sounds…people…sensations to process…it was nearly too much. My head felt disconnected from my body. I felt floaty…almost nauseous. With so many noises, it was difficult for my brain to decide what to focus on.
I’m sure this too shall pass, but I certainly wasn’t expecting to have these experiences. I wasn’t prepared for either of the withdrawals…from the city and then from nature. I’m thrilled to be home with Mr. Universe…Sheba…Puzzle…but I have to admit, I miss the quiet. I miss the peace. I miss nature.