Wednesday, February 1, 2012

in flux

Joy: Chai and watching the day begin
on Gokulam Main Street.

One of the things I love about Mysore is that so many of the people who are drawn to it are living lives of flux. They are changing and embracing it.

The most pedestrian of questions like "Where are you from?" can result in much mmm-ing and um-ing followed but rather long, rolling answers. "Well…I'm from _____ originally...Then I was living _____." Followed by, "And for the last 6 months I've been _____." Followed by, "Now, I'm in_______." (You can insert, "Mysore" here. One of the few things most of us can be certain of). The conversation usually trails off in the direction in which no one really knows, what comes next is anyone's best guess.

And around the breakfast table/coconut stand/outside the shala gates/wherever, people will nod their heads in perfect understanding. They are flexible; they get the transitory life. They too are drawn to Mysore in order to transition or to inspire change of some form.

Similarly, the question of profession can also garner some rather complex round about answers. There are newly quit jobs, new work awaiting, professional shifts, and combo-job mash-ups of yoga-slash-(enter job that earns money)-slash-(enter job that doesn't earn money but we love doing). Lucky are those who can say straight out they are yoga teachers, period--a track that comes with its own stretch of difficulties. Regardless of what finances these Mysore excursions, we fall quite out of the norm regardless. We're rare birds if we can get anywhere from a month to three months off from our real life in order to clock in time at the shala.

But that's just it. We do somehow. We're in it together. We're all pretty unusual in our dedication to the practice, in the ways that we've managed our lives that allows for this experience. We get it, we get each other.

Having just left Mysore, nearly two months ahead of schedule, I am now dreading falling into similar conversations. One, because I was hoping the next two months would bring some clarity on what comes next in both where to live and how to make a living. Two, because I realize that outside the unique world of Mysore, people expect more concrete answers, they are baffled by people so totally in-between things.

I've been in Manila now for four days. Though, so far, little engaging with anything outside home and the hospital. But at some point I will have to, whether I'm ready with answers or not.

And while it's taking some energy not to madly scramble for the right answers, I also know that clarity comes with time, understanding comes with effort. Whatever work has gone unfinished will not stop just because I am not safely within the city limits of Mysore, where I am surrounded by comrades of change, fellow yogic warriors. My real challenge is to figure things out within the context of my own life with all my old habits, in the company of my family and friends here in the Philippines, which may seem like limbo now but has been my home for nearly a decade.


  1. Mysore is a bubble where reality from the real world is suspended for month(s) at a time. Then once home life is divided into before Mysore and after Mysore. For me making the decision to go to Mysore for 3 months, get out of a job I didn't enjoy and recover from serious illness was probably the best decision I have made in the last 10 years. Despite the terrible economic climate after 6 weeks back in the UK I have found a new job which I start on Monday. Though when or if I will ever be lucky enough to get back to Mysore is another question, but I'm so glad I went

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