Sunday, July 1, 2012

First Month's Reflection

Today marks the one-month anniversary of kissing Pittsburgh goodbye and making the physical transition down to Hendersonville, NC to begin a year-long stint as an Americorps VISTA service worker. The settling in was seamless, thanks to the many generous donations provided by my organization's staff, board members, and friends. And the stereotyped social graciousness of people in the South cannot be understated - people truly have welcomed us into their homes and hearts as though we were old friends. The decision to migrate out of the city I've affectionately deemed my sibling (you grow up together, you don't always get along, but you know you will never stop loving each other) was an easy one in the midst of a fitful Spring, fighting to preserve a sense of "normalcy" when life was clearly trying to carry me down a completely different path. I still wonder if I wasn't acting on a fight-or-flight impulse, but regardless of the deep-seeded reasons, I'm here, and I'm happy. 

...But just not as present as I should be. One eye is focused on my new job and feeding new relationships, but the other is still fixated on the treasures I left in da 'Burgh. Of course, this is natural. It's one month in North Carolina versus 19 years living up north. However I'm not satisfied with this. After all, the goal was to uproot myself from my comfort zone so I could really begin to see. But at the end of the day, my concerns and thoughts are still with those who are no longer physically around me. I'm terrified of losing connections to who I am, who I came from, of being forgotten. Do I have to alienate myself from one place to feel genuinely connected to the other? What does that balance look like?

Dissecting Earth and sky
"...somewhere between
the earth and the sky."
It should be stated that I do not sit at home pining to be included in the lives of those I miss back home.  Ooooh no no no. I do stuff! Just yesterday I swam in the Broad River, watching turtles peak their heads out of the water and older vacationers reliving their hey-days at a tiki bar's karaoke night. I visit Asheville whenever I can to satiate my addiction for a bustling downtown environment. I started attending services at the local Unitarian Universalist congregation. I mean, I'm even learning how to play the fiddle! (Expect to be impressed in the months to come :-).)  I have all the nature and breweries I could wish for within a half hour of where I live, in every direction; there is little reason for me to reject this new environment.  In fact, part of me believes that most of my anxieties come from the fear that I might not ever want to return for good. But who could possibly make that decision at this juncture? Anyway, I digress...

In this month's issue of Yoga Journal Lisa Walford's article set out to explain the dynamic pose of Anantasana, and instead identified the need for us to lose our balance for our own healthful gain: (I took editorial ownership and removed any pose-specific words.)
"...finding your balance is a constant, dynamic process. It's a dance that changes from moment to moment. By staying sensitive, clear, and courageous, you can become more aware of the tiny adjustments that you need to make in order to stay stable. Losing your balance is not a bad thing; it brings the edges of extremes to light and shows you where you need more physical or mental support."
Rereading this passage, I replaced the word "balance" with "way," and felt more at peace with easing my white-knuckled stronghold on Pittsburgh.  I view loved ones from home to be static representations of where I come from. And if ever I lose my footing, I just reach for those connections to bring me back on track. It's an exciting prospect, if not a vulnerable one, for sure.  Losing ground will be the best thing to happen to me. I just need to first accept the invitation to fall.


  1. BEAUTIFUL post, my dear. All these words are so familiar (especially: "I'm terrified of losing connections to who I am, who I came from, of being forgotten. Do I have to alienate myself from one place to feel genuinely connected to the other?") What matters is that you're genuinely happy with where you are and what you're embarking on, even if you don't necessarily *feel* happy every day. The uneasiness will pass.

    The quote about balance-- spot on. I wish I could have that tattooed on my forehead as a reminder. You're doing everything right, honey buns. And I'm so PROUD of you for doing it!! I will find a way down there, if it kills me.

  2. Yay!! DIDJA KNOW: Amtrak goes from Pittsburgh to Greenville (30 min drive from my town)?! And tickets are dirt cheap if you book a couple of months in advance. JUS' SAYIN'.

  3. Follow up: After writing this, I tried incorporating Anantasana in my practice that night. Oh man, was that a hilarious sight to see...