Dancing in the Bamboo Forest

BambooForest_FrontCover

Excerpt from my travel memoir:

In some semblance of an awareness of reality, not present in my body,
I watched as it moved from place to place, from movement to movement.
I watched myself pack a suitcase and print my boarding pass.
I watched my mind think and react as I marked time. I saw my eyes
seeing but didn’t see through them. I heard my voice speaking as if it
were someone else’s. I taught my final yoga class. I heard myself say my
goodbyes. I disconnected from relationships.

I drove to the path overlooking the Pacific Ocean and stood in
the rain. The earth smelled sweet, the plants sang, the waves beat the
rocks. I watched the world in its tumultous rhythm, its wild conversation,
while I felt nothing but the cold of the drops of water against my
numb skin.

I floated. Time was only on a clock and important only for getting
my body to arrive in my seat on an airplane at the right time to arrive
somewhere else on the planet.

I managed to get some sleep on the flight to Hong Kong. The first
leg of the trip wasn’t too bad, although in the beginning I wrestled
with some claustrophobia issues because the seats were so narrow and
close together. It was the craziest feeling landing in Hong Kong and
knowing I was halfway around the world. Airplanes still truly amaze
me. I walked around the airport and stared out the giant glass walls at
the island. Ships and boats of all sizes and purposes floated along the
water in front of me, silhouetted against the setting sun. The view was
serene and still like a painting, an odd trick when reality was a bustling
motion of constant activity.

Getting back on the plane after those 15 hours (with only an hour
break) knowing I still had many hours ahead of me was not easy. Finally,
there was sun out the window–between cloud layers as we gained
altitude, the sun shot out in millions of light pink beams, which were
filtered through the clouds down to the sparkling water below like
diamonds on the waves.

We landed in Singapore and after over 20 hours of travel, I had to
get out of the airport. The airport offered a free shuttle to downtown,
a map, a ride back to the airport, and a complimentary shower at the
airport spa. I took them up on all of it.

I stepped out of the cool airport into a great hot, sticky, sweaty climate.
Unfortunately, I had to carry my yoga mat and a backpack full of
books, wearing sweatpants and heavy sneakers. Singapore is quite a bustling
city with interesting European colonial architecture mixed with
Chinese architecture. A metropolis, it is the definition of cosmopolitan. …

…Walking on a major boulevard in the heart of Singapore, I came
across old, cracked stone steps that led up into a shroud of trees. I followed.
The shady path led me farther and farther until I reached the
top of a small hill. I had stumbled upon Fort Canning Park. As I wandered
around old stone buildings, I was drawn to the spaces between
and the trees that inhabited them. I stood in awe under these amazing
ancient, royal trees that held the secrets of the past. The most magnificent
was the Rain Tree, named so because its leaves curl up when
it’s going to rain. A giant palm frond covered the entire side of a small
greenhouse; I imagined living in a house with walls made of leaves. It
was cooler in the park and quieter. I was alone. …

…Singapore reminded me how much I love to travel and experience
the vastness and interconnectedness of the world. To breathe in an air
filled with the breath of different people. To see the same smiles broaden
around the world. To hear the bustle of life in other languages. To
smell and taste plants and animals growing from a unique soil and sea.

I felt so free in a new land far from everyone I knew, far from my life, far from who and what reinforced a perception of me that didn’t feel true. The blur was replaced with clarity, the dream suddenly faded into sharp reality. The thread of my life had not been broken; it continued in its interweaving trajectory creating the web of my existence, a creation seemingly tangled but that I know in its entirety is beautiful.

Excerpt from my book launching this Thursday November 13th at the Integral Yoga Institute New York at 7pm.

http://iyiny.org/workshops-and-events/calendar/book-signing-5643/

Buy your copy of Dancing in the Bamboo Forest here!

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