Last night, I dreamed of India. A pair of piercing eyes from a Stupa, watching me through the dark, floated in a space just above the foot of my bed.
Until yesterday afternoon, I had never heard a Stupa but already they had a strange, spiritual hold over me. Maybe this was a design for a long thought about tattoo I could get, I thought as I drove home from work after seeing the Stupa for the first time in a local store with items from Tibet. I had finally decided on a trajectory of flying ravens, though I doubted I would ever actually go through with it.
Only moments later, I thought better of it. Did the world really need another white girl from the West falling in love with the Buddha and proclaiming their affinity through ink on the skin? Would this choice make me into a cliché? Would it even matter?
A voice inside reminded me that I was far too indecisive for a tattoo anyway. Already, I had gotten my nose pierced and taken out the stud, only to re-pierce it years later. Recently, I had taken the stud out once more. A tattoo was a bit too permanent for someone with such an indecisive character as mine.
In my dream, I was packing for a trip to India with my music partner. He was packed and ready far before me. I can remember sitting on the floor of my childhood bedroom with a bag open and clothing strewn all over the floor and thrown haphazardly into the bag. He called to find out if I was ready to drive to the airport. I was nowhere near ready but told him I would on my way soon. I can never bear to disappoint him, though experience tells me it is safe to be honest.
I knew from watching a dear friend prepare to travel to India that the process was not a simple one. There were vaccines and medications to procure, appropriate footwear to find, toiletries, optics, luggage that would be easy to haul on foot, train, plane, and beyond. And then to fit everything into two bags, one that could be worn on your back and the other on the front.
There was a period of my life where I moved every three months or so. After leaving one transient community after another and bidding adieu to dear friends I may never see again, I began to long for the stability of a home in one place and friends I could have tea with on a Sunday afternoon.
I have travelled around the world and lived in foreign places, but I felt a pang of sadness when I realized that it had been ten years since I taught English in elementary schools in the northwest region of France.
Was this dream an indication that the travel bug had found me once more?
In my dream, my friend finally gave up on waiting, drove to my house, and showed up on my doorstep impatiently informing me that we were going to miss our flight. I guess my subconscious was telling me to stay put in Prescott for now.
It is so easy to view another life and wish it was your own. But it is most often an exercise in oversimplifying of reality. No life is easy, regardless of how glamorous it appears.
So I made coffee and oatmeal, took a shower, got dressed, put on earrings and a necklace I had nearly forgotten about, warmed up my car to melt the ice on the windshield, and headed to work. On my way, I looked in my case of CDs for something to listen to. I found a mix my sibling had made for me upon my return from some foreign travel years ago, maybe Africa? On it were songs that brought to back in time. The theme song from Dawson’s Creek, a Joan Jett song from the move “10 Things I hate about you,” and so on. When the theme song from the movie “Cruel Intentions” started playing, I felt a broad smile take shape across my face. An overwhelming feeling of joy welled up inside of me, and I beamed.
I realized that I could repeat the words of Thich Nhat Hanh and know them to be true.
I was completely happy and at peace with my life, just as it was.
Here’s to happiness and joy in your own life and the lives of those you love.