I am on a mountain in Northern California…I’ll be working here for another month. They call it Island Mountain, which is appropriate, because once I am up there it’s like being marooned…just a very thin connection to the outside world. 26 miles of difficult road. Today is laundry day. Weather is coming in tomorrow and I didn’t want to get stranded without clean socks and underwear. I don’t have a phone number at the moment and I haven’t had much of a need to call anyone.
The house where I work is rougher in some ways than many of the places in India. Slanted floors, drafts, mice, flies and an interesting shower situation. We have an doorless outhouse, which has a view of the hills and the stars on clear nights. People sleep in their cars or in tents. I borrowed a van and made a little home for myself. It’s getting really cold now…winter is creeping in. But I assure you that this is not a list of complaints…just an attempt to give you an idea of what my life is like right now. The first few weeks I wondered if I would be able to stay, but now I am getting accustomed to the work and the lifestyle. I can even imagine doing it again next year. Last month I spent time in the gardens, but now it’s sitting all day. I listen to audio books with my friend – a woman I met in India. Amazingly, our 12 hour days flit by. This ten weeks will just be a blip and then gone.
I had every intention of keeping up with my practice here…but my meditation tent keeps flooding and with the temperature dropping, my mind has a 30 minute discussion with itself every morning. Eventually, one part convinces the other part that it must get out of the warm sleeping bag. I remember reading something that Yogananda wrote about Energization Exercises…that if one is stuck on an island with only one yoga technique that it’s the one to choose. Was he talking to me directly? It feels like that sometimes. So, I bundle up and muster as much joy and willingness as I can and go out into the clearing near my camp. The air cold enough now to see my double breath.
My plans now only extend a few months into the future. After this I will go south for awhile and visit friends and then we’ll see. It’s fun to live this way and even though I am still afraid a lot, I am a little bit more comfortable with just allowing the fear to be there and moving forward anyway. A lot of my old dreams are on a shelf…I don’t have as many ambitions or romantic notions about things anymore. I don’t know why exactly, but somehow they aren’t as compelling as they used to be. Maybe it’s laziness or maybe it’s contentment. Sometimes it’s difficult to know the difference…