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Broccoli And Strawberries

Walking through my neighborhood farmer’s market today, I found myself wishing for another life. A life that looked more like what I envisioned for myself when I was in my twenties. Yes, I do live in the greater metropolitan area known as Los Angeles. However I ended up landing in a home in one of the most idyllic neighborhoods known to man – The Pacific Palisades. Imagine Wisteria Lane, only more picturesque. Beautiful homes, perfectly manicured lawns with fragrant flowers, surrounded by the mountains of Temescal and Topanga Canyons, and ocean views. A neighborhood filled with children and families and large bank accounts. A reminder of everything I don’t have.

I didn’t roam around that Farmer’s Market with people like me – older, single creative types that have dedicated their lives to pursue passions and truth. I’m not saying the lady next to me perusing bunches of broccoli and strawberries hasn’t done some soul searching, but it’s unlikely if you’ve got a family to care for and what I can only assume are high bills to pay, you’re not taking weeks off to travel to India, live in ashrams or sit and type out pages of emotional analytics. No, there’s no time for that shit. A large part of me envies that. I sometimes wish I didn’t have so much freedom to do whatever the hell I want.

I found myself down on the Pali High School track, watching young, tan, fit men chuck a Frisbee around. I longed for the days of my youth. To turn back the clock and maybe choose a different path. Make different choices. As I made my laps around the field, I knew in my heart, I didn’t have that choice. My destiny has already been written out for me. It is my duty to follow it. I wept anyway. Especially at the sight of a Father running, racing his little girl. Something in my heart broke. It was a deep longing for a family that I may never have. The grief over a loss of something I didn’t even know I could even want. The desire for a ‘normal’ life.

I’m not naïve in thinking these people live in perfection. I know all life comes with struggle, conflict, sacrifice and loss. And I’m sure plenty of them wish they were in my shoes from time to time. But for the time being, and maybe just today, I wish I were in theirs.

Live Like A Local

As much as I have loved the lessons and insights gleamed during my travels, not every day necessitates a spiritual teaching. Sometimes you just have to get shit done. Take today for example.

I don’t consider myself to be a vain person. While my daily personal hygiene skills are on the up and up and I am dedicated to daily cleansing practices guided by Ayurveda, my hair rarely sees a hair dryer and, often days, a brush. Nor have I put on much more than a few strokes of mascara and some lip balm on in the past five weeks. I enjoy a nice manicure, however, I often resist the bi-monthly pleasure as quite frankly, it takes too damn long. The process itself doesn’t put me out much, but the time I’m left incapacitated to ensure the polish remains smooth and glossy borders on unbearable. Nine times out of ten, I throw my nails up in frustration and proceed with normal functioning, resulting in a wasted $15 and nails that resemble nothing like they do when I walk out of Great Nails.

That being said, the past five weeks of travel have done a job on my hands and feet. The mani- pedi I did luxuriate in prior to my departure looked like it would had I been traveling through India. Oh wait. I have been. There was still dust under my nails from Auroville and dirt from who knows where.

Allow me to rewind a bit. Within the first two hours of arriving here in Sri Lanka, I found myself sitting in a lovely café in the city for a late lunch. Barefoot Cafe is a little oasis in the middle of the city. Inside there are individual little shops selling everything from kitchy stationary and cards to amazing linen pants (yes, I bought them), to beautiful home goods and designs. It reminded me of Fred Segal in Santa Monica, especially since the ocean is a few meters away. Down the steps and out the back is the lovely garden café with a menu similar to that of the trendy beach hotspot in Cali.

It didn’t take but one bite of papad to notice something rock hard between my teeth. That would be my crown. (I feel the need to let you know it’s the only cavity I’ve ever had.) Popped as effortlessly as an aspiring porn star’s cherry. Welcome to Sri Lanka.

I made a call to a dentist on the recommendation of a local family friend and he directed me to come to his office the next morning at 9am. On Good Friday, mind you. I’ll give you $100 if you can name me any dentist or doctor that will just slide you into his or her schedule on a normal day of the week, much less a holiday. Welcome to Sri Lanka.

And so it was that my Friday became about daily life as it looks in any city.

9am: Dentist. (Crown is securely back in place to the tune of about $25. Thank you Dr. Wimaladharma! I’m liking this place more and more.)
10:30am: Meet owners of Prana Lounge at the next door café. Grab a juice and get some work done.
12pm: Practice.
1:30pm: Quick bite for lunch.
2pm: Mani/pedi.
3:30pm: A bit of browsing at the local healthy market. (I had to wait for my darn nails to dry!)
5:00pm: Home. (Or temporary hotel home.) Shower, dress, quick meditation.
6:00pm: Stuck in rush hour traffic in tut-tut.
6:30pm: Arrive at friend’s home for some bubbly and conversation.
8:00pm: Lovely intimate dinner gathering at a new friend’s friends’ home. Beautiful backyard garden. Wonderful meal. Wonderful people. “Small world” connections made.
12pm: Home in bed.

When you’re on the road for this long, not every day needs to be a tourist event or sightseeing extravaganza. I’m enjoying finding a rhythm of daily life here in Sri Lanka. I’ve seen enough temples and made enough plans. I’ve stopped reviewing itineraries or scouring Google for what to see in Sri Lanka. For now, I’ve decided to sit back and see where life leads me. So far, it’s been the best non-plan plan I’ve made.

I don’t have a ticket out of here and until I’m sure I’m ready to move on, if I move on, I don’t plan on purchasing one.

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