I arrived back home this past Tuesday after almost 2 solid weeks of being away from the city to visit family. What was supposed to be a short weekend visit to Boston to see Marc's parents and his grandpa turned into a luxurious 5 day wait-out-Hurricane-Irene visit. It worked out great for us - I only had to cancel one class and Marc wasn't scheduled to work, so we could afford the extension and enjoy the extra time with his wonderful grandpa without worry of our oh-so important lives in New York going on without us.
For about a day and a quarter, we returned home. Just long enough for Marc to get in a shift at his restaurant and for me to re-pack for another 5 day trip. My brilliant sister came up with a plan for Marc and I to travel down to South Carolina to surprise my mom, who was planning to come down for Labor Day to celebrate her 60th birthday. It was an incredibly special and fun-filled weekend and I'm so thankful we were able to surprise her and send her into her 60's in style.
It also meant a great deal to me to be back in the south. I grew up in a combination of North Carolina, Florida, Texas, and Virginia, and had never lived above the Mason-Dixon line before September 8th, 2009 when I moved to New York (happy 2-year anniversary, NYC!). I returned home to Virginia once last year, but this was my first time in the Carolinas in a good long while. Just getting off the plane into the Charlotte airport was enough to make my heart burst with joy - hearing southern accents all around me, not being the only one saying y'all, seeing glorious seafood restaurants, seeing Tar Heel State memorabilia in the airport newsstand. I felt the absolute ecstatic joy of being home.
Funnily enough, I experienced the exact same feeling upon landing in LaGuardia. I'm sure part of it was the joy of knowing we were headed back to our own tiny, humble apartment after two weeks of being (very well taken care of) house guests, but it was more than that. New York is just as much my home as the South - they just nourish different parts of me. It's exhilarating, comforting, and frankly kind of weird that I can feel such deep love and attachment for two parts of the world as vitally different as these are.
Another thing I find that happens when I travel these days is that my meditation practice tends to become consistent again. It strikes me as really funny, considering that usually travel completely throws things out of whack. No matter what gets thrown aside or altered with travel - eating habits, exercise, etc - my meditation either stays consistent or becomes consistent once again. I think part of it has to do with the fact that, as an introvert, my batteries sometimes get very drained if I don't get any time to myself throughout the day. If I guarantee myself 10 minutes before breakfast to just sit (or in the late afternoon, as was my habit with the LeVasseur's), I'm much more comfortable spending all the livelong day in the presence of the wonderful people I'm visiting. It also acts as a solid way to ground myself amidst the upheaval and change that travel brings.
Now that I'm back home, I'm rededicating myself to a seated practice every morning. Ten minutes before breakfast is all it takes, and I'm home again.