I'm home. And after a couple of days delay, back at my desk, looking for words and wondering where to start the story. The theme running around the blogs these days seems to be movement, shift, process, journey -- the stretching of boundaries in order to grow the Self. It's funny how the energy flows among and between us all, seeming to create these themes in waves. Well, stretching and movement, shift and change, widening of boundaries certainly provide a framework for my own travels.
We arrived back in the U.S. on Tuesday, home on Wednesday, and this morning marks the first day my body clock has some idea of what time it truly is. Travel across time zones exhausts the body, and this trip exhausted my mind. It takes a bit to recover from the exhilaration. Re-integrating into my "r"eal life means dealing with the aftershocks from the seismic event of parental absence. Grounding my kids and holding them until their world stops trembling means reaching down for something deep inside of me in order to find the energy somewhere beyond my own aching bones. Today, finally, the tremors have stopped and we all feel steady on our feet again.
But travel, and all that comes with it, has shifted something deep inside of me.
First a bit about the trip. We traveled with a group from Lucerne, Switzerland up into the southern tip of Germany, through the Bavarian and Tyrolean countryside, to the hills of Salzburg and the cosmopolitan landscape of Vienna. We toured castles and cathedrals. We walked across bridges that have been in existence longer than our country. We stood where Mozart and Wagner, Jung and Freud, kings and tyrants have trod. We marveled at the breathtaking scenery and sat mesmerized at the recreation of a desperate plea for salvation that has turned into a recurring act of worship. We listened to amazingly intelligent and informed guides recount layers of history I didn't even know existed. We ate and drank in excellent company in the shadows of the Alps and the Vienna Opera House. And we did our best to soak it all in.
The whole of it simply overwhelmed me at times. I had a minor breakdown in Salzburg, so completely inundated that I literally shut down. I had to take a look at my limits and how my inability to ask for what I need pushes me into a space inside myself I do not like to go. I recognized in myself how important times of solitude and quiet have become and how my Self runs dry and becomes depleted without those times. I became more in tune with my ability to hold toxic judgment at bay and accept and integrate true connection. I faced how my need for external validation keeps me stuck in situations that only damage my soul. And I realized how much the connection and community I do have, both physical and virtual, keeps me grounded and how much I missed it while I traveled.
Taking this trip involved taking a risk and pushing the boundaries, for me. To many, a trip like this would be nothing, no big deal, a simple adventure or a pedestrian occurrence. But for me, it was a milestone. A marker in the journey of how far I've come from a West Texas farm girl who only knew the world was bigger than the states surrounding Texas because I watched Dan Rather or Tom Brokaw on the evening news. Moving across central Europe, seeing my deep history mirrored in faces but speaking in tongues, standing on the layers of history, lifting my eyes toward the divine in sacred spaces leaves me without adequate words. I experienced something deep. And I felt calm and assured and grounded, not uncomfortable or foreign or afraid. And I want to go back. I will.
There is more, these are only the highlights. I have a feeling I will be processing the meaning of this trip for a long, long time. So if you are interested, stay tuned. For now I have an alpine mountain of laundry to do.