Just over two months ago, I made my way to Washington, D.C. on a train alone.
It always amazes me how life throws you bones. I won passes to a yoga conference in Arlington and I truly don’t even recall entering the raffle. The email appeared on an August day and it was just what I needed once October rolled around.
This fall proved to be one that I bumped up against my edges more times than I felt comfortable with. With two major transitions for my children (to Kindergarten and Preschool) coupled with Sean adding a part-time writing job that involved deadlines to his already full-time workload, I felt crumbly and crackly. Too many transitions for just a few short weeks. But we made it through!
Here’s what I can remember from my adventure…
When I’m out of the house and out of my norm (In this season of my life, I spend most of my time taking care of little children at home and working at home), I marvel at how many people I share this world with. SERIOUSLY how MANY people. I feel like I’m seeing with new eyes when I’m out and alone. A major reframe.
How have I missed all of this activity?
Observing people in motion, in a hurry, in a flurry…on their way.
I remember vividly feeling this way once I started working in the city again after my maternity leave – as if I’d been in the slow lane and somehow was propelled on a highway but I was in a wagon.
Where’s everybody going? I thought.
I live in a bubble of simplicity and all I long for is simplicity yet I don’t even realize that’s my life until I step into the complex web that is the world.
Here’s a note I wrote to sean from the trip:
I’m terribly sorry for being so selfish & so dramatic.
I really miss you guys. It’s excruciating to be away & has been all day but I’m sure this is healthy for all of us. I love you!
After my SEPTA/Amtrak adventure, I arrived in Washington’s Union Station and hopped the D.C. city bus to Adams Morgan. My dad never drove when we were kids, so it usually feels most natural to hop on a crowded city bus and settle in for the ride. I always think of it as the best tour in a new city – the windows are so BIG on the bus!
I was super nerdy and excited as I entered the High Road hostel with my yoga mat. Everyone was so youthful and hipster. I didn’t care how much I didn’t fit in! I checked in and headed out for dinner and beer with my journal and I adored every second. I love dining out alone and I always thought that was the best part of work travel.
I came back to the hostel to snuggle up alone on my top bunk, read and write. It was 8pm on a bustling street in Adams Morgan and I had a feeling I’d need my earplugs.
I was the first one asleep and the first one to leave my 6 person dorm at 6am the next day. I walked to a breakfast spot and jumped over trash and rats from the partying that ended just a few hours prior. I squealed and gagged. It was disgusting. I started to miss home and thought of my treasured early morning ritual in my little piece of the planet.
After coffee and a breakfast I’d rather forget, I checked in with my people who were getting ready to hit the soccer fields for the Saturday morning games. Ping…awww man. I missed them.
Hopped my ride to Arlington where I spent the day with yogis in a university setting and also had my photos taken! Part of the winning the trip was winning a yoga photo shoot! It was too much fun.
All photos from here down are by Mina Habibi.
I remember a loving-kindness focused class that had me in tears as we circled with our hands resting in the center of the next person’s back.
I remember a class on Spiritual Activism that challenged the way equality is defined and measured. I remember being encouraged to think about who we are vs. who we think we are.
I remember having oh so much fun with the amazing photographer Mina!
But most importantly, I remember the clarity I got just by being away from my normal life for 24 hours.
I spent three uninterrupted hours quietly making my way back to Philadelphia. Thinking about my time away and listening to two of my favorite podcasts. The first one was this one. And the second one was this one.
That second one really made me remember what I was thinking about the night prior – how much privilege I have had my entire life. Stories like these make me motivated to keep going and when I think it’s too much, to simply remember all of the resources that I have access to, to use them and be grateful for them, but to also be the resource for someone else.
Everything that had worn me down in the weeks leading up to the trip still remained once I’d returned home, but everything inside of me had shifted.