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Observing Aversion

Updated: Jun 10, 2023

Be open they said. I'm so open I said. ...Im not so sure.

I had to watch Eat, Pray, Love last week to give me some sense of grounding. I'm in India for the first time and am overturned with a whirlwind of nebulous, violently-shifting, tumultuous feelings.

In french, there is a word "dépayser" from the word 'pays' meaning country and 'de' to mean from it or in this case removed from it. The amount of people who looked at me with sympathy as if I was going to undergo some sort of psychotherapy when I told them I was going to India saying "tu vas être dépayser"- you are going to feel displaced- was unbelievable. Isn't it bizarre the moments when we come face to face with the reality that, in fact, we are not that different from each other? For ex, everyone having the same reaction to me when said that I would be going to India. And then I think "how?" How can so many different people, from different places, speaking different languages all have a reaction that becomes mundane and predictable? Is this learned? And then I think, is this perhaps, learned reaction, learned association that we regurgitate only a ploy to make us think that we are so different from one another. This regurgitated information that in the mystical, magical, mysterious India people are doing yoga asanas from dawn till dusk, fasting for 300 days, and eating raw spices that are so hot they make your eyes come out your nose is only a comfort and reinforcement of the idea that people here are so different from people there.

Being here and being depaysé, feeling displaced and unrooted may have only been an unacknowledged connection to the notion that people here are super different from people there and once I began to let go, began to go outside on my own, get coffee by myself, go shopping alone did I recognise all the same processes that I have lived. The difference is superficial. The differences are in weather, clothing, skin colour, language, daily routines, food to some extent (less now due to globalisation). But more profoundly, similarities reside such as hunger, love, friendship, a sense of purpose. I think many people know that we are all the same however the physical, superficial differences can be miles thick that finding our grounding in a new place can take time. During this time, this in-between period of 'not belongingness' -there is a suffering that occurs. During this time, I was suffering. I was asking myself innumerable times "what am I doing here?" I isolated myself, choosing to stay in my room unless I was with others. One day, I sat and watched Eat, Pray, Love. I felt so depaysé that I found comfort in the idea of watching someone else struggle in a situation in which i saw various similarities. Now did it help watching Julia Roberts go from a european country to India?...maybe. There was some kind of recognition in my own travels going from living in a european country to India. In the first scene in India Roberts is in a taxi going from airport to ashram. Before we even see, we hear. The traffic resembling tetris -never before felt than being in India that tetris even as a concept was a threat to my personal security.

The process of watching the shift on screen I think helped enable me to process the shift in real life.

I'm doing better since then, as in more mentally stable.

I made friends the other day, when I went out for coffee. Alone.

There's a type of magic to be found in being alone.

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