Over the last couple of months, I took a break from blogging, sharing, and being a part of the constant hyperactivity of the internet, and it was probably the best decision I could have made. During my four years of studying abroad, I became so accustomed to that unordinary feeling of culture shock that when I finally return home for an indefinite period of time I was hit with the biggest culture shock yet. I wouldn’t say that I forgot what it meant to be a Midwestern American, but rather that I had spent so much time trying to rid myself of any judgment (to make traveling easier) that once I got home all of these experiences began to impact my perception at once. I blame it on myself for a lack of adequate reflection time. For four years my mind was always on what was next; what we were doing in class next week, what my plans would be for the next holiday, where I would be living during the next year. It was mentally and emotionally exhilarating and exhausting. I loved the feeling of knowing that today will impact tomorrow, but when you live like that you forget one of the most important aspects of life: staying present.
So during these past months, while I have left my computer alone for days at a time, I tried to let all of these experiences from this past four years finally effect me. I tried to let some of the most impactful things sink in because at the end of June, on my last flight home, I felt like a container filled to the brim with liquids that had yet to settle in accordance to their density. Heavy experiences, like my visit to the tombs in Srebrenica, weighed down on me in ways that made me forget the peace efforts exhibited in Japan post-WWII. Saying goodbye to friends and places distracted me from the good time we did spend together. All of these experiences swirled together in that container, disproportionally representing those years I spent abroad. All the commotion was enough to make me sick, so maybe that is why I spent many of those first weeks back home engulfed in books with fictional realities far from my own. But it was not until I realized that internal movement and admitted that I needed to take the time to let the liquids settle that I began to feel more like myself again.
My first step in this quest, beginning in early July, was to more seriously take up yoga. Since my pre-teen days, I have practiced yoga here and there, primarily for stress relief and exercise. This time around I practiced for those reasons too, but more so for the realization that I had too much commotion within me. I wouldn’t say this outlet is for everyone, but I do see why people say there is a power within meditation.
Every day I would help to settle those metaphorical liquids through yoga. Some days I would wake up with such strong memories that with my eyes closed I could have been tricked into thinking I was thrown back in time. During these days especially I focused. I see these resurfacing experiences as ones that have yet to properly settle, and perhaps some of them just never will, but it does help me to look back on these past years in accordance to their impact on me rather than a chaotic mixture of feelings, sights, and sounds.
Everyone has their own mechanism for sorting experiences, whether they realize it or not. And I can see now, that my experiences are more sorted than before, that I will be able to work my way back into the hobbies I once enjoyed so much (like blogging). But I felt as though I needed to share that background before beginning my next chapter with many different stories to tell.
In these next few weeks, I plan to create some posts about a few different issues. It would be difficult not to cover the election period, amongst other current affairs, so I can sort my own thoughts as well as give myself reasoning as to do more research about the big topics of conflict. I also plan to write a bit about the brain and related medical topics (primarily due to my newfound interest in psychology) and also a bit more from sociology that still crosses my mind every now and then. I may write a book review as well, depending on how soon I am able to finish Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, and perhaps a post or two on yoga and the power of consciousness.
With this said, I am looking forward to researching and writing again; I feel my extended break from social media truly allowed me to reassess what I want to spend my time sharing.