I am avoiding the ’empty next’ syndrome completely. My son’s bed is barely cold! I have rented my newly remodeled townhouse to a lovely nurse and her dog, stashed the job search strategy and all my belongings in a storage unit, and booked my ticket to Rajasthan. I am joining an ashram in the north west of India – I think the hottest part. Note to self: stop at pharmacy on the way to airport for sunscreen….lots and lots.

My motivation for this drastic change seems pretty straight forward to me – I want a healthier lifestyle, filled with yoga, writing, family, travel, and organic food. I want to learn, grow, flourish and share. After so many years struggling to create this lifestyle in America, I’m giving up and going to find it elsewhere. I don’t know if I’m coming back. Don’t hate me ““ it was inevitable. Of course, my family is confused and resentful. And Chaka is terrified about his first air travel….poor baby – that’s him in the box asking for help.

Have you ever been to a place that was so familiar, so comfortable, it nearly convinced you that Karma/rebirth is real? That’s what happened when I visited Rajasthan in February with my yoga class. I’m Irish so cold climates suit me best – mountains, grass and green trees. I thought the desert scene and heat would be so alien that it would literally make me crazy, or sick. But instead, a calmness ebbed over me slowly. As I sat in the bus and watched the landscape movie whiz by, I knew it all. My eyes were somehow expecting the trees to be shaped like Dr. Seuss truffala trees, the women’s charcoal eyes to smile at me through their veils, and the herds of cows parading with a common entitlement along the shoulder of the road. My ears welcomed home the sounds of ladies’ bangles chanting to my memories, the grannies laughing and laughing with their husbands, and the pernicious drumming at one all-night jagran or another, forcing its way into my heart – “Align yourself” they sing, “Align yourself with the cosmos!” Not a mysterious, foreign culture at all, but the air my lungs had craved, the great big hug from the world I had waited for all these lonely years.