Halifax, Nova Scotia
That's the easy answer to the question that I have received in a few e-mails from people wondering both where I am physically and where my blog posts for the past few months are.
Well, first of all, I have to say thank you for reading my blog during my travels of the past year - it has really been beautiful to find out how many people followed my path and thought about me while I was gone.
The Cobequid Basin
I am actually spending most of my time in Upper Economy, Nova Scotia, where my Dad and Carolyn have a beautiful house sitting atop dramatic cliffs that fall 50 feet to the Cobequid Basin, part of the Bay of Fundy. This enormous stretch of mud flats (at low tide) and creamy white caps (high tide) is famed for having the highest tides in the world.
I spend my days marveling at the stunning beauty of the bay, trying in vain to gain some respite from the black flies, gnats and mosquitoes, which are legion, and practicing to be on a chain gang. Seriously (almost)!
Dad has a great love for physical labour, and considers its truest form to be embodied by the shovel, the wheelbarrow and mounds of dirt and rock. We are currently digging out about 30% of the front driveway with the aim of softening the approach to the house by replacing the gravel with luscious lawn. I measure my days by the wheelbarrow, with 15-20 loads comprising an average turn of the earth
Where Am I
But this is really a much more complicated question than can be answered with geographic details or numbers of barrow loads.
I spent a year in India and Nepal, wandering the countryside and exploring new areas of life such as kirtan (devotional singing), yoga, massage, meditation, dance and energy work. These were, as the "pages" of my blog indicate, inspiring experiences that seeded dreams of how to incorporate them into my life.
And some of them, like yoga, are in my life in a very tangible manner. I have found a great yoga Podcast called YOGAmazing (www.yogamazing.com) and do workouts at least once a day. What is harder to put a finger on, however, is how the less tangible experiences I had on the road are manifesting themselves.
For instance, has Kirtan had an impact on me? I know it has the potential to have a significant impact if I follow the path further, but what is the net result of the month or two of exposure now that I am back in the "real world." What is the impact of it if I taste it and find it nourishing, but then do not feed on it?
The New World
What I find interesting in this context is how much North America has changed since I left it a little more than a year ago. The whole continent is abuzz with the environmental messages that have quietly sung in the ear for decades, and everyone is talking about clean energy, organic eating and the need to do something to change our society and its impact on the planet.
Of course this is in keeping with longer gestating "trend" of wider acknowledgment of lifestyle choices such as "well-being," but what I find even more interesting is how paper thin it remains in most cases. Society has seen the impact of our lifestyle vis-a-vis the health of our planet and is tasting the alternative (at least those that are packaged and advertised attractively), but is the collective diet of our society changing in favour of more nourishment?
Call me cynical, but people are concerned about the planet these days because gas costs too much, not because the planet or our society is in trouble. - if gas fell to 70 or 80 cents per liter again this entire shift in consciousness would evaporate.
So please call me cynical...