Well, I’ve officially been back in Atlanta for one week, and as I’ve slowly re-entered my life I’ve been making notes of things I newly appreciate, have noticed or learned since my journey through India. This trip was so incredible and filled with such intense learnings that I’m certain it will take me months to digest it. I’m already seeing little ways it has influenced my personal practice, and I can’t wait to see how that trickles into my teaching. To start us off, let’s do a Top 10 List…

Top 10 Things I Appreciate Upon My Return (in no particular order):

10. The freedom to get in your car and go anywhere you want, whenever you want

9. The intense and profound gratitude to come from a culture and socioeconomic class that allows me access to any food I want, to marry whomever I want, and to chose a profession that lights me up. Not things to take for granted. Ever.

8. On this same vein, I can not believe how much STUFF I own. I hope that I can remember to bring a much more discriminating eye and appreciation for each purchase moving forward. Seriously, $100 at Target. Not happening again.

7. Even the worst rush hour on 75/85 is better than trying to navigate a traffic circle in India. (I wrote this BEFORE snowpocalypse and it is no longer true unfortunately) I am amending this to say: There may be bad drivers on the road, but I still appreciate our beautifully organized red/green lights, stop signs and clearly marked lanes. Sure they could be better, but they could also be non-existent.

6. Our culture is incredibly good at hiding the ugly: garbage, poverty, death… It is not a bad thing to see these issues directly and understand that you live among them. I appreciate this awareness.

5. I may not have rhythm or be able to carry a decent tune but music, whether mantra or classic rock, stirs my soul like nothing else. I will turn it up loud way more often.

4. On this same note, I will stop feeling guilty about playing music I love in classes. It may not be “traditional” but if it moves me, chances are it moves some of you too. And, hell, a real-life-Swami told us that music helps students to access their souls. He probably didn’t mean Bruce Springsteen but then again, he didn’t specify…

3. Leaving your significant other for a month is hard and scary and tearful, but it is worth every second with what you learn about your relationship.

2. To be invited into a stranger’s home for chai is one of the most meaningful experiences I had. I will extend this invitation to others now. Why do we have to go out for coffee?

1. In India, anything you wanted to do took at least half a day. Going to the Post Office was quite literally a 3 hour experience. If you plan your days with this mindset then you never end up feeling rushed and defeated. Today, I will go to the Post Office. Tomorrow, I will teach my first class of the year. Once you accomplish your one goal for the day everything else is gravy. 2014 will be my year of no more than 1 plan for each day.