It’s on. My sweetie and I have (finally!) been accepted as volunteers at Ratna Ling center. I am so excited! I can’t wait get out of Texas, and back to the Bay Area. It’s been about eight or nine years since I’ve seen my friends there, so I am pretty eager. Leaving Austin will be the easiest move (emotionally) I have ever done. I’m more than ready for a change of scenery, weather, food, people… all of it. I’m just ready. I’ve met some nice people here and I had a great job, but that isn’t enough for me to want to stay. I need a little more in my life than a job. I need adventure.
Here is the plan. We leave Austin on the 30th and head back towards Houston. We’ll crash there through the holidays and then drive out to California in early January. I hope to celebrate my birthday with some of my favorite people, eat some good mexican food, and do a little karaoke before I become a vegetarian for six months. Once we get there we will have one month “probation period” where we see if we like it, and they see if we are a good fit. I foresee zero issues. I am a hard worker, I like a good challenge, and I am excited for an experience that will force me to learn something new.
The center is about three hours north of San Francisco, nestled in the Sonoma mountains. We’ve been told to be on the look out for deer, cows, rabbits and other various animals. There are trails to hike, and a beach within a four mile walk. The last time I had a four mile walk was when I unknowingly hopped on the wrong bus (Austin Texas, in its infinite wisdom, put two busses with the same number on the same route… and it picks up on the same side of the street at the same stop.) and had to walk 3.5 miles home. I saw condos, cars, people waiting for the next bus, and lots of fast food. Not a beach in sight.
As beautiful as our new surroundings will be, this isn’t going to be a six month holiday. We will have work assignments – six days a week. “We have 3 projects on site at Ratna Ling. The book bindery, the retreat center and the publishing company. We encourage all participants to be open and willing to volunteer wherever the need is greatest.” Last I heard I was going to be put to work at the publishing company. Seems fitting. Here is what a daily schedule looks like:
6:00 – 7:00 am Kum Nye Tibetan yoga (optional) in the conference center
6:10 – 6:55 sitting meditation (optional) in the Meditation Hall
8:00 am Start of the work day – morning circle, announcements and chanting
10:00– 10:30am break
10:30am – 12:30pm work practice
12:30- 1:30pm lunch
1:30 -3:30pm work practice
3:30 -4:00pm Break
4:00 – 5:45pm work practice
6:00 -7:00 pm Class
So as you can see, this won’t be a spa holiday where I am doing yoga and taking pictures of deer in my spare time. This will be work and study. Two things I excel at. And I am ready to excel. This last year in Austin was a reminder of why I left America in the first place. It didn’t take long for me to get in a work routine and realize that I was in the same position I was when I left for Prague. I was doing ordinary work in an ordinary city. Again. The only way out of a cycle is to break out. And that’s what I’m doing. Because, I’m not an ordinary person. I am an extraordinary person who is on this planet to do extraordinary things. You get one chance at living and I for one don’t want to waste that chance on something as ordinary as a job. I want to live, travel, taste, adventure, learn, color, paint, write and enjoy my life – and make it as extraordinary as possible.