I’ve been feeling like a total nomadic gypsy lately; constantly in route to another destination and never being able to just settle into one space I can call my own. Most of the 4.5 years that my boyfriend and I have been together has consisted of me travelling back and forth between my mother’s house (where I still primarily live for the time being) and his house. A couple of years ago, in the middle of one of my bouts of frustration concerning this going back and forth craziness, I realized that this living-out-of-a-duffel-bag-lifestyle has been a part of my life since my parents got divorced when I was very young. Instead of packing up my belongings to head over to my father’s house for the week, I’m packing a few things to spend time with my boyfriend for a day or two at a time. I know I am choosing this way of living for very good reasons, but it’s tiring!
While I have always been drawn to gypsies and secretly like the idea that my current lifestyle is the closest thing I can come to ever being a gypsy, I am a serious homebody at heart. And soon my nomadic lifestyle will change. My boyfriend and I have some plans in the works and I couldn’t be more thrilled about the idea of inhabiting ONE place. While my days of constantly uprooting myself are soon coming to an end, I’m realizing that I have learned and could learn more of, what yogi gurus call aparigraha, to be free from hoarding or collecting. Something that gypsies learned centuries ago. They take only the essentials and keep a few special knick-knacks they find along their way that will eventually be left behind and replaced with some new-found objects. It’s this cycle of throwing away what isn’t needed and making room for new things that serve a purpose in my life that has been a lesson that I haven’t entirely grasped yet in my “travels,” if I may call them that. I’ve learned I don’t need to bring three pairs of boots to my boyfriend’s or the last four seasons of How I Met Your Mother with me. Although those things somehow make me feel safe and cozy, because they are things that I can call mine, they don’t need to go with me. I do feel that I need some objects in my life that give me a sense of contentment, but it is the cultivation of non-attachment to those things that will ultimately be better for my soul. So that when I lose my favorite necklace or someone steals my lap top, I can still be ME and live my life.
Here’s an appropriate quote from B.K.S Iyengar in Light on Yoga, on the topic of non-hoarding: “the yogi makes his life as simple as possible and trains the mind not to feel the loss or the lack of anything. Then everything he really needs will come to him by itself at the proper time” (35-36). Perfection! In keeping with the gypsy theme and their mastering of aparigraha (yogi’s and gypsies go well together, I feel), here is some of my favorite photography inspired by those earth-wandering gypsies.
And here are some of Iain Mckell’s beautiful photographs of modern-day gypsies: