observations on living

relativelyLocal swadhyaya - observations on living

As I explore and experiment with various ways of living and being, my observations become a source or muse for my writing.

Letting my words come forth into expression on to notebook pages keeps the ideas my head clear.

I think I’ve kept a journal since I was old enough to hold a pencil (somewhat) correctly. In my stash of old belongings kept in a Brooklyn Navy Yard storage unit, I have a trunk full of notebooks. I have almost half as many notebooks filled since I shifted to India in 2010. Slowly I’m going through and typing things out.

elephantJournal_whoChecksDiary_LessonsInVulnerability22Feb2017 “Surprisingly, I find an unfamiliar relief in feeling safe to share and allow someone else to hear my heart—the dialogues in my head that otherwise fell quietly in line among the rest, kept locked up in that unchecked trunk of diaries.

And with this new practice of writing for an audience, I am beginning to recognize the inherent need in all of us to be truly heard. I witness the opening of my heart, directly related to the crumbling of my protective walls—so carefully constructed over decades of collecting and holding on to little grains of hurt, which were never swept away. And I realize this vulnerability, however initially scary, is an even more crucial ingredient to my spiritual growth and progress on this path of sadhana.

Sharing this piece of writing with you all now is the first swing of the sledgehammer, initiating a long overdue crumble.” ~ excerpt from Lessons in Vulnerability from a 13 Year Old Housemate in a Small Himalayan Village, Published on elephantJournal

Nicole Jaquis is relativelyLocal and feeling like a spiritualAlien dealing with reverse culture shock, having recently returned to the United States, after 80 consistent months in India.

Documentary Filmmaking and photography first brought her to India in late 2000; where eventually as the search for good characters became the search for good gurus, the lessons got deeper and deeper, and the filmmaker / photographer / writer (in her) got so engrossed in being (present) in the moment, soaking up all the wisdom she could digest, that actually doing sadhana began to take precedence over documenting it.

Writing about these experiences to a mostly Western audience, her predicament is similar to where she often finds herself in India. Being Bi-lingual (Hindi/English) she instantly becomes the bridge, as her Indian friends continue to send her to “foreign-explain” all the nuanced etiquettes, when they see a newbie doing something culturally uncool. Because they imagine it may come across softer coming from someone who’s already made that mistake. Let her save you the trouble.


Below is a selection of some of the things I think and have written about, that I’m willing to share with you.

wanderer was I - www.relativelylocal.com

Wanderer was I… before one is ready to be a yoga student

As a wanderer... Our names have been changed so many times we begin to cling to our original crumbling identity ...
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Five Years ago Today - ustrasana - www.relativelylocal.com

Five Years ago Today…

Five years ago today, January 24th, having cleared my debts (student loans & credit cards), quit my job (running a ...
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why do we multitask?

I sit in my crowded room, mostly taken up by the double bed, which actually doubles, shall I say triples ...
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india is my mirror - relativelyLocal - self portrait, Jaipur © 2012

For Now India is My Mirror [poem]

For now India is my mirror, reflecting upon me the western culture, I left behind which shaped all the ways ...
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Key to a Simple Life - relativelyLocal.com

Four Keys to a Simple Life

My cousin was writing a book. Now is the time to make peace with your past, so you don’t mess ...
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ideal education 1.2

[first written as part of my application to volunteer at Ashram Paryavaran Vidyalaya] What is your conception of a quality ...
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/ APV, observations
9.11 memorial alters

Reflections on 9.11 Through the Perspective of My First Trip to India

Somehow in my reflections on 9.11, the idea of pursuing the very same American Dream that so many Indians I ...
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who checks my diary? For snapshots of once private thoughts, previously recorded by hand on notebook pages, turned into an experiment in vulnerability, follow @whochecksyourdiary on Instagram!



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