When I first arrived in India I knew immediately that the lessons wouldn’t be clear right away. I was sure that they would come, and continue to come, months after I left the country. But there were some early lessons. And it’s the ones that I would have never expected that will forever change my life moving forward.
TRYING TO KEEP CALM INSIDE WHILE THE WORLD AROUND ME NEVER STOPPED
When I told a friend that I would be traveling to India she described the experience a friend of hers had in one word. Intense! As soon as I took my first step out of the New Dehli airport it is the only word that I too, would need to use throughout my stay there. It was like watching a movie in fast-forward. With my duffle bag around my shoulder, I was forced to walk at the pace equivalent to what most people would call jogging as I fought to keep up with my taxi driver.
Growing up and spending time in and around New York City I was used to the fast-paced life. Or at least I thought. As we made our way from the Dehli airport to Rishikesh I experienced a culture shock which I wasn’t prepared for. I was tired, but what I saw around me stole my attention from any feelings of wanting to sleep. The sound of horns constant. Children as young looking as seven years old banging the window begging for food and money. People racing across the street hoping not to be struck by the cars that seemed to only care about their own progress forward. “What the bleep is going on,” I thought to myself.
PERSPECTIVE BETWEEN TWO WORLDS
It was immediately clear that I was taking a lot for granted back in the United States. But I had no way of understanding that until I visited India. The lessons I thought I learned from reading about developing countries do not even come close to comparing to what I experienced my very first day there. New York City felt like a calm place amongst the chaos that litters its streets daily. I missed home. Not because I was homesick, but I felt ignorant of what I thought I knew. I thought about my life and the things I have. I thought about the simplicity of my living and how at times, without consciously realizing, I would still complain. I felt Love in my heart. Compassion for the life I knew and the one that I began to experience just hours earlier. And finally seven hours later I was at the place that I would call home for the next thirty days.
INTENSE! INTENSE! INTENSE!
It was calmer where I stayed, but the intensity was still felt. The village was littered with people, mostly tourists, cows and wild dogs, cars, motorcycles, and scooters, and dirt, smoke, and pollution. The blaring horns didn’t stop. And the energy around me something I was not used to. The yoga training course I attended was just as intense. Fourteen hour days five days a week began to take its toll. And at times it challenged me mentally. I wanted to blog weekly, but with so much happening I didn’t know where to begin. So instead I allowed myself to let go and just be totally present in the experience.
PERFECTION IN THE IMPERFECTION – MY GREATEST LESSONS
Feeling the energy on such a great level from the people and things around me is something I’ve been getting used to. But what I didn’t realize was exactly how I dealt with different energies and personalities on an individual level. During my third week of training, I had a sinus and upper respiratory infection. The pressure between my eyes became so intense that I suffered from headaches for about three days straight. This was the greatest challenge I faced, but also where my greatest lessons were learned.
I had enough of feeling uncomfortable. The pollution levels severe and my health became compromised. And I thought I wanted to leave. I felt irritable and annoyed with the program and people around me. But then I realized something about myself that I never before realized. My at times unrealistic perfectionist mind sought perfection in not just myself, but also the people around me. “Really!?” I thought. Over the past few years, I became so focused on finding people who fit perfectly with my energy that I was pushing aside beautiful human beings. Not in a disrespectful way towards them, but I was disrespecting myself.
I was focusing on how people wouldn’t fit into my lifestyle instead of how they could. And it was one of the greatest lessons I had during my time there. The brightest lightbulb illuminated in my mind and like a switch, I felt extreme gratitude for everyone I was experiencing the journey with as well as those in my life back home. I felt at peace again. A peace I didn’t realize became compromised and temporarily lost. A peace I am happy to have regained control over. And a peace that I look forward to holding close to my heart as I move forward on my personal journey.