I did not go to India as a seeker. It seems that many people do, and I can see why. It has that vibrational energy that feels like being ‘present’ is the only way you could actually manage to exist there. You either leave India with it deeply embedded in your soul or you leave India and you never come back – pretty sure there is no inbetween. India has been on my proverbial ‘bucket list’ for well over a decade and there it remains. I could never imagine going the rest of my life without a return trip to this magical place. It was life changing, but not in the sense that I came home and I wanted to change anything. I left India with the most immense amount of love for myself and for my life.
“Why do you laugh so much?”
That’s what our tuk tuk driver said to us after we’d had several days worth of daily adventures with him as our driver. “Pardon?” “Why do you laugh so much with your friend?” (insert blank look and a laugh from me) “I’m don’t know. We aren’t laughing at you (so Canadian of me to say – wouldn’t want him to feel self conscious). Life is fabulous, don’t you think?” (insert blank look from him) “I guess”, he says.
What wasn’t there to laugh about? – especially in a tuk tuk! If you looked out the front window you couldn’t shake that feeling that death was imminent (from a head on rickshaw crash … with a car/moped/motorbike or cow). We quickly learned that left and right glances made for a much calmer ride. Indian drivers are so peaceful (in a crazy, holy crap-I-think-I-might-die kind of way). We are such freaks in North America. Whenever someone is too slow to turn, accidentally pulls in too close to you or makes some other traffic horror, we feel so slighted and enraged. Its as if that person was put on this Earth to ruin your day. Hilarious, really. I guess when you share your country with 1.2 billion people you learn to let the little things go. I brought that one back with me.
“Whatever you think you need to do, do the opposite.”
I’m not sure if our yoga teacher adapted this saying from Paul Arden’s book “Whatever You Think, Think the Opposite”, but regardless, this became her message and our Indian experience. Whatever we attempted to do, well … it was even better when India brought us a different experience. Dominica and I ‘intended’ on going to India to yoga ourselves into “sculpted arms and svelte buttocks” and instead, we found ourselves barely standing on our yoga mats. WTF? In fact, if you told us we’d go to India to do 3+ hours of daily yoga that mostly resembled simple asanas with straps/bolsters/breathing/breathing and more breathing, we’d probably would’ve said ‘no thank you’. That would’ve been a shame because we found out more about the inner workings of our mind, energy and body than we ever would’ve if we had ashtanga’d ourselves to death. Turns out, my yoga practice has taken a giant step forward since returning home. Apparently I’ve got to slow down? (hmmm, is this a recurring theme or is it just me?).
Don’t answer that.
While in India Dominica and I had MANY experiences with ayurvedic physicians, therapists, massage therapists and such … and all I can say is “wow” “amazing” “loved it”. The MOST memorable award goes to my first Ayurvedic Massage experienced on Day 3 of my trip. Thank God I had read this hilarious blog post before I went to India (http://dreamgolive.wordpress.com/2011/01/14/slip-sliding-away-in-wayanad-day-two/). It’s her personal account of her first Ayurvedic massage. IF I hadn’t read this and kind of knew what I could possibly experience I might’ve left the room screaming, crying or laughing (or all 3). I have to hand it to Dominica though. When she emerged from her massage the day before mine all she simply and smugly said was, “It was great! Can’t wait to talk to you about it after yours.”
To give you the short story, it was amazing/slightly horrifying (in a body conscious kind of way … IF I was to let my mind go there … which I don’t) and ‘enlightening’ – all in one. Let’s just say that they don’t have the same kind of gowning procedures we have here in Canada. Ok, that’s fine. I can ignore the fact that I’m disrobing in front of the therapist (for this massage and for every other massage I had from any therapist in India, btw) and now I’m in my rather small skivvies without a sheet. (I believe I reconciled it in my head with the thought, “when in Rome …”).
Anyhow, I settled into the chair while he (yes, HE) dropped warm oil all over my hair and head and began to massage it into particular points and areas of my cranium. Oh, this is kind of nice. It was. Up until he smacked the crown of my head so hard my jaw rattled. WTF? Did that just happen? OMG. 3 minutes down, 117 to go. Shortly thereafter I made my way onto the table where at least 2 L of oil was placed all over my skin and I was rapidly thrown north … then south, slapped on my head, feet and shoulders and pressed with alarming specificity onto some point on the arch of my foot that made me want to haul off a swift kick to his head. NOTE: I hope he doesn’t read this. He was actually really warm and ‘professional’ (by India standards, LOL). But as a Canadian, it WAS an experience. The piece de resistance was when I was then on my back (again sans sheet … which is probably a godsend since it was 40 degrees C), left tits up while he exited the room for a moment. When he came back in wielding a hose I contemplated bolting, but figured Dominica would’ve warned me had there been anything I really needED to BE aware of (or at least that’s the story I told myself). Turns out he just wanted to steam clean my body head-to-toe. That’s normal, right?
I’m sure you wouldn’t actually believe me if I said it was kind of relaxing. Maybe ‘relaxing’ isn’t the right word. I think memorable and interesting would be more accurate. When I swapped stories with some of my other comrades at the dinner table I soon realized that yes, indeed, this is typical of this type of massage and I wasn’t having a “Friends” moment (you remember when Joey sent Chandler to his tailor?) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fANwTBK3Ylg
Not every experience with practitioners was quite so obscure, but it was extremely enlightening and reminded me yet again the infinite intelligence of the mind and body. 40 seconds into visiting the Ayurvedic Physician and have her feel my pulse she proceeded to tell me EVERYTHING about myself that even I didn’t want to admit. Damn girl – You Are GOOD! All that from my pulse? All of these experiences (with health practitioners/fellow travellers and residents of India) gave me such an immense feeling of gratitude for every person I encountered along the way that reminded me of something I knew about myself – needed to be reminded about myself – invited me to discover about myself and above all, love about myself.
And did I mention we laughed our behinds off? (not sure why I’m feeling like I shouldn’t swear at this point. I’m sorry mom)
There is no way I could begin to explain our experience. I’ll leave it at this (as I’m sure your eyes are already glazed over). I am so grateful and thankful to my husband and kids who so graciously made it easy for me. I’m always thankful to my amazing friends and coworkers who step up and support my home, my family and my practice whenever I leave. This time, I am mostly grateful for my girlfriend Dominica. I have watched this woman grab onto life with such passion and elegance. For those of you who haven’t heard me speak of her, we have been friends for well over 25 years and in those years we’ve watched each other grow up, graduate, marry, divorce, marry again ( … that was me), have kids, have cancer (… that was her) and live life full out. Just like I told the tuk tuk driver – LIFE IS FABULOUS.