Looking Back at India
A year ago today I landed in Bombay, ready to pursue my career in Ayurvedic Medicine. I expected to grow as I always do when I travel, but I wasn't quite ready for the immense soul expansion that happened.
The chaos of India really got to me, it only took a few days for me to start to question what I was doing there as I looked for an escape route. I remember calling my parents and telling them "I don't want to be here anymore, but I don't want to go anywhere else." I struggled to find myself within the tethering contradictions that encompassed every detail of Indian life. I had a moment where I finally reached surrender, to "be the river" as my friends insisted, and it wasn't until that moment that Everything shifted. I started to understand people in a whole new way, not just Indians, but human nature. I started to really look at people, to search for something beyond in a way a hadn't really done before. I saw my life with different eyes and my heart began to expand in a really fascinating way. I have never really been the same since that moment, and I'm honestly not even quite sure who I was before I became who I am.
India doesn't give you anything..In fact, it will take everything you have. Being there doesn't enlighten you, make you more spiritual, make you realize fascinating realities or bring you the inner quietude we all long for. It's actually quite the opposite. It will break you if you aren't careful. Being there will challenge every ounce of common sense you have in you, it will make you fight yourself, it will make you face your demons and stress you out in ways no other place in the entire world can do. It is the place of everything & nothing at the same time, of complete contradictions, heartbreaking insights, mystical coincidences & SO much incredible beauty. It is complete tremendous chaos wrapped in a rainbow of rituals, ancient ruins, tradition, colors, and if you can sit in this chaos long enough, you experience magic.
What you get comes from who you choose to become, from your CHOICE in perspective, from who you decide you're going to be at any given moment, from truly letting go. What India gives you is the opportunity to face yourself, and in doing so, you become who you really are. THAT is where the magic lies. You are allowed experiences / opportunities / people / challenges that exist only there. Will you judge or will you borrow and take a walk in their shoes? Will you kneel down to help or will you be hold onto your fears? Will you expand or will you contract? Will you grow or will you honor your pride? Will you laugh at the chaos, or will you embrace it?
Life is like that I suppose..But India is the place that propels you forward into who you really are and makes you face yourself, without really giving you a choice. [Growth is kind of a choice. You grow eventually, but you can avoid it for some time if you like. In India, you are asked to grow and adjust, and you must. You simply don't have the choice- and it's a really good thing.]
You learn to see life differently, to see at a person's soul rather than their appearance, that material things TRULY don't matter but CONNECTING to people is ALL that matters, that every choice you make changes who you are- even if no one sees you make it, that bathing from a bucket is actually really fun despite how cold the water may be, that treating people with kindness changes YOU more that it changes them, that you are always standing EXACTLY where you are supposed to be. India is a place of chaotic enchantment. I remember seeing cows walking down the street and thinking, "That's so funny, how can this be?" I now look at these city streets and think, "We could use some cows here." India changes you, if you are paying attention. You learn compassion, you learn patience, you learn acceptance, you learn to give, you learn to expect nothing, you learn to accept everything, you learn that things will never be as you want them to be, but will always be as they should be, that you can control nothing but there is a great peace in allowing things to happen naturally, that the glow in someone's eyes when they look at you is real and it is universal. You learn so many things about everything, subtle things you don't even realize you're learning, like saying hello and goodbye by honoring someone's light. "Namaste." The light in me honors the light in you. It doesn't get much more beautiful than that.
You can feel lost when you come home after spending time in India because you kind of no longer fit into your old life..you've grown so much. Not everyone will understand the new you but there is so much more inside of you now that wasn't there before. And there is just no suitcase big enough to carry all of the gratitude you bring home with you.
Seeing Magic is a choice, and making that simple choice changes everything.
Namaste. xo, Helen
[You don't have to go to India to learn this, but I recommend it. It is one of the most incredible places on the planet and everyone should see it's enchantment for themselves.]