India can go from terrible to awful, and then blissful to majestic in a matter of minutes.
I.e. From cow poo, poverty, pollution… to adorable school girls with braided pigtails, and fragrant spices and incense wafting through the air.
Those gorgeous green mountains — that heinous food poisoning.
I think India may have obliterated my senses, and I’m not sure that I’ve recovered in fact.
It’s this hodgepodge of emotions — delight and disgust — that I’m still trying to wrap my brain around. Even now as I write this (a couple weeks since returning,) I have this niggling feeling that I still don’t get it. I don’t get India. Like, I’m still gnawing on it in my brain. Of course, watching videos like this TedTalk by Devdutt Pattanaik, which explain the mythological underpinnings of why cultures behave and believe the way they do, has certainly helped.
So, for example, Indian culture is centered around cyclical views of life, like reincarnation, and non-linear and contextual thinking. Oh, and uncertainty… what Devdutt explains as this idea of “everything is relative… sort of.” This way of viewing the world and existence translates into what some would consider a disorganized, ad hoc, ambiguous, and subjective way of operating.
We’ll start at 9am. (They start at 11am.)
We usually have class at 8:30am, except when we don’t.
No, there’s no syllabus, we’ll tell you later how it’s going to go down.
Hence, Ann gets a bit exasperated.
However, also a result of cyclical, infinity-based thinking is the notion that: no “thing” lasts forever, it’s all part of a never ending cycle of birth and rebirth.
So… chill out, Ann, and go with the flow.
So India was, above all, an exercise in “going with the flow.” Now, I’ll be honest with you… this is not my strong suit. I’m a planner, and I do enjoy having a modicum of information about what is going to happen the next day, week, or even, month to come. And in India, that’s just not possible… at least not in my minimal experience, and at my yoga teacher training.
Now, let me take a moment to say that I really appreciated my trip to India. The lovely and wonderful people I met, the “enriching” challenges that I faced, the delicious vegan food, the adventures… all have changed me forever. I will never forget the adorable little veggie cafe we found nearby the school in Rishikesh with the 4-year-old who practically ran the place, the amazing and flexible yoga instructors, or the wild rides on the back of a scooter through the crowded and chaotic streets. It was a total trip.
So here’s a little glimpse into my month of August…
The truth is… I’m still processing.
I feel like personal growth is similar to bowling… like when you get two strikes in a row and you have to wait a bit to see how it all adds up.
So, I’ll let you know what comes up for me in the next few months. But in the meantime, talk to me. Have you been to India? Do you relate to how I’m feeling? Let me know in the comments below.
Also, it turns out… unlike the French, Indians are huggers like Americans, so, in apropos-ness:
Hugs to you, dear readers,
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