Ode to India

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Oh India, mirror of mirrors!
I walk more easily now in your crooked streets and craggy sidewalks.

You are my teacher.

You beg me to let go, to watch my step, to soften my judgment.

I walk as if in wonderland, enthralled by your jeweled colors, billowing saris, bobbing turbins. I am a child in a candy shop and you gently show me my greedy nature.

I want….
…to take a photo.
…to take the jewels home.
…to capture the flavors, smells, scents and sounds.
…to take, to have, to hold and to keep.

But there is no taking, keeping, holding or “mine.”

There is only flow.
Letting go.
Relaxing into what is.

Oh India, your dust lines my lungs, your dirt a second skin on my body.

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My heart aches seeing your brilliance….
…the Taj Mahal
…the snow dusted Himalayas
…your fantastic festival Holi painting people purple and pink
…your plethora of temples honoring the gods….Ganesh, Shiva, Krishna, Kali….

My heart aches seeing your pain…
…the bride burnings
…the man with a deformed arm reaching for rupees into my rickshaw
…the shanty towns butted up against millionaire apartments
…the heaped garbage…

How do you manage?
How do you keep it together?
How does it work?

My heart starts to get the joke. It all works out in the end.

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The electricity works.
             For a while.
The hotel room is mostly clean.
The horns ARE the traffic system.
             You must be the flow. No room for doubt.
Squatting and having no toilet paper IS an option.

I’ve come here to practice.
To open my heart.
To be present.

I practice breathing.
I tell myself, “Let go, let go.”

I remind myself the driver wants to live.
I remind myself they’ve done puja for good luck.
I remind myself I am not in control.

Is this why your people pray so much?
Light incense, roll sandalwood beads between brown fingers?

There are so many paths to God in your vast land, from the Himalayas to the beachy shores. Why are some lives so filled with so much struggle while others flash and sprint around in Lamborghinis?

“Only one rupee, only one rupee,” she says, hand moves towards mouth. The baby needs feeding.

Black hair is matted, her feet dry and crusty.

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Another woman’s craggy face reflects the 100 years it has turned up towards the sun. Brown, with rivulets running through the valleys of her cheeks, she radiates warmth from inside her stooped and bent body that has traversed the Himalayas to find safety in India, away from her homeland, Tibet. She has no teeth. She gently suggests we give her some rupees.

We take her photo.

We take.
We give.
India gives.
India takes.

Give. And
Take.

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I return home changed.
I return home with more cracks in my heart.
To let the light in.
To let the light out.

I am more resilient.
I am more tender.
I trust in the flow.
More.
Than before.

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If you feel "called" to India, check out two trips I'm offering with Mela Joy, Founder of Touch of Spirit Tours. Two spots left for the Fall 2018 trip and we'll have a new one for Southern India in early 2019. for more information and itinerary see Touch of Spirit Tours


She Let Go

By Diane Sherman
This blog piece is inspired by the poem She Let Go by Rev. Safire Rose

 Awakening Series: Letting Go

Awakening Series: Letting Go

She let go of all of the rickety places in her heart that were keeping her from living her fullest life – those tiny little packages of neatly wrapped hatred and resentment, feelings of envy and betrayal, jealousies that had fancy pink bows perched on their heads.

She let go of all of that.

She let go of thinking she was not enough and just decided one day that all of these tidy packages, so beautifully wrapped and preserved that she’d been storing in her trunk were no longer serving her or the world.

It was time.

Time to lighten the load and to relax her belly full of anxiety, release her jaw muscles from their protective stance and soften her heart and take down the shields.

It was time to forgive.

Herself.

And the others.

Nothing anyone had EVER done to her was personal, and if it had been personal, and if it had been directed at her she was merely the trigger for those people. Today she got it – that any time she was a trigger to someone which sparked their anger, jealousy, or envy, their feelings were not personal!  Their feelings simply reflected their inner world to THEM. In fact, it was a gift for them to feel those feelings and let them go, if they chose to. Or they could chose to stuff them back inside.

She got busy!

She cleaned out the bile in her trunk of lingering betrayals, raw resentments and eye-splitting envy. She cleared out the anger that life hadn’t worked out the way she had hoped, let go of the dripping comparisons that usually landed her in the seat that said “I am not enough” just as I am.

“No” she said to her limiting beliefs. Instead, she chose to remind herself,  “I am perfect just the way I am and the world needs me to be me!”

She let go of the idea that she can’t achieve enlightenment now, that she has to work harder, do more, go more places, or study more.

She let go.

She let go until she was surfing in the flow of life’s stream, fully supported by what really makes life tick – the awareness of consciousness itself.

She let go of the stories about her life that held her back.

She let go of those packages, threw away the trunk and opened the door to her inner garden so she could focus on her own blooming.