A Geordie In The Himalaya

Three months.

It’s been just over three months since I landed in India, which prompted me to ask the question: what have I learned so far?
– One of my favourite pastimes is to watch sunsets.
– My natural body clock gets me up early, and gets me to sleep early.
– Being woken up at around 5:30am by the calls to prayer is one of the most beautiful ways to wake up. (This coming from the woman who despises being woken up due to anything other than her own accord.)
– Pineapple juice can cause a mahoosive irritation of the gut. Who’d’ve thunk it?
– Exercising my mind (meditation) and my body (yoga) brings a vital and necessary balance to my being.
– The joy of being with my breath (when I get there) is AMAZING!
– I try to be compassionate to all living beings. I still struggle to achieve this with mosquitoes.
– Slowly I’m learning to observe my feelings and thoughts, rather than get caught up in their stories.
– I’m a really slow traveller. I’d rather spend a week in a place getting to know the sights and people, than a day here, a train ride there, a day here, a bus ride there.
– A smile is universally understood.
– I really don’t like sleeping in dormitories. Even if the fellow travellers are lovely.
– I can get along just fine without toilet paper.
– Eating with one hand is fun! There’s a certain art to tearing the most efficient scoop-sized piece of chapatti with only the digits of my right hand. And as for rice, well, it’s easier than eating it with chopsticks. But only just.
– That it’s perfectly OK to not know.
– There is a lot of positive energy out there which I can choose to focus on (even if I don’t believe or feel it at the time).
– According to the people I’ve met, I don’t look ‘English’. I look ‘German’.
– My fringe looks ‘funny’ (I take this to mean a compliment, fringes are not at all common in India).
– Along with observation, acceptance is another key practice for peace. Acceptance does not mean agreeing, but it does help with observing and detaching from the crazy fear-based stories that my mind can weave.
– Acceptance, especially self-acceptance, is one of the hardest things to learn.
– Slowly I am learning to speak and share my truth.
– Bartering is a great lesson in assertiveness.
– The best chai is made by the man with the little shack on the street corner.
– My roots (not the hairy kind) are important.
– So is a home, a sanctuary, a safe, grounded space to be. I look forward very much to creating that at some point.
– I have an amazing family and network of friends, and I love you all deeply.
– For the most part, everything is a lesson, even the smelliest, itchiest, most uncomfortable, saddest or loneliest moment (though I hardly ever feel that at the time of experiencing!).
– You have to experience what you don’t want in order to figure out what you do want.
– Choice is one of the greatest gifts.
– I am so damn lucky to have what I have.
– There is the potential for magic (read: happiness, luck, contentment, whatever floats your boat) just around every corner.
– I cannot get my head, or tongue, around Malayalam (the language spoken in Kerala), though I love the way it’s written, so plump and curvy compared to Devenghari.
– I would rather not spend Christmas and New Year away from my family and friends.
– There is a joy to discipline and practice that I’d forgotten.
– I’m not very good at being disciplined!
– Travelling on my own is one of the most amazing and also challenging things that I have ever done. I have to be my own parent, sibling, friend and lover which for the most part is a great lesson, except for the 400th time of bartering for a rickshaw (no, I will not do you the favour of visiting the government shop “just around the corner” so you can get a token for petrol), or needing an extra head when trying to navigate finding a route by rail, bus and rickshaw to a place of interest, or explaining to the 7th shopkeeper in a row that no, I really don’t want to or need to buy a carpet/ singing bowl/ life-sized statue of Shiva. (“But I courier international” is always their glib reply.)
– I am stronger and more competent at looking after myself than my ego would have me believe.
– What I’m learning about my self is more than I can ever express.
– Pain is inevitable. It’s how we deal with it that causes suffering. Definitely still learning this one.
– To be grateful. Every. Damn. Day.
– Asking someone’s ‘good name’ (a lovely Indian trait) is so much more lovely than asking someone’s name.
– The phrase “Replace the fear of the unknown with curiosity” really has a lot going for it.

Alleppey, Kerala

Alleppey, Kerala

This entry was published on January 12, 2017 at 12:02 pm and is filed under Musings. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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