I would love to live
like a river flows,
Carried by the surprise
Of it’s own unfoldingJohn O’Donohue
I’ve been quite surprised at how easily and at ease I feel with letting each day unfold here in India. Perhaps it is easier to feel this when we have some space and freedom.
It seems to me that in the West it’s easy to create a structured life that conforms to our culture’s requirements and expectations and if left unchecked spontaneity is suffocated, excitement extinguished, surprises stifled and mysteries muffled. Our lives can slip into a monologue of routine, repetition and rigidity. The standard of living that we strive for is killing not only our planet but our souls too.
For many years I have tried to simplify my life, create more space and to shed burdens that I have unwittingly been collecting in the name of success and happiness. A good friend recently sent me this quote:
You do not have to stay
where you were planted
if you are withering in places
that you have the potential to bloom.
You owe it to yourself to uproot.Author unknown
So it might seem a little drastic to uproot my life in the UK to head into unknown territories but for me this felt like what I was being called to do and all other options just didn’t seem to be working.
However it’s only four weeks since I set off from the UK to the Utsava Maa festival here at Shri Jasnath Asan (ashram) in Rajasthan. In that time I’ve been swept up in festival activities for eleven days, exploring Jodhpur for six days and in the last week or so adjusting to ashram life, which has included taking the daily yoga class (that’s been a hoot – more about it in another blog). I’ve made many new friends, women of all ages, backgrounds and race, each with their own story and all with that same desire for freedom of expression and to come together in a community of like minded people, to serve this world and its inhabitants in whatever way the Universe calls them to do.
However, I’m sure there will be moments of fear, of sadness, of loneliness, of wondering what on earth I’m doing here – such is life, but for now life feels mostly relaxed and peaceful and I’m enjoying experiencing the unfolding surprise of each moment.
Going with the flow has manifested for me in a number of interesting ways:
1) Not having a paper diary or using an electronic one for the first time in over 35 years.
2) Waking up knowing that there are various activities I can engage in such as festival events, visiting tourist attractions or exploring the local area or practical tasks like responding to emails, researching a fundraising idea, sorting my laundry or cleaning my room. Realising though that whatever I choose to do will be what I’m meant to be doing and that it will be enough. Knowing also that at any time something else might turn up. Not necessarily more urgent but maybe more fun or an opportunity for greater connection to others.
3) Taking the opportunity to stop to talk to someone or to do something totally different to what I was just about to do rather than rushing to the next thing on a todo list.
4) Acknowledging Indian time. You book a taxi at 7am to the airport it arrives at 8am. You book a taxi an hour earlier than you need it, it turns up on time or maybe earlier. You send an email and when it hasn’t been answered after 5 days you call and are advised that your email will be answered at some point. 🤣
By just going with the flow I’ve found out more about people and the environment I’m living in and I’ve experienced new things. For example as I was on my way to go somewhere else I was randomly invited to see the small farmholding on the ashram and take tea with Guruji’s family who live there.
Even just today after thinking that I would be at the ashram for the weekend, and having planned a live FB meditation on Saturday and a visit to some nearby sand dunes on Sunday, Shreejan asked if I’d like to accompany her and Guruji to the ashram’s tree plantation near Jodhpur over the weekend. It sounds quite an adventure, sleeping amongst 32 acres of trees in a hut with no facilities so of course I said yes! The FB live session can be done any time and I’m sure there will be plenty of sand dunes to see on my travels in Rajasthan.
Having spent most of my life in organising mode, which of course does have it’s uses and at times is essential (I wouldn’t be here without a lot of planning), for now I’m very content for the plan to be no plan and to stay open to whatever the Universe has in store for me. So let that river flow, I’m happy to be carried by it and open to it’s surprises.
Let your heart be your compass
Your mind your map
Your soul your guide
And you will never get lostAuthor unknown