random musings: life, connections, India

I read Why India? this morning and left a comment for Braja. I told her that she was preaching to the choir (and thank you, Braja, for posting that awesome pic that I liberated — that little pic says it all for me!)

Why India indeed? Braja wrote about it — I listened to a deep, inexplicable stirring inside me and I went, alone. I was 51 and had never been overseas anywhere in my life. I told my husband (who for an entire year before I went was very negative and not supportive of my decision whatsoever) that nothing and no one will stop me because the feeling I had was so intense. That sense of urgency is called samvega and if I have to explain it to you, you wouldn’t understand. You just have to feel it and know it in your core. And when you feel it, there is no turning back.

It was my karma. The minute I set my foot on Indian soil at 2 am outside the Chennai airport and walked into a sea of brown faces I knew I had come home. It was primal, visceral, certainly a past life thing, and there has not been a single day since 2005, not one, that I do not think of Ma India. That’s me in the photo, upon first seeing the temple in Gangaikondacholapuram. I stood there amazed. The shakti was palpable.

Now I am planning my fourth trip for January 2010 and I’ll be moving out of my comfort zone of South India. My friend and I decided to visit Kolkata. We’ll be there for about 8 days before moving on to Delhi and then taking the train to Haridwar — where the Ganga spills out of the Himalayas — for the Maha Kumbh Mela. Yup, us and about 50 million of our closest friends. We will be there on a most auspicious day, Mahashivaratri, Shiva’s day, and I will be there when he dances. I don’t want to sound dramatic, but for about the last two years I have felt in my bones (just like I knew I was going to India) that something will happen for me there. A few weeks ago a spiritual adept confirmed my intuition, and if it happens, it happens. I won’t say what she said, you will have to wait until I get back. If I come back. My students and my friends know there is always that chance.

So I’ve been very pensive these few days. The details of my African yoga retreat are being finalized, and since finishing my latest training I can now fully concentrate on my India trip. The line from a Grateful Dead song keeps going through my head, “what a long, strange trip it’s been.” Indeed.

Yesterday as I walked to the Chicago yoga studio where I trained I thought about how nervous I was on the first day of training, a mere 7 years ago. Now I am planning my fourth trip to India, I’m leading a yoga retreat in Africa in February, and I might be teaching in Australia next May. I’ve created my own holistic healing modality, a combination of my Phoenix Rising training and yoga therapy teachings from the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, and firmly grounded in insight meditation and mindfulness practice. And yes, I’m trademarking the name, I’m going to play the American yoga game at least in that respect. Seven years. “They” say we go through major changes every seven years.

And those connections we make. I’ve always said that I feel more connected to the global yoga community via this blog than I do to yoga people in my own backyard. For one thing I’ve received more support from people who I’ve never met than from people who know me here. Funny how that works. People like Kevin who paid my deposit to the ashram I was going to study at but then changed my mind (yes, he got his money back from the shady swami.) We’ve never met but he paid a deposit. That’s trust.

People like Nadine who calls me one of her “yoga mothers.” We’ve never met but we both attended KYM at different times so we have the same yoga sensibility (and we both love love love Mark Whitwell.) Nadine hooked me up with the woman who can make my Australia teaching possible. But me, a “yoga mother”? I cried when I read that because I am only a mother to cats. Most people I know would never think of me as mother material, in fact, they’d snort and laugh and roll their eyes at the thought. But what they don’t know about me….it’s their own avidya.

And of course dear Svasti. We are both survivors and connected in that way. She said, “I have this theory about the little blog world here…that it’s made up of similarly disaffected people, who get it because that’s also been their experience.”

Yeah, I get it. Connections. There are others and I hope you know who you are.

None of this is lost on me. Life is ebb and flow. Some of us have some pretty heavy karma to burn through in this life. There are no accidents and all things happen for a reason even if we don’t know the reason at the time. The realizations I’ve had in these last seven years, well, let’s just say that if I died tomorrow (and I am very comfortable meditating upon my own death), I would be happy. Very happy. And grateful.

It’s all so connected, it’s all so real to me: yoga is life.

What’s so hard to understand?

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10 thoughts on “random musings: life, connections, India

  1. Hello and congratulations for your decision to trademark your name. I may not be a yogini and maybe my opinion does not count, but I see no problem in trademarking your name.

    I think you have something genuine to offer, so I certainly do not mind if you can make a living that way.

    From Finland with Love :-)

  2. You should know, I have your blog in my RSS so I woulda read this anyway ;)

    But thank you, that's a lovely thing for you to write! And I feel it too, connected to a small but growing circle of bloggers out there, people I've never met.

    Looks like I'll get to meet Anthroyogini though (easier since she's in the same country) and maybe you as well. Where abouts in Australia will you be teaching?

    I haven't made it to India yet, but the yearning is growing ever stronger. I just need to get myself out of my current pit of not having any money, and plan my next little adventure, which will probably be India/Thailand/San Fran… a round trip to see the places and people that sing to me!

    Kumbh Mela would be great, but I doubt I'll have the $$$. Then, you never know, right?

  3. Have I told you before what an inspiration you are to me?
    I am just beginning my yoga journey at 42 and it is slowly but surely taking over my life. I have hopes of becoming teacher certified at some point, finishing a nursing program so I can learn “the rules” of our Western system, studying Integrative Medicine so I can systematically break those “rules” and help change the system from the inside. And DEFINITELY making several trips to India. It calls to me also on a viceral, primal level and I feel that it is part of me even though I've haven't been there in this lifetime.
    I am so excited to be in the process of transforming my life and thrilled to see where this journey takes me over the course of the next 13 years and beyond.

  4. Truly said

    I always believe it's one's Karma, what they are and why they and how they are and which decides what, why, how they will be.

    Your Karma leads you to what you really want in your conscious mind .. and that's life

    Cheers!

  5. @Flowergirl and Ellen:

    thank you thank you thank you, to you both.

    Ellen, it certainly is never too late…I did not become certified as a teacher until I was 48. other people I know had been teaching 10, 15, 20 years already at that age.

    all things happen when they are ready and all things happen for a reason.

  6. Whoo hoo! Melbourne, eh? That's where I'm based. And hey, I don't know what you're schedule is like (maybe let's chat?) but if you want to add another yoga school to your potential places to teach at, there's the possibility of my school being available as the principle is quite open to such things.

    I hope it all comes true, too.

  7. I just read your blog post and felt so warm. I've just come home from my early morn yoga practise and I'm wrestling with the truth of a lot of things which hurt and finding your blog among others makes me not feel so lonely.
    So, I just want to say thanks
    Thank you

    PS I wish I knew what trolling meant?

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