“Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is a beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is life, fight for it.”
– Mother Teresa
In an unexpected turn of events, I made the tough decision to return to the U.S. on February 18, 2015. After being abroad for four months, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. Though my symptoms initially improved after the last hospitalization (in Mumbai), they ended up coming back with quite a vengeance that was once again leaving me bed-ridden more days than not. Rather than continue to play games with medical care in a third world country, I chose to come home. I knew I had many resources here that I simply didn’t have access to in India. What that has looked like for the last two weeks has been…
- Cutting out all grain, dairy, sugar,…
This is the magical, synchronistic auspiciousness of India: you constantly find yourself exactly where you need to be, doing exactly what you need to be doing, meeting exactly who you need to be meeting.
I arrived in Goa, a seaside state in southeastern India, a little over two weeks ago. Even until the day I left Mumbai, when people asked me where I was going to visit in Goa, I still had to cluelessly admit, “I have no idea.” You see, I was en route to Goa because of a “chance” meeting with a woman from Boulder, Colorado, who I met in Rishikesh.
As part of my 200 hour yoga teacher training in Rishikesh, we practiced four hours of asana per day. These times were primarily led by our three instructors, secondarily by the 300 hour students who got to use us as guinea pigs, and thirdly we each took turns leading classes.
Jackie and I were walking down the road one day and one of the 300 hour students stopped us and said that she was going to be leading our class that night and asked if we had any recommendations or preferences about the style/intensity/etc. of the class….
After a week and a half in Mumbai, I’m leaving today with so much more that I’d still like to see and do. But, I’ve learned to relax. Mumbai was a time for me to heal, rest, and recover. I listened to my body and gave it the time, space, and energy that it needed. Cities such as Bombay have been here for quite some time, and I’m sure they’ll be here for me to visit again the future. With this in mind, I don’t feel the need to cram every activity from every city into my daily schedule.
While in Mumbai, I did have an amazing opportunity to catch up with my friend Ginsey, who just moved here a couple months ago! She and I went to ORU together in 2008-9. For our Sunday adventure, we started with a Krispy Kreme breakfast of doughnuts and coffee, then she took me to church with her, followed by lunch with the young adults crowd, chill/hang out/chai time, the most amazing Indian dinner/meal I’ve had to date, and then we went with a group of her friends to see a movie called “The Imitation Game” (which I can’t recommend enough).
And then a…
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” – Rumi
Elizabeth Gilbert addressed the topic of sex in relation to her “Eat, Pray, Love” adventure, so I will too. That excerpt (below), in fact, is one of my favorite quotes of the entire book. I read it right after a devastating breakup in 2012. Liz’s words resonated so strongly with me that I also committed to never again use anyone as a scratching post for my own unfulfilled yearnings. (We’re several years into that commitment, and so far so good. I’ve remained single for the most part, but have been much more conscious in the few relationships that I have pursued.)
“When I get lonely these days, I think: So BE lonely, Liz. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. Welcome to the human experience. But never again use another person’s body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled yearnings.”
We had a big assignment due our last week of the yoga teacher training in Rishikesh. We were to put together…
In India, one of the poorest countries in the world, Mumbai stands proud and tall as a contemporary city of affluence. Mumbai (population 11.98 million) is the Indian equivalent to Los Angeles (population 16.37 million). Just as LA has Hollywood, Mumbai has Bollywood. It’s a truly Westernized city. You drive down the road (yes, there are ACTUAL ROADS here!) and see Starbucks, Domino’s, Subway, and McDonald’s. The architecture is amazing. It is also much warmer than the cities that we arrived from in the north. We had spent the last months frozen to the bone with no heat and no hot water, and we stepped off the plane in Mumbai to 85 degree weather with blue skies and sunshine (yes, the smog was finally gone and you could actually see the sky/sun!).
Brittany was one of the girls I was traveling with and we were meeting her boyfriend (Drew) in Mumbai. He arrived a few days before we did and, as a super generous surprise, he booked an amazingly swag condo for us all to stay in for our first night in Mumbai. This way we A) didn’t have to worry about searching for lodging as soon as we got…
“Varanasi is older than history, older than legend, even older than tradition, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.” – Mark Twain
I try not to make these posts/updates too dark and/or gloomy. I never want to be a drag. Consequently, I really didn’t stay in touch with friends or social media during my stay in Varanasi, as a lot of that chapter of the trip was about as far from glamorous as you can get (but it’s all part of travel, and it’s all part of the experience…which is why I’m here).
In order to get from Rishikesh to Varanasi, a group of six of us joined hundreds more by boarding an overnight train. It was supposed to take 13 hours, but in true Indian fashion it took 21 hours to get to Varanasi (“we’re on India time”). That’s a very long train ride, especially when you’re in the sleeper class of an Indian train (lesson learned). They got our my ticket messed up, so I was separated from the rest of my friends. Being the only male in the group, I at least rest assured that the girls could take care of each…