Monday, February 16, 2015

Strange wonderful drum

             I sat at the terminal in Doha after a fourteen hour flight. I was restless, tired, and excited to be almost in India. Immediately, I began to discover a variety of things that were catching my attention.  A Muslim man had a beautifully painted rug in which he performed his devotional practices; there were prayer rooms, strange music, and beautiful art everywhere. While on the layover there was a family of Muslim women and children dressed in traditional attire, the little boy came over with a beaming smile wanting to take pictures with us. He tried his best to say things in English and we high fived and exchanged cheerful smiles. I was jet lagged but couldn't help the feeling that apart from all the drastic differences as people were all really just the same inside and this little boy was a shining example that the world doesn't need to be such a violent place.

              The flight from Doha to India went much smoother. I watched some Bollywood movies which are amazingly great. They all seem to be about an Indian girl who is about to enter an arranged marriage and just prior falls in love and eventually in some hilarious way ends up with her goofy Casanova. As we were touching down I listened to Trevor’s Halls “Chapters of the forest”. A song I was deeply touched by about his time in India. He talks about his time reflecting on the Narmada which is a holy river. It is said here in India that while Lord Shiva sat in his meditation he created so much heat in his body that he began to sweat. The Narmada River is the formation of this sweat and an auspicious place. Most people have heard of the Ganges, probably the most famous holy river in the world which by bathing in her waters all negative karmas can be cleared but the Narmada one only needs to look. As we touched down I just thought of that if I ever had the chance I would need to sit on the Narmada for many hours perhaps days on end saying sorry and saying thank you. I sometimes have these panging feelings inside of me where I just need to ask for forgiveness and I need to say thank you.  

                I’ve been in India for two weeks now and its one of the most beautiful and unique places in the world. I love it here. I wake up at 5:30 am every morning because the neighbors begin their pujas and chanting which wakes me up to holy songs and Sanskrit tongues. Then the neighborhood street dogs all begin to howl and bark, vegetable carts with merchants making their presence known like hotdog vendors at a baseball game yell loudly, soon the honking begins, and India comes to life. I do all my necessities and on the way to practice I pass by cows, street dogs, birds, school children, families, and chai stalls. All of this presented with an Indian backdrop of bright colors, saris, strange sounds, mountains, red clay earth, and cow poop everywhere. It’s wonderful.

                It’s really interesting here with so many different westerners from all over the world making the sacrifice to come and practice Ashtanga at KPJAYI with Sharath. I can’t articulate it but there is no way you come here and endure all the sacrifice and craziness unless the practice has deeply touched you and changed your life. The brick like mattresses, the constant diarrhea, the power outages, the constant noise, missing home, sitting on the floor EVERYWHERE, the vegetarian diet, and mostly at least for me missing Mexican food.  I also really hate doing bucket showers and bucket laundry is such a pain in the ass, garbage fires though, they take the cake, they are the worst thing about India. But we’re all here and all these people have their own stories and are practicing with so much devotion it’s pretty great to get a glimpse into and meet them and to slip into the rhythm of living here.

              I also got insanely lucky to make the trip with a bunch of my teachers and friends from Miami Life Center back home. MLC is an Ashtanga studio back home that really changed my life and started a lot of healing for me. There’s like ten of us from MLC and it’s basically a Miami takeover. It’s a party. Eddy and I are going to get Indian tailored 305 hats or shirts or something very soon because to not would just be a travesty. Tim and Kino are here too and their just the best. I get cringe worthy shy around them cause I am kind of star struck but wow their such inspirations and beautiful people. Kino just got fifth series too I can’t even comprehend the mastery and hard work that culminated in that achievement and I am very happy for her.

                There is the social and daily living aspect to being here but there is also the intimate and internal lessons you gain by being here. I think of India as the mother, stern, strict, presses all your buttons, reveals all your hidden insecurity’s but possesses a great deal of love. I’ve only been here for a moment and have a long time to go but already she has shaken me countless times. The lessons so far have been to work on being kinder with myself and to try to open up. I can be a closed book and it’s hard for me to express who I am. I struggle with that a lot because of earlier traumas that haunt me quite a bit. I have so much going on inside and things I want to share but it feels trapped. On an asana level my body is capable of things I never thought it would be able to do but sometimes emotionally, psychologically, and energetically I feel like I can’t even touch my toes. So here I am trying to heal, live righteously, and cultivate some kind of devotion. Trying to be good with myself and trying to be appreciative of life. It’s really wild and far out, and I will forever be in gratitude. Today I was sitting on a rooftop eating chocolate cake without a care in the world looking at Indian coconut trees, enjoying the sunshine while drifting in and out of a nap with friends.

                I really believe that life needs to be lived sincerely, humbly, and with much appreciation. I believe a lot of spiritual work has to be done. I believe in the power of asana practice to help you pierce through the physical to the emotional and spiritual planes. I believe in kindness and in love. I believe in being as much of a conscious human being as you can possibly be. This place helps me to do that hopefully with a little bit of help from above I am able to keep walking on my path and gain the confidence to march to the beat of my own drum, because what a strange wonderful drum I beat.


All Glory to God.  Om Shanti Shanti Shanti