What did I learn from my travels to India?
This is the burning question (along with “where next, Pamela?”) I have been asked since my return from India. Less than a week has passed and I am still trying to process.
With luck I will continue to process for the rest of my exciting life. I feel somehow that I am living a dream … The dream I once had to travel to exotic places and to improve the status of women around the world.
Lessons from great friends and from travel buddies … From tour guides and spiritual leaders. Lessons from extraordinary folk, living their day to day existence. Lessons from books and articles I have read and am inspired to read, even now. Lessons from living in Easy World as well as the challenges that I have tried to face with grace.
Lessons, added together, offer a change in perspective so great that even now, how can I remember what once was my thought?? Now, already, my thoughts have changed.
I have read, and have come to believe, that with travel comes the extra bonus “value added” belief that world peace is possible. The more we / I step out of my comfort zone and my old set of pre conceived notions, the more open I am to seeing what is, with acceptance and grace. The more I witness every day living in other parts of the world, the more I see WE are all the same.
LESSON: There is no “us and them”. There is only “me” as part of a “we”.
This alone is the prime motivator for me to travel. This is the foundation of my contribution to the Women’s Travel Club Meetup group. This is the reason I blog at http://www.PamelaTravelBlog.com. This is why I post my pics and stories on Facebook. This is why I am a travel consultant with passion. This is the legacy and learning that I lead with. This is my vision and my purpose.
Before India I had many preconceived, researched notions of what I would find there. For that reason I found myself asking, “why India? Why now?”. I never would have known the answer without taking the steps into the unknowable.
I would never have guessed that I would walk barefoot where Ghandi walked. I would not have believed I could sit in a shop for two hours not buying, just chatting with a local person about life in their world. I would not have met the spiritual gurus that brought tears to my eyes and opening of my soul. I would not have witnessed a people who are truly peaceful. I would not have truly understood the lessons of family, respect and kindness from Lalu, the guide. I would not have seen the incredible pride and respectful skill from Luv, the tour guide.
I would not have been to the early morning market with Sanjay to see the daily comings and goings of fish auctioning for survival of so many in Kerala. I would not have spent a day in the backwaters on that amazing houseboat or the amazing night in the home stay with outside shower. I would not have had a warm swim, fully clothed like the locals, in the Arabian Sea.
I would not have heard the bird song and felt the beliefs I thought I had inside me shift.
I believe meditation and a belief in Karma make people kinder. I believe that eye contact with everyone makes everyone feel more joined at the soul. I believe children learn from those who show them by example. I believe that we in Canada have much to learn from a people who live many lifetimes, generation after generation in a two room family home in one place, at the end of their world, in rural desert India.
I believe family is truly the most important connection we make to the world and the most precious thing we will ever experience. I believe in golden soft sand dunes, the real ones … Where desert camels take us to see the orange ball sun as it sets below the sky. I believe that a person can spend their whole life in service to their animal or their family and be a better person for this experience and have much to teach the rest of the planet about happiness, self acceptance, pride and fulfillment.
All of my ancestors and future generations that are connected to me have been blessed in a sacred ceremony and their lives, like mine, are enriched because of this experience. I believe the more I meditate and practice kindness to others, with special care for my own family, the better person I will become and those who watch me and follow my lead will also be happier people.
What did I learn? About life of the people’s on earth and what makes them take steps everyday in the direction of their dreams and their life purpose. I learned small steps in how I can live my life in a more fulfilled way. And most importantly, I practiced daily, how I want to live more fully.
Being exposed to this foreign and exotic country gave me more space to break old habits and biases, and to practice those actions that lead me to a more fulfilled existence, with greater leadership skills to enhance world peace for everyone in my world.
Wow! Can I say that about every trip I have ever taken? Absolutely not. It is the way I wish to travel always in future.
I want to be more awake, more centred, more accepting, more grateful, more in awe, more kind and more spiritual than ever before. I want to live in a more peaceful world and loving family. It all starts with me and each daily action and decision I make matters.
I want to keep travelling and encouraging others to travel in this way so they too, can be more of what they value most.
I went on a silent retreat just a few days before this trip to India and I listened to a few chapters in a few books on the long flights … Always on mindfulness, openness, acceptance and grace. Not to push the river, but to notice it flowing by.
I notice and accept and allow the spirit to move through me, as much as I can from this place and at this time in my life. Further practice is welcome and on that note …. Where next???
I am open to your suggestions 🙂
Pamela, this is so beautifully, honestly and expertly written..I really enjoy reading it..you are a professional writer with the heart..