Traveling expands my state of consciousness. It stretches, grows, challenges, and moves me. Traveling has been one of the great healers of my life. Recently, I embarked on a journey to India and Nepal with my travel companion, and friend, Ashli. I had many wonderful experiences while traveling. Here are five important things I learned, or affirmed, on my trip to India and Nepal.
1. Harmony can exist even when things look chaotic. As an organized person, I have to make a conscious effort to surrender to situations that appear as chaos. Traveling to developing nations requires me to surrender many “shoulds” in my life. Of course, everyone should stand in line so this process could be more organized; however, everyone is standing in a hodgepodge and pushing until someone forces their way up front and gets the service they need.But they are still getting service. Yes, people should drive within the lines on the street (because the lines are there!) but clearly no one is doing so, so why should I spend a 30-minute ride stressed and complaining about how dangerous it is. I still arrived where I need to be. My trip to India reminded me that sometimes people are not going to do it my way; but, it can still be done if everyone agrees. Harmony means agreement or concord. There is harmony when there is agreement. The roads in India were safe to the extent that everyone agreed that the lines on the road were inconsequential; thus, they drove accordingly. What appeared as discord was actually harmonious. Just because something looks disorganized to you, it is not necessarily so. Your husband is not going to make dinner the way you would make it; but, the kids are fed. Your co-workers desk is a mess and you do not understand how they function that way; yet, they function. Surrender to the experience. Let them be.
2. Poor is a mindset, it’s a state of being. There is widespread poverty in India; the kind of poverty that you can see and smell. Poverty that you have to literally step over as you walk to the Taj Mahal. It is poverty you cannot possibly ignore. The more time I spent in India I realized that though many people where in dismissal economic situations, some of them were poor and some of them were not. There is one thing to experience poverty, there is another thing to “be poor.” Being poor means that you identify yourself, or your being, with lack, not enough, poverty, and scarcity. Those who identified with their economic circumstance had an “I am poor” mentality that influenced their way of interacting with everyone and everything. Their hopelessness was palpable. It seemed as if they had resolved that poverty was their lot in life for themselves and their future generations (I think the caste system had something to do with this). Those who were “experiencing poverty” had an entirely different perspective and I could see it. They were ensuring their children went to school, creating work for themselves, and generally optimistic (even though they had very, very little). With this, I encourage you to be conscious about your “I am” statements. Instead of saying, “I am divorced” try, “I have experienced divorce.” Replace your “I am unemployed” with “I await my new career.” Change, “I am fat,” to “I accept my body as I work to become healthier.” Change your mindset; it changes your perspective and your experience.
3. You can do anything in a Sari. I love, and I mean, LOVE, the women in India. They are so beautiful and so feminine. I was struck by the way that Indian women can do anything in a Sari. Indian women who cut grass, or carried bricks on constructions sites, wore Sari’s just as lovely as the women who worked in office buildings. Not only did they wear their saris, they also wore their earrings, bracelets, anklets, and a little lipstick. The women who cut the grass at the Taj Mahal did so in the brightest and most beautiful colors. Their sari’s flowed behind them when they stood up. I thought, “I should look this pretty when I cut the grass!” These women offered me a renewed perspective on ways to be feminine no matter what I am doing (and, no, I am not just talking about dress, I am taking about energy). I realize that many American women take on a masculine energy in the workplace, and sometimes at home, because they have to get things done (doing is masculine, being is feminine). I realize that feminine energy is necessary in all spaces, even professional ones. I believe the world could benefit from a feminine touch. Feminine is the most powerful energy. Perhaps we should step into that power.
4. Pray with your whole body. As a little colored girl from the South, praying while being still does not, resonate with my spirit. I come from people who move and I have learned that I have to rock to focus my mind. When I meditate, I rock back and forth, and forth and back, and I don’t care if the instructor just said ‘sit quietly’ because, at this point, I accept that it just doesn’t work for me. I thought I was alone in this until I went to Nepal.
Prayer in Nepal is interactive. While in Katmandu we visited a temple and a man explained why Buddhists use prayer beads, incense, chants, chimes, singing bowls, and prayer wheels (they have a lot of equipment to pray!). He believes that it is easier to focus the mind when you incorporate all of your senses. The prayer beads allow you to count your affirmations. If you want to meditate on the mantra, “I forgive myself” you would repeat that 50 times while using the beads to count your prayers. I believe that repetition allows new ideas to resonate more deeply into our being. Some of us need to say, “I love myself” about a ka-jillion times before we start to actually believe it…even just a little bit. While in Katmandu, I walked around the Swayambhu and spun the prayer wheels while I prayed. It really helped to focus my mind. I totally got it. I love the way people pray in Nepal.
5. Spirit animals can be combined. I work out on a regular basis. One of the things that keeps me motivated when I am tired or ready to quit is calling on an animal. After running 30 minutes, If I get really tired I might think, “Adrianne, you’re a cheetah, you can run all day,” and I run a little faster. When I am being playful I channel my inner meerkat (because I think that’s my spirit animal). I channel the powers of all types of animals: tigers, dragons, elephants (who never forget) and even ants (because they are so strong to be so small). In Nepal I learned that animals are even more powerful when you combine them! I have no idea why I had never thought of this…but I get it. I can totally see why Ganesh is an elephant, with the body of a chubby boy with four arms, who sits with a mouse at his feet. The elephant head of Ganesha symbolizes wisdom. His four arms represent the four inner attributes of the subtle body, that is: mind (Manas), intellect (Buddhi), ego (Ahamkara), and conditioned conscience (Chitta). The mouse symbolizes the ego; it’s ever present and should be kept under your feet. So! Next time I am working out and feeling a bit weary I can channel a Liger (tiger and lion combination) with wings so I can have all the powers I need.
I hope this message inspires you to travel more. No matter where you are in the world, you can still utilize B. Well’s individual coaching services I meet over 50% of my individual coaching clients virtually. Skype, FaceTime and Google Hangouts allow me to meet my clients on their lunch breaks, in their living rooms, or sometimes sitting in the car outside their offices.
There is no reason to miss a session! For this reason, you clearly can make the time to start doing your work…you don’t even have to come to the office. I would be honored to work with you as you expand your consciousness and heal yourself. Be adventurous! Be whole! Be a LIGER! B. Well!
Dr. Adrianne R. Pinkney
Integrative Wellness and Life Coach