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Why I Return to India

I am tethered between two worlds.

The obvious consideration is between India and US, eastern culture and western culture, somewhat orderly and chaotic disorder. However, it is actually that I am peeling away the layers between my outer self/world and my inner self/world . ..until they each become so transparent, so diaphanous, that they bleed into one another.

There came a time when the disparity was simply painful. Such a beautiful world I lived in and yet, it obscured a piece of me.

My life here is hilarious, challenging, brilliant, lonely…. I returned this trip to my small cottage being infested with rats (and a few of the resident cockroaches)….one rat actually jumped on the bed with me… all of my perceived comfort is stripped away until I am either nothing or everything…there is no in-between.

I stepped away from the ashram for a week while they dealt with the rats😝

and took myself to Hyderabad, the second largest high tech/IT city in India. It also has a significant history with the ruling kingships which were the norm hundreds of years ago. Specifically, Hyderabad was ruled by the Nizams, Muslim rulers. I wanted to experience that flavor…it was such an expansive visit….I happened to be there during Banalu, an annual festival for mahaKali goddess…I trudged up the 350 steps (twice) to the tiny Kali temple atop the Palace grounds, beautifully situated right next to the resident tiny Mosque.

The blending of ancient beliefs and the underlying struggle is one of the tensions I relate to here. I deeply connect to the breadth of traditions, iconography, legend, architecture, mythology and the pantheon of goddesses that reside in this country. All of these bring an aliveness and vitality into my body, mind and soul. I am fed here in an ironic twist of discomfort.

My day to day routine is not dissimilar to life anywhere…cook for myself, meditate+, call a few friends, catch up on emails…I am learning to play the frame drum for ritual and healing and tinkering around with watercolors. I am reading several Indian history books which continue to flavor my experience of India.

The growth is not in the day to day events, while they each present their own additional challenges here like wifi, food choices, constant electrical outages, monsoon, penetrating heat, snakes, scorpions, and endlessly, the language barrier. It is the penetration of devotion that brings me to tears. I can not say that I do not struggle with the surrender of it all…

My seva in the Devi Temple is truly what draws me here. lt is like getting on the E-ticket ride at Disneyland. If I could duplicate the depth of the work that happens inside me while I am inside the temple-well I have not found it elsewhere. It is the pressure cooker, so prevalent in India, and it has me on high boil.

That being said, I feel like my intense time in India is coming to a close. It is a well I can always return to, as needed. My plan is to stay until late fall. Early October we have a very significant festival called Navrathri, which is 9 nights and 10 days of Devi devotion and activity in the temple. I would like to be in the temple during this time. Following Navrathri, I plan to travel for a month throughout India visiting the sites I have yet to imbibe into my being. Some archeological sites, some hidden away temples, wildlife, ending up in Delhi for my favorite restaurant, hotel and time with my BFF Indian girlfriend, Ashima.

All of this exposure and experience is seeding in me a deeper connection to an internal truth and a connectedness to a source I can not explain. I do not pretend to understand the matrix of life…the circuitous circles we travel in, the serendipity of opportunities, however, I know I am a piece of the swirling sandstorm of possibility. I continue to step into it and say YES.



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