The last few days in the suncontinent rolled along at a furious pace. The days included a two-day, 25 hour bone shaking decent down the highest motorable road in the world via bus. I arrived in the hippie laden town of Manali just moments before my bus bound for Delhi was about to leave the premises. When it was all said and done I patted myself on the back for completing the exhausting but spectacular, four day, 700 km highway reaching from Srinagar in Kashmir, to Ladakh AKA “Little Tibet” and final down into the lush, green hill station known of Manali. My time in India was coming to completion.
In just 6 weeks I had come across more varied landscapes, climates, and experiences than I can count. The dry grass deserts of Maharashtra, to the rain soaked beaches of Goa, the flooded concrete jungle of Mumbai, the skeleton of the Mughal empire in the deserts of Agra/Delhi, up to “paradise on earth” in Kashmir, and to the bliss and serenity of the Buddhist monasteries of Ladakh. If I could say one thing about India, it is a land of extremes.
Lonely Planet states that the power of India lies in her ability to inspire, frustrate, thrill, and confound all at once.
It has been here in the short month and a half that I have been lived my dream as a healer, watched the days go by in a houseboat, become an actor, a yogi, and a little nuts in the process. Here I have also been confined to the porcelin king for weeks, saddened, frustrated, and even ripped off. When you put every thing in the blender (adding copious amounts of pollution, dirtiness, and poverty) and hit high speed… Presto, you have India as she has been to me.
As I was sitting in my friends apartment awaiting my flight out of Delhi I began to conjure up images of my next adventure and how I was just ready to get out of this big, loud, and dirty country. I was completely zapped of energy. However, I started to get present to all of the things I haven’t done in India: tiger spotting on the backs of elephants, viewing the sacred Ganges and its holy cities of Varanasi and Rishakesh, and navigating the backwaters of the south. I reflected on what kind of experiences I have had here, how much more there is to do, and what an incredible time I have had. In that moment it hit me hard, and I found myself brought to a tear of joy and thankfulness.
I find that many times in life when we pushed to the brink by challenge and gigantic levels of emotional extremes we find ourselves beat up, and ready to cave in. What keeps us going? That moment of clarity when we realize that all those challenges really made us stronger in the end. What opens that door? Gratitude. When we can get to the point that we are thankful for everything in our lives, be it good or bad, we can really be free.
Having gratitude in the face of adversity can be a energy zapping and daunting task. We often don’t see the order of how things serve us until it’s too late.
Wallace Wattles said, “To think according to appearances is easy. To think truth regardless of appearances in laborious and requires the expenditure of more power than any other work a person has to perform.”
Let us take a look at those moments of frustration and try to see something different. If we can learn to make everything serve us we become much more powerful. We don’t have to come to India to see the order, not even out of the country, in fact we probably only have to take a few steps to the bathroom mirror.