I have been thinking a lot about my trip to India lately and praying for all in Nepal. My first big international trip by myself was to Nepal in 2007, after I graduated college. I had an amazing experience and not because it was easy and beautiful the whole time but because of the people. It's always about the people. India was the same way. Yes, the landscape, terrain, and climate were challenging at times, but the people made it such a rich experience.
Tonight, we helped dear friends of ours pack their U-Haul for their move. In sitting with them in their backyard for one last beer, laughing and chatting, I was reminded once again that it's always about the people, always about the relationship.
When I was in India, one of the most potent experiences I had was seeing a lot of ex-pats wandering and searching for themselves in a spiritual manner. Looking for something outside of themselves that would give them the gem, the enlightenment, the answer to the meaning of life. In my experience there, I got really clear both through personal reflection and conversations and teachings, that we get our lessons and gems from relationship.
It has been a tenet philosophy for me since I got back.
This week has been challenging. Challenging in the way that some weeks unfold: my body is in a lot of pain right now, which has been challenging to deal with and live with. Our friends moving away rocked me emotionally and my workload has been high, very typical of the month of April. It has been a week of feeling busy & full, yet what remains in priority is relationships. Being open in dialogue, communication, acknowledgement, gratitude, all of it.
When I was in India, one night when we were at the farm in South India, the man who owned the farm, Ananda, said, "It's not about seeking enlightenment and getting the 'answer.' There is no goal. If you can find a little more patience, kindness, and compassion in your daily life, then that's all. That's all that God wants," which was like being told, "Honey, it's okay. Don't try too hard," which of course created this huge amount of freedom.
So, when the weeks are challenging and full and busy, and my practices are put on hold, and all I can do is get a hot shower and a nice meal in silence as my morning routine, I think back on that piece of wisdom. Find kindness and compassion. Show others, but really show yourself those things. The relationship with yourself is just as, if not more, valuable than any other relationship you have.