Posts from ‘Travel’
Today is day three of the yoga retreat at Anamaya Resort in Montezuma, Costa Rica and I’ve met a few fellow yoginis so far. I’ll tell you all about this heaven-on-earth kinda place sometime soon, but for now this post is about one special yogini from the Toronto area named Pamela. She accidentally and unintentionally taught me something really cool about the true meaning of yoga.
Over the last three days, Pamela hasn’t made it to a single 8 AM yoga class, despite her best intentions. Being the disciplined yogini I am, I’ve made it every day. But here’s the funny thing. Last night as I lay my head down to sleep, I wondered if Pamela was going to make it to yoga the next day. Then it occurred to me. While I might be “doing yoga”, she’s definitely living yoga.
I’ve been in Pamela’s energy for the last three days on buses, on beaches, on trails, in towns, at meals, at the pool and around. She’s present with every bite of her meal, indulging in every taste. She’s present with every breath of fresh beach air, taking in all the salty smells. She’s present with her body, giving it the rest it wants and without feeling guilt for not doing the yoga she came for. She’s present with her every need in every moment - to be alone, to be with, to be.
It kinda makes you ask yourself: are doing yoga or are you living yoga?
We usually think of change as really hard work. And sometimes, it is. But sometimes, it isn’t. Here’s a story about just that.
All of my friends and family know that I haven’t eaten seafood since I was eight years old. Why? It’s a long story, so I’ll spare you the details.* But something happened last Fall when my husband offered me a piece of his fish, like he always does. It suddenly occurred to me that at the tender age of eight I made an emotional decision not to ever eat fish again and, that I continued to live by that decision even though I was now 33. That hardly made sense. Sona the adult was living by Sona the child’s fears. Within seconds, I found myself forking a bite-size morsel of salmon into my mouth vowing not to live a life that had been created by my eight-year-old self and not to let my fears get in the way of a full experience of life. The change was not only immediate, it was easy. I just didn’t want to be that person who lets life slip by because of some irrational conclusions I made as a child.
Sona: My dad, Anil, is in India right now. He kindly wrote a post while abroad about his journey from New Delhi to Faridabad on the electric train. Because communication with him is a bit hard these days (3G doesn’t always work, heaven forbid), I had to make some assumptions about the photos included here, so we may have to correct them at a later point.
Well, it was an experience. I decided to explore the train service from New Delhi to Faridabad. The purpose was to check if my parcel of land there has been encroached or not. And also to get familiar with Greenfield Colony where my lot is located.
So the journey started from Connaught Place (CP), New Delhi. With the help of some shopkeepers and scooterwalas, I discovered a small railway station behind Shankar Market called “Shiva Ji Bridge.” The tickets were being sold in a little open brick room. I decided to buy a return ticket and gave Rs. 100 (metro cost standard, about $2.21 CAD). To my surprise, the total return fare was Rs. 8 (about $0.17 CAD) for a 28 km one-way journey. I entered the station and surprisingly it had four platforms. My train was supposed to be from Platform #2. I got there and rechecked with some passengers. There must have been around 300 passengers. Papadwalas were selling their stuff.
Anyone who knows me, knows I’ve always had a funny thing about kids. I love ‘em, but I don’t want ‘em. If I’m totally honest, freaked is the most accurate way of describing my personal feeling about having a baby.
But somehow when a few pregnant friends recently suggested we watch a documentary called Babies that had no dialogue, I was intrigued. “I’m in,” I said, which is the most affirmative statement I’ve made about children in my life thus far. My husband looked at me with a scowly face. He did not want to watch the babies, but the tape was already rolling.
80 minutes of Babies
An 80-minute documentary about four infants raised in four different parts of the world, Babies by French director Thomas Balmès, is a pure joy to watch (especially with pregnant women). You will laugh, you will be horrified, you will be surprised, you will be confused, you will coo, you will say “ew.”
A few people have talked to me about my post, A hunger that food can’t satisfy. They shared with me the times they went in search of a familiar meal on a trip. They asked me what, in the end, satisfied my hunger. Here’s what I can tell you.
Two things happened:
- I gave up on hoping that any food would satisfy my emotional discomfort. Instead, I just ate to keep my body fueled. I had zero expectations of a meal tasting good or creating a warm, fuzzy feeling. So meals became a much less important part of my experience in Argentina. It was a relief because I no longer really cared where or what I ate. I just needed something to put in my body so I could keep going.
- I met some amazing people in Argentina with whom I shared some memorable moments (captured in the post Spanish Lessons). This made me feel like I was connected to a community. Being recognized by another person for who I was filled a deep need for human connection. This filled me up. I dropped the neurotic search for a meal and relished these connections that I knew would only last for a short while. And even when these moments were over, I felt fueled for days, not hours.
I’ve been thinking a lot about language during the last two weeks. Many times, I’ve thought I should have not been so arrogant and I should have taken some time to learn just a bit of Spanish before coming to Argentina. I’ve felt guilty asking locals I meet if they speak English because it feels a shame not to be able to communicate in their country, in their language.
On the other hand, the language barrier offered another gift. A truly irreplaceable one. The kind where you have to look into someone’s eyes and feel the energy of their words to truly understand what they are saying with foreign words. The kind of gift that allows you to connect with people from another world at another level. The kind of gift that changes you in a small, but powerful, way.
I’ve been in Argentina for almost two weeks now. And I’ve come to that inevitable point in every vacation where you crave something familiar. Last night, this ended up in a planned dinner at a local hot dog shop called Mr. Dog. But after eating my “pancho” (“hot dog” in Spanish), I still wasn’t satisfied.
My colleague and friend, Arvind Ronta, recently went back to Northern India. He once told me in a deep discussion over lunch that sometime in his life he wanted to go back to India (his home) and help children who are less fortunate. It amazed me that less than a month later, he had already done it by going to a school and lecturing on the importance of education. The pictures in this post are truly beautiful. Check it out here: http://arvindronta.tumblr.com/post/936905345/incredible-moments-part-1-these-are-pictures
A few weekends ago, my husband asked me on a date. After months of renovating, I was keen to spend some quality time together. But since there was still much to do on the house, he decided it would be fun if I helped him do a dump run. Okay, that’s kind of bizarrely romantic.
A few weeks ago, my husband and I went on a short roadtrip. During our getaway we stopped in on my husband’s ex-wife’s parents whom he has remained close with since his divorce over 12 years ago. The 24 hours we spent together changed me.
They shared stories of travelling 1,000 miles across the Congo and doing an emergency tracheotomy to save a baby’s life.