This question has come up a lot in the last week. I desired complete freedom and independence on this journey... and well, I got what I asked for!
I arrived at the Ayurvedic School about a week ago. At first, I loved it. I was so eager to absorb as much as I could in my time there (I planned for the one month program). However, as the days passed, I recognized that I wasn't feeling quite as excited anymore. My enthusiasm had started drooping. I was learning about Ayurveda, but something wasn't right. I was not as inspired as I had expected to be. It was definitely a big transition from the spiritual and lively atmosphere of the ashram... but I had adjusted to having my own room (with a king size bed!), my own bathroom, and small dinners with the other students ( eating at a table ~ family style). There was a lot that I did like, but I had an underlying feeling of uncertainty.
My expectations were not met at the school. The environment was not one that inspired me. The energy didn't feel right.
A lot of feelings came up around this issue: How often have I settled for something that wasn't quite right? How often have I made choices powered by feelings of obligation or comfort? How often have I chosen to ignore "negative" feelings?
I have done all of that before.
It has been enlightening to sit with these feelings in the last few days. Once again... a great opportunity to observe my mind. I can't believe how indecisive I can be! Haha. It's truly amazing. I would like to blame it all on my Gemini sun sign (changeable, easily influenced, airy, adaptable); and I do strongly believe in astrology. But I think this situation perfectly symbolizes an on-going challenge in my life (created by a mix of factors): ~ knowing myself and what I want! ~ when I constantly change my mind, it's hard to trust my intuition.
Literally within seconds I could think (regarding the ayurvedic school) "ok, I just don't like this place, I need to stop making the most out of situations that don't serve me. I deserve to feel completely inspired. I traveled all the way here, I am not going to feel stuck. I will leave" then immediately switch to, "Maybe I'm just being restless. I am learning Ayurveda, that is why I am here. I like the teacher and I like the other students. What if I leave and end up feeling the same disappointment with another program? It's easier to just stick it out where I am. I will stay. " Flip flop flip flop with these thoughts...ALL day!
This is where the practice of yoga comes in!!
~ I am not my thoughts.
~ I am peaceful and clear within.
~ I have strong intuition.
~ I am able to choose what is best for my highest good.
I watched myself crave the answer (to leave the school or not) from others. Another mental pattern to observe ~ looking for external approval/ validation. I talked with my parents about this situation and they encouraged me to stay flexible and do what I want. It sounds so easy! Maybe it can be that easy... to do what I want.
I have a tendency to make a plan and pressure myself to stick with it. I get tunnel vision. I like to complete things. I like to stay positive and always see the good. I like to follow- through. But this level of determination can be detrimental. I can lose sight of the only constant in life, which is change. I can limit myself by my own drive to reach the finish line, to persevere, and accomplish. I need to work on accepting that It's ok to change my plan (whatever that plan is in my life at the time). It's ok to switch directions. It's healthy to let the energy of life flow in and out without attachment. For me, it's incredibly healthy and crucial to be able to say NO. I need to nurture my intuition and give myself permission to shift directions. I am working on this. The more aware of this challenge I have become, the more and more it seems to present itself to me ( yay for practice! 😳🙏🙂haha).
It's so interesting how often I have heard myself say, "I don't know" in everyday life. Even with simple things like deciding to go into the city with some new friends or not. Again, this is the lesson ~ what do I want?! ~ what is best for me? What is my truth? With no one else to consider, no one else's opinions... I am left with myself. Myself and decisions. And I DO KNOW. It's all within ~ This is the independence and freedom that I asked for!
So I decided that I would leave the school in Trivandrum. I knew I would lose some money and some time, but I accepted it. I released the comfort of my plans.
After I made the final decision about leaving, I still needed to inform the school and the other students (there were only 4 students taking the one month course). I knew I would experience some resistance. And I did. The manager urged me to stay, trying to convince me that my feelings would change. I stayed strong and told her that I had made my decision and that I just needed to go. There was some disappointment from my peers, but mostly they offered support and kindness.
**Here is some India added to the story ~
On that last day at the school, (after my meeting with the manager) I went into the city of Trivandrum with some fellow students for some sightseeing. We enjoyed snacks and chai/coffee at the Indian Coffee House (a crazy brick tower that has a spiraling interior lined with concrete benches and tables). We then went to the Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple. This temple is the spiritual center of Trivandrum. We were aware beforehand that only Hindus were allowed to go inside. We had planned on getting as close as possible and obeying the rules. As we approached the temple, one of the women in our group (who we called Auntie), separated to go speak with the officers. Auntie is a very feisty older woman from the Punjab region of India. She is incredibly loving and treated all of us as if we were her own children. I heard her saying "god does not discriminate" as she argued to the officers to allow us inside! She herself could have gone in the temple (as well as the other woman with us). Myself and Federica ( from Italy) were the prohibited ones. I got pulled over to the conversation as Auntie grabbing my arm to show the officers my "satya" tattoo. She exclaimed, "see! She believes in the same things you do! She even wears a mala". Auntie also joked that Federica was her daughter (she was very obviously not). The officers smiled and basically said no with a gentle wave of their hands. We all laughed about it. It was worth a try! Upon leaving the temple, I felt a deep sense of contentment. I think it was a combination of the energy of devotion at the temple as well as my own sense of ease within.
Today I navigated my way through the train station in Trivandrum, found the public bus in Earnakulum, and settled into a homestay in Fort Kochi. It was a big day of travel. I am proud of myself not only for successfully persevering through the chaos of India transport on my own, but also for being authentic in an uncomfortable situation in order to get here.
I am hoping to study Ayurveda through another program before I head to northern India on feb.28th. When I ask myself "why am I in India?" I know my answer is to study and experience Yoga and Ayurveda. I do want to see the country and explore, but my main goal is to dive into the ancient teachings of this land and culture.
This recent experience has reaffirmed to me once again that yoga is practiced when I need to face my fears. When things are not smooth and easy. When Satya (truth) will set me free from my own restrictions. By consistently bringing the essence of alignment/integrity (in thoughts, words, and actions) into our lives, we can suffer less and progressively build happier and more stable relationships from the inside out.
This was a big week for me, thank you for reading!
Love to you all 🙏❤️