Here’s too the first part of the new year done! Right about now we start to reflect on the intentions we set for the new year, maybe some intentions that we’ve let fall because the challenge was too much, too soon and finally reflect on past journeys that inspire new legacies. Like many people, I am reflecting on what India taught me in the 2 months that I was present on its land, a journey which has shaped my future more than I could have ever hoped…..
Learning lessons is always a strong point in life, they make you wiser and create a stronger, more fulfilled person internally and externally. Now, this post isn’t to persuade you to book your next flight to India but to reflect on an adventure you may have had in the past that rooted so deep into your brain that you question why it was so memorable in the first place. India happened to be one of those places where I came back a different person, not just emotionally but mentally and physically.
After digging deep into my thoughts and reading through my journal I started to piece together what parts fitted perfectly during this puzzle and from that the parts which brought change and happiness to my life that I hadn’t noticed before.
The way I live in western society is proven to be middle class; food on my table, a comfortable bed, a safe and money in the bank. This, however, is a totally different lifestyle to what some people live like in India. I found people begging 3x the size of me who looked like they hadn’t eaten in weeks, children running out into the road to play with stones because they had no toys and most importantly people built their houses from ruins and wooden plates. As this was my first encounter with anything like this and I found it extremely hard not to think about my own life and what I had. This is when I decided to buy into the minimal lifestyle. Waste has always been a pet peeve of mine so as you can imagine I was more than happy to put away my consumerism habits and focus on the more important parts of my life.
I had heard about the minimal lifestyle as I watched a few documentaries on it however from seeing it with my own eyes, everything just clicked into place like an old lock and its key joined once again. We should never take for granted the people around you because despite how much money you have money cannot replace your personality and who you are as a person. Be kind and generous throughout your life and most importantly don’t waste what you don’t have, the world is full of waste and why would you want to contribute to it. Be mindful in your decisions, they impact your future.
- Every day is a blessing.
I remember finding a man lying in the middle of the street, as disgusting as this may be with flies, flying around his face and in his mouth. Honestly, he looked like he had passed away in the night and he just lay there. I couldn’t believe my eyes when people were just going about their day and just ignoring this helpless being right before them. I waited until I was late for class and never really found out if he made it out ok or not. I tried to wake him but he didn’t move, I felt lost and broken, that human life mattered so little which is where my “every day is a blessing mantra” came from. To live life to your heart’s content, some people do not hold the benefits that you hold, be grateful and be open-hearted about life and those who walk amongst us.
PS…. I asked people what was wrong and they said to leave him be, I tried to help but he seemed content with where he was. An hour later after I had bought some food for him he had gone.
- Open minded
India is very different to the UK, almost opposite in every way but that’s what made their life lessons more interesting. You have to be open with your decisions and free with your thinking when you step onto Indian soil as it’s culture and laws contrast with ours very differently. It’s like you have to put on a mask every day and be bolder than you are in your hometown, act with a certain deminer to get through the day undisturbed and finally to create unlikely friendships you have to listen to the people, even if you don’t trust anyone. Something we don’t really do in the UK since we spend our lives rushing around, too busy to even look across the street sometimes.
As mentioned in the post above we waste so much of our time rushing around, making ourselves busy for the pure pleasure that seems to suck us all into one thing. Money! We ruin our friendships, relationships, careers, and ambitions because of it, however in India, as money is scarce they rely on their instincts and personalities to make use of their time. They spend quality time with family that can last for hours with no technology (yes that means no phones), food bouquets that are fit for a few kings, praying and meditating to understand themselves and their gods in a more personal way.
Now, this doesn’t mean I’m converting to the nearest religion but it has taught me to slow down and really cherish my time. I watched people earnestly, gazing at their lives waiting to see how their days change in a constant manor but in fact, they don’t. My teacher talked about how sometimes she would cancel on a friend 5 minutes before they were due to meet because she didn’t like to “plan” and that her health was more important than a gathering. To me, this showed power and strength in who they were, that they care more about their own bodies than their social gatherings which brought me to question my own beliefs. Am I worth the time I am putting out for people? Am I putting my time to good use?
To listen to our bodies in the most important part of being present, learning to understand ourselves on a deeper level in which we survive. All of which are great skills to be enjoyed by in life and hopefully help us excel in each challenge we face throughout our time on this earth.
Lifes about learning, so open your mind and let it wander!