Some years ago, I accompanied my husband on a business trip to The Cayman Islands, which are known for some of the best snorkeling in the world. He decided to teach me to snorkel by having me jump from a low wall into rough water wearing my snorkel gear. I began thrashing and almost drowned the two of us. We made it out of the water alive, and then noticed a group of beginner snorkelers swimming in a barrier reef that looked like a shallow pool.
That’s where I finally learned to breathe through that ridiculously narrow tube. I don’t do well when I am thrown in over my head. I like to wade in with my feet touching the bottom, if needed, at least at first. This makes it easier for me for letting go of my fears.
Once I got the hang of it, my husband would wake up in the mornings, startled to see me standing beside his side of the bed with my snorkel gear ready to go. I had surrendered to the ocean.
That’s what I felt like when I was thrown into India last week. I again traveled with my husband for this adventure. This time for ayurvedic health purification treatments.
Even though this was my fourth trip to India, the accommodations were more third world than I expected. My room was without windows and had a broken air conditioner with no one available to fix it. The electricity went out every day at noon for a couple hours without any regard for the 100+ degree temperatures. And did I mention the roaches in my room, including one climbing out of my toothbrush?
I know it sounds strange to many people that I would even go to India for rejuvenation treatments, but it is the home of an ancient health treatment called panchakarma.
In the same breath, I might add that India is not for wimps, but it is a great place to burn off karma, stretch your boundaries and letting go of any limiting beliefs. In my clearer moments, I watched preconceived perceptions wash down the drain.
It’s a country of opposites — beggars, poverty, deeply spiritual citizens and holy people in the Himalayan mountains are quite common.
The scene outside was interesting — an empty lot filled with trash, that was burned on a daily basis, filling the air with choking smoke. Right next to the lot, was a small country club with a beautiful swimming pool filled with water, but no swimmers. Indian chants were blasting over a loudspeaker in the lovely park on the other side of the trash lot. The clinic is in a nice neighborhood, so there were no beggars on the streets, nor smoke from cow dung burning at night.
Their standards of cleanliness, however, are different than mine. I won’t even go into detail. Each day I would let go of my notions of what I needed to feel comfortable.
In each moment I had to die to my beliefs of cleanliness, of fine customer service, of being in control of my environment.
India was a gift that gave me practice allowing the death of my ego, the surrender of how things SHOULD be. The little deaths we go through when we fail, or find ourselves in deep water outside our comfort zone, create a more open-hearted, compassionate, enriching life.
For me, I find that coming up for air to find solid familiar space under my feet every once in awhile, supports the practice of letting go.
LETTING GO is a fast track to experiencing strength, growth and freedom. When we choose to try something different, we learn to stay flexible.
Grab change by the hand, maybe get a lifejacket, and swim.
What is your ‘India’? How have you learned about letting go? I’d love to hear from you.
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