It’s wonderful to be back on Canadian soil, even in quarantine, which I feel professional at now. I set it up as a solitude retreat of practice. Although my energy levels suffer greatly from long journeys with big time differences, I’m going gently in the cradle of gratitude.
It is indeed a very strange time to travel. We hired a comfortable car and driver to take us from Dharamsala to the Delhi airport. We packed enough food to not have to stop anywhere other than for gas and toilets. The first few hours of the twelve hour drive has our bodies sway from side to side of the car. The hairpin roads definitely influence you to keep your eyes on the horizon and not look down. The journey was blessed with clear skies. Not one drop of rain the entire drive, which is almost unheard of during monsoon. One more reason to offer thanks.
When we arrived at the Delhi airport at 10pm, it was hot and humid. There was an hour long line up to get into the airport. Everyone wore at least masks, some had also face shields, gloves and full PPE. Children were tired, hot and cranky and the adults were trying to find grace over fear in these unusual circumstances. Once we made it to the door and showed the airport police our tickets and passports we were allowed to enter. Inside the airport was quite quiet and the line ups for passport control and security were not as daunting. At the Lufthansa gate you were given a full PPE and very strict protocol of hygienic safety to protect one another and especially the flight attendants. Trying to eat and sleep under all these added layers was challenging, but when circumstance makes you so tired, you do.
Daniela and I flew to Munich together then she went to Milan and I went on to Frankfurt and then Toronto. It was a very long and surreal couple of days. Every flight had different requirements as to fulfilling your role as a passenger, from what to wear and when/how to disembark to try to honour social distancing.
In the moments of exhaustion it is quite easy to get frustrated and judgemental on the jaw dropping stupidity you see. Once I tuned into the collective energy, it was easier to see that everyone felt vulnerable and was doing the best they can with what they know and what they have. It was easier to see that I was not separate but as the Dalai Lama would say, just one of the seven billion people of the planet all wanting the same thing, to be happy and free from suffering.
When there is nervousness in the air, I think we often gravitate to survival through separation. Many western minds do anyways. We put our best individualistic knowledge forward but what I noticed is that it makes most situations worse. In the attempt to be okay and avoid suffering, we don’t see the suffering of others. When we don’t see the suffering of others, we don’t develop compassion. Without compassion, we can’t look after ourselves in these critical times either. Instead we isolate in a way that is easy to expand into loneliness and despair.
To be separate is not liberation, belonging is. The more we can see that we are part of a greater whole, the more we gain and our hearts grow. The more I tap into the suffering and the joy of others, the more the burden of my own suffering diminishes and my joys are free to share. Through these travels I observed that we all have a human nature that is good. Some people get lost in a life of traumas and tragedy and mess up. They, even more than others need compassion over judgement for healing to take place and the collective good to grow. The more I could see myself as a simple part of a much bigger picture, the more humour would present itself and lightness and gratitude would wash over me. What more can we ask for?
Feeling blessed for the teachings and heart of India and grateful for my beautiful roots in Canada.
with love, a lotus and a smile to you from a place of solitude,
PS. A cancellation for a private room just came in for the contemplative mala making and yoga retreat in Gravenhurst Oct 16-18. Visit here
for more details. If you are interested, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org