I haven’t written for a few days now because, honestly, it’s a bit embarrassing to admit how little I’ve been doing this past week. I remember when I transitioned from my month-long retreat at Purple Valley to practicing with Rolf and Marci in Candolim two years ago; at first I had a serious case of boredom. I would ask people after practice as we sat around recovering at the juice hut, “What are you going to do for the rest of the day?” For most, it would be a strenuous combo of reading, checking email at the nearest internet café, napping on the beach, and for the really industrious, doing a bucket load of laundry.
When I look back on my blog posts from that time, I recall being torn between the luxury of being in a place like Goa, where there really isn’t that much to do, and the guilt of doing very little that feels productive or contributive to society. But after a few days, I fell into a natural rhythm; sure enough, the same rhythm has found me yet again. And the beautiful part of a second go-round is that there’s a lot less guilt. I get it this time…this is rejuvenation. We don’t have to be productive every minute of every day. It’s perfectly acceptable here to have no agenda whatsoever.
That’s not to say, however, that I’ve been sitting around watching paint dry. Quite the contrary! I’ve gone back to a daily Ashtanga practice with an excellent instructor: Regina Ehlers at Goastanga. I’ve also spent a lot of time thinking about how to bridge the gap between Ashtanga and the practice Emil introduced me to, along with a more regular pranayama and meditation routine (more on this in days to come). I can relate to the retired people in my life (Hi Dad!) whose days are busy despite their seemingly laid back lifestyle. Between trips into town to run errands or meet friends for coffee or a meal, and adventures to one of the many beaches to get some relief from the escalating heat, the days disappear.
And as of yesterday, I have two lovely ladies from Downward Dog, Sara and Charlene, now in Goa with me. After spending the last ten days mostly alone or with new friends I’ve only just met, there’s nothing quite like being in the company of familiar faces from home. I have to admit though, that I’ve had several moments on this trip where I’m spending time with people who a month ago I hadn’t met yet, who know feel like kindred spirits. Whether it was at Satsanga with the group on my retreat, who became like family in only a week, or in the days since when I return “home” to Bean Me Up to catch up with whoever is sitting in the courtyard, there’s something extraordinary about plucking myself out of my world at home, traveling across the world, and finding true connections with others who I would otherwise have never met.
When I was talking to Sara today about how amazing that feels, to have met people on this trip who I know will be a part of my life for years to come, she told me she’s never seen that happen anywhere else the way it does in Goa. There’s a certain openness here, especially amongst the yoga community, that cultivates not only friendliness, but authentic generosity and kindness.
Furthermore, the local people display such tolerance for us foreigners. I encounter this daily, from the guy who passed me on his scooter and bothered to turn back to tell me I’d left my kick-stand down (oops!), from the vendors at Mapusa market who graciously allowed my friend and I to pose amongst them for some yoga photos in their stalls (stay tuned!), and from the tireless team at Bean Me Up who never seem to take a day off!
To have already encountered so much and so many and still have another two weeks to go feels absolutely indulgent. But at the same time, I’m surrounded by people whose travels are keeping them away from home (if they even have a “home”) much longer than my measly five weeks. In comparison, my trip doesn’t even begin to do justice to what remains to be discovered in this country (not to mention the rest of the world!). It’s beyond inspiring to meet people here with such diverse stories and unparalleled passion for travel and exploration; even more inspiring to encounter those who’ve decided to bring their children along and expose them to an education richer than any conventional classroom could provide. It really puts the bubble in context, along with the importance of getting out of our comfort zones once in a while. So the next time I’m wavering about taking another trip…somebody just push me on the plane! I won’t even pack a suitcase.