India Life Long Dream
There are two things in my life that I am very passionate about: volunteering around the world and practicing Yoga on a regular basis. I like Yoga because of the connection it creates between the mind, body and soul. “Yoga” itself means “yoke” or “union.” I have been practicing Yoga for the last four years and have been adamant about taking my practice to a deeper level. It had been a dream of mine to travel to India and take a teacher training course in Yoga. This year I made my dream a reality.
However, before I embarked upon my journey of Yogic practice I had a chance to explore a little of bit of India and experience what the country has to offer. I can tell you that literally the minute I arrived at the hotel, I knew I was “not in Kansas anymore.”
Welcome to #india right in front of my hotel... you should see how these guys “drive” lol.
Not only was this my first time visiting India, but also my first time travelling overseas by myself, so you can only imagine all the emotions I was feeling at that time. Upon my arrival at the airport, I was blessed to have been picked up by a cab driver who generously offered to give me a tour of New Delhi, which included visiting some of its temples.
The first stop was the #sikh#temple. At this temple, they feed thousands of people every day and it is run entirely by a staff of volunteers. As you enter the temple, you must first take off your shoes, then wash your hands. You must also wear a turban. This is all done out of respect for their god. Turbans go back in history as part of a spiritual practice. The top of one’s head is the tenth gate or the crown chakra. One thing the cab driver kept mentioning was that the "turban” people were very well respected and were known for their humanity; my type of people.
Shortly thereafter, I saw exactly what he meant. I was blown away, especially by this gentleman in the picture. When he saw me, we got to talking and the next thing I knew, I was washing dishes and helping prepare food. This man had so much joy in his heart, which simply radiated from within. He reiterated the same statement, about how outside we may be different people but in the temple we were all the same; no one’s life was more valuable than another’s. We are all created equal, we all bleed the same, and, of course, we are all here to serve. I was so glad that I could volunteer on my first day in India. It was an amazing experience that I won’t forget, I was on track to a good start.— at Gurudwara Bangla Sahib.
As I set my goal to travel around the world, another item on my bucket list was to see the Seven Wonders of the World. With that in mind, I could not miss the opportunity to see the Taj Mahal, which was only a train ride away. This was a double bonus because I got to experience the Indian railway system. That day was a surreal one for me; what had once been a dream has now become a memory. Hence, I made sure to wear my special t-shirt to emphasize that my dream had come true.
Awesome life tip>>>> Benjamin Franklin said "There are only two things certain in life: death and taxes." Sure, dreams are great, but they are simply goals without deadlines. Unless you have the courage to act upon them, they will simply be another regret on your deathbed. Life is too short to die with regrets/dreams of what could have been, so let’s start making memories. Spread #love and be the light in the world. Ignore the pessimist in your life and stand tall. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said #life would be easy. Imagine life without obstacles and ask yourself: Would life be worth living? #SmilingTimes
Even though I already had a chance to give back a little something to India, I know that whatever I do will never be enough, at least for me. I will always have to find a way to make a bigger impact. Before my trip to India, I relentlessly searched the internet to find an "NGO" (non-governmental organization) to work with in India, I must say, it was a lot harder than I thought it would be. After countless emails, only a few organizations replied. (Shortly thereafter, I learned that emails are not the preferred form of communication, and that it is better to communicate via phone or text; lesson learned =)
I finally reached out to an organization called Seva Kitchen via their website, http://www.sevakitchen.org. The idea of calling their organization Seva Kitchen came after some deliberation. The name, quite literally, draws on the traditional value of selfless giving – a desire to serve, or do Seva. Although we started by making meals accessible to relatives of patients in hospital, the term Seva Kitchen continues to cover a broader array of actions to address hunger. Behind this guiding principle is the belief that every kitchen in every town, village, and city is a Seva Kitchen. Unfortunately, there was not a local facility in Delhi; however, I was able to speak with Khushroo Poacha, who went out of his way when he saw my eagerness to help. He connected me with like-minded individuals in New Delhi who had the same passion for humanity that I do.
Khushroo introduced me to Ashok Pandey and his wife Bidhusree Pandey, who do these types of selfless acts every week on their own dime at the local hospital in New Delhi. They were more than willing to help me spread some love. I have to admit, this was one of those moments when I was holding back tears; the kids were filled with joy just to receive some food and candy. I pray that none of us will have to go through the suffering that these kids experience on a daily basis. I was happy that I could make some sort of impact. However, it is simply not enough, and that is why I will serve others for the rest of my life. The journey of love does not have an expiration date. I am elated to know that countless others around the world think the same way I do, and that makes my heart smile.
During my brief tour of India, I had a chance to visit Jaipur, Delhi and Agra; however, one comment I kept hearing from the locals was that every "state" in India is different and that I would have to experience all of them to get the true essence of the country. Unfortunately, I did not have enough time, since I had my Yoga training course to attend, but I will be back, as there is so much more to see.