September 2014, and I went on my second pilgrimage to Rishikesh, India. I made a promise to myself upon my return from that same magical place last September 2013 that I would return. In June of this year, I truly believed that promise would not be fulfilled, for certain reasons…but it all came together because I was meant to go, I needed to go because it was part of my journey.
I came across the saying and saw it on colourful T-shirts in various shops in Laxman Jhulla, “Same, same but different.”
Should I, do I, can I compare this second trip to my first one in Rishikesh? I can but it is truly difficult to put it onto words so “Same, same but different” is most appropriate yet not nearly descriptive in capturing the magic, the once in a life time experiences, the feeling of complete and utter peace, love and joy! The first trip offered profound experiences that my second did not, likewise, my second trip presented me with sacred moments my first did not. So I know that each trip gave me what I needed at the time and for what I needed to serve me moving forward. Both hold lessons for me to always remember, to strive to implement, to hold onto with every intention and action I make.
My first visit to Rishikesh, considered the birthplace of Yoga, was part of an advanced teacher training module and retreat at an Ashram very dear to my heart, Phool Chatti, and the towns of Ram Jhulla and Laxman Jhulla. The second trip was more following my own agenda and schedule with three friends, one of whom I met during my first India Pilgrimage, the other two soul sisters all inter connected and divinely entwined on my path to visit the special place that is Rishikesh and Phool Chatti.
I had many sacredly personal, auspicious and blessed experiences of peace, love, joy and clarity. Aspects I so desperately seeked months leading up to my departure. Some experiences were so intense, so total that I feel I need to keep to myself because on the one hand, one may think it all crazy or just too “out there”, and on the other hand I feel I want to keep it close to my heart to savour every minute of the memory for fear of letting that feeling go.
Ask anyone who has been to Rishikesh, ask each person who has stayed at Phool Chatti, their face will light up, their hearts will pound, their words will be many yet not nearly enough to capture the feeling. That place does something to you….it fills you with awe, with tears, with wonder, with peace, with unapologetic emotion…
Siting by Ma Ganga, gratitude for those of the past who contributed to moulding me into the person I am today, deepest appreciation to those of my present who made it possible for me to be in India once again, love for those who have been in my life for so many years in good times and bad and for those who have recently come into my life. The mere mention of names brought a flood of emotions from smiles to tears….and it all became clear.
Truthfully, the hard part is being back home to everyday life. Mentally the re-adjustment is difficult. By no means, am I disregarding the blessings of my life, in fact, India makes you realize just how privileged you really are. I know that despite many days of wishing for and asking for “more”, I do have enough. The “more” is realizing that I am significant beyond my own self- imposed doubts and fears. I will manifest my dreams and I will control my thoughts, they will not control me….a continuous battle but one I am gaining the upper hand of more so than before. My time at the Ashram proved this to me because I had to face some of my darkest fears…and I did. So I can have “more” if I choose to and if I choose wisely.
Re-adjusting to my everyday life is hard because I feel the spiritual, loving and peaceful energy I absorbed in that special place slips away with each passing day. Yet, the test, the real test….is to connect to that very same energy here to the best of my ability whether it be through asana, meditation or just day to day life practice….that is the key, that is the real Yoga.
Upon my return, one of my students asked me, “Did you learn a lot?”
I explained that this trip was not a continued teacher training or retreat, and then I replied…
“Yes, I did…I learnt more about myself.”
Blessed and grateful.
With Prem and Om.