On to a 30 hour journey! From India to America - is there a more drastic change?? The time difference night and day too, 13 hours. I was preparing myself, usually I am good with jetlag. The first leg of the journey was from Bangalore to Hongkong where I had a layover of 7 hours during daytime. I was considering checking out the town but then decided to rather chill at the airport, go through my mails and relax. I grabbed a coffee at Starbucks (exceptionally! I had given up coffee a year ago but this was part of my jetlag strategy! The trick is to stay awake most of the journey and then when i arrive at my destination in the evening I am so tireed I can fall asleep easily andmy body is in the nght and day routine. The coffee was soooo goood though I must admit!!),had a little lunch and explored the many shops at the airport, using the opportunity to move my legs.
the next part was from Hongkong to LA, and somehow I was so calm and relaxed the long journey didn't bother me at all (must have been all the meditating, or I am simply getting used to all these flights). I watched a movie, dozed a bit, read, and then we were there! I needed to go through customs here although I had another flight to San Diego a few hours later. Luckily all went smoothly, and I hopped on to the last past of my trip. Finally I arrived in San Diego, tried to connect to the wifi of San Diego airport to order me an uber (unsuccessful), ended up taking a taxi to my motel, checked in, took a loooong hot shower and fell into bed.
slept okay although I woke up every three hours but all in all not too bad.
The next morning I had my first American breakfast at a place near the motel. Everything looked so cliché American!!! Loved it!
Got picked up at noon by the guy leading the retreat I was about to join in San Diego.
The next days I spent at a super luxurious villa in Escondido at a mindblowing retreat with amazing people. I won't write more details about it on this site because it was all quite intimate.
Finally on the 21st I got again on another flight and made my way to San Francisco where I am staying with a good friend. I am loving it already, especially the massive variety at the whole food stores (or Rainbow store). Mindblowing and overwhelming!
what a change coming from India!!!
So I spent a whole month in Tiruvannamalai :) the original plan was to travel around the South of India, Tamil nadu, Kerala, Goa... Haha. I couldn't leave the holy mountain and tiru that quickly.
I spent my days going to the ashram, listening to the vedic chanting, reading and reading, having conversations (or rather private satsangs with these wonderful people here from whom I learned soo much!), Meditating (me! Meditating! Effortlessly! Craving it!!). The last days of my stay there were daily talks at the ashram by Nochur which were amazing! I meditated in the morning, went to the talk, afterwards met with my friends for a chai or breakfast, then in the afternoon continued reading and studying, buying fruit, having ayurvedic massages, visiting the temples... There is nothing to be done in Tiru, and still so much is done.
It is a magical place.
But in the end it was time for me to leave, so I took the bus to Bangalore, which was dirt cheap and super easy and comfy. I literally had no problems or issues during my whole stay in India! And i know, that is not he norm! So I felt very blessed and at ease there.
Bangalore was great too. Everybody there uses uber to get around so that was super simple. I met up with a friend from my time in Bali 6 years ago. She still lives there and she is a super creative soul who writes songs and sings, draws cartoons, has a podcast etc etc. She did a whole month of workshops inBangalore so I went to her workshop in a funky community center. The little group of Indian girls and me did some drawings and paintings, and afterwards we had a nice lunch at a yogi cafe. Bangalore seemed such a modern town. I never felt overwhelmed by the traffic, noise or smell. I guess even India is changing.
My last day in India I spent on my own, wandering around bangalore, visiting Cubbon Park, and eating yummy Indian food. Then I took an uber to the airport and had to say goodbyw for now. I will be back though! There is so much of India I still want to see.
I am super grateful for this first intro I got, probably in the holiest place of it all. Thank you Arunachala!
This is gonna be a very personal entry.
After Eat and Pray it seems I have really reached the Love part.
I have found back to my Source, Love for my True Self.
Ayay I am aware I will sound like one of these new age esoteric hippie chicks going to India to find themselves. But it is true.
(By the way, I still haven't found myself, but I feel like now at least I am on a good way again and learning the tools to do so).
When I was a little child, I remember I asked my mother once (and I remember that moment clearly, it must have been like an epiphany), is this world,is this all just a dream?
I have always felt a bit outside, different than the others. Withdrawn to the silence, I loved being on my own. Problems to understand the social interactions with these other beings around me. It seemed like this world with it's strange ways was hurting my true self, it seemed like somethig was wrong. But of course we get conditioned to forget our true Self.
I never cared for the material things, like fashion, parties and boys. I wore my grandfather's old sweater, and rather read books. A typical introvert's childhood, the nerd, whatever you want to call it.
In my late teens I came across a book in my parents living room (I have still no idea how that ended up there): about yoga. I did the postures in the book and made my own little series of postures which I did every day. I realized soon how much better I felt just by doing them. I also discovered Buddhism and dove deep into the literature about it, I studied and read everything about it. But I had nobody to talk about it, I knew nobody on the same path. I tried to meditate in my room with my mother walking through even though I had tried to explain to her, I needed a quiet moment. My grandparents thought I wwas ending up in a cult, how could you trust this "Buddha" with that big belly while so many people were starving (that's really what they said! :D)
Anyways, it seems I always felt there was something.
Also later, I never really cared that much about material things. I wasn't into shopping, I stopped watching television, I was constantly searching for something, for answers. I was so depressed in my early twenties.
Slowly I found answers, by giving up everything I had, my job, my apartment, my stuff, my life in Germany, when I flew to Spain in 2010 searching for happiness.
I found happiness there, living the simple life.
Somehow over the years and some other countries I found peace in a yoga center, again in Spain. It felt like coming home, and the yoga helped me immensely.
After a few years there I felt like something was still missing, though.
I had it all - I loved my job, my apartment, the area I lived, my cats, everything. But something was missing.
So I thought I maybe needed to get those things that people say bring happiness: more money, a house, a loving partner, world travels etc. Purpose in your life.
I had my vision board with all the things I desired, all the things which I thought would bring me happiness. If only I would 5000 Euro a month. If only I would look the way I wanted to look. If only I had my dream house, my dream business, my dream man.
A world travel was also on the list, so I thought I could combine it, go traveling and try to manifest all my desires during this time. I wanted to go out there and get rich.
Well, rich did I become. But not in material things. I feel I found the Source, the Happiness Inside.
Now I know what I have to do. Now I have some tools to eventually get there.
I am still learning so much, and it is definitely not enough time here in Tiruvannamalai, but I so feel how special this place is, and I feel and hope I will come back here. Funnily enough, I made the decision to leave earlier. After only one month in India and Tiru I will fly to the United States. Which is kind of against everything I have just learned and realized. And still it feels right.
It is hard to put it all into words but I have a deep sense of inner peace now, and know the tools to work with. It is probably way easier here in Tiruvannamalai (everybody says that) so I hope I can maintain what I am learning here. But I know I will probably need to come back.
What else has happened in the meantime:
I celebrated the start into the New Year reading, in my room. I went to bed at 11 pm.
On the 1st of January was the Full Moon which means a LOT of people from everywhere come to Tiru to walk around the mountain, for about 24 hours. It is quite a special energy. I walked around the mountain early in the morning , before the big crowds, although there were already quite some people on the road. It was my second time I walked it, and this time I did it barefoot, and did my little prayers at almost every temple along the way. I did regret though I went in the morning because some people asked me to walk with them in the evening with the big crowds, and the energy was amazing, seeing all these people under the rising full moon. But I was too exhausted to walk the round again. I didn't sleep well that night though, I had a sleep paralysis which I didn't have in a while, and woke up again a couple of times. Must have been the full moon and the energy of the people.
Then there was the birthday celebrations of Ramana Maharshi at the ashram where they play music and serve free food to everybody (they serve free food every day). So we went there, got a plate of lovely food and listened to the music afterwards, it was a sweet atmosphere.
The rest of my time here I spend reading, studying, at satsangs or ashrams, meditating, a little bit of yoga, and private discourses and lectures.
So yes, in a week I willmove on to the United States, San Diego and San Francisco.