Incase you missed it, I was just in India giving a TEDx talk and decided to make a trip out of it with my 12 year-old son, Jude. It was a trip of a lifetime, and we had the best time with Jude even wanting to stay! I’m so grateful for our time there and how much time we got to spend together. In today’s busy world, this is rare. He is such a great traveler, and we also had many take aways with being in such a different culture. Here is a picture from the Ghandi Memorial.
Read today’s article where I share what we learned and how we can all apply these lessons to our daily lives 🙂
Here are my 5 take aways from India:
1. Get Comfortable being Uncomfortable ~ There is unfortunately a lot of poverty in India. It stands out in all of the major cities and can cause a little anxiety when walking around. My son and I kept a low profile, often only driving through these areas and getting out of the car to see the main sites. It was interesting to see my son Jude’s reaction. He was very afraid when we did get out of the car in these types of areas, which is one of the reasons we kept such a low profile. It definitely made sense to be cautious, but he was feeling this way even in the safer towns. We were walking around in one of the most spiritual places and Jude’s fear peaked when someone asked him to come into their store to see their puppies. Of course here in North America that would raise a red flag of “stranger danger”, and is exactly what we teach our kids NOT to be swayed to do. I was happy the lesson sank in, but sad that it was also inhibiting him in a new country. Again it’s great to be cautious, but everyone in India was so kind and welcoming and it is just different there. We ended up going back to our driver and had him drive us to the various sites in this town instead. Our driver proceeded to drive us through this tiny town, on a one-way street, where cars were not aloud! He was constantly honking at cars – and cows! – to move out of the way! He really took one for the team, and I was definitely more nervous about people becoming irate that we were “breaking the rules” then seeing anyone’s puppies! This was a great lesson in getting comfortable being uncomfortable, to which became our new joke anytime we felt a little off.
Things are going to be different outside of the bubbles we live in. Being comfortable with being uncomfortable allows us to experience new things and be open to different ideas and ways of being.
2. Be Open to receiving ~ In India they practice “Atithi Devo Bhava”, which means Guest is equivalent to God. We were overwhelmed by the love and service we were given. We were truly treated like royalty. At the college, all of our meals and tea were made for us and served – even when we used a food delivery service instead. The staff insisted on serving it to us on dishes to make it nice. It was amazing! Many of the students took pictures of us and wanted a ton of selfies – even with Jude! We felt a little funny at first, but quickly learned that it was rude to not accept all of the great service and were reminded of receiving.
What if we treated our own guests like this? How much different would our dinner parties and client interactions be? Hmm…I think we are all worthy of this kind of love J
3. Stay flexible ~ we realized quickly that well laid out plans often took longer than anticipated. Instead of being so rigid and caring if we didn’t get to certain places at a certain time, I practiced letting go and staying flexible. It was awesome to juts go with the flow, change plans were needed, and I was reminded of how this is such a peaceful existence when we operate form this place. With being a busy Mom and business owner, taking control and managing everyone comes with the territory BUT we can also take this too far. There has to be an element of going with the flow and bending our own rules. If we go too far, the “need to control” is much more about the “need to feel safe”.
Finding a happy medium in all areas of life is the ultimate – getting sh*t done and letting sh*t go!
4. Accept different cultures ~ each area we visited had a different type of vibe and we learned to adjust quickly. A holy mama was the traffic a completely different situation! I’ve never heard so much honking and send such deep congestion. We learned to trust our diver very quickly. One of my favourite traditions was in the Himalayas being, where everyone bows with their hands in prayer position to greet one another. I started doing it too and even Jude was doing it by the end. It was such a peaceful way to say hello. If you see me doing this around town you will know why 😉
We chatted about which practices we would like to bring home into our daily life, one of them being high tea. In India they have tea and cookies around 5 or 5:30, before dinner that starts around 7:30 pm. Jude especially loved this and we have imported it into our evenings at home. Instead of waiting for an evening where everyone is home at the same time – which is almost impossible given everyone’s activities and schedules – we started doing it with who ever is home. I am loving the unexpected connection this is bringing.
5. Sacred cow ~ we found out why they do not eat beef in India (even the McDonalds only has chicken). The cow is indeed scared because it gives milk, and the idea is that they don’t take anything else from it because of this. The cows walk freely around the country as a result – I’m still amazed at how they’re able to navigate thick, congested traffic!
Above all else, was the love, kindness and gratitude every single person we met seemed to exhibit. From the college staff, to the students, to the hotel staff, to the people on the streets. Everyone was grateful and kind. What an inspiration for us all to live this way 🙂