The only thing I was nervous about, in coming to India for this retreat, was not making connections with people.
The flight to Varanasi from Delhi was smooth. Only an hour and a half – I can do that. I even start to like flying again. I knew I wouldn’t be the only one on that flight heading for the retreat. And I wasn’t wrong. I even guessed them correctly.
And it’s so funny, because at first I was very hesitant with them. Now, eight hours later I feel that we were all connected well before we started. The depth of connection you can make with fellow travellers is nothing short of awe inspiring. Especially in terms of how quickly those connections are cemented. Maybe because we are on shortened time. We pack a lifelong friendship into a significantly reduced time. And you don’t have the realities of normal life.
There are thirty four of us; thirty participants. Most of us felt called to India, to this retreat with Alana Fairchild.
The trip from the airport to Hotel Surya took about half an hour. A trip that revived memories of Nepal. Initially in Nepal, the driving, noise, difference was quite intimidating. Seeing it in India, wiser and more travelled, enabled me to see the rhythmic magic in the flow of it all. The beauty and grace in the established patterns of life here, somehow lacking the austerity of life in the western world. There is a freedom here that we do not permit ourselves to have. Here, they just go about doing what has to be done; in our world, we are too busy sticking to arbitrary rules to feel this freedom. The natural dance of living thrives here.
In the garbage on the road. In the dog’s roaming freely. In the cow that chooses to sit in the middle of the road, reverently. In the continual honking of horns; dogs, people, cows, bikes, motorcycles, trucks – all dancing to the same ostinatoed beat.
The government decided to build a six laned road to cater for the traffic between the airport and Varanasi center. The people have been relocated by the government. The fronts of shops and houses in the way of the new road have just been demolished to the point that they were in the way. I cannot describe what it looks like and do the reality justice. It needs to be seen.
We were escorted to our rooms. I unpacked. Debated napping and decided to explore the grounds. Found the swimming pool and my new found friends. Had a drink with one and met another.
Then went to our first workshop.
That will need to be a post on its own.