I could not access the words through the thoughts yesterday to write this. Those of you that follow me know how transforming my recent trip to India has been for me. I consolidated and signposted this with a tattoo yesterday.
But, the journey for this tattoo started in January. So I think it is fitting that I close the year with it.
In January, I received an email from Alana Fairchild promoting a Lakshmi retreat in India for late October. I felt the calling to go, trusted it, and replied that I would be going. It felt right. I knew I was meant to go. I didn’t realise how right it was at the time, just that I had to trust the calling and step outside of my comfort zone.
In early March, I was informed that I was under investigation at work for failing to report the misconduct of other staff members. This investigation, ironically, lasted two days shy of forty two weeks (an overdue bub- yep). Whilst I suffered/endured/survived extreme bouts of anxiety and disconnection, the upcoming trip to India sustained me. I knew it would set me on the right path.
In April, for my birthday, I was going to host a picnic but made the decision to postpone it until the investigation was resolved. After all, how long could it take? 😳
I also wanted to mark my birthday with a tattoo. I was thinking a mandala. I like them. I googled mandala experts.
I came across a Sydney artist, Mark of Nara. His tattooing is distinct and his website suggests that he works with tattoos in a spiritual and healing mode. This piqued my interest and I contacted his studio to make an appointment.
No more bookings for 2016. A wait list for 2017.
Initially miffed, I trusted that what would be, would be. I didn’t look further for an artist. I’ve never been tattooed by an artist with a wait list. It was a bit novel.
And then, India. A retreat and trip that would completely transform me. I integrated aspects of myself, and began to see myself as beautiful, inside and out. I saw myself as the Divine sees me, sees us all. A child full of light, love, compassion, power. A child who deserves to live her best life, create her best life, away from bureaucracy and limiting, ridiculous precepts.
Alone in Dharamshala, at the Tibetan Cultural Centre, I was guided towards a statue depicting Green Tara; compassion in action – hand shown and foot ready to jump, sitting on a lotus. She called to me. Really called to me. Something inside was cemented when I saw her, transformed me. If I jump, was ready for action, coming from compassion, I could live my best life and become the best version of myself.
She is my symbol for India.
I came home, high, ready to embrace everything that could be, and fell into the drudgery of work. Returning emphasized how unhappy I was in the monotony of work, with no life balance or time/energy to do other things, to be all that I can be.
One funeral after the other: reminders that life is too short to writhe in misery and I decide to take leave for next year. I plan travel, book writing, growing and transforming my business, casual teaching to sustain me.
And then I receive an email to inform me that Mark of Nara is taking appointments for 2017. I had to send my idea to him. If it appealed, I would get an appointment.
Green Tara. A brief explanation why.
He rang a few days later. I booked in for yesterday.
I was so nervous when I met him. Did not doubt the tattoo or his ability, but so nervous. In retrospect, my body was preparing for the journey ahead.
We talked about the tattoo, what it meant to me and why. Just in conversation. A moment to mark transition, and a commitment to myself of my worth and my value. A reminder in moments of doubt to trust the Divine and the energy.
Like India, I am now struggling to put into words the experience. There were periods of animated talk and periods of quiet reflection, for both of us. As we talked more, it became apparent that 2017 represents for both of us, a need to travel and move away from the normal confines of our working lives.
Green Tara was representing both of our journeys forward; a reclaiming of our own selves. Synchronous.
My talk of India inspired him, and when his partner came in, she mentioned that she had woken up with India on her lips. They will go, trusting that they are being called too.
We have the power to create a better world with our intentions. Community is the way forward. I am realizing I am a part of a tribe. Together, through our intermittent interactions, we will transform our lives and our communities. This is the way.
Mark finishes his tattoos with drumming and singing to seal the intention of the tattoo.
I was in a meditative state for most of the tattooing process, the pain was intense. Shedding past and outdated beliefs about myself, and the expectations of what I thought my life would look like. With each line, each period of shading, they were ripped from my body and my soul, leaving me happy and returned to my peaceful, calm post India self.
I am back. I am in control. I am in full trust. I have made the right decision. I am on the right path. This is where I am meant to be.
The universe does work in mysterious ways. We have to trust that everything that happens, is meant to. We need to act on opportunity and trust the intuitions we receive. They guide us to happiness and health. They empower us to be our best selves, living our best lives. Tragedies, ultimately, become opportunities to shed the old and embrace the new.