I’m not going to lie, I was pretty unhappy my first week here in Mysore. I felt lonely and out of place. So many new faces and places to eat and see that it seemed like I had never even been here before. Only a few of my friends I knew were here and they seemed settled in since many arrived in December. At the beginning of each month, from October through March a new group of students arrive. You can stay for no longer than 3 months at a time. So when I arrived, some people had already been here for two months, already in their groove, already settled in to their group of friends for the season.
I was tired and not wanting to make the effort to meet so many new people. I was sure that Sharath didn’t know my name and I was sure that this was how I was going to feel the whole trip. Then something changed. That something was me. I saw a Facebook ad for a webinar about “Bouncing Back in 2016” and decided to listen to it on Tuesday night. The information was nothing new, but presented in a way that completely held my interest and I started to change my thinking. My attitude became more positive overnight and when I awoke on Wednesday morning I had received different emails that helped turn this trip around. Relieved by the messages, I went to class a little lighter that morning.
In class, I was put in a spot in the front, and halfway though my practice Sharath came up to me and said, “Maureen, tomorrow you come at 8:30.” My time has been 9:30a since my arrival. Grateful that he knew me, even a little lighter I felt. That morning, he even helped me with drop backs (back bending) for the first time since my arrival. Things were looking up. It was me, it was my attitude that was creating these tiny miracles.
It was time for me to surrender. Surrender is something that happens to you in India. If you don’t surrender to the way things are here, you will fight it all the way. That is why we come, and why it is important to come as often as we can. So many things here take you out of your comfort zone, no matter how much the gracious people of India try to make it comfortable for you. The longer you choose to stay here though, the more comfortable you become, with India, with yourself and without the comforts of home.
Surrendering isn’t giving up. It’s letting go of expectations and knowing that all good things are coming to you if you just allow them to come. But you cannot force those things to come in the way that you want them to. You can tell someone how to get to your house, but if they want to take the scenic route you cannot force them to take the freeway. That is surrendering, taking the scenic route to our dreams as our dreams take their scenic route towards us.
I’ve noticed this behavior in myself before. Maybe we all have, that surrendering, that letting go of what’s holding us back from enjoying what is right in front of us. I notice it when I don’t get to the beach often enough. When I arrive at the beach and am so focused on setting up and making sure that we have everything we need before I can truly enjoy that moment when I can look at the ocean and truly feel the sand between my toes. It’s like my body is there, but my mind and soul have not yet arrived. After a little while it sinks in, “I am at the beach. Ahhhhh”….I think to myself, “this is heaven.” This is happiness. This is what it feels like to surrender, to just melt into the situation and enjoy it.
Surrendering can happen at any moment, but it doesn’t happen all of the time. You can surrender in a traffic jam when you realize that you now have more time to listen to your favorite music or finish that audiobook you had been listening to. It can happen at a concert or show when you finally find your seat and can just sit and enjoy the entertainment. It can happen when you go home for the holidays and you finally unpack and have a bite of your mother’s delicious food that no one else makes but her.
Sometimes we have no choice but to surrender. Sometimes we cannot wait until we do so. Sometimes we don’t even know that we can. Take a look around. What are you fighting? What expectations are you holding on to? Will letting go of these things lead to happiness? Maybe not right away, but surrender and see.