It is with mixed emotions that I contemplate the next 4 weeks I have in Nepal. What a journey I’ve had. In parts it feels like a dream, especially when I think back over the past 9 months, specifically the earthquake time. It almost feels like another lifetime completely. Its amazing how time here is different. I often hear Nepali people saying ” life is long”… which often puzzles me, because the average life expectancy in Nepal is around 65 years old. People here age quickly and it is still surprising to me, when I meet other women my age or men, that they seem 10-15 years older. People here are not in a hurry, there is an acceptance almost a surrendering to work with the environment and life here. Nepali people believe they have a small window of opportunity to make money and “settle their life” as they put it. Which is why so many of them marry young and have children so young. They believe that after 35 years old, the opportunity to make money is gone.
Which is one of the reasons so many agencies are making money, sending Nepali people overseas to study or work, tempting them with opportunities and money. It means a life often separated from family and can create conflict within the individual for a multiple of reasons. For young Nepali, this feels like a dream come true to go to the USA or Australia or Europe, however the reality of this, is much different. The cost of living for Nepali people in these countries puts a lot of pressure on these families and sometimes they can be abroad for over 10 years trying to get ahead, sending money home to Nepal, to the wife and children and barely saving enough to visit the family. Its a sacrifice many of them make, thinking it is the answer to their poverty cycle.
However after spending most of my time with Nepali people and exploring Nepali life here, I now understand what they mean by “life is long”…c Everything in Nepal goes slower. Life here is slow, everything happens at a pace that is determined by the environment, weather and logistics. Nobody is in a hurry here. I will miss the words “go slowly”. My husband will often remind me in the kitchen “slowly, slowly” and always, in this moment he brings me back to the present and I am aware of the habit I have, from living in a modern society of doing things so fast. We miss so much of life at that speed, we don’t feel, we don’t notice the colours, the smells, the tastes and the small joys. I asked him “Why are you so serious when you are eating, you don’t talk much.” At first he said “Talking whilst eating is dangerous, I could choke on my food”. I laughed and said “Well you can breathe between mouthfuls and chat.” Then quietly he turned to me and said “Don’t you want to taste every mouthful and enjoy your food? Taste the love in the food?.” Needless to say I was instantly silenced and grounded in that moment…. I am learning how to “be more” and “do less”… it isn’t an easy lesson and so much of my mind still struggles with it, however I am seeing and feeling the benefits of it “slowly”.
One of the things Ive noticed is that if my mind is not busy, I can have a habit of thinking about the future and falling into old patterns of thinking and worrying about negative things, “what ifs” I call them. Being that life is slower here, I am aware of the tendency to do this more, which is, may be why Modern society has fallen into the busy trap, so as to not think or feel. However by going slowly I am able to catch the destructive thoughts before they take hold, then I channel this energy into an action that involves my body. I have learnt that by doing this, I move the destructive energy and focus it in a creative and positive way, in a way that has intention, by feeling it. Realising quite often that it is an irrational fear from my Ego and if the action fails, I write 🙂
So much of our reality is experienced in the past or future, causing us so much anxiety or depression. I feel that because modern societies are moving so fast, with so much stimulation, we are not aware of our thoughts and therefore, very easily, they escape, creating all sorts of havoc in our lives.
During this time, I have been following a fellow journeyman on facebook, George Papas. George is creating a wave of motion through his “movement” series online. George is advocating movement as a way of being healthy, anywhere, anytime, anyhow, I love it, it is so in sync with what I am experiencing here and I feel that we all need to embrace playful action more. We need to recognise the power of movement, the joy in moving energy in a positive and creative way. This is another part of the mental health puzzle. The need for speed, needs to change. Movement does not need to be fast or competitive, it just needs to be enjoyable, freeing, expansive, creative and playful.
In this way, we engage the mind, to connect with the physical body and physical environment. Connecting us with the planet as much as with ourselves, with intention and focus, this will ground us every time. From this space we will naturally want to be more compassionate, forgiving to ourselves, others and the planet. It is the most natural thing, we can do to to integrate Mind Body and Soul….. and the Planet is part of that Soul.
The other day Govin and I went for a ride on the motorbike around Fewa taal, (OMG I LOVE RIDING THAT BIKE!!!) and found ourselves stopping to watch the paragliders, and this got me thinking. Max my eldest son, is choosing to do this paragliding course right now and make this his way of earning a living, I’m sure many people could not comprehend that as a job… I think we are too busy thinking about what career we want, instead of learning about what lifestyle we want. After experiencing a large home v’s a small home, Id choose a small home, after having a large car v’s small car, Id choose a small car, for many reasons…One reason for not wanting a large home, is it allows me more time to do other things I enjoy, I hate cleaning… How do you know what you really like or enjoy if you do not experience it??? BY focusing on our passions, we find our purpose… Not the other way around…
So much of what we choose is more about fitting in with the Jones or pleasing others, than actually what we really enjoy or want. I am a huge advocate for experiences over things, as you have probably noticed by now from reading my previous posts. We push so much to have careers, chasing financial freedom etc.. but we don’t often stop to look at what really motivates or inspires us. Paragliders choose a way of life that allows them freedom, travel and enough money to do what they love. Maybe its not forever, but its a chapter that allows them to see the world and meet many people, whilst experiencing their passion for flying like a bird. Whilst watching the paragliders, which is, in itself mesmerising and almost meditative, I noticed a Nepali man fishing in the lake. It was so quiet and so peaceful that I realised that we take so much from the world, quite often more than we need. The little fishing boat was made of timber and he was just catching his meal for the day, not taking more than he would eat, with a minimal impact on his environment. It was so peaceful watching him go about this task, that I realised how much we have lost respect for so many things in this world. WE are so separate from our environment that we buy packaged food and forget that one time it was breathing the same oxygen as us. We don’t see the trauma or brutality of mass farming and go about our BBQ’s without blinking an eyelid for the beasts that sacrificed themselves, so that we can feast. I’m not judging meat eaters, I am saying that we need to become more conscious, about how we go about this process. So that I personally, prefer local organic free range farming and choose to support that instead as much as possible, or eat vegetarian.
One of the things Govin has taught me, is respect. In Australian culture we think we are owed respect, we expect it or demand it from each other…
In Nepal the focus here is the opposite, give first, the word “Namaste” is exactly that. To see in another the divine source which is also in you. This is the first word out of Nepali mouths when they meet anybody. So from books, to guitars, to animals, to people, I am learning to see more than just a material or physical thing, but an energy that exists within the objects. Somebody or something has put time, energy and potentially love into this object…. We are all coming from the same source… This source is to be respected and also the physical thing that has been created. So that we don’t take more than we need and that which we take we respect and revere with gratitude.
The red Tikka you see on many Nepali’s foreheads is about that “respect”…. Respect is given first. Reverence is real here.
Being in Nepal has grounded me. It has showed me a reality that has allowed me to be ok with me, to be ok with many things. In particular I’m so grateful for the lack of illusions. In Nepal, you see rubbish, you see goats get slaughtered, you see women and men working hard in the rice farms, in here you see people being raw, you see homeless, the disabled, the sick and frail and elderly. These things are not hidden from you, you see life in all its imperfections/perfections.
Of course many of us do not like seeing these things because it is the ugly side of humanity, so the developed world works on hiding these things… Old people are put out of sight, disabled people are put into disabled schools and homes, the rubbish is collected so we are in the illusion there is less, but in reality we probably make more rubbish, it is just hidden from our eyes, so we can conveniently go about our day without the ugliness of our consumerism… However if you allow yourself to see, beyond the surface, if you allow yourself, you can see that there is an opportunity for compassion and healing through seeing reality and not having it hidden from you.
By hiding the dark side of life out there… you are hiding the dark parts of yourself in here…….
One of the big issues I feel in modern society is that we are so sheltered from the truth that we forget and live in a bubble thats doesn’t allow us to feel. BY avoiding pain we avoid half ourselves and half of life. So that when we are confronted with a strong feeling or a harsh reality we are so overwhelmed by this, sometimes not able to even label what the feeling is and drop our bundles, we start thinking there is something wrong with us or we are weak. We start looking for answers and seek counsel from everywhere but inside ourselves. We don’t want to see the ugly side of life, we avoid it at all costs. It is funny because I have observed the resilience of Nepali people, their strength, but let me tell you in equal measure they are vulnerable and fragile too. It is the beauty of living in this part of the world, by accepting the imperfect stuff, we allow ourselves to be imperfect too. We allow ourselves to be vulnerable and ultimately allow ourselves to feel. To expand and grow, we have to feel, we have to allow both positive and negatives in equal measure. The universe is perfect that way. This is Goddess Kali and the lessons she has for us…
I am very excited to be returning to Australia for a while to be with my family and to continue living my life in a more authentic way, to live slowly, to live in a way that is aligned with my heart and soul, allowing space for me to expand and grow. To not be afraid of failure or success, to be able to channel my energy in a creative and positive way that supports myself and others. I am excited to be able to share my part of the world with Govin in the near future as well and this will also enhance our relationship I am sure, as we get to explore from different perspectives each others worlds and polarities… Life… such an interesting and amazing journey. I am no longer the scared little girl who used to be so scared of the ugly side of life… Making peace with the ugliness is making peace with myself.