Over the weekend my family went on a short vacation to visit friends in France. Traveling as a foursome is such an exhausting task. Before leaving I asked Ganesha for a safe journey to and from our destination; I left miniature roses on the altar plate. With me I took two small, easily portable items from my altar: the plastic tiger for Ma Durga and a bottle of oil for Kali Ma. When we arrived at the house we were staying in, I pulled them out of my bag, kissed them, and stuck them on the night stand. In the mornings I made teeny devotions: I bowed and said some short prayers.
While I’m sorry to have left the blog to languish, the break from routine was illuminating. I am adapting Hinduism to fit my life, not the other way around. Sure, I’ve made some changes, but not many. On one hand I know that if a religion is not relevant to the person where they are, as they are then that religion has no chance of sticking, and isn’t truly universal. On the other hand, if we are not moved to adapt or change then what is the point of the religion? How do practicing Hindus keep devotions when they travel? Yogis can do yoga and meditation – I did not, I admit. I find that the times when I need my sitting practice most are the times I am least likely to do it. I’m not sure if cutting myself slack as a mother of two is a good thing or not. Yes, it’s much harder to fit in even ten minutes of uninterrupted sitting time, particularly whilst traveling! But perhaps if I was firmer about fitting that in I wouldn’t feel as overwhelmed as I sometimes do.
That last statement is just about me and my feelings and my day-to-day, and says nothing about yoga’s ultimate goals of enlightenment! I notice myself getting caught up in the doing (as is my tendency) and I remember that at our cores we are already enlightened and we just needing help remembering that. With that thought I feel less guilty about not being regular with my practice. This journey is less about attempting extremes to achieve a form of perfection (as if that was possible), but about making corrections so that I can come back to center and remember myself, as I truly am, not as I think I am or would like to be.
Another issue with traveling this time was that I missed Guru Purnima, a day of celebrating one’s gurus and/or teachers. I was traveling that day. When I started this project I had hoped to send cards to several of the people that I consider influential in my teaching. Alas, I was distracted with preparations for our trip. I think this holiday is a wonderful idea! I may try to incorporate this into my life even after this project is over.
Now that I’ve been engaged with this project for a month I’d like to take a moment and ask you, dear reader, if you have any questions. What would you like to see discussed? Anything?
Some topics I’m going to post on in the coming weeks: Bonalu (Sundays in July that honor Kali), Raksha Bandhan on Aug 13 (a holiday to celebrate the bond between brothers and sisters), Annaprashana (celebration of a child’s first solids – my baby is ready to explore the world of solid food!), fasting and silence, a trip to Skanda Vale (a Hindu temple and pilgrimage site in Wales), social and theological struggles, exploration of the left hand path and tantra, and the making of a yantra. That should get me through the next month! Just in time for another big trip…. to the US!