1. Living with a survival mindset, creates limits, not possibility.
As I moved through the small alleyways and along the river Ganges last January, I witnessed hunger, desparation and barely surviving. A young twelve year old boy followed our group for hours trying to sell us souveniers. This would be hhis destiny. Not college or leaving the city of Varanasi where people go to die or to see the sights. The water in the hotel could be used for bathing, but not for brushing teeth and the supply was limited.
I was encouraged to consider, what on earth could I possibly need beyond what I already have.
I had arrived in India thinking my career was not fulfilling enough and I needed a better job. I had arrived dreaming of a better financial future. And yet, here I was able to go to India, able to drink the water from my taps, able to go to a job that is relatively low stress and comfortable. Really, there was nothing I need beyond what I already have.
2. Slow down and embrace all that you have with reverence and gratitude.
As I sat in meditation, reflection and spending time writing through the quiet afternoons at the retreat center in INdia, I noticed just how happy I was. How free I felt. No need to prove, no desire to move from one place to another. No desire to go to the dancing or even the kirtan. I was content to rest, to see the beauty in the simplicity of my surroundings.
3. Life is full of ups and downs and when we block feeling the downs, we block the ups too.
In April I embarked on a cleanse. By day three, I was sitting by my mother's grave, a blubbering mess. My heart was shattered with the losses of the past ten years. The grief I had so carefully held at bay being poured out in a torrent of despair. In the days that followed, I felt lighter than I had in years. My body felt more freedom to move, and my mind felt more clarity.
4. The body is really just a vehicle and requires ongoing, daily maintenance and care to keep it running properly until the inevitable.
I have discovered that I have a strong attachment to my body, or more specifically, my strong, young body. All it took was a passing comment from my physician that went like, "it could be a tumour. We should get you into a specialist," for me to have an unfriendly reminder that this body will not last forever.
5. Confidence is the result of daring to test ones skills. Confidence will be lacking if you wait to be skilled enough before trying.
As I now try to succeed on challenging climbing routes again, I often stop just shy of really trying hard. Fear quietly sits on my shoulder reminding me how old and short I am, how strong and young those I am climbing with are, how bad the fall could be, how stupid I will look if I can't do it. And I never quite try as hard as I know I can. To face the fear and try as hard as I can is the only way to progress, even if it is only in the confidence to try again.