Saturday, February 16, 2013

Kovalam so far...

Last year, when I spent a week at the Banff Centre, I had a mini breakdown the one time I went into town. Just a short walk through some pines, I was on main street with the civilians: tourists, there to shop, eat, drink, look at mountains, perhaps hike up one or two. I quickly bought some fruit and ran back up to the centre, the artistic oasis where I could talk to other writers about writing and be as sensitive as I damn well pleased (I am pretty sensitive, FYI).

Kovalam is a beach town, and it's touristy. People come here to eat, drink, tan, etc. None of these activities is strange or scandalous, but after a month in Mysore, surrounded by yogis, I initially found the stimulation kind of jarring.

Lighthouse beach, from the lighthouse.
Also, have I mentioned I don't transition well? I've always thought I was an intrepid traveler but then, on our first trip to India, I noticed C. scheduling downtown every time we moved somewhere knew. Invariably, I would complain about feeling unwell - I wasn't sick, really, I just felt bleh. An Ayurvedic doctor in Mysore confirmed that my dosha is Vata dominant (then Pita). I love to move and travel (like the wind!), but then I am thrown off balance. Dr. Kumar said I need to avoid all stress (!), get lots of sleep, and stay in one place. Right!

Near the Sivananda Ashram. This lake has crocodiles in it. How's that for no stress!
So Kovalam has been an adjustment, but I feel much more settled now. 
I've been practicing with David Garrigues every morning - the practice is good, and the other students are super. I have pretty much finished work on the book, and I just entered the second half of my trip. 

And, inevitably, at week 6, India has started to irk me. For instance, at the supermarket, where three people are required at the checkout (person #1 tallies my total, person #2 hands me my bag, and person #3 takes my money. Why? WHY?!!?). And the nightly power outage. And the bloody insects (5 cockroach sightings in the kitchen (and this place is quite clean, really). Eventually, you stop caring). And the drum sellers on the beach (FYI - demonstrating the product, over and over again, and again, does not make me want to buy it!). And the autorickshaw drivers who say yes, definitely, I know where you want to go, and then take you on a 3 hour wild ride because they have no clue but, oh, can you pay more money because it's taking more time? The only thing to do is breathe, remain calm, realize it's not going to make sense, and go with it. That's not easy for me - I want to be in control. And I might have had some words with that rickshaw driver, especially after he said, "Quiet, woman," several times. What's that now?  

So, onward, I go, trying to be flexible. I struggle with flexibility in my practice, too. Hmmm. Coincidence? 
Anyway, here's a photo of me and a wonderful meal at the Sivananda Ashram - a few of us visited there today. We walked around the peaceful grounds, peaked into the temple, listened to some chanting, and were fed a gorgeous lunch. I felt very grateful, and still do:
Oh, India, crazy, beautiful India. 
Two more weeks...


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