So away from Yoga practise and philosophy studies, I joined my fellow practitioners on a rafting trip to celebrate our only day off, someone’s birthday and my utmost fear of being on water :)
Now before I tell you the whole story, i just need to lay it out that no matter how many hours of Yoga, neck twisting, leg bending soul shifting I was in India to absorb, nothing came as close to this day to teach me one of the most life changing lessons ever!
So we all know Past Present Future...sure we do!
We also know that most of our precious moments are spent stuck in the past or fearing the future!
So here goes...
The drive was already enough to get my nerves going . I mean these people seem to be on a suicide call on a daily basis. They drive like absolute maniacs, close to the edge, totally oblivious to any other vehicle present on their journey.
To my utmost surprise, I found myself still alive and kicking upon arriving at our destination and we were off to our next trip, this time on the raft. The river seemed happy and very calm and from what I remembered on my daily bridge crossings to the Ashram, the waters always seemed welcoming and gentle so there was nothing to fear really.
My gut seemed to have made a cirque du soleil flip when the guide loudly announced that life jackets should be tested before departure.
Calm waters...life jackets, something's up here and I wasn’t liking it!
So i put my life jacket on and watched everyone jump in the river. Of course I didn’t need to test mine as my little ego said nah, why go through the dreadful cold water when you can sit comfortably watching others.
The guide looked at me strangely and sighed. My friends knew I wasn’t a water expert despite being the sea lover that I am. One episode of slight suffocation under water seemed to have traumatised the sh** out of me for good and it was all about to come to the surface.
So apart from having had all my past emotions, old injuries and bullshit stored in my head and muscles creep up on me daily as I yinned and yanged myself into the asanas now it was time for one big mother pucker phobia to shine out of hiding. So off we went on this very gentle journey on the River Ganga. We were divided into 2 groups and a few faces turned round to me to reassure me and wish me well.
And I thought...what on earth are they on about. Then I saw waves!!
Waves and foam and the Goddess in this river getting very cross at us. The guide non chalantly explained how we would be slammed to the right swayed to the left, how many rafts overturned in the past and how many bodies flew out to the river. And my heart was in my throat for good! Everyone’s eyes were down and they were on duty. We had to oar our way according to the guide’s instruction and his orders would get us out of this little foamy bit of river safely.
But my eyes were on the massive waves, tears were in departure lounge, I wanted to call ‘Mummy’ but no voice emerged. I felt small, I saw myself drowning and never seeing my son again. My body froze, the fear took over and it was mastering every thought and move. I wasn’t even participating in the group duty. My mind was poisoned. In my vision I was already drowning until I got woken up from this wicked vision with a harsh tug of oar from my guide. He was right behind me and he couldn’t have slammed me harder than he did. My body was so hardened with fear I didn’t even feel pain.
His sharp words pierced my ears.
PUT YOUR EYES ON THE WATER AND USE YOUR OAR!
I had no choice, this guy meant business and I don’t think an attitude would have gone down well here so I took my eyes from what was about to encounter us to the waters beneath me and joined in the duty of veering this raft through the highs and lows of the River Ganga.
And then just like the blink of an eye, the fear left me.
My tears dried up and there was no more anticipation. My thoughts were fixed right there in that very moment. I was serene. The foamy waves and the angry river clearly represented the future and how much of the precious present we waste through fearing, anticipating, over thinking, analysing, planning, over doing and judging.
The oar and the waters beneath me belonged to the present moment. It was palpable how serene I felt when I got the jolt from the guide prompting me to pay attention. He represented life lessons!
The way they show up harshly when we are losing time and breathe.
Then came the ultimate. We arrived at our destination and we were all asked to jump in the raging waters! I mean, wasn’t it enough that I conquered one massive piece of fear. Now this!
Tears prepared to launch again as I waited my turn to jump in and as I was about to take in, my friend called out to me and said, shut your eyes, seal your legs, cross your arms and let the river take you. And I did. It was the most beautiful experience ever. I felt her strength and she was pushing hard but my flexibility allowed me to let her do just that. I allowed my body to sway along her tide and when I surrendered enough she took me to land.
The river is Life itself. She asked me to embrace the journey and be grateful for arriving at my destination. The less I resisted her the more she flowed in me.
The more I bent with her tide, the more graceful the journey became.
To the River and Life.....
Yours in Words