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Lasting Impressions

MAY 9, 2017 | India: Shanti 

We’ve just received word that the Mighty Shanti is off! Two students are staying on to explore India; one is heading back to Australia; and the rest are currently boarding their flight back to San Francisco. Much gratitude to all for the support over these last months, and please enjoy this final reflection from our extraordinary Overseas Educators

Twelve weeks ago, we were sitting in a circle in Raj Ghat park sharing our first impressions of India. It was crowded, loud and colorful. It was full of contradictions and we were experiencing sensory overload.

What had drawn us all to come to India? What motivated each of us to be apart from our friends, families, and the conveniences of home for three months? Do I even like these people I’m with, can I trust them?

We took out our shuttlecock to kick around the park and we were scolded by the Indian officer. “No games,” he warned us.

Then, a stranger invited us to check out a D.I.Y. Shiva temple on the other side of the park. We slipped off our shoes and lit incense and experienced a sliver of what we would continue to experience for the rest of the trip: with an open mind, a community to share experiences with, and a patient and compassionate attitude, everyday can be rewarding in its own way.

Time passed. We gained new family members in Jaipur and lucked into a private rooftop Sitar and Tabla concert as the sun set over the city. We experienced the Taj and Red Fort in Agra, and the Burning Ghats in Varanasi. Camel ride and leaf plates and lassis (so many lassis). We meditated and chanted at holy Buddhist sites, and slid across crocodile and tiger swamps in the Sunderbans.

In Rishikesh, we really stretched. 5:30 am meditations and 108 “om treyambakam”s. We laughed and sang, sometimes because we felt like it and other times because we were forced to during laughing yoga.

The trek with the Colonel was a highlight. We began with 11 members and a few guides and somehow managed to finish with 6 new four-legged friends with names like Dosa, Kulfi, and Aloo. We learned more about one another by sharing life stories and realized that even though we came from different backgrounds, the passions and morals we share make us all similar.

Although we’ve all returned to different places in this world, we’re always going to share a common bond. Each one of you approached this trip with an open mind, and we were impressed with your commitment to learn the tangible lessons like Hindi and the more obscure art of closing your eyes, sticking fingers in your ears and making the sounds like a bee.

Thank you all for putting your hearts into this experience. It was your enthusiasm, initiative and curiosity that made this journey as fantastic as it was.

Don’t forget to move and e- stretch when you’re back home. Shout Main Hoon every so often, even if it really doesn’t mean anything. Take time to roll out chapati. And treat everyone you meet with compassion. Live life the way you approached our time in India: same practice, ‘nother side.

And remember…
We thank you thank you thank you, we thank you thank you thank you, we thank you thank you thank you from our hearts,

We miss you miss you miss you, we miss you miss you miss you, we miss you miss you miss you from our hearts,

We love you love you love you, we love you love you love you, we love you love you love you from our hearts.

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