Feet stepping firmly through the streets. The streets of New Delhi. I keep my focus on the soles of my feet pressing down. Connecting with the earth, keeping my focus. Crossing a street in New Delhi, I have to keep my focus. My breath warming my face as it goes forth and back between the mask I wear and my skin. People everywhere. Cars, tuk-tuks, buses, motorbikes, rickshaws, dogs and cows. Honking, honking. Smells of street food. Smells of car gas. Smells of...shit, too late, dog poo on my slipper. Taxi madam, taxi madam. No, I don’t want a taxi. Arriving at the metro station. Buy a ticket. Run to the ladies-only department. Press myself in the metro, loaded with people. Smells and sounds. Dark eyes staring continuously at me without any shame. This is India. This is Delhi in all its intensity and aliveness. It’s been almost a week in one of the craziest places I ever found myself in. It goes up and down. From complete frustration to pure joy. You either love it or you hate it. And I don’t know why, I don’t know how, but underneath the craziest chaos, pollution, dirt and crowds, I am one of those who still says: I love India. Because it is so alive, it is without any pretending, without making things prettier than they are. Things just are. You either go with it, or you go home
This incredible country is teaching me so much. And right now, this polluted Delhi experience is extremely insightful.
Firstly, it shows me again how happiness can only be found inside. It does not depend on external factors, no matter how conducive circumstances might be for my well-being.
Secondly, it matters more to feel alive than to feel happy. It’s okay not to be okay. Let the feelings flow through, let the frustration out in a skillful way. It’s okay to say: “Fuck Delhi, this is horrible. I am lost, I cannot breathe, I am overwhelmed by sounds and sights” – And the next moment, all is fine again. Breathe in, polluted air, breathe out. Breathe anyway.
Thirdly, I am just a tiny brick in a wall, a sand grain on the beach. There are so many people in this world. And still I am important. Like everyone else is. If you weren’t important, you wouldn’t be here. I depend on you, you depend on me.
Fourth, mother Earth is calling out to us. We have to find our way back to love. She will survive. But we won’t if we don’t take care of her. If we prioritize other things over honoring her gifts. The fresh air, the pure water, the fertile soil, the breathing trees, the plants, the incredible animals. This sacred and precious life. If you are in the position to read this, ask yourself: what can I be grateful for? What can I do to bring more love and gratitude into the world? Do I really live the life I wish to live? How can I make use of the opportunities that have been given to me? Do I really listen to my heart?
I feel we have a responsibility to ourselves, our hearts. To truly live in accordance with the truth that resides there. To honour our bodies, our passions, our power. To be silent when we need to listen. To be loud when we need to express.
Pachamama. Mother Earth. I feel you. I want to serve you. I feel your grief for what we are doing. I feel your unconditional love. Teach us how to come back to the source. How to live again in accordance with your laws of love and nature. We don’t have to go back, everything changes all the time. But how can we go forward? Transforming all that doesn’t serve us into something that makes us feel connected with you again, connected with each other.
Where are you finding yourself right now? How do you feel inside of your body? How do you feel about the people surrounding you? Just ask. Just listen. No judgment. And then ask again: what can I do to bring more love into this moment? Can you accept any feelings, sensations that are present? Can you be humble, loving and kind to yourself? Can you be present, compassionate and true to others? This is where it all starts. If we can transform ourselves, we can transform the world.
Finishing with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi, whose life never ceases to inspire me: