Dear friends, I have this blog but it is no fun to read when there is no content! Aplogies, I have been trekking (hiking) and taking 12 hour bus rides for the past 5 days, this equals no internet and or outside communication.
But I am back and revived, well kind of, from an incrediable trek in the Himalayan foothills and now in the energetic town of Rishikesh.
Part One: "It really does grow like a weed"
Ween, Ganga, Marijuana.. whatever you want to call it, this beautiful plant grows in abundance in the region known as Himachal Pradesh. After a 9 hour overnight taxi, 3 buses and a cab, my hiking pal, Ester arrive in Barshani. I get off the city bus, look around and glance over my shoulder... "huh" I think, "It really does grow like a weed" Weed is everywhere, on the side of the road, growing in peoples backyards, clinging to the slopes of huge mountains, it is amazing!!!
After omlette sandwiches in a shack off the side of the road, Ester and I start the long trek to Keerghanga. We hire a porter/gude to take us as we have heard hiking in this region alone is not the best idea. God forbid we walked onto some ganga plantation. To make a very long story short, the trail to Keerganga is steep, rocky and I have no hiking gear, only old running shoes, I felt like a billy goat. After cresting the tree line 4 hours later, Ester and I are breathless and speechless as we emerge from the dark understory of huge pines to the rolling, green majestic hillside, complete with a a few small guesthouses and a few resturants. HIking in India is great becasue you get to the destinantion and they have places to stay, well in this case, a few 4 by 4's, some old tarps for walls and a tin roof... not much but I'll take it.
Keerghanga is stunning. The hilly slope is surrounded my majestic snow capped peaks and there is a cement bath filled with free flowing mineral hot springs. Ester and I spent 3 days bathing, sunning, readng and loving life. The nights were spent by the tandorri oven and then curling up in all our clothes to sleep. We arose each morning with the sun and then off to the baths, where we spent glorious hours nude in the hot sun and warm waters. The baths are gender seperate, so we had a great time lounging and conversing with beautiful women from all over the globe. It was so nice to share time with strangers in the nude, in the sun.. the baths became our own womens retreat. We shared everything from body wash, to stories of love, travel and life. Ahhghh I miss it already.
Part 2 : "Same, Same but different"
My faorite saying in India...."Same, Same but different" It is used when you explain somthing compared to another. For example, If i asked you how the curry at Buddha cafe was compared to the curry at Freedom cafe, you might respond, " same same but different" This phrase has summed up the later half of my trip. I feel as though I am the same same but different. Same body, well less toned, same smile, same skin, but a totally different mind. The ability to change my mind on a whim, to be free, to think about the last 6 months has made me fearless in a way I have not felt ever. I have control over my life. When I am hungry I eat. When I want to move I move. When I feel uneasy I leave a situation. After feeling so bound to school, to work, to life.. this trip has helped me to undertsand truths about myself. Along with this there have been some tears, some long nights alone, some long nights laughing with new friends and some major reflection. Seeking the truth about the self, of feeling same same but different has not been an easy path. I often miss my old life, my old house, my dog and my oldest love. In the ashes of it all, I feel renewed like a fire in me has started to burn away old patterns, fears and judgements about myself.
In the wake of it the wonderful thing is that I am the same, may things about me will not chnage and those positive attributes and charateristics are thriving and those old patters and changes I am seeking to rid are the differnt part, the part that is not adding to my life. So India, I love you and To you all .... as always, I am in deepest gratitude for your love and support. May we all continue to thrive and some how as we change and grow old we can remember that our bodies, our minds and sometimes even our hearts can be describeds as, "same same, but different."
In closing : There is everlasting joy only when there is the constant response to beauty, to ugliness, to everything - which means, great inward and outward sensitivity, which means, having real love. - Talking to Boys and Girls, Rajghat,India 1952