Saturday, March 5, 2016

Leaning Into Trust

I was having terrible anxiety the night I left Amritapuri. I was leaving the ashram during the night to catch a 2am train to my next home here in Arambol, and aside from a lady in my seva group who told me every nightmarish experience she'd had riding trains in India, I had no point of reference to how it worked.

How would I know which train is mine? How would I know which train car to get onto? How would I know when to get off if they don't announce the stops? What if the driver from the guesthouse can't find me? I accidentally dozed off thinking about these things while at the same time trusting that it would somehow work out, that I would be taken care of.

Exactly 30 minutes before I was to meet my taxi one the girls I shared the room with came in from a late night Amma darshan, inadvertantly waking me up.


I walked downstairs to my taxi and discovered I wasn't traveling alone. Another girl was leaving for the train station as well--taking the same train, in the train car next to mine, also headed to Arambol. Together, we were able to figure out where we needed to be. You are my angel, she told me as we were sitting on the platform waiting, I don't think I could have done this alone. You're my angel too, I told her. Together, each other's angel, we made our way to Arambol. I'm sure we'll run into each other, she said when we parted ways at her guesthouse. 

Though we were both staying for a month, I never saw her again.


Back before I left Santa Cruz, a friend who had traveled throughout India for 9 months the year before told me that if I was going to enjoy traveling, I needed to be able to lean into trust, that I couldn't constantly be fearful of everything--like getting lost or getting sick or being ripped off. In other words, I needed to believe that the Universe is always conspiring in my favor, that the world is out to help me no matter my circumstance. Of course, along with trust, having a keen sense of intuition goes a long ways too.


Leaning into trust is intuitively knowing where to go, where to eat, where to stay, and who to engage with. Trust that the water I drink and food I eat isn't contaminated. Trust that the rooms I stay in are clean and bug free. Trust the taxi driver with my life as he weaves in and out of all the oncoming traffic. Trust that I won't get hit by a motorbike while walking down the all the shoulder-less streets. Learn to haggle and trust in my ability to get a fair price. Trust the people around me and talk to everyone, but keep boundaries. By keeping myself open, I have had some of the most interesting conversations and found some of the most unexpected friends.


Leaning into trust is not shutting down when getting harassed my a bunch of 12--year-old girls on the beach wanting you to buy scarves and anklets and trinkets. It can get kind of annoying after awhile--if you let it. I opened myself up to it, and I made it a game. Tell me a story and I'll think about it, I'd say.

Over the course of my weeks here in Arambol, I probably bought about $10 worth of things (that's a lot of scarves and anklets) from these girls if they kept me captivated long enough. My favorite has been Mira--mostly because the first time I bought something from her she kissed the rupee bill and held it to her heart and told me I was her best luck. Ever since that day, whenever she found me on the beach (and she always did), she called me her best luck. If another girl saw us and started to edge her way in and beg, I would just start quoting Bruce Willis from Moonrise Kingsom: "I can't argue against anything you're saying kid, but then again, I don't have to, cause you're 12 years-old." At that point, the new girl would either go away or really want to talk with me.


Leaning into trust is having the same faith in people that they have in you--like the bookshop guy who let me pay the next day when I didn't have enough for the two Murakami books or like the handful of cafes who couldn't make change and told me to just pay them next time I came in. The first couple times it happened I just stared at them dumbfounded. I trust you, they would always say.


Leaning into trust is sitting down to chai with the Indian guy who stopped you on the street or beach because you said hi back to him when he waved instead of ignoring him. Within the first five minutes of chatting, I always knew if it was a conversation I should stick with or back out of.

Leaning into trust is walking down the beach alone late at night, and instead of becoming fearful when a group of guys starts yelling, understand they probably aren't harassing at all, they are simply trying to communicate: Hey crazy girl, stop before you run into that volleyball net two feet in front of your face.

How trusting are you of the world around you? Do you tend to lean into trust or always sway more on the cautious side of things?


Signing off from the magical and enchanting Arambol, Goa. And just like when I left Amritapuri, I'm leaving Arambol during the night with complete trust that I will be taken care of on this journey to the north.

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