Thursday, March 17, 2016

Moving through Magic (or How to Be a Science Fiction Character)

My transition into Rishikesh was not the most pleasant of experiences. By the time I arrived I was completely drained physically, emotionally, and mentally. Why had I left my nearly perfect life as an Arambol beach bum, again? Why was I in the much more crowded and dirtier north, again? Why had I signed up for a continuation of my yoga teacher training when I'm not even a yoga teacher, again? All the magic that had unfolded over the past two months seemed to be fading with each passing moment that I was in Rishikesh, and it was literally making me sick.

But because this is the year of magic, magic is bound to happen...right?

It could have been the woman who sat with me at breakfast my first morning and told me to watch out for all the synchronicity, but it was the Indian man down by the river beach who looked more like a tourist from California than a wise Rishi who started it.

I must have looked a mess by the time I found the will to leave my room and go for a walk. Hey, he said as he walked by me. Hey, I said back. He stopped and turned around. Don't forget to just sit in silence at the end of everyday, he told me. In fact, he was so insistent on telling me this he took my hands into his and repeated himself. Don't burn yourself out on all the yoga and pranayam and stimuli--the secret is in the silence. I wasn't sure why he was telling me this--he had no idea who I was or why I was there, but I was grateful that some sort of message was coming through--and of course, from a most unlikely messenger.

I had no expectations when I got to India, and the most magical things happened. But the minute I started expecting magic around every corner, it just dissipated. Because you can't chase magic--I should know this. The magic that existed in Kerala and in Arambol simply wasn't going to exist here, and I had to accept that. I can't chase it; I can't let it go. Stalemate. Where do you draw the line between letting go and letting magic happen, and being proactive in creating magic in your life?

And then I met Howie and his wife from San Jose who not only know one of my best friends and her husband, but also one of my yoga teachers from Divinitree in Santa Cruz. And they have a really good friend teaching English in Chiang Mai they're going to connect me with. And sitting behind me in class there's a group of Russian girls and their translator who is translating the entire class as it's happening. Because that's normal, right? And then I met Hang, a Vietnamese girl who was born and raised in New York, but ended up moving to Vietnam several years ago through some very serendipitous events that a psychic monk once predicted. And the all the folks I keep meeting who've just come from or are headed to Dharamsala and are giving me great advice for my travel there. These are just a few of the small circumstances or encounters that keep adding up. But to what?

When you have a question about life just sit in the middle of the question, and one day soon you'll be living the answer, Gurmukh told us. Be okay not knowing and not having answers, and that is the only way you'll get the answers. Or you'll just be caught in the washing machine. Be silent. Whatever you do, don't get attached to the outcome. Let it go, let it go, let it go. Her calming voice and presence a complete contradiction to the intensity of my week with her and simply trying to exist here in this funny little town on the Ganges.

You know, it's just all the processing you're doing, a lady from my class told me, you'll come out the other side eventually. I kind of knew this already, but it was another nice reminder.

Each day I talk to someone new who reveals something to me that let's me know the magic isn't gone. One of the themes of this year is impermanence after all. The magic shifts and changes. I just need to learn to recognize it in each new environment.

You all are 500 years ahead of the times because of this work you are doing, Gurmukh told us on our last day. We're science fiction characters, someone from the class shouted. We're Jedi's in training, someone else shouted.

As soon as the training was over, as soon as I was able to start getting into my own natural rhythm again, my sickness subsided and my head felt clearer. Yesterday I went white water rafting on the Ganges with a group from my class which seemed to wipe out any residual ickiness I felt, and this morning Elizabeth Gilbert made a facebook post about Murakami--how they both share the same slow and steady system of writing. I did a double take. Gilbert writing about Murakami?! It can't get much more magical than that when I've been grasping for magic since I've gotten here.

Apparently, I'm just a science fiction character (and/or Jedi) moving through a magical world where sometimes I have to reboot for the magic to get through.

Do you have a tendency to chase magic or let it unfold? How do you find the balance between letting magic happen and cultivating it in your life?

By the way, a few alternative titles for this post were: How to Survive a Spiritual Ass-kicking...Or How to Lose a Great Tan in Under 7 Days...Or Things That Happen When I Stop Reading Paulo Coelo and Murakami. 


M said...

Magic chasing doesn't come easily to me. I am a creature of habit that likes to spend my time trying to get out of my crazy brain.
The only tangible way I can create it is through painting or some weird art project.
I wonder if the Russian translator had to translate the word "jedi"...Just up late after closing our favorite spa. So amazing to read your travels even when you are having a shitty week.

Annica Nord said...

What do you mean by magic? It sounds exhausting if not impossible to constantly experience magic and happiness. Sometimes I need downtime to regroup and be ready to experience more wonderful experiences and not be overwhelmed or over stimulated. I'm sorry to hear you've had a rough week. You trip sounds wonderful and amazing but also exhausting and potentially overwhelming. I've heard that India is exhausting, overwhelming, and a lot to take in. Be kind to yourself and rest. Things will get better and you will learn so much. Thanks for letting us share in your journey.

Sarah Seymour said...

Haha! Yeah...I'm thinking Jedi is just a universal word that doesn't need translated. Jedi is Jedi in every language!

And yeah, it was really annoying that I've been in this country for over 2 months, and the week I start my yoga training my body decides to break down. But, I'm also thinking that's exactly why I got sick--throwing myself from lazy, beach bumming days to waking up at 4am and doing long demanding days of yoga everyday for a week--probably not the healthiest thing to do. But I survived! Doing much better this week :D

Rock the spa!

Sarah Seymour said...

Thank you! And thank you for reading! I'm glad you're enjoying my journey :D

Back in Kerala and Arambol everything was easy, everything fell into place better than I could have planned or imagined, everything felt magical all the time--I think that's what I mean when I say magic.

When I arrived it Rishikesh, things suddenly didn't seem so easy or magical. It's a lot more crowded here and dirty and touristy and folks don't seem as happy or friendly. It's just a different environment that I wasn't fully prepared for when I arrived. On top of that, I started my yoga training and got sick. I made it through though! Doing much better this week!

This past week was a little overwhelming and exhausting, but I'm back to relaxing now from here on out :)

Yes, I can see how India can be overwhelming and exhausting and a lot to take in. That's why I'm staying in one spot for long periods of time instead of trying to do and see a lot while I'm here :)

Maitland said...

i used to chase magic, but it kept biting me on the tits.

maybe you should just be a yoga teacher. stahp not being a yoga teacher.

but keep writing stuff. that's fun. and be a vlogger! vlogggg damn you vloggg!

what was your youtube channel again?

Kate Evans said...

I really enjoyed this entry, Sarah. It seems to me you're writing about the art of allowing. Forcing and expecting involve resistance. Allowing is letting go of resistance.

"You all are 500 years ahead of the times because of this work you are doing, Gurmukh told us on our last day. We're science fiction characters, someone from the class shouted. We're Jedi's in training, someone else shouted."

When Liz wrote about Murakami, I though of you. :)

Off to write my own blog entry...

Peace out from Mexico.

Maria Sat Prakash said...

I've read each of your blogs to date and they just keep getting more interesting.

It's so interesting, all those synchronicities! The couple from San Jose. Who are they?

I have to mention too, that just approximately over a week ago I started reading one of Gurmukh's books which aroused an interest in me about her and hope to someday meet her in person. Do you feel a transformation after that week of teacher training II? Was it Conscious Communication?

I miss you!! Much love dear Sarah <3

Sarah Seymour said...

I might teach yoga when I get to Thailand--along with English. We'll see :) I'm totally focused on writing right now.

Yeah, I really wish I would have made some vlogs from the start--at least one or two in each place. Oh well, I might start at some point. Maybe in Nepal.

Sarahndipity1024 is the channel. I haven't been able to upload anything from here. I leave tomorrow for my next destination--hoping for better wifi connection there.

Sarah Seymour said...

Thank you! :D

And yes, the art of allowing--that's a great way of describing it :) I'm learning more and more about it everyday!

Sarah Seymour said...

I know! I'm in the rabbit hole...or as I like to think: I've fallen into a Murakami novel, haha!

And thank you for reading :D

Howie and Briggs--I don't remember their last name. They know Naomi from Divinitree & Breathe Los Gatos. And they know Enrique from Be the Change--and they said they know you too! They don't live in San Jose anymore--they moved to Malibu a couple years ago.

Yes, it was Conscious Communication. It was an intense week! I'm still processing everything. We did several kriyas and meditations a day, and I think they're still catching up to me, haha! I always notice the transformation a little while after--it's always something I notice in retrospect.

She does workshops in San Francisco every once in awhile. I definitely recommend taking a class from her at some point! She's has such a calming yet powerful presence. I'm really glad I took this opportunity to do a training with her :)

I miss you too!!! Lots of love to you and your family <3

Nikita Raikwar said...

Lovely to read this!!!

Also, I wrote a post about Rishikesh today and thought we could reciprocate :

Sarah Seymour said...

Thank you! Sure, I'll check it out :)

Michelle Bermudez said...

Thank you so much for this incredibly beautifu post and for sharing your journey. Im getting readyy to go to Rishikesh this winter and was wondering which Yoga school you did your teacher training? Also curious If you eere able to dabble in Ayurveda while in Kerala and if so, if you have any recommendations.

Thanks so much. Please keep writing.

In light and love,
A fello GLT mate :-)

Sarah Seymour said...

Thank you! And thank you for reading :)

I did my teacher training through Golden Bridge Yoga--they are based out of Santa Monica and New York, and they specialize in Kundalini Yoga. They offer teacher training all over the world--you just have to check their website for when and where. They typically go to Rishikesh twice a year.

I stayed at Amritapuri Ashram in Kerala, and they have a Ayurvedic hospital there & offer lots of workshops on it. I personally didn't go to any. I was more focused on yoga while I staying there (they offer yoga retreats as well).

If you want to be notified each I update the blog, just send me your email and I'll put you on my list :)