I preface this blog post with a disclaimer that it may be a bit ‘graphic’ or gross for you. But I have to write it how I see it tonight.
Yesterday I was in beautiful Rishikesh, meditating on a rock by the Ganges River. The world and my place in it felt expansive, breezy, and bright. Within 14 hours, I am doubled over with painful stomach cramps and severe nausea in a decent, clean (Indian standards) airport hotel. I am in Delhi, sick again with awful throwing up. My travel group had to proceed on to Agra without me, as our 9am departure time found me paralyzed with painful stomach cramps, sure to vomit again soon. And so it happened. I kept throwing up in Delhi and they left on a 5 hour bus ride to the Taj Mahal. I am a little bit sad to not be able to go with the group, but really just dealing with my current state of health in this moment. There are lots of tools like yoga and meditation that whip us right into a state of awareness of NOW. Being desperately sick on the wet floor of an Indian bathroom (because most showers do not have curtains and the floor level is the same throughout the whole of the bathroom) snaps me into the present moment. All I can do is say, ‘inhale, exhale, and oh God’. And I mean it. I know that the Lord is with me, holding me. And I know I will be OK. With each breath I am grateful to be alive and I feel blessed. Then I throw up again. Seems odd to feel blessed in such a moment. It was really a disgusting and pitiful scenario.
At The Yoga Fest, in one of the spiritual lectures, the subject of distinguishing between pain and suffering was discussed. Sadhvi Bagavati said (and I summarize) that ‘in our lifetime of embodiment there will be blood, we will fall and break bones, we will get sick and experience pain. These things happen and we do not have a choice in the matter. But the prolonged suffering of these situations and events is a choice.’ It might be like while I am violently sick I would exacerbate it by trying to blame someone or something for my sickness, or to be angry that my body is reacting a certain way. Blame and anger would only make the already painful and unavoidable situation worse. Why would anyone choose to make it worse? But that happens often. In retrospect I look back a few hours on my wretched morning and feel good about where I am in my relationship to God and Self. Maybe it is because I have been at an ashram for a week practicing yoga, singing mantras, and meditating so near to Mother Ganga. Who knows….
Back to earlier this morning….As soon as I start feeling a little better I arrange to move to a much nicer hotel down the street that is geared toward international business travellers. And as all things in India are done in a round about fashion, I have a travel agent book the room, who then faxes a voucher to my current hotel. The voucher is what I use to check into the next hotel. Current hotel books a pre-paid taxi. I miraculously pack my suitcase, dress myself, and even manage to apply a tiny crystal bindi to my forehead. Interestingly, I find that if I dress more in the way of Indian customs, folks are more eager to help me. As I leave the DeeMarks Hotel, which our travel group has used as a hub in Delhi, I admittedly am happy. I am looking forward to the gleaming marble floors and vast high ceilings and the spa and the Western restaurants at the Radisson. The driver informs me that we will drive the wrong way down the 3 lane service road (to the 10-lane highway) since the hotel is only a mile away. Otherwise we have to go very far in the wrong direction to turn around. So we drive for a mile with rickshaws, cars, trucks, bikes, and pedestrians coming at us head-on. It is total horn blowing, dust flying chaos, but doesn’t phase me at all and actually makes me spontaneously giggle. It’s ‘just India’ to me now. I feel slightly better as I enter the hotel. I thought I might faint at check-in but made it through and have a beautiful room with all the creature comforts of Western luxury. Spoke to my mom and my husband and ate some French fries and had a 7up. After speaking to mom, I am encouraged that I will return to India with her and see the Taj Mahal (have been twice now and haven’t seen it). Haven’t been sick again since I arrived which is a good thing. I am so grateful for this life and every experience that weaves the tapestry of my existence. And I am very happy to be on my way hOMe tomorrow.