My friend Sanatani drew this beautiful mandala, with inspiration from Satsang chanting. She asked me to choose the colors of the art pencils, and then she began creating by hand on a blank piece of paper. It was an amazing unfolding of design over a few days time - just beautiful!
I've been thinking quite a bit lately about this unconventional path I'm on and what it means to be "unconventional". My Rotary friends back in Chicago call me their 'yogi', and yet I am a relative newcomer to the world of Yoga.
Just on my small team of therapists and karma yogis in the Well Being Center at the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat in the Bahamas, I learned that a few of them had parents who regularly practiced yoga, and so they were exposed to yoga from birth. Most on my team have been to India or Thailand or both - two places I have always considered to be exotic locales. Yoga, India, Thailand, vegetarian diets, massage, healing therapies and meditation have been part of their familiar paths and are not in the least bit 'unconventional' to them.
My father rarely traveled by air for work, and yet my son and daughter travel frequently for their work. If my father were still alive, he'd have considered their frequent travels, especially my daughter's as being very 'unconventional'. Even for those of us with the same geographic and cultural norms, times have changed our routines.
Recently living in Thailand for 3 months was 'unconventional' for me. It's not a typical vacation destination as it is a long journey for a Chicago, US born woman traveling by herself at the age of 63. To live there for the sole purpose of writing a book is even more 'unconventional' for a first born, Type-A, perfectionist, high energy and self proclaimed workaholic. It was productive and relaxing - an oxymoron to my old way of thinking. I truly cannot recall in my lifetime doing much in a relaxed manner, especially if my goal was to be productive. Even having fun was done in my 'full speed ahead' mode.
It has become clear to me that what is 'unconventional' to one person is typical and usual for others. In the West, we often gauge 'normalcy and convention' by what we see on television and in the movies. Yet Hollywood is not an authority nor a valid picture of everyday life. The films and shows project 'someone's' life or a group of people's life, but certainly not a broad brushstroke of life for everyone. Thank Goodness!
Even studies and research, which we in the West hold dear and deem so important, are merely depictions of a group of people in a certain set of circumstances, at a given time and for a predetermined period of time, with a researcher's predetermined goal in mind to prove or disprove.
Keeping track of data is viewed as a validator. We take the results to be affirming of "truth", as though there is one truth. We also often discount the experiences of generations and generations of people who did not track results or who lived in a different geography, with a different culture than the one we know. Our current data, especially in the area of
neuro science is now affirming what yogis have known about meditation, relaxation, proper breathing and have practiced for thousands of years.
I do believe that there is one truth about God's existence and each of us being able to tap into God within us. I have learned over my lifetime, however, that there are many truths about most things in life.
However many perspectives exist are the number of variants of the truth that there can be. The black and white views I once held are no longer valid. What we grew up believing were truths based merely on agreements made up by mankind within our sphere of knowledge and learned from family, church, school, our community and the larger society. Our geography and circumstances in life framed our 'truths'.
To me, whether labeled 'unconventional' or not, this spiritual path of healing and service is inline with my goal of being a happy, healthy and loving being.
Thank you for taking this journey with me!
Loving Life and Living Love,
If you haven't signed up for the blog posts, please do.
I welcome you to leave a comment below or post one on my BestYOU Facebook page.
Sharing your thoughts is a gift to all of us!