Tag Archives: journey

seek and you shall find

We are seekers.

I was at a store the other day, when I stumbled upon a mug that said seek. I don’t know why, but something appealed to me about that mug with its drawing of a bird and the simple phrase of seek. I began thinking of how we live our lives constantly seeking something, whether we know it or not. We are in a perpetual state of seeking knowledge, truth, something bigger than ourselves, more than we ever know.

Even on a physical level, we are seeking food, water, and clothes. We are seeking a place to belong, friends, a career. We are seeking knowledge and skills. We are seeking ways to make us better (on all levels), seeking things that bring about a sense of fulfillment, a feeling of satisfaction. We seek fun and enjoyment. We seek happiness. All of this we are constantly doing on a day to day basis, without us even realizing it.

It has become a natural state of being for us. It always has been a natural state of being for us. Think back to the cave men who were seeking something too..food, shelter, whatever. The more I pondered on this subject, the more I began realizing that this state of being is almost inherent, whether we believe it or not. Sure, all of us are at different stages of this act depending on what we want out of life, and that’s perfectly okay. Personally, I’m on a journey of seeking something bigger than myself, seeking truth, and seeking the true meaning of happiness. However, the deeper I delved the more I began seeing how the different levels of seeking interplayed and connected with each other. Even on a very physical level of the food decisions I make, play a huge role in what and how I seek on a more emotional or spiritual level. Ultimately we are all seeking some sort of Truth, big or small, relative to our bubble and our thinking and our reality. But, what does this even mean?

To be completely honest, I can’t say that I have an answer to that question. But, I do know that to get something that you really want, to reach the end of what you are really seeking requires a lot of digging and cutting and going places you probably don’t want to go. I’m speaking metaphorically, but that’s just the way I can think to explain it. Facing the truths about yourself and seeing yourself and others in a light you haven’t exactly paid attention to isn’t a pretty thing to face. A lot of days, I begin to uncover things about me that aren’t awesome. I have huge anxieties and attachments that govern the way I think and the types of decisions I make. I have a strong desire to please a million other people, except the one true thing that actually matters, my soul, my Self. I run around doing a million things constantly asking for a break, and when that break comes, I bore myself to death and waste precious time. These truths aren’t awesome. I have a hot temper, I have a strong ego, I have ridiculous attachments…all of which I found while seeking something.

I don’t know what it means to be a seeker. I do know that the path is a hard one. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned it in a previous post or not, but someone once told me that when you’re on a path of seeking (which, in my opinion, we all are to some extent), the harder decision tends to be the right decision. And it hurts. A lot (I can definitely vouch for that). But, I’m sure even the cavemen went through some sort of pain on their seeking journey. Surely one of them burned themselves a little when they discovered fire.

In that same fire the first people discovered, there was a bright light and radiance that must have filled the air. It took some time, but it happened. Although I have a long and tedious path ahead of me, I know and have faith that whatever I reach will fill my being with a bright light and radiance unlike anything I have ever seen.

Keep on the path my fellow seekers. Soon we will reach our discovery,

“Decide what your Truth is. Then live it.” -Kamal Ravikant

the road less traveled

This past weekend, I was asked to write down my top 10 desires in life, and then rank them by importance and urgency of attaining them. Not that I was baffled by the task at hand, but it took a while to think of actual desires I had for my life. The themes around which my every day actions and ideas revolve around. Sure we have goals and wishes to become something great and do amazing things, but to figure out what our actual desires are, it’s not as easy of a task as you would think.

Putting these things down on paper is one thing. But what makes them important is what you’re going to do to actually achieve these desires and make them come into fruition. Some amount of effort has to be put in, hard decisions have to be made, and every now and them the desire comes at a cost. For the longest time, I thought that it was easy to have everything at one time; that I never had to sacrifice one thing for another. Life is perfect that way. However, I quickly realized that that notion was just that, a notion; an idealistic view point on life that is much easier said than done.

I mean, think about it. Every great person that we idolize as role models made sacrifices to get what they wanted. Each Olympic athlete has to put in 10,000 hours of practice just to qualify. CEOs and the head dudes of major companies and organizations put in hours upon end to see that their business is successful. Scientists and mathematicians are continuously working on their analyses. To become Miss America takes missing more friends and family events than you would think (this I know because of one of my very good friends). Achievement doesn’t just come to people who go about their lives as if it’s just any ol’ day.

What are you willing to do make sure you successfully see your desires become real? So, the first step is to write those 10 things down. Then there will come a time when you will be put in a spot to make a really tough decision, and you’ll realize that what you want in the short-term doesn’t trump the long-term. We get so caught in making ourselves happy in the short-term, but we sacrifice long-term happiness. But why not the other way around? I want to be happy 20, 30, 80 years from now, not miserable.

I was told this past weekend that the harder decision is usually the better decision and the right decision, whether we want to believe it or not. Attachment and ego lead us to believe that the easier, more obvious decision is the better decision. But that only leads to chasing for short-term happiness. We are instant gratification seekers. I’m beginning to realize that short term situations just keep up going from one day to the next; there’s nothing that is pushing us to look past one year, two years.

This past weekend I was asked to make a decision that would essentially make me leave my plans and do something that I’m not completely thrilled about. Upon reflection in that moment, I realized my hesitance to say yes to the new idea was because of my attachment to the original idea, and my ego having control over that. Where was the surrendering that I so often seek in my day to day life? At that moment, I thought about the 10 desires that I had written on that list.

  • Have faith
  • Not be controlled by attachment
  • Be content

These were just 3 out of the 10 that I wrote down. If I had said no to the question I was faced with, I would blatantly be going against 3 out of 10 of my desires (plus more). Who wants to be a hypocrite? I’m not trying to talk big game without backing it up in my actions.

This past weekend had to have been one of the toughest decisions I have had to make. I can’t say that I’m still 110% completely excited with the new plans, but it’s about having faith. It’s about my having faith that I am being taken care of by something much bigger than myself. And if I learn to let go and truly surrender, there is a beautiful liberating feeling that awaits me.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
-Robert Frost

a little over a month

It’s been over a month since I’ve blogged. I have a list of things in my “blog idea” journal that I am dying to talk about, but none of them have been able to capture my true emotions and feelings of what is going on in my life right now. I’ve struggled to put down in words what exactly is happening. It’s a little scary. Every day I open up my wordpress.com tab, and every day I go to “add new post”, and every day I stare at the screen for more than I should trying to capture into writing what is going on in my life. Here’s what’s going on:
1. I’m getting married in a little over a month.
2. I’m moving across this country to New Mexico right after.
3. I’m starting school again after being out of the game since May 2012 (I know it’s not a long time, but it feels like forever).

All of this is literally happening at the same exact time, and it’s scary. And terrifying. And causes me a lot of anxiety. I think more than anything, a lot of self-doubt creeps into me, and I begin to second guess my capability, even though I know well that I can handle all of this. In my head I know this, but being the emotionally driven individual I am, I let them control me.

Can I take care of someone else? Will my Indian food even taste good?
How am I going to handle another region of the States? I’ve NEVER lived outside of the South (give or take the 3-4 years we lived in Ohio when I was 2). What if they make fun of me for saying “y’all?
Do I remember how to study? What if I fail tests?

If you take a step back, and really examine these questions, they are all driven by fear. And fear is an emotion. I have literally let my fears determine who I am these past few weeks, despite knowing that I am more than capable of handling all of this.

I have never minded a challenge. I work great under stress. I have self-confidence. These are things that I know. So, why let things that that are run by the unknown dictate how I react to certain situations, treat other people, take care of the things that need to get done?

Change is hard, and transition is difficult. Especially after you’ve been accustomed to the same thing for so long. But does that give me an excuse to do all the things that I probably shouldn’t have? Not at all. Excuses are never good, and they should never be a cop-out to what life is giving you. All of this is happening to me, because in some way, shape, or form I have asked for it. And if I asked for it, I know I can handle it. So why freak out?

It’s one month away from being my 1-year anniversary of my India trip. I settled into a routine, that unfortunately has created attachments for me, that I now am scared to give up. All of these new adventures and experiences could not come at a better time. It’s all about adjustment and adapting. I’ve done it before, and I know I can do it again. So instead of being scared and terrified and anxiety-ridden, I need to channel that into the positive. Excitement, anxiousness, readiness.

As I look back to this past month, and everything that has happened, I’m a little embarrassed at the way I’ve handled everything. But, alas, such is life. You learn from your mistakes, and you move on taking the new lessons and applying them into your future.

Here’s to the month and a half I have left in my beautiful hometown of Memphis, and here’s to the new memories I’ll be creating in my new home of Albuquerque. This is life y’all. You can either sit on the banks and mope and be upset, or you can jump in and see where the current takes you. I happily am choosing the latter.

this is my 100th post

I can’t believe that this is my 100th post on my blog. I feel like my blog has developed with me as I take on new challenges, and begin to see my life in different perspectives.

This blog post is dedicated to my own personal growth. I feel as though my attitude about life has changed quite drastically since I graduated college a little over a year ago (WHAT?! a year?!). I’m the happiest I have ever been. I have the greatest friends and family a 23 year old can ask for. I’m traveling and exploring this world and this life. I’m opening my eyes and my thoughts to different things that have come my way. I’m [attempting] to live a healthier life. I’m trying to be greener. Life is going pretty great right now. Sure I complain here and there about silly things like it’s hot, and I have to take a bus when I much rather take a plane. But, in the grand scheme of things, I have no real complaints.

It’s amazing how when you take a step back, and really think about all that you have done, your pros begin to start outweighing your cons. You realize that life really isn’t as bad as your drama queen self makes it out to be.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that it is all about attitude. I’ve learned that I have the capability to change my life, all by changing the way I look at things. I can view the glass as half empty, or realize that the glass will always be 1/2 full of air.

The world is huge, and there’s a lot to be conquered still for little old me. But the biggest world that needs to get conquered is the world within me. There’s so much to do, but so little time. So, are you going to waste it on worrying about the little things?

60ec6d5284a378803d4e6d2aa41dcda8

a reflective first day of may

The month of May is my favorite month of the year, hands down. Aside from it being my birthday month, it has been, up to this point in my life a very exciting time for me. From the last day of school, to birthday parties, to summer, dance recitals, and just all around fun, May has always been filled with so many amazing things that were always the best way to kick off the summer. It marked the beginning of family beach trips, seeing friends from around the country, and spending an endless amount of time doing things that I really wanted to do.

This May officially marks my one year anniversary of graduating from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and receiving my Bachelor’s degree. When I moved home, I was getting lunch with one of my friends, lamenting at how I just turned 22 and nothing exciting happens when you’re 22. The wise individual she is told me how 22 was the best year of her life. Looking back on this past year as I am about to start my 23rd year of life, I look back and think, holy crap, Katie P. was right. 22 has been one for the books for sure.

It has been a year of growth and adventure, and a year that I can honestly say that I will never ever want to replace or go back and “do again”. I’m not sure why I am so nostalgic today. But, I am thankful for moments like this where I am. During those moments I can look back at myself one year ago, and really honestly say, jeez I’ve grown so much. I am at a much happier and more peaceful place than I was a year ago.

When you want to be on a path of growth, you need to remind yourself as often as possible that it’s not an easy task. It takes aggression and effort. Some days are better than others, and some days you just want to lay in bed all day. And I did just that.

How often do you look back and see how far you’ve come or how far you need to go still? I definitely don’t do it as often as I should. Lesson learned. Thanks May for giving that to me. If you haven’t taken a moment to do that, do it right now. How ever much time you can spare, 2 minutes, 3 hours, whatever. Reflection is one of the most important tools on the path of growth and development.

Happy May everyone!

patience is a virtue

Patience is a virtue, and a virtue which I can’t say I’ve mastered in my life. While I was in India I realized that I’m a very impatient individual contrary to my belief that I actually am patient. Let me expand. I am patient with the people that come in my life and the situations that are thrown at me. But, I’ve realized that I am not patient with myself. This is something that was further noticed during my vipassana experience.

Here’s what I’m talking about.
India: I took yoga classes for two and a half months. Surprisingly, there is a process in which you learn the different poses and maneuvers. Yes, I knew this going in. Did I keep this in mind within the first week and a half? Nope. My teacher was teaching me the process. First, I had to learn pranayama. We spent the entire first week on just that. One hour every day. Next, we moved on to learning stretches; I’m talking about flex your toes, bend your knees, completely basic stretches. In the back of my mind, I’m screaming, “I know all of this! Lets get straight to the head stands.” And then we moved onto very basic moves that I had already practiced during my regular yoga sessions in Memphis. I began getting very impatient a few weeks in. All I could think of was how I want to learn more advanced techniques and poses in yoga. That wasn’t going to happen.
Vipassana: If you read my posts on vipassana (if not, check them out here), you read how I was getting bored the first few days, especially when I realized that we weren’t even practicing the real vipassana technique, just a precursor to it. Of course, in the beginning I was thinking how I just wanted to get to the real deal.

Point of both of these scenarios: I feel as though I am more prepared than I actually am. I want a challenge from the get-go. I don’t like easy. What I learned from my yoga experience, was that through learning the basics, I’m strengthening my foundation so that I can be more successful when I actually do begin some more advanced poses. The basic crunches and bicycles and leg lifts that I was having to do in the beginning of my yoga training in India strengthens my core, which is really essential for a basic surya namaskar. Each step is built upon the prior. The same goes with what happened at vipassana. If I jumped straight into vipassana meditation without the basic foundation of ana pans where I’m learning to just concentrate my mind, then during actual vipassana, I wouldn’t have figured what the heck Goenke was talking about!

It’s as easy as this. When I was little, I would always watch people take the stairs 2 or 3 steps at a time, and no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t do it. I wanted to so bad, but looking back, I wasn’t ready for it. I needed practice. I needed to be patient. As silly as this little anecdote is, I think it gets my point across. You can’t jump straight to the big leagues, when you can’t even throw the ball. Okay, I’m done with my ridiculous metaphors and stories.

So, why am I writing about patience today? I came upon this quote:
“Please remember that patience is in and of itself a great challenge, and that it often holds the key to breaking through a seeming impasse.” Daisaku Ikeda

I was having these thoughts about patience when I was in India, and I even was talking to my friend back in the states how I was frustrated with my yoga teacher because I didn’t want to do this baby stuff. I realized I have a major patience issue.

This quote really resonates with me, in that patience really is a great challenge, an even greater challenge when it comes to being patient with yourself. I think humans are very eager individuals. It’s really easy for us to jump ahead, but when we don’t succeed at that stage, we get overwhelmed with disappointment in ourselves, and we quit. But, if we build ourselves one step at a time, we’re setting ourselves up for success.

Patience is a virtue, but one that takes great effort to actually instill in our lives.

Happy first day of February!

it’s time for the goodbye

Well, this is officially my last post from my 3 month long journey here in what I call the motherland-India. I am so excited to be hopping on a plane in less than 24 hours, and finally be heading to my home. But, a part of me hasn’t accepted that reality yet.

The past 3 months have literally been a roller coaster of emotions, experiences, thoughts, etc. I’ve learned so much about life and who I really am. I was lucky enough to have 4 amazing gurus to teach me as much they can in a short period of time about classical music, Sanskrit, Yoga, and Ayurveda. I’ve gotten so much closer to my family in India, and I can finally say I don’t feel like I don’t belong here.

I’ve eaten so much, I don’t want to see Indian food for at least 3 weeks after I get home (except for this one punjabi shabji my aunt is bringing me today!). I’ve literally shopped ’til I dropped. I’ve been in a car here more than I can say I wanted to. I rode on a train in India (from Ahmedebad to Mumbai). I did touristy things and took cheesy pictures. I partook in Navratri festivities, Diwali festivities, and Sharad Poonam activities. I’ve witnessed and experienced every range of social economic status–I saw what it is like to be extremely wealthy, and I’ve seen what extreme poverty looks like. I saw how ridiculous election time is here in Gujurat, and how angry people get when their candidate doesn’t win. I watched riots and protests on TV in Delhi after a young girl was gang raped on a bus. I visited beautiful temples that really represent what our places of worship should be like, and I’ve visited not so amazing temples.

I learned how to work a riksha and travel in the city all by myself. I know the streets of Ahmedebad and can find my way home if I get lost. I stayed in a village with no internet, a city that is growing faster than anyone can think, and in a megacity that is running out space. I saw the rivers and lakes of this country and more fruit trees than I ever have in my life. I saw that there are more animals roaming the streets of India then there are in the zoos of India. I watched Bollywood movies and memorized Bollywood songs that I can’t wait to bring back to the States. I talked in Gujurati, English, and shaky Hindi. I learned that the final price is never the final price here, and that you can always shave off at least 200 Rs at the end.

I found out that I am a very impatient person. I get aggravated easily. I learned that the only way to live life is to constantly be open to what your environment and surroundings are throwing at you. I realized that the Universe is always, always, giving you signs about where your life is going. And when those signs are being thrown in your face, grab them as quick as you can. I learned that the most unexpected people walk into your life and can make such a huge impression. I’ve made friends that I probably wouldn’t have if I hadn’t come.

I felt excitement, homesickness, loneliness, happiness, extreme heat, annoyance, over indulgence, pain, flexibility, and love.

Most importantly, I am content and at peace with myself. I’m ready to come home.

blind faith

“Devotion toward another person, no matter how saintly, is not sufficient to liberate anyone; there can be no liberation or salvation without direct experience of reality. Therefore, truth has primacy, not the one who speaks it. All respect is due to whoever teaches the truth, but the best way to show that respect is by working to realize the truth of oneself.”
-William Hart in The Art of Live: Vipassana Meditation as taught by S.N. Goenke

We were in Shreenathji about a week and a half ago. I have really mixed feelings about the trip, because it pokes a place in my beliefs that I have really strong feelings towards, and that is religion. I’ll explain the reason I was drawn to this specific passage in this book in a bit. But first, let me talk about my outlook on religion.

I regard myself as a pretty religious person. I read the Geeta, I say my prayers, I celebrate the holy festivals, what have you. But, I have made it a point in my life to really understand the true meaning behind everything I do. Sure, I don’t have all the answers, but I make the effort to ask people and trace the reasoning back to something. My parents have been awesome for putting up with me as well when it comes to this from the get go.

So, back to Shreenathji. It was definitely a experience I’m not sure I have the will power to go through again. It’s basically the city where Shreenathji (God) took human form. There’s this huge temple where He actually lives. That’s kind of a rundown. But, He has millions of followers, my family being one of them. Really we went to take my mom’s mom and my dad’s parents. It’s considered a holy city, and since they’re all pretty old now, my parents kind of wanted to give them this last chance to come and offer their prayers. And this is how I felt: the city was completely packed with people, it wasn’t the cleanest city I’ve been to in India, and I was able to actually see the idol for about 3.2 minutes TOTAL. You get shoved in and out in a matter of seconds.

And this is where my problem lies with the state of religion today. Please keep in mind that this is a strictly personal opinion, and I am not sharing sentiments on behalf of people. Anyways, I feel like we’ve really lost the essence of what religion is supposed to be. It’s supposed to be guidance along a personal journey to merge with God. It should offer you peace and comfort that you’re not alone in the world. It should encourage you to seek a divine life and try to instill Godly qualities within you. It’s not something that if you pay a certain amount of money you have a direct ticket to heaven. It’s not something that if you merely go to church, temple, or some sort of place of worship once a week you’re considered a “religious person”. It takes effort. It takes dedication. It takes love and compassion. We’ve become so quick to find the easy way out, that we’ve forgotten that there is a path that we must walk to achieve our goal. Can I really say that I live a religious life? We have faith in the middleman, but not in the Ultimate.

The beginning of my senior year of college, I had a realization where I began to ask myself, am I living a life that God would be proud of? Am I worthy enough to be called His daughter? The answers: no and yes. I am worthy enough to be called His daughter, because I am His creation. But looking back, I’ve done a lot of dumb and stupid things that would really embarrass Him. Keeping this in mind, I tried to fix the gaps in my life, so that I can live, to the best of my ability, something that He would be proud of.

To me, going to a temple where I can’t even sit in front of God and spend time with Him isn’t devotion. I will say, that you have to have a LOT of faith to endure Shreenathji, and I sincerely commend those men and women who go with loving hearts. Me, that’s not my way to show my gratitude. That’s the beauty of religion. It provides a path, guidance. But it doesn’t –or to me, it shouldn’t—have strict rules to follow, because my relationship with the Supreme is completely different than my own parents.

“Devotion toward another person, no matter how saintly, is not sufficient to liberate anyone; there can be no liberation or salvation without direct experience of reality. Therefore, truth has primacy, not the one who speaks it. All respect is due to whoever teaches the truth, but the best way to show that respect is by working to realize the truth of oneself.”
I wish I could tell you how many different people at different times have tried to explain this idea to me. The path is about the effort. You have to do to achieve. And finally, it clicks. The best way to show that respect is by working to realize the truth of oneself. 

Countdown to America: 12 days

back for a day

So, we got back from our mini trip really late Friday night. All I can say, is what an excellent time I had. I don’t really know where to start to describe everything, or even if what I say in words on this post will 1. make sense, or 2. give my trip justice.

Like I said, we went to Somnath to visit a few temples in the area that are important in the Hindu religion. It was actually pretty neat. For those of you who don’t know, in Hinduism, we believe that God takes human form when society is in need of being put back on a path of good. When he takes a human “birth”, it’s called an avatar. There have been many avatars to come, but one of them, Krishna, is one most people have heard of. Anyways, 2 of the temples we visited were locations where Krishna spent his last few moments in His human body. It was pretty neat to see where He took his last steps.

We also went to Diu, a city that’s very island-like (actually, I think it is an island. If not, it’s definitely a beach). It was founded by the Portuguese, and is seriously one of the prettiest places I’ve seen in this area (granted, it was like an 8 hour drive, but whatever). There, we hung out on the beach for a few, and went to another temple, and just chilled. There’s an old Portuguese fort that we checked out as well.

On the way back, we stopped by another palace in Gondal (all these names sound very Lord of the Rings-esque. haha). Finally today, me, my parents, and my aunt and uncle took a day trip to this huge step-well (essentially, a well, but you can take steps down to the bottom) and a Surya Mandir (Sun Temple) about 2 hours away from Ahmedebad. Again, both places were so immaculate and beautiful (see pictures below).

All I have to say is from the past several days, is wow. If there was one thing I saw this past weekend, it was a whole lot of happiness. We stayed with a family who had 18 people living in their house. Their livelihood consisted of fishing. They lived a very simple life, but if there was one thing I saw, it was how freaking happy they were. They just felt as though they were so blessed by God, that not having things that I feel like I need (my iPhone, laptop, my 50+ pairs of shoes, etc) wasn’t even important to them. Talk about living a simple and humble life. Something that I’m over here trying to do, but am no where close to.

There is just so much history and culture in this world that I am so incredibly unaware of. I really feel as though life is too short to just sit in your house all day and not experience what’s out there. A lot of people know I am an avid traveler, and will take any opportunity that is presented to me to visit new places. I love long distance travelling. But, what I learned from this past weekend, is that you don’t have to travel far to literally experience a slice of history. The Surya Mandir is 1,000 years old, and it was just a short trip away. No one ever said that travelling consists of going to places every single person in the world has heard of. There are so many treasures in not-so-well-known places, like, Veraval (the small fishing community where we stayed this past weekend).

The new year is starting soon, and the first thing I’m doing when I get back to Memphis is planning out the next few months of places I can go and visit, even if it is just visiting a few friends somewhere, or going to some retreat. I’ve always found that my money spent on experiences rather than things gives me a better understanding of who I am, and I leave with a ton of awesome memories that I can put down in my life book. So save up a few bucks here and there, and go, get out and see something new!

Tomorrow, we leave for Udaipur and Shreenathji for a 2-day trip. I can’t wait, despite the early 5am leaving time. Another city to conquer and learn about, another opportunity to find out something about myself I didn’t know.

all the fishing boats at the harbor at the end of the day

all the fishing boats at the harbor at the end of the day

all the boats in Veraval

all the boats in Veraval

beach at Diu

beach at Diu

such a beautiful beach

such a beautiful beach

palace at Gondal

palace at Gondal

Adalaj Step Well

Adalaj Step Well

a small view looking up

a small view looking up

oh! hey mom and dad!

oh! hey mom and dad!

Surya Mandir

Surya Mandir

really intricate carving throughout the entire mandir

really intricate carvings throughout the entire mandir

just chillin at Surya Mandir

just chillin at Surya Mandir

If you’re not sure where to start your traveling journeys, check out NatGeo’s Best Trips 2013, including MEMPHIS. But, seriously. Great list of places!

first out of town trip

So, we finally leave for our very first trip tomorrow morning, and I couldn’t be more excited! We will be traveling 6ish hours by car to Somnath, Veraval, and Div. Somnath is considered one of the many holy places in India, as it is home to the Somnath Temple.

Why is this significant? Because Somnath is the home of the very first Jyotirling (wiki link). A Jyotirling is a shrine for the Hindu god Shiva. There are only 12 in the entire country, and the pilgrimage to visit all 12 starts at Somnath. I’ve never been before, but I have heard only great and amazing things about this beautiful place.

Packing for this short trip was one of the most hectic things so far in my (basically) 2 months of being here. I have only one month left here in the Motherland, and I have so much more to report. This has seriously been one of the most gratifying experiences I’ve ever had in my life. To say that it was a learning experience is such an understatement. It has been a period of growth in all realms for me, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, etc. I can’t wait to reflect on my last day here. Of course, I will have a lengthy post on everything I am feeling and thinking and experiencing. Until then, I hope my last month here is just as exciting and fulfilling. We will be travelling for a majority of the last month, so I will try and blog and post pictures as much as I can in between.

Here’s to life y’all!