Feb 16 (Day 14):
I met a lovely German couple at the cooking demonstration yesterday. Dirk, the husband, has gorgeous, wavy hair the color of snow and piercing, blue eyes that you could get lost in. His wife, Angela, is blond, slender and sexy in a real “California Natural” kind of way. I really have no idea how she manages to look so good all the time. When I’m wearing the white tunic, I look like a patient at a treatment center. When she’s wearing them, it looks like she should be wandering a bazaar in Morocco picking through treasures on a buying trip for Neiman Marcus. (I wouldn’t mind being Angela when I grow up.)
Anyway, Dirk and Angela live in London and have a second place in France as well. Since Paris is my favorite place on earth, and Leon and I will be moving to London at some point, we had a lot in common. Tomorrow is their last day, but we exchanged email addresses, so I hope we’ll be able to keep in touch.
I am officially at the halfway mark…only 14 more days to go! I feel like I’ve run a marathon already, and I’m not even through the worst of it yet. So, just like an alcoholic in rehab, I have to learn to take things day by day…sometimes, even moment by moment.
Today was very emotional for me. I cried all morning: cried about missing Leon, cried about losing my temper yesterday, cried because I’m tired of feeling so rotten and even because I wanted to leave India and move back to Paris. When I told the doctor, he said that crying was absolutely normal, a predictable reaction to the stress of the ghee. I spoke with Emil early this morning, and he said he was feeling much better, not nearly so heartbroken as he was right after the ghee, so maybe drinking clarified butter really does make you cry!
Dr. Sankar said that my core issue is that I have a nasty habit of focusing on how I’ve fallen short of the expectations I set for myself, rather than learning from my mistakes and then letting them go. Additionally, he pointed out that I worry over the things I haven’t accomplished, rather than focusing that energy on doing the things I have actually chosen to do.
He reminded me that every choice to do something inherently means saying no to doing something else. This is not the first time I’ve been told that one should not waste time regretting the past or worrying about the future. I must discipline myself to live in the present — only dealing with what is in front of me at the exact moment I am in. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done…at least for me.
Dr. Sankar also pointed out that everything that happens in our lives, good or bad, is an opportunity to learn. It’s all about how we “frame” the experience in a positive way rather than a negative one. He used the example of a man being sent to prison. “He could yell and cry, feel tricked and dwell on his mistakes. In other words, he could choose to be miserable. OR…he could accept his situation and “frame it” in the positive. ‘I am alone in a room for years with the time and ability to learn about myself, to pray, to read, to meditate. Some people would love to have this opportunity.’ Life is all about how you frame each experience you are in.”
Then he went on to say, “India is a continual lesson in acceptance. We never invaded anyone. People just came here from all over the world, and we accepted it: the Sikhs, the Arabs, the British. They came, and we accepted. To live in India, one must practice acceptance on a daily basis. Once you can do that, you will be able to live anywhere in the world without judgement. It is a vital life lesson that requires mastery if you ever hope to reach contentment.” I felt like I was having a conversation with Yoda. Dr. Sankar is full of surprises, alright.
The more I think about what he said, the more truth I see in it, at least in his description of India. Disappointment and frustration confront you on a moment by moment basis here — every, single day. I have not yet mastered the ability to surf that current; right now it’s all I can do to keep my head above water. Patience has always been the most difficult skill for me to master. I pray that spending this month alone with myself will help me come one step closer to acceptance…we’ll see.
WORDS OF WISDOM:
“Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it.” — Michael J. Fox