Nilaya Hermitage, Goa, India

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As I drop myself into luxury and comfort I am calmed into a place of complete bliss.  Nilaya Hermitage in Goa, India is not what one would expect to find in India, certainly not what I had expected. 

I am sitting here at 7pm, the sun has set, the temperature is perfect after a pre-monsoon this morning that lasted a couple of hours cooling the temperatures to something manageable.  I sit overlooking the city to see the Ocean off in the distance with tanker boats sitting on the water and speed boats in and out of the harbour carrying wind surfers along the coastline. 

I hear a rustle in the trees directly in front of me and I have the pleasure of watching a black faced money staring back at me, dinning on something delicious picked straight from the tree.  Jumping from branch to branch he sits right in front of me munching on whatever delicacy he has found.   Another one scurries across the pool deck in search of something.  I am surround by the sounds of a local temple playing the sounds of Indian music far off in the distance.  The natural sounds of the forest, beautiful birds and butterflies frolicking all around me.  I am one of three guests staying in this beautiful oasis, it is serene, quiet, surrounded by lush green forest at the top of a hill overlooking Goa.  I notice the other two guests are a mother and daughter enjoying a swim in the vast pool conversing easily enjoying each other’s company.  I feel a swirl of excitement pass through as I think of my daughter, Jenny and our upcoming adventure together in Thailand, 6 more weeks and I will be holding her in my arms.  I have imagined the reunion over and over again in my mind and I am delighted at the thought of spending three weeks, just the two of us, exploring a land together in South East Asia.  All the memories of our last adventure together flood my mind and I smile remembering all the memories we created together, the belly laughs, the impossible situations that turned out to be hilarious, so many moments we will remember forever.  The longer I am on this journey of mine the more I reminisce about my family and the people I love.  I long to be part of a tribe, a family and my hope continues to grow that upon my return we will continue on a planned venture to make this dream a reality.  As I have ventured from culture to culture one of the things that stands out for me is the culture of family and how the Indonesia people and the Indian people hold their families close to their hearts, how they cherish and take care of the elders and I want nothing more than be with my family and hold them close to my heart.  

I had to indulge my body in a massage today, many muscles tight and sore from practicing yoga everyday, twice a day for two solid weeks.  I can feel the tightening of muscles and the loosening of tendons and ligaments and my flexibility increases day by day.   Apprehensive to get a massage after experiencing what would be similar to a rub at the yoga retreat, dripping in hot oil in a poorly ventilated room with just a fan blowing around the hot stale air.  I was unsure.

I was taken into the beautifully decorated treatment room with cool air ventilating the room to a cool comfortable temperature and instructed to undress and put on a loin cloth that I would tie at my waist and climb onto the table, face down.  A male therapist with strong hands would come into the room and get me settled.  He started simply scanning my body and immediately knew where all my trouble spots would lie.  He expertly moved up and down and all around my body settling me into a comfortable haze.  I settled into deep unconsciousness as I recapitulated my day and settled my awareness on my third eye as I went into a deep meditative state.  I would notice part way through the massage he was tying up the loin cloth and asked me to get up as he handed me a towel and motioned me to step out of the room, I was confused. He kept saying “rat” “rat” I did not understand being roused out of my deep meditative slumber I just looked him him with a blank stare unsure what he trying to tell me.  He finally just motioned for me to go and sit down in the lawn furniture on the deck outside the treatment room.  I went and sat down as a few staff members came rushing to the room, one after the other.  He was speaking quickly in Hindi, before I knew it there was four or five staff members all looking in the room, one guy had a long metal stick and a large washing basin and he kept peeking inside, tenatively.  They all seemed very apprehensive to enter the room and each one peeking inside instructing the guy with the stick and basin to go ahead and get whatever was in the room.  I suddenly understood what “rat” meant.  I simply closed my eyes and let whatever was going to happen happen, sliding my feet out of my slippers and raising my legs onto the table afraid the “rat” might come running out onto my feet.  I kept peeking, I didn’t want to see but at the same time I wanted to see.  I watched as the guy with the stick finally summoned the courage to take a stab at whatever was in the room and came out in a hurry with what appeared to be a snake in the basin, he kept his face away from the basic carrying it as far in front of him, as far as his arms could reach and walked very quickly to the forest where he released whatever was in the basin. 

Once all the fuss was over, the therapist said come on back in, I climbed back on the table and battled with my mind to let it go and tried to return to my blissful state.  He continued to work on my body for the next hour and a half, turning me over and working on my front as diligently as he worked on my back.  There is no shame here with your body being exposed, my bottom privates were slightly covered by the loin cloth by my chest would be exposed and become part of the massage.  He continued to work on my head expertly putting pressure on all the right places allowing me to fall deeper and deeper into bliss.  He rubbed my head like a mother would rub a child’s head in a comforting loving way, I felt such a sense of being cared for.  It was magical. 

Next stop the restaurant with so many delicious choices it was difficult to decide which one to have, mushroom soup and bruschetta would be the winners!  A slow mindful meal sitting alone, in deep solitude I enjoyed each and every bit of this delicious meal as the day melted into the night.  Simply blissed out and feeling so blessed and thankful for the journey I am on. 

It is on these occasional stops of luxury that I seem to fully relax and let everything sink in from the experience I have just undergone.  I realize that adaptability and flexibility have had to become a familiar part of the journey.  I never fully realized how much adaptability, flexibility and energy is required each time I am dropped into a new setting with new people, with new practices and another steep learning curve.  That malleability is required while at the same time a keeping with my own sense of self.  It is in these stops where I am completely alone surrounded by the comforts of home that allow me the reflection time that is required to process.

Adaptability by definition is being able to change as circumstances require it. It recognizes that life will bring us unforeseen challenges and along with honouring our values, we can adjust and learn as we go.  Adaptability requires a willingness to let go, sometimes even grieving unmet expectations or ideas of how we think things “should” be.

Flexibility is opening ourselves up to influence or educated ideas rather than getting stuck in our own desires or ways of thinking. It lets us go with the flow of a group.

It is an attitude of “Go with the Flow”  “Live in the Now”  “One Moment at Time”.

I feel blessed with the wonderful people I continue to meet along the way and the opportunity for me to continue learning about adaptability and flexibility allowing others to shine and lead the way while I comfortably, or sometimes not so comfortably, make my way into the back seat. 

“The human mind – a product of the brain – controls our ability to adapt to a hostile or friendly environment. Human beings are composed of fields of energy, some of which forces are positive, and other force fields are negative. We can use constructive reason to penetrate only a limited segment of the human mind, which projects discernible logical thought process. A person’s mind also houses dark areas of reality, the mysterious apparatus that eludes the grasp of human reason. We can never express the truth of a person with a precise lucid principle.  A person must travel beyond realism in order to explore every facet of his or her being and live his or her most cherished dreams.”

― Kilroy J. Oldster, Dead Toad Scrolls

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