It is very good to be home from India! As much as I love traveling, I also love coming home, even if it is to a broken furnace and no heat, and a yucky head cold.
A big thank you to Laura sharing a post last week (thank you Laura!) while I was still away. She captured the essence of the retreat and the part I always love, which is seeing people come together and finding a true heart connection.
As some have asked about the trip, I will be offering some stories and pictures here and there that I hope you will find interesting.
The question I asked most during the retreat in Ganeshpuri (other than how are your dreams?) was this (paraphrased)-"What would your life look like if you had no fear? How would you live, what would you be doing now, how would you change the way you dance through life, if you had no fear?”
Fortunately I was able to point to my friend Nitin as an example of this question in action. I met Nitin about 11 years ago when I first went to Ganeshpuri with Mukunda. Nitin has just come off of a powerful 12 year spiritual journey that started with him leaving everything behind-family, lucrative job, possessions, to find his “path”. Once he landed in Ganeshpuri he knew he was home. It was there he started The Learning Space, with Mukunda’s encouragement. Back then the Learning Space was housed in a small sooty office in the downtown area of Ganeshpuri. The following year when we visited, Learning Space was in a larger campus outside of the town and could welcome a good number of children to participate in the supplemental educational program. Now the program has exploded and is a part of over 100 schools across the Maharashtra district. During this visit we were able to see the additional building on the site which is named after my dear teacher Mukunda, and is now used for training teachers and making presentations.
If you ask Nitin how his journey has unfolded in this way, he simply says it is the grace of the Guru. Of course recognizing and receiving the Gurus grace requires something that usually freaks us out-SURRENDER. Nitin was willing to do this, and so for the past decade or so he watches the actions born from surrender unfold into a bigger picture. This includes not just the Learning Space, but also the animal shelter that he started, the Womans Cooperative he has supported, and the two books he has written. He described the huge joy that has come from seeing the young children he worked with a decade ago now taking on leadership roles and supporting the younger children. One of the young men we met, Ganesh, was a fatherless child when he started at Learning Space in the beginning. He now runs a computer department and according the Nitin is supporting village children of similar circumstances with his own money.
Paying it forward, as we say.
I have worked with Nitin on many fundraising projects for Learning Space over the years. Now, he says, they don’t need money as they have financial support. What is needed is for people to form a relationship with some of the learning space teachers. Most of these teachers are very young locals who want to make a difference in the world, as many of you do. Nitin’s vision is for people to simply have conversations, whether via email, Skype, or using some other technology. Through these conversations everyones world expands. And the expansion offered these teachers will filter into the classrooms, and your world expansion will filter into your relationships. That is what so much of travel and connection is about after all, right? Expansion! One of the retreat participants has already begun to connect some of her USA friends who are music teachers to some of the Learning Space teachers who want to start up a much desired music program.
If you are interested in something like this please reach out to Nitin directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. He will be visiting us in May, so stay tuned for more information so you can meet him in person!
If this short story inspires you, then maybe you want to ask yourself what your life would look like if you had no fear. We all have something (or many things) we are destined to manifest in this life, but often we can’t see or recognize them because of the clouding of our ordinary fears. Admitting we may be blinded doesn’t make the fears go away suddenly, but it does help us to maintain the courage and strength to move through them, reconcile them, and attempt to manifest what the heart has known all along. If, like Nitin, your heart-voice is loud enough, the familiar sounds of your fears will be less so.