A Changing Lens: Christmas in India

Photo by Lee Schneider

Photo by Lee Schneider

I took a foot bath in the holy Ganges River today — Christmas Day 2008! Just a few days before – what looked like could possibly be an unsatisfying and slightly depressing Christmas – turned into a day filled with gifts.

I arrived in India three days ago to find an India that felt tough, unclean and unnerving. I have been to India two times before, but this time for some reason India felt dirtier, noisier and more crowded. This time around I was bringing my fiance and wanted to show him an India that was sacred, special and beautiful. Unfortunately within our first couple of days we were not encountering much of that.

Battened down in our hotel on the second day we decided we needed to find a way to turn our trip around. We traveled all this way and knew our trip had the potential of much more. Having turned to some particular goddesses over the past year for assistance, guidance and inspiration, I decided to say a prayer to Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of beauty and prosperity. I asked her for assistance to help us see beauty in the little things — to see beauty within the clutter and beyond the cow dung.

On the same day as my prayer we found a new room in a hotel well within our price range with a gorgeous view of the Ganges. Hindu chants lofted up to the balcony giving us a feeling of having our own movie soundtrack to our India experience. Right next door we met a wonderfully talented and distinguished music teacher who could teach me how to play traditional Indian music on the harmonium. And across from our new locale, we found a clean, warm and peaceful yoga studio sitting practically on top of the sacred Ganges. This was good!

So I ask myself, was it my prayer to Lakshmi that inspired all of these good things to happen? Is there a goddess who can really make beautiful things appear in one’s life? Or was it simply my intention and willingness to shift my lens to see beauty?  Ahhhhh…and to top it off of our hotel brought us a beautiful bouquet of flowers to wish us a merry christmas.

When you are faced with a situation that is less than desirable what do you do? How do you handle difficulty?

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9 thoughts on “A Changing Lens: Christmas in India

  1. Hi Sweetie:

    It is 6:30 am here in PA and we are getting ready to go to the Poconos to go skiing (not me). I am so glad you found a special place to stay after your disappointing hotael stay elsewhere. I hope that your journey is all that you want it to be. Lots of love to you and Lee and keep posting pictures. Love you, Mom

  2. Hi Tabby and Lee,
    I’m so glad you’ve found beauty in India. I think we all have it within our grasp if we consciously look for it. So glad SHE is revealing herself to you so far from home…..As you will it, so shall it be!

    Namaste,

    Karen

  3. Yes, you are right, you changed the lens or the way you look at a situation. You sensed the problem, accepted it and found a solution to it and there you can enjoy the rest of your time there. Your prayer and wisdom within will make you succeed where ever you are. Happy holidays and congratulations for your upcoming marriage.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your experience over there so far. I am so happy to hear how it is going … wondering about you every day. Happy day after Christmas!

  5. What a treat to hear from everyone! We are checking email every few days. My first internet cafe to post the blog had a super slow connection, but the one I am in now is PERFECT! Thank you for all of the beautiful wishes and for checking in.
    Much love,
    Tabby

  6. Dear Tabby,

    My brother Pat just told me yesterday about your trip and your impending marriage – I have to confess – I don’t read your blog very much – (there’s just too much e-mail and not enough time – I usually only read the personal mail I get) so I didn’t know what was happening (I’m caught up now – just read your two most recent!)

    Congratulations!!!! I’m so very happy for you – and believe it or not my dear friend Jackie and her love Sham are right now with Sham’s family in Bangalore doing the whole traditional Indian wedding thing! (Well, actually it started on the 21st – so should be done by now – but they are still there – traveling.) Kind of an amazing co-incidence. You and Jackie both moved out to California from New York about the same time and you both met your men last year and now you’re both in India marrying them!

    I’m quite touched and actually totally in love with the whole beauty and wonder of it all!!

    I was so glad to read that you were able to re-adjust your mind –

    India just is –

    and actually that is it’s true beauty – to be able to find the beauty – the perfection – not in a better room, or a lovely bouquet of flowers, a yoga class on the Ganges or even in the learning to play the sacred sounds of the ragas – they are simply the ornaments- perhaps even the distractions – as they feed our sense of comfort or support our attachment to what we think we want and need to gather around us to feel good or right in the world –

    The real beauty of India, however, is to find yourselves stripped of all of those trappings of ego – to face all of the grim realities and difficulties that loving Mother throws in your path and to realize that even without these blessed “Gifts” of Lakshmi that you would have been perfectly at peace with everything – exactly as it was – exactly as it is…

    When you reach that place then you know that you have fully released yourself into the Mother’s groundless embrace!

    Much love and happiness and joy and light to you and Lee as you embark on this beautiful Journey of Life Together…

    Looking forward to hearing more (I’ll be reading you blogs for the next few weeks to keep up) and hopefully seeing you sometime in the not so distant future.

    Much love, Kathryn

  7. Tabby, First I want to say happy wedding. What a wonderful thing, getting
    married in India, a place I have wanted to go for many years. Also when I have time and read your blogs, it is really uplifting. I just got caught up with you as I was traveling myself and didn’t take the time to sit and read on the
    computer as I was always on someone else’s. So Tabby thanks and again
    congratulations.
    Tina Firestone

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