Are you dreaming of a year of miracles? Are you still on the fence about traveling the world?
I’m here to tell you that Delhi, India is everything I imagined it would be, and more. It’s a jewel, with its magnificent temples, mosques, and forts; colorful and loud, with its crowded, dusty streets; and full of soul, like its people, dark eyes shining back at me as I walk full of awe through the carnival that is a Delhi marketplace or street.
It is a symphony of chaos, a cacophony of car horns as green-and-yellow auto rickshaws, bicycles, cars, buses, and pedestrians jostle for space in streets seemingly without lanes.
It is a wild riot of colors with sparkling saris catching my eye everywhere I look, as the women stroll the markets dressed elegantly and beautifully, wrapped in bright silk in orange, green, russet, pink, gold, with woolen scarves wrapped around their shoulders to keep them warm in the Delhi winter cold.
I have never seen so much silver and gold on the streets, so many sequins and embroidery, in the colorful cloth of the women’s saris and salwar kameez. It is as if every day is a festival, as these lovely peacocks go about the business of daily living: market, work, and home. I’m awed to be surrounded by so much beauty, and these streets are teeming with life, in a country rich in history, culture, spirituality. The people of Delhi live their busy lives in such proximity here in India, the most populous democracy on earth with 1.2 billion people.
It boggles the mind and overloads the senses at first to be in the midst of all of this, after flying here from my small city of Troy, New York.
How did I land in India, exactly?
It feels like a miracle to be starting the year in India. I’m here to teach workshops with a spiritual teacher. It is a dream come true.
Just over a year ago, I set the intention to lead workshops designed to help others live their big dreams. I’ve been working with life coaches and teachers for years, and I am a trained strategic political campaign manager, so I wanted to use this base of knowledge, skills, and tools to help others.
Of course, my writings here on 8womendream are about that as well. It all feels aligned with my life purpose, which I believe is to embody kindness and help others find self-acceptance and live a life purpose.
I never thought this work would bring me to the vibrantly alive, colorful, gorgeously chaotic country of India, with its profoundly spiritual culture and history. I feel at home here, like this was meant to be.
Here in Delhi, my host family calls me “Didi,” which means big sister. I feel like a big sister to Saadhvi, 15, who has served as my tour guide, helping me navigate the bustling marketplaces to shop for gifts and traditional Indian clothing, including buying my first sari. Her lovely parents, Renu and Vinit, treat me like family.
It’s all so amazing and beautiful. I still can’t quite believe I’m here.
Planting the travel-to-India seed
It was October 2009 when I set the goal of teaching in India. One night I lay awake until 1 a.m., reflecting on what I’d teach and who my audience might be. The very next morning, my friend Bianca emailed me asked me to help her create and teach goal-setting workshops for women.
It felt like the universe had heard my request, and delivered an immediate response. I told Bianca I’d love to make it happen. We spend a whirlwind few weeks designing the curriculum and marketing the workshops, and we taught a workshop for women called “Your Best Year Yet.” Thirty-five women attended, and it was a great success. We’d done it. I could sense that more dreams might be coming true.
We led these women through a series of exercises to unleash their long-term dreams and visions. The visions included teaching several more workshops throughout the year, launching my life-coaching business, and completing my book manuscript, tentatively titled Burning Down the House, in 2010.
I accomplished all of these goals.
I worked hard on the book, article writing, working on political campaigns, and workshops, so I can take credit for making my dreams happen. But it also felt magical, like I was witnessing miracles in action.
I had just returned home to Troy, New York after from a three-week vacation with my family in Spain. I hadn’t had time to clean the house before I left, and it felt depressing coming home to clutter: clothes spread out on the bed, papers piled on the kitchen table, a messy bathroom. I’d had a wonderful time on my trip, but now that I was back in my “real life,” I was feeling bummed. I felt behind on my the book, my house was a mess, my finances needed attention, and I was tired of being single.
In the past, coming down from world travel could have sent me into a spiral that would have kept me feeling low for days or even weeks. Instead, I decided I would cheer myself up, rather than wallowing in my ego.
I logged onto Facebook and clicked on my inspirational friend, Brian Johnson’s page, figuring he’d have some words of wisdom for me. A quote on his page caught my eye.
Someone had written, “You are such a beautiful light. Thanks for doing such great work in the world.”
I clicked on the profile picture and found myself reading about a spiritual teacher from India, only 32-years-old, who used to be a forest meditation monk. I read his Facebook page and website with a smile–pleased to know such souls exist. Amazingly, he was doing exactly the type of work I envisioned doing in the world and seemed to embody all the principles and values I wished to epitomize.
I made a quick decision to email him about my wish to volunteer in India.
“Do you ever teach in the U.S.?” I asked.
A miracle of miracles, this teacher was leading his first open workshop in the U.S. one week later, just outside New York City, three hours from where I live. Of course, I went to meet him.
Soft miracles unfold
At the time, I had no idea that I’d be here in India less than six months later, teaching. I still can’t quite believe it all happened so fast. First, I set the intention to teach workshops. Then, I made a wish to travel to India. Somehow this all resulted in me collaborating with a spiritual teacher, here in India. And as an added bonus. I stopped obsessing about my relationship status.
The 5-minute miracle practice
This spiritual teacher shares something called the Five-Minute Miracle–a simple practice to help transform any situation in your life.
First, choose a relationship or situation in your life that you’d like to improve.
Step 1: Be at ease, and picture the situation in your mind.
Sit quietly and be aware of the sensations in your body. Take a few deep breaths. Now, picture the situation or person in your mind and see it as you imagine it now. Many of us tend to worry about the worst possible outcome.
What are you visualizing?
Step 2: Now, imagine the BEST possible outcome.
This time, clearly visualize what you’d like to see happen, or how you’d want to interact with someone you care about.
Step 3: Feel a positive emotion.
Allow yourself to feel how good it feels to know that everything in this situation is working out for the best.
Step 4: Let go.
Now, relax and be at peace, knowing that the best possible outcome is on its way.
Continue this practice for a few minutes daily, replacing any fearful thoughts about the situation with imagining the best possible outcome. This spiritual teacher has numerous stories of “mini-miracles” that had occurred when people use this practice.
You can apply this on a broader scale to your whole life as well. Create a vision for your big dream that inspires you; believe it’s possible; feel how good it will feel to live your dreams; let go of how it will map out. Then, take whatever small action you should make right now.
I wish you to enough bravery to live your dreams, and I implore you to add India to your travel dream bucket list. It’s magical. And life-changing.
Lisa Powell Graham
Lisa Graham is an inspirational writer, life coach, motivational speaker, and globe-trotter whose passion is to help others to find happiness and meaning their daily lives. A political activist at heart, Lisa would like to empower more women to run for political office as a way to create positive change in the world. You can find her on the Madam President Project.
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