A month has passed since I arrived at the Lebong Palace! In a few days, I’ll be travelling 3-4 hours down the mountain from cool, peaceful Darjeeling to busy Siliguri. After spending the night with an HMI classmate, I’ll be flying from Bagdogra airport to hot, sticky New Delhi. Once again, my Indian Visa is expiring so I’m heading to the capital city to work things out.
My time in Lebong has been much more than I expected. My intent was to stay in a quiet location, finish my book, train for my race and rest. Not only did I accomplish this, but I was truly blessed to live in a loving environment and share my time with generous, caring people.
The Rai family definitely made my Lebong experience one I’ll never forget! Most of my favourite, and most cherished moments, were spent in the kitchen. This was the popular hangout spot and most nights after dinner we spent many hours conversing and laughing by the stove. I never felt as though there was a divide between the Rai’s and me; they cared and watched over me as if I were their daughter, sister, cousin… Although the family never asked anything of me – except if I wanted seconds at lunch and dinner – occasionally I voluntarily helped with small tasks around the house.
Tilak’s wife, Hemlata, was nice enough to let me enter her space (the kitchen) and assist with food preparation. Although my momo making skills weren’t great, and it was very clear which dumplings I stuffed, after a few attempts I’ve definitely improved. Additionally, one of the dogs I enjoy playing with, Dimpy, desperately needed a bath, so I asked if I could bathe her. Of course, my hosts didn’t object, but they insisted that the boys help.
The other day while quietly sipping tea, my host Tilak said to me, ‘You know Laska, you have taught me a lot. You have shown me many things because of your attitude. One thing that you showed me is no matter the weather or conditions outside, I don’t have to be lazy. I can still do my work. Because of you I decided to pull out my weights and start my home gym again. I learn all kinds of informations from you and we will be sad when you leave.’
I smiled and replied,
‘If I don’t train in the rain, how will I cope if it rains on race day? And it’s just rain… Some people in this world are dying because they don’t have rain and water. We shouldn’t scold the clouds and the weather for what it gives us. Instead we should be more accepting of what is presently before us, learn how to be flexible and include it in our day rather than resist and resent it. MORE importantly, the weather is good ‘life training’. People wonder why they don’t have the confidence, strength, or aptitude to change their routine and habits, or pursue their passions… That’s because they let small things like ‘the rain’ stop them. If I chose not to run because of the rain, looking at the bigger picture, I would have never made it to India! I see the weather, and my attitude about it, as practice and training for life. I am practicing acceptance, and learning to be flexible; adjusting myself to the present moment and what is being given. Then once I am confronted with a challenge in life, my mind has already been trained to cope. I am able to complete the task (ie. a run) in spite of the challenge or obstacle before me (ie. the rain) because I have conditioned myself to accept that THIS is what’s happening now. And it’s much easier to accept rather than to resist isn’t it? There is always a path, one simply has to be flexible in their thinking. Consider the solution is in the ‘problem’ and these ‘obstacles’, ‘challenges’ or ‘problems’ allow us to have new experiences and provide us with the opportunity to think more creatively.’
Tilak thought for a moment then said, ‘You know Laska, the rain showed me that I have many skills. I have to finish tiling the pool and because of the rain I practiced putting a tarp over the pool and stuff like that. But you know, I still don’t like the rain.’ We both laughed but he got my point, and I got his…
The end of another chapter but as always, I am eager to see what happens in the next one! For those interested, I have included Tilak’s homestay information here. Additionally, last week I was featured as a ‘Guest Writer’ on Hannah’s blog called Journey of the Soul. I find her thoughts, insights and vision very inspiring! Check out her site and here is the link to the postI wrote.
Don’t worry tea gardens, I’ll be back soon enough!