Pee's Yoga & Wanderlust Blog

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

So since one of my day trips to Croagh Patrick, I’ve been carrying a St Patricks Medal with me on my travels… I suppose I am named after the most important Patrick in my life (Dad). 🙂 xxx

Essentially living with Bina, I was under curfew… if I was out after ten I’d have to stay with friends or would have to wake her up! So my hermit life prevailed until St Patricks Day! Low and behold our Patron Saint was having none of my very sattvic (quiet,peaceful,yogic) lifestyle in Kathmandu.

The other volunteers has been chatting about what to do for the big day/night, also arranged a day holiday for us so we had a long weekend with the Friday off after our big night out. I didn’t get into the Celtic (one of many Irish Pubs in Thamel) until late it was like most Irish Pubs on St Patricks Day absolutely packed with an eclectic band strumming out some country & blues music.. so the musicians were not Nepali it was an effort for St Patricks Day. A great atmosphere a handful of Irish Volunteers from different NGO that were based in Kathmandu. It really was like a busy pub back home with a real social happy buzzy feel, I can see why tourists love the Irish pub scene! I was my first time in that atmosphere since I had left Ireland, I met some lovely people. There was even a lovely ginger haired St Patrick with a mighty big hat decorating all the faces of the customers, anyone who wanted a Shamrock or Irish Flag elegantly planted on their cheek, St Patrick happily obliged.

The nightlife in Kathmandu starts early but ends even earlier or so I was led to believe until St Patricks Night! There was a bit of lock in about ten of us were given a drink music turned off. The cops really have the place so sewn up its crazy, usually one place on St Patricks Night will pay off the police so they can have a bit of lock in without any bother you don’t know which one it is unless you’re in it! I was in the pub! Lucky me!

As we were leaving I was not happy for the night to be ending so early 12.30pm! Can you believe it! I asked one of the guys I had met IS THIS IT? He said no.. so on we went to find a night club/ I ended up in the nightclub dancing my little socks off  with my newly acquired St Patricks Hat!! for a few hours such fun! I was also one of three women in the club! Which had a pretty good crowd in it, this is common occurrence I discovered on my nightclub travels of Kathmandu. So we are kicked out of the club…The police come and raid the club, time to go home? NO WAY! It still is St Patricks Day! Where next? The Casino! Happy Days, on the way not only is it a casino which is free to enter, the drinks and food are FREE! Greeted & welcomed like royalty, straight to the all you can eat buffet! Then a few bets at the roulette table, I lose everything (€10) on my first go since I haven’t a clue what I’m doing not worries, we are served a few drinks. The casino isn’t really the most happening place unless you’re hungry at 4am or into betting so.. next stop.. back to my new friends place but we haven’t anything to drink at this hour of the morning.. It is still St Patricks Day! Back to Thamel the heart of everything, all there are is a few dogs sleeping, the guys wake a young guy who is sleeping in a doorway… this same guy leads us all down a dark lane way (very dodgy), jump over a gate to a little stall which he proceeds to open up shop.. vodka, whiskey, ciggarettes, sweets, crisps.. you name it he had it!  So the party continued to the even earlier hours! Happy St Patricks Day!

So my new friends are two Arabs, and their Nepali friends who happen to own some local hotels and clubs… the businessmen of Thamel! So the weekend continues on a bit of party session little sleep enjoying Tamas cocktails.. So from one extreme of Sattivic all the way to Tamasic in a few hours.. I blame it on St Patrick for turning it on.

The Nepalis love their drink and of course all on for touring & showing off the hot spots of Kathmandu.

So I’m off being brought around the happening places which included two clubs and a few bars in the upmarket Durbar Marg (posh shopping part of the Kathmandu). The clubs were impressive enough to say the least but there were NO women, well a few nothing to compare with at home! So I’m interested in why are there NO women, basically they are not allowed out, they are at home studying, learning to cook, sew, while the young & old men are out getting pretty drunk! The girls that are out are either from lower castes or they have sneaked out on behind their parents back, there are only a few of them so these really are the rebels of society! They are glamorous and from a very sheltered upbringing their style and SHOES were a lot like what I’d see Grace sauntering around London in! So we go from one club to the next at the end of the night the music stops and the lights are turned on and the winners of the raffle are announced for a mobile phone!!

The place clears when the police arrive! I’m one of the last to leave as my buddies know the owners obviously! I sit being highly entertained as the police are at the bar being handed a bag of bottles of beer, as I leave the police are filling their inside pockets with the said bottles of beer! What an entertaining society! Next stop to Tamas the pub of Vivek. Mr Tamasic.. I had to laugh when I met him as he IS Tamasic to the core! Dinking all night at a lock in! Yes what craic!

One day at the Ashram.. I came out of meditation and decided I was going to come to Nepal to work with Foundation Nepal http://www.foundation-nepal.org, Galway based charity.

Kathmandu and Nepal.. it certainly was not love at first sight but the more time I spend here the more enchanted I umm I was really not so sure about being here and continued to ask… Why am I here? Is this it?

I suppose deciding to be a volunteer I wanted to make a difference! Help.. but I wasn’t feeling this, am I leaving my path completely? This seems to be taking me further away from my destination – where ever that is. I’m learning a new language, this is so daunting I can’t believe it, I suppose I can learn from it. I have tried to learn so many languages and this morning I realised that Nikki had a point making us do a month training before going to the mountains. I’m deceived here in Kathmandu since this is the Capital city most of the people I interact with are taxi drivers, waiters these people are used to interacting with foreigners. We are not going to be thrown in the deep end when we get there. Also our progress is so beyond what I had imagined! I’m not fluent but I will be well equipped with language skills in the mountains.

Learn more about ourselves and do our best in life!
I’m staying with widowed lady who works in Foundation Nepal, Bina is a wonderful cook and I know it’s a bit of an adjustment for her to welcome me into her home and she also cooks for me. We walk to work every morning a brisk 55mins walk, she has a great laugh at me as I practise my Nepali on her and she helps me with my homework! I’ve done well. So I was telling her about yoga.. of course it’s my main topic of conversation these days! And she wants to learn as does the lady upstairs who turns out to be a beautiful young mother who is suffering from arthritis in her hands and back, she carries the pain on her elegant face with grace. We can’t communicate I have so little Nepali. I gave her a reiki treatment and the next morning I’m teaching her and Bina yoga on the roof, she hasn’t any English & I haven’t any Nepali we are an interesting mix but at least with yoga I can demonstrate everything for her to replicate, she still can’t take on all of my instructions.

This morning yoga class made it so much clearer for me that to teach English even though I’m a fluent native English speaker, if I can’t explain in basic Nepali how will I be able to teach, I am more enthusiastic about the learning and hope that what I have learned and will learn will be of benefit to those in the mountains.

First yoga class with some more beginners I’m looking forward to working with a group who are interested yet some not so convinced about yoga yet!! Also the opportunity to practise yoga daily is a great chance for them and for me to hone in my teaching skills how to explain slowly and get them and their bodies opening up!

What a teacher, what learning and what an experience.. I’m back in wonderful India.. So apologies I have got really lazy with updating my blog so after some gentle encouragement and nudges I’m back!! Quick update: I’m in Rishikesh… a Spiritual Mecca in the North on the banks of the Ganges… its HOT HOT HOT.. my days here are filled with practising yoga, singing lessons and learning… just did my Reiki Master…tasting the delicious foods on offer here 🙂
The next day or two I’m going to update from the Nepali Wedding, my Nepal experience – two wonderful months in Nepal – the ups the downs and the lessons (and there were lots of them!) Sending you all love, light & yoga.. PXXX

Bride & Groom, Me & Shiva

M

Blind faith in your parents and family to find your future life partner is part and parcel of the cultures traits. I was lucky enough to be invited to a wedding… what a strange day.. I felt like the main attraction not the bride & groom!

A nepali wedding.. what an experience.. food for thought.. photos to follow!

I suppose the high instance of divorce in the world can help the argument for an arranged marriage? How much control do we actually have on our life and our path?

So life is about living and learning! I’ve been fortunate to travel and experience lots of different countries, but it’s the big occasions in peoples lifes that teach you about a culture and religion.

While at Chitwan National Park. I was lucky enough to be asked to accompany the guide from the hotel to his best friends wedding. Of course I jumped at the chance to attend a Hindu wedding and see it for real.

Since I was going effectively with the Best Man, I had to be ready to go early! Shiva picked me up at 8am all dressed up in a suit.. I was surprised but this was the norm the men don’t wear the traditional dress any more but it was entertaining watching some of them wearing shirts & ties it was certainly a first for some of them. Shiva told me later while he had disappeared he was making ties for about 20 men!

We arrive at the wedding and Shiva (confusing or what yes there were 4 Shivas at the wedding the groom being one!) Shiva is one of the most important Gods in Hindu philosophy a bit like Mary I suppose in bygone Ireland. He in a lungi (male sarong) and shirt sitting down facing a s huge puja (ritual) with a local Priest doing a ritual, there are lots of offerings to all the Gods another priest in the background in reading lots of Sanskrit Chants I’ve no idea how long this is going on but it feels like ages.. everyone else is pottering around. Of course since I have NO Nepali at this stage I feel completely stupid and can hardly communicate but similar to Irish hospitality when a strange arrives and you can’t communicate with them what do we do? Food & Tea!! So that was the start of a lot of food for the day!

All of the women are wearing their wedding saris and gold which are traditionally a vibrant red. The groom has invested 4,000 dollars in Gold for the bride, and has had to buy a huge array of clothes for both the bride and her family and also his family. This is tradition, Shiva my friend figures from his wedding day he will be unhappy because he will be paying off the wedding!

So I haven’t mentioned its an arranged marriage! This for me seems so ALIEN – how on earth can you agree to marry a stranger? How can your parents pick your future life partner? All of these questions are buzzing through my mind!

Next thing the band arrive! A dodgy looking crowd with a few drums and strange looking whistles they are hired for the entire day. Before any music they are fed and main man then performs a puja to bless all of the instruments. After a few drinks (It’s a Brahmin Wedding so alcohol is served) local potin served from a seven up bottle (so Irish)  they start to brew up a storm of music! All of which for the entire day had the exact same tune, rhythm and feeling!

It’s a bit early for dancing Shiva (my date) is an enthusiastic fellow and has me out dancing & centre of attention not that I wasn’t already! I get away with just one dance thankfully!  The groom appears all dressed up and ready to go, there is great excitement and the women of the family start giving him Tikka, then they are

We are loaded onto buses.. the band on the roof of the bus and carted to the brides house which is colourfully decorated with a makeshift marquee and a scatter of plastic chairs.  Unhappy bride she was so miserable!.. rituals. We get away lightly with our mass ceremony! Also for the church you have to do a premarriage course! This is according to some of the friends are really beneficial weekend.. how are this couple going to start their life together.

So here comes in a bit of my understanding of Yoga/Hindu Philosophy

India & Nepal the lives of family are very very tightly intertwined.. families live together just as this girl was moving in with her new husband. Not only him does she have to get to know but a new father & mother in law, brothers, no sister in laws yet since she he is the first to get hitched!

As far as hindus are concerned we don’t have just ONE life as we are brought up to believe and our spirit/soul will continue into many other lives. Our paths are pretty much planned out… they rely a lot on Astrology. Our goal is to get out of this vicious cycle of birth & rebirth by reaching enlightenement of course we have some past Karma and our Dharma our duty is to our parents… to do our duty marry who our parents say so.

All our parents want is for our best.

So he is nervous as he only knows his mother, has no sisters and had never had and relationships with a girl so this is the norm here as a westerner it’s very hard to even comtemplate. So he hasn’t had sex, so the first night … a common occurrence is that the husband has a white sheet on the bed to check if there is blood.. of course I was pleased to hear that Shiva (my friend) had been discussing this with the groom to be and suggested not to try have sex the first night, considering they don’t know each other and they have their entire lives together to have sex. He had a friend who was actually did have sex with his wife on the first night and she did not bleed…. He has felt cheated from that first night, their relationship has been terrible since then fighting and as he said she is more or less treated like a slave, cook, clean and stay indoors ( at least she has born a Son) Shiva commented as a consolation.

I also read a commentary about the opinion of Nepalis having Daughters is liking watering the neighbours garden. Its an expense business having daughters as you certainly want the best for them and to marry into a suitable family. It cost them a lot too.. I’m not sure how much but certainly there was a lot new furniture includes couches,bed, tables, chairs, wardrobes, fridge and bags of goodies all being loaded on top of the bus which was bringing all the guest and newly married couple back to the Grooms home

Another Nepali tradition! I’m escorted over to a table to sit down infront of the groom father and two of his family members, they give me more tikka! Of course and then hand me two envelopes? Umm what are these for? I wonder do I give a donation? I don’t think so? Who knows I put them into my bags thinking I’ll ask Shiva later how much do I put in the envelopes…. I discover that there is money in the envelopes 50 rupees in each.. can you believe it? I come to a wedding eat, drink, and get paid for it! Happy Days. The theory behind this is that he will get the money back in the next life or the future.. Creating good karma for him!

The entire ceremony continues whilst everyone from the Grooms side eats from a huge buffet, the music play sporadically and mostly people just sit around some are watching the ceremony others don’t really care. The brides side are starving watch all of us eat and when all the groomside are finished eating they can start to queue.

No its not a lavish affair with sit down meal, seating plans and gifts.. not at all! All the food is served from a buffet, nothing too fancy grab a chair if you can and your done!

The same band are playing away, the bride & groom are performing more rituals, all the grooms family have to clean the brides feet, the brides sister robs a shoe belonging to the groom and he has to try buy it back. Lots of the men disappear (secretly drinking in a field behind the party, no  alcohol served).By 6pm the dancing gets a bit lively as the few drinkers are back and dancing away of course at this stage I’m dragged out to dance again!

By seven everyone is being loaded back onto the bus back to the grooms house. The next day the party is at the grooms house, a similar affair buffet and a tasty banana lassi, loud music and lots of dancing for me with the children at the wedding! The bride actually smiles today for the first time! I’m relieved as I think she has married a very nice guy.

Here I’ve now learn’t how to say – No I’m not married, I don’t know when I’m getting married, in Nepali! No my parents are not getting me a husband! It’s not their job!!!

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