Travel

Summing It Up

India is not for everyone. Based on what we experienced in Rajasthan it is noisy, dirty, crowded and chaotic.  The infrastructure is deplorable, and I marvel at the ability of people to survive on roads where everyone is competing for space.  It’s not enough that that applies to every kind of wheeled vehicle but add cows, elephants, camels and goats to the mix and it gets more than a little frightening.

That being said, there is another way of looking at it. India is a way of life, one that I suspect is quite different from that of many visitors.  To enjoy what it has to offer one should go with heart and mind open to the experience.  One guide said it best when he advised not to just focus on the sights but to see the life.

The life has much to do with Hindu tradition.  Marriages are arranged, and couples share their life with the husband’s family.  While husbands have considerable freedom, wives typically stay close to home and are not to go out at night for fear of being labeled with uncomplimentary terms. 

For the most part, women are illiterate and according to one guide, cell phones have provided them a way to communicate with their friends and family.  They may not be able to read or write but they have learned to identify numbers.  Hopefully, the fact that young girls are now attending school will change that in time. Again quoting a guide, women who are educated and working outside the home are often castigated by family and friends for having broken with tradition.  All this leads me to believe it would be difficult being a woman in India.

Cremation is the norm except for children and unmarried young women whose remains may be buried or with girls between 12 and 18 set adrift on the Ganges.

Business is conducted on the street or in nondescript store fronts.  There is little evidence of malls or department stores yet there appears to be no lack of available goods and services.

There are many historically interesting sites to visit all of which add to understanding the culture.

If you are a textile loving person, India is heaven.  The beauty of the work is breathtaking though I can’t say much about the working conditions or the equipment.  When it came to weaving, I was blown away.  Compared to my sophisticated setup the looms are primitive yet I can’t imagine creating the intricate designs that were common.   Interestingly, much of the textiles are created by men though women working at home do most of what is hand stitched.

Let me conclude this rambling by saying that if you go to India, treat yourself to great hotels.  Some are palaces formerly occupied by maharajahs with decor that is over the top.  In addition, the staff is attentive, courteous and kind in a gentle way that is not always a characteristic of westerners.

Despite all its differences, I totally enjoyed the experience of India and am glad to have gone now when it still retains much of its old culture.  I suspect in years to come that will change and India will be a different place.   If you are one who enjoys immersing yourself in place and taking away what it offers, then India is a place to consider.

 

Inner Peace, musings

What’s Ahead?

2017, a new year that has gotten here faster than I would have wished.  Now that it’s in place, like many of you, I’m wondering what’s ahead.  Is it more exercise, less food and drink, you know, the things we always swear to address?  Experience has taught me that resolutions are something I rarely keep, at least not all of them, so I don’t make them anymore.

img_8444Today, I was in Pier One checking out its Christmas sale.   Walking out empty handed, this sign caught my eye. Before pulling out my iPhone to snap a photo, I thought about the words and how they could well define my goals for 2017.  There’s nothing here that requires sacrifice, but that doesn’t mean there is no challenge.  That being said I’m going to start now incorporating these words into the way I live.  Maybe they will work for you, too.

Happy New Year!

musings

It’s a New Year

IMG_2457

2016….a brand new year, and I’m sitting here wondering what happened to the last 12 months and how it was possible for the days, weeks and months to fly by so quickly.   Has it always been so or did time seem to move slower when we were younger?  I seem to remember thinking Christmas or my birthday took forever to come or that school would never be out.  Now one thing merges into another before I can blink.

I’ll not begin the new year with a list of resolutions.  I’ve never been very good at keeping them anyway.  Instead, what I wish to focus on is living each day to the fullest, finding good in the gift of life, being present in each moment rather than looking back or thinking about the future. I want to be aware of all that is around me, to say I love you to people who are important in my life, to forgive and be forgiven, to make a difference in the places I touch. Sounds pretty simple, huhn?  Somehow I’m thinking that may not be the case.

How about you?  What are your thoughts as you enter 2016?  I hope that as the days, weeks, months pass we will share some of what is important and meaningful in our lives and that we find richness in each new experience.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

musings, Random

Taking Time Out

OriginalPhoto-468983450.166784With so much energy focused on Halloween and Christmas, Thanksgiving is an almost forgotten holiday wedged between the two.   Perhaps that’s a good thing because there is a calmness around Thanksgiving that doesn’t exist with most other holidays.

Though I try every day to be thankful, it is on this day I sit quietly and focus on all the gifts in my life.  They are many, some so small they sometimes get overlooked.  Some are full of joy, others are tinged with sadness, but in its own way each is a gift.

One gift I don’t want to overlook is each of you who take the time to read and sometimes comment on these musings.  I  started writing thinking it would be a good way to keep up with friends but thanks to the power of the internet,  a whole new audience has become part of my life.  Thank you.

Wherever you are, I wish you a wonderful day and urge you to take time to be grateful not just today but every day.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Random

Thinking With My Heart

cloudsThis morning when I went outside to walk the dog, I found a day filled with clouds and sunshine in a bright blue sky. Unexpectedly my heart filled with gratitude.  I don’t think the emotion was due totally to it being a beautiful day but to the realization that I was safe and my heart wasn’t aching with grief over the loss of a loved one.  

Such response is likely related to the Paris tragedy caused by people whose intent I cannot begin to understand.  Hate is not an emotion to which I can relate, especially when it results in such unnecessary violence.  I had to stop and think for a minute about my unexpected emotions which led to wondering why it is we find it so hard to love when it should be so much easier than hate and result in much better outcomes.

I have no answers to the problems that exist in the world and in our relationships with each other, but as I explored my own feelings I made a commitment to loving as best I can and to live without fear of being hurt.  I am only one, but if enough of us adopt similar behavior, it will, hopefully, diffuse some of the power those with evil intent have over us.

And to think, all these feelings started with walking the dog.

Houston, Maine, musings

Transitioning

I am very lucky to live in two places I enjoy for very different reasons, but transitioning, especially to Houston, is a bit of a challenge.

Rockport HarborFrom May until November, as soon as my eyes are open I look out the window to Rockport Harbor.  It’s a beautiful view no matter the season, and my last glimpse of it is etched in my mind.

HoustonThis morning I woke up and everything was so unfamiliar.  The view outside the window was a water soaked fence and plants bedraggled by too much rain. The only water is that which flows in the fountain outside the breakfast room, and it looked neglected and sad as did everything around it.

lobster boatI sat for a few minutes wondering where I belong.  I love those months in Maine where we have made wonderful friends with whom we frequently gather.  I love the beauty of the place, the unhurried lifestyle, the boat trips, the islands, the lobster boats and lighthouses. It is the place where I feel so at ease and where my gray hairs and jeaned self fit right in.

Office View HoustonHouston is such a contrast.  It’s BIG, and there’s more of everything from traffic to restaurants to entertainment and shopping opportunities.  It is the place I have lived most of my adult life, and the hubby and I are lucky to live in a wonderful neighborhood where most of our friends still reside. The down side is that people have so many distractions that it can be difficult to spend time together.  Spontaneous gatherings are almost an impossibility. 

MaineHouston is the place that will always seem like home, but there is no question that Maine is the way life should be.

Costco

However, once I go to Costco and get a tennis match or two under my belt, all will seem like normal, at least until May!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Friendship

Friendship: A Gift

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.

Albert Schweitzer

Linda_  044Usually on Thursdays, tablescapes and/or food are subject for my post.  Today, however, I’m thinking about friends and the people who come into life at just the right moment.

For whatever reason this week, I’ve not felt my usual chipper self.  No reason, just a little blue and believe me when I tell you there’s seldom reason for me to feel down.   Still, there are days when a smile is hard to come by and the heart feels a little heavy.  It’s times such as these when often the unexpected occurs and rekindles my inner spirit.

This morning, for example, the first email I read was from a long time friend whose joyful spirit is itself a gift.  Today, for whatever reason, she sent a message filled with kind words of appreciation, the kind that cause tears to flow and which I did nothing to earn.  How did she know that on this day her thoughtful kindness would mean so much?

Later, a woman who is a casual acquaintance I’ve not seen for years pulled into my driveway.  I happened to be getting out of my car and turned to see who was in the unfamiliar vehicle.  What a surprise to see her face!  She hadn’t stopped to visit but to snap a photo of the beautiful azaleas blooming along the side yard.  She explained the coincidence by saying that God must have brought her to that spot at that moment so that we might reconnect and be reminded of the value of people who pass through our lives.

Is there a greater gift than unsolicited expressions of friendship?  Certainly, they lifted my spirit and reminded me that I need often to offer the same.  Maybe those expressions will make a difference in someone else’s day.

Today I will start by telling each one of you who take the time to muddle through my musings how very grateful I am.  Many of you regularly brighten my day with your posts or your visits here.  Thank you.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind