Accepting reality

Illness can be a great teacher, they say. I’m finding there’s a lot to this lately.

A couple of years ago, I wrote a piece on ayurveda, the ancient Indian way of life, or alternative medicine, if you like. I stayed in an ayurvedic resort in Kerala, where ayurveda originated. For a week, I received two daily treatments consisting of head, body massage or nasal treatments, ate delicious vegetarian food according to my ayurvedic dosha, practised kundalini yoga and pranayama, took ayurvedic herbs and tried to relax by the beach or by the palm trees.

A sign in my room asked me kindly not to read or talk too much, not to have sex and to go to bed early. You’re supposed to find inner stillness.
Everything was prepared for total relaxation.

There was only one catch: I was anything but relaxed.. Instead I was restless, depressed and bored. At the end of my stay, I was happy to leave.

You should stay four weeks next time, my ayurvedic doctor told me.

I shrugged. I thought they were after my money, and I wasn’t sure that ayurveda worked. The head treatments, yoga and food worked, I never doubted that. But that the entire package would impact on my life, well, I wasn’t convinced.

I did leave a tad wiser, though. I did get some insights about myself. This left a thought in my mind, that maybe there was something to ayurveda after all.

Eureka moment
A couple of months ago, three months post concussion, I understood what the doctor meant.

I had been doing practically nothing for months: hardly no reading, talking, getting out and about and no sound.

This made me more aware of me, and who I was and was not.

It is true to say, this turned my life upside down. And I now have no doubt in my mind about ayurveda:
in fact I’ve made my own resort at home: finally having time to cook ayurvedic dishes, meditating, doing some yoga and going for acupuncture and reflexology.

The most profound discovery I’ve made, is that I have not accepted people and my surroundings as they were, but instead resisted reality, getting angry or irritated.

I now find that my world is changing. Friends I thought I was close to, I’m now seeing differently. I’ve seen that due to a fear of being lonely, I’ve clung to some friends like they have clung to me.

Right now, I’m trying to digest these changes, or rather trying to digest the real world. I want to continue to accept reality. If you don’t hit your head, ayurveda can help you do just that.

Author: Elisabeth Kolstad

I am a kundalini yoga teacher and writer in Bergen, Norway.

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