Good and hopeful news! I have been e-mailing someone at the Australian ashram in India and he asked for my background and story and I explained everything and he agrees this spiritual retreat sounds good for me and something that I’d need and that obviously their required course wouldn’t apply to me since I don’t live anywhere near Australia!
So now I have a new hope renewed once again! He said it is open to anyone, not just Australians(they just run it) but it still couldn’t be for awhile as they’re all booked up until the end of October and my passport expires soon and I have to re-new it in December, and most countries want you to have at least 6 months remaining on it before expiry from the date you leave their country. I may also need a visa as well so I’ll look into that(and have my usual travel agent make the arrangements and book flight). This will be so GOOD for me! It will also be like combining an exotic trip AND a spiritual retreat both at the same time, so like I get two-for-one and will end up costing less than the cruises I’m used to, with the main expense being airfare.Later on I still hope to go to the one nearby as well when they have a vacancy(even if not for years) but the one in Vrindavan will be in the meantime, as it will be a shorter duration; 2-3 weeks(at a cost of 15$ a day) as opposed to months or even years that I’d stay at the closer one.(costing 300$ a month.) Yippee! I am so excited and now have something to look forward to again!
I came across another ashram in India during my search that looks really good, in Vrindavan and all for only 15 $ a day….except it’s only for Australians and they have to take a month-long pre-requisite course in Sydney beforehand, impossible for me, so once again I don’t qualify. This is looking REALLY hopeless…..
I also saw on their site social rules for India and their culture, such as men and women don’t shake hands with eachother, and don’t touch eachother in public, to greet people by hands in a praying pose on your chest, bowing slightly and saying “namaste”, ok, so no problem there….except they also said that the left hand is considered to be “unclean” and it is a big offence to touch, serve, handle, or eat food with the left hand and the problem with that is I’m left-handed! Of course *I* HAD to be one of the 10% that are left-handed and NOT one of the 90% that are right-handed! I am ALWAYS different than everyone else, and always have to deny, change, adjust and re-invent myself to fit in, be accepted and to conform, and now have to try and re-train myself to eat using my right hand!
It’s harder than you’d think; I automatically use my left hand and have to force myself to remember to use the right and it’s awkward; it takes me a lot longer to eat, for one thing! It’s funny as I’ve always used my right hand to pray the Rosary, to play guitar and violin, and to use scissors but writing,brushing teeth, and eating are always the left hand. My grandfather and 2 uncles are also left-handed as are 2 of my kids so it runs in families.I remember my grandfather saying when he was growing up they forced him to use his right hand and would even hit his left hand every time he tried to write with it!
Apparantly in Indian culture they use the left hand for “unclean” duties such as wiping their butts and use the left hand to touch areas below the waist and use the right hand to touch areas above the waist. It is also a faux-pas to even touch the mouth with the left hand and to hand or receive someone something using the left hand. This will be VERY hard for me. Once again I’m the outcast, different than everyone else, struggling to fit in and to be like the others, the story of my life.Why for ONCE can’t I just be “normal” and not have to change who I am to be accepted and fit in? Why am I always the “odd” one out?