Riding The Waves of Life Ganges Style
It was a Monday morning, the last leg of our adventure. I woke up with a good head cold that was not going to let me ignore it. I guess I was paying the price for too much fun on the other side of the world!
We had decided to go whitewater rafting on Ma Ganga that morning. I laid in bed wondering if it would be smart for me to go. Of course my heart out-voted my mind and I got up and dressed. I didn't want to miss this incredible opportunity to immerse in her healing waters; literally.
I knew it would be a wet and wild ride, so I donned my purple Be Present pants and a yoga top; ready for drip-dry action. It was a gray overcast day in the north of India, with a light breeze to the skin creating a chill. Time to grab another layer for apres-rafting to stay warm.
Our driver picked us up at the Raga and after a short ride down the mountainous, winding, pothole-filled road, we arrived at a small opening in a jungle. One by one we poured out of the truck, gathering our gear and our courage!
We started down a tricky path to the river. The trees looked like something out of Jurassic Park. Huge dinosaur-sized leaves blocked the sun above. Step by step over the loose rocks and sand, we carefully made our way down to the shore of Ma Ganga. At the end of the path, a community of white monkeys just hanging out in the trees right and left, greeted us as the local rafting ambassadors.
We stepped out of the jungle terrain on to a white/gray diamond-like sandy beach, Ma Ganga behind glistening jewel-green. She is a force to be reckoned with, this holy river. Majestic and fierce yet soft and sparkly, she is ready to hold you and heal you in one fell swoop.
Chairs were gathered under a tent where we sat as our guide took us through the safety flow and how to ride her waves. I found myself getting a little fearful but then sweet Regina assured me it's just like on an airplane when they give you all those not-so-likely, just-in-case scenarios. I exhaled, knowing I could do this.
Then came the "stunning" helmets and life jackets; we were ready. We went over the last few commands to learn: "Fast! Relax. Stop! Relax. Paddle Hard! Stop! and the infamous; GET DOWN!" I loved our guide.
Into the boat we went. Classic: the two men up front and the goddesses in the back! Being the novice and a bit chicken, I opted for the back of the boat.
It didn't take long to get the hang of it. After our first set of rapids, I knew I could ride her. Having beginner-surfed before and at the age of 53 having surfed the waves of life quite a bit, I knew that once again I was to go with the flow or I'd be drowning in no time if I tried to control this.
Surrender to Ma Ganga I did.
Her healing waters swirled over us one set of rapids after another. It became like a meditation; inward ride (calm stretches of water) and outward ride (powerful wave releases).
Just like a yoga class, our energy fields synched and we got the hang of embracing Ma Ganga as a team. We inhaled and exhaled together in joy and fear as we received her blessings.
She pulled every emotion out of us. It was a big release for everyone in the boat. I sat in the back, observing healing exchanges between the retreat-goers as they shared their feelings with one another, clearing up some of the past.
This was an unexpected surprise! Who knew Ma Ganga would cleanse us literally, body, mind and spirit?
We meandered down her beauty, mountains hugging us on each side. It looked unreal, like a movie backdrop. I kept saying, "How blessed are we to be rafting this sacred river!" It didn't feel real. Tears welled in my heart and in my eyes.
The sun shined on us most of the way, allowing our one brave student that day, Regina, a moment to dive in and dip fully into her waters during a pause in Ma Ganga's current of energy. As we neared the shore for the return to mother earth, clouds and chill once again descended upon us.
We departed our transformation "tube" a bit chilled but abundantly filled with awe and grace. Shivering our way to the truck, our teeth chattered with so much excitement about meeting with the mighty healer, the river herself.
We knew in our hearts this was the first but wouldn't be the last time we would ride her waves.
Oh India how we miss youâ€¦â€¦.