I'm sure all of you wonderful people know by now that I am Indian. A good part of my life was spent attempting to hide that part of my life. Growing up in the South, it felt too uncomfortable to be different than everyone else in my classes. I hid so much of my identity, which I embrace more than ever now. I'm glad that I outgrew that stage in my life, because today I want to share with you one of my favorite seasons.
Garba season. One of the most anticipated times of the year for many many Indians around the world. 9 full nights of dancing, music, colors, and worship.
Navratri--literally translating to "nine nights", is a huge festival that is celebrated throughout India in the fall time. There are many stories that go with this festival all of which have some sort of a good guy fighting a bad guy to maintain goodness in society. So, that's really great, and I love that part of this holiday in particular.
But, here's my absolute favorite part. So, one of the bigger themes of this holiday is the worship of the many forms of the feminine energy and her manifestations in this world. I feel blessed to come from a culture that truly believes in the infinite power of the feminine and everything that it stands for.
The various forms represent different values. There is one for strength, one for wisdom, one for wealth (in all forms--spiritual, physical, etc.), purity, love, divine energy--the list goes on. So what's so fantastic about all of this? You find these symbols throughout the world in all shapes and forms. What's the big deal?
Well, to me, the big deal is the emphasis on WHERE to find these in the world. I truly feel that we have been taught and conditioned to find these things (and truthfully, anything of true value--love, happiness, all of it), somewhere outside of our beings. Maybe if I become a millionaire, I'll be happy. Maybe if I buy the hottest car people will like me more. Maybe if I can convince my boss that my strategy is the best, I'll be successful. Maybe this, maybe that, maybe every-freaking-thing. This list is ENDLESS. And quite frankly, thinking about it now, makes me want to use ALL of the head massage emojis (otherwise translated to stress!!!!).
Take it from me. I've been there, and a lot of times, I'm STILL there. I wanted to become a PhD. I wanted this lavish lifestyle (and yes! I still do sometimes). I want to travel the world, and have like a million vacations. I want/ed the latest trendy clothes. This list, too, is endless. Here's where I've changed. Despite the fact that my list of desires still exist, I've realized that NONE of it is going to make me a better human being.
I won't be prettier, smarter, more famous, cooler, STRONGER by all of these things outside of my being. I just won't. It's physically impossible to be a better human by acquiring.
None of this will make me happier.
What all of these amazing goddesses teach us, is that everything we ever want and need is hidden inside of us. I AM a manifestation of the divine. I am strong, smart, beautiful, divine, pure, and everything that these goddesses are, I am too. I am no less.
The beauty of this festival is learning that I am strong inside. That strength is what will carry me to my life's end. And although I still want all these beautiful things, I am not defined by any of it.
Today, more than ever, I am grateful for where I am from. I am grateful to know that nothing more is needed.
I am strong inside.