You see, some years back we moved from the city into the countryside. Now we always wanted to live in the country, and I have always been very adaptable - able to live anywhere. And I have. From NYC to Gita Nagari farm, from Los Angeles California to Portland Oregon. Many unique experiences.
Simply I've gotten older, gave up my driving license... Actually am going to call it "renounced" my drivers license because they kept asking for more and more paperwork and we got tired of driving back and forth to give it to them. lol I figured, I seldom drive myself to town anyway, why bother.
Anyhow, aging while living in the boonies has kept me at home a lot. Hmmm It's not that simple cuz I am a bit of a hermit by nature. Or a homebody. I DO like my privacy! But I like to 'know' I can go somewhere if I choose to. And that is what has been blocked.
Until last night. :)
Last night I had this powerfully strong need to go for a walk, a long walk. Well for me. Approximately 1 mile each way. And on this walk I sang the Hare Krishna mantra the whole time. It was bliss!
When I first moved here, I would hear sounds in the woods, making me afraid to go out into my own backyard, albeit a very woodsy backyard. A few years passed, I got tired of staying inside and went out there [during the day].
No sounds - no animals. They may be there at night, or they may have relocated since humans started to occupy the area. All I know is, facing my fears, SLOWLY and with KNOWLEDGE, opened the door to freedom.
And I do mean with knowledge. I research every darn creature that could be there, bought a whistle, the right kind of shoes, etc.
Fastforward to 12ish hours ago. I decided last summer [when initially challenged myself to walk up a certain small road], that next time I would walk up and out of it, to a specific spiritual spot.
I was not in a hurry to do this, mostly because I have many responsibilities that keep me busy [plus my own blissful at-home temple room - anyone can create]. However, I was bound and determined: Next time I wanted to go for a long walk, it was going to be longer than the last.
And that is what I just did. :)
First it was a challenge merely to see if I could walk that far. But as I continued walking, seeing myself doing fine, I got excited! Oh yes, this was happening!
Recalling a combination of my childhood and how good it felt to go for similar walks [super good!] - coupled with my time as a young devotee on a variety of different japa walks [in many places].... those feelings returned to me in a nanosecond!
All my problems seemed to leave me. This experience had a lot in common with my life on temple property OR living near one. The japa walks around Gita Nagari or BV farm, or when I took my child to the Park in New Dwarka/Los Angeles. It all came flooding back. [Anyone who chants Hare Krishna on a walk anywhere, can have experiences of their own!]
Finally, I felt "rightly situated," a term often used by Prabhupada.
Oh, I had not brought my japa beads this time, but that's mostly because I first needed to see if I could even make the walk. Tho I sang Hare Krishna while doing it. Next time: Japa Beads. :)
It is hard to express in words, my feelings, but I think I'm running a close second. The wind was blowing thru my hair, my chadar kept falling off just like it kept falling off years back. lol The smell of rain in the air, [but no actual rain thank goodness].
Little dogs barked like crazy as I walked by [at several houses!] tho the minute I baby-talked to them, plus sang "Hare Krishna" - their little tails would wag so hard & happy. The power of kindness coupled with the Holy Names.
To this day I sometimes can't believe I became a devotee, even tho it's been 40ish years. I never really fit in with the crowd, but didn't let that get in the way because Prabhupada specifically instructed these teachings are for all walks of life. Once I learned this philosophy, no one was going to push me away. Not that they did, I'm simply the oddball out. ha [Tho one godsister told me: "We all are - otherwise we'd be more involved in materialism.] Anyhow, it's all fine, cuz I am still here. Where is here? Any place where anyone chants Hare Krishna.
The following may also be a bit hard to explain too, since I honor and respect my senior godsbilings even when we are not always on the same page. I still feel they did so much for Prabhupada, as well as helped me [knowingly and often unknowingly], therefore I should give them respect.
Actually I get very upset when I read nasty comments by others that cross the line. This is bad preaching and personal issues they usually don't want to admit they have, or need help overcoming. Besides, such so-called preaching doesn't work.
Moving on... I've always been the "baby" senior godsibling. ha Years ago I thought if I made friends, I'd get in with the in-crowd. Now I realize, I will always be their "baby sister." And that's ok! Many of them preformed much more book distribution than I could ever do, and this was very dear to Srila Prabhupada.
So I return to .... on my walk last night I was once again, thinking how surprised I felt to have 'somehow or other,' become a devotee - and how thankful I was for it!
My spiritual struggles, issues I did not go after but hit me like a ton of bricks anyway - often left me feeling like a karmi/nondevotee. Tho feelings are not always facts. Whereas mercy is always available.
"Krishna is bright like the sun. As soon as the sun appears, there is no question of darkness or nescience." Cc, Madhya 22: 31, P
On that walk I was tuning into the times I had less issues complicating my life, like when I lived in, or near, devotee communities back in the day. As I thought upon this, Krishna C started to come toward me more easily, more quickly, and more clearly. Not because I'm me, no. But because Prabhupada is him - and offers this to everyone.
I've a long way to go, but this was a start. What bliss to go on that walk - singing Hare Krishna all the way up there - and all the way back!
I can't thank Prabhupada enough for picking up this fallen soul, who still has too much karmi still within me - but also has devotion within me and hope to keep tweaking that.
If you have any opportunity to go on such a walk, be it in the city or town or country - even a stroll in a wheelchair - do it! Getting out of the house, and out into God's nature, along with chanting - was fun! :) And "lifted" so much! Thus I had to share this idea, that others could benefit.
If there are family or other responsibilities that make it difficult, remember, it is not impossible. Simply "write" [or type] it into your schedule. Seriously, that can make a huge difference.
For most it will only be a time of same day, or next week. For me, due to complications I'd rather not get into - it took about 6 months. lol But unless you are as stubborn as myself ha, or can get real dedicated to "making it happen no matter what," best to write it down and schedule it in a bit sooner than I had to.
Life is too short not to give ourselves, our own soul, some pleasant 'me' time. Krishna is everywhere. He is in every drop of water, the trees, His divine Holy Names. Go out and find Him there. :) Leave your woes behind.
Well, I may have stepped out my door with some woes, but surprisingly did not have to work as hard to get free of them as I expected. They automatically left!
So find a private road, a park, special place, or etc - then go there. Slow down and take notice to feel the breeze, smell the air, chant Hare Krishna and listen closely [gently & blissfully] to this sound vibration. Watch the healing begin - on every level!