I’m alive.

A few things have changed since my last post. You know, that post back in June 2012? How does one do an update to make up for the last 2 years? Well, you can’t really. But let me just start by sharing an experience that happened almost two years ago. On the other side of the world, in India. Which, surprisingly, serves as a good introduction to my current new beginning.

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July 11, 2012
I sat on a small plastic chair in Gujarat, India as an old man I that I had barely known for even a minute charted the coordinates of my birthplace, along with the date on a grid-like paper as he identified the corresponding alignment of the stars and planets at that time and place: Westlake Village, CA. February 26, 1990, 8:26 am. It wasn’t a place you would see, walking down the street, that advertised for an astrologist reading. It was in the man’s home. He didn’t even define it as a job, it was more of a talent that he feels he owes to share with others. He never did charge us a fee. A little girl played outside the room I sat in. Occasionally, she would peek in to stare at the girl with light colored skin. It was hot and sticky as usual, and I tried to nudge my chair in the direction of the narrow path of wind from the tiny fan sitting in the corner of the room. I smelt the incense burning outside the room from where the shrine rested gracefully, filled with offerings of fresh food, flowers, and coins for the Gods. I loved that about India. About the culture. Each home had one, each varying in size and grandeur–but each shrine unique and spectacular as I would envision the daily routine of one setting it up so delicately and then, going through their daily prayers, often for hours on end. I wanted that dedication, that faith.

I had never been to an astrologist or anything of the sort before. The family I was staying with in India told me of a friend, Kumal, an astrologist, that has offered advice and guided them through monumental decisions over the years. I told Sonny I wanted to go. And so, there I was. Watching him map out my life by the patterns of the universe. After writing and drawing for several minutes without even speaking or asking a single question, he began to talk. In Gujarati, of course. Sonny sat and translated with both Neil and Jay sitting by my side. He told me of a job opportunity that awaits me when I return, but it was farther away–not immediately upon my arrival. It pertained to psychology he said. Strange…how does he know that? And why wouldn’t I get a job when I returned home? That couldn’t be right. I needed a job soon after my arrival to the states and I didn’t anticipate having a difficult time finding one. I’ll overlook that one mistake.

He, then, started talking about school. He said he saw a break in my schooling. That I wouldn’t be starting Fall 2013 like I told him I was planning on. Mistake number 2. Of course I would be starting my graduate studies the following fall. I had already prolonged starting school an entire year and I was anxious to get back. I knew right when I got home I would begin studying for the dreaded GRE and have my applications in that fall (2012). But, he’s human, I won’t hold these mistakes against him. Besides, this trip wasn’t for me to learn of my future or help me make some major life decision–it was merely out of curiosity and for my own personal knowledge and understanding of what an astrologist does. However, the topics discussed quickly made my mind start spinning. They all pertained directly, and specifically, to me, my life, my struggles, my happiness. Sonny didn’t communicate anything about me to him beforehand, nor did I ask any specific questions. He initiated and brought up areas and characteristics that defined my life. If he had addressed these areas with either Jay or Neil…it just wouldn’t have made sense. And vice versa.

He then asked Jay and Neil to leave the room. Something he didn’t do to either of them when he was calculating their lives. He asked about my health. Was I in good health? Well, I did just spend 6 months living in the wilderness, eating rice and lentils and hiking 30+ miles a week. I have never had any serious health issues. I hadn’t even broken a bone, shockingly. Yes, I was in good health, I confidently replied (to Sonny, as this was all still being translated). Kumal then solemnly mentioned something about my kapha…what is a kapha and why is he talking about my kapha? Should I feel uncomfortable? Whatever kapha is, I’m sure it is just fine like the rest of me. He said to be cautious of the kapha. He projected some kind of illness pertaining to it. Okayyyy…? I asked Sonny to explain kapha to me…he had some trouble putting it into English words, but he said that on of the main sites of the kapha chakra rests in the lungs, influencing breathing. After a little research, I learned that the seat of kapha is the throat, stomach, and liquid secretions of the body, such as mucus. Um, yuck. I’m fine, sir, but thank you for asking about my kapha.

Not too long after this conversation, the topic of religion was brought up. He said that he could see that I was a very religious person. But he saw that I wasn’t staunch in one specific religion. That I am open to learning from others, that I question and take from different religions and teachings. Yet, he also sensed some trial and stress to this trait while encouraging me to continue seeking and learning. And then came the topic of a significant other…he told me that it appeared like I hadn’t been in a relationship for awhile. Uh, yeahh, I was well aware. He even gave the exact month and year that my previous relationship had dwindled.I was awestruck. How do the stars know? How does he know? He then told me that he saw a beginning to a relationship in the near future.There were other things that were spoken in that room. Things that only Kumal, Sonny, and I know. For now, at least.

In my journal, I wrote that this day became very thought-provoking. How could this man, who lives on the opposite side of the world , talk to me with such specificity? I’m not preaching astrology nor am I saying that I am now a full believer and check my horoscope daily (I only take a glance at it when it pops up on the screen at Coffee Bean). But, I am saying, only, that it was extremely thought provoking. Are there really external forces that guide our destiny? Our health? Our relationships? How can the mere aligning of stars and planets tell some random Indian man about when I will go back to school or work, my previous relationships, my religion?

And two years later, I am even more astounded. He was right. Or, the stars and planets were right. I never got a job when I came home. I never started school the following fall. My lungs, apparently, weren’t as resilient as I had thought. Religion and faith continues to be both a vital part of me which provides comfort and peace, yet at the same time, will leave me with confusion, guilt, and stress. That significant other came in the very near future. And that kapha thing? I understood it a little more as I woke from a coma, with a trach in my throat, as my respiratory therapist suctioned the mucus from the hole in my neck that lead down to my lungs.

Like I said, a few things have changed since my last post. But things always change, right? But these changes, they’re the ones that have changed my entire life. The kind of changes that make me look at others differently, the ones that have given me more gratitude than I ever knew the world was even filled with, they have changed the way I love, the way I believe, they strengthened relationships, and these changes made me into the new, and constantly progressing, me.

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