How to describe Enlightened India 2019?
One of the places we explore in Rishikesh is the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of Transcendental Meditation (TM), and the place where the Beatles came to meditate in the late 60’s.
The place is a magical, mystical experience! You can feel the energy and spirit of the once bustling ashram and its devotees. There are meditation huts dotting the land, including the famous hut #9, that can be traced back to John Lennon’s voice on the White Album repeating the phrase: “number 9, number 9”.
As you walk along the paths, filled with hundreds of butterflies of all shapes and colors, you can imagine hearing mantra being chanted in the now defunct meditation hall, or hear some bird sound that George Harrison may have heard.
With an incredible view of the Ganges river, the ashram sits atop a bluff, steeped in an atmosphere of peace and stillness. It’s a wonderful place to explore and lose yourself in the past as well as find yourself in the present.
Truly a favorite outing of our group!
Last November, 21 Enlightened Travelers came together for 10 days in Rishikesh, India. The particular “masala” (blend) that was created with this unique and amazing group was the perfect mix of personalities. Ranging from 22 to 62 years old, everyone was able to find common ground and create a strong, supportive tribe. Together, we practiced yoga, meditated, dipped in the Ganges, honored our ancestors, explored, swam in waterfalls, went “glamping”, swapped stories, shared tears, laughed, discovered temples, hiked, biked, shopped, and ate delicious Indian food. On our last day, all agreed that it had been an experience of a lifetime; lives had been changed and hearts opened. Julia Myers Patterson and I could not be more thrilled.
What participants shared about their experience last year:
Through great planning and constant vigilance, Roxanna & Julia blended the right amount of cultural sightseeing and Indian experiences, with deeply spiritual opportunities and free time for solo exploration. They established group cohesion that promoted the opportunity for personal connections which will clearly last a lifetime. Joe R.
Enlightened Tours was a spectacular adventure. Roxanna & Julia created a well orchestrated tour in which I felt completely safe and enriched with experiences. I highly recommend this tour and will cherish this opportunity forever more. Lynnette S.
A spiritual journey and adventure of a lifetime. Roxanna & Julia have opened my heart to India and all it has to offer and held a safe place for the entire group. Bill A.
Traveling to India is a powerful experience. Roxanna & Julia show up, hold space and love fiercely. They have created a trip to experience ALL that Mother India has to offer. Logan M.
Thank you for a thoughtful, well-held experience. You provided a wonderful taste of India, the culture and brought together an amazing group of people. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am a changed/transformed person! Kimball L.
I had an amazing time on my trip to India with Roxanna & Julia. It was above and beyond anything I expected. Everything was well planned and I felt safe the entire time. Kristine E.
Roxanna & Julia are truly incredible women and leaders. I enjoyed India but more importantly, I felt the love, support and freedom to be completely vulnerable and to learn what I was here to learn about myself. I am going home a changed woman and I see the world through new eyes. Thank you. Deb O.
Had a life-changing experience with wonderful people who support the journey! Nai S.
Join us this November for Enlightened India 2019!
It was a day like any other day, the day India called me. It was unexpected. India was only “sort-of” on my list. There were other places ahead of it. I was scrolling on Facebook when I saw it: the Invitation. It said, “Come to India with us!” I stopped scrolling and clicked. As I did, something deep inside me said “looks like I’m going to India” and that was that.
Then, by chance, while volunteering at a workshop, I ran into Roxanna; she appeared self-confident and poised, her inner beauty almost outshining her outer beauty. We had been introduced before through a mutual friend, so I mustered my courage and approached her. I said, “Hi there, I’m going to India with you.” She was surprised, and smiled a huge smile and said something like ‘This is wonderful! Once you make the decision, your trip has already begun.’
When I got home from the workshop, I talked to my partner about it and we both knew right away that even though this was a ‘big’ trip, it was to be taken on my own. I paid my deposit that day. I was elated and terrified all at once. I didn’t really know why I was going to India, I just knew that I was going.
After some deep inquiry, I realized it wasn’t about checking another country off my bucket list, the reason I was going to India was for me. This was about my spirit, my soul, my growth – it was an internal shift.
The itinerary was outlined, the activities were planned, I knew I’d be in good hands and kept safe – all I had to do was show up. Show up in India, but really, it was about showing up for myself. How many times had I really done that? How many times had I gifted myself instead of someone else? Now was the time.
The trip itself was incredible and heart opening. Spiritual tourism had always called to me but somehow, I’d never done it thinking I could do it myself, faster, cheaper, better. But this was different. With this trip, I had the invitation to let go of the details, let go of the responsibility and to let go of my own control issues. In the letting go, I was able to experience the present moment.
I’ve always been spiritual, I have great faith, but this was an opening of grand proportions! I experienced an unraveling inside me and then a reweaving. Admittedly this didn’t all happen in my 15 glorious days in India, much of it happened once I returned home over a period of three years. It’s taken that long for me to ‘unpack’ it all and put my experience into words.
Now I am preparing to return to India, a place I now consider home, a place I think of daily. I am once again in a place of emotional inquiry about what else is there to know and learn. However, instead of stressing out about not knowing the why of everything, I just smile to myself because I’ve experienced the flow of the Ganga (the Ganges) and I understand that all will be revealed to me in the perfect time. ~ Julia Myers Patterson
It’s the sound of the bells that I remember most. The ring ring ringing. The tone true and pure. Even today, thousands of miles away at Amma’s Ashram in California, tucked back into a small valley with foothills surrounding it, I recognize the sound. It immediately reminds me of the stillness within.
India is a land of contrasts and an indescribable tapestry of life. I remember seeing Gandhi’s peaceful tomb surrounded by a vast park and outside that a great conflux of cars and people. Stillness and traffic jams juxtaposed.
Heading North, leaving the city with its historical significance, my face pressed against the train window, I watch the buildings become homes and shacks and the shacks become trees and the trees become meadows. The air clears and I listen for more bells. Religion (as I call it being from the West) is different here. It’s incorporated into daily life. It isn’t just a Sunday thing. The bells ring every morning. The prayers are prayed, meditation a cornerstone of prayer, and chants takes place before daily life begins. Bright red string wrapped around wrists and sandalwood paste in white and the red Tilak announce to the world that you have participated in a ritual or ceremony. I wore mine with pride. I left them on for months until the string turned white and they started to fray.
Rishikesh in its glory, a beautiful place, two parts each on one side of the Ganga. It is a place for spiritual renewal. A place where people travel on pilgrimage. Seekers and Sadhus abound. And again the bells. Every morning around 5:00, the call for prayer announces itself. Even the monkeys are sleeping as I wrap myself in a blanket and find my sandals in the dark. I wander the closed streets and just follow the bells. I don’t know where I’m going and it doesn’t matter, really. The bells announce my path for me.
Going home I stop at a beautiful site outside Delhi and in front of me is a bell. I pick it up gently and hear the sound that is now like my heartbeat. It’s never far from my altar now that I’m back in Northern California. I ring it often to remind me of the pieces of my heart that I left in India.
-Julia Myers Patterson
Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of wealth, love, prosperity (both material and spiritual), fortune, and the embodiment of beauty. 💖 She is the wife and active energy of Vishnu. Her symbol is the lotus flower. 🌸
She also protects from ill health and adversity. In Hinduism, worship of Lakshmi is considered a suitable remedy for the alleviation of suffering. ✨
Mahalakshmi is a form of Mother Goddess or Shakti. She is popularly known as Sri or Lakshmi. 🙏🏽 Lakshmi Puja , or the worship of the goddess of wealth, is the main event of Diwali in North and West India. 💥
This November, we will be in Rishikesh to celebrate Diwali and make offerings to this Hindu goddess of wealth and health. We will immerse in Indian culture and share in their festivities. Every night is filled with lanterns, candles and celebrating. Every home is cleaned in anticipation. New clothes and gifts are purchased. Your participation is requested!💫