Diving into the unknown – otherwise known as Amritapuri Ashram in India

2019 was a real cooking pot! With coaching training, visiting my dad and my family in Malaysia for the first time IN MY LIFE, extreme camping (57mph gusts!), speculative business building and the political, economic, social and environmental climate, Steve and I have really been examining our values, what is important to us, and what is important for our girls.

In the summer months the speed of change and realisation really cranked up exponentially. There were countless moments of tiny little course corrections, tiny thoughts bubbling up that jolted my perception. And then there were some big revelations, usually painful to admit publicly, where I’ve been shocked and ashamed at how blind I’ve been. That’s the thing about perception; you really don’t know what you don’t know, and you can’t see what you can’t see. How can it be that things YOU believe aren’t even *known* to you? Well, that’s my favourite subject but not the topic for today!

Much of what I thought was important fell away leaving me with the seeds of what I really care about. And when the attachment to what I ‘have’ fell away more radical possibilities became possible. (You know that whole ‘you have to make space for new things to come into your life?’ It’s totally true, but it’s ideas that often take up the space.) One morning we were just throwing it wide open, how to live, where to live, what to live in…and one of those tiny thoughts bubbled up and within seconds it bloomed and the decision was made.

So on December 10th we handed in our keys back to our (lovely) landlord, hopped on a plane to Sri Lanka, and the next day we flew to India. After four hours in a taxi we arrived in Amritapuri in Kerala to live there indefinitely.

Yes, that’s right, no return flight.

Yes, that’s right, leaving everything we know.

And for what? To live on an ashram in a community we’ve never visited in a country I’ve never even been interested in seeing.

When Extinction Rebellion were doing their thing in London in October, I was watching a FB live when I heard the most inspiring woman saying how people always talk about the wealth they will lose if we change the economic model, but they don’t realise the riches they will receive as a result – love; connection; community.

And that, my friends, is what I have been realising this year.

There is so much more to life than the life I’ve been living in London.

My children have so much more to learn about love, connection and community that trumps the knowledge you’re forced to acquire at school, in a city environment where we live in isolated silos, in an economic structure that means your children can only have access to what they *need* if you can personally afford it.

We didn’t assume that living in India would be the panacea, but we knew that our lives and to change radically and significantly. And if you know Amma, you know what unconditional compassion in action looks like. I once said to my coach that I wanted my business to be more like Amma’s and I laughed at the audacity of my idea.

Perhaps Amma laughed harder.

It was with deep sadness that we removed ourselves physically from the wonderful friendships we have, some very established, some fledgling, but all full of deep feelings of connection. We didn’t feel like we were trying to escape the life we’d been living, and saying goodbye was hard.

Even though I had no doubts about our direction I still wished we could do it a more comfortable way. But the flip side was that, actually, I also felt massive relief – like I was finally going home. Finally I could shed this character I had been playing, this role, this construction called life, and return to what I really am underneath all that, with the hope that once I’m established in that home I’ll always have it with me, no matter where I am. 

Who knows what the future holds – I certainly didn’t mere months ago. Life is a journey and a process.

What I do know is that life continues apace and our children are having precious new experiences (and similar ones in different clothing). After almost two months here it’s clear that the way we see life, what we value, and the practicalities of the carving out a life that suits us is NOT the norm, nor straightforward. We remain committed to the delights of home educating in an unschooly/autonomous fashion, the freedom of working for yourself and living a nomadic working life, the honest communication required to keep this family ship sailing.

If you’d like to join us on our journey you can follow us on Instagram, Facebook or here on the blog. And if you’d like to see if we’re a good fit for coaching, book a coaching exploration call by clicking here!

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