How Much Whole Milk Should My 1 Year Old Have 5 Lessons From India

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5 Lessons From India

In case you missed it, I just gave a TEDx talk in India and decided to take a trip out of it with my 12-year-old son, Jude. It was a trip of a lifetime and we had the best time Jude wanted to stay! I am very grateful for my time there and the time we were able to spend together. In today’s fast-paced world, this is rare. He is a great traveler and we had a lot of fun living in such a different culture. Here is a picture of the Gandhi Memorial.

Read today’s article where I share what we learned and how we can apply these lessons in our daily lives 🙂

Here are my 5 takeaways from India:

1. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable ~ Unfortunately, there is a lot of poverty in India. It stands out in all major cities and can cause a little anxiety when walking. My son and I kept a low profile, often just driving through these areas and getting out of the car to see the main sites. It was interesting to see my son Jude’s reaction. He was very scared when we got out of the car in these types of areas, which is one of the reasons we kept such a low profile. Of course it made sense to be cautious, but even in the safer cities he felt that way. We walked through one of the most haunted places and Jude’s fear peaked when someone asked him to come into their shop to see their puppies. Of course, here in North America, that would raise a red flag of “stranger danger,” and that’s exactly what we teach our kids NOT to be swayed by. I was glad the lesson had sunk in, but sad that it was also holding him back in a new country. It’s great to be careful, but in India everyone was so nice and friendly and it’s different there. Finally, we went back to our driver and asked him to take us to different locations in the city. Our driver took us through this small town, on a one-way street where the cars didn’t make any noise! He was constantly honking at cars – and cows! – move out of the way! It really took one on the team and I was definitely more annoyed that people got mad about us “breaking the rules” than when they saw someone’s puppies! It was a great lesson in being uncomfortable and it became our new joke when we felt a little down.

Things will be different outside the bubbles we live in. Being comfortable with discomfort allows us to experience new things and be open to different ideas and ways of being.

2. Be open to receiving ~ In India they practice “Atithi Devo Bhava” which means that the Guest is equal to God. We were overwhelmed by the love and service we received. We were truly treated like royalty. All our food and tea in college was prepared and served to us – even when we used food delivery. The staff insisted that it be served to us so that it would be delicious. It was unbelievable! Many students took pictures of us and wanted lots of selfies – even with Jude! We felt a little funny at first, but soon realized it was rude not to accept great service and remembered to get it.

What if we treated our own guests this way? How different would our dinner party and customer interactions be? Hmm… I guess we all deserve that kind of love J

3. Stay flexible ~ we quickly learned that well laid plans often take longer than expected. Instead of being so rigid and worrying if we didn’t arrive at certain places at a certain time, I practiced letting go and being flexible. It was fantastic to go with the flow, change plans were needed and I was reminded of what a peaceful life it is when we operate from this place. Being a busy mom and business owner comes with the territory of taking charge and managing everyone, BUT we can take this too far. There has to be an element of going with the flow and bending our own rules. If we go too far, the “need to control” becomes more of a “need to feel safe.”

Finding a happy medium in all areas of life is the ultimate thing – to do it and let the shit out!

4. Embrace different cultures ~ every area we visited had a different atmosphere and we learned to adapt quickly. Holy mother, the traffic was a completely different situation! I have never heard so much honking and so much congestion. We learned to trust our diver very quickly. One of my favorite traditions was the Himalayas, where everyone bows and greets each other in a prayer position. I started doing it too and even Jude did it by the end. It was such a peaceful way to say hello. If you see me doing this around town, you’ll know why;-)

We talked about what practices we want to bring into our everyday lives, one of them being snacks. In India, they have tea and cookies around 5 or 5:30 before dinner, which starts around 7:30 p.m. Jude especially loved this and we brought it into our home evenings. Instead of waiting for an evening when everyone is home at the same time—which is nearly impossible due to everyone’s activities and schedules—we started doing whoever is home. I love the unexpected connection it brings.

5. Holy cow ~ we found out why they don’t eat beef in India (even McDonalds only has chicken). The cow is indeed afraid because it gives milk, and the idea is that nothing else will be taken from it because of this. Because of this, the cows roam the country freely – it still amazes me how well they manage to navigate the heavy, congested traffic!

Above all, it was the love, kindness and gratitude we encountered in each and every person. From college staff to students to hotel staff to people living on the streets. Everyone was grateful and kind. What an inspiration for all of us to live like this 🙂

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