How Much Milk Does A 2 Year Old Need Daily 5 Lessons From India

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5 Lessons From India

In case you missed it, I was just in India giving a TEDx talk and decided to make it a trip with my 12 year old son Jude. It was a trip of a lifetime, and we had the best time with Jude even wanting to stay! I am so grateful for our time there and how much time we were able to spend together. In today’s busy world, that’s rare. He’s such a great traveler, and we also had a lot to take away from being in such a different culture. Here is a photo of the Gandhi Memorial.

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

Here are my 5 takeaways from India:

1. Make yourself comfortable by being uncomfortable ~ Unfortunately, there is a lot of poverty in India. It stands out in all major cities and can cause a bit of anxiety when walking. My son and I kept a low profile, often only driving in these areas and getting out of the car to see the main sights. It was interesting to see my son Jude’s reaction. He was very scared when we got out of the car in those kinds of areas, which is one of the reasons we kept a low profile. It definitely made sense to be cautious, but he felt that way even in the safest cities. We were walking through one of the most spiritual places and Jude’s fear culminated when someone asked him to come into their store to see their puppies. Of course, here in North America, that would raise a red flag of “foreign danger”, and that’s exactly what we teach our children NOT to be swayed. I was happy that the lesson was learned, but sad that it also prevented it in a new country. Again, it’s good to be careful, but everyone in India was so nice and welcoming and it’s just different there. We ended up going back to our driver and asking him to drive us to the various sites in that town instead. Our driver continued to drive us through this small town, down a one way street, where the cars weren’t aloud! He constantly honked at cars – and cows! – to get out of the way! He really took one for the team, and I was definitely more nervous about people getting mad about us “breaking the rules” than seeing someone’s puppies! It was a great lesson in feeling bad, which became our new joke whenever we felt a little bad.

Things are going to be different outside of 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 receive ~ In India they practice “Atithi Devo Bhava”, which means the guest equals God. We were overwhelmed with the love and service we received. We were truly treated like royalty. In college, all of our meals and tea were cooked for us and served – even when we used a food delivery service instead. The staff insisted on serving it to us on dishes to make it enjoyable. It was amazing! Lots of students took pictures of us and wanted a ton of selfies – even with Jude! We felt a little funny at first but quickly learned that it was rude not to accept all the great service and remembered to receive.

What if we treated our own guests like that? How would our dinners and customer interactions be different? Hmm… I think we all deserve that kind of love J

3. Stay flexible ~ we quickly realized that well-conceived plans often take longer than expected. Instead of being so rigid and caring if we didn’t get to certain places at a certain time, I trained myself to let go and stay flexible. It was great to go with the flow, plans for change were needed, and it reminded me of what such a peaceful existence it is when we’re operating from this place. As a busy mom and business owner, taking control and managing everyone comes with the territory BUT we can go too far too. There has to be an element of going with the flow and bend our own rules. If we go too far, the “need to control” is much more the “need to feel safe”.

Finding a happy medium in all areas of life is the ultimate – do shit and let shit go!

4. Accept different cultures ~ each area we visited had a different type of vibe and we learned to adapt quickly. A holy mama traffic was a completely different situation! I have never heard so many honks and sent such a deep traffic jam. We learned to trust our diver very quickly. One of my favorite traditions was the Himalayan tradition, where everyone bows their hands in prayer position to greet each other. I started doing it too and even Jude was doing it at the end. It was such a peaceful way to say hello. If you see me doing this in town, you’ll know why 😉

We discussed the practices that we would like to integrate into our daily life, one of them being snacking. In India, they have tea and cookies around 5 or 5:30 p.m., before dinner starts around 7:30 p.m. Jude particularly liked this and we imported it into our parties at home. Instead of expecting a night where everyone is home at the same time – which is almost impossible given everyone’s activities and schedules – we started doing it with whoever was 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 scared because she gives milk, and the idea is that they don’t take anything else from her because of that. As a result, the cows roam freely around the country – I am always amazed at how well they are able to navigate heavy, congested traffic!

Above all, there was the love, kindness and gratitude that everyone we met seemed to show. From college staff and students to hotel staff and people on the street. Everyone was grateful and kind. What an inspiration for all of us to live like this 🙂

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