The leaves are falling from the trees in that part of the world where I come from. Autumn is blossoming in beautiful colours enlightened by the Indian summer sun. For some among us a reason to withdraw into a depressive state of being with a surplus on passivity.
In Deenabandhu however, the boys are falling from the trees when they want to show me their latest acrobatic piece of art. Or from the tables. From anything where they can climb upon actually. Including me. And I cannot stop laughing about this little monkeys that full fill my heart with laughter and joy. Again and again.
Yoga is even more fun with the children from Deenabandhu. Each day we stumble upon our own smiles during ‘yogasana’ as they love to call it. The enthusiastic eagerness to show their self created versions of the asanas causes sometimes so much hilarity that the whole yoga concept of focus and inward drawn attention is totally swept away. Like a bunch of leaves swirling in the autumn wind the children are gambolling around, but they always fall back on the same place.
The connection with the earth from where we work on strong legs, feet rooted in the floor, standing firmly as a tree that can conquer each storm of pain and sadness. Even though the tears can flow from time to time like a heavy rainfall which is teasing Karnataka often in this period, the smiles always return back on their snouts. Looking at me with their sparkling eyes reflecting like mirrors and shine their light back to me. In vriksasana we find our balance again, together with the breath, which is sometimes also taken away by all this convulsive laughter.
The days are getting shorter and darker in that part of the world where I come from. People are turning on the heating to keep themselves warm in preparation of winter. India is getting lighter with each day. People are igniting their inner fires. Warming up for Diwali, the Hindu festival of light. In Deenabandhu we’re all making us up for this special tradition in which the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over bad and hope over despair is celebrated. Paradoxally, we can’t see the light of the upcoming new Moon with a full solar eclipse, though it is being felt as an inner fire that purifies and enlightens our new intentions for the coming period.
Last week I had an interesting discussion on the concept of ‘sradda’ with the teachers of Deenabandhu School during the workshops I gave on trauma healing and yoga. Although there’s no proper translation in English for this Sanskrit word, it comes down to a deep feeling of trust, confidence and faith, firmly rooted within. A constant awareness of the soul arising from love. It’s sradda that ignites the inner fire, enlightens and helps to burn through all obstacles. An anchor. A shining light in the darkness, with a strong belief in light at the end of the tunnel.
In the darkest sky, sparkling stars shine at their best. Sradda makes that this sparkle reaches us, even if it’s many light years away. Just looking up at the darkness and knowing it’s there is sometimes enough. And in this sky a lot of super stars are being born in the last days, preparing their dances for Diwali. The girls and boys all created a wonderful show, from traditional Indian dance to modern acrobatic breakdance style. Tomorrow is their big day. Time to shine. Wherever the light brings them.
When I was walking back in the dark from the bus station from a day Mysore, I felt like being in some kind of surrealistic fog. The dust and dry clay from the road that was whirling down around me, created a misty atmosphere, which was enlightened by the light of many rickshaws and trucks. It made me aware of the silhouettes of many people passing by. All walking towards the same direction. The light. Home.
A place that doesn’t naturally exist in everybody’s vocabulary. The children of Deenabandhu often aren’t born with this safe shelter. Home. Nobody to turn on the heating when it’s getting cold. To light the candles when it’s getting dark. They only have the light of the stars that guides them from their first steps on the earth. And it’s exactly this ray of light, this sradda that is lifting them up and taking them to the place where they belong. Often much further than you could ever imagine.
So, when the light goes off, the light goes on. Keep your eyes open and focus. Find your dristhi in the darkness and the world will open up. Here and now. A perfect time to plant the seeds we want to cultivate in terms of deep transformation, which all starts with yourself, vocabulary or not. Be the light, be the change, be anything you want to see in this world.
If you ever suffer from an autumn depression, this is the place to be. Happy Diwali!
Anouk Prop is going back again to Deenabandhu this November to support the children of the orphanage at Deenabandhu and surprise them with a Pre Christmas gift. She wants to transform their bedrooms which are now in very poor state, so that these children who have been through traumatic experiences, can enjoy a good night rest.
Find out here how you can support Anouk on her inspiring mission, every small donation makes a big difference!