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Published: July 12th 2013
The front cover of my book 'Meeting Shiva' ‘Often, the search for meaning does start with a sense of restlessness, which can carry us all over the world. But sooner or later every serious student of life sets aside passport and visas and settles down to look within.’
... one of the wonderful outcomes of my journey, published in August
— Eknath Easwaran
It’s been six years, almost to the day, since I started writing this travel blog. Six years ago, I was in my apartment in Leamington Spa in the UK, watching it become emptier and emptier as I prepared to venture off on an overland trip to Pakistan. Visas and train tickets were arriving, leaving rituals and goodbye parties were being arranged, my car was being sold, and my backpack started filling up with practical items and books. I remember that time so well: a time of immense uncertainty and yet incredible excitement, the foreboding of freedom, the feeling that my life as I had known it thus far would change forever.
On 15th September 2007, I left my hometown of Leamington Spa after a farewell ritual with some of my closest friends who met me at various places around town and accompanied me to the train station. The tears I shed! – and what an incredible
Leaving the UK in 2007...
... with nothing more than a backpack and a lot of excitement
moment it was to see their smiling faces waving me off with white handkerchiefs on the train platform!
I knew that this journey would change my life. But I had of course no clue as to how. Before I left, I had asked for my soul purpose to reveal itself to me on this trip. I was asking for transformation. And oh my God, did the Universe listen to me! After trailing through the Himalayas in several different countries, including Tibet, Nepal and Pakistan, and having some incredible encounters and adventures, I ended up in a place I thought I would never visit: India. India, a place that had previously scared and repelled me, and a country that really wasn’t on my list of destinations. But, it seemed like I had no choice in the matter and through some interesting circumstances, I ended up there. And from that day on, nothing has ever been the same again. India has challenged and transformed me like no other place and has become my spiritual home.
With the wisdom of hindsight, I now know that India has always been my spiritual home; I just didn’t realize it. I believe that my
soul protected me through my aversion until I was mature enough to withstand the shattering of illusions and transformation of ego that were destined to take place there. India was the purpose of my journey all along.
In India, I remembered my ancient connection with the yogic path and reconnected with it as though there had never been a gap between now and then. I became a Vedic fire priestess within two months of being in India, lived and breathed yoga and fire ceremonies, and perhaps most significantly, had a meeting in the Himalayas that changed my life for good. This meeting, in all its bitter-sweetness, has become the subject matter of my book ‘Meeting Shiva – Falling and Rising in Love in the Indian Himalayas’
, which will be published by Changemakers Books on 30 August 2013.
India has not only made a fire priestess, yoga teacher and Ayurvedic practitioner out of me; no, India has also fulfilled my lifelong dream of becoming a published author. Since I was a little girl, I have dreamed of the day I would hold my own book in my hands for the first time. This day came two days ago, when the publisher’s parcel arrived on my doorstep. I just burst
... the most beautiful, awe-inspiring country in the world
into tears of gratitude and overwhelm, knowing once again that the dreams that come from our deepest desires and from our soul purpose, do eventually come true.
There’s so much more that India and my decision to leave everything that is safe behind to follow the call of my soul have done for me. I met another beautiful soul through this very medium of TravelBlog, Sameer, with whom I have enjoyed a wonderful, deep connection for the past five years and who has helped me to birth ‘Meeting Shiva’ into reality through his love and support. Though our physical paths have parted for the time being, the love between us remains strong until the time is right for us to join forces again.
Perhaps most significantly, India has changed me from the inside out and has made me a full-time seeker of Truth. I have always been on the path of growth and transformation, but not with the same commitment and surrender that I have now. Now, my life purpose that I was unsure of before is clear to me: it is the path of transformation of myself and through that, of the transformation of others and the
world. I understand now that by transforming and growing ourselves, we transform and grow the world. My commitment to this transformational process, as tough and as uncomfortable as it can be at times, is absolute. I feel that my life is not mine anymore (if ever it was) and that I am ready to be fully in service of That with every aspect of my life and of my being, even at the cost of personal desires and needs.
This transformational process is weaving itself now through every facet of my life: my work, my personal life, my location, and my interests. Everything else has become secondary, and through my spiritual practice I intuitively hear what needs to happen next on my path so that I can further that growth. This intuition has always been there, but it is only since I have a strong spiritual practice that I have learnt to trust it fully and to have the discernment to separate ego desires from what really wants to happen.
The effect this has had on travel and my writing is interesting. I still travel, but at a much slower pace and only to very few, select places
that nourish my growth. These days, this is usually between Germany, England and India. And I travel in a different way: I see places and people differently, and I no longer have the desire to write about what I see. When I first travelled, everything and everyone fascinated me in an external way, and that was really wonderful. I took many photographs, observed and marvelled at the mannerisms of people, and I learned a lot from that.
Now, somehow my focus has shifted more internally. I still observe and I still connect with people, but it’s coming from a different place. It’s a more internal process, and I am more interested in what’s beyond the obvious. This is why I have decided to bring this travel blog to a close after six years of writing it – and accentuate this ending with the release of ‘Meeting Shiva’, which is an account of my outer as well as inner journey. I hope you will enjoy reading the book, which was almost four years in the making and highlights the true purpose of my big journey to the East.
I have started writing a new blog called ‘Nachiketa’s Quest
is a forum for the journeys that fascinate me now – the inner journeys into the soul and how we can apply them in a practical way in the world. If this interests you and you would like to accompany me, you can subscribe to this blog for e-mail updates, too.
A chapter of my life is ending and a new one is starting to open. For the past eight years, I have had a vision of setting up a retreat centre in nature. Travelling in India and subsequently living in various ashrams and spiritual communities has strengthened my focus as well as given me practical experience, and I am now ready to start working towards it. I envision a centre in which the spiritual principles I believe in are put into practical reality, together with a strong focus on sustainable living, yoga and respect for all that is around us. I envision a place that takes the best from both tradition and progress, from the old and the new, and in which women and men can find new, conscious ways of living together in harmony with each other and with the Earth. Interestingly enough, it seems like this
centre wants to manifest in Germany, the very place I left twenty-one years ago to follow the early calls of my soul. I have started to work on a website for this project which I will release most likely early next year. For updates on this, you can always check my regular website at www.tizianastupia.com
So, if you’ve ever asked yourself what six years of travelling and living in different countries have done for me, this is it. This time has been so rich and rewarding - no degree, no job, no reading of books could have transformed me so thoroughly and completely as travelling has done. More than anything, this time has confirmed to me that dreams do come true, and that following my intuition, no matter how absurd it may seem at times, always brings me to the right place. I can’t tell you what your path is, but if you listen to your heart and follow the call of your soul, life will bring you the richest rewards. When we flow with life, everything opens up and we are shown avenues that we couldn’t have imagined or even planned, because we didn’t know about them. This
Graduation in Albuquerque, New Mexico....
... as an Ayurvedic practitioner and yoga teacher at the Ayurvedic Institute
is the true meaning of surrender – surrendering to your dharma
, to your purpose, and to life.
I thank all of you who have accompanied me on my many journeys through the world, supported me, contacted me and taught me through our meetings. It has been an amazing trip so far, and I hope our paths will cross again in other ways in the future.
Hari Om for now, with all my love, gratitude and blessings,
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