Magical Manali

Manali’s Call

“Where are you going next?”, they asked. We were heading to Delhi because Lisanne had to catch her flight back home. Where do I go next, I wondered? I knew I wanted to “go north”. I knew I wasn’t ready to go to Rishikesh, not yet. I wanted some re-stabilization after the tiring chaos of our turbulent Rajasthan roundtrip. When Manali came to my mind it immediately resonated very strongly. I didn’t know why yet, but something was pulling me to go there. It was as if I could hear Manali calling me, like some thread of energy was guiding me there.

The day after Lisanne left I sat at the breakfast table in Madpackers Hostel in Delhi. It was my first morning alone and it was going to be my first day alone in India since I had arrived three weeks before. Across from me at the table, there were two guys talking to each other about a bus journey they were going to be on later that day. I got curious and asked them where they were heading. They responded that they were going to Manali with a group of guys from the hostel. The next day I joined the group, together with my new friend Alex from Manchester.

A Place to Stay

One of the guys, Oscar, got a recommendation from a friend of his to stay at Nomadic Nest Hostel in Manali. That’s how it happened that we eventually all ended up staying there. On arrival at the hostel, after a tiring and uncomfortable 14-hour bus journey, we were welcomed by Daniel and Oscar and the hostel staff, consisting of two very laidback and friendly Indian guys with heartwarming smiles and a healthy appetite for ganja. The atmosphere of this place was so relaxing, I felt as if I could finally breathe again after the chaos and tiring three weeks of traveling around. There were so many new impressions I had to process, so much energy I had to filter to ground back into my own, and this felt like the perfect place to do so.

Early morning yoga practice on the Hostel’s rooftop.

The first three days, however, I couldn’t find peace, at all. My energy felt so distorted and I was filled with so much restlessness and questions, that I constantly felt as if I had to move on again and leave Manali to go elsewhere. On the second day, I was invited by Sai Krishna, the 22-year old radiant soul who runs the hostel all by himself, to stay at the hostel and work as a volunteer. At first, I replied to his proposal with hesitance, because I projected this internal turmoil on my surroundings, which made me believe I shouldn’t make a commitment like that, or it would rob me from my freedom to leave whenever I pleased. With the most relaxed and soothing smile, a human being has ever produced he ensured me that I could stay however long I wanted and he wondered what the hurry was anyway? That question hit me like I just walked into a brick wall. He was right, what the hell was my hurry? Why did I feel impatient? Hadn’t I worked so many hours so I could buy myself time, all the time in the world, to simply be, without obligations, without strife or struggle? Then why did I feel so restless, as if I had to be somewhere, as if I needed to get something done? It was after the fourth day that I told Sai that I would happily volunteer at his hostel, and stay for an indefinite period of time.

Surrender and Magic

It was however only after the fifth day that I actually experienced an internal shift from restlessness to surrender and acceptance. We sat playing cards and drinking beers on the rooftop, music was playing in the background through the speakers, the night sky was decorated abundantly by twinkling starlight, alike the mountains which rose up like great walls all around us were decorated by the twinkling lights from homes situated on them. I felt tears trickling at the back of my eyes, so I briefly separated myself from the party to sit in the dark and hold and support myself. Listening to the melancholy melodies of Chopin I let tears trickle down my cheeks, whispering words of loving support to myself. It was in this very moment that I realized how hard I had been on myself. I realized that this restlessness was a consequence of the limiting idea that I had to earn this life, this time, this peace, by learning ways to make a living as soon as possible. It saddened me because I realized how I had projected my own limiting beliefs on my previous surroundings and on the culture in which I was raised. I felt relieved as I let out these tears because it became clear to me once again how I was the only source of limitation in my life. It became very clear to me that I created this limited reality through my own beliefs and that there was no external source forcing me to believe these things. A great relief filled me as I felt a strong, peaceful energy grounding me while my whole being relaxed into surrender.

I surrendered to slowing down, I surrendered to the flow of the universe that would take me exactly where I needed to be, I surrendered to deep trust and I opened my heart again to the abundance mentality, convincing myself that if I believed full-heartedly in the infinite abundance of this universe I would never lack anything I needed and deserved. So, it happened that on Monday the 9th of September I met a woman that was going to change my life forever. That day reawakened my deep awe and amazement for the magic of this universe, that will always bring us exactly what we need if we dare to trust it. She will be my teacher in the art of Reiki. Immediately after meeting her my soul knew, without a trace of doubt, that she was the reason that Manali had been calling me. This magical town in the Himalayan mountains is now my home, where I feel safe and at peace, where I find the space to grow and to develop, and to learn all the lessons that I am supposed to learn before the flow of the universe guides me to my next destination.

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