Ruminating on how India for the past several years has changed my perspective forever. I knew I would learn a lot when we shifted here, but I couldn't have imagined in what ways. Here are 4 Tips for a Bigger Life (or What India Has Taught Me So Far).
1. Be a Learner. Stay Curious.
Living in India certainly keeps my curiosity alive and well. There's something new or unusual to see around every corner. But staying curious doesn't have to be limited to exotic lands. Be intentional about learning something new every day, and your curiosity will stay vibrant. Try a new recipe or restaurant. Read a book. When I'm totally spent at the end of the day, I still try to read one page, to keep up that habit of reading. Pick the brains of people who are experts in their field. I can't think of anything more fascinating than talking with somebody who really knows their stuff or has lived an incredibly colorful life. Tons can be learned from listening and asking good questions of people.
2. Coming in Low
I've learned vast amounts about life and different ways of 'doing life' from my Indian friends and artisans. People can tell if you have a humble attitude. My husband and I call that 'coming in low' into a situation. If you're holding a paternalistic attitude ("I'm here to fix everything"), life's going to be a whole lot smaller for you, because you've already got everything figured out. Be open to new ways of doing things and thinking outside the box. People respond better and more creatively when they sense a humble attitude in company or community leadership. Coming in low means searching for solutions together. Synergy happens.
3. Make Chai, Not War
People talk about slowing down to smell the roses. India has taught me to slow down and drink more chai (amazing chai at that). BTW, don't you love the chai cups in the photo above? Four cups for Four Tips! When I first shifted to India, our artisans wanted to know why I was always in a hurry. Good question! Now I drink my fair share of chai and catch up on all the latest neighborhood happenings. Make time for relationships and leisurely conversations over a hot (or icy) cuppa. Do more listening than talking, and your life will get bigger automatically.
4. Send Sweets. Stay Sweet.
I can't count the number of times a tiffin of delectable food has appeared at our doorstep. Dekko artisans know how to take care of us! They've taught me that everything is better when you share it. When my husband sees the cake coming out of the oven, he knows that half of it is going to artisan families and friends. Make your famous cookies and share them at work or send to a friend across town. Pressed for time? It could even be a fabulous feta hummus dip from the corner market, or a basket of locally-grown tomatoes. When we invest in our community ties, we reinforce the reality that we're part of something much bigger than ourselves. And a beautiful aspect of Indian culture - never return an empty dish. Make sure to fill it with something yummy for its return journey. The domino effect of hospitality might never end!
More Tips for a Bigger Life to come. Hopefully India has found me to be an earnest student.
Photo credit: Brady Black