A Changing Lens: Christmas in India

Photo by Lee SchneiderI took a foot bath in the holy Ganges River today -- Christmas Day 2008! Just a few days before - what looked like could possibly be an unsatisfying and slightly depressing Christmas - turned into a day filled with gifts.I arrived in India three days ago to find an India that felt tough, unclean and unnerving. I have been to India two times before, but this time for some reason India felt dirtier, noisier and more crowded. This time around I was bringing my fiance and wanted to show him an India that was sacred, special and beautiful. Unfortunately within our first couple of days we were not encountering much of that.Battened down in our hotel on the second day we decided we needed to find a way to turn our trip around. We traveled all this way and knew our trip had the potential of much more. Having turned to some particular goddesses over the past year for assistance, guidance and inspiration, I decided to say a prayer to Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of beauty and prosperity. I asked her for assistance to help us see beauty in the little things -- to see beauty within the clutter and beyond the cow dung.On the same day as my prayer we found a new room in a hotel well within our price range with a gorgeous view of the Ganges. Hindu chants lofted up to the balcony giving us a feeling of having our own movie soundtrack to our India experience. Right next door we met a wonderfully talented and distinguished music teacher who could teach me how to play traditional Indian music on the harmonium. And across from our new locale, we found a clean, warm and peaceful yoga studio sitting practically on top of the sacred Ganges. This was good!So I ask myself, was it my prayer to Lakshmi that inspired all of these good things to happen? Is there a goddess who can really make beautiful things appear in one's life? Or was it simply my intention and willingness to shift my lens to see beauty?  Ahhhhh...and to top it off of our hotel brought us a beautiful bouquet of flowers to wish us a merry christmas.When you are faced with a situation that is less than desirable what do you do? How do you handle difficulty?