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NEWS

Opening to the Unknown

Jennifer Oechsner

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After careful contemplation and much deliberation over my list of pros and cons I decided it was time for me to say goodbye to India for now. I am deeply grateful for the experience and I know that Jaipur and each person who made my time there memorable will always hold a special place in my heart. There was a period during my time in Jaipur that I thought it might be my last time in India. But who am I kidding, that crazy place has a hold on me, in spite of (or maybe because of) all the chaos. 

Naturally, at the top of my list of things I loved about being there was all the people I connected with at GSD (the college I worked at). It was a small group of students so I had the opportunity to get to know everyone and I became more attached than I ever thought I would. Watching them grow as artists and individuals and helping them spread their wings was a priceless experience and worth every struggle that came my way. The day I said goodbye was tearful and emotional and while I felt I was letting them down I am glad I was able to have such an impact. Each and everyone one of them gave me the warmest hug goodbye and I asked me to come back someday. How could I possibly say no to all of those sweet faces?  A very special thank you to my Indian mamma, Meenakshi. Thank you for sharing your life with me, for being there when I needed a shoulder to cry on, and for letting me know that I was wearing pajamas as pants....and my favorite one, when I was using an oil container as a travel mug. 

With my decision to leave India came the decision of what to do next. Do I go home and pick up where I left off? Do I find a new home in the PNW? Do I travel? Should I stay in Asia until my retreat in Nepal in November? What is more responsible? What do I WANT? What will serve me the most? My mind would often spin with confusion and my heart would flutter with the vastness of the possibilities.

As you can imagine, I did not choose the "safe and responsible" route.  I decided to travel and stay in Asia and meet my retreat group in Kathmandu in November. At the moment I am in Kathmandu getting ready for vipassana (10 days of silent meditation)  Follow me on instagram to see where my path next takes me next. It’s going to be an interesting journey for sure.

As I gaze out at the hills surrounding the city, the temples overlooking the valley and contemplate all that is before me in life I find myself in a state of disbelief. This chapter of my life has been an intense one. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to wander the earth, and I have done that. Although for many years I have longed to do it again I didn't think it was going to happen. But then, the right things happened at the right time and the universe provided. Serendipitous encounters, an open heart and the power of manifestation are why I sit where I am today. Some might call it luck, but I think its more than that. I believe we have the power to create the life we want; now I just have to keep having the courage to do it. While I know where I am going to be for the next 6 months, I don't know exactly what that will look like. That uncertainty terrifies me but at the same time exhilarates me. Life is filled with varying degrees of uncertainty and some of us prefer less than others. Although I am in a place of deep gratitude, I am sometimes still fearful of this uncertainty. But when I question the wisdom of my decisions, I remember the wise words from one my 18 year old students. "Of course it’s the right decision, because it’s the one you made". Well said, girl. 

Now all I have to do is continue to keep my eyes open to opportunities, keep my heart open to new and challenging experiences and take bumps in the road in stride. After all it might be scary a monkey jumps on your back, but if you remain calm and just give him your peanuts it’s actually more hilarious than anything else.