As the new ashram is being built around me, I feel both unworthy to be here at this time and yet completely at home. The guru relocated here after some issue with the land at the former location, which I’ve come to understand was in the city and much less secluded than where we are now. I’m not entirely sure what happened. But now, amidst monkeys, birds and cows, and as we practice and pray in new holy structures made of branches and stone, I grow.
|Swami Krishnananda Yogashala, near Mysore, India (Dec. 2018)|
December 20, 2018
There’s a sense of dust-covered royalness among us that I have not experienced since childhood. Wearing garments of various colors, many draped in blankets, we stood around the guru to receive instructions on kunjal, or the practice of induced vomiting from the imbibing of excessive and quickly swallowed water – in this case saline water. It is dark outside and pre-dawn, and the stars offered themselves as shining things to focus on in the moments between retches.
Following this, we did sutra nedi - meaning 'thread through the nose' - to clean the nasal passages (in our case a rubber catheter tube…more gentle) – pushed into each nostril and pulled out the mouth. We have been doing this for a few days. I followed this with jala nedi – the water method (nedi pot) more commonly used in the West – because I could not get the catheter tube through my left nasal passage this morning and I wanted both to be clear. Today is my birthday. I am cold, dirty, and tired.
April 22, 2019
Today is Earth Day. A day that Richard Nixon used to celebrate. I went to the local landfill this morning, about 30 minutes from my father's house - or former house...always his house - near Annapolis. I vaguely remember going there with him when my brother and I were kids and he had just moved to the area from Connecticut.
Seeing it today was like seeing it through child's eyes. The Millersville Landfill is a surreal place, and beautifully managed. Refuse embedded in earth - garbage buried and grown upon, disposed of and recycled in their various facilities.
I loaded my father's Ford pickup with as much as had sofar been determined trash and called about the ID check, and the Anne Arundel County resident requirement for dumping. The woman with a nice voice on the phone said to bring one of my father's utility bills and show his vehicle registration and it'd be fine even I had a DC driver's license. Cool.
Once I arrived at the gates, I was directed to drive straight down a what-quickly-became-a-gravel road to the far end of the campus...the general dumping area. I pulled in, and was told to back in towards the currently in-use and growing refuse mountain, unload and leave.
I realized the road isn't paved past a certain point because where one is told to go 'dump' their trash changes as the trash mountains are ground up by big-wheel-grinding tractor/forklift type vehicles, and then buried under dirt and planted with - I assume from looking around at the surrounding hills, some bare, some wooded - grass first and then eventually trees. I also realized how much respect our waste management organizations and the guidelines and science they operate with are deserving of.
My father loved stuff like this.
December 20, 2019
I am in San Juan, Puerto Rico with my husband. Today is my birthday. We live in a time where we are not sure that we can be made whole. But it is the acceptance and forgiveness of our brokenness that brings thorough healing, as well as the awareness that we are never - and have never been - truly broken. We always have choice.
With recognition we step out of denial. Denial undermines our freedom.
- Jack Kornfield
December 25, 2019
In the woods of Connecticut with family. The trees moan and one can hear owls. Glad to be home for Christmas.
The whole point of Jesus's life was not that we should become exactly like him, but that we should become ourselves in the same way he became himself. Jesus was not the great exception but the great example.
- Carl Jung
January 6, 2020
Watching the sun rise in Twenty Nine Pines, California this morning, my feet bare on the cold, rocky soil, I felt awe. I like awe.
|"Sky Landing", Twentynine Pines, Mojave Desert, California (Jan. 2019)|
Twenty Nine Pines is in the Mojave Desert and north-bordering of Joshua Tree National Park, where we will visit this morning before heading west again to Los Angeles. My sister's birthday this coming Friday will coincide with her and I being on her favorite podcast called "The Positive Head Podcast", as well as the web series "Optimystic", both hosted by Brandon Beachum and currently broadcasting out of a house called the Mystic Manor in Venice Beach, where we will be staying the week.
Strange delays between DC and San Diego meant that I missed the Abraham Hicks workshop (it would have been my first one) that I had booked for my sister and I. But she, having arrived on time and thus a day before me, was able to attend. She shared notes, pearls of wisdom and cosmic downloads during our northwest drive into the desert yesterday.
Going to Los Angeles will complete our triangle tour of California. Our three stops are almost equidistance. This is first my time visiting California.
Traveling this year - from India to Amsterdam, Alabama to California - has enhanced my sense of a strong sense of interconnectedness with things. This is not something I have always enjoyed. It has, since childhood, had the capacity to overwhelm. But, it is more and more and more perceptible - unignorable - in my cerebral awareness, my spiritual knowing, and my physical body. And, I think, it is becoming more and more manageable. I have decided to take a hiatus from alcohol for a year. There is a lot that needs doing.
|Climbing at Joshua Tree National Park (Jan. 2019)|
I find myself thinking a lot about Truth. The concept of it, the pursuit of it, the relaxation into it. I feel that we can never truly lie. Even if we say false words - our voices, our bodies and countless other forces of the universe conspire to push the truth into awareness, whether immediately or finally.
The world is a mess. It's hard to filter honesty from the internet or television or people. I feel that an occasional hiatus from any of these could do humanity good.
I feel that the anger about secretive, exclusionary orders, or the outdated design and destructive nature of our collective systems, is insufficient, and so is trifling jealousy or ignorant rage directed at decision-makers. We are not disempowered unless we separate ourselves from power. And this is not necessary to do, nor is it productive.
I hope we will alchemize our anger into the forming of a new order and designing of a new collective destiny, which has been done before and will be done again, and must be done now.
The emergence and blossoming of understanding, love, and intelligence has nothing to do with any other tradition. It happens completely on its own when a human being questions, wonders, listens and looks without getting stuck in fear. When self-concern is quiet, in abeyance, heaven and earth are open.
- Toni Parker
January 7, 2020
Venice Beach, Los Angeles:
There does not need to be any agreement on experience. We are entitled to our own. There needs not be any cohesion in processing, or responding to experience, as we are entitled to our own - and only our own. You do not owe any one misery. You are entitled to your good feeling. You are entitled to feeling good. In feeling good one serves a higher purpose. Feeling good is being good.
I used to believe in - or wish for - a point, or for some profundity in suffering...past sufferings, the idea of suffering, etc. I suppose it is because I wanted to feel certainty that those experiences were 'worth it'...so that I would not feel regret.
All experiences are correct. Truth is available for us to tune into, and we can feel it with more light, more lightness...we can be lighter in the way we perceive and receive and give. We do not have to withhold ourselves to be sovereign. We can be in truth and experience it with more enjoyment and light - we can be lighter. Truth does not need to be heavy or dark...even that which lowers our energies or triggers our rage can be felt in lighter and lighter ways.