Protect What Is Sacred

The New Moon in Aquarius last Friday invited us to look deep within at our core values.

  • What is sacred?

  • What would I die fighting to protect?

fullsizerender_3As the Nation faces an uprooting of core beliefs and structures, now is the time to really stand up for what we believe in. Here is what my heart says about the current instability since a new leader has taken the oath one week ago.

1) Get crystal clear on what is sacred to you. Drop into your heart and be quiet to hear the answers. Write them down.

2) Self-care is crucial. A well-rested, well-fed warrior is far more effective than an exhausted, burnt out warrior. Tips: How to Stay Outraged Without Losing Your Mind.

3) Feel emotions. Welcome grief, anger, and despair just as much as you welcome joy, happiness, and peace. Everything moves in waves and if we ignore how we feel, we are operating from a place of denial. Move through the emotions so you can make decisions from a place of stability and truth.

4) Love yourself no matter how you show up in each moment. Whether you feel inspired to attend a rally and call congress, or you want to stay in bed all day- be compassionate with yourself. Learn to love all the parts of you, even the darkness.

fullsizerender

Women’s March in Washington, D.C. January 21, 2017

5) When taking actions, start by committing to one movement. They are all equally important. LGBTQ rights are just as important as protecting the environment. Comparing the worthiness of social movements is not helpful. There are millions of people working on projects to ensure more peace and justice to all. Pick one that you can fully show up to. Do not divert your energies too much as this can dilute your overall impact.

6) Balance your attention. Remember to laugh and have fun together! Take a break from organizing to go for a walk, read a book, dance to your favorite song, whatever you do to get back into your body in the present moment.

fullsizerender_1

7) Listening is powerful medicine. Ask each other how we’re doing and really listen. Healing happens when we know someone is listening to us and cares about us. Offer your ear to a friend without interruption. What may seem like small actions are actually immeasurable. Peace and justice ripple beyond the mind’s capacity to compartmentalize.

8) Be aware of tendencies to fall into the trap of “us” and “them.”  Explore the parts of you that feel unlovable. I challenge you to meditate on having compassion for Trump and those who voted for him. I am not saying you have to love and accept anything he is doing. Experiment by bringing your attention to the parts of you that hate another person. It’s juicy in there.

“Dehumanization is a predecessor of war. When you see your opponents as subhuman in their morals, conscience, or intelligence, then you will have to defeat them by force.” – Charles Eisenstein from This Is How War Begins

9) Tell people how much you care about them. Love cannot be defeated. Real present moment human connection is powerful.

10)  Sing your song. Be loud, be visible, make your voice heard, run for political offices, write a letter. However you contribute toward building a more peaceful planet with justice for all, go for it. This may mean going on a silent retreat for weeks at a time.

There is No Peace without Peace Within.

11) Trust in the Divine Orchestration of the Universe. Kali is here.

kaliimwithher

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

My work is loving the world.

img_6973My alarm woke me at 4:30am. This is not one of the noisy, beeping, or musical sounds. This was my internal alarm, an inner voice saying, “It is the time to pray, and there are a multitude of reasons to pray on this bitter cold morning.”

Rolling over, I pulled the covers filled with goose down around my shoulders. I ignored the call to pray. The slightest grey light peaked over the hills, beckoning me to listen. So I did.

This was one of those moments when deep down in my bones, I knew something brutally wrong was happening to my people, my planet. And, sadly, there was. Our brothers and sisters in North Dakota were faced with military force in response to protecting something that cannot be owned- water.

img_7016My internal alarm woke me from dreaming about a beautiful green and brown turtle moving slowly along a path. My sister and I watched the miraculous being for a moment before a car crushed the turtle with its tire. The whole creature was flattened. When I woke, I couldn’t help but relate the turtle in my dream to the creation story about Earth. In the story, we are all living on the back of a great turtle, our Mother Earth. Could it be that this dream was revealing a message? How can we stop the killing of the turtle? How can we protect Mother Earth and its beautiful creatures?

I have felt a whole slew of emotions since early November ranging from excitement, hope, grief, sadness, despair, inspiration, motivation, rage, anger, fear, peace, and joy. All with the looming question, what can I do as one person?

As Mary Oliver writes in a poem, “My work is loving the world.” How can I love the world despite the terrifying events directed at people because of their race, heritage, gender, class, or cultural choices? How much more can I love and recognize the beauty of each moment when rage fills my body to the point of wanting to blame and destroy one old white man who’s face fills the media coverage while the Indigenous Peoples of this land called the United States of America are being mistreated, yet again?

And again, I come back to love. I choose Love over fear. I feel compassion for those who’s actions are brutally fatalistic because, you know, they must have been mistreated so poorly in order to oppress other human beings this way. I pray that they receive the support needed to re-evaluate their actions so that love is their motivation instead of hate. I am one of those people. Who doesn’t have parts inside that can relate to these patterns of oppression, whether internal or external?

With compassion, I turn to all of our nation’s leaders, and ask them to look deep inside and ask themselves, what does my heart really want?

To you, dear one, I ask, what does your heart really want?

Write it down, speak it to a friend, and whisper it to the water.

Someone is always listening.

img_6976What I really want is peace inside and out. In moments of rage, I let myself feel the pain and despair that runs deep. After letting go of the feeling, I gather the gems for my heart. What my heart knows to be true:

The beauty, love, support, compassion, and generosity I have witnessed most recently is a powerful force. The power of connection, to one another, to nature, and to ourselves is more powerful than any other force. I am here to love. This moment, right here, right now, this is the moment I was born for.

Another message that feels crucial to share: DO NOT WAIT FOR A LEADER TO TAKE ACTION. You are the one you’ve been waiting for. If you have a voice, use it. If you hear or see injustice, speak up. If you have a pen and paper, write. Waiting for the right leader to come around is another way of choosing to live in fear.

Thanks to all the people who have delivered supplies for the Water Protectors at Standing Rock: winter gear, cash, ceremonial skirts, white sage, flat cedar, Tulsi tea, vitamin C packs, warm clothes, glasses, tarps, hand warmers, sleeping bags, toilet paper, and blankets. Although I have made the difficult, yet true to my heart decision to stay in Western Mass as of now, I have already passed along your prayers and contributions to my brothers and sisters traveling there this week.

Each morning I pour water for the Earth and Water Protectors. I pour water for you. I pour water for our nation’s political leaders. I pour water as an offering of gratitude for my beating heart, breathing lungs, and clear mind.

fullsizerenderThis is a special moment we are living in. It is a moment when the darkness is no longer hidden inside a closet to never be opened. A light has been switched on and all of the monsters many of us had the privilege to pretend no longer existed are actually thriving. If we bring light into the darkness together, united in love, the monsters will have nothing to do but fall in love with us. Love the darkness. Kiss your fears. Let’s transform the world together. I vote for love.

May these prayers travel on the backs of the winged birds, through the breeze in the tall white pines, within the ripples of the sacred waters.

When I Am Among the Trees

img_7008 When I am among the trees, 

Especially the willows and the honey locust,

Equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,

They give off such hints of gladness.

I would almost say they save me, and daily.

 

I am so distant from the hope of myself,

In which I have goodness, and discernment, 

and never hurry through the world

            but walk slowly, and bow often.

 

Around me the trees stir in their leaves

and call out, “Stay awhile.”

The light flows from their branches.

 

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,

“and you too have come

into this world to do this, to go easy, to be filled

with light, and to shine.”




-Mary Oliver

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

We can help this troubled world

“We all have the inborn wisdom to create a wholesome, uplifted existence for ourselves and others. We can think beyond this troubled world. Not only will our friends and families benefit, but even our “enemies” will reap the blessings of peace. If these teachings make sense to us, can we commit to them? In these times, do we really have a choice? Do we have the option of living in unconscious self-absorption? When the stakes are so high, do we have the luxury of dragging our feet?”

– Pema Chödrön

dsc00045

In a moment when it seems the very worst possible thing could happen, and it does, I turn to the water. The water has wisdom no person can fathom to understand. I bow my head to the mystery beneath the surface.

The power and strength of water can pull us under its current, and it can also burst through blockages, releasing patterns of withholding the truth.

That very same power and strength is inside each of us.

dsc00055I turn to the water to remind me which dams are ready to be blown through, revealing that nothing, absolutely nothing is stronger than my capacity to love.

Let your love flow today as strong as the deep dark waters.

dsc00098I am sending big prayers to the earth and water protectors of this great continent. I stand in circle singing, sounding, breathing, and praying with women today. Bound to a lineage of love, compassion, peace, forgiveness, and And every day. I feel blessed to be part of a vibrant, awake, nurturing, and fiercely loving community I call home.

dsc00096Let the sacred waters wash away all fears, doubts, and deceptions- giving rise to the truth that resides deep within every cell of our bodies. Do not fear what’s beneath the surface. Bring light to it. Breathe it into life. Scream it into life. Name it. It’s your God-give right to speak. Don’t fall back to sleep. Because the sun, it always rises again. And the moon, it always waxes and wanes. And the children of the Earth dance barefoot in the damp grass kissed by the delicate dew of the morning.

frame-04-11-2016-02-04-04-copyBlessed be. Aho.

For resources on how to support Standing Rock #NoDAPL click here.

*All photos were taken by Kristen Avonti

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Planting Seeds of Love

IMG_5228

As I sit in my safe, comfortable home watching the sunrise over the hills, fog blanketing the farm fields, birds singing sweet morning songs, I ask my tender grief-struck heart: Why is there so much violence in the world and what am I doing about it?

Once the thoughts of self-judgment pass, I listen. I am here to heal and assist others in healing. I explore the root of disease by inviting balance into the body with herbs, whole foods, and energy work. My definition of disease is when there is anything but ease in the body. Dis-ease.

I believe one of the most pressing diseases to investigate in the world is violence– internal and outward.

Why does anyone choose violence? FEAR. We live in a fear-based political and economic system that destroys communities in the name of profit. Greed fuels separation and separation invites disconnection. Disconnection from self, from God, from truth, from one another. What happens when society is rooted in disconnection? Isolation.

Isolation is a breeding ground for dis-ease. It can feel so lonely that a person in deep isolation may not believe anything they do matters or will make a difference, which can lead to choices that cause suffering. Isolation is death. Humans cannot survive in isolation. We need each other. We also rely on the Earth for sustenance. Believing we are alone is believing we are not loved. Ouch. Feel that. It makes my heart hurt.

How does the cycle of separation impact you? Have you ever felt isolated?

There is another path. Even though it feels impossible and the discouragement is as terrifying as a large truck plowing through a crowd of people. You will not be defeated if you choose another path. And you will not do it alone, either.

You have to choose it, though. You have to wake up every damn day and say yes to LOVE. It is a decision. And you have the power to choose. Put your attention on love. Because love, just like fear, is energy. And when wherever we put our energy, is what we invite into the world.

Each and every one of us is creating our own reality. We have a lot of responsibility as human beings. One of the primary responsibilities, which they don’t really teach us in grade school, so hopefully it’s shared at home, is to love and accept ourselves. This cannot only be taught. It must be experienced.

If you choose not to be love, I accept you and love you regardless. Bless your journey.

Love is powerful and so are you.

Choose love when you witness the shootings of innocent Black people. Choose love when you are faced with men cat-calling you on the streets. Choose love when your place of worship is burned to the ground. Choose love when the sacred land that your tribe called home is taken in the name of “development.” Choose love when you look in the mirror and see your inevitable mortality. Choose love when love feels like the last emotion inside your body because anger, rage, hopelessness and despair run deep. Feel the anger, rage, hopelessness and despair. Then, choose love.

Love can be tender and love can be fierce.

When the shock wears off after watching the videos of innocent people being murdered or whacked onto the ground, I grieve. Grief is underneath everything. Grieving is a choice I make because if I don’t grieve, I hold the weight of all the injustice inside of me. Grief is one of the ways human beings show love. As I grieve, I am present. I am not numb. I am fully there, with the pain and suffering. I am not taking it on or bearing the weight, I am releasing it back to Source to be recycled. Grief is a gift to the One, the Divine, God, whatever you call it. Grief is love.

When we grieve, we honor the lives of those who have died.

Grief transforms hatred and fear into love and acceptance. When I grieve, I am also grieving for all the un-grieved. I am grieving for the police officers. When I grieve, I am grieving for the “terrorists.” What do they hold onto that manifests into violent behavior?

What do you hold onto that manifest as violence towards yourself?

What would the world be like if everyone released the pain held in their bodies through grief, rather than violence? When we use violence, we are using a force based in fear. And the cycle continues. Violence interrupts energy from transforming into the ultimate underlying truth: Love. If we are to heal from and eradicate racism, homophobia, sexism, and all other oppression, we have got to grieve.

To be brave is to take off your armor and grieve.

Your grief does not have to look a certain way. My grief probably looks different from yours. Grief can be loud and it can be soft. It may be different every day. From the lion’s roar to the puppy’s weep, all grief is welcome.

When grief is witnessed by another person, there is even greater capacity to heal. If no one is around who you trust, then grieve anyway. If we grieve in the arms of another, we are contradicting the deep seeded patterns of isolation. Grieving together is loving together.

Loving together is making peace.

The power of love in connection with other human beings, with nature, with self, is invincible and unending. Love is a force. Even when we end relationships or someone dies, the love does not die. It flows into other spaces seen and unseen. When we grieve the loss of relationships or someone who has died, we are spreading love everywhere.

IMG_5483Love is a seed. It is inside all the seeds that grow into plants, which I transform into medicine for healing those in need. The medicine I make is for everyone regardless of age, race, class, gender, or religious beliefs. It is what I do and how I be.

With Fierce + Tender Love,

Hannah

 

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Tulsi- praising the sacred Mother Earth

“Tulsi reawakens our inherent longing in humanity to honor the divinity of Mother Nature.” – Tulasi Devi by Savarga

IMG_5540 (1)Yesterday, I was embraced by Mata Amritanandamayi, known as Amma, the hugging guru from Kerala, India. My dear friends who I journeyed around northern India with last March ventured with me to Marlborough, MA where Amma visits every summer.

Amma is the guru I had hoped to visit in India to receive Darshan (blessing in the form of a hug). However, due to logistics (or maybe the Divine orchestration), I was not graced with her physical presence.

This left me feeling sad upon returning to the States. Like, “Hey, I went all the way to the other side of the world and I didn’t get to see Amma?”

I wanted to bring home Tulsi seeds blessed and grown at her ashram for the herb farm in my hometown. As the results oriented person that I am, I was a bit disappointed.

IMG_5537 (1)Then, what happened the first week I was home was beyond belief. Read the story of how my disappointment turned to gratitude in an earlier post.

This week, Amma visited Massachusetts to offer Darshan and prayers. My friend Jiyanna, who grew the Tulsi for the event, asked me to deliver the plants to the Green Friends table, which sells seeds and herbal products blessed by Amma.

When we arrived, I watched as Amma began a five hour-long session of hugging hundreds of people. As I followed my friends to sit closer to the stage, I suddenly felt my body being pulled in the opposite direction, back toward the table where I delivered the Tulsi plants.

The seeds- I remembered! Sure enough, there was a basket of Tulsi seeds blessed by Amma at the table. Sarvaga, the woman I handed the plants to earlier, recognized me and we began talking. I told her I am an herbalist and love to grow and use Tulsi in my practice. Sarvaga lives at Amma’s ashram in Kerala and grows the Tulsi. “When you come to Kerala, come work with me in the gardens!” she said.

I had no words, just a wide beaming smile. “Yes, I would love to,” I replied. “We will grow Tulsi together.”

IMG_5594I purchased a few Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) plants from her, the Krishna variety grown at the ashram in India. Sarvaga explained how to care for them in the New England climate and wished me the best.

“Here, take these,” she said, “I will give you a big bag of seeds for you to grow next spring,” she said.

“Thank you,” I said. “This means so much to me. We will plant a garden of Amma’s Tulsi at the farm and I will bring you more plants next summer.”

I am deeply humbled by the experience of receiving Tulsi seeds directly from the grower in Kerala. Again, the spirits of the plants work in mysterious ways, always showing up when we are ready. How can I dare to feel anything but joy when I am surrounded by an abundance of Tulsi flowering at the farm this summer? Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Ghee Stories, part III

IMG_3166

The golden doors of the Dalai Lama Temple, Dharamsala

On the new moon, my friends and I arrived in Dharamsala after a long journey in planes, trains and taxis. This is where the Dalai Lama and many monks live since being exiled from Tibet. The energy of the new moon set the mood for visioning and sharing intentions around the ghee journey.

“I think we need to knock on doors and ask people about ghee if we really want to learn the traditional way,” said Matsya. He was a salesman back in the States before traveling to India.

First, I scoffed at this idea. Knocking on people’s doors in a distant land while I was still adjusting to the time, culture, and lifestyle was asking a lot of myself. However, if this project of learning the culture of ghee was going to happen, it had to start somewhere.

So, we laced up our shoes and headed toward the nearest home with a few cows. We paused and greeted the beautiful cow and her calves. Matsya and Ani encouraged me to lead them toward the home.

IMG_3178“Namaste,” I greeted a woman. “My name is Hannah and I am here with my friends to learn about ghee.”

The woman looked at me with kind eyes as she said, “No English.”

I thanked her and turned back toward my friends as we moved on to the next house. In that moment I wished we had a translator (or knew how to speak Hindi).

At the second home, we were advised to walk up the hill to the green house where the cows were. The woman’s confident head nodding and pointing assured us that we may find someone who makes ghee.

On the way uphill, we crossed paths with a group of young men who inquired about what we were doing. “We’re here to learn about ghee,” I said.

“Ghee?” they responded with a tone of confusion.

“Yes, ghee,” said Matsya. “We make it at home but would like to know how it is made here.”

Very enthusiastically, they invited us to meet their grandmother because she makes ghee. Our new friends were partying all week celebrating a family wedding, which we could hear across the village all evening. (Thank God for earplugs). After taking lots of group “selfies” together, their grandmother came downstairs to feed her two cows.

She did not speak English but her grandsons communicated our intentions of learning about ghee. Grandmother was not making ghee today. She only makes it on special days when she has accumulated enough curd to make the butter for ghee.

IMG_3208The group of young men very willingly explained the process: ghee is traditionally made from curd (cultured cream), similar to yogurt. The milk is collected each day and is added to the previous days batch of curd as the culture grows. The lactic acid in the cream ferments slightly giving it a tangy flavor. Once enough curd is gathered, it is churned by hand or with an electric machine that looks a little like an eggbeater.

Now we understand how the healthy rich fats from cow’s milk was preserved before refrigeration- fermentation!

We thanked the young men and their Grandmother as we continued on our journey.

Feeling like we had made some progress, we treated ourselves to a cup of chai at a nearby café. This is when it all began. The chai was flowing, the ghee Gods and Goddesses were watching over us, fresh mountain air of the Himalayas filled our lungs with creativity. We were ready to embark on a journey into the cultural wisdom of ghee.

We began searching the Internet for ghee producers in India because it felt important to visit both home scale and production scale facilities. Ani suddenly shouted, “You know what would be a great name for a ghee company? Holy Cow!”

We laughed, and sure enough, the company already existed in Delhi. I emailed the Holy Cow Foundation and heard back right away. They invited us to their Holy Cow Festival the following weekend and connected us with several nearby ghee producers. Yes! We finally had an “in” to the golden ghee river.
In those next couple of weeks we spoke with Ayurvedic doctors, attended cooking classes where we made ghee from cultured butter, visited several dairy farms ranging from 3 to
30,000 cows and ate delicious curries and Dahl graced with generous servings of ghee.

At sunset, while Matysa and Ani were at a yoga class, I joined a ceremony along the Ganges River. There was beautiful music and singing around a small fire. This ritual of burning cow dung with ghee, known as Havan, symbolizes gratitude to the Gods and Goddesses, in particular, the life giving waters of the Ganges River. Lanterns full of ghee burn to purify the air- this is the transformation of the impure to the pure.

When the fire dies down, the ashes are placed on the third eye, throat chakra, and then tongue, to symbolize the purity that arises from the burning of the impure. After the sun sets, families participate in “puja” or prayer, as they light candles on small boats made of leaves and flowers to send down river. “Puja” is a way of showing our love to the Ganga (the holy river).

Ghee is sacred oil in India. It is the purest essence from the holy cow made by removing the milk solids while heating the butter. As we clarify the butter, we are removing what no longer serves us.

During satsang on the first day of spring, Sri Prem Baba of Brazil said, “Flowers are the enlightenment of the plant. The scent of the flower is the soul, the essence.”

He suggested today, that we “burn anything that does not allow us to align with our heart.”

What is left when we clarify our minds, hearts, and bodies?

Love.

Ghee, in essence, is love. The vibration of love is held throughout the entire process- from how the cow is raised to clarifying the butter in the home. Women bathe and wear clean clothing to prepare for making ghee. It is a sacred act honoring the life-bearing Mother Earth.

IMG_3494

Dr. Vibha Sharma demonstrating ghee 

Ghee is offered to the Gods in the form of Halvah, a sweet pudding made with semolina flour, cardamom pods, almond meal, sugar, ghee and raisins. I had the honor of learning to make this tasty treat with Dr. Vibha Sharma in Rishikesh. She taught me that ghee is the medium for medicinal herbs. When ghee is cooked with herbs, it forms a union with the medicine. Ghee delivers the medicine to the organ systems that need balancing and repair.

I believe every plant, animal, insect, human, EVERYTHING is sacred.

Nourishing ourselves with the purest oil from the sacred cow is an act of honoring our divinity. The more I honor myself, the more I can offer and be of service to others

IMG_3691

Holy cow on Holi Day, the festival of colors held on the spring equinox 

Exactly three months later, as our most recent batch of ghee made on the Strawberry Solstice Full Moon sits in jars beside me, I commit to burning away anything that holds me back from sharing my love and passion with my village.

Here is a quote from my journal while in India, “Separation is only an idea. The truth is infinite love. A union of ghee, herbs, yoga, medicine, and love. If I find union inside myself, aligning to my soul, then I am one with all.”

Namaste. Blessings on your Summer Solstice.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Ghee Stories, part II

IMG_3069The journey began the moment I decided to go to India. My focus swiftly drifted from daily herbal projects to all the hurdles of receiving a visa from the consulate. I recommend giving oneself at least two months to apply for a visa, and contact me about the process because I wish I had someone guide me through it every step of the way.

One week before my flight, the visa was delayed and it did not look hopeful. So, I decided to go to NYC where the visa application center is located to move the process along. I became extremely stressed about the entire procedure and was close to canceling the trip. On my way back from the city, I caught a virus that had me in bed for 3 days. Now, I was really looking for a way out. I couldn’t imagine boarding a plane in four days half way around the world to a country where I would more likely than not, get sick again. Oy vey!

My friends told me to read the signs as a test of my dedication to this journey, not as a deterrent. If I was meant to go to India, they assured me, I would get there. They believed it would all work out and told me not to worry.

IMG_3019Without a visa in hand, I took a train to NYC the night before my flight so I could be at the visa center as soon as they opened the next morning. I carried my lightweight backpack with only the bare essentials for the month to the visa center and prayed that my visa would be waiting for me. If it was ready, I would be boarding a plane to Delhi in 4 hours. If not, I would be discouraged and angry about the whole ordeal. Plus, a lot of money right down the toilet.

The doorman recognized me as the anxious woman who came last week. He asked what my departure date was. I replied, “In 4 hours, my friend.” He sighed and told me to wait a moment while he checked upstairs.

While he was gone, I saw an email on my phone from the visa center. Sure enough, there was a status update on the tracking of my visa informing me that it had arrived from the consulate at the center, however it had not yet been sorted. Thirty seconds later, the doorman came running downstairs and told me it had arrived but they had to paw through 1,000 visas to find my passport and visa. Yes, they had my passport, too!

Fifteen minutes later, I check out of the office and caught a cab to the airport. I called my mom, of course, to tell her the fantastic news: I am going to India after all!

IMG_2995After a relaxing 14-hour flight, sensory overload became my new best friend. Coming from the quiet back roads of Western Mass where the air is pure and solitude is at my fingertips, Delhi was a shock.IMG_2981

My friends and I (AKA “the chooches”) rejoiced in our reunion after many months. It is a
term of endearment. We recalled stories of the past and excitement for our month of traveling together. But, in the present, my lungs could hardly get a full breadth of air. The pollution made my eyes burn and my lungs ache. How can people live here? Grief penetrated my lungs as fast as the particulate matter.
Nothing lasts too long and everything is temporary, I learned early on in the trip. In an instant we were in a taxi racing around all the other vehicles on the road. My attention shifted from my lungs to my gut, the place where I hold fear of death. I took a deep inhalation through my scarf and as I exhaled, I released all fear and expectation. Surrendering to the divine orchestration, I felt held amidst all the chaos surrounding. A small voice inside me rose again saying, “trust that you are safe and held in the arms of the universe.”

Like meditation, the entire trip for me was about trying to be present with what is happening now. Not only were the internal sensations quite uncomfortable at times, but the external could not always be relied on for relief. Among the momentary discomfort, I made a choice very early on in the trip: I chose to set my mind free, to surrender.

IMG_3066“It’s good to be back in India,” said Martin and Colette, who had just returned from a month in Cambodia. Their positive outlook was reassuring as I watched women with babies nestled to their breasts beg for food and money. “I never hand them money,” said Martin, “only food.” I watched as he bought coconut slices from a man and then handed them directly to the woman.

 

At breakfast the first morning, we called upon our ancestors and spirit guides as we embarked on a journey together. We asked for safety and guidance. We expressed our gratitude for the opportunity to come together, the three of us, in India. We opened our hearts and minds to all the possibilities.

IMG_3030Colette and I shared a similar vision and the mountains were calling. Through a series of circumstances including there being no trains available, we booked a flight to the province of Kashmir and Jammu for a few days of rest and recuperation. We stayed in a houseboat on a lake. Bottomless pots of Kashmiri Tea were provided along with as much rice and curried vegetables we could consume. Finally, I could rest and adapt to the 10.5 hour time change. The calming affect of sleeping on top of water was exactly what my body needed. As I dozed in and out of sleep listening to the sounds of boats paddling by, again, I felt held by something much larger than myself.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized