Friday, June 11, 2010
I spent two weeks at the Satchidananda Ashram in central Virginia. It was glorious in every way. The time there began with a kirtan retreat with Krishna Das, and what a beginning that was! I was either sobbing or singing or laughing, all from joy.
This is Sivananda Hall, where all meals are eaten and many programs take place as well. This is only one of several buildings on the 100's of acres. It is a wonderful environment, which supports the practices.
I'm hanging out in Sivananda Hall, prior to a meal.
Saturday dinner. Krishna Das is in the dark tee shirt. Notice the photos of saints up high on the wall...Paramahansa Yogananda is quite apparent.
Krishna Das gave me a few pointers on harmonium playing and mechanics.
The beginning of a lovely trail to LOTUS (Light of Truth Universal Shrine), a temple to all the world's religions, known and unkown
The LOTUS trail
LOTUS in the distance.
My very old and dear friend, Swami Divyananda, arrived at the ashram while I was there. WHAT A SURPRISE! She was my first introduction to Integral Yoga, while directing the San Francisco Institute when I knocked at the door in 1981.
Swami Divyananda and another wonderful friend, Swami Dayananda.
The entrance to the home of Swami Tyagananda, a noted artist who took sannyas (monk) vows many years ago. What follows are several photos of his amazing varieties of artistic work. All the landschaping is his as well. He is in an orange tee shirt with gray sweats. He's in his late 80's and has several pieces in-process. He always appears for morning, noon, and evening meditation...very consistent in the practice. The library in his house is impressive. He is a prolific reader.
LOTUS and the LOTUS Lake from his second floor balcony.
What a laundry room! There are colorful discs on walls all over the house...all with designs on both sides of the disc.
Satya Greenstone chatting with Swami Tyagananda
Yesterday was my first day at Land's End State Park, Virginia Beach, on Chesapeake Bay. What a sunset
Set up in my lovely camp site, with computer at-hand!
To be continued!
Friday, May 28, 2010
Friday of Memorial Weekend 2010
I'm deeply inspired by my dear SparkFriend JerseyGirl who, while living a nightmare, CHOOSES to not immerse herself in it. I have so much to be thankful for on this beautiful day. I CHOOSE to be grateful for it ALL, beginning with ~~
the "office" from where I'm writing you! I'm sitting at a picnic table at Lake Reidsville, North Carolina, (north of Greensboro off of US 29N, Business) a city campground off the beaten path that I was "directed" to just as I've been directed to each place I've spent the night since Monday.
Wednesday night I stayed at a lovely site in Murphy, NC just leaving Cherokee National Forest. Tuesday night I camped at Davy Crockett State Park in TN. Monday night I enjoyed the fabulous Village Creek State Park in Wynne, AR. As I said...I was "led" to each place, and each setting was PERFECT for my emotional and spiritual needs of the moment!
I have little time for sitting, because I want to hightail it to the ashram to get myself settled before the program with Krishna Das begins this evening, but here are a few random thoughts and sharings:
As I played some beautiful Hawaiian music on the road and thought about the chanting retreat ahead, thoughts of my dear friend Patti Valentine came to mind. In a way she's responsible for me being here. When I visited her last year on Kauai, she gave me a CD/DVD album of Krishna Das...and the rest, as they say, is history. www.krishnadas.com/tour_schedule.cfm She also gave me the HI music I've been playing on the trip.
Here we are at her little home, all dressed up ready to go see Deepak Chopra, who was on Kauai while I was visiting her!
Someone else who figures large in this adventure is my friend Juan Guererro, who is an expert camper technician and went through all the systems and got me up-and-running for this summer's touring.
Here is young handsome Juan, busy at-work on Kurma, taking a phone break.
I have been getting some exercise, as well as eating healthy. Here are a couple meals I've prepared in my camper and enjoyed this week with all-organic ingredients:
This was a tomato stew, with new potatoes, carrots, braised red onions, wilted arugula, and feta sprinkled on top.
This was a huge salad with baby romaine, kalamata olives, feta, a chopped hard boiled egg, cuke, avocado, plum tomatoes. The dressing was ginger-based with some low fat sour cream!
I LOVE the quote SparkFriend DarkThor shared in a comment he made on my last blog:
"When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something's suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful. ~Barbara Bloom"
That SO expresses the way I want to feel about my unfolding life. Thank you ALL for your wonderful, life-affirming responses to my blogs. I FEEL your presence with me as I wend my way to parts known and unknown.
Hari Kurmavatara, the officially christened name of my little camper (Kurma is the turtle incarnation of Vishnu, for those who know anything of the Hindu pantheon of deities!).
ACT II, Summer 2010 solo road trip, began with the (1) May 11, 2010 blog and ends with (28) on August 14, 2010. Each of ACT II's travel blogs is numbered and includes "Summer10" in the title.
ACT I began with (1) July 29, 2009 and concluded with (7) August 22, 2009, numbered, with "Summer09" in the title...providing a chronicle of sorts for myself and any who are curious!
Monday, May 24, 2010
...all right -- a week at the wondrous Devil's Den State Park, NW Arkansas,
...made all the more miraculous because of beginning this odyssey at the feet of my *shero* Mary Oliver, at a reading in Fayetteville, which is near Devil's Den State Park. After the reading, I bought three of her poetry collections -- one for me and two to share with friends -- and stood in line to get her signature on them. Oh yes, I even had a brief exchange with her, nervous as a school girl!
I began my solo road trip in great style: wandering in wonder through the water falls, the sand stone formations, the meadows and lakes, the hug-able trees in full regalia, the "backwater woods" (see below).
I left the park yesterday and I've made a two-hour detour on my trip to Virginia to spend the night at home to retrieve my pillow(!), my passport (in case I want to cross into Canada) AND to go by the computer shop to see if the hard drive problem can be remedied on my laptop. Otherwise I won't have a computer on the trip....
I MISS ALL OF YOU and send BIG BUNCHES of all around.
UPDATE: Harddrive changed under warranty -- YAY! And from that scary 150 lbs. I got up to at the end of the semester, the scale smiled at me this morning with a minus six lbs. after that wondrous week in nature commencing Maha's Magical Mystery Tour!!!
IN BLACKWATER WOODS
Look, the trees
their own bodies
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
the long tapers
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders
of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is
I have ever learned
in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
~ Mary Oliver ~
(American Primitive -- the collection for which she won the Pulitzer Prize)
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
This poem came in my InBox today. It's for ME...as I depart this morning...to hear another extraordinary poet tonight, Mary Oliver...and then continue wending my way east to the Satchidananda Ashram...and beyond.
Who told Joe (purveyor of beautiful poetry by subscription online...link at end) that I was leaving this morning?
Hafiz was a Sufi poet (1350-1390). When he speaks of the "Beloved" or the "Friend," he means the divine/God/Goddess and he often addresses himself within his pieces.
"Awake, my dear.
Be kind to your sleeping heart.
Take it out into the vast fields of Light
And let it breathe."
It does not have to be
One step upon the Sky's soft skirt
Would be enough.
Just one True moment of Love
Will last for days.
Rest all your elaborate plans and tactics
For Knowing Him,
For they are all just frozen spring buds
So far from Summer's Divine Gold.
Awake, my dear.
Be kind to your sleeping heart.
Take it out into the vast fields of Light
And let it breathe.
Give me back my wings.
Lift me nearer."
Say to the sun and moon,
Say to our dear Friend,
"I will take You up now, Beloved,
On that wonderful dance You promised."
~ Hafiz ~
(I Heard God Laughing - Renderings of Hafiz -- Daniel Ladinsky)
Friday, May 14, 2010
I really appreciate Organic Consumers Association, a watch dog organization that provides great information and lobbies for change in this most important area -- the food we eat! Here's a summary from the article in their latest e-newsletter that just arrived to my Inbox today. I provided the link to the full article at the end of this blog.
This kind of information is sobering, but important to know about and consider acting upon. I don't take any medicine...*clean* food is my medicine.
The President's Cancer Panel says that the "risk of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated," that "nearly 80,000 chemicals [are] on the market in the United States, many of which are ... understudied and largely unregulated," and that "the public remains unaware ... that children are far more vulnerable to environmental toxins and radiation than adults."
The panel says "evidence suggests that some environmental agents may initiate or promote cancer by disrupting normal immune and endocrine system functions. The burgeoning number and complexity of known or suspected environmental carcinogens compel us to act to protect public health, even though we may lack irrefutable proof of harm."
Check out these examples selected from the recommendations:
* Parents and child care providers should choose foods, house and garden products, play spaces, toys, medicines, and medical tests that will minimize children's exposure to toxins. Ideally, both mothers and fathers should avoid exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals.
* It is preferable to use filtered tap water instead of commercially bottled water.
* Exposure to pesticides can be decreased by choosing ... food grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers [translation: organics] and washing conventionally grown produce to remove residues.
* Exposure to antibiotics, growth hormones, and toxic run-off from livestock feedlots can be minimized by eating free-range meat [translation: don't eat feedlot meat].
-- Marion Nestle, professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University, and the author of Food Politics, Safe Food, What to Eat, reporting in the Atlantic, May 12, 2010, on a new report from the President's Cancer Panel.
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