Tuesday, June 29, 2010
OK, so I'm back at the ashram, I had a luxurious night's sleep in this lovely well-appointed little house that I've been gifted with "as long as I wish to be here", I'm sipping my second cup of coffee, enjoying wi-fi(!), enjoying the welcoming bird symphony, looking out the window at my Kurmavatara...and beyond to this wooded beauty that surrounds the ashram and wondering....
One of my favorite poets, Wislawa Szymborska, has captured my anxiety about the "no rewind," "life is what happens while you're waiting for life to happen" nature of this incarnation. I do see the sense in the concept of reincarnation and many masters say that having a human birth is a rare and precious gift. The obvious response to that is to live each moment mindfully, treating each day as a gift, not wasting a moment of this gift.
It's a reflection that has come to me frequently during the long hours of my solitude on this summer journey...and in this life in general. Back here at the ashram, where the inner work is BOLD AND HIGHLIGHTED, I consider long-and-hard once again, as Mary Oliver says, "what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?":
Performance without rehearsal.
Body without alterations.
Head without premeditation.
I know nothing of the role I play.
I only know it's mine. I can't exchange it.
I have to guess on the spot
just what this play's all about.
Ill-prepared for the privilege of living,
I can barely keep up with the pace that the action demands.
I improvise, although I loathe improvisation.
I trip at every step over my own ignorance.
I can't conceal my hayseed manners.
My instincts are for happy histrionics.
Stage fright makes excuses for me, which humiliate me more.
Extenuating circumstances strike me as cruel.
Words and impulses you can't take back,
stars you'll never get counted,
your character like a raincoat you button on the run ?
the pitiful results of all this unexpectedness.
If only I could just rehearse one Wednesday in advance,
or repeat a single Thursday that has passed!
But here comes Friday with a script I haven't seen.
Is it fair, I ask
(my voice a little hoarse,
since I couldn't even clear my throat offstage).
You'd be wrong to think that it's just a slapdash quiz
taken in makeshift accommodations. Oh no.
I'm standing on the set and I see how strong it is.
The props are surprisingly precise.
The machine rotating the stage has been around even longer.
The farthest galaxies have been turned on.
Oh no, there's no question, this must be the premiere.
And whatever I do
will become forever what I've done.
~ Wislawa Szymborska ~
(Poems New and Collected 1957-1997,
trans. S. Baranczak and C. Cavanagh)
LOTUS = Light of Truth Universal Shrine at Satchidananda Ashram...just down the road, a favorite place for noon meditation.
Monday, June 28, 2010
I'm heading back to my spiritual home, the Satchidananda Ashram, in central Virginia, this morning. I have been invited to stay in the house of a friend there...for as long as I wish.
Another important teacher of mine is Jelaluddin Rumi, a 12th century mystic, a philosopher-teacher-poet, of the Sufi persuasion. After his teacher was taken from him, he began to *go in circles,* within and without, and the "whirling dervishes" grew out of this practice and release. Here is one of my favorite pieces of his, which fairly states how I feel today:
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
I decided to wait for a really healthy first meal today, brunch! So I brewed up some brown basmati rice, with its nutty and fabulous fragrance nicely waking up my taste buds. I did this outside Hari Kurmavatara on a double burner hotplate I purchased for use in case I ran out of propane fuel in the middle of meal prep. Although I'm not out of propane, I decided that the heat of one hour of rice cooking in the camper and one hour of propane use was enough to prompt me to wrest the as yet unused hotplate from its box.
I simply steamed the brown rice. I also used the remaining kale, mixing up a sauce with a tablespoon of peanut butter diluted with balsamic vinegar, which I stirred into the kale.
When the rice was cooked, I scooped out 1/2 cup of it to add to the kale mix.
This very nutritious dish with all organic ingredients was satisfying and quite delicious, a nice meal to begin the day with!
I complete this journal with a shot of the trinkets hanging on my rearview mirror and placed on the indented dash area:
The strands of wooden balls are from San Agustin, Colombia, made by a women's collective, and carrying many precious memories.
The long chain holds an "OM" ball, with the Sanskrit OM symbol engraved upon it that sweetly rings when moved, from my dear Maui friend Diana.
Tracey gave me PEACE, literally with the piece you see, and figuratively with her many loving and compassionate offerings to me and others in the way she *lives it out.*
On the dash is a sandstone turtle, an origami bird, a miniature silver Ganesh, a Sanskrit transliteration, bracelets, and a Quan Yin. Descriptions follow under the photos:
Here is the turtle, Kurmavatara (Tracey has its twin, left as a friendship offering)
and the lovely bird, sent off with me by a Conway friend who made it from the lovely floral paper.
Here are three strands of semi-precious bead bracelets made for me by my friend Janice.
Inside the strands sits Quan Yin , the feminine goddess figure representing courage and power to live authentically and with greater clarity as the transformative practices take hold.
The tiny Ganesh, remover of obstacles, was a gift from my friend Cassandra, a gifted Little Rock yoga teacher.
Behind it is a card with the transliteration of the Toyota Dolphin's official name, Hari Kurmavatara, penned by my friend Robert, a Sanskrit scholar.
Usha reminded me of two other important items that I travel with:
My beloved teacher, Swami Satchidananda, whose spirit and Teachings are always with me. I used to keep it on the dash, but it was getting jostled about too badly. It is definitely part of my traveling altar though.
And this profound philosophical statement, which I gave to Robert on the occasion of our Vow of Commitment (and later reclaimed), that I now always keep close-at-hand: "LIFE'S TOO MYSTERIOUS...DON'T TAKE IT SERIOUS!"
Friday, June 25, 2010
I'm on a roll, so I'll post some photos of tonight's dinner in my house-on-wheels:
I needed to restock my groceries before departing Mooville in the Toyota Dolphin, so on our last night (Wednesday) Tracey took me to the ONLY natural foods store in her necka'da woods, The Healthy Grocer, a wonderful full service mostly organic food store.
Among other things, I bought a beautiful, fresh, HUGE bunch of organic kale for $1.99. I wish I had taken a photo of the lovely bouquet before destemming it, but here it is ready to go, filling my tub more than halfway:
I started by sauteeing it in a bit of olive oil with a little salt in my BIG skillet:
Such a beautiful green as it reduces!
I separated out half for another meal tomorrow. I hope Tracey doesn't mind that I took the leftover veggie korma and a bit of biryani (she wasn't there to query) from our Indian meal out at Masala Bistro, also the evening before my departure. I added this to the kale.
All dished up, on the picnic table, ready to *chow down.*
I think I did a purdy good job of cleaning the plate, shown inside empty skillet.
Wish you had been here to share it with me Tracey!!!
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