Friday, March 8, 2013

moving from dark to light

Words written by The Mother in Auroville--an internaltional community create by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother in the 60's.

We made it to Pondicherry...with a 15 hour bus ride behind us..we arrived around 9 am. Everything went smoothly, until we were dropped off at our "pre-arranged" hotel. First of all I started to become aware of the ever increasing amount of trash and debris on the streets in this particular part of town. I was growing concerned, yet I could't tell if my negative outlook was due to me feeling the effects of the bus ride. But I held out hope until we entered..and... lets just say that it reminded me of hotels in the states where you rent them by the hour. I decided to at least see the room, but no one came. We stayed there for for nearly an hour and we NEVER even saw anyone..hmm..I truly think this was the universe testing me.  In all our travels this had been one of my biggest fears..not having a safe place for Zane. In the last 2 stops we were lucky to have picked great places to lay our head..but I have traveled enough to know that sometimes this is simply the luck of the draw..especially when you are traveling on a tight budget. one of my biggest fears is what do I do? Well, I felt my feet on the ground. Took a deep breath and reminded myself that we are safe, that I am intelligent, and that I trust Creator to guide us in the right direction.

With this little prayer, I asked Zane to stay put with the luggage and I went out with the grace of being guided to a safe place. In about 15 minutes I found a hotel, but they were full..hmmm..on the 3rd try I found a place..just 2 blocks from where we had landed. I walked in and this woman embraced me with a beautiful smile, she offered me a very clean and well kept room. I quickly went back to Zane who by this time had more strength in him to be alone that few minutes..he smiled at me and said "I knew you would find a good place Mom!" I appreciated his faith in me.

The tone of this beginning, colored our first few days. All I saw around me was the poverty, the trash, the depth of human existance that I knew existed in India but we had not seen because we had been sheltered by the Ashram and the serene state of Kerala. I started to go into a deep fear pattern until I realized what it was all about. Of course I needed to be pushed to this place..I was the one that needed to except all of humanity. This was my problem..I remember reading "disgust " is another form of fear. So yes, it was an opportunity to be in acceptance that this is ALL part of the human experience. We are all ONE.

As soon as I let go and realized all was still safe and Divinely guided. I started to see the cleaner streets. Grocery stores to buy higher quality food for Zane. It was like the veil of my illusion lifted to show me another picture of was wild really. All Zane knew was how I described things to him..the world in front of him was a blank canves with him waiting for me to color it with words and emotions.

Beautiful flower mandala at Auroville

So..all in all we got through this huge obstical. There have been others, but this one was one of the biggest to unfold for sure. We got through it together and it was one more thing to bring us together and strengthen our connection. At times I am brought to my knees in gratitude for how this journey has unfolded..we have been in good health, good spirits and experienced amazing places and people. Some have asked why I would take this risk..why did I need to go to such extremes. All I can say is that it was necessary. Seeing humanity at this level and then experiencing the devotion to the Divine in the same breath could only be learned from this country. There was a discipline established as we walked the streets looking for food, or washed our clothes in a bucket...the only choice truly in front of us was to roll up our sleeves and do the work, step by step..The grace and ease in which it all has unfolded proves to me that this was all as it should be. Now the work in front of me is to digest all the info I downloaded and offer it in a user friendly way!

In regrads to the journey, we did spend quite a bit of time at Sri Aurobindo and The Mothers Ashram..a big part of the spiritual downloading has been from their work. It was beautiful to see Zane bow down in deep respect for them at their place of worship....he now automatically bows and sits in prayer...AWESOME!!  I was very fortunate to have picked up a book on how they view illness and healing.

Going to Auroville, was a breath of fresh air..literally. Zane  had a great time playing in the forest there and eating another of his favorites..Ghee Roast..for lunch. We were able to connect to many of the organic farms,  in hopes that we can come back and offer some sort of "Natural Building" from Zane's dad. hint hint..we are already thinking of how to get back to India!!!

We will be home in the next few days..I am not sure how I will navigate starting to work with my amazing clientelle again. So much has changed..I have promised myself some space to really allow all of the beautiful gifts that this journey offered me to congeal before wisking back into werstern life again.

Zane and I bow down with deep revernce to all of you who believed in this journey. I have faith  that the gifts I will be offering you and the world will be worthy of the support and effort you gave us.

Om Shanti, Om Shanti..... H and Z

Yes, my friends..cows eating from trash cans. The cows roamed the streets like stray dogs. 

The Coffee House..a resturaunt built under British cn see the spiral  architecture..the floors were ramped up to the top..with tables stacked on the way up..very cool.

Trash along the street..simply no place to put it all. People walking by..part of life. By the afternoon, the strench was strong

Devotional architecture, weaved through the Puducherry.
Cow hanging out on having lunch after school right along side her

Lakshmi blessing the crowd..Zane and I both got a turn too

in Puducherry in front of Gandhi statue

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Life outside the Ashram..gaining strength

On a ride at the Zoo in Travindrum

So it is sad but true we have headed away from the is a bitter sweet, but we must make our way back to he California some time! Zane's papa is missing him and of course Zane is missing him right back...
A favorite Ghee Roast!!!

We decided to make it back to Varkala as the beaches are safe and beautiful along the Arabian Sea. We have truly felt blessed as we have been enjoying the cleansing and calming elements of the water. Zane is actually running on the beach. This is VERY new as he has usually not had enough "umph" to want to do this. Now he is doing it so much he comes back with sweat dripping from his forehead..ahhh..those very simple accomplishments. I am so proud of him and so very grateful for the movement in his continuation of gaining strength on all levels..

Around Varkala we went to a Druga festival and then were able to catch a local community events where traditional dance and songs were preformed for the public..We were in the right place at the right time to see such lovely performing arts. 

We decided to go further down south to Trivindrum..this is almost to the tip of Southern India.Here we have spent just a few days..seeing the zoo, visiting some local sights. Now we are off to Puducherry and then Chennai, where we will fly back to the Western World.

As we transition towards home, I am caught in this place of limbo. Like an incredible 5 course meal, I await the dessert. With anticipation and appreciation for how my senses have been/will be stimulated and challenged, I sit waiting. India outside of the Ashram is more of the "India" that you read and hear about. Yes it is true there are lots of people, and the difference between those that have and those that don't is obvious.
Spending some time on his school work.

Zane and I both are being pushed outside of our comfort zone...  it is now a necessity to navigate through this world of much more harshness than we have ever known. I am not sure what this new set of challenges will offer, but I know that it is part of this journey..a complete experience. 

I find it interesting that now that  we are deeper into the "essence" of India, Zane has a stronger sense of himself. I am reminded of the words..".You are exactly where you are suppose to be in this moment"...

I believe this has never been more true..

More to come my beautiful friends and loved ones..

A warm embrace from our hearts to yours...may these words reach you with moments of joy in your hearts and peace in your minds..Heather and Zane..

Krishna circling these women during a traditional dance

Traditional signer during Durga festival
Sucking on a stalk of sugar Durga Festival
This very large Durga Pillar..the men circle the temple 3x while carrying this on their shoulders..WOW!

Elephant dressed up for Festival

Monday, February 11, 2013

Amritapuri..up close and personal

Zane facing the Arabian Sea. This photo was taken on one of the apartment high rises. Amazing view!

This is the right of the stage where AMMA comes and goes for Darshan and Bajans. We are waiting for her to come down from the stage this night in particular after Bajans..Notice all waiting for her and the light coming from the is not that bright in person..not even close....hmmm..curious how the camera caught this. after being in the ashram for a bit I have come to understand the politics. Enough anyway where I feel like I am not going to be struck down if I take a few photos to share with the folks at home :)....I hope you enjoy. I am not able to get any closer to the temple..but I think you get some what of an idea. It was the first large building established..the whole Ashram helped build it. It fact one of the things I appreciate about being here is the sense of community involvement. You will see form the video how large the whole ashram is..quite amazing really.

The daily rhythm of the Ashram for the devotees who live here is as follows..
5-6:30am Archina (chanting of the 1000 names)
one can also go to a puja at the Kaliri ( a puja is a ceremony honoring a specific diety)
6:30-7:30  Beach mediation and Satsang
7:30-9 Personal spiritual practice or Seva
9-10 ----breakfast
10-11 Archina again if you missed in the morning
10-1 Seva
1-2 lunch
2-5 Seva
5:30-6:30 Mediation and Santsang
6:30-8 Bajans (devotional songs)
8-9 Dinner

Zane and I usually did only about 2-3 hours of the afternoon (usually), we did yoga..or we did some school work. I ended up buying a little gas stove to cook for Zane. We took our dinner sometimes during the beach mediation or during Bajans. It was rare we made it to the 8pm..we were in bed by then. However when AMMA was in the Ashram we did spend many late nights with her on stage and simply watching her hug..It was such a special time for us.

Some of you may know this..but for most of Zane's life he has not allowed me to hold him. And to ask him to look into my eyes was what I would describe as painful for him.That level of connection was hard for him and he would either move away or simple refuse from the beginning. Yet when we would sit in front of AMMA..he would let me hold him and almost rock him like a new born baby. He would allow me to nourish him, to allow my love to pour into like I always dreamed. We would look into each others eyes and I would kiss him and rock him for hours. Sometimes both of us crying..for no particular reason. It was magical..I truly believe this is where the healing started on our was like we found each other we lost each other I dont know..but the deep connection we have built during this adventure is what I believe will be the healing force to support Zane for what ever is to come.

I hope you enjoy this glimpse of what our life has looked like at the Ashram..We will be making our way back home in a few weeks..hard to believe we have been traveling for almost 4!! From our heart to yours..Nameste

Kali Temple with candles honoring Amma's birth star

Named Mediation Beach..where we sit for morning and sunset Santang and mediation with AMMA..facing Arabian Sea

Amritapuri..Kali temple in front..buildings around are flats for right of the temple is the Kaliri..a small shed where AMMA's family barn was oringinally.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Daily rhythm around the Ashram

Zane(aka Kali) and I traveling in a rickshaw.  He loves to go every morning to put the chandan on his 3rd eye.  

Zane getting a hair cut..his suggestion
to signify his turning 7.
 Hello hello hello dear friends, on the road is so full yet so simple. I am reminded daily about how truly blessed we are to live in the Western World. Washing our own cloths in the sink, preparing meals on a simple gas stove and walking where we need to go is just the simple chores we do along with our spiritual practice and seva (volunteering our time to support the whole). This slower pace has been AMAZING for both of us. Not having a cell phone to attend to or an internet that always works has been a blessing too. The focus has truly been on Zane and how he and I relate to each other. The down side of all this has been the resistance in us both to really settle into this simplicity. The shiny distractions in the Western world certainly pulls us away from when an opportunity to grow is in front of us.

The last month has been a deep reflection on our life. He and I both have transformed from our full time experience with AMMA, being with each other and having time to simply feel our feet on sweet Mother Earth. There is no question in both of our minds that this journey was absolutely necessary and has brought rewards beyond our full digestion.

We were inspired to go to an Ayuvedic practitioner to see how he might see Zane and offer support. Dr. Nibodhi was suggested to us and we are grateful as he travels to the Sacramento region when he travels with AMMA on the American tour. So we get to have a follow up with him..Yea!! His approach to Zane was right on and I felt a strong connection to what he offered. We have been on the regime now for a month and he has lost his front tooth and for those of you who follow the Steiner ways..his toes have changed..he is more in his body more than ever. He is taking an herbal formula made by Swami's who chant sacred verse from the Vedic text..made some where closer to the pristine!!! We are also massing him daily with Brahmi and Tulsi oil..blessed by AMMA.

Zane now with out his sweet front tooth.
Tooth fairy came and brought him a beautiful
blood stone.

Post hair cut being silly. Which he LOVES
due to it spiking like older boys!

Zane and his buddy helping
With this new strength that is coming into him, he is more willing to participate with strenuous tasks. We like to work on a farm helping in any way we can.
 There are also many many families here. This has been amazing because this was one of the concerns about coming to an Ashram...well families from all over the world are coming to expose their children to this type of lifestyle. We are so taken care of!
Planting pineapples in front of the flats where the families stay.
Compost Seva
WE miss you all and send our love and gratitude for this opportunity. Next post some videos of the ashram..finally figured out the politics of this. Then a beautiful bajan sung by our friend Harini..with Zane and buddy Will as back up....stay tuned..LOVE LOVE TO EACH OF YOU!!

Oh yes this is true..even face painting with our friend  Karys from Greece.

Musical entertainment..these are the seats where we have our meals.

I quickly took this picture on the stage where AMMA sits for darshan. We are taking a Tabla class..what an amazing instrument.