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.