I went to India the first time in 2008. I saw this trip as a once in a life-time opportunity to travel with my teacher to her Guru's ashram for a teaching on Shri Vidyaa. I had recently separated from my first husband, moved into a new house and had two small-ish kids, but somehow, someway, I was going to make the trip work logistically and financially. I expected that this adventure would change my life in some way, as many who take a spiritual journey do. I am happy to report I was not disappointed, although I can’t really pinpoint how it changed me.
I had done a fair amount of travel before, but honestly nothing I had encountered was quite like India. For a year or so after I returned I would weep when I saw a scene in a movie that took place in India, I missed it so much. I just wanted to walk barefoot and eat with my fingers again. Many of the things I purchased there held on to a certain scent, including my journal, and when that smell ultimately dissipated, I was heartbroken.
I can’t say why I feel different each time I return. It could be the practices that I have done while there, or the teachings received and the temples visited. Some of the Gurus I met there would laugh at our earnest group of travelers, asking why did we bother to make the trip? "God is everywhere! Even back home in America! You don’t need to come all this way to find God!” (This is obviously not sanctioned by the travel bureau.) While I understand that theory technically, there is just some way that this particular western mind is able to experience that more in India. It could be that I just want that to be true, or that the energetic vortex is stronger there, or that all of the practices done over the centuries have really changed the environment. But really, I don't care what the reason is, because for me, it just is. Each time I have gone it has been the same-there is a little sigh of relief when I realize I am back home again.
I am very excited to be going back in 2019. I am equally excited that Rafa, my spiritual brother, will be joining me in sharing some of the teachings that we have both been engaged in for decades. If you have had the pleasure of hearing Rafa chant you know how he can weave a magic that slowly, but strongly, pulls at your heart strings. His devotion is infectious! Ganeshpuri is one of the sweetest places on the planet. It is one of the last places I received a structured teaching from Mukunda, and it is where he received teachings from his Guru, Swami Muktananda.
I hope if it is in your heart to join us you will find a way to make it happen. We will be offering an early registration discount up until April 24th. We do have a limited amount of spaces available in the retreat center itself, so hopefully you will be able to commit sooner rather than later, and take advantage of the discount. Please let me know if you have questions! I know it can seem like a daunting journey, but you will be happy you did it.
“Poetry is a little lens through which one can examine, at close range, some details of the universe”. — Luci Shaw.
The Subject of the month for April is poetry, in line with National Poetry month. When Parvathi was still teaching asana classes she would often read poetry while we were in the deepest of twists or bends. She reminded us that the ambiguity in poetic verses allows the mind to be free from its pull towards a usual and known meaning. That freedom allows us to almost feel and possibly taste the words rather than think about what was just said.
Here is another quote about poetry, this by Roger Housden as published in the Huff Post:
"Poetry at its best calls forth our deep being. It dares us to break free from the safe strategies of the cautious mind; it calls to us, like the wild geese, as Mary Oliver would say, from an open sky. It is a magical art, and always has been — a making of language spells designed to open our eyes, open our doors and welcome us into a bigger world, one of possibilities we may never have dared to dream of.
In addition to using poetry to soar through the open sky this month, we will practice Garuda Asana. Garuda is the fictional half-bird, half-man vehicle that carries Vishnu, the god that sustains. He serves the task of this deity well as he is often seen carrying a vessel full of amrit, the nectar that sustains life and keeps death away. He uses his super-human strength to serve rather than to dominate. Garuda is known to act as a messenger between the gods and the humans. Perhaps he uses poetry to convey these as tidings from beyond. After all, in my experience anyway, messages that come as intuition from the god-realm (or you can just call it grace) often appear as a bundle of words that require consideration and need to be felt deeply in order to be assimilated on some level, just like poetry. And of course the different levels of meaning can take us lifetimes to understand.
And as a side note, I am very proud to host my husband’s book release party on Friday the 6th at the studio. His connection to poetry has helped me to relax in to the music of words and let myself be in the place of not-knowing. I am also grateful to witness an intention come true, which was on his part to have a book published by the end of 2017. Staying true to Warren’s nature of procrastination, we received the first copy from the publisher the end of December. I am happy to say we have reached (over) full capacity for the reading, so if you have not RSVP’d already you can pick up a copy at the studio after next week or visit Amazon.
PS-He did not edit this writing, I take full responsibility for all grammatical mistakes and misspellings.