More Happy Returns To Favourite Lands
After the ear-splitting Xmas celebrations of Palolem, I found perfect peace for New Year's Eve, in a $9 musty sherbet pink room, with no air, no linens, (thank you, Dream Sack, one of my most prized possessions is a silk sleeping liner, perfect for iffy locations), a rock hard inch thick mattress, pebbly pillows, and I will spare the details on the state of the bathroom. This was the only accommodation available in a quiet place.
I, however, slept like a baby, and got up feeling quite pleased with myself for my toughness and adaptability.
I walked outside, early morning, and the very 1st person I met was an Eastern European woman, probably early 50's, packing up her bicycle. She'd just slept outside in her hammock, and was cycling solo from Mumbai to the southern tip of India.
It happens every time I get even a little bit smug about my hardiness, someone else comes along and shows me, without a doubt, that I'm not such a hotshot.
Strikes me that extremely trusting people are always the happiest, whether they get snowballed or betrayed more than the rest of us or not.
Just bought the entire harvest of the Garden of Eden for 5 bucks at the local fruit stand, and now there's a huge, yellow monkey with a pretty black face just outside my door.
So poignant and pure; talking to one of the lovely staff members here at Bhakti Kutir (my favourite hotel in India), about the arranged marriage that will be his fate, and his absolute acceptance of this. "I love my mother so much, I must do this for her". His birthday; July 7th, the Indian Cancerian, (regardless of what he is in Vedic), this one was not hard to guess.
Yoga on my patio; chickens pecking the ground all around, crows squawking in the tree-tops, and eagles silently circling overhead.
The Indian Sadhu, you run into him anywhere and everywhere here. Intense and authentic and wildly intriguing, he is whatever he is, and he believes himself unashamedly entitled to demand that you support his life.
Just spent Goan Sunset #26 floating in a glassy Van Gogh ocean. And right up to me came a beautiful little English girl, diving and arc-ing just like a dolphin, she sweetly informed me that she was 7 and three quarters, and had just had her hair corn-rowed. Then she stated; "and here is my birth-sign", she turned around flipped her hair forward and there was a little temporary tattoo of the Pisces symbol on the back of her neck. Then she swam away. Thank you, world.
I feel like I earned a blue (or any colour) belt, in scootering today, after an 80 km round trip to a small local city, with no stop signs, working traffic lights, or anything even resembling a sense of vehicular order. Then driving home, just as my nerves were starting to settle, I passed my 1st (not in a basket) hooded cobra, just a little too closely for comfort, coming out of a ditch and about a foot from my front tyre. I was very glad to be mobile. From mermaids to cobras, what a difference a day makes.
I want my eyebrows back. Some lovely young Indian woman, with a piece of thread in her mouth, just gave me the skinniest caterpillar eyebrows of my whole life.
And it was so surreal sitting in this Indian salon, surrounded by products these gorgeous dark skinned women use to bleach themselves as white as possible, knowing I'll be back in California momentarily, where people who are born the colour these women want to be are spraying and dyeing themselves the colour these women already are.
We are a weird species.
My perverse Aquarius nature so enjoys pulling up in front of the super swish 5 star hotel, (where some of the workshop students are staying), on my dusty red scooter, looking like a windswept hippie granny. The beyond elegant, turbaned concierges had no idea what to do with me, yet had to treat me deferentially because of my age and tourist status.
I took pity on them ultimately, and scooted off to park the bike well out of sight.
There’s a great sense of belonging in the chaos here in India, I always feel a part of everything, never isolated and never alien. I miss it in the more ordered, “sensible” West. Vast pro and cons to both, but I ever veer towards the buzz and the mystery.
Brian Clark (our brilliant speaker and my dear friend) were in a temple in Gokarna yesterday, when in came prancing the most beautiful pure white cow, so full of spirit, dignity and confidence, you could feel her presence before she entered.
She was the living deity and darling of that particular temple, washed and groomed, obviously greatly loved, with a garland of flowers around her neck. Everyone reached out to her, touching her gently with reverence, and praying to her.
It was a powerful moment, because it so clearly showed that by imbuing something with sacred energy, we make it so. She had fully embodied what they believed her to be.
India: she so reminds me of the analogy that you can never step into the same river twice, here you never experience close to the same moment twice. Of course it's the same anywhere, it just feels far more pronounced here.
Yes, I'm having a wild love affair with this land.
Workshop #20 over, Brian Clark and the whole group were wonderful, India as a location is above and beyond anything I could have even imagined. And tomorrow morning at 5:30 am, 16 of us head inland to Hampi, 8 hours on a train, and then 4 days exploring an ancient city and many temples.
Blessed and Blissed.
Staring out of the train window as rural India flies by, hanging out with 15 other game and adventurous astrologers. Such a happy time.
Hanuman Temple - birthplace of the Monkey God. Last time we were here the lovely temple guardian hosted our whole group for lunch, a group of sadhus and we astrologers. We're going back.
It's that post workshop semi-coma day. Eat sleep eat sleep eat sleep.
Last day in Hampi, saw Laxshmi the elephant one more time, rented another scooter, drove off to get lost and found on the backroads of ancient Kishkinda, and watched the sunset from the top of those 600 steps at the Hanuman Temple.
When the heart is full to bursting, the eyes release the overflow. It's one of those days.
6:00 am and sitting on yet another Indian train station, back to Goa, and then in one week California. Already in that transition zone, and I'm not so sure time travel could trump it. Sometimes the East to West leap feels on the level of a planetary change.
My compartment companions, 7 delightful young men from Hyderabad, on their way to Goa for the 1st time. Laughing and joking the whole way, and being so kind and inclusive.
Last day in India.
Every single ounce and crevice of the suitcase being crammed full, through sheer determination to take as much of her with me as is humanly possible.
And a last dip in the Arabian Sea; a baptism and a prayer, asking to be blessed with the ability to return just as soon as possible.
I am a voracious people watcher, and no place is better for indulging this than an airport.
Hong Kong; pristine, sterile, marble and chrome airport where many people wear surgical masks and the health police randomly check take your temperature should you show even a flush or a bead of perspiration. A far cry from hacking, spitting, fecund and sweaty, organic India, (which I'd chose over the gleam and polish any day).
As much as we all complain about air travel, it is still completely mind blowing that in a few short hours one can be transported between such entirely different worlds.
Landed, and heart stoppingly excited at the thought of seeing my beloveds.
Driving through the US, I always get this vision of it one day being a land of vast ghost malls.
America; she is not my motherland, but instead has proven to be a sisterland. Here is where I discovered a family of women, (and a few very special men), who have taught me the true meaning of friendship and the power of feminine caring.
Although it is fast slipping away as a primary home, I know that I have a lifelong nest, a place of regeneration and respite, in the collective bosom of these magnificent women; my Friends.
Back in America, where from either an ant's or birds-eye perspective, cars have inherited the earth and massively out number people.
The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realise that you control your own destiny. - Albert Ellis AMEN - Me
Chocolate dipped strawberries, brought by a client with Moon in Taurus in the 6th house, her perfectly exalted Moon in sweet service to my happy taste-buds.
Smile, smile, smile.
Prepping for my trip to Russia, coming up this Summer, I'm once more reminded of how infinitely more fascinating history can be than any form of fiction.
Mercury Retrograde in Pisces until March 17th, (St. Paddy's Day, how appropriate). Logic will be flying backwards and sideways trying to keep up with the mystical. The truth and illusion have already begun a long, tense game of chess.
Practice surrendering without giving up.
Facebook types and a resultant scenario: running into old friends/acquaintances who already know all your news, while you know absolutely zero of theirs. Clear evidence that I am the bouncy, blabby, let it all hang out type, and they the stealthy, silent, observant ones. There is the making of a fun astrological study in there somewhere.
A brilliant crisp California winter's day; the Sun's light is fluorescent, the new and tender grass shoots day-glo green, and the pond's surface like a faceted glittering disco ball.
Uranus transiting my IC; put my house on the market, let those lightening charged dice bounce and spark until they land where they will.
So appreciating my Russian travel agent and her unending patience with me, just added St Petersburg to my itinerary, so now I also get to visit Warsaw and Minsk. Eating up everything I can find out about everything, (goddess bless the Internet). What an endlessly fascinating world we inhabit.
Long conversations to Singapore, Portugal and England, all before the clock struck 8:00 am: I luv me Skype.
Being in love with nature never breaks your heart; noted from the top of an emerald green oak studded hill, on a storm threatening cloudy spring day.
Happily back on my health stomp; veggie-ing, juicing, training for life.
I realise how "weird" I might seem when I get excited by the description: "shoddy Soviet-bloc style", while hotel searching for Siberia - but then why on earth would I cross half the planet on a train to stay at a Marriott? And how could I likewise not choose the "Double Happiness Hotel" for my Beijing digs?
Having a juice fast day; it's truly amazing what the mind can start deciding is a fruit or vegetable; nothing in the house is safe from my hunger and the blades of this formidable juicing machine. Chocolate was once a pod on a leafy green tree - right?
Apparently it is perfectly acceptable to walk right into any Mongolian ger, (the traditional tents the majority of the population lives in), and make yourself at home. But you are advised to always yell out "Nokhoi Khori!" first, which means "hold the dogs", and never, ever to pet said beasts. This is ever so slightly worrying, does Kujo originate there?
A patriot without a country.
My gratitude to Astrology, for being such a great humbler and slayer of assumptions, and proving over and over again that the mind is ever a beginner.
Wonderful spur of the moment visit with my beloved friend, Rick Levine. The last dinner we shared was on a balmy Bali night overlooking the jungle, this time at a genuine old California stagecoach stop. Watermelon martinis to pinot noir. Life is oh so splendid.
Sabine and Ludwig just got married, on a glorious love-drenched, hope-filled beautiful day. Right now I feel like I fully understand what this commitment can and should mean, but I still didn't attempt to catch the bouquet.
Mercury is now direct and the Sun headed for Aries, fasten your seatbelt and rev that motor.
Huge advantage of owning a Kindle: it tells you if you already bought a book. I can't count the number of times I've bought or started reading a book, (sometimes getting embarrassingly far into it), before realising I've already read it. A hazard of the reading junkie, but now this trusty Kindle is saving me a bundle.
My eyes sprang wide open as the Sun entered Aries this early, early morning.
Welcome Spring; yet another brand new cycle and all its promises.
Be Emerging You.
Off for a vegan beverage with my buddy Karen; potato juice (okay vodka), shaken in purified water ice cubes, then garnished with a simple olive on a recyclable little wooden stick. I challenge anybody to tell me that isn't a lo-cal health drink.
Almost at the end of 41 hours of listening to the audiobook of Peter the Great, and now I just bought War and Peace. Apparently that's another 61 hours. Listening is most definitely not a passive activity, especially when it involves digesting the mind-boggling and incredibly fascinating history of Russia, all whilst huffing and puffing up and down the hills of California.
Never evolve your mind beyond your heart.
For exactly no rhyme or reason, I am easily able to pack lighter and more efficiently for a 6 month trip than for a 2 week one.
The next adventure/workshop has already begun, we showed up at the wrong hotel, (thanks entirely to yours truly). I may be starting the Geriatric Travel Blog any minute now.
The question is - will we be sober for sunset? Sipping tequila on our day off at the Rosewood Hotel in San Miguel. And my beloved Jeanie's answer is: "who cares".
The workshop was profound. Thank you, Demetra George, for your tender, fathomless, learned wisdom.
Good-bye San Miguel, next stop Mexico City.
And the group for being there; so kind, willing and open; heart and soul.
I am enriched.
And very happy.
Off to the Aztec pyramids of the Sun and Moon.