Love Yourself

Monday, December 29, 2008

Back to Haridwar and the train to Varanasi

"My life is my message" Mahatma Gandhi

I am off to new adventures - welcome to my inner and outer journey.

After a month at Phool Chatti Ashram practicing Karma Yoga (Being in service), Bhakti Yoga (devotional) and Raj Yoga (meditation and hatha) I am now ready for the next adventure. My plan is to head back to Haridwar (Gateway to the Gods) as my friend Parthi has invited me back to the Haveli Hari Ganga Hotel. Thanks Parthi for being so generous. A father and daughter team that were staying at the ashram decided to travel with me and stay at the hotel as they had a train leaving the next day. All of the trains leave from this location so it is necessary to head back to Haridwar. We got the jeep from the ashram to Ram Jhulla, walked across the bridge and then negotiated an auto rickshaw for the last 26 k to the hotel.

Haridwar is a very different city compared to the Rishikesh area. I find it more authentic and western tourism is not as noticeable. I got myself settled into the hotel where I had a hot shower, clean white sheets, a heater in my room and it was toasty warm. I was lapping up the luxury with two hot showers in the same day. There is a young girl at the Ayurvedic spa that gives the most incredible head and foot massage. I found myself melting into the table. She had to nudge me to get my attention to tell me it was time for the steam room and bath!

Early in the evening, I went back into the colourful market place and was able to go down to the Arti (fire) ceremony. Last time I participated in the ceremony and was not able to take any photos. This time a young man that I went with from the hotel put me onto one of the little bridges overlooking the whole event. I took some awesome photos. After being in the ashram for the last month I have learned so much more about what puja means. It makes a huge difference to me and my experience. The worship to Maa Ganga (the holy river Ganges) is a profound moment. At sunset the people are lined up along the waters edge, bells are ringing, the fire is glowing and the ritual of saluting Maa Ganga, loved ones and bidding her farewell for the night takes place.

The next morning I was up early to leave the hotel by 6am for a jungle adventure. My friends Ralph, Katie, Parthi and I travelled in the wee hours to greet the morning sunrise from the surrounding forested area. We all had visions of seeing the leopards, tigers, elephants and all of the the many wild animals that live in the forest. I have to say I was glad to greet the warmth of the sun. Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) greeted to the east where the sun rises each morning invigorates the body.

It is an enchanting experience to witness the new day unfolding in this vast wilderness with so much wildlife only 10 minutes from a busy city area. I find deep peace here.

No, that is not me in the bottom photo. This is my friend Yogi. And yes, some of the yogis I have met on my journey do look like this. After my jungle adventure and later that same afternoon about 3:30 I went to the train station by rickshaw to see if I could change my train ticket to a higher class. I was booked in sleeper class...thinking this was going to let me sleep...that is what is says....does it not? Well, turns out this is not the case. Originally, I was booked in AC class, but when I changed my plans the section was full and this class was all I could get. Being in the ashram without phone or internet did not make it easy to make travel arrangements. I was told to go directly to the station to see if I could upgrade. The train station was an experience in itself....lots of people traveling because of the holiday time. Even though I am in a Hindu country they do take holiday time during Christmas. I was told the only way to upgrade my ticket is once I board the train and speak with the train conductor checking the tickets.

My train was to leave at 8:30 that evening. Parthi was kind enough to extend my room time until 6PM. We met at the train station as he was sending off his wife to Delhi. I got to wait at the Police station office near the train as it was quieter while Parthi took care of his wife. (let me say I was glad to be a guest) They treated me very well even offering me tea and it was a quiet location. Parthi and I had some time to chat before my train left. Suddenly, he got word from the police that my train was going to be late and not arrive until midnight. We went back to the hotel and I was given another room. I can only say how grateful I am to you Parthi....thank you for being such a good friend and so generous to me. Anyways, we were going to meet at 7:30 for dinner. On my way to dinner I got the front desk person to call the train station to see the status of the train. He told me that it was arriving at 8:05 and I should head out right away. I gathered my things and was off like a shot with a rickshaw driver trying to get through rush hour traffic. I am getting to know this route pretty well now. I thought it was busy earlier in the day... one thing about the rickshaw, either human powered or motor driven - they take it seriously. We were on a mission to get me to the train station before my train was leaving at 8:05 and it was 10 minutes to the hour. One thing I do know now is, just go with it all. Once we start dodging rickshaws, bulls, people, cars, bikes and dogs, I just relax and let them do their job, even if all of the above are coming at you head on. I just beathe and trust the Universe. We had rush hour traffic....imagine that!

We arrived at the station in the nick of time. The rickshaw driver can only go so far and I had to walk the remainder of the way. I got off the rickshaw...put my pack on and quickly got to platform number 1. There was a train there and I found someone that could speak some English. "Oh, mame, they just announced the train will be late arriving after 11pm tonight." The man told me that I should go to the waiting room as it would be safer and quieter for me. There were men, women, children, monkeys, cows and who knows what else sitting and laying all around the station platform.

I started to wander along the platform when I spotted a young man with a funny hat, reading a book. For some reason I was drawn to him and went his way asking if he spoke English. He looked at me and smiled.."some" he said. Turns out Roele is from Germany traveling on the same train and the same car as me. Only a few seats away. What are the chances? I asked him if it was ok if I sat on my pack next to him. He was delighted. We both sat on our back packs watching the events. He was engrossed in his book...and me the fascination of people waiting for trains. I loved watching the monkeys balancing on the beams above. They would find a willing person that would allow them to balance on their head. It made for a good comedy show.

Parents would bring their children to get a photo with me. A handsome young man came by that could speak English and we chatted for a while. He was a cricket player visiting Haridwar bringing his mother to her final resting place with Maa Ganga. I enjoyed my visit with this young man. He could speak English well, was easy to look at and very knowledgeable about spiritual matters. He lives in the Osho Commune. He assured me that many of the other young men were eyeing me up too. I am old enough to be your mother....."Mame" he said..."you only look 32." Smooth, they are smooth. I called Parthi who told me that he would send a driver to pick me up and wait at the hotel....but I decided to stay.

The train finally arrived and we pulled out of Haridwar by 2am. Only 5.5 hours late. Apparently, there was fog and many of the trains had been late for days up to 14 and 15 hours late.

I got onto the train and found my spot. Bed number 1. I waited for the ticket agent to come and check my ticket so I could also ask to be upgraded. He never did show up. My German friend told me the agent came to him within 20 minutes. I took this as a sign that I was to BE here in this experience. I had asked the Universe to upgrade me to first class. I guess I needed to be more specific in what section of the train.

Everyone else that was on the train was already sleeping and snoring. I was on the bottom bunk with two more above me. I could lay down but not sit up. Fortunately, I brought some shawls to cover me and keep warm and the sound of the train clattering over the tracks kept the snoring sounds to a minimum. I had also brought some fruit and nuts...chocolate too. Nothing was served on the train. Of course, now I had the experience of being in first class with the previous train. The sleep class, which is a bunk and nothing more, gave me the contrast to know what I prefer. The toilet is just a hole in the floor going out to the tracks. Cool foot placements and good thing for hand wipes.

Laying in my bunk I realized that I was in the first class of the sleeper section. I had the lower bunk with easy access to my things, a window that opened over my head, was in a space that was tucked away from the main alley way and very close to the bathroom and train door. What more can a girl want?

If I wanted food I had to get out of the train on the short stops along the way. There was an abundance of fruit. Bananas anyone?

Many people where travelling from Haridwar to Lucknow. Once we arrived in Lucknow, the sun was just setting. It looked very odd to see the most beautiful red fire in the sky hovering over the train station which was grey in contrast. The train in sleeper car class almost emptied out. We had another 8 to 10 hours to travel and since most people had gone I could now find a more suitable bed and somewhere that I could actually sit upright.

We ended up getting to Varanasi at 4:30 the next morning, only 14 hours later than expected. With a total of 32 hours of waiting and train time.

I was gateful to my German friend for being there for me. It was a good thing he was there since the sleeper car by this time during the wee hours of the morning only had a few people. When the train stopped anyone could come on the train as there were no conductors checking. He made sure I was very safe. Thank you to my angel friend.

Here I am feeling pretty chipper and ready to head off to Varanasi. During the early morning hours I managed to get a rickshaw to my hotel and was greeted warmly. The hotel is away from the holy river Ganga and the Ghats in Varanasi. My preference was to stay at the Ghats on the river but my friend Karampal insisted I stay in a different area. There were reasons for this of which I now know and it turned out for the best for this trip. The hotel was very clean, lots of room, quiet and I could even send my laundry out to get washed. Staying here is great because it gives me the opportunity to go into the heart of this fast paced commercial, highly energetically charged city and retreat into my sanctuary. It also gives me the chance to get caught up on my writings on the adventures in Varanasi and elsewhere.

When I was in Haridwar heading for the train station for the 3rd time that day, I had decided that if I was not going to make the original train I was not even going to go to Varanasi. At that point I had just had enough...for some reason part of me wanted to go and the other not. Instead, what I found was an ultimate test. I have met people that have told me that part way on their journey to Varanasi they had to turn back, or something happened that they changed their minds, or the frustration was too much. Varanasi - the city of Light is an ancient city full of amazing energy and gifts. The city makes the decision whether one comes or not. It was a test of my courage and strength to BE in the present moment with whatever came my way. We were ready for each other....or for whatever lay before me.

Thank you Varanasi for allowing me to enter your sacred city.

And, I leave you all with this one thought,

"The Universe favours the brave. When you resolve to lift your life to the highest level, the strength of your soul will guide you to a magical place with magnificent treasures"

I am off to find the treasures and BE in the light.

So BE it! Om Shanti - peace

Valma Ji

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas in the Himalayas

"Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what
you do are in harmony" Mahatma Gandhi

Greetings from India

Om gam ganapatay namaha

I introduce to you my friend Ganesh Ji. He is very handsome, the remover of obstacles and the God of Auspicious Beginnings. Ganesh Ji is the son of Parvati and Lord Shiva (Shiva is the destroyer of evil and is worshiped in the temples along the holy river Ganga) his wife Parvati is also very powerful as the Goddess of fertility. Ganesh Ji is the first among all Gods and is always worshipped at the beginning of puja or prayers. During my stay at Phool Chatti Ashram, Ganesh Ji has been providing me the opportunity to shed away anything that is not serving me and to make room for grand new beginnings. May 2009 be full of abundance in all ways for the world. For the moment, my time at Phool Chatti Ashram has now come to an end and it is time to move on. What an incredible experience I have created for myself. Today, I am feeling very appreciative and thankful for everyone that I connected with and for what I have been able to give and receive.

Living daily ashram life is something that I invite all of you to experience at some time in your life. Simplicity, peace, love and community are qualities of this lifestyle experience. Today, I realize that World Peace truly does start with peace inside. Phool Chatti Ashram has provided me with a safe and sacred place to explore what that means to me. The location in nature is spectacular, full of high spiritual vibrations, love, knowledge, wisdom and connections with people from around the world.

On the 24th of December we had a very special day. We travelled 10 km north of the ashram by jeep and then hiked about one hour up 250 stairs to a beautiful temple on top of a mountain.

The scenery from on top of the mountain to the valley below and across to the terraced rice gardens was impressive. I loved the warm sun and the many cactus and plants that reminded me of my home in Baja, Mexico.

The first order was to greet and pay respect to the Gods,
then the Arti or fire ceremony and finally preparing the food over an open fire for our picnic. The food tasted wonderful. We enjoyed subjai (a mixture of vegetables and rice), yogurt, potatoes and masala as we sat high above the mass consciousness, enjoyed our new friendships, savoured the clean, clear and warm sunny air.

Christmas day was extra special for me. My friend Mike that stays at the ashram is getting ready for a trek to Everest Base camp (this will be his 8th trip) mentioned that he was walking to town (about 6k) to a special Christmas church service. He invited me along and I accepted. Christmas morning was sunny, warm and I prepared clean clothes for the day and the walk to town.
We were a few minutes early so we went to the German bakery for ginger tea and a pastry. I had an almond goodie. It was yummy in my tummy.....remember I have been living off rice, chapatis and subjai for the last month. I ate every last crumb.

The bakery is located just over the bridge in Laxman Jhulla and a great place to watch the monkeys and people strolling along the bridge. Within a few minutes we were on our way along a narrow path winding along the upper river bank. Finally, after weaving our way through many twist and turns along the path, we came to a tiny ashram that has three guest rooms. I was greeted by a lovely woman referred to as Swami Mata Ji. Upstairs she had a very small chapel big enough for a few people. It had a special energy. The windows looked out to the Himalayan mountains and it was free from the noise of town. Poinsettas, a small manger, candles, photo of Jesus and Hindu symbols such as aum etc...were at the central alter. Very quaint. There were just three of us. We enjoyed a special Christmas service which was a combination of Christain and Hindu. We even sang Christmas carols. I was delighted. Have you ever had one of those very intimate experiences with people that you never met before and yet it is like you have known them all of your life? I was enchanted, touched and felt accepted for me. I even remembered the words to the Christmas carols. This is a Christmas I will always remember.

After the service, Mata Ji offered us special Indian sweets and we enjoyed a friendly visit in the gardens. Before heading home we wandered to the local book store. My favorite place to go. I love books and the store here has everything under the sun, a great place to explore. Mike and I walked back to the ashram really enjoying the day. By the time we got back it was late afternoon. We had walked about 12 km. By this time I was hungry. Dinner was extra spicy and served around the camp fire.

I plan to come back next year to lead a group of women wishing to have a special inspiring experience here at Phool Chatti Ashram.

It is the 26th and this morning I have my last yoga practice at the banks of the holy river Ganga at Phool Chatti. Until next year, I embrace her with pure love and respect. It is now time to head off to pack for my adventures back in Haridwar and the train ride to Varanasi.

In happiness and deep peace - Valma ji

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Living at Phool Chatti Ashram

"A man should remain man and yet should become woman; similarly, a woman should remain woman and yet become man. This means that man should cultivate the gentleness and the discrimination of woman; and woman should cast off her
timidity and become brave and courageous"

M. Gandhi

I invite you to listen to my mantra (I sang and recorded this powerful mantra as I was nestled in the rocks on the banks of the holy river Ganga) while you read today...

I am now just out of the Phool Chatti Ashram for a few hours. Every time I leave I am excited about getting back - mainly because it is so beautiful, the air is fresh and clean, and there is such a family feeling.  Today, is a wonderful blessing.  My niece Tanya is traveling India for 6 months and she arrived in Rishikesh.  We got together for a great meal and she stayed at the ashram for 3 days.  I have known Tanya since she is 4 years old and here she is now grown up traveling on her own. 

A short update today.

I got to practice Karma Yoga - meaning self-less service giving without anything in return and it was a learning and fun experience. My role has been greeting the people as they come into the ashram, getting them oriented to everything, being a resource should anyone require assistance, (thank goodness for that health food store I brought), leading the Karma Yoga practice during the yoga program (this is cleaning, sweeping and other normal household-like duties), and assisting and teaching in the Hatha and Ashtanga yoga classes.

In addition, I get to manage the library and pick flowers from the garden to make flower arrangements for the tables, office and temple - this is a form of Bhakti Yoga or devotional yoga. Besides being surrounded by beautiful mountains, trees and Maa Ganga, the gardens and flowers are exquisite. Swami G who has been head of this ashram now for about 35 years is an avid gardener. The dahlias are beautiful, colourful and always smiling. 

There were about 25 people in the last program. This includes a group of 10 Korean women from a large yoga institute in Seoul who had just arrived in India and came directly to the ashram. They could not speak a word of English, which made my role very interesting - especially the first day.

Their Indian guide did not give them much information about the guidelines of the ashram and had told them to bring electric blankets and heaters. This ashram is outside of town and at the end of the power line. This can not handle much load. We can only use the power in the rooms for small things like cell phone, camera etc....

The use of cooking, electric blankets, heaters and hair dryers blew the power out the first night. The women had just come from the airport direct to the ashram and were so very excited about their vacation...which was to be vacation and yoga. Others that had been staying at the ashram had really been enjoying the peace and quiet adhering to the guidelines and suddenly !!!!!

Being in the ashram is like a microcosm of the world. There are so many nations and cultures represented. I love to observe the interactions and, of course, the reactions.

Suddenly I was learning Korean terms. Hand signals and trying to figure out the language just did not cut it so I decided that if I am really the essence of the divine (and we are all part of that divine) then I can tap into the resource of the Korean language and communication by vibrational frequency. This is what I focused on and slowly and surely things started to change. We became such good friends.

After a few days, we finally figured out that they thought I was the Swami Ji. There were many funny things like that. After, some of the ashram staff started to call me Valma Ji. How funny this all is.

The day before the Korean ladies were to leave the program (one day early) they came to me and said that the big boss Yun that organized the trip realized that this ashram had provided them with much more than just yoga. They had an incredible spiritual experience and she now wants to bring other students from her Korean school only to Phool Chatti, now bypassing the Indian guide and dealing directly with the ashram. I was then to organize and translate the connection for this to happen. My heart is singing with joy knowing that I could be a part of this transformation for them.

It really does go to show that words in the same tongue are not always necessary in the process of personal development.

I love each and every one of these beautiful women. So much fun, willing to learn, growth, change and have FUN while doing it.

We completed the program yesterday with a special fire ceremony. I missed my new Korean friends...especially during photos. It is the closest I get to any whisky these days. They use this term with the peace sign when they get their photo taken.

I was given roses, pineapples, a Korean money bill of $10000 (which is $10) for good luck, smiles and many hugs.

Just a few notes about the yoga program at Phool Chatti Ashram.

I am up at 5am doing my own Qigong practice and then the bell goes at 5:30am. We are in silence from when we get up until 12:30 after lunch. We meet at the yoga hall for silent meditation then chanting followed by the Kriya called Jala neti (nasal cleansing with warm salty water). It might not look pretty but it sure does clean out the nasal passages.

After our morning ritual, we head back for Pranayama (breathing techniques) followed by a Hatha Yoga class. Breakfast is warm cereal with bananas (I am just about to head to the market for more local honey and fruits to supplement this).

Karma Yoga at 10am and 10:30 is our contemplative silent walk in the mountains and to the rivers for bathing, drawing, writing or meditations.

Lunch is served at 12:30 with free time until 3pm. Then it’s Santsang (a gathering to share wisdom and spiritual teachings) for one hour followed by a full-on Ashtanga Yoga class.

Shiva Temple prayer is at 6pm with the gathering around the fire for singing. Dinner is at 7pm. Finally, the evening is capped off with a guided meditation from 8 to 9pm. Yes, now it is time for rest and sleep.

Besides the excitement of the people that I was blessed to spend time with at the yoga program, I was especially delighted to witness the full moon rising above the local mountains surrounding the ashram. My favorite was watching the full moon set over the holy river Ganga. I was sending a special wish to my family when a falling star dropped from behind the moon, cascading along the moonlit sky.

I would say my biggest learning this week has been one of discipline. Being in the ashram and in India in general has turned my focus and attention to Being very mindful about taking good care of my body, mind and soul.

My diligence in taking the grape seed extract and other natural products has helped me stay very healthy. I have seen many others with stomach, head and other ailments that just have not been a part of my experience. Being up early every day, meditating, exercising, and staying focused has been great.

What keeps me going and staying focused living an inspiring life? This quote comes to mind.

"Discipline is built by consistently performing small acts of courage. Will power is the essential virtue of a fully actualized life."

I guess I still have some work to do - I still love chocolate! and other things too.  That reminds me of another story.

One day a few of us decided to go for a walk during break time.  Randy had been to Phool Chatti before and knew of a beautiful waterfall.  I really wanted to see it and tagged along.  The walk was high up along the upper road.  Anyways, there was a young man in his mid twenties that was walking beside me and was asking questions about energy, the universe and law of attraction.  How to practice and really understand it all.  We all came to a small place selling chai tea and decided to sit awhile.  A few of the folks decided to head back since lunch was going to be served at 12:30 and my friend and I wanted to see the waterfall since we had walked some way. Randy said "oh it is just around the corner."  They headed back and we started walking. My new friend was getting anxious to see the waterfall and also have lunch.  We walked and walked and no waterfall it was now 12:10.  I told him that we had a chance to really put the law of attraction into practice.  Where I put my attention, energy goes and results show.  "Just relax," I said.  I dug around in my pocket and found 8 Rs (not very much but all I had - 40 Rs to $1 cdn)  I told my friend that my intention was to get a ride that was 8 RS or free and we would ride in style with class and be back before lunch was served.  "How can this be possible," he laughed. A few cars went by with full loads..the next car I put my thumb out and it was a beautiful brand knew SUV.  It stopped and we were invited inside for the ride.  A chauffer and  three other men from Delhi visiting a local temple. Only a few moments later we were also offered French wine in lovely glasses.  Now I had not seen wine for some time since it is not sold in the area....our guests insisted.  My friend looked at me in amazement and said "I did not expect this kind of style"   We saw our friends still walking, as we passed we waved, smiled and held up our glass of wine in a toast.  Both of us arrived back to the ashram by 12:25 just in time for lunch.   Now that is how the law of attaction and the power of intention really works.

Ok, I am off to the market now to get my beautiful fresh oranges, apples, candles, papayas and other good things for my next 10 days. I will be out on December 26th heading back to Haridwar for one night and then on the overnight train to the City of Lights – Varanasi.

My invitation to you -

Embrace the present
Live in the Now
Savor the gift of the Present
Savor the Journey
and Live each day as if it is your Last!

Merry Christmas to you and your family - have a toast for me.

One last note. Just the other day I was sitting on the rooftop enjoying the warm sunshine. It was Dec 12th and I was thinking about the 12 days of Christmas and a partridge in a pear tree. All of a sudden I heard a cow bell that caught my attention towards the mountain where there is a small narrow road. I saw two cows and a man behind with a beautiful bushy green Christmas tree. I can see the partridge now. 

Thinking of you all with love and light. Valma

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Phool Chatti Ashram Life

Hari Om....

The Phool Chatti Ashram is 121 years old and lies at the scenic confluence of the holy Ganga and Hem rivers in the Himalayan foothills above Rishikesh. It is located along an ancient pilgrimage route into the headwaters of the holy Ganga. This site was considered ideal for an ashram to provide spiritual travelers with food and rest. As a result, Phool Chatti Ashram was founded in the late 1800s by the spiritually awakened sadhu, Sri Devi Dayal Ji Maharah, to serve his fellow sadhus and other pilgrims venturing into sacred territory.

The Phool Chatti Ashram lies on the banks of the holy river Ganga and is surrounded by beautiful gardens, lush forest, tranquil waterfalls and a bounty of animals. Phool means flower and Chatti means resting spot.

The Phool Chatti Ashram offers a unique 7-day intensive Yoga Retreat including meditation, Hatha and Ashtanga Yoga, Karma Yoga, Pranayama, Pujas, chanting, contemplative walks and living in true ashram life. Lectures on the Power of Now and other interesting topics are also included.

The Phool Chatti Ashram is a very spiritual location and only attracts those who are ready to expand their consciousness and to remember who they really are. The vibrational frequency here is very high. I am grateful for this divine connection.

I have had numerous emails asking me if I have ascended. The Words from the great Indian Philosopher "Pantanjali" really do sum up my experience.

"When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all of your thoughts break their bonds: your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces facilitates and talents become alive and you discover yourself to be a greater person that you ever dreamed to BE."

I have discovered that I seek and love the connection with the essence of great spirit. I am Universal and Supreme consciousness. I do require my body to have the most profound experience here on earth. I am an instrument of this consciousness expressing through who I am in the NOW!

Since arriving here at the Phool Chatti Ashram, our Swami Lalita Ji has invited me to stay and live the ashram life offering my gifts through Karma Yoga. I will be assisting her, teaching, learning and BEING the instrument and essence of divine source in this unique program. When she told me that my vibration was operating at a very high level and asked if I would stay, I was not sure in that moment since I had committed to going to the second ashram.

She smiled and said, "go to the Holy Ganga and sit with her. She will guide you". And this is what I did.

While listening to Maa Ganga, another message came to me clearly from a book that I read at the ashram. The book is called "The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari". In this book it talks about self less survive and giving to others that ask. The message came loud and clear for me to stay on for the next two weeks.

There are two more programs each with about 30 people until Dec 24th. Sitting around the evening fire, I told Lalita Ji (Ji means respect) that Maa Ganga had given me guidance to stay. She smiled with a look of joy and even seemed excited and delighted to have another woman assisting with her - well as much as a Swami can get.

Lalita Ji told me that she had put out an intention to attract more special people to assist in the ashram. Her last words to me before bed were, "We will give to each other and receive from each other. Completing the cycle." Now I practice Karma Yoga - self less service, utilizing all of my skills and learning many new ones too.

Today, I took the day off to play with Ashram students rafting on the holy river Ganges. Here are some of my playmates.

Another fun story. The drive to the launching spot took us on the upper road above where the ashram is located. I was in the back of the jeep - lucky not to be looking out the front - it was scary enough seeing everything out of the back. Making our way up a narrow windy road, it was like we flew up the Ganges River.

Upon arrival to the launching spot, the young man we had for the guide seemed a bit militant and grumpy. I decided that I would change my perspective. "Excuse me", I said with a big smile and enthusiasm. "What is your name? Raskesh "…and are you happy today? He looked at me and said sure mame?

Shortly after he pointed at me and told me my position was at the very front of the boat - no paddle, only holding onto the rope - and my command when he called out "CENTER - GO OUT!" Well this means that I kneel down chest to the bow of the raft with head over the front.

Have you ever been in the front seat of a roller coaster? Maybe I did not paddle...but I did take all of the water over the bow through the rapids...such as the roller coaster, double trouble, tee off, the golf course. Needeless to say it was a blast. I just prayed that much more to Maa Ganga to look after me and know that I was playing with her with joy, ease and grace. In the past this would have been a challenge for me.

Now it is the final day here in town to get everything posted, banking, more TP, fruit, nuts and of course some chocolate. A few girls and I starting walking from the ashram to town and I put out that we could hitch a ride. Well, we did alright.

A jeep stopped that had about 40 people piled in…men, women and children. I wondered where we would fit. They really wanted us to come with them. We were positioned at the tailgate standing up holding on for dear life as we turned the switch back along the mountain road. I was wearing a bindi today - of course I was going to town and it was time to be clean and dressed up. They were all laughing and cheering. It was interesting to see them so curious.

In town I left the ladies and walked the 20 minutes to Ram Jhulla to get my banking completed. Along the way I found a bench and sat down to send off emails. Next minute I had 10 cows around me, nudging, rubbing and playing...they wandered off.

Then a family of 8 laughing and asking..."where you from? do you have Hindi music?" I played Hindi songs and chatted until the other 10 of the family came along. We sang, danced and met the grandmother, the mother, and sisters. They offered me popcorn and asked for a photo.

After they left, an older man came and sat with me. We chatted for a while and then he told me that now I am his new sister. It just seemed that I was attracting wonderful people into my I had known them forever and meeting up like long lost pals.

The journey continued to still meet more people I had met previously. It has been a very pleasant fun day.

I have been focusing on Karma Yoga - the act of selfless serving. The words that ring for me:

Practice daily acts of kindness, give to those that ask, cultivate rich
relationships and self-lessly serve others.

Today, offering a smile and being enthusiastic and joyful about life has been an act of kindness. I noted that only a few people really asked me for something. For those I gave, either taking them to buy a chai or giving a few rupees.

Today, I was grateful to connect with my sweetie Clayton by skype. My computer has a camera so he was able to see me. Our connection was very clear and I felt a rich sense of cultivation and connection.

Now I leave for the Phool Chatti Ashram to self-lessly serve the 30 people that arrive tomorrow. I believe that the quality of my life comes down to the quality of my contribution.

Shukriya (thank you) to all of you that inspire, encourage and support me to realize my dreams.

I leave you with this one question and thought. "Are you living an inspiring life?"

Om Shanti!   Deep Peace

About Me

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I have created this amazing life, attracting incredible women into my space. All of these women are unique and ready to live their real life too. My definition of success is like a river flowing with freedom, magical adventure, creativity, curiosity and recognition. My personal mission is to travel and create an enlightened world by spreading the light of consciousness. Everything that I choose to BE, DO and HAVE meet this mission and every day in every way I remember who I really am. I love my life!