Love Yourself

Friday, January 9, 2009

Kerala Backwater Birthday!

"Let the beauty of what you love, be what you do.
There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth." Rumi

I am feeling blessed and appreciate so much the gift of BEING, with courage, love, peace, appreciation, harmony, curiosity and adventure. Today is my 50th birthday and I am spending it on a small rice boat cruising the backwaters of Kerala. Yes, I am even learning to play guitar. Fortunately, my crew did not know the difference and they would please me with a smile. A friend that I met in the Phool Chatti ashram taught me a song that I really like called "World Peace starts with Peace Inside." My crew seemed to like it!

The backwaters of Kerala are a bewildering labyrinth of shimmering waterways composed of lakes, canals, rivers and rivulets. It is lined with dense tropical greenery and preserves rural Keralan lifestyles that are completely hidden from the outside world. Besides the spiritual pursuits, witnessing local culture was big on my list. This is a fantastic way to witness it.

Views change from narrow canals and dense vegetation to open vistas and dazzling green paddy fields. Homes, farms, churches, mosques and temples are glimpsed among the trees. I have seen many birds including the colourful kingfisher, green parakeets, white crane, and my all time favourite - the palas fishing eagle (Kite) with its red wings and white bald head. They are in abundance soaring over the water ways looking for fish.

Daily life continues both on the water and the palm fringed shorelines. Families subsist on tiny pockets of land, with just enough room for a simple house, yard and a boat, and bathe and wash their clothes - sometimes their buffaloes too - at the water's edge. Powered both by gondolier - like boatmen with poles - and by sail, kettu vallams glide past laden with heavy weight cargoes and fishermen work from rowing boats or operate massive Chinese nets on the shore.

An abundance of coconut trees at improbable angles form shady canopies and occasionally we pass under simple curved bridges.

The backwaters is immortalized as the setting for Arundhati Roy's Booker - prize winning novel "The God of Small Things." Add this to your book list for sure.

I was treated and worshipped as the goddess that I am. Three boatmen treated me royally with fruits, fantastic authentic Kerelan foods including fresh caught fish, curry, rice and a host of spices. Lots of ginger, garlic and cumin for sure.

We travelled into the backwaters stopping for lunch then a small rest. Later in the day we parked the boat and I was picked up by a small dug out canoe type boat with my own Gondolier who took me throughout the very narrow channels.

I have never felt such peace. The sounds of the monks chanting, smell of the fruits including pineapple, mangoes, papayas, bananas and spices ...pepper, cardamon, all spice...the list goes on.

That evening, we anchored in the backwater area surrounded by the jungle. My crew made sure that the boat was turned so I could sit perched on my mattress playing guitar and witnessing a great sunset.

For dinner, the cook prepared extra authentic dishes so that I could have a taste of all that he had to offer. He thought this was better than a birthday cake.
Bed was early with arrival back to my home-stay family estate by 9:30 in the morning.

A truly memorable experience and one that I will take with me forever.
When you know the Self, there is only Bliss. And a smile is, after all, a natural expression of that bliss.

A gift: "Only for the heart can you touch the sky" Rumi

With much peace and joy Valma ji

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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!