Tuesday, January 29, 2008

one thing I know for sure....

one thing i can tell you NOT to do while you are a zillion miles away from someone you love....

is to lie around listening to Stevie Wonder love songs on your Ipod.....

only makes matters that much worse!

see you in a few days love...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

oh the places you'll go....

ran into a bit of a problem at the Monastery yesterday....so I am back in Gokulum and VERY happy to be I must say! I needed a bit of "girl time" so I traipsed off with 4 young women and went to a photo exhibition this afternoon...it was being held at a very nice guy's house that moved to India to live full time 2 years ago. The exhibition was wonderful..a fellow from New York who is a photographer, who was also in my Meditation class took the most amazing photos of yogis in different ancient temples and nature while in various yoga poses. It was really a nice exhibit.

We sat around his yard and chatted and then the girls decided that they had to get some ice-cream...there was a very well known place up the street..so off we went...Helen, my one friend from England..the blond in the reclining chair..she just makes me laugh so much..you see she plans her meals from the minute she goes to sleep at night..she dreams about her breakfast and so on throughout the day. I meant this girl is passionate about food!! i just LOVE watching her eat! It brings joy to my life..just watching her enjoy her food! So any chance I get to go with her to eat...I jump at the chance!
Everyone should have a passion for something.. ;0)
Ahhh, its Great to be back!

Friday, January 25, 2008

some more Shoe Day photos....

leaving Gokulum....but taking so much with me!

It has been an Incredible, Magical, Heartwarming..and sometimes Heartbreaking time here in Gokulum...I am so very happy that I made this journey though. Never any regrets. I learned so much about myself...my strengths..and my weaknesses. I learned things that I would never have had the opportunity to learn..to sit in a Meditation Class with a wise teacher..mind blowing that man! Chanted with the awesome and beautiful sounding Jayashree...as well as Sistrashree...

Anu told me many things about India...about the customs and beliefs...and of course her never ending knowledge on Indian Cooking! By the way..she has a cookbook in the works...so when you come to Gokulum..stop by and see if it is ready to purchase..Liz, our dear friend from London did a lot of the photographs of the food!!

Ganesh..King of the Castle here, kept me going with his daily humor and smiles..and Poochie..sweet Poochie...what a kick that guy is. he keeps us all in line! Kumar, Harish and Manjula...the amazing, helpful staff here at Anu's Bamboo Hut. What would any of us do without them?? They are so Great!!

The man who kept me looking sharp each day..by ironing my clothes at 3 rupees per item!

All of the great people from all over the globe whom I met and became friends with....

and of course..one of the main reasons I came here..to distribute the shoes that many of my readers and friends sent and meet the street children and work with Operation Shanti. What a treat. An amazing feat of Love and Compassion on their part...and they just keep doing more and more. I just can't say enough about that organization. A true labor of Love and Giving to those who so very desperately need it!

I am leaving for the Monastery tomorrow morning to spend time with our Monk and his sister and Mother and of course his teacher...the sweetest soul whom you may have seen if you have watched the movie "Seven Years in Tibet" with Brad Pitt. His Holiness the Dalai Lama asked his teacher personally to play the role of his teacher when he was a young boy in the movie. I will have stories and photos to follow....but it will be a time of quietude and reflection before I board the plane for home next week...to my family who I so desperatly miss...

I leave you with some photos of my time here in Gokulum...

Namaste to you all~and May we Be the Change we wish to see in the world..However Big or Small, it all matters!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

What a Difference a Day Makes....Great News!

This is Liz..my new friend from London....camera girl extraordinaire!

I am SOOOOO Happy today!!! Why?? Because last night I was reading..and I had a bit of a crying spell...it hit me all of a sudden...I just started crying my eyes out when I thought about that little puppy...I wondered if I had done the wrong thing by taking it away from where it had been staying. I just envisioned her being all disoriented and not knowing what to do or where to go and sleep...I said a prayer out loud...I said "Please give me sign and let me know that she's alright"..then I waited and waited and nothing...I woke up this morning and still "No Sign" So I got up and went to my Meditation class and that was good...then I came right home and Anus Cooking Class was starting so I went right into class....another wonderful class..Thank You Anu..You may just make a cook out of me yet!

But the most amazing thing happened after cooking class...see the woman in the photo just above..the one on right is my friend Helen for England..but the woman on the left started a conversation and I was talking with Ian who was seated next to me..and somehow that woman (i will get her name when I see her again) began talking about the puppy who was injured..I practically yelled out..."A little beige colored puppy"??? She said "Yes"!! She told me that her friend had found her here in town the other day..and she took her to the vet!! I said "I took her to the Vet too"!! But as it turns out..this woman took the puppy in and she spent the night in her place and she took her to the vets to help her get rid of the fleas she had...and she is going to take her to a place nearby that rescues dogs and she will be able to live a safe, happy life there!!!!

So...I got my sign!! She is going to be OK and she is safe and being watched over!!

In cooking class we made (or rather Anu showed us how to make) Dosa's, with Delicious Peanut Chutney and Potato Palia!! It was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Good!!!!! I am stuffed...but of course had room for dessert!! We had 13 people today or maybe 14....it was great as it always is!

Going to Jayashrees Chanting class in an hour.....and Manjula just stopped by and showed me her photos of her family...in most of all the photos she was not smiling..and I commented on that..she laughed and said "No smiling" and then showed me how to put a Sari on...Boy...is that a lot of work!! I don't know if I could even remember how to do that...I admire the Indian women who dress so beautifully in their Saris~but before she left my room I told her tp let me take her photos...with her Smiling! She is SO pretty!! That is her at the top~~Beautiful Manjula!

It was a good day...A Very Good Day~

Bon Apetit!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Morning Visitor

This morning I was having my Chai...preparing for my morning Meditation Class that starts at 9am...

I heard this loud "PLOP" outside my window and I looked out on the balcony and the guy in the photo above was sitting there. I think he must have fallen or jumped from one of the Palm Trees outside. He looked quite old, and in an odd way he was cute... I watched him for a bit and then took his photo. Before I went back in my room though..I turned around and said to him "It's fine to stay here..but just don't come into my room"!!
Ahhh, another day in India...I wonder what awaits me today...

accepting what is.....

each day I walk past this construction site..and I always smile at the women who work there..one day I noticed a little beige puppy prancing around the site. I never saw its mom or another puppy with it or nearby. I never really thought much about it, just that it was a darling little dog. Today i was walking by again and I noticed that it had a bloody face...so I walked closer and walked up into the construction area and saw that the puppy had been hurt..pretty badly. I had some chicken dog treats in my bag, as i will often feed the street dogs. I went up and broke the chicken strip into little pieces and she started eating it..she was really hungry. I felt so bad for her..the cut was deep. But I wanted to walk away so that she wouldn't follow me...so I went up to a little place to eat and sat down and ordered some food..but I couldn't stop thinking about that little dog. My food came and I could hardly eat...I thought I had to do something to help her. So I asked the waiter if there was a Veterinarian nearby and he in fact told me that Yes, there was. Just up the street....He told me he would go with me to take the dog if i would wait 30 mins.
So I left and went to the nearby tailor's and bought a piece of cloth to wrap her in as she was so dirty and bloody. I went to the construction site..and after they finally understood what I was trying to say, one guy brought her out and handed her to me. I wrapped her in the cloth and walked back to the restaurant and the owner came out and drove me to the Vets office.
I had to sit with his wife for half an hour but the doctor finally returned and told me that he would have to re-cut her eye area in order to stitch it up and it would hurt her. I asked him what else he could do for her. he said he would clean it and give her a shot of antibiotics and it would help her heal more quickly...he did it all free of chagre by the way...
So she got cleaned up a bit and he gave her a shot..he told me that I should keep her...That of course is impossible..though if I could I would. It was heart wrenching for me. he told me not to take her back to the construction area..to take her into Gokulum..and so I did. I wrapped her in the cloth and we walked back to Gokulum. On the way I bought her a bag of puppy food..but she didn't really like it..she loved the chicken strips.
I took her to a safe area in Gokulum near some trees in the grass and sat with her for awhile..she was content and I know she will be safer here. I have seen so many of the shop keepers feeding the dogs around here...so I am hoping she will be safe here.
I slowly walked off as I watched her exploring the new place she will now live. I hope she lives a good long life..and I wish I could have done more to help her...but this is the way it is here..and I know I have to accept it...

Monday, January 21, 2008

Beautiful Eyes~~~and a wonderful gesture...

I was out walking this afternoon...it was extremely warm here today in Gokulum by the way...that sun bakes! I was walking up this hill and the sun was blasting on me..suddenly a rickshaw came up from behind me and there was an older gentleman in the back and he stopped and offered to take me to my destination...he was paying. I was so taken aback...I never had that happen before..but since I had gotten a Delicious bar of homemade Dark Chocolate with coconut..which by the way was SO good if I had not given half away it would have been lethal for me!! I decided to tough it out and burn it going up the hill. I thanked the man so very much for stopping and offering though..and trudged up~
I saw this woman working at a construction site and her two young children were playing beside her..and I just had to stop and take their pictures...Look at their eyes...they tell a story....

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Boarding School Visit

This afternoon I was picked up by Operation Shanti's Driver and we went to collect some of the mothers and grandmothers and children to go and visit the children that are in the Boarding School here..some of the street kids that Operation Shanti placed in the school. We took the rest of the shoes that we had for those kids....
There was no way I could have even attempted to pull out my camera..I wanted to, many times...as the children were so beautiful and excited to see us there for the once monthly visit..but you see, the school has an enrollment of 4000 students...
Yes, Four Thousand kids are in the school. It is huge....and most all of them were outside and we had a HUGE crowd gathered around us. So you see, if i would have even reached for my camera and one of them would have seen it...it would have been utter Chaos!

I can tell you that tears were shed today...not only by me, but by some of the children who saw their mothers for the first time in one month...some cried because their moms didn't come today...it was without a doubt a VERY emotional day for many of us.

The children received some lunch stuff that was prepared ahead of time and brought with us...some chapatis with jam, custard, crackers, buns with filling....some kids got a Pepsi and a cadburry bar! They LOVED their shoes~ they each came up to me, their eyes all big and happy and they looked me in the eye and took my hand and said "Thank You"...it meant so much...I wish you all could have been there.
At one point I had to use the restroom....and I was chaperoned by 20 little boys! But before i walked into the Huge Massive boys bathroom...I said to them all "Don't any of you come in here"...."I mean it!" and they didn't. But they all waited outside for me until I was done and they walked me all the way back!

There was one boy in particular that caught my interest....he just looked wise beyond his years, as many of the children in India seem to look. If you Really stop and Look at them, deeply, as I do...
He told me his name...which escapes me now...but what he told me I will never forget...he told me that he is 15 years old (he looked 12), I asked him how many years he has been at the Boarding school...he told me 6 years. I asked him if he missed his family and if he was happy there...he said he is very happy there and he does not miss his family.
He said after he finishes his next year, the 10th grade, that he wants to go to college and become a Software Engineer. He has big dreams...and I hope his dream comes true.
I then asked him about the sleeping conditions at the school...did they each have their own bed? How many kids share one room?
He told me that 50 kids share one room...and no, they have no beds...there are too many kids to each have their own bed..he told me that they each get a mat that they roll out and they sleep on the cement floor....I immediately felt such sadness for him and the children..but this boy then looked at me and said "It is very nice, I am comfortable on my mat"

You know..its all about the attitude that people have....I have come to realize that on this trip to India...being with these kids who have nothing. Nothing...and yet look at how happy they are with what little they do have.
Wouldn't it be a wonderful thing..for everyone to stop next time they Think they have it so bad...and remember that?
I know damn well I will....

Saturday, January 19, 2008

around town...

I love taking long walks around Gokulum..today I walked for at least 3 hours as this morning I went around the lake with Sistashree and another new friend named Amanda~
I love some of the homes here..they each tell a story...and sometimes I am even lucky enough to be walking by when the Grandparents are out holding their Grandchildren in their arms watching the world go by as well....

its a nice time to meet new people and stop to chat for a bit...especially when school lets out and the children want to talk about the country you are from. Some things never change! Its nice~

Tomorrow I am going to the Boarding school where some of the other kids are that will be getting shoes!! I hope to get some more nice photos for you all to see~

Its been a nice week here so far in Mysore...although I do have my moments when I miss my family..but the nice part about it all is, I can just pick up a phone and there they are....

Two weeks left, so I plan to make the most of it!


Friday, January 18, 2008


Yesterday while walking to the Coconut Stand here in Gokulum I heard someone yell out my name and looked over to see my friend Liz waving at me...so I walked over and she was sitting with a woman who looked somewhat familiar to me..but I couldn't place her...even when Liz introduced the two of us to one another..her voice and her calm, serene demeanor somehow seemed so familiar to me....but I just couldn't seem to piece it all together. Then in the middle on the night I woke up and it hit me! The video I have at home...Ashtanga New York!! I had the great pleasure of spending most of my day with "Sistashree" or otherwise known as Regina~ She is staying here in India and she is having Tuesday and Thursday evening Chanting and Mantra Meditation at her home up in the Yoga studio on the rooftop. It is a very beautiful, sacred space and you are all invited to attend~ Her voice is so beautiful that it just takes you away to another place...The information is below as well as her address! I know I will be there...I hope you can join us! Please check back for her January Newsletter as well as a sample of her amazing music!
Actually...go to www.cdbaby.com and in the search box type in Sistashree and all of her CD's pop up and you can play different clips from them! Give them a listen..they are AWESOME!

OM Shanti~

Sistashree(Regina) is an artiste, singer, musician and one of Guruji's oldest students! You may remember her from the Astanga New York Video!!!!! She lives in India for most of the year as well as in New York and Brisbane. Her tradition of Chanting and Mantra Meditation has been a lifelong devotion to the divine.

The cool, subtle and at times raspy edge to her voice conjures up dreams of gospel music, blues and an incredible fusion of east meets west styles!

Come along and join in the essence of sound - silence through Mantra Meditation as the mind and the senses become one. Sound is the bridge between the soul and God! - Dhyan Yogi.

http://www.sistashree.com/ my website has all the information about my profile.

Sistashree will be chanting on Tuesdays and Thursday evenings at 6pm, at Alex's house: #14 2nd cross 3rd stage, Gokulam.

A series of local musicians, such as a master Tabla artiste V.R.R Bhargava, will be accompanying her also. Please attend and join in the beauty of Chanting and Mantra Meditation.

CD's are available at CDbaby.com and will be available on the evenings of Tuesdays and Thursdays!

Peace and Love


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Anu's Cooking Class!

And so today was Anu’s Cooking Class!!

I had so much fun…

Every Thursday Anu holds a cooking class upstairs and for 300 rupees you can learn to cook some wonderful, traditional Indian dishes to make when you get back home…or if you are like me..and you are lucky to have a husband at home who already is the cook…just do as I do, bring all the notes and recipes home to him!! ;0) (I love you honey!!)
I met some great new friends and had a HUGE, Delicious feast all for a great cause…

You see, the money that Anu makes for teaching these classes goes to Operation Shanti…you have read about that charity MANY times in my blog of course. The money will go toward the street kids, their Moms and the Old people who would otherwise have no support out there on the street.

So when you come to Mysore to practice Yoga…Please do come to Anu’s cooking class..I guarantee you will LOVE it and you will meet new people too!! That's Anu's "right hand" Manjula pictured above cooking with Anu~very sweet young woman who works here as well!

Oh..and that’s Poochie, Anu’s dog….he just loves the Yoga students!!

Now I’m off to Jayashree’s Chanting class with my new friends I met in class!