It was a long day. We left early early in the morning on August 14th. My two daughters and myself, with plenty of hot yogi tea wrapped in towels to keep it warm. The stereo loaded with cd’s lined up for play. The weather was beautiful and I-5 wasn’t too slammed, the border was easy and Vancouver beautiful. I love this city!! We arrived ahead of schedule, caught an early ferry, and arrived at my dear friend Tarn Kaur’s home in time to chop, slice, dice and watch the ocean out her windows.
Camp began at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday. After an amazing lunch we all headed over to the big tent for Opening Circle. Opening Circle is a time to come together, see each others faces and hear each others voices. We spoke our name and entered the Village of the Divine Mother.
And so we began; each morning at 3:45 voices and guitar moved through the site singing us to awaken…”Rise up, rise up sweet family dear….” as women slowly made their way to the big white tent for sadhana, in the Amrit Vela and began Japji, yoga and 62 minutes of meditation. It is hard to describe sadhana. It challenges, provokes, elevates and transforms…and is pure bliss; an “ugh and aah” moment all at the same time.
From there the day goes; Breakfast, gutka, yoga, lunch, Sat Nam Rasayan, Celestial Communications, ocean swims, walks, trips to town for a meal or tea, naps, massages, healing work, readings, cookies, music, dinner, evening gatherings, celebrations, bhangra and bellydancing…Conversations moved in and around in an organic fashion flowing from one subject to another; women’s issues, education, yoga, families, marriages, relationships, sex, love, struggles, loss, fears, excellence, travels, spirituality, world issues, politics, dreams… old friends, new faces, daughters, grandmothers, sisters, aunties.
Camp has a nature and rhythm of its own. It arranges, shifts, aligns and clarifies. It breaks down, neutralizes and raises up. Camp nurtures and rattles. It is like a magic carpet ride which arrives at the shore of yourself and in seeing yourself you see everyone else. From my camp experience, I get clarity on what will be the topics for my year. It provides me the awareness and focus of my work, folding around and looping into other years creating depth, dimension and expansion. This camp has been very instrumental in my own healing and I consider it one of the most profound gifts I have ever received. If I would consider whether or not I am loved, all I would have to do is look at camp and shut right up! It is that simple.
Camp ended at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. A big bang of a cleanup took place and we all headed back across the water and into the city. We drove into Little India for saag and chai, always a good thing, along with a stop at the shops for new turban cloth, bangles, and trinkets, cardamom pods and saris.
My dear friend Jai Hari Kaur hosted us in her new home and we shared a lovely dinner in her backyard the night before we left. The table was laid with a beautiful blue and green sari, candles, flowers and food. Friends and neighbors arrived bearing sweets and fruit. In the loveliness of this beautiful community yard, steps into the garden wild with grapevines, we shared repast. In the twilight, in the candlelight, amid the voices and laughter of these women I hold so dear, I am in love, loved and loving, and I see, I see.
We left Vancouver the following morning and headed back across the border. Our next stop on our way back home was an overnight visit to my oldest son, Caleb, and his family. We drove down through Whidbey Island and took the ferry across the water and arrived at their home in the woods. Son, daughter-in-law, granddaughters, kisses, hugs, more kisses and more hugs. A beautifully prepared dinner and few bedtime stories for the granddaughters, visiting and the sheer delight in seeing their faces, hearing their voices.
The drive home always gives me time to move from one place to another. To leave behind the ocean and lush green and come back to the desert terrain, allowing everything to begin the settling in and integration process.
And that is the grand adventure, my trip to Khalsa Ladies Camp and back again. I am never the same upon my return. I am more, and in the more I am less…and therein lies the beginning, the middle and the end. Sat Nam.