Summer Solstice 2013

ImageHappy  Summer  Solstice!

Started out the early morning on the back patio surrounded by beautiful flowers and fruit trees with a nice dose of yogic stretching and chanting. The sprinkles started before the mats went down, nice and gentle and of course kicked in to a steady rain. It was perfect even though eventually we had to throw in the towel (or grab the towel) and move indoors. Aromatic yogi tea and cool summer rain is an enticing combo. The morning now sits quiet under a gray sky, the land wet and watered. Birds are beginning to sing and it is time for breakfast.

I am thankful for the length of days, long light in the sky and the rich sun energy. I am thankful for the sounds of the day, the scents and textures, the human-ness through which I experience their tangible qualities.  I am thankful for chant music and the beauty of sound current which transcends and elevates. I am thankful for yoga and breath, through which the disciplines of my life are engaged over and over and limitations are challenged and overcome. It doesn’t matter whether I am happy in a day, sad or otherwise, I have the day. I have the day, to make of it what I choose. It is a gift of life. Have a day filled with whatever you choose, from the first full breath of morning to last settled breath taking you into sleep. My your day bring life.

Khalsa Ladies Camp ~ 2007

I am back from Khalsa Ladies Camp and my annual trek to Vancouver B.C. and the Sunshine Coast. (I will post photos soon). We met upon a new land in a new way. Further up the coastline than our old meeting place, deeper in the forest; this land is beautiful. The wildflowers, dragonflies, eagles and hawks, bees, squirrels, bears, spiders and snakes; fairies, ancestors, nature spirits, keepers; all were present; seen and revealed. There wasn’t a veil between the dimension and planes. Everyone and everything shared meals together, bowed to the Guru, met for sadhana, moved through the land and showed their faces in photographs.

This year brought a merging of women’s camps. We had women present from KWTC New Mexico, Khalsa Ladies Camp Mexico and Khalsa Ladies Camp – India Yatra, Anandpur Sahib. Bringing together technology, teachings, lineage – concentrated, consolidated.

As women we walked the new land, moving from tent and shelter to gatka field, open-air kitchen, amazingly beautiful outdoor (cold!!) showers (a huge thank you and shout-out to the men of Khalsa Men’s Camp and Raj Yog Nivas for creating the most awesome showers!!!), dark starlit treks to sadhana, relaxation upon the grass, swims in the ocean…from Sat Nam Valley to the Young Adi Shakti’s gathering gazebo. Even though camp schedules at a pace of classes, meals, free time, etc., there was a sense of all being done in a meandering; softly and easily moving (floating) from one thing to the next; Dreamy, yet consciously aware and present in the here and now at the same time.

Tents up, tents down – 5 days in the open air, breathing deep the salty sea scents mingled with the deep aroma of mountains, trees, flowers and wafting down the path – cardamom, mung beans and rice, early morning chai and never ending yogi tea.

To the Punjabi women – Manorma, Surinder, Picku and Neelu, who prepared the most wonderful Indian meal, while they stood upon stools stirring huge pots with wooden paddles almost as tall as themselves, laughing and collaborating, tasting this and adjusting that till they were satisfied ~~ Thank you, thank you, thank you…

And to all the women past, present and future of Khalsa Ladies Camp, I hold you near and dear in the comings and goings; in the greeting, the missing, in the leaving and the arriving; we are all held in the sacredness of this space. In the ethers and upon the land we carry the power of the sword merged deep in the Primal Feminine ~ Sisters ~ Onward and Forward ~ Strong as Steel, Steady as Stone.

Soooo…..

I have been taking a break from blogging. It happens now and then and the breaks are good. Gets the juices flowing in a different area and eventually brings the flow back again to these pages. It has been a summer filled so far with travels, children, grandchildren, healing work, gardening, fresh berries, sunshine, water, the delicious and decadent scent of lilies, old friends, fairies, nature spirits, music, laughter and Harry Potter.

I will be heading off to Khalsa Ladies Camp soon and will hopefully post before I leave.

In the meantime… a few pics of the garden and a recipe for a summer drink which is too damn good to not pass on! Enjoy!!

Basil Limeade

1 bottle Santa Cruz Limeade
a small handful (1/4 c. or less) fresh basil leaves
1/2 fresh lime

~Pour 1 c. of limeade into a blender. Add the washed basil leaves. Blend, blend, blend. Pour the mix into a pitcher or container along with the remaining limeade. Add the juice and pulp from the fresh squeezed lime. Chill and serve over ice.

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Home

I am back on the home front and slowly integrating my travels and adventures. The drive back was long, hot and beautiful. It allowed time to process, letting everything settle and ease in. I have been catching up on my sleep, reconnecting with my husband, perusing the yard and garden; nibbling on fresh strawberries, tiny and sweet while I look at trees, roses, blooming pink poppies and an overly enthusiastic bleeding heart. (no matter how much we divide this girl, she comes back BIG!) Sahaj is building an arbor in our front yard. While I was away he cut out more sod, planted several trees, greens, and dahlias. I missed my garden. The peonies came and went, as did the iris and the last of the early summer bulbs. It is a long and cold winter here. I look forward to every ounce of color which presents itself in the earliness of the summer season. Yet as I am aware of the color and texture moving around my garden, upon my travels I am meeting new expressions…stunning rock formations, striations of colored earth layered in the desert soil, the green oasis of my dear friends Guru Kirin K. and Dharam S. home and garden, the view of the valley driving down from solstice site, the rock “waves” which crop up out of the Utah desert, causing the experience of ocean and flow in a dry and barren landscape.

During my travels I spent time at two different hot springs. Pagosa Springs sits alongside the San Juan River in the most beautiful valley in Colorado. The sulfur springs purify and refresh. On the morning of my friend Har Pal Singh’s 40th birthday, 5 of us rose in the amrit vela and along with ipod, did a simple yoga set and sadhana in the 104 degree pool. In the sunrise, steam rising, chant flowing, the cool of the mountain morning. It was magical and sits in the top 5 of great experiences during my trip.

Ojo Caliente is the other hot springs I returned to for a soak. My husband, Sahaj and I had stayed here last year for a couple of days. Simple, uncontrived and organic, this hot springs in truly one of my favorites. Their combination of minerals is unique, with the iron arsenic tubs being my favorite. It was a girls night out, as a group of us caravaned up to the springs, where we soaked, connected, laughed, visited and entirely enjoyed each others company. As the sun set and the stars came out, the warmth of the springs and the joy of the company; the drive back, refreshed and relaxed, starlight, New Mexico and Loreena McKennitt.

Monday is the celebration of the 1000 th day since Yogi Bhajans passing. We are gathering at the Tumalo Yoga Center for meditation, yoga and a meal. In the Central Oregon evening we will sit upon the grass at the foot of the stunning Cascade Mountains. Conversation, stories, solstice energy, snow capped peaks of the Three Sisters….Faith , Hope and Charity, home town folks, vacationers, visitors. Summer is on and it is good to be home. It is good to be away and it is good to return…in the sweetness of these summer days.

Summer Solstice

In the sun and sand, the northern New Mexico Jemez mountains…Ram Das Puri. Summer Solstice, a gathering of kundalini yoga enthusiasts from around the world and the annual gathering of White Sikhs under the teachings of Yogi Bhajan come together to spend 9 days in the sacred space of Ram Das Puri. Peace Prayer Day, meditations, kundalini yoga, healing workshops, White Tantric Yoga, sadhana, Gudwara, yogic foods, lots and lots of great music, friends, family, sisterhood, brotherhood.

In the hot hot days of the high altitude sun and the coolness of the nights, Solstice and Ram Das Puri is a raw space with no buffer between oneself and the necessary. Rich and pure in elements, moving through the body, mind and spirit to purify and elevate, purging and releasing psychic build up to distill us into pure essense…concentrate, consolidate…mastery.

One may rise in the early hours of the morning by a traveling group of camp minstrels with guitar, drum, tambourine, singing “Rise up, rise up sweet family dear, it’s time for the Lord and remembering love is near…”encouraging one to be coaxed from bed and join together for sadhana (the recitation of Japji, followed by a short yoga set and a 62 minutes of meditation). The time between sadhana and bedtime is filled with meals, music, dancing, yoga, walks, naps, healing treatments, courses, conversations, rest, shopping at the bazaar, foot soaks, drinking lots and lots and lots of water, eating tons of watermelon, staying cool, visiting. One of my favorite parts of the day is walking over to the outdoor showers in the morning and the cool brisk refreshing water of the solar heated showers (which is generally COLD), but very lovely. A time for women to meet and visit as we tend to the morning ritual of bathing. So simple and ancient in the meeting at the ‘water hole” to share simple stories of our days together.

As I walk down the hill to my tent at the end of the day and crawl into my sleeping bag, the sounds of the night settle in the cool of the evening. I lie quietly and contemplate my day as it drifts down around me…the highs and lows, challenges and delights. The smells of the desert lull me to sleep and I am filled with gratitude to be here. I know it is not an easy trek and the requirements are great, but as always on this path I meet myself face to face and the reflection from Ram Das Puri is uncomplicated and true, the meeting of the bare roots.

My utmost thanks and purest gratitude to Yogi Bhajan Siri Singh Sahib and to the Hopi Indians. My your lineage continue to bless this land and its people for now and evermore.

Blessings and Bliss

yb1.jpgThis morning I took some time to listen to a lecture by Yogi Bhajan. I can sit at my computer and tend to business and misc. and listen to his voice. I always have paper and pen at hand to take notes. I find myself often going back to some tidbit I want to write down; writing, pausing, writing some more until I have the golden nugget on paper. Something happens in the listening and writing and reading which brings it to my conscious mind in a more tangible fashion. Towards the end of this particular lecture he was talking about blessings and bliss….

“One who does not know the value of the blessing does not know what bliss is….if you do not know the gift of blessing, you do not know the virtue of blessing and you do not know the scope and fulfillment of bliss. Somebody asked me what is bliss. I said when your lover kisses you, how you feel…I said when God kisses you it is called bliss. Bliss is the kiss of Almighty God, heart to heart”.

To hear the complete lecture go to www.mrsikhnet.com and click to listen to the lecture posted for April 16, 2007. You can also click onto the Audio/Video tab at the top of the page to find more Yogi Bhajan lectures.

Springtime and Live Sadhana

So I took a bit of a break from blogging, letting the posts sit as they may. At times there is nothing new to say. The energy of the spring equinox was so beautifully and jubilantly lovely, I wanted to revel in it and not be distracted or articulate. Bulbs are bold in their bright sun turned faces, trees rich in bloom, the smell of thawed earth…spring sits upon the doorstep; life breathes again, like Lazarus awakened from a deep sleep. And for that moment thoughts still and words cease. The wonder of it all…

“…This shivers me; I swear

A tune so bold and bare,

Yet fine as maidenhair,

Shakes every sense.

I’m five times five a man; I breathe

This sudden random song,

And, like you, bird, I sing,

A man, a man alive…”

And who wants to sit before the computer with the task of translating senses to words…”not I”, I cried, “Not today, not now, tomorrow maybe, tomorrow somehow”. I will steady my breath and collect my thoughts and focus to paper, to paper words upon the white space, painting portraits of spring landscape transforming the blank to pictures of delicious delight…and be lost all over again in the intoxicating revelry of spring.

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On another note, last weekend here in Central Oregon; we had live sadhana and gudwara, a small gathering at the Tumalo Yoga Center and home of Jai Hari Kaur and Singh. The troupe from Eugene, Amrit Sadhana Kaur (home for spring break) and Nirinjan Kaur and Siri Amrit Singh, brought lovely chants and kirtan to our outpost and blessed us immensely with guitar, harmonium, tablas and voices. So lovely and beautiful. The vibration filled the space, flowing out upon the land, into the water and the air, carrying it to every nook and cranny of lava rock and juniper tree.

Many heartfelt thanks to Nirinjan Kaur, Siri Amrit Singh and Amrit Sadhana Kaur for joining us in this celebration of spring; this sacred sound in our desert home. May they grace us with their presence again and may the vibration from this day move through the heart of the land and the people stirring chords of healing and love.

Khalsa Ladies Camp 2006 – The Grand Adventure

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.

 

5 Sutras

5 Sutras for the Aquarian Age

  • Recognize that the other person is you.
  • There is a way through every block.
  • When the time is on you, start, and the pressure will be off.
  • Understand through compassion or you will misunderstand the times.
  • Vibrate the Cosmos, the Cosmos shall clear the path.
  •  

    Holiday and Khalsa Ladies Camp

    I am leaving early tomorrow morning on a roadtrip. My daughters and I are heading up Vancouver, B.C. way for Khalsa Ladies Camp. It is a annual pilgrimage…and worthy, worthy, worthy of my time. Today I am in final steps mode; packing bedding, batteries and bana. 🙂 I am looking forward, with delight, to meeting with good friends, as some of these women I only see once a year. And what better place is there to meet than in the forest which touches the ocean taking us into the heart space of this magical time . Yes, Yes, I am an enthusiast!!

    I will most likely not be posting for a week or so. In the meantime, I am leaving this poem which I wrote several years ago, but somehow seems oh so appropriate.

    Holiday

     

    I am contemplating taking a break – from….oh so much wondering, processing, looking, seeing, knowing, searching….
    I am inviting having a fantastic summer of adventure, sunshine, blue skies, water, fresh air, children, husband, music and love.
    I am inviting all my loved ones on this
    Holiday with me….away from the maddening crowd.

    I believe I shall hang a sign on my life, “Gone on Holiday“.
    I shall melt into the days and leave the rest to the gods.
    I shall lighten my load and look for nothing save the dawn of the sun to greet my day.
    I shall choose the notes to swing and sway…and these will be my prayers, my meditation, my heart…cuz if God(dess) doesn’t know me by now, they never will.

    I shall lie striving down alongside my mind and chant “I don’t care to be anything other than who I am today” and even leave that to the bees and dragonflies to consider on a warm summer day.

    I shall leave my accumulated self by the side of the road with a cardboard sign which reads “Need a ride. Goin’ south”.

    ….Choose the hot summer day and fresh peaches. Hear melodies meander through my heart and watch grandbabies laugh and play in the sprinklers and know I am home.

    Tis a simple thing. There needn’t be more…Just a Grand Holiday.

     

     

    Sadh Bakshish Kaur Boyd

     

    Khalsa Ladies Camp

    This morning I awoke to Ladies Camp. As I stepped out my front door for my morning walk, I met the Sunshine Coast and the sights and smells of Camp Byng and KLC. It was a pleasant sensation to be walking in the Oregon desert physically while present with the Canadian coast sensorially.

    Khalsa Ladies Camp Vancouver is my migration spot come August. Every year I make the pilgrimage up through Oregon and Washington to meet the ferry at Horseshoe Bay to take me over the water and arrive at what I refer to as, “The Village of the Divine Mother”. Once a year this campground is transformed into the space of the Adi Shakti. Tents go up, the gudwara is established, the kitchen becomes vegetarian and the land hums and pulses to the sounds of women’s voices. Chanting, praying, singing, laughing, crying, visiting. Neophytes to Wise Women and everything in between.

    Early early in the morning we rise to begin our day with prayers, yogic movement and 7 chants. The sounds, open air, travel along the coastline in the crispness of the amrit vela. Women chanting, babies nursing, little ones sleeping all curled up in the cocoon of this sacred time.

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    I started out years ago on this trek alone. Now my daughters and I travel together. It is permanently assigned to the calender and is the only thing that is, except birthdays and holidays. Khalsa Ladies Camp provides for me capacity and sustenance. It is powerful and resonates throughout the year. I connect with sisters I may only see during this time as we “be” together in the sacred space of the mighty Khalsa Woman. It’s conception and endeavor is brilliant and that brilliance carries you through the now and into the future.

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    You do not have to be Sikh, or anything else for that matter, to attend this camp. The only requirement is being a woman. Women come from all over, of different traditions, cultures, lifestyles and belief systems…and it always blends and arranges itself into the most lovely and fragrant bouquet. It is a time to step away from the demands of life and home, office or workplace and be present with yourself, to immerse yourself deeply in the expansive possiblities of life and love and truth. It is a grand and majestic place to be and I am deeply thankful for its presence and the journey which brings me back to this lovely village every year.

    *If you are interested in learning more about this camp, go to
    www.khalsaladiescamp.com
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