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.