Friday, December 25, 2009

the energy on Dec 25th at Rancho Margot - CR

Feeling a deep energy.....not like low in energy but more like gathering the energy from the surrounding nature, it  has penertrated every cell of my being.  There is an amazing sense of peace and surrender.   This sense was pre-dominanat in the morning yoga practice and teaching.  i was in meditation when the class participants came in and silently joined the meditation...............after the practice when everyone was in savasana, i went into meditation, and the savasana ended up being very long.   As my awareness came back into the room and i opened my eyes, the class was in complete surrender............When teaching a class, i keep my energy on the participants, hence these two bursts of my own meditation while teaching a class was new.

At breakfast i observed how we all exist in our own centre.................for each of us our world is an individual world, created by us...............and when there is a conflict in the objectives and goals of the individual worlds, it results in bad energy, energy driven by anger, greed and self serving interests.

I sit by lake arenal, the volcano beyond the lake is quiet and silent, the sounds of the waves caressing the shore.....at this moment this is my world..............arenal is an active volcano, if it erupts what I have created as my world will change.  I will try and recreate my world, will it be from the past conditioning or will I be able to surrender to the new reality..............I take a deep breath in, bringing my awareness back into the moment  as I brush a red ant from my clothes.........with an exhale I let go of any further questions and wonderings.............sensing, to allow life to to provide the answers and the direction, surrender to the moment to receive them.

11 at night, Frederick, Reuben, Rigo and I are sitting by the bar, everyone has left, as Reuben picks a guitar and starts singing............what a voice and although I do not understand the words, Spanish sounds so romantic.......and now Rigo is strumming the guitar and singing........his singing sounds as soothing to the ear as his food does to the palette.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

when the day comes around

the union of souls that are operating in the same energy field is the most beautiful site to see and energy to feel.......and today is one of those days.............call it anniversary, a reminder or a day to give gratitude for what is.............much love and joy be shared by all as Asim and Kamila celebrate their union.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

From Rancho Margot - CR


surrounded by the energy of nature............i surrender the thoughts to this energy and pause...........i begin to see the thought behind the thought...............every moment of noticing turns into the moment of being...........i look up to see the horseback riders off on their adventure...............Caramelita wakes up and nuzzles her face on to my lap................i pause from the typing, as she wants to keep her face on my forearm...............and so be it, this is the moment.

Monday, December 21, 2009

as the life goes on at Rancho Margot - CR

the ranch tour, was an eye opener...............for 7 days i had been experiencing the ranch, not realizing what an amazing job the owner has done...............starting with a vision and bringing it into a reality..........every waste is transformed into energy, food for the animals or a product..........this includes the hot water flowing throught the pipes, and in the warm pool, the gas used in cooking............and haven written this, I find I am not doing justice to the scope of this work.................the work that continues to grow,,,,,,,,,,,

The early morning dips in the warm pool, before the yoga, brings a lightness to the practice.............as I surrender the class feels the energy and follow with their own surrendering............we have had people in the class who have never practiced yoga before.......the mountain, the trees the river and the singing of the birds.......gives all practioners the energy to flow, and surrender into their own practice.........evident in the final relaxation, the savasana pose............at one class, I had the guest Kari (sp), who requested yoga nidra.....as I guided her through the session, she surrendered so completely.........my connection with her energy was so pure, that I felt there was no body in the room, and when I opened my eyes and saw her lying on the floor, I was thrown off
.......for a couple of us, the morning session today, turned into an extended, beautiful session............each moment full of breath and connection.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

piano recital and yoga at rancho margot - CR

i was still walking on cloud nine  after the yoga practice of this morning, when Frederick offered to play the piano........what a delight, to both watch and hear him play.............watching his fingers weave music, as they float over the keyboard and seeing the contentment, peace and joy on his face.

Monday, December 14, 2009

a day at the rancho margot - CR

Rancho Margot after teaching the morning yoga, just as we finished  meditation Fred mentioned that the sound we were hearing was the toucan, perched high in the tree, and hidden amongst the leaves, we were able to spot it before it took flight.............

later that morning we watcheed how the fresh cheese is made, it was an interesting experience............what was even more fascinating was watching and participating in how the hand made soap is made at the rancho.........as i encouraged Mosco to add extra volcano rock for exfoliation, he also suggested he add the coffee ground...........we put in some ginger essential oil and lemon grass........just watching the creamy mixture come together as it was hand stirred,, the colour and texture was enticing enough for one to use the soap............the reuseability of the oil to make soap is just one of the many ways this ranch is helping the environment........stay tuned, more to come on this.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Joy, peace of mind and ease of well being - May always shadow you, Asim

My heart is singing, for now, for what was and what will be.  A present, which is a presence............the energy manifested in a baby, born 32 years ago.  The baby who turned me into a mother..........With much love, accompanied with my learning, and mistakes, I watched you grow............. you are an AMAZING son, and  a great human being.  My wish for today, on your birthday Asim, is that you continue to spread the unconditional love, created with trusting and complete acceptance of oneself.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

from monteverde to la fortuna - CR

On the unpaved road, shared by all modes of transportation, Ginette had a brief moment to take the picture of the oxen cart carrying sugarcane.  The camera belonged to Gail and Bill,  fellow travellers.............timing and a steady hand and in an instant the moment is captured.




Arenal view from the front yard of Casa de May, where I stayed

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Amongst the wordly glamour - Multiplaza in CR



As Ela and I sipped our coffee, we shared the changes that are occuring in our lives.......our last conversation had been sitting under the mango tree in Pacha Mama.  This time the energy around Ela was vibrant, flowing and it felt like she had grown out of physical limitations, both in body and location...........Ela spent four months in Europe, and conducted yoga workshops in Holland and Spain.  Commenting that the experience she had changed her life.   

It was a good sharing time, we laughed at ourselves, the limitations and obstructions created by thought..............discussed how yoga, when done with surrender and trust,  creates a stillness within, and the guidance comes, as a sense of knowing
..........can the body be the temple, and the guidance from within, the god one seeks............

Friday, December 4, 2009

The magic of Rancho Margot - CR



at the foothill of mount arenal.........the full moon brings energy............where the forms are separate, their energy one.............. this energy flows with no distinction between the you and I...........when the duality ends with the non-duality of existence ...........as ego and form drowns.

the moment passes and in wonderful company bread is shared...........Rigo, an amazing chef, uses the bountiful creation of the soil to prepare the food for the body and soul.

the birds have flown into the sky
as the last cloud drifts away,
we sit together, the mountain and me
until, only the mountain remains
Li Po


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Rustic Lodge in Santa Elena, Monteverde - CR


The top of the table is a slab of rock, I am sitting at the table writing. All the furniture at this lodge is made by the owners, using branches and pieces of wood. The Rustic lodge, is a family run B&B, located in Santa Elena.
Jose is the family member that speaks good English and spent time showing us the grounds around his property. With all the benefits of modern communications, the trip to Monteverde feels complete after staying at this place, with a comfortable bed, cleanliness and delicious home cooked breakfast. We were offered tea and fresh cheese the night we got in.
The hummingbirds in the courtyard, Jose knew their song and as he whistled we soon saw the birds sweeping towards the feeder.
Last night dinner at the Don Juan restaurant, was well worth the price...........fresh cheese from the Monteverde cheese factory, and plantain and mango soup with a dash of cumin.....mmmmm

Friday, November 27, 2009

gratitude - from costa rica

the american thanksgiving started with a satsang and meditation at the sat institute in costa rica.............gratitude has many faces and many forms............a keen and grateful eye recognises and appreciates all those forms and faces.........the energy and smiles on the faces there, some known and some unknown contributed to the feeling, i had during and after the meditation. shunyamurti, in his guidance and during his talk (satsang) is himself an energy of gratitude................

the part that i walked away with was how conditioning blinds our inner vision..........can we observe the thoughts and behaviors that feed on the conditioning...........

.......the human mind is the only enemy to be dealt with......it requires no other ammunition than the awareness and observance of ones thoughts............a moment of pause, to give one enough time to hear oneself and see oneself, a brief moment, and then the next and the next as the awareness becomes the ally and the friend one seeks.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

eating and emotions.....

...we eat to nourish our soul and feed our emotions............the body needs food, it is a machinery that requires a well balanced intake of food...........and then some disconnect happens and food becomes the tool for filling emotional and mental voids............and we go into a self-violence mode.....practice ahimsa (non-violence).......to resolve the conflict within ..............eating disorder is so evident to others except to the person.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

rain in costa rica.....(includes pictures)




........walking in the rain, is once again so much fun............the weather is warm and allowing the water to soak you just cleans you out, mind, body and soul...............mmmmmm

so yesterday we went to a botanical garden in Tirrualba......about 2 hours drive from Escazu. This place was oozing with good plant energy. Alex the head gardener was our guide and he knew all the plants, trees and the medicinal qualities of different fruits, vegetables and spices.....for me the highlight of this trip was seeing the plants that I had never seen before.............such as the nutmeg tree, mangosteen, various families of ginger plants, which looked nothing like ginger, cinnamon, brown and white cacao, clove and the list goes on.............. we tasted, rather feasted on the delicious fruits, and were given samples of the exotic flowers............the whole trip felt like we were on our own farm, out for a tour.........walking meditation.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Journey to Costa Rica (includes pictures)

Nov 21, 2009:
Departure from Toronto, Pearson airport to San Jose, Costa Rica. As I walked on the moving walkway towards the gate the following thought occurred, what is going on in my brain, where am I going…….maybe the question came up as a result of the discussion with a friend who asked me a similar question. His comment was irum, what are you searching for, you keep going away to find something. The intellectual aspect of the brain kicks in, and explanations start to churn in the small mind. It is a small mind because it is driven by past thoughts and memories.


So do I like to travel, is it a desire for change, what I seek in places away from home, can that not be found right here…………………wherever I go there I am, I think someone wrote a book with a similar name. I am reminded of a Feng Shui philosophy which recommends moving the furniture around, to remove stagnant energy, maybe my energy gets stuck and needs a fresh perspective., achieved by changing the physical, emotional and mental environment. And so this is the explanation from my egoic small mind……………..






The flight to San Jose, scheduled to depart at 9:30 in the morning, but kept getting delayed……………..every half hour we were advised that the maintenance crew was trying to fix both the toilets…………….eventually the announcement was made that a replacement plane will be brought in and the flight will depart 3 hours later than scheduled. Air Canada was generous to offer $8.00 per head coupon for Starbucks or Tim Hortons………….so all the passengers scurried off to redeem their coupons…………a full stomach makes the mind more relaxed……….I had been sitting in meditation, filling my stomach with some long inhales…………the coffee cinnamon cake and the latte was a warm welcome……….we eventually boarded and were soon taxiing on the runway, the smiles and anticipation could be sensed by the energy in the cabin……but wait, the pilot was heard announcing that we were returning to the gate to disembark a sick passenger…………..the paramedics came on and declared that the passenger had to be off loaded………later the story we heard from the steward was that the young man had thrown up twice on the plane and once after disembarking, the young man and his father both left the plane.........luckily the wait time was not too long as they did not have any checked baggage………….soon we were taxiing again and lifted off on our way to San Jose, Costa Rica,,,,,,,,,,,,,,I resumed watching the movie, Time Travelers’ Wife…………





We landed at the airport, Juan Santamaria, surrounded by a beautiful sunset…………..the mountains and the clouds mingled in one……..the long wait at the immigration line was forgotten as soon as the clean cut young immigration officer stamped the passport, looked up, smiled and welcomed me with this comment thank you for coming……..Eduardo was waiting outside, with the Casa Laurin sign………..when I arrived at the B&B, Jenny and Dolly, came leaping towards me, and welcomed me with their barking………Ginette had supper waiting, and their were 3 of us at dinner, enjoying the fresh salad and the lasagna.

November 22, 2009:
As I sit here writing this, it is 4 in the afternoon……….I have nurtured my body with some delicious pineapple, papaya and guavas and delicious quiche……….taken a walk to the super market, got wet carrying the groceries back , yet enjoyed it thoroughly………….





Watching and hearing the soothing sound of falling rain, I look up and outside the windows I see the lush green, of the vegetation and the distant mountains covered with misty clouds……the birds are singing.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

why am i wealthy.......

and so in conversation this person casually will mention, money and wealth..........sometime refering to the wealth of others and sometime his own.........i keep quiet...........a thought comes to Mind..........wealth is not in numbers............wealth is not in hoarding...........wealth is not for boasting.........maybe wealth is in what we share...........share ourselves and our belongings...........trust ourselves and trust others.........the actions do always speak louder than the words

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

the energy of complete surrender.........

in the class which I taught today, the thoughts that came up were "surrender", "acceptance" and "gratitude"............nursing a head cold, I planned a slower class..............as the last part of the class came to a close, I was guiding the participants in their journey of deep yogic sleep, yoga nidra...........their energy of surrender was humbling............as i looked at the group and noticed the tears in my eyes.

Monday, November 16, 2009

ZEN and Japanese culture by Daisetz T. Suzuki

"It is mind that deludes Mind,
For there is no other mind.
O Mind, do not let yourself
Be misled by mind."

an old Japanese poem

Sunday, November 15, 2009

actions of the unaware ego...........

.........starting with each individual, the ego radiates and spreads outward to form group ego............the internal conflicts and violence spreads into the world...........

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

when the princess found her prince charming...

is it a fairy tale.........or an observation of a real life story...........the joy was infectious.........the simplicity of each moment when two people were lost to the world, they were around others, only with each other, engrossed in their delight...............hhhmmm.........great energy!!!!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

death of a breath......

and the human form is over...........attending a funeral yesterday reminded me of how fragile the outer form (a human body) is...........as we sometimes watch our breath, or "reclaim our awareness to the breathing, the next inhale and exhale"........may we be reminded that life is for the living

and when the human form dies, can we replace the tears of sadness with tears of joy........ in celebration of the life of the departed...........

Monday, November 2, 2009

"i think therefore i am"

how misleading is the idea "i think therefore i am"..................those brief moments when i don't think............when there is no i.................only a sense of peace and oneness

Friday, October 30, 2009

If the question is "to be or not to be"........

then the answer is Be and Be NOT...........contemplate

for my contemplation and exploration i used the reference by Krishnamurti - The Awakening of Intelligence....pages 414/415 where he explores the concepts of "being" and "becoming", in reference to the root of fear

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The core of Krishnamurti's teaching.......

.......is contained in the statement he made in 1929 when he said "truth is a pathless land".

if clicking this link does not lead you to the web page, please copy and paste the link in to the url:



Friday, October 23, 2009

think and think not

am i creating my life or am i the character in other people's life story...............do i create my life or is it a co-creation...........to be aware that each thought leads to the creation of an action, which leads to another thought and so the circle of life continues.............so it is possible that by being aware of my thoughts i can chart out the course of my life and navigate through the known, and the unknown.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

awareness

what draws people to share their feelings, how does one know instinctively that someone can be trusted..........such questions and thoughts come up when in any given day, moment you find people reaching out and trusting you......who is emitting what kind of energy?

Monday, October 19, 2009

the shimmering lake


in the far distance i see the shimmering waters of lake Ontario, the ripples are all in sync, creating a relaxing melody...........as i continue to be mesmerised the observer, observing and the observed blend...........

i watched the different faces riding the subway this morning, most of them heading to work.........the youthful looking fresh and young.............the seasoned trying to look youthful..........the makeup and the hair color all perfect.........the demeanor reflects no joy..............can trying to recapture the past be joyful?.............i look away before the observer, observing and the observed blend

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"Is Intelligence awake?"

"What is the relationship between intelligence and thought? The limitations of conditioned thinking. No new movement can take place if the old brain is constantly in operation. i have been south, thinking i was going north. The perception of the limitations of the old is the seed of intelligence. Is the new recognisable? The different dimension can only operate through intelligence. "
The awakening of intelligence by J. Krishnamurti

Monday, October 12, 2009

exploratory journey

the question we explored today was some what on the line of "does one have to give up the material desires to be on the path of self realization?"

is one exclusive of the other, what if i desire the material goods do i still stay on the spiritual path.......questions, self-doubts and many other fears arise in our mind............. are we aware of the material attachment?

many people become minimalist for various reasons...........some are renouncing the material world, and some are so busy using their intellect that their is no room left for material gains. We have the answer within, it is not found in some book or person, as that becomes knowledge and output of others and not ourselves. Once we clear out our own deep seated fears, the desires, fears and the attachments may reveal.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

capture the sunrise.....

as i drove out of the driveway this morning and looked towards the eastern sky..................the whole sky was lit up with clouds, sprinkled with the the pink and golden warmth of the sun.......suddenly the grogginess of the morning disappeared and for a brief moment there was no i...........

Friday, October 2, 2009

"There is a sufficiency in the world for man's need but not for man's greed"
Gandhi

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Kamila



Birthdays are magical..............a reminder to pause, stop, notice and appreciate each moment of the day...........
with each passing year a mother remembers a lifetime.......... the heart sings, she wakes up with a smile on her face and gratitude in her heart........
happy birthday dear daughter, may each moment of the day bring you everlasting joy

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

the form and the formless

light reflected off a form creates shadows.........when there is no form there is clear light.........

Sunday, September 27, 2009

the good and the bitter...........

the best moments in life remind me of a bowl of sweet delicious berries...........you enjoy every bite of it and unexpectedly you bite into one, and find it has rotted leaving a bad taste in your mouth..............how do you wash away the after taste...........by noticing the feeling and then letting the moment pass, the key is not to allow the feeling to live in the mind space..........

Monday, September 21, 2009

The first unrehearsed words that come out of a person when they meet you are a reflection of that person's thought and feelings............then the camouflaging begins with more words and cover up explanation..........just smile to yourself.......the secret is not to take those words seriously...........exist in the ultimate lightness of being.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

September 16 - Heathrow airport - terminal 3

A woman smiled when she saw me walking with my right shoe in hand……the blister was bothering me so I decided to be bold and walk, one shoe in hand, pretending that it was the most normal thing to do after a long flight…………..Boots pharmacy sells blister plaster, which has worked wonders………as I walk around the airport, wondering what to eat I see a sushi place…..Yo to go (across from Harrods)……….the place is bright and clean, offering packaged meals to take with you on the plane or you can sit around the counter…….. in full view the food is being prepared and a small conveyor belt moves various dishes for you to select. The TV monitor explains how this restaurant operates, and if you do not fancy anything that passes by, you can push the red button and a friendly staff will be over to help you with the order………….. A full stomach feels satisfied and nourished after eating a bowl of miso soup, edamame beans, rice with teriyaki sauce and green tea……all for a mere 4.70 British pounds.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

vienna to toronto

departing from vienna...........the night was spent with musical snoring notes in the background............i woke up before the alarm, trying not to disturb the other two people sleeping in the room...........

thank you iPod for providing the light.........no light in the dark hallway and the elevator was not working as I rolled the luggage down the 6 floors, my apology to the sleeping neighbors......it is what it is.....i had to catch the flight

Saturday, September 12, 2009

London - family ties renewed and soul nourished

I look at the last 7 days which have been spent recapturing the past and living in the present.............the household, comprising of the cousins and their families...........the young woman, Batool, I last saw her when she was hardly a teenager...........she has grown into a charming, beautiful and a loving young lady...............a wonderful extension of her parents, Seema and Hashim, their love, warmth and hospitality will require a whole book ................ truly wonderful........selfless in any and every way that can be defined.

Batool is both successful in her career and warm and uncomplicated in her relationships............amidst her busy schedule of long working hours, she managed to spend three evenings with me, a dinner, movie night and taking me to see a play..........

Mulka and her son Karim...........where warmth, love and a smile manifests itself...........many years have passed since we met............each moment spent in their company is a reminder that time is a concept and relationship a lasting reality.

Monday, September 7, 2009

on the train from christchurch to waterloo


Sitting on the train as I head out from Christchurch towards London, Waterloo and on to Harrow………….I recall the last four days which were spent with the two most wonderful people. Meeting them again after many years, I realized that the hospitality, warmth and caring that I saw more than 4o years ago still exists. My uncle and his beautiful wife……..the hot water bottle which she tucks away in your bed, I had forgotten that till I crept into the bed…………the days were spent discovering the small town of Christchurch and its history …………….my recent interest with photography got a great dose of intense lessons as I got an opportunity to follow my uncle as he took his great shots and later on showed me a few techniques on how to enhance the light contrast using the computer software. Her patience with us as she observed the surroundings and recommended some great picture shots…..We were reviewing the pictures one evening, when he looked out the window and said this is a beautiful sunset, I am running out to get some photos……….I jumped up, lest I get left behind………….I had seen the many shots he had taken at the town quay, and wanted to capture some similar ones with my camera……..I watched him with his jacket falling off his shoulders, his scarf hanging on one side, trying to fight his tremors to focus the camera, I smiled to myself, the Parkinson may have affected his memory, and impacted his physical movements, but his passion and eye for photography remains unchanged………I look at his beautiful wife, and noticed the adoration in his eyes, one evening we look through the old family photographs,  the pictures from their first date to when the two children were little to many, many other beautiful shots, her beauty remains eternal, the suave man in the pictures is her hero……….

Saturday, September 5, 2009

the visit to dorset




.........as i watched the sights through the camera lens the desire to capture each moment with its beauty, depth and my own interpretation increased with each click....the swans, the ducks, the birds. the boats and the people..........the clouds changing color as the sun hid behind the trees..............and.........as the sun began to set, the wonder of the moment and the realization of that which is each moment was in complete surrender

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

staying within the stillness of an analytical mind

the endless chatter of the mind continues to weave stories........our ego self loves to be part of the stories, is it then the ego creating the stories...........as we continue to define ourselves, defend our positions and do all that prevents us from diving deep enough to uncover and recognise the ego...........pause.......take a deep breath and for brief moment settle into a stillness...........as an observer......... centered with a silence and stillness within, see and live amid all the noise and activity

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

when is the quest over.....

.......when you feel a sense of contentment........of having all that you need and needing all that you have................there is a sense of achievement, the search is over............it is time to assimilate, process and internalize the external gains.............

Thursday, August 27, 2009

and so it ended - trip to Uzbekistan and Turkey




the last evening spent in Khiva, in Uz, turned out pleasant and interesting as Dilshaad our wonderful driver invited us to his home to meet his family. His wife Muneera had laid out a wonderful spread for us......... as we seated ourselves comfortably on the floor cushions to enjoy the dinner his three children, Gulnara, Mutluba and Dil Murad joined us. With interest and curiosity in their eyes they watched us, the language and shyness was a barrier but the netbook and the pictures and video helped break the ice. Soon we were all walking outside as we saw the figs, pomegranates, tomatoes squash and other fruits and vegetables growing in their big back yard.............

we flew from Urgench to Tashkent later that night on a two propeller plane......it was a roller coaster ride, and a lot of focus on the breathing and the belly helped keeping what belonged inside the body in............at Tashkent we got a reprieve of two hours in the very new and posh hotel park turon, before the wake-up call and incessant knocking on the door, to help us get out in time for our flight; even at that early hour of 2:30 am we were given a bag of sandwiches, fruit and yogurt as a take away breakfast.

after the flight delay and being unsure of making our connecting flight we arrived in Istanbul, the hotel turkoman had sent the car and driver and soon we were settled in to our rooms..........the hustle bustle and the gorgeous weather was too enticing to sleep..........the haman or the Turkish bath was a real treat.....we were relaxed and later that night the sleep was much awaited and very refreshing........our final day in Istanbul was spent meandering the streets, and we ended the evening by taking the enjoyable ferry ride on the Bosporus to the asian side and met up with our friend Sevil Oren and her friends Kate and Jill at the yatch club........watched a beautiful sunset

the highlights of the last four weeks has been the discovery of different sites and sounds at airports, hotels, streets, and learning the history of the place..................all the people we met and saw will be remembered as they weaved themselves into our experience.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Honoring my mother - who lived with gratitude

Aug 25, 2009


The spirit of the soul, lost this day, 20 years ago will be with me............As I celebrate my birthday, I celebrate his life….. ..my dear brother who would look at me with a reassuring smile and a twinkle in his eyes and say don’t worry be happy………..his essence lives on in Arij, Mariam and Alayna, and his presence remains with those he met………

Birthdays are an annual reminder that someone has been and is alive……the day also marks the X number of years since the person was born……….being alive is a celebration and the birthday is a reminder to rejoice……my wish for any birthday is to be glad that we are alive to celebrate the day………may each moment of your life manifest your thoughts………….

and so this journey ends in Khiva

Khiva is the last stop on the 17 days touring of Uzbekistan in Central Asia. Yesterday we drove west from Bokhara, and after driving for over five hours, which included a 3 hour drive through the dessert, we came into Khiva.
The hotel Mallika is across from the western gate or the Ota Dervaza of the Ichan Qala, which is the old walled city of Khiva; Ichan is also listed as a heritage site under UNESCO. I was informed that the city sees anywhere from 200 to 400 tourist going through it. The cost for spending one day in Ichan, with access to over 20 monuments and museums is about 20,000 sums, this includes the cost of taking photographs inside the monuments. We got a chance to see the artisans, bent over the wood piece or weaving carpets in their workshops. The wood used in Khiva is from the Elm tree, we saw beautifully carved doors, and cutting boards, and in the courtyard of the workshop we saw a huge gazebo, this is the kind of daybed with cushions for seating, when asked if this was on special order, they said no, we took 6 months to build this and now we wait for a buyer.
As we entered the silk carpet store, we saw the weavers creating their art in the the carpets they weave. The samples of their creation was a delight to see and touch. Many carpet designs have been taken from the miniature paintings. We saw the silk, and the process of softening and dyeing the silk. Now when I look at silk, and carpets it will be more than wow this is very beautiful , this visit has added another dimension of understanding the effort, skill and art in creating a silk carpet and this process will be remembered.
Watching the children as they approach the tourist, asking for candy or a pen, or even posing for a photograph……………the most interesting was when a teeny little girl, not more than two years old,, standing outside the store where a younger and an older woman were sitting, who I presumed to be her mother and grandmother, this little girl looked at us and with her hands pointed towards the table where some items for sale were displayed., and in her baby plus foreign language wanted us to look at the items and buy them. Her tone of voice and the inflection in her voice was the same as her mother uses to invite the tourist to buy.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Dinner Uzbek style - in Bokhara

today is the last day in Bokhara, eight days was a long time in one place.......faces start to become familiar..........

Mr. Fayzov Mumin and his wife Auliya and their young grandson Mirjon invited us for dinner. We arrived with a box of chocolates and wine and were greeted and led into the dining room............the table was laid with local dry and fresh fruit, a salad made of finely sliced beetroots, and another of chopped cucumbers and tomatoes..........we were offered fresh rose water to drink, along with some other fruit juices  Soon the warm somsas were brought, and a bottle of  local Bokhara red wine was opened.........the wine was sweet and was served in small bowls, a little smaller than the ones set aside for the green tea......... As part of their hospitality, we were soon watching an Uzbek action movie of kidnapping and murder. This movie was produced and acted by the sufi leader and his group..........midway through the conversation, and the many toastings, the movie was changed and soon we were watching the video of Uzbek and some Indian songs........by now we were into our next course of pilaf, sprinkled with carrots and topped with a layer of meat......the host mentioned once that the custom is to use your fork and eat out of the main platter, but no offence was taken when we took the serving in our plates.........as we sat back satisfied with our meal, listening to the music and discussing the history of the region, the last course of grilled meat (shashlik) was brought...........I was reminded of the tradition of sit down dinners, whereby one has to remember to only taste every course, less you offend the host/hostess by being unable to eat the last course...........the evening ended with the host sharing the family photographs.............Auliya, his wife does not speak english, joined in the conversation as it was translated for her..........she smiled all through, as she enjoyed her wine and offered us more food,  encouraging us to eat more..........as the evening ended and we got up from the dining table to leave, we were given a bag of home grown, dried mulberries............ with appreciation and gratitude as we said our goodbyes.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

In Bokhara - surrendering to the moment

as we walked around this morning........ through the cobbled streets of Bukhara, we suddenly found ourselves in front of yet another magnificent looking building........after taking photographs of the outside we ventured inside into a mosque....i forget the construction date, as nothing here is new, it is either a restored version after Genghis Khan grazed everything to the ground, or a renovation of a restoration.............
inside the building, the feeling which was evoked was of peace and of being someplace where one ceases to exist.........it reminded me of the sense I get after walking inside a church, temple or a syanagogue........or whenever i am awe struck..........seeing a beautiful sunset............a rainbow after the rain..........the waves in the ocean.........a bluer than blue sky..............anything that shifts the attention from me to something beyond, something more than the I........... as the "separation between the observer, the observed and observing" dissolves......... in that moment the heart becomes the place of worship and the awareness the silent prayer

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bokhara and vicinity

We went to Chor Bakr, which means to visit the necropolis of the sufi saints............imagine my delight when our host turned, pointed at a tree and asked if the same tree grows in Pakistan, as he picked the fruit he said this fruit is supposed to lower blood pressure........I looked at the the cherry size berry, green in color and as I tasted it I was jumping in bliss, this fruit is called bayr........for the next half an hour I was more interested in bayr picking, and thanked all the departed souls for giving me the opportunity for this discovery.......were the saints cringing in their graves at this frivilous, desire fufilling gesture...............later after our touring of this wonderful site, we sat under the mulberry tree........one of the groundskeeper, Gulnora invited us to share the food brought by people as part of the offering (tabaruk)......... dumplings which were akin to small size parathas.........all was good

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ibn Sina

Ashfona is a small village where Ibn Sina was born more than 1000 years ago.............a scientist, mathematician, philosopher and a doctor are among the many areas he mastered.......we were also informed that he was the founder of musical therapy...........as I write these words I am disappointed at not having the knowledge nor the mastery of words to be able to describe his greatness and the magnitude of his contribution.

The museum, a medical school and a conference centre reside in the premises. The architecture of the buildings is new and we saw no tourists, the entrance was only 1000 cyms (soooms), compared to anywhere 3 to 7 times more for other sites. Mr. Momin a former executive from the tourism industry, was kind enough to suggest this trip and accompanied us to Ashfona. Accompanied by Mansur the guide they wanted us to see their 300 seating conference centre and we were offered tea and candy.

I stood in front of the statue of Ibn Sina, a silent gratitude in my heart....... in awe at the brain and the person that he was........believing that his essence lingers in the human consciousness

Monday, August 17, 2009

Warm days and cool evenings in Bokhara

As I wander through the streets of Bokhara I notice how this area, protected by UNESCo and encouraged by the tourists, is like being in an unreal world........ the past is remembered in the architecture, the old is restored and the new is built as a continuation of the old......  

I enter a carpet store, the weavers are setup in one corner and I walk over and watch how they weave, one knot at a time......  the salesperson rolls out carpets after carpets, and arouses my interest and desire to possess one of the beautiful pieces of art, I am mesmerised and transported in time.......the comments on the quality, the number of knots, the number of weavers and the length of time it took to weave, brings me back..........  I walk out of the store and feel the silk of the carpets on me.........my senses are infused with the indigo, turquoise, gold, red and greens............our mind has an amazing ability to create romance ........soon the reality becomes a reflection of what we perceive.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Samarqand sight seeing on August 14

I was mesmerised when I entered the observatory of Ulugbeg, he was the grandson of Amir Temur and ruled for about 40 years from 1404............he was an a astronomer and mathematician, the site of his observatory has been rebuilt and is now a museum.........a few words and the sample of some of his work........there was a simplicity surrounding the space.........greatness requires no explaination..... .......the brain is not restricted to time and space........

the next stop was Shahizindan..........this is a place worth a visit, if I try and describe in words then the words will not do justice to the way the mausoleums are laid out............climbing the stairs was like climbing towards the greatness that is signified in this tribute to the dead..........I turned back and the view behind was as magnificent as the view in front, and that around the corners and curves of the layout..........I felt a great calmness and peace within........ although we honor and remember the past with its heroes and leader, the past is not for the living...........the present is..... life is meant for living........

August 11 - On the Silk Route from Tashkent to Samarqand

The highway built on the ancient silk route is very smooth and wide. One notices fields of cotton, and fruit trees along the road.
We saw the roadside vendors selling melons, of different textures, colors and size. The vendors were always clustered in a row, so the different colors looked very appealing and inviting. We did succumb to the attraction of the fruit. As our driver went out to pick a piece for us, we saw a gypsy woman approach the car.…..she held a small pan with smoke emitting from the pan…there were some wayside weeds and herb burning in the pan…….interesting way to ask for charity or as she called it sadqa……….by moving the pan in a circular direction around a person , it is believed evil spirits are banished and prevents any misfortune from lingering around the person who is so blessed.
We noticed that at places the road had been blocked to one lane with speed bumps, this slows the vehicles down for security monitoring…….we continued the drive as the road wound around the Turkestan mountain range. We were careful with the liquid intake, and asked for one pitstop…….the bushes were a better alternative to the make shift toilet. …..as we continue our travels we notice that the toilets are not for the faint of heart, I once twitched my nose and looked at the woman monitoring the cleanliness of the toilets and she shrugged her shoulders as she said madam, toilet!!!
On to the entry in to Samarqand……….. the architecture of the ancient civilization, influenced by the Turks and the Persian empire is evident even in the new construction……. our attention was diverted to the side where the archaeologists are preserving the remains of the original city of Samarqand. I felt an emotion or feeling, it was so brief that it could only be felt, no label comes to mind…………
The Malika Hotel takes one back a few hundred years in its layout. I feel I am in the home of my grandparents, and their parents, as narrated by them and envisioned by me. The homes were called havali pronounced ha-vay-lee), with a courtyard in the centre and the access to the rooms through the courtyard ). A large covered porch with ceiling over 20 feet overlooks one of the courtyards, This porch has beautiful and inviting day beds, or takht (tah-kht) The size is about 6 ft by 10 feet, they are made of carved walnut wood, with cushions and bolsters for the seating. As I shed my slippers and climbed up with the notebook, I tried to be as graceful as I could, pretending to be a begum (lady) of the house, waiting for her tea, and family and friends to appear. I think where the twist in this imagination is that this could be the courtyard for the men, and it is the man of the house, sitting with his sheesha, and an audience in attendance. I like the part better where I am the mistress, and this is the ladies section, or better still I have transported this into the 21st century, and men and women sit together. I look towards my left and see two more of these beautiful takht………….on the right of me, there is a bar like area where they have beautiful rugs and some handicrafts displayed…… I look away so as not to be caught in this moment of temptation.

August 13 - Samarqand - Uzbekistan

inthe ancient city of Samarqand construction and restoration work is happening all around.......the people are happy to see tourists, and inspite of the language barrier and the heat of the summer I feel a stranger in a familiar land.

the drive from Samarqand to Shahrisabz was just over two hours......the best part was the drive around the mountains, on the Zeravshan range. Unexpected moments of beautiful view of the valleys and the surrounding moutains..........people working in the fields, as a child looks up and waves......the boy riding on the donkey, carrying a sheep as a passenger.............the smell of food mingled with the energy of the sun...........we reach the top of the range on our route, close to 2000 meters..........the air is fresh and we stop at the long line of vendors selling dry fruits............you could taste as much as you want and no one blinks an eye............the camera is a great magnet, as soon as you take it out, people are happy to pose for you...........

Amir Temur looks magnificent in stone, overlooking the park......a huge crowd of newly married couples with their entourage of photographers and friends........they come to be blessed by their past leader as it is a popular spot for the couples to take pictures.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tashkent - Uzbekistan















The early morning arrival at Tashkent airport created mixed feelings.....the airport was small, a little unorganized in search for forms in english, and further disorganized at the pre-customs....nothing too much, just a little glaring when one is used to living and visitng countries which have sustainabale processes in place.....the driver was waiitng for us as we emerged from the terminal and the early morning warmth and the drive through the clean wide roads of the city, soon brought the thoughts back to a feeling of eagerness and excitement....the new hotel, with its service and smile made the mind and body relaxed and ready to settle in for the 2 days stay in Tashkent. The Park Turon Hotel, offered comfort and a touch of hospitality of the east.
As we went sightseeing the city offered old buidlings, new renovations and remnants of the communist regime.........people were very friendly and warm and had a smile on their face, even with the barrier of the language the communication lines were open......a woman selling walnuts, was so intrigued when she saw the picture I took, she asked me to visit her in the mountains, where she lives. In an unexpected way the afternoon wait of over an hour became an opportunity to connect with the local people..... the camera became a point of interest as they posed while I took their pictures......a picture became worth a thousand words.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Dealer in intangibles - from Moscow airport

August 8, 2009

After spending 3 days in Istanbul it is time to move onwards to Central Asia…………a few words regarding Istanbul. We stayed with Sevil, a common friend, and in these three days I had a taste of Istanbul that staying in a hotel and doing the tourist activities would not have matched. Yoga and meditation by the Marmara sea………..watching and using the exercise machines setup in the park by the sea…..what a great idea, children have their play area and here I was seeing adults doing different exercises using the equipment……the days were spent relaxing on Sevil,s balcony, overlooking the sea…………evenings were spent in the area around Taksim……full of tourists walking around Bayoglu, We walked up to the Galata tower.
Last night we went to the open air convention organized as a partnering of Isuzu and the Turkish transportation. Great musical presentation, introductions and hand shakes……the live music of Turkish, French and English songs………as I looked up the full moon was waning, yet magnificent…….We ended the evening at a restaurant on the Bosphorous, called Dragon………what a magnificent view of Istanbul against the backdrop of the shimmering sea.

This morning we started our journey to Tashkent. The ferry ride from Bostanci (pronounced bos-tan-chi) to Bakirkoy took about 50 minutes, listening to the iPod as we sailed was a luxury ride in itself.

The wonderful people I met in Konya and Istanbul trip were the essence of this trip………..as I realized the world has many beautiful places to visit and see, but it is the people that turn the seeing into a feeling.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Moving on as i leave Konya - August 5, 2009

from the lobby of the the Dergah hotel, i sit and watch the mausoleum of Rumi........the memory of the twirling dervish and the Sema last night emerges......the full moon watching over the event, on the side and unobtrusive.....under the clear night sky......it is time to be......drink in and soak in the moment......as the soul becomes enriched.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sema ceremony - Konya Turkey

What is Sema......it is hearing, from the privacy of the Hidden Secret of the Heart... In the thousands of turns of the dervish, you see the joy turning within us, like wine without the glass.......... through the camera lens, i watched the Sema ceremony.....i am reminded that this is meditation in motion......the body language of the dervish and the significance of the arms....... first folded, then as one hand opens to the sky to receive, the other gives from the heart to the world.....outwardly it seems like a performance......yet in the midst of the onlookers.......they are centered without duality....one in their oneness.......
video



Full moon and the twirling dervish at the mausoleum of Rumi

Monday, August 3, 2009

Rumi in Konya, Turkey

the arrival in Istanbul was followed by a night ride to Konya. The bus ride was very comfortable and the hospitality of the East was reflected in the service......fresh water, tea, coffee, snacks, and wet wipes to keep everyone happy......

since our arrival in Konya, we were fortunate to be introduced to Esin Celebi, she is the 22nd generation descendant of Rumi. Esin took us under her wings, and the first 2 days were spent less as tourist....we wandered with Esin and were privy to all the little perks which a Rumi Foundation member enjoys.......we met many who did not speak English....Rumi and his poetry came back to mind....close the language door and open the window of love.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Slow Food event in Schmiedleithen/Austria



A weekend spent in Schmiedleithen/Austria...........spent time with Irene Weinfurter.
Irene is a member of Austria´s swiftly expanding Slowfood movement and cherishes lessons learnt at the stove of Alice Waters of Chez Panisse, Berkley, California.
www.bookacook.at
Check out the event captured by Oskar:
All pictures from last weekend:
http://www.nix-wia-pix.com (Veranstaltungen aus dem Steyrtal)

Jessie Ann entertained the crowd with her beautiful voice and a wonderful performance..........www.jessieann.com

Monday, July 27, 2009

July 27 - after the morning meditation in Vienna

By trying to understand the other, I am struggling to understand myself.........be in an accepting mode which removes the desire and the struggle to understand.

Be fully present and in the moment to flow through life.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Coffee and a stormy night to watch Carmen in Vienna

Michael and I spent the evening drinking Mexican coffee, with cardamom, cinnamon and vanilla.......we chatted away as we remembered the teacher training and exchanged ideas about yoga, meditation the practice and teaching.......The decadent chocolate cake was worth every bite...........

As I ended a nice evening and said goodbye to Michael, I was anticipating the evening fun to continue in watching the opera "Carmen" at the Rathaus. Midway through the performance the wind started to pick up and Elsie commented that a storm was brewing, and maybe we will be spared........no soon had she finished her sentence the rain started. As we all ran towards the shelter, there was no escape from the gushing water that seemed to appear from the sky, and the the ground below was soon a stream of running water.....standing under a canopy with hundreds of others, all I heard was the roar of opera music combined with the squeals and roars of the crowd as the rain and storm gained momentum......in moments the scene had changed, on the screen and off the screen.......the realization of how fragile we are came back to me as I found my way to the Ubahn, taking respite for a few minutes at a cafe, and then continuing my way through the fallen trees, walking alongside the other wet bodies......... in the train the comment made by other wet passengers was "never seen anything like this before".

sprechen Sie Englisch? - in Vienna

The Austrian German has a softness in the pitch and sounds soothing.......

I feel a sense of freedom in not understanding a language......allowing me the luxury of not participating and responding to every comment and discussion........this freedom of not knowing, allows me to be ......

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dinner with Eugenie and Tarek in Vienna

July 21

Last night I met Eugenie (Genie) and her son Tarek. Genie a New Yorker, married to an Egyptian and settled in Vienna. She is a world trekker, including K2, and mentions remote places in Pakistan not visited by many. She loves languages, and the exotic and ethnic dishes of the east......during the eating of dessert we moved on to asking Tarek, and his motor cycle accident in Spain. A cast on, to help heal the broken collar bone and wrist, he vividly described the moments leading to the accident..... his mind and physical state immediately after and with some amusement being moved to the hospital, the xray room, waiting to get some painkiller...... and after much discomfort, hearing the sentence "no trabajo" the xray machine was broken.

....the evening with Mehrus´delicious cooking, great company and the interesting conversation was all wrapped in beautiful music..........each moment of the evening nourishing the soul.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Starbucks to the rescue - in Vienna

July 20, 2009

I must confess that although I am not a fan of Starbucks, the coffee shop with its familiar brand and smell, and of course the internet access is very welcome today. One of the days when my energy keeps wanting to be back home.............the excitement of travel and so much more to see is loosing its charm. as I continue to realize that Life is now, each moment is now......the wondering is, is it a positive sign for a wandering soul to realize that I know who I am and others are who they are....and seeing new places is just a scattering of mental and physical energy.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Love for Bollywood - From Dagestan to Vienna

Almaz carries interesting stories, which she loves to share,....born in Dagestan, a former Russian, she now lives in Vienna .....yesterday we had a great evening together, celebrating a birthday with a good meal and watching videos of bollywood music and of course dancing.

Almaz says she grew up watching movies of Raj Kapoor and Nargis. It was fascinating watching her sing and dance to the Indian songs and music, when I asked if she understood the meaning, she said yes, she followed the language from reading the sub titles......in the middle of the conversation I started to listen to the movie dialogue, and wondered why I could not understand, realizing that the Indian actors were speaking German.........

Friday, July 17, 2009

Opening of hearts and home - in vienna

Through the word of mouth Sandra had heard about my yoga sessions last January in Vienna. I met up with Sandra early this week, and she was keen to practice yoga.

Yesterday I went to her beautiful home, after yoga I met Andreas her husband, an artist....... the beautifully renovated house was a reflection of his art. They both enjoy their home, one feels this in the warmth of the wooden floor, the clean lines, bright lights and the good energy, all an attestation of the comment I heard "we love to have our friends over"..........the same invitation has been generously extended to me to use their home to offer yoga sessions for the next few weeks of my stay in Vienna.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

In Wien - Austria

As I travel the appreciation for countries which have efficient and clear processes in place continues to grow.......

In conversation with different people, I listen intently, hearing each word, dis-allowing any thought, judgement and images to cloud my mind. As I look at people, I see the shifting of eyes, their body language and their tone.....I watch the emotional hijack by their amygdalla.........unawareness in many differing degrees.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

on train to wien - austria



July 11, 2009

I wake up to the sounds in the apartment, as I open my eyes and look at the clock, I remember that Rosa and Linda must be preparing to leave. I roll out of bed, rubbing my eyes to wake me up, and yes the two fo them are all packed, beds folded away, and we greet each other with Guten Morgan and a big smile………we have spent the last four weeks together, waking up silently and heading out the door at 6. Watching the young blossoming yoga teachers has been very inspiring for me. Both Linda and Rosa are two amazing young girls, at such a young age, to have a centered, loving and caring mindspace is very refreshing. I was both their mother and grandma, as they lovingly referred to me during the intense yoga training, admiring me for the physical flexibility and strength. Linda with her training in esthetics, nutrition and massage was our reference on any of those topics………….the culmination was the facial which Rosa and I received last night. She would be an amazing yoga teacher, her caring and gentleness is combined with compassion and a sense of responsibility………….


Rosa was the second mother to all, including me. Her energy and love just overflows as she takes responsibility and confidently ensures that everyone is being taken care of. Rosa is studying Psychology, and her face just lights up with a beautiful smile when she mentions her family or her favorite island of Spiekeroog………..


As we parted this morning with another last hug and kisses, it was not a goodbye, rather till we meet again. Maybe Amsterdam this fall where Rosa is studying, or Costa Rica in January and of course Toronto………


I look out at the beautiful view from the train window…………the river is flowing alongside the train, reminding me to flow as water and enjoy the present moment……..as the train snakes its way , mountains on one side and water on the other, I sit with my eyes glued to the window, humbled and in awe of nature and its beauty………..the houses along the waterway, flowers streaming down from the windowsills................ I am reminded of human nature, and people I have met in my journey through life…….some stand tall like mountains, allowing others to flow along; with love streaming down their being for all to enjoy…………the sun on my face reminds me how blissful this moment is….and I look up from the laptop and then there is another breathtaking view of the lake surrounded by a sprinkling of homes, sailboats and people, with strong and magnificent mountains in the backdrop…………and the journey continues as I decide to turn of the netbook and enjoy the vista.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Church bells are chiming in Bad Mittendorf



Some thoughts fill my mindspace as i walk.............The delphiniums stand, tall and straight…………..….the immovable strength of the mountains is a humbling backdrop to the delicate strength of the delphiniums.



We know what we know…………before forming an opinion review where the knowing originates.



This sunny Sunday is quiet and the morning air refreshing as I walk out with my bag, first stop is to get to the pub and sit outside to make the wireless connection…………I get lost in the moment when I see a field of cows, grazing in the sunshine, some of them already content and are enjoying the warmth of the morning sun. As I sit at my computer, the stream of moments change the time and space …………the world around me is stirring, the cars come out and the freshness and quietness both get polluted.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

yogis wanted to have fun

Walking to the morning yoga practice I looked at the overcast sky and thought another day of rain………later in the morning, we got a short break, as we walked out the sun was out in full brilliance……..Michael decided to put the music on, what followed was a tremendous burst of energy……it started slowly with Michael and rosa dancing, dodo and I followed with our tea in hand, nat was lying on the walkway soaking in the sun, moving with the music……..then the African beat penetrated our bodies and we danced with the energy which leapt from our outstretched hands towards the sky………..in gratitude for the warmth of the sun………….
video

Thursday, July 2, 2009

a day around yoga - Bad Mittendorf















when the morning practice ends the hungry yogi and yoginis rush to the kitchen and start making breakfast..........with all the energy contained after the yoga practice, each bite of the breakfast is as delicious as the moments spent in preparation...............

one day michael was seen opening his heart to the bright sunshine.....the rain had overstayed...........

during one outside session, scarlett and dodo were seen doing the double downward dog, which motivated irum and nat, and soon we had six doggies in line.........a sight to behold, brave scarlett was the first one, she has a strong back.........