Tag Archives: retreat

Missives from the Mat #8? — Wahe Guru #yoga #serendipity #providence


My mother had a favorite word, “providential.”

She used to say it all the time about how things lined themselves up in certain ways to allow for things to happen. She had an annoying amazing ability to not judge things; part of that vexed me because that made for slippery accountability and empathy.

“It’s providential, Mally, really, how this has worked out. God has shown you how things happen. I can’t explain your past, our relationship and our difficulties any other way than by saying it’s divine providence. One day you will see,” she would sigh into the phone during one of our many heated debates about our choices in life.

I used to get mad at her when she’d say this stuff. I considered it an excuse for the choices she made in her lifestyle, and she would say as much by stating, “Guilt is pointless. I live the way I’m destined.” I still have little patience for those kinds of things; I know we all have challenges, but we must take part in our lives to effect change. Asking for help is one thing; doing nothing with the help is another. She would at times fiercely defend her position, heels dug in and teeth gritted, “These are the cards I was dealt.”

It was hard at times. I saw little sense in any of it. I have been largely a logician most of my life even though I suck at math.

Because I am my own person, I didn’t realize the irony in what my favorite word, “dovetailing,” has shown: it’s a synonym for providential…  For years I have used “dovetailing” to describe how everything aligns in our lives — neither “good” nor “bad” as it makes way for something else.

So much of the living we do is unconscious. I thought I was thinking separately than she. I thought I was the maverick in my observations. “Providential” seemed so archaic, so Mom. I used to argue with her, saying it was a cop-out; that bending to what we consider our fate was a mistake. I just wanted her to be well.

Once I woke up to the fact that dovetailing means the same as providential, it was too late, she was gone. It’s a yucky feeling, when it’s too late.

I see it now though, how even that: her being gone, is part of a plan, not just for me though. But as far as I’m concerned (because I really can only speak to any of this from my perspective), everything that lined itself up exquisitely before she died was also part of The Plan.

We think we are powerless.

We think we are victims.

When struggles arise we hunker in our teapots and we shake our curled fists at God, at the Universe in desperation wondering, “When will it change?! Give me a sign!”

And the signs are all around us. Always have been. Never weren’t there.

We miss so many opportunities to see that not only does the world spin madly on, but it spins on with signs.

What’s this have to do with yoga? And my retreat? I’ll tell you. Keeping things chronologically in order would require that I go back to before my birth, but I’ll try to start with this summer.

It’s impossible to do this justice in a humane word count for a blog post and some of you might already know this story, but I’ll do my best to flavor it and keep it tight.

No promises. (wince.)

I’ll start in the spring when I started therapy again because of family discord which rattled some very rusty chains in my psyche which induced very inappropriately placed guilt on to me.

High level:

  • doing that therapy allowed me to admit some truths about myself, which in turn
  • created a space where I could reach out and share my talents and gifts (in this case: yoga) with a demographic of people who might’ve never had an opportunity to experience yoga, which then
  • created a dynamic with a person who wanted to underwrite more of my yoga training, which
  • spawned research into yoga training classes, which
  • turned up the 16-day yoga teacher training retreat that I ultimately went on, which
  • generated such an amazing amount of emotional upheaval, honesty, humility, allowance, forgiveness and love that when I came home I was able to be the forgiveness I had sought for my mother, which I profoundly experienced on the retreat

Scant 23 days later, my mother went to God.

There are other dovetailing / providential incidents :

  • writing the self-imposed 30 Days of Jung challenge that I created for myself, which
  • required that I get out of my own way and out of my own head to write about Jung’s quotes with Truth (with a capital T).
  • During that series, I went on vacation to my childhood beaches this summer where it rained so much that our property was surrounded by a moat.
  • Usually Mom would go on that trip too to her house, but she couldn’t this year as she and Dad were sick with bronchitis,
  • Because Mom wasn’t there, I spent more time than usual with my favorite aunt and my cousin and her family which then opened up into a beach trip in North Carolina right after the retreat.
  • After the rainy vacation, I called Mom and we talked about how awful the weather was.
  • Mom got me in touch with another cousin whom I’ve always adored, but I hadn’t seen in years who possibly knew of a rental property for next year.
  • That cousin and I talked a LOT on that initial call about all sorts of family history.
  • Then I had my parents over for their 51st wedding anniversary; Mom stayed in her chair, Dad ate on the deck with us: it was no more pretending, she wanted what she wanted that night. We gave it to her with nary a protest. I walked her to her seat in the car, buckled her in and kissed her on the cheek — the last time ever for her life — and told her “I love you” as I looked into her ancient, graying eyes. She gave her squinchy nose grin back and they drove away.
  • The next weekend, my yoga teacher training began and I was mostly out of pocket. We had very little wifi and I’d have to borrow a phone to connect if needed. I was apprehensive on that retreat. Things were going on with my parents that were challenging for them and I was fearful I would be called home for an emergency.
  • Three days after the retreat ended, I went on the NC trip.
  • After NC, I talked to Mom more. We had really nice calls those days. I told her about the retreat but she was more interested in hearing about my cousin and her kids and that trip to NC. People she knew interested her way more than people she’d likely never meet.

Sixteen days later: Mom died. Who did we stay with in Buffalo? That NC cousin. Would I have stayed there without the beach trip? Likely, but the “lubrication” of us all being together just two weeks beforehand definitely made the request a no-brainer. Who has been another fierce resource for me, checking in with me? Reading my posts and calling me since Mom died? The other cousin. The one who I connected with after the rainy vacation on Mom’s advice.

Mom loved family. “Family’s all ya got, kid,” she would say in an odd mixture of WC Fields and Truman Capote. It was with her family, her cousins and others that she felt free to be exactly who she was: ethereal and energetically rootless, as frustrating as that was for me.

You see… this was all providential. As are all the events that happen in your life. Everything you experience: be it a job loss or a love loss or a lottery win or a scholarship — all of these things are lined up. We just have to be ready to see them. Even with the good times we might feel undeserving. If we only ask “Why Me?” during the “bad” times, we miss out on asking “Why Me?” during the “good” times too.

On the retreat we learned that “Wahe guru!” is something akin to “thank you — for all of it!” a sense of welcoming, a surrender to what is and gratitude for all of what is, even the so-called “bad” times.

During that retreat I had many moments of release, but they all culminated in the Wahe guru! moment of my entire life. We were accustomed to waking at 5:15 for 6:00 sadhana (“spiritual practice”), but this one time, a Friday morning, we woke at 4:00 for 4:30am sadhana. This time is known as the amrit vela (“ambrosial hour”) — a time when the earth’s angle to the sun is magical and mystical and when creativity and invention peak:

The mother, and queen, of all sadhanas is morning sadhana. Morning sadhana is done in the 2 ½ hours before the rise of the sun. Wisdom traditions of all types have discovered the special qualities of this early time of the morning, these ambrosial hours, in which we can determine our reality and separate ourselves from fantasies, illusions, and even delusions, the denizens of our subconscious.  —spiritvoyage.com

At 4:20am it is pitch black, midnight blue dark. In the Blue Ridge Mountains, it’s even darker yet the stars in all their glory and magnificence shine and twinkle and sparkle. In the east, I could see a perfect crescent moon hanging and glowing as if just for me.

Leaning over the side of the deck, to position myself beyond the hang of the covered porch’s roof so I could get a better look at the stars, I began to breathe so deeply, as if guided to do so; as if some cosmic force was impelling me to go further, leave the deck, go on the grass, look up some more, don’t stop, keep looking, spin and look up and drink it all in.

I stepped down off the cold wooden steps, sun worn, cracked, faded. Their rough surface snags my socks, almost pulled one right off!

It was SO dark, but it didn’t matter. I was in a zone. My foot forcefully landed on the gravel, its points digging into my sole. I broke one of my own rules: “no socks on the dirt,” so I could get a better look, see more, keep going… I wanted to hiss, “I’m coming as fast as I can! Hold your horses!” to whatever was calling me out to the space, an oblong spot of grass, about 50′ long behind the house where my views of everything, the moon, the stars, huge clusters of cosmic somethings, galaxies? were completely clear.

I was overwhelmed by my smallness and oddly grateful for it too. I rejoiced, teary-eyed, wet feet, quietly in the chilly valley’s darkness; I felt as though I was one with it all, just far away is all. Chills ran along my body, wrapped in my bed spread for it was barely 50˚ most mornings.

In correspondence we’ve shared about my grief since Mom died, I wrote to my yoga teacher about the moment,

When I am terribly low, I go back to that moment under the stars on the early morning sadhana and how when I awoke, I looked up to the sky and ran down in my stockinged feet and walked on the dewy grass to do nothing but to throw up my arms, to look at that glorious and perfect crescent moon and uncontrollably and silently and humbly weep tears of gratitude as I verbally thanked God, my father, my mother, Jesus and all my woes, challenges, admissions, truths and triumphs for bringing me to that moment. It was my eternal and fixed yet infinite “wahe guru” moment. I was forever changed that morning.
I thought I’d never thank my mother for the life she created that I had to endure. I thought I’d never thank my father either. I understood at that moment that it wasn’t all bad with her, “bad” is the wrong word, but it wasn’t all negative; although like that little poem about the girl with the curl in the center of her forehead, when it was bad, it was awful.
But those tears not only reminded me but they crystallized me. She shaped me. Our souls were graced with one another for a reason; I have no doubt about that now.

So that’s when those moments work: when we can see them all lined up in a row as if they were dominoes ready to tumble. Sometimes they usher unpleasant events, sometimes they usher seemingly regular events until you line them up and look at the stream and see how perfect the cosmic math is — they are all connected.

That morning, I saw one of the most amazing dawns:


My life changed forever that morning to prepare me. I had an odd sensation, I knew at that moment, that Mom likely wouldn’t be here for Thanksgiving. I can’t explain it but I’ve mentioned it here before. A pit in my stomach lurched each time I thought of her, not in an unpleasant way, but in a conscious way.

That lurching stomach pit told me my days of expectations and hopes and wishes for her life to suddenly change (on earth) had melted away, but I was OK with it. I was at peace knowing that I had no control over anything but my own disposition. Complaining about anything now seems ridiculous. I know that sounds so glib as I type this from my home with my husband at his job and my children with their health and our lives the way they are — at this moment — but that’s the truth. Complaints do nothing but keep us stuck.

Wahe guru means thank you. At least that’s the way I learned it. Thanksgiving is coming up. I suspect there will be many tender moments in my home as we celebrate something, all four of us now, together again, without Mom. Wahe guru for all of it: the easy and the difficult; the pain and the comfort; the sad and the happy; the high and the low; the abundance and the scarcity; the resolved and the anxious; the rage and the joy. It’s what makes us who we are.

I believe there is a string that ties us all together, that makes sense of all our experiences once we get out of our own way and shows us who we are meant to be.

Thank you.

Missives from the Mat 5 — Start and the Pressure Will Be Off #Yoga #Bhajan #Writing #Numerology


It has been a long time since I’ve written.

I have actually wondered if I would be able to start up again; on the blog, I mean. I went from writing every day for 31 days about Carl Jung and how I interpreted him to stopping almost completely for almost a month. That’s a hard transition. I went from mindfulness on paper and sharing it to mindfulness in the ether and installing it.

Y’see, the yoga retreat was a profound personal experience. I remember driving away from my home, that Thursday afternoon almost three weeks ago when I began my journey looking in my rearview mirror at the three sons and husband I would be separated from for more than a fortnight. That rearview mirror moment was the last time I was the person I was before I changed.

That sounds weird. Let me rephrase: I am more the person I was meant to be now. I have less pretense, less interest in what other people think. I’ve always been pretty confident seeming, but that was because I wanted everyone to get along. Now, it’s not so much that I’m less interested in people getting along, it’s that I’m less interested in having to make people get along. They will figure out their way. I have my life to figure out and I have three boys to mother and a husband to partner. It’s just clearer now. There’s something to the power of being with complete strangers for 15 overnights (about 350 hours) for a yoga retreat. The moment some people say yoga, others envision pretzels or insane postures.

The yoga we practiced every morning at 6:00 am, one time at 4:30 am, is totally different. We would sit on a massive wraparound deck to watch the sun rise when we managed to peek out from under our shawls during a meditation. That 4:30 am practice is something that created a cosmic shift in my consciousness and it will forever be revered as one of The Most Inspired Moments of My Life. Each morning we were to be in a meditative state 10 minutes before the practice began. That meant for yours truly who loves her blankets and her bed that I had to be awake at least 40 minutes before the start. So on this 4:30 am day, I set the alarm for 3:50 am and I woke with little resistance; even with a sense of childlike glee. I’ll explain in a later post why this timing is so special. But it was as if my spirit knew I was going on a trip. And I did go on a trip even though my body never left the planet.

sun up.

sun up. 6:01am due east.

The sun never rose the same way every day; it never does and it never will. But it was always majestic the way the earth bows to the sun.

still glorious, no?

still glorious, no? this was shot at 5:53am i’m pointing west.

We were treated to some of the most wonderful weather ever for those 16 days. I kept on saying to people who were not from this area of the world that the Heavens must be smiling upon us because it has almost never been 59˚ on any morning in July or August in the Virginia Blue Ridge.

The yoga I talk about now transcends the poses. It goes right to the spirit and it means Guts, Determination, Growth, Strength and Self.

Strength and Self

The poses come later. The work, it’s a pleasure, most of it. There were some kriyas (sets of yoga exercises) that set my shoulders on fire. I miss them. I miss that wonderful, bearded wiseman, Kartar Khalsa, who would state to us, “I can show you how to get there, I can show you, but you have to do the work, you have to get there.” He wasn’t talking about stronger deltoids or trapesius muscles. He was talking about stronger Selves, with a capital S.

Kartar Khalsa Singh. Yogi. Badass. Compassionate.

Kartar Khalsa. Yogi. Badass. Genius.

This Self is part of the genius of kundalini yoga. Rephrase: the pursuit of the Self is the heart of kundalini yoga. One of our yoginis at the retreat, the owner and author of the program, Shakta Khalsa (and Kartar’s wife) has a phrase, “Yoga is the science of the self, and kundalini is the awakening of the self. It is that simple.”

This retreat was more healing than it was learning. Ok, that sounds bad. That’s not what I meant. I did a ton of learning. I can tell you all about how babies have this life stuff all figured out and if we’d just do with our bodies what they do with their bodies from time to time then we’d be totally happy. I can tell you about the eight limbs of yoga (I just can’t find the sheet in my binder) and the 3rd chakra and the lymphatic system and why cold water on the thigh is a bad idea (because it leaches calcium from the femur). I can tell you about acidic foods and the energetic transfers and releases of certain chants and kundalini exercises. I can. And intermingled in all of those discussions and lectures and yoga sessions and kriyas and asanas were life-affirming, life-changing lessons. It’s metaphysically impossible to attend a training retreat of this caliber without changing on the inside. Impossible. The bottom line is that it’s impossible also, for me to explain it all to both of you in one post. So natch, I’m considering a book.

These women, the 13 of us and then 1 extra and 2 of our originals left and then that 1 extra did too and then 4 more came in… (it was a little revolvy-doory there for a bit) are in each others’ DNA. We just are now. I will never forget them and seeing the pictures they are posting as well as the ones I will share in a photoblog post about the retreat (to come soon) bring back all sorts of warm fuzzies.

I wonder about the numerological significance of choosing 16 days for the retreat. Numerologically, the 16 converts into a “7.” A 7 represents the seeker, the thinker, the searcher of Truth (notice the capital “T”). The 7 doesn’t take anything at face value — it is always trying to understand the underlying, hidden truths. The 7 knows that nothing is exactly as it seems and that reality is often hidden behind illusions (I got this from http://www.numerology.com/numerology-numbers/7). I have a seven in my soul position, which is sort of a big deal, and it explains a lot of things which I will go into in a later post on numerology and how learning about it and myself has vexed liberated me in a lot of ways. Go to www.3ho.org to learn about your numbers.

When the 7 is in balance, we are elevated, happy, curious, philosophical, sensitive, a “solitary spiritualist” and we lean a lot (or we should) on our inner voice, our inner knowing. When the 7 is out of balance, we can feel lonely, reclusive, aloof, hypersensitive (I AM NOT!), fear scarcity, confused, find fault and demonstrate a lack of boundaries both emotional and physical. The bottom line is that we need a lot of alone time. This was something I wasn’t sure I was allowed to express as a need for myself because I’m a fairly gregarious and social person, but man, when I saw that I was WAHOOO! All you suckas git lawst! I need some alone time! Holla!!

I’ve just recently taken out my books from training. I went to the beach for five days after I returned from the retreat and so I’m just getting back into “normal” here at the house. Just having this time alone to do some writing has been nice. I really haven’t had much alone time at all, actually.

Yogi Bhajan, who to me looks like a movie star in the photo below had five sutras (statements / aphorisms) for the Aquarian Age. One of them is applying right now: “When the time is on you, start and the pressure will be off.”

Omar Sharif, anyone? Sheesh this dude was intense. Never met him.

Omar Sharif, anyone? Sheesh this dude was intense. Never met him. He “died” in 2004; I say “died” in quotes because in the tantric yoga and metaphysical tradition, there is no death. I dig that.

So here I am, starting and deciding to write.

Ok, ok, here are the other four:

Recognize that the other person is you. (Reminds me of that phrase, “when you point the finger at someone else, you’ve got three other fingers (yours) pointing back at you.”)

There is a way through every block. (Notice he didn’t say around every block… yuk yuk a*hem.)

Understand through compassion or you will misunderstand the times. (I got nothing.)

Vibrate the Cosmos, Cosmos shall clear the path.


Heck yeah. Ask me about the Soul Retrieval. No, wait, don’t ask. Just ask me where $100 went in less than five minutes. I’ll tell you, it went on a ride on a train through the desert. (I told you not to ask… I’ll explain in a later post. I promise, Marn.)

So no, I haven’t changed in a cellular way; my yoga retreat sisters would likely agree that none of us has changed cellularly; but we have changed in an energetic way and my manner of thinking and old patterns of reactivity and blame and fear are almost things of the past. Now it seems it’s like logistics are the stepping stones.

But embracing the woo-woo isn’t new to me.

Y’see, I was already On That Bus before I left. I was someone who believed in the things that were unseen more than the things that are seen. I learned on the retreat that it’s likely because I’m left-handed that I’ve already got some of that thinking in the bag. We right-brainers tend to be more creative and as long as we’re not suppressing it, we can easily relate to other people on an energetic level. We can let things slide because we know: it’s not real. Whether it’s an intuitive realization or simply because we are geniuses, we left-handed people have a different sense of the world.

As I said earlier, there were 13 original students on the retreat. I’m not taking away from the four awesome peeps who joined us later because they are cool too, but the 13 of us altered each others’ menstrual cycles (someone foolishly suggested that it takes a month to do that, well we yoginis can get that shit done in two weeks, holla!), we shed tears with and for one another, we held hands, we held hugs for more than six seconds, we chanted, we punched the air, we pounded our fists, we asked a ton of questions, we disagreed, we snarled a little, and we grew a lot. We drank and showered in fart water — that has to count for something, right?! — and we really miss each other. I never belonged to a sorority in college. I commuted to college. So this is my first sorority and I can tell you this without a doubt: I’m glad I waited to join this one.

Some of us are having an easier time than others re-entering the Earth you inhabit. I can tell you that going to the beach for a week with my cousin and kids helped a lot. I miss the mountains though. I’ll post again soon, mostly pictures about the days there. I would go back in a heart beat… but only with those soul sisters. It wouldn’t be the same without them.

Thank you.

Missives from the Mat — 4: Fart Water #yoga #sadhana #kundalini #retreat


What tastes worse than well water with too much sulfur in it, especially after you brush your teeth?

Not much.

Note: I started this post on July (yes, July) 28. Today is August 11. I’m running through the content below and am going to try to make sense of it, these 13 days later, so I apologize up front if you end up getting a migraine (yes, I have that kind of power, I know, it’s scary right?). Just trying to keep at it. But don’t give up. Many other posts will be coming along in a day or so about my epiphanies, moments, observations and pictures of food and signs around the retreat site and sunrises and sunsets and healing adventures (anyone out there have a “soul retrieval” performed? oy) and how 13-15 of us survived with very erratic wifi availability and what some of us did during the our occasional digital diets; and my personal favorite: what’s more neurosis-inducing than living with a bunch of psychoanalysts? Living with a bunch of people who might be able to see your aura and your not knowing it. It was a little like wondering if your zipper was constantly needing adjustment or having an eternal panty line…. more to come.

We ended up bringing in those 2-gallon jugs of mineral and spring water because the minerals here were turning our silver jewelry black, our gold jewelry copper and making the cucumber water smell like it had more gas than inherent in the cucumber to begin with. Everyone assures me that it’s safe and that drinking water with lots of sulfur in it won’t hurt me. I get that… I really do; but it’s a little hard to feel clean after bathing in fart water. It just is. I know… I’m not India with 999,999,999 other people around me. I’m in a house with granite countertops and a Jenn-Air cooktop.

So far, though, I must admit that the shortage of Cap’n Crunch in my diet has had pretty awesome effects. On day 3, Sunday, I can actually recall things much quicker than I used to. I remembered not only what I was looking for but where I last deposited it. That hasn’t happened to me so quickly for awhile now.

Chanting. Lots of chanting going on. What’s wild about the chanting is that you can feel the transfer of energies; you can feel the difference from when you began to when it ended.

Lots of breathing in from the nose and out through the mouth or in through the mouth and out through the nose or in one nostril and out the other or holding breath on an inhale, which is something many of us do all the time without thinking about it, but what about this?: holding the breath on an exhale? Not letting the air back in? Try that one a few times. (More to come about which kind of breathing to do when and what the effects can be.)

This retreat is covering a feast of topics for teacher certification: senior yoga, yoga for depression, yoga for women, children. Studies on the glandular systems; the chakras; shifting of subtle energies through kundalini.  For two days in a row, Friday and Saturday and my arms and shoulders wanted to cry but they couldn’t because they have no tear ducts, no matter how much yoga and chanting I did. The kundalini exercises are amazingly difficult: they’re all based on moving emotional and psychic energy through and out of our bodies and they get stuff swirling and tingling and you’re told to think about your challenges, and frustrations and focus on your darker emotions and how those factors coalesce. All the while for one of them, you’re running in place and literally boxing with the ether (which is all an emotion is anyway, it’s just another kind of energy) and you’re working stuff out. On one morning, they had us run in place for 22 minutes with our elbows held at shoulder height or above the entire time. Try it… you think you’re tough, ok. You probably are. That’s why you should try it because … well: my calves were toast for two days after it, and if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that being “tough” is pointless. People see right through it. I don’t mind being thought of as strong, but tough? You can have it.

. . . .

On one particular morning, we did the 22-minute run in place kriya from hell. The 21-year-old son of our teachers came to join us to help us keep up the momentum by playing the tablas (drums) for that entire time and then some (and he’s amazing at it, so everyone was working on that deck). So we’re all gearing up… I decide to turn my body in a direction where I can’t see anyone else: I’m looking at the mountains. I thought, “Hell, if those mountains (what some of my friends out west refer to as ‘hills’) are as big as they are and got put through some serious pressure to get to where they are then I’ve got nothing to complain about,” so I’m in. 100%.

After the first two minutes, my arms start to burn and shake, so I looked around and saw that our teachers were swing theirs, just keeping them high up, so I did that. I channelled my inner Balboa: I’m swinging and sniffing and snorting like Rocky, making my worst Stallone-inspired snarls and facial squinches. I’m throwing cross-cuts, jabs, hooks, blocks and ducking… all the while breathing in and out of my nose which creates some crazy woo-woo insane energetic reaction in the face. Every once in a while our teacher, the father of the tablas player would call out, “bring out all your frustration, your anger…” which was a really good reminder for me because sometimes I get so into a workout that I sort of forget it and I start to feel Zen-ish and so reminding me of why I was doing this incredibly crazy boxing-while-standing-in-one-place thing was motivating.

As for my legs? What legs? You see, running in place for me, a runner and a rower and a forward-thinking person is: stupid. It’s worse than running on a treadmill. Why? Because it’s all calves and forefoot strikes and utterly painful. There is no heel strike and then roll to the forefoot. There is no breeze to cool you or terrain to explore with your soles or eyes. You’re all there. It’s truly: in the moment. But I’ll never forget this particular exercise; it will be my go-to when I’d like to take hostages.

At the halfway point, Shakta, the wife of our respective teacher calls out, “We’re halfway there, we have less than 11 minutes to go!” which sets into my mind, an energetic loop translated into the words of “Just repeat what I did.” I shout out, “We’ve got this!” to the masses, all 15 of us, on the deck. We all cheered. The neighbors must’ve thought we were nuts, that is if they were awake because this was happening at 7am on a weekend morning.  Privately, that halfway mark said to me: “Get it out; get it allllll out; these guys are gonna be finished in a few minutes, Mol, so burn out and incinerate whatever angst you’ve thought into and remembered and punched the hell out of. Whatever fear, anger, guilt, sadness, shame… PTA? stir it up. Rowing club? call it up and get it out. Marriage? Punch it. Childhood? Go there, do it. Take it back. Your time with these people is limited….” Our teacher, Kartar, said, “I can take you there, show you the path, but energetically, you’ve got to stay there. You’ve got to get yourself there…” So that’s what I did.

It’s not there anymore. It’s just not.

I’d actually punched my way through those moments. And that, my friends, is powerful.

. . . .

Here’s the wild part: these yogis and teachers: they dress in all or mostly white; they wear the turbans; the men have these fantastic white beards that would make a perfect Santa (but they don’t do Santa) and they teach lessons on spirituality, love, peace, vibration, energy and healing dating back 3,000-5,000 years. Patchouli and sandalwood waft in their tread. It’s nice.

They are caucasian and funny; they tell jokes and they drive cars. Kartar swears every once in a while. I love that. Here’s this guy, he’s probably 6’2″; lean, kind and soft-hearted. He’s wildly intelligent and he can turn your mish-mash of thoughts or fears into opportunities for growth and promise.

They don’t arrive at the retreat on magic carpets or white stallions but they do drive hybrids. They don’t have cobras raising out of wicker baskets or wield magic spells. They are … like… y’know: normal. They eat using a fork; they excuse themselves to use the restroom. I don’t really know what I was expecting, but this is well, really cool.

I have to say, it’s the oddest thing for me.

They’re so freakin’ disappointingly normal, other than their humbling wisdom about metaphysics and sound and motion… the stuff they know and share, it’s mind-blowing. They use iPhones, iPods, Bose speaker systems, projectors and computers. They sell DVDs of their work and offer healing services: reiki, angel therapy, crystal healing therapy, a host of woo-woo stuff that is basically really odd to most of the western world, but that is totally normal to the eastern cultures.

It’s also completely depressing because it shows me in stark relief how very white-bread, totally pedestrian and safe my life has been: I’ve never been on an sojourn to India, or even Indiana for that matter. I hear me though: I can be kinder to myself; all things in good time.

It’s really quite an honor for me to be with these teachers. They’re patient, clever, subtle and loving. It’s like I’m in a sea of flowing organic white cotton scented with lemon grass oil. The kindnesses from these near-perfect strangers are sating.

What’s more: they also have next to no wrinkles. We’re talking: no. No obvious crows feet; no elevens between the eyebrows, maybe a couple horizontal lines from thinking so much about the universe and infinity and harmonic energy transfer and healing, but that’s all … y’know, cool stuff.

I started this post several days ago with the intention of uploading it that evening. It’s hard though, to stay on track, and for me to rationalize pulling myself away from all these fantastic people, most of whom I won’t likely see for several months if not ever again. It’s like a toss-up and a moment of truth: am I here for me? Or am I here for both of you, my followers? I have to use my time wisely; a similar notion comes to mind: when I’ve been to some rock concerts, I’ve been so moved to think that I need to record or film the moment for my memory. But I’ve seldom recalled the recording; the moment is emotional and metaphysical. Capturing it on an iPhone is meh, compared to the breeze on my skin or the sun on my arms which traps the moments on a cellular level. So I’m doing the right thing: I’m doing what I want; I’m communing with people, nature, energy and sharing and listening and laughing and all the rest and it’s been the absolute correct choice.

In a later post, I’ll tell you what our days were like there.

I’m back now. My first 24 hours at home have been largely uneventful and easy. This morning (8/11) was a little odd. I woke at 5:37am, but I need sleep, so I stayed in bed promising myself I’d do my meditation later, which I did. It was odd though because I was doing it alone. I wasn’t on that massive deck with that expansive mountain landscape calling and luring me to be with it; with those other beautiful voices of 15+ people joining me. I was in my home, on my office floor and I was winging it. I forgot a couple steps. But I did it and then I took Murphy, who slept on my side of the bed last night (something he hasn’t done in years) for a walk. Re-entry, which I’ll write about soon, will be … don’t brand it … will be what it is.

Thank you.