Hello everyone and Happy Holidays!
This is truly such a special time of year – from the foliage and crisp fall air, to harvests of juicy apples, root vegetables, and fat ground-dwelling squash, to the times reserved for reconnecting with family. It’s a time to settle in a more grounded space.
It seems however that some unsettling planetary forces were at play this past couple of weeks. So many people I know have been experiencing major shifts in their lives or have had strange encounters of fate. The kind of moments that remind you that you do in fact belong to the world and are subject to its swirling forces of madness. Recently, I felt parts of my life get uprooted under cosmic tremors – and just in time for the holidays too when I’d have to go back to my family not in my best shape.
Writing down my thoughts allowed me in many ways to transform whatever was going on and create meaning. I found myself writing “I can be at peace with this. I can be at peace. I am at peace.” And slowly that became more and more of a reality.
As things shifted beneath me, I rediscovered ground as I integrated more self care in my life again – returning to a home yoga practice, soulful home cooking, soothing hot water bottles, and alone time walking with my dog through Rock Creek Park. After all, it’s so easy to be present and compassionate for others, but it’s the self care that is often the hardest thing to prioritize.
It’s been a couple weeks now since I’ve returned from India and it’s so hard to sum up an experience like that. My teacher Gopi led an amazing retreat to northern India from Vrindavan, the holy site of pilgrimage for many Hindus, to the Taj Mahal in Agra, to the beautiful madness of Delhi, and the awe-inspiring beauty of the Himalayas. It was a delicious appetizer that left me wanting more. If anything, I know that India will always be a part of my journey.
Enjoy select pics here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dshaaban/sets/72157625021363019/
What struck me the most about my trip was what actually struck me. I tried to allow myself to unravel into India, allowing experiences to unfold as they would, even as expectations crept up. As a religion major in college, I expected to really connect with the devotional heritage of Vrindavan and while I appreciated its traditions and rituals, I didn’t really feel the sacred connection to the land until I went to the mountains. It’s hard not to feel that sense of naked majesty surrounded by that natural temple.
When I was in the Himalayas hiking with the group back from Yogini’s Waterfall, I started walking a little bit ahead of everyone- both lost in my own musings and intentions but also a little cocky, thinking that knew the way back to Gopi’s sister’s lodge. It wasn’t a matter of minutes until I realizing I couldn’t find a single ribbon that marked the path and no matter what ground I covered it all looked the same. I had the moment of panic – !%#*! Here you are lost in the Himalayas. Way to go smartass.”
Still even fully facing my vulnerability, I couldn’t help but feel comforted by the mountains. Ultimately, I knew I’d be fine and allowed that be an intention. While I felt small, I didn’t as my friend Karen says, feel insignificant. It wasn’t before long until I stumbled on two very sweet local kids – Rahul and Abaid – who insisted on not only getting me back to the blue ribbons but getting me back to the lodge. They told me when they were 14 they came across a man from Delhi who lost his way, only he was out in there for three days. I can’t describe the gratitude that I felt at that moment. And somehow I knew I’d been here before.
Since returning, I have been working on keeping that sense of humility and faith, knowing ultimately everything I’ve been working on is coming together, despite the stuff in the way. Speaking of which, please enjoy my new website!!! She’s an evolving work, so please do send me your feedback, suggestions, and questions!
Enjoy the contents of this month’s newsletter and I as always, I look forward to hearing from you all.
Much, much love,
My vision for a holistic health practice is one that relishes in and reconnects to the sacred quality of all things – from the nourishing power of food in healing the individual and building the foundations for communities, to the compassionate, therapeutic touch of Thai massage, to the divine flow of yoga which channels the conscious mind to connect to the sacred within. My approach is free of dogma and pursues paths that are indulgent, intuitive, and inspired.
Please enjoy my new website! As always, I would love to hear from you with feedback, questions, or a simple hey there.