Thursday, December 15, 2011

It's always Now

   It's raining now, here in Tiruvannamalai, & I'm finally at an internet cafe` again. I had to ask someone the day. I'd thought it was the 16th, but it's Thursday December 15th. She only new because of booking tickets. It's very easy to lose track here. We are 12 1/2 hours ahead of you in California.     Last Thursday December 8th was Deepam, the height of the festival to Mt.Arunachala (incarnation of Shiva) by lighting a vat of ghee with a giant wick at the very top. In meditation I'd asked Johnny, Arunachala, Divine Mother & the Universe how I should celebrate since I'd decided against going with 1-2million people around the mountain at night. I popped over to my neighbors late morning to say good morning & to fill a couple of bottles of water with purified water. Unasked, Supraat told me I should go around Arunachala right then during the day, as there would be no traffic & less of a crowd. So I did!
     When I reached the fork to go around the mountain, I was thinking that it would be wonderful to have a way of chanting peacefully to go it was really loud from thousands of Indian families just chatting in Tamil & vendors at the side selling noise makers & "stuff". I had only taken a few steps & a group of Brahmins wearing white sarongs appeared behind me chanting. They seemed to be from in their 20's to 60's & one of them carried a little boy around 2. They continued past me & I ran to keep up. Then I decided it would be easier to stay close if  I was in front. And so I ran & positioned myself in front of them. It was beautiful having the energy of their chanting to Arunachala & a myriad of forms of Shiva behind me, while having a lovely view of Arunachala. I took pictures of the mountain (yes I'll try to figure that out at some point too) & I turned to request taking a tiny video clip of them, to which I received a smile & nod. It felt like a bubble was created around us & that I was propelled around the mountain despite the heat & humidity. It was only in the 80's, but I was drenched from head to toe with the humidity...but smiling ear to ear! I held hakini mudra most of our way & sometimes just had my arms down with palms turned forward to further the feeling of being propelled forward. Children & families turned to smile. I was the only non-Indian I noticed in the sea of people.

      About a little more than an hour after I'd joined them, I suddenly noticed they were gone. An elderly lady with white hair & an orange sari patted me on my shoulder saying, "Coffee break! Coffee break!"  & pointed to the left of the road. My group of Brahmin men were sitting at a bench. I thanked her, "Nundrie!" & went over & sat with them. One of them offered me what looked like a fried doughnut. It was a potato thingy & then offered me coffee...which I never drink at home. But I accepted. We exchanged names & where we were from. They were from Vivekananda's ashram at the southern tip near the shore & said that men & women live there as brothers & sisters. I didn't feel called to tell them about Johnny or my journey, as our communication due to accents was difficult & I felt completely welcomed anyway & very much adopted.
      We started off again. Only this time the invitation to walk with them or in front of them was official.
A little while later I saw a woman in a beautiful royal blue & emerald green sari lying on the road with her skirt spread out & coins on it...she had no hands. I ran over to add some coins from my pocket. Later I saw a yoga adept in padmasana mayurasana (lotus fish in a back bend on the ground) & he had coins in front of him. I didn't add mine, feeling that he has hands & feet to work. An hour & half or so later, as we were drawing close to the main temple which is over 2,000 years old, they invited me to lunch. We went up a street away from the temple & into a cafe` & up the stairs. They gestured to a sink & we all washed up. We sat at a couple of long benches & servers came with an enormous plate of white rice for each of us & a large banana leaf & water to wash it. I washed it with a little of my bottled water. We each put some rice our leaf & then someone with metal pots of dahl, vegetables & potatoes spooned portions onto our leaves. I'd intended to only do fruit with the heat & walking meditation, & so I ate sparingly. I tried to explain & they seemed to understand. When I get back to the states I'm definitely going to do a raw vegan cleanse for awhile...too much cooked food here.
      After lunch, they continued up the street away from the road around the mountain. I asked them how to get back & they pointed the way through an outdoor vegetable market. I thanked them & continued along my way.
There was trash everywhere, with the throng...but it is amazing that within a week they have gathered & burned much of it.
      I bought a sugar cane along the way & rinsed it with my water. It helped to create more water in my mouth.
      I gimped along a bit the some 5 or 6 mile left to go home, as I'd pulled my gastrocnemius muscle (right outer calf). But I alternated my So Hum Aum (I AM That Presence Within- God) with Aum Nama Shivaya Namaha (I bow to Shiva, God in creative action), as I walked evenly rolling each sandal clad foot.
     As I approached Ramana Ashram, I knew I had about 3 miles to go before reaching home. There was a group of teenage Indians standing together with congenital facial deformities that looked like melting wax. An American man stood with them & there banner. He explained that they were raising money to bring out a surgeon. So I pulled out a few rupees from my pocket. A beautiful teenage girl with 1/2 of her face sagging over her left eye, in a bright turquoise sari looked glum from stares from people not really seeing her. I smiled big & called out, "Vanakam!" She just lit up.
         Children & families began asking my name & where I was from & seemed delighted I'd joined the walk around. I was still the only non-Indian.

         I saw a leper reclining on the ground with open sores & coins strewn in front of him. I reached into my pocket & handed him a 20 rupee note (40 cents) & he held it up smiling & shouting as though he won the lottery...very touching.

It is impossible to donate to everyone & thing & can really only be done when you have a few rupees in a pocket, never from a money belt.

Almost home, an elderly woman in a turquoise sari asked my name & where I was from. Then a group of young Indian men passed by us & made a sound that was like a whistle...even though I was dressed very very modestly. She yelled out, "Hey!" To which I turned to her "Nundrie!" (Thank you in Tamil).

Back home I arrived at 5:30pm a half an hour before they were to light the top of the mountain with an enormous wick in a vat of ghee. I rushed to shower & change to go to my neighbors. I'd just missed their watching the lighting on the news since you can't see it from our side. But they did create a lovely little fire puja of their own with a lingam created with golden powdered tumeric & rice in front of their door & little ghee candles. They had a little altar on top of their microwave & invited me to pray there also. And so of course I asked for Johnny's & Arunachala's blessing on my pilgrimage through India. Then Uma place her index finger in some red paste & placed it on my ajna center (third eye) & smudged some ash in a line over that. Then they said some things to each other in Tamil & she & Abi (their son) knelt down to touch Supraat's feet (Uma's husband). After all, this was a festival to celebrate Shiva the male creative force. It was very sweet.

The next morning, Friday December 9th I massaged my leg, worked on some acupressure points & self shiatsu & some stretchy yoga to lengthen my calf & hamstring. Then I did my morning japa & sit (meditation). Oh, I don't think I've mentioned how each day here before meditation I've had a positive affirmation practice with some blessed water I received from my father-in-laws long time friend who has been in Southern India 3 times to see a siddha. Some 4,000 herbs & plants were used by a siddha (saint with great powers) & compressed into a hard substance & then water was bathed over it. I've been anointing my 3rd eye while making positive affirmations for body, mind & soul. Ron gave it to me just before leaving & it really resonated as I've been doing something similar with a left over prescription pad of Johnny's. For those of you who don't know, my husband was a very gifted licensed naturopathic doctor (Johnny's here, urging me not to leave out licensed as he went to medical school!) & had prescriptive rights. So for over a year and a half after he died I would write positive affirmations on his prescription pad during full moons, solstices, equinoxes, birthdays, his transition day (death of his body) & other meaningful times. Then I would create a little fire puja in our garden...back when I had a home (lost it to the bank back in February).

I had a yummy Hippy Salad at The Dreaming Tree with sauteed tofu & sprouted home made bread. And later I had an Indian dinner at Shanti Niliyam. Otherwise it was a very lazy day.

I didn't sleep all night, kept looking at the clock. Then from 5am to noon I had bloating & diarrhea but no stomachache. I put some GSE (Grapefruit Seed Extract) & a packet of EmergenC into a bottle of water that I sipped on. I did reflexology on my feet & ears, worked on acupressure points St 34, LI 11& rubbed my belly clockwise to keep everything flowing & to reduce bloating, while gazing at Paramahansa Yogananda's picture & chanting So Hum Aum within my mind. I was suppose to go to an acupuncture treatment with Miro at 3pm for my left over pollution induced lung & sinus congestion. I gave him a call at 11pm to tell him I couldn't leave my apartment.  He offered to come over at 3:30pm. It was over before he arrived, but  I was very fatigued. He did a really thorough intake & then only used 3 needles on my right side: St 34, Sp 6 & SI 3. My lungs cleared, breathing improved & I felt a little movement on the left side of my abdomen. I rested, sipped water & napped the rest of the day. I'm definitely going to get at least one more session before I move on. It really helped & it was only 500 rupees ($10)! Later I visited my neighbors & told them my doctor told me I was allowed to have just a little white rice. So Uma prepared me a little bowl with a little salt in it.

Sunday December 10th I went to bhajans (call & response chanting) at Upaho's, behind Shanti Niliyam. Charles asked if I could pour some of my water into his bottle since he'd run out, & I poured in 1/2. Then I actually made it into town to do a shopping with 2 friends from bhajans, after we went to lunch. We ate at Ragaini's & had red rice with vegetables, samba (vegetable soup) & some coconut chutney. Devi spent quite a bit of time to get her internet on her phone working at an internet cafe`, so Charles & I walked back & bought some papayas & bananas along the way. I kept noticing dogs with perfect notches out of their right ears & finally asked a shop owner. My hope was confirmed that it meant they had been spayed or neutered! And they have an animal rescue clinic that rounds them up to do this, to do check ups, de-worm & they're fed regularly. It felt really good to hear all of this.

Charles showed me where Virginia & Dennis were staying near him, since I'd been trying to reach her for a week. We visited for a short while before I called Kumar to drive me home. Virginia told us that she & Dennis had hired a guide to take them to the top of Arunachala the next morning & were meeting him at the post office at 5:45am! She invited us. Charles declined. I told them I'd love to go but still was fatigued from having the runs the day before...but would think about it.
About 4:30am Monday December 12th, I had the inner guidance that I had to go! I drank a 1/2 of a liter left in a bottle. jumped into the shower, dressed, grabbed a couple of bananas, an orange, a scarf since I didn't have a hat, my last liter of drinking water, camera & money for our guide. Then I called Karuna to pick me up to take me to the post office. From there we walked to the Ramana Ashram & walked back to the steps leading up to Arunachala. It's 2 short flights of stairs before the path covered with stones of all shapes & sizes, many flat. Our guide, Ashok, put his sandals under a bush. Virginia put her sandals in her bag. Dennis kept his high top sneakers on & I kept my sandals on.

It's quite a ways along the stony path just to get to the first cave that Ramana meditated in. And even though it was cool & overcast, I need to rest a few times. I apologized & explained to our guide that I had been sick with diarrhea only about 44 hours before. One of the rest stops was a large lookout rock, where you can see the whole city.
Young men & women were ascending & descending the mountain here & there the entire time & we smiled touching our hearts.
The path continued climbing up & up & I needed to rest again. I ate my 2 little bananas & had a couple of gulps of water. Virginia & Ashok both had brought little sweet biscuits with them. And Dennis asked if he could have a little of my water since he didn't bring enough with him. He took a few big gulps. I think I ended up sharing about 1/2 my water. I only did micro sips up & back. Then I brought out the final prescription I had left of Johnny's, that I'd filled out before leaving my apartment. I explained the significance & asked Ashok if I could put it in the fire at the top & he told us he didn't see a problem but that I'd need to ask the people tending the fire. Virginia asked to see it. I handed it to her while explaining that I wrote my name as Maha Shakti Butterfly when I was feeling more powerful. Her eyes misted up as she read it, pressed it to her heart & handed it back smiling. I nodded & put it back into my bag.

Finally we reached the spot where the real ascent began. I slipped on the rock because of the wet grass between the rocks. So Ashok told me it would be more "convenient" for me to take my shoes off, meaning it would be easier & that my toes could grip better. Which was true. He told us that the cobras & vipers didn't come out until 6pm. But there was appeared to be a black worm that he pointed out to be a baby snake.

I believe over 1,500 feet of our 2,500 foot total climb up Arunachala was via this rather arduous climb, at least arduous on little water & still recouping. Virginia & Dennis were way up ahead & Ashok stayed with me each time I need to rest for a few least my breathing was more clear.  But I very much felt held by Johnny & Arunachala as I chanted inwardly So Hum Aum & Aum Namah Shivaya Namah Aum.

We caught up to them & Ashok pointed out to be careful of the blackened areas, as that was slippery ghee that had been spilled on it's way to the top to keep the fire lit. I did take pictures along the way...& will get them posted eventually :)
When we were just a few feet from the top, Ashok told us to put our shoes near a bush because the top of the mountain is a great temple. It was about 10:30 or 11am. He & some others helped us those last few feet because it was so slippery with the blackened ghee. It truly otherworldly up there. The entire way, until we got to the top we heard the horns from traffic below. It was silent up here & there was a thick mist all around the top. So all we saw was the blackened ghee & an enormous yellow vat with fire coming out of it. A few young Indian men stood around. They had been camping on the top of the mountain since the lighting on Deepam to attend to keeping the fire going. Ashok made my request for me & I was given a nod & then helped up to the vat. I brought my palms together above my head, Johnny's prescription between my hands & brought it down to my ajna center (3rd eye) & anahata (heart center) as I asked for blessings, protection & guidance. Then I read my prescription silently. I had written 3 wishes: 1) Vibrant Health in a youthful body  2) Releasing emotions & ego lovingly   3) Finding my soul purpose with Johnny & the Universe's help

Tentatively I placed my prescription near the flame & a gust of wind took it out of my hands. The moment I let go of the need to place it in the fire, feeling that the element of wind carried it with my voice to Johnny & Arunachala, then someone caught it on the other side of the vat & handed it back to me. I rolled it & put it in. It was amazing & really felt Johnny & the mountain. The young Indian man near the vat smudged my 3rd eye with ash from the vat.

Then Dennis & Virginia took their turns. I took pictures of Virginia & Dennis took pictures of me. Still on the top, we were shown little marble sculptures of lingams that had been blessed. We each bought one for 300 rupees ($6) to support the artists & commemorate Deepam & Arunachala.

Ashok guided us down off the top & through some grass which cleaned our feet & to a small cave. He pointed to some rags to wipe our feet & then we entered the cave. There was just enough room for the 4 of us to sit down in front of a small altar in the wall with a stone Shiva lingam on it. He asked Virginia for the little lingam she'd bought. He began by explaining that thousands of years ago Shiva became tired of creating & turned into Arunachala Mountain & he attracted Parvati his wife. He pointed to the upward protruding part of the lingam saying that was representative of the penis, male creative energy & sitting inside of a yoni or vagina & also represented shakti or feminine principal of unending emptiness & potential. He went on to say that tantra was very important, that when making love a couple should always look into each others eyes, ask permission before touching & stay connected energetically. I told them that my husband's death was very tantrik...that we were very present. Virginia & Dennis has already heard the story & so I just simply explained about our last kiss & his hands as his body was shutting down preparing for death. Then we meditated for a few minutes & I borrowed Virginia's sweater.

Ashok led us down the steep climb, the same way we had come up. I took micro sips as I needed them. We took some pictures of some Rhesus monkeys on an area of rock that opened up. I needed to take several little breaks. Virginia & Dennis continued on without waiting, while Ashok stayed with me the whole time. I told him more about Johnny & the death of his body. And he began opening up & telling me his entire life story too.

The sun did come out at times & was very hot. I had to put my shoes back on when we finally made it to the stony path because the rocks were too hot for my feet. We began taking breaks when we found a shady spot. At one of those areas Ashok offered me one of his packets of dehydrated dahl. It was salty, just what I needed & had 20 grams of protein. And he offered me a couple of his cookies. I brought out my orange & he only accepted a couple of slices. I noticed he didn't have much water either. He said his was local water & that he was okay because he drank a lot of water before we started out. I took another micro sip of mine. A young Indian man came up the path & pointed to his mouth speaking to Ashok in Tamil. He wasn't carrying anything, no water at all! Ashok asked if he could have a little of my water. I measured a millimeter distance between my fingers & said a tiny bit! So Ashok explained my instructions as I offered my bottle which he hovered over his mouth, only taking a couple of drops.

We still had quite a ways to go. I did have my scarf for my head. I only got a slight sunburn beneath my clavicle (collar bone) & on my arms, despite my not having sunscreen. And I didn't get heatstroke & my feet were in great shape, just a tiny scrape on my right elbow. We met Virginia at the lookout rock. Dennis had gone home, still getting over a cold. Got back down the mountain around 2pm. Johnny & Arunachala definitely had my back...& the rest of me!

Here are some pictures coming down Aurnachala & I managed to have energy to do one arm balance photo shoot as well.

After we reached the bottom, Virginia bought me a young coconut that Laxshmi opened for me. And I bought another after that. We walked back to Ashok's art studio & Virginia commented that my smudge on my 3rd eye looked like an Aum now! I looked at my reflection in the shop did...& I also looked like a wild woman! She took a picture of me...hope it turns out!

The next day Tuesday December 13th I was tired & just felt my quads & hams a little. Did a little stretchy yoga before my affirmations, japa & sit. And I got into town & had another yummy salad at The Dreaming Tree with Devi & Charles. I really only felt my legs going up & down the stairs...

I think I need to end here. I lost 2 hours of work here at the internet cafe` during a power outage & had to almost start over again! So I do apologize for the formatting & hope it all makes sense. It's 7:20pm & I need to figure out where to go for dinner & go home.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Saturday Dec 3rd- Wednesday Dec 7th in Tiruvannamali

My last blog entry I was about to go to Shanti Niliyam, to try out Dominic's new chef Santos. Kumar drove me back home by auto rickshaw to freshen up & rest for 40 minutes before going. On the way I saw a building that said "Animal Rescue" & asked about it. Kumar told me it was for cats & dogs. The only cats I had seen were Dominic's & were very happy. And some dogs appeared to have human companions & others didn't...

My neighbor Uma welcomed me at my door & threw her arms around me saying she hadn't seen me in days & said she thought my schedule was too busy. They had wanted to invite me to dinner & she wanted to go walking with me the next morning. I told her I was going to Bajans (calling & response chanting) the next morning & that it would need to be before that. Her husband Supraat came out & I promised I'd come back for tea & to chat when I came back from dinner.

Again Kumar picked me up to go to Dominic's place. We had risotto (toasted bread with tomatoes, herbs & olive oil), vegetable soup & I had a special vegan main course mushroom & tomato with green beans over white rice. Everyone else had mushrooms with bishcemel (sp?) sauce. It was entirely too much food & Santos gave everyone twice the amount they wanted!

 Alan had a quizzical look on his face when I introduced myself as Butterfly...but I was too hungry to explain. I'd already shared quite a bit with Devi while waiting for dinner & had a lovely connection. She text messaged me at the table, an ashram that she's stayed at in Varanasi.

After dinner Kumar took me home & I went to visit my neighbors over ginger tea.

That next morning Sunday December 4th I did my morning japa of So Hum Aum (I AM that Presence within, God), meditation & asana (sun salutes), shower & a breakfast of banana, papaya & muesli. It was 8am by the time I knocked on Uma's door. She expressed that she wished I was earlier to go part way around Arunachala Mountain. But Supraat told us he could come pick us up if there wasn't time.

 Abi, there 11year old son joined Uma & I. We went off arm in arm in the direction of town & then took the fork to the left. A woman in a brightly colored turquoise sari & gold nose rings approached us with a small stick dipped in saffron colored tumeric powder with a yellow ribbon attached to it. She guided us to a tree by the side of the road, where dozens were tied. I asked her why we were doing this & if it designated where the Deepam festival of 1-2 million people walking around the mountain as it was lit on top with a giant vat of ghee (liquid butter) for a candle. She just bobbled her head & Uma said tumeric powder is medicine. I asked again, "But what is the purpose? Is it just to be pretty?" Neither one of them answered but just bobbled their heads & then Uma said, "She wants 10 rupees (which is 20 cents}". As we walked away from her, Uma told me laughingly, "She is a cheater! There are a lot of cheaters here. I will not let you do that again!" She gestured to all the sadhus in orange robe, "Over 90% of them are cheaters! And never go up the mountain with one, they've killed Americans." I assured her that I don't go with anyone I don't know. Then I showed her my whistle I'd been wearing around my wrist & I took a wide stance like in warrior pose & did a high kick with a karate chop. She said, "Do you know karate?" I said, "No, just attitude." And I related to her about how a monkey tried to take my cloth bag that had bananas in it & stared him down until he let go. She nodded approvingly.

We came to the 1st open air temple around Arunachala & removed our shoes. It was to Ganesh, remover of obstacles. She & Abi did some mudras (hand gestures) & giggled with a silly little dance, while I tried to imitate it.

We crossed the street & I wanted to take some pictures of the Rhesus monkeys. Uma pointed to a branch with an entire family of them. And yes I hope to post pictures soon! I remarked to Uma how human their ears look...& are actually a little pointed like a faery or an elf.

We walked a few more feet & Supraat came riding up on his motorcycle & took Abi back home with him.

Uma & I continued along our way, taking off our shoes every few feet to walk into another open air temple. They were all lovely with devotion. One that particularly struck me was to Krishna & had men & women sitting in front with baskets of tulsi sprigs & leaves. We each gave a man 10 rupees (20 cents) for a big handful & then we entered the temple. A Brahmin priest accepted the tulsi to put on a little throne & we were offered holy water to drink & bathe our heads with. I accepted the water in my hands & gestured to my lips & poured it on my head. Outside of the temple a man stopped Uma & spoke to her. She turned to me & said he approved that I was so interested & respectful & not just taking pictures.

We walked a few feet & I bought some bananas to give the monkeys later.

Supraat appeared again on his motorcycle & I & Uma got on behind him. He started driving on the sidewalk saying, "I'm escaping the police! They can't chase me here (on the sidewalk). Only 2 are allowed on a motorcycle!" We laughed...but it was a wild ride, as they all are in India.

I told them I'd like to give my bananas to the monkeys & he stopped for me to throw the bag to a delighted little family of Rhesus monkeys. Unfortunately my leftover tulsi was also in there.

We arrived back at our apartment at 9:45am & Kumar picked me up just 10 minutes later & I was only 5 minutes late for bhajans.

The little house where it was held was behind Dominic's place. It was packed, but Virginia & Dennis had saved a place for me. Virgina & I hugged as I sat down. There were only westerners here. But the chanting (call & response) was so beautiful & I found myself spontaneously crying the 1st 1/2 hour or more in gratitude to the Divine within & without & to Johnny. We sang to Shiva, Ganesha, Sri Ramana, Arunachala Mountain (an incarnation of Shiva) & I held mudras for welcoming, blessing, receiving... A very danceable chant to Radha was sung & I just had to dance for Radha. So I found a little spot at the back of the room near the bathroom door to whirl & dance. After that one chant I went back to my spot. Poems that Sri Ramana had written to the mountain & about divinity in nature, the sky the stars & in us all merged were read, while accompanied by flute. We concluded with the "Asathoma" chant (From the unreal, lead me to the real. From darkness, lead me to the light. From death, lead me to immortality. Aum, peace, peace, peace) & Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu (May all beings on all the worlds know happiness & peace).

When we stood up, Virgina told me she saw me dancin & thought I should go to Vrindavan during my pilgrimage. I responded that it was definitely on my list...& that Johnny had been my Krishna & I was his Radha! She gave me a big hug.

Devi was there & I gave her a big hug too & told her I'd been dancing to her chant for Radha. Then I told them both that I was going to go to Shanti Niliyam for lunch next door & give Dominic some feedback about the dinner the previous evening.

Devi joined me, but Dominic was out & we were told he'd be back in a few minutes. So while we waited I gave her my whole story about Johnny's beautiful death & little Maha Samadhi & how he named me butterfly. She was moved to tears when I related about all the love & his wanting to kiss me...& not treating each other any differently.

Finally she had to leave & Veena brought me some lunch, leftovers from last night. I had to ask her to please take 1/2 of the rice off my plate because it was too much. After eating I called Dominic & told him that while it was so sweet of Santos to want to feed everyone more than they wanted/needed, that it would be much better to allow customers to decide how much so there is no waste. Then there could be more leftovers for another time or better yet to feed more bellies instead of over stuffing some. And I added that since he was wanting to do organic mostly from his farm, he should include brown rice as an option for health nuts from the west. He thought they were all great ideas. Then he asked if I'd like him to call Kumar to take me home. I said that I'd like to walk to get to know the neighborhood, & thought I'd remember the way since I'd been driven there twice.

On the way back to the apartment, I got lost in the village & called Dominic. I told him I was next to a house that was painted yellow with a Yellow Pages advertisement. He called another auto rickshaw driver for me...who couldn't find me. I ended up talking to neighbor after neighbor who only spoke Tamil, the native language, & handing my phone to them. I kept being pointed the way & then trying to communicate with other villagers. I never panicked. It was during the day & they were all cheerful family people. I finally accidentally found Shanti Niliyam! And Dominic had Ragan (Karuna's brother) take me home. I paid for both auto rickshaws, since the other driver spent considerable time trying to find me with Dominic & different villagers help. But that only amounted to 130 rupees ($2.60). Dominic called when I reached my gate to make sure I made it.

I went up to my neighbors & sat down on one of their nice lawn chairs & put the seat back, exhausted. I told Uma what had happened & that I'd asked for a sign (from Johnny) about whether I should walk with arms interlocked with Virginia & Dennis on Deepam, with the 1-2 million people. I'd decided that that was my sign. If I could get lost easily during the day, that would be too much for me with that kind of crowd at night.

Uma & Supraat agreed with me. But they needed to take their son to his tutor & told me I could rest there while they took him. They got back about 1/2 an hour later & offered some tea. When it was time to go pick him up they offered to take me to market since the crowd would be getting thicker each night. Supraat went on his motorcycle. And I got behind Uma on her motorcycle. There were a lot more buses on the road & they weaved inbetween them, the auto rickshaw drivers, bicycles & pedestrians. Supraat went on to get Abi & Uma & I began shopping. They met us minutes later. We hung our groceries from handle bars & headed back. Uma & I choked with the extra buses on the road. She turned back towards me say, "Are you comfortable?" I leaned into her ear, "I'd be a lot more comfortable if you watch the road!" We laughed & I said, "Crazy Indian drivers! Including YOU!" She laughed again.

Back at their home, she made the red rice & tofu I bought at the market along with carrots, green beans, tomatoes & chilies. To my surprise she & her husband served just Abi & me, explaining that they eat later. And she wouldn't let me help with the dishes. After dinner I showed them pictures of my son on his Facebook page & pictures of Johnny on his Caring Bridge site I created for him Supraat had shown me there family pictures & this was the only way I could share with them on their laptop. I pointed out Johnny's enormous smile just before surgery to have an almost 30 lb tumor excised his 1st time with cancer...that he survived for 4 years & 9 more months. And that, "We didn't "wait for circumstances to change to be happy. We chose happiness then..." Uma's eyes misted up seeing that picture & our wedding pictures taken 6 months after, saying "So sad." Supraat asked if my husband had "treatment" & I tried to explain as best I could with the language difficulty. Then he confided that Uma had had cancer 3 years before & they refused treatment & had been charged a lot of money. I finally hugged them good night.

I had a hard time breathing & sleeping that night because of the extra pollution with Deepak coming. Monday morning December 5th I went to my neighbors to say hello. I told them about my sinuses & lungs, & Abi had been having problems too. So Uma offered to make tea with a tulsi plant behind our apartment & another plant. Abi had some too. It felt very soothing the moment sipping it. (They have an American water purification system by the way, as does Dominic.) Then I went home for a long nap & then joined them for dinner, with clear breathing though a runny nose.

Uma showed me how to make peanut, coconut chutney & with a large stone grinder on their covered patio. Supraat smoked on the other side & the breeze went the other direction. It is sad that they don't seem to understand the hazards of smoking...

Then she made chapatis & dhal, again only serving Abi & I. Then they put on a Jackie Chan movie with English subtitles. Virginia called & I stepped out to chat. She & Dennis had spent the morning with Sri Ramana's great nephew! She invited me to temple the next morning, darshan with Shiva Shakti again, breakfast & the caves. I was still pretty congested & told her I thought there would be too many buses again & needed to lay low for a bit.

Tuesday December 6th I spent doing japa, meditating & little asana practice & doing hand wash in a bucket in the shower to put on a line in the back. Then I joined my neighbors for more tulsi tea & lunch. Later her sister, brother-in-law & nephew visited. Her brother-in-law spoke "Brittish English" as he was a high school teacher, but her sister only spoke Tamil. They did ask me to "guess her age" & I responded, "You play that game hear too, huh?!" They laughed & insisted, I said 35 & she pretended to cry, being 32. Then she said she thought I was 30 & told them I was 46.

Finally I went home for a much needed nap & then called Dominic to have dinner at Shanti Niliyam. I met an acupuncturist there & will probably have a treatment after Deepam. A Brahmin came after dinner (chapati, coconut dhal, banana stocks cooked & papaya) & shared some prasad (blessed food, in this case rice) from the temple. As they had ice cream I explained that I was lactose intolerant & also didn't like the way cows were treated in America. The Brahmin nodded & expressed an understanding of how nature is manipulated to create large udders to produce milk in my country.

While I waited for Kumar to drive me home, Dominic told me he'd love to have me teach yoga at his retreat center farm when it's up & running. And he told me I could live anywhere I wanted & has connections in Brazil. I told him that I have a son & 2 cats, my Mom with end stage vascular dementia, Johnny's family, students... But that I'm open to travel.

I went to visit my neighbors when I got home & they insisted I try what Uma was making for dinner...this puffy bread made from chapati flour dropped in oil & dhal. Too much, but very sweet.

Wednesday December 7th, I asked my neighbors if they thought it would be crowded in town & was told it would be okay before night. I couldn't get a hold of Virginia & so I went to the Vedic chanting at the ashram by myself. Just lovely & heart expanding as I walked around the altar & the boys & young men chanting. It's so amazing that the Vedas are only a few actual pages in Sanskrit, but take volumes to explain. They are all seed words. And if listened to, or better yet chanted is said to open doorways of spontaneous understanding.

Then I went up to the 1st cave on my own. I declined an offer along my path to show me the river & a rock Ramana meditated on. There was a beautiful breeze & butterflies everywhere dancing in front of me. I had a short meditation in the 1st cave (about 40 minutes) because I was getting hungry after only having water, 3 small bananas & a handful of almonds.

The Dreaming Tree was closed, closed on Wednesdays, & so I had lunch at Manna Cafe` & then came to the internet cafe`.

I've been told that the vat of ghee is still alight on top of Arunachala after Deepam. So it will be lovely to do the walk after the crowds are gone & to go up the mountain.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Butterfly in India- My first few days.

Well, I'm here! We (Johnny & I) did it! And I have a lot of catching up to do to journal. So please forgive me that this 1st entry will be a snapshot of the last 5 days. I'll be hopefully figuring out how to post the pictures I've taken soon as well.

My husband's best friend, next to me, Lawrence drove me to the airport Sunday November 27th. I hadn't been on an airplane in a little over 20 years & had never been out of the country. Getting out of the car, I strapped on my backpack, gave my friend a hug & grabbed the bag with Johnny's ashes.

I'd left everything behind, even my cell phone as I was going to get another one in India to call home for just 1rupee (2 cents) per minute. My entire life sat in a 6x10 foot storage back in California. My son had our cats, very happily with him. Our home had been foreclosed on back on Valentine's Day of this year & I decided I needed to let go of my yoga studio (In the Mudra) since I couldn't find a partner or someone to take over. I was free. It was exciting, daring, scary & a bit crazy.

Inside the airport I made a friend (Lisa), who'd just finished her teacher training. She asked why I was going to India & so I told her my husband's story, our story, my story:
About 3 weeks before my soul mate husband, love of my lives, transitioned from cancer...his body died...I asked him where he wanted his ashes. He answered, "Put them in the garden, the ocean". Then he drew a long breath & continued, "and I want you to take them to (Mahavatar) Babaji's Cave or just somewhere in the Himalayan Mountains if you can't find his cave."

Lisa was very moved. Later she asked about the type of cancer Johnny had & so I told her that it was a rare connective tissue cancer (lipo sarcoma) & how our medical system prevented him from having surgery because it was a "pre-existing condition". How his naturopathic medicine helped reduce the pain (Johnny was a very gifted licensed Naturopathic Doctor.) But I told her that I'm always uplifted telling his death story:
The night before he died, my rose quartz mala broke & I knew he wouldn't be with me for much longer. That next night, the edema (water retention) wasn't just in his legs. It was now throughout his body, even in his face. We had had this unspoken agreement that we would not speak of death when it came. We wanted to remain in the present, out of fear, only in love. And you could have cut the love in the room like a knife. In bed he wanted to cuddle & he wanted to kiss me. Since his body was shutting down, his lips curled & his tongue fell back in his mouth. But he wanted to kiss me! So I gently place my tongue in his mouth & he gently swirled the tip of his tongue around mine. His hands were hard & his fingers curled in towards his palms...I kissed them. He apologized that his back was hurting him & turned away from me. I told him that I loved spooning with him & began kissing his shoulders. One of our cats, Briana, cuddled behind my knees. Finally he rolled toward me & said that his heart hurt & he was having a hard time breathing...all while reading my eyes & more concerned about what was going on inside me than in his own body. He asked me to call Hospice. On the phone she told me to sit him up. And so I rolled him to help him lean on me & got him to his meditation chair, which use to be my mom's meditation chair. She instructed me to put the oxygen machine on him, which didn't help & then to put oxycodone drops under his tongue. The door rang & I had to run to let the hospice nurse in...that was the hardest thing, leaving his side. When I came back in, I put a picture of our guru, Parmahansa Yogananda, on his lap. I put my left hand on his heart & held his left hand in my right, as I told him, "Baby I love you so much! Baby I love you so much! Divine Mother loves you! Guruji loves you!" I said this 3 times & then he exhaled his last, hands falling one on top of each other cupped upwards. He had his little mini Maha Samadhi (meditation while exiting the body during death) his last minute. The hospice worker took Johnny's vital signs & announced, "It's 11:57pm January 5th 2009." I'd had no idea of day or time. This was our guru's birthday & he took Johnny the last 3 minutes of his birthday party! I had begun to meditate after his follow him just a little way. But the hospice worker began adjusting his head & mouth to "look better" for family & it brought me out of deep meditation & plummeted me into grief. I was able to meditate the next morning...

I also shared some of the communications I had with Johnny right after & in these past nearly 3 years now.

But let's come back to the airport. Lisa & I began doing some yoga stretches in the terminal & I showed her some Shiatsu techniques, while seated, to get the legs to relax. Then I worked on her palm that was swollen. I explained that I always seem to be "fixing" people I meet. She was delighted. She shared about her travels too & it was delightful having a new friend to chat with while we waited.

On the plane, both going to London & then on to Chennai the next morning, there was an empty seat between me & the passenger on the aisle. This enabled me to stretch diagonally to take little cat naps. I felt that this was a little gift from Johnny & thanked him & our guru, Divine Mother...

LA was beautiful flying out of LAX, all the lights. I arrived at the Heathrow airport in London on November 28th about 3:30pm their time. I stayed over in one of their sleeping cabins, which was quite comfortable but no windows. I flew out of Heathrow that next morning on November 29th & arrived at the Chennai airport November 30th at 1am. By the time I found the taxi driver who came for me, it was about 2am & we arrived in Tiruvannamali at 5:30am. It was still dark, but women & their daughters were making their way up the main road with milking cows & calves, who all seemed to be well fed & treated well.

He took me to my apartment where I rested for 4 hours, before Karuna came to pick me up by auto rickshaw to go buy toiletries & some muesli cereal, soy milk, cashews, papaya & bananas. Along the way I took in the magnificence of Arunachala Mountain, the green-ness everywhere, women in sparkly saris, sadhus in ocher robes, open air temples & grave yards. But I did notice piles of trash next to the road & asked how many people lived there, & was told 500,000. At their little market, I was pretty out of it with the jet lag & just starred at the shampoo & had a hard time making decisions. Then he drove me back to my apartment. On the way we talked about my friend Virginia who'd invited me & had just arrived 2 days prior. Moments later we ran into her on the road. What synchronicity! She invited me to come to join her & a friend later for dinner & to go to the ashram to meditate & hear chanting in Tamul, the local language. But I wasn't up to it after the 3 day journey & said "Maybe tomorrow". Karuna got me back & I showered & then laid down again until almost 8pm. Karuna had told me he'd meet me at a hotel about 300 yards from my apartment to bring me a mobile phone I paid him to get for me. At the restaurant I was asked, "Veg or Non-Veg" which I explained I was vegan. There was only one thing available to me on the menu, but it was delicious & flavorful without being too spicy, a yellow dhal with chapati. Karuna met me to give me my phone & very kindly sat while I ate & I told him briefly about Johnny's last request.

He offered me a ride back on his motorcycle & I accepted saying I've never been on a motorcycle. Which is true! It was a short ride but fun. I didn't mention that Johnny took me to a motorcycle photo shoot he wanted me to do years ago.

Back in my apartment, my bedroom was sparse with just a hard bed, sheets & pillows. The living room had a coffee table. The kitchen was just a long counter with a large sink & no refrigerator. I had my own bathroom, which I was thankful for...& thankful for it all actually. The bathroom had a western style toilet but had a hose attached to the tank & no toilet paper...was thankful I brought some & that Karuna got some at the store for me. The shower was in the same space as the toilet. And I even had an area behind the apartment with rattan furniture & a clothes line & a thatched roof enclosing it. My apartment was upstairs & had a spectacular view of Arunachala Mountain.
A neighbor had greeted me earlier that day & to make sure I knew how to lock the gate downstairs, & so I thought I'd introduce myself to the family since they had their front door open. They had been watching a Bollywood movie on a lap top, but turned if off & invited me in. Uma made some ginger tea for me & we must have chatted for nearly 2 hours! I told them Johnny's story & Uma's husband (don't remember his name at the moment) held my hand. A very sweet family. I mentioned that I was vegan & what that was. He said that they were vegetarian when they were & not when they weren't & just took things & life as it came. Uma confided that they ate meat when they "could afford it". They asked how I ate when I was at home & I told them I liked to do as much raw as possible. Her husband proudly showed me that they like to sprout & then put honey in it & then it doesn't take much to fill them. I agreed & said there's much more vitamins & nutrition it sprouted & raw & that more people can live on less food & less money. He even told me he wanted me to teach her yoga to "reduce" since she'd put on weight...& had never practiced yoga. (It seems that more Americans practice yoga than Indians.) I told them that meditation & pranayama help too & that I'd be happy to teach her. They've been so busy with their internet business, trading on the Indian stock market that she hasn't been available.

I excused myself, needing to call my family. Mom#2, my mother-in-law, answered & was thrilled & surprised that I called. She was so sweet & told me, "Everyone is going to love you in India! You're so beautiful & sweet & friendly!" My son didn't answer his phone, but I left a nice long newsy message.

The next day Thursday December 1st...I'd lost a whole day & kept thinking it was Wednesday, I slept in, meditated lying down & thanked Divine Mother, Guruji, Johnny...did a little stretchy yoga, a few Sun Salutes, savasana & showered. Then laid down for another nap! I was also getting rid of a cold that started the day I left LA, due to some very intense personal stress the week & a half before leaving.

Then I called a contact I was given by another friend. One who lived in town, Dominic, who was 1/2 Indian 1/2 Portuguese & owned an organic farm "Shanti Niliyam". He sent me an auto rickshaw to bring him over to take a tour & have lunch. It was lush & he had a real passion for wanting to inspire Indians to take up organic farming too. A friend of his that lives on the property, Ananda, asked me about my name when Dominic introduced me as "Butterfly":
My husband's body died nearly 3 years ago of cancer. Eight months after I went to Burning Man. Johnny & I had been their together 5 times. My first time there, we got married. And my last time there I took a little of his ashes in a box I painted with the heart chakra on top & the universe painted inside... I danced with his ashes there. And I took them to for the temple burn. I glued a picture of us on one of the walls, wrote to him on that wall & glued the box with his ashes. As I finished gluing the box, a tiny little butterfly landed on the box...& I was wearing butterfly wings at the time. My husband named me. They smiled broadly, that it was fitting.

Dominic invited me to have lunch & meet his new cook who would be preparing his 1st meal (an Italian one) on the grand opening of their cafe` on Sunday. After a traditional vegetarian Indian meal, Dominic's knee was locked up & hurting. He had had Polio as a child & was now 61. So I did some Shiatsu massage on him & showed him how to work on himself. He could really feel the energy running & circulation returning & said, "You could make a living with this here!" This was before I told him I was also a massage therapist & energy healer, as well as a yoga teacher.

Then he asked me if I knew what rennet was, having heard it is in cheese. And so I told them it's used to harden cheese & comes from the lining of the intestines of calves & cows. They were shocked. And I told them about the factory farming & feedlots in America to fatten cows with grain that should be fed to people. He told me that someone even came to a neighbor of his & talked him into cramming chickens in cages to "save space", until people started complaining about the cruelty.

He filled my water bottles with water from his reverse osmosis system that runs the water through 5 times & had Kumar his auto rickshaw driver friend drive me home.

Later Karuna took me into town in the evening to meet Virginia. We met at the ashram for the nightly 6:30pm call & response chanting in the native tongue, Tamul, after checking our shoes in. It was beautiful. The men sat on one side & sang & then the women sang back. Virgina told me they were songs that Sri Ramana Maharishi wrote to the mountain, which is believed to be an incarnation of Shiva. We just sat & listened, & I felt myself drifting off to sleep with the lullaby. Then she asked if I was hungry. I told her I was too tired for a meal but that a snack would be good. So she introduced me to the coconut lady, Lakshmi who has had that roadside business for 25 years! It was delicious & refreshing, but very different from the young Thai coconuts. We had some roasted peanuts folded into a bit of newspaper from another vendor. Then Karuna drove me home.

Friday morning December 2nd I had more energy from a great night's sleep after the chanting. So I did a little stronger Vinyasa flow after my morning sit (meditation) in front of the little altar I created with Johnny's urn, picture & picture of Parmahansa Yogananda & felt very connected.

I decided I had enough energy to walk the 3 kilometers (1.5 miles I think) into town. Virginia had invited me to hike part of the way up Arunachala, with her & her friend Dennis, to one of the caves that Sri Ramana Maharishi meditated in for 12 years & became so absorbed & one with the Divine that he didn't even notice rats chewing on him.

Even though I knew it would be a long hike, I wanted to see everything on foot. I believe the official driving pattern is driving on the least if it's a freeway! Other than that it is a free for all with lots of honking & larger vehicles have the right away & pedestrians need to keep well to the side but still watch for motor scooters & motorcycles that will drive on the side to get around traffic.

It was hard sometimes seeing dogs sometimes without people, but for the most part they seemed well fed. Some of the women were dressed very elegantly in saris that sparkled. Others appear to have very little. Sadhus in orange robes tried to motion me over. I kept to my path. A couple of women were putting trash in small plastic bags & I folded my hands in Namaste`to them & touched my heart & then gestured to the Earth. There's a lovely custom of greeting each other & touching the heart.

There was a lovely open air goddess temple that felt very powerful.

I met Virginia just outside the temple grounds & we removed our shoes. Dennis watched our bags, while we went to the bathrooms which are just holes in the ground with a ceramic plate over it.

Peacocks roamed in front of the temple, as we made our way to the stairs leading to the stone path up the mountain. A very sweet group of young Indian men wanted to have their picture taken with Dennis & I. One of the boys had a T-Shirt that read something like: Watch out, I know karate, tae kwon doe, ju jitsu...& a lot of other dangerous WORDS. I read it dramatically out loud & we all laughed.

The view along the stoney path was beautiful & butterflies danced in front of me much of our way. That gave the opportunity for Dennis to ask how I got my name & I obliged. He thought it was a lovely story & confirmation. I did actually get a picture of one of the butterflies & hope to post it when I figure that out.

There were a few very talented artisans, stone carvers selling their statues of Ganesh, Shiva, snakes & Aum symbol.

Dennis asked me where I lived & I told him laughingly, "That's a good question!" Then I shared with Virginia & Dennis that I was needing to shed now...had my life down to a 6'x10' storage unit. Virginia very sweetly told me that she thought I'd be achieving enlightenment in this life time because I've had so much loss. I feel any life purpose arising out of this wonderful adventure Johnny has sent me on will also include my being "in the world" though...I have a son & 2 cats at home!

There was a rest point on a large rock that more than a dozen people could sit on & see the entire city. The largest temple in the center, that I haven't visited yet, is over 2,000 years old.

We hiked up the remaining way to the first cave. Dennis told us he just noticed a cut on his foot that was becoming inflamed & needed to return to put Neosporin on it & that his stomach was troubling him. So just Virginia & I went in. There was a picture of Sri Ramana, flowers, a little pot with red paste to put on the ajna center (3rd eye) & a few cushions. The cave was cool & comfortable after being out in the heat (only 80's but humid). There was also a deep peace & sweetness I felt there. We each took turns & knelt briefly in front of the altar & placed a dot of red paste on our 3rd eyes & then sat against the cool wall of the tiny cave. For a little while my meditation seemed to go quite deep into thoughtlessness, not quite breathless & a merging into the wall behind me. A little later I began apparent reason from any thought...but a lovely release.

Virginia & I were not up to going to the second cave & so we made our way down the mountain. I told her about challenges that had come up 1 1/2 weeks before my leaving for India...a close friend committing suicide...& cried as I told her about Sarah.

A little girl sat at the bottom of the steps asked me my name & asked me to take a picture of her. Then she asked me to take a picture of her with her sister & they eagerly looked at the picture on the camera. She asked to take my picture with her sister & instead I handed it to Virginia for her to take it & their baby sister ran over to join us. Afterwards she pointed to the bananas in my bag I'd bought from a woman near the cave. I picked one out & said, "Dring, Dring" holding it up to my ear, "I think it's for you." They giggled as I handed her the banana.

Walking into the courtyard behind the temple & ashram, there was a little family of Rhesus monkeys. A big one jumped onto my cloth bag biting it's way through & trying to grab it from me. I pulled it close & we starred each other down for a moment until it jumped down. Virginia said she was afraid of the monkeys. I took a few pictures of them & then we went into the bookstore to buy a zippered cloth bag. And I lamented that I couldn't buy anything because of my traveling for 6 months through India & having to travel light. (I had bought a couple of very light weight simple outfits, as then few things I brought were too warm.)

Virginia said she wanted to go check on Dennis, but pointed out the way to Manna Cafe` to me.

I was the only one at Manna Cafe`since it was only 4:30pm. I had some wonderful fresh pressed juice- apple, beet, carrot & a delicious dinner of chapatis, hummus & grated beets & carrots. It's been such a treat to discover that one can eat really healthy & well on so little! The bill was 135 rupees, which amounts to about $2.70.

Karuna called just before I was served & I told him that I was thinking about him, about paying my 2 weeks rent & needing a ride back after dinner. By the time I called him after dinner, he needed to pick up his daughters from school. While I waited, I bought another papaya, more bananas & I did buy a quartz crystal & rudraksha bead mala- as I'd left my malas at home & wanted to add one to my little altar on my bed.

For some reason I didn't sleep well & so I finally got up at 5:30am on Saturday December 3rd, took the mala I bought off of Johnny's wooden urn & did japa for an hour...rolling each of the 108 beads while sounding a silent mantra. Some mantras are out loud, but this one is silent & is the second oldest mantra...the very sound of the breath So Hum Aum (I AM that Presence within, God as spirit). This was a mantra I used with my beloved (Johnny) to change his perception of his pain & anxiety & put him back to sleep every 10-15 minutes for 4-5 hours at a stretch over a 6 week time period, during his last & final bought with cancer. This mantra has deep meaning for me...& yes my eyes are misty...but with love.

Then I did an even stronger Vinyasa flow sequence, showered & had another light breakfast of papaya with some muesli poured into the hollow where I removed the seeds, 2 small bananas, a few cashews & an orange.

I called Karuna to take me to the ashram for the Vedic chanting that Virginia invited me to & his brother Rogen came instead. I sat for a couple of minutes with Virginia & then felt compelled to circle around with others around the altar, while boys & young men chanted. It was very powerful & I held my hands in Hakini Mudra the whole time, calling to remember who I am. I did spontaneously cry at one point. A brahmin priest placed garlands around a little snake altar to shiva & a lingham, an egg shaped stone also representing Shiva & transformation.

After the ceremony, Dennis met us outside the temple. He had been on the men's side of the room. There is no feeling of "segregation" in this practice though. It seems to be merely a way of being more focused on the reason for being there.

Then Virginia showed us where Dennis was going to have his Aruvedic massage later, which was along our way to silent darshan (energy transmission) with Amma of the Sri Siva Sakthi Ammaiyar Ashramam. It lasted only 15 minutes, her slow walk & loving gaze.

There was a rooftop restaurant next door that was just amazing called "The Dreaming Tree". Couches & futtons with brightly colored pillows were grouped around tables. Hammock were along the sides, a mural of a tree & even a modern western bathroom with toilet paper & a sink along with a beautiful jungle mural. One of the owners, Anna is German & her husband is Indian. Much of the menu is organic, it's vegetarian with a few vegan options. We had brunch & I had a Himalayan Echinacea tea to boost my immune system, an almond milkshake & porridge with bananas, rasins, nuts, shredded coconut & almond milk...very tasty & hardy!

Well, I've been writing for hours now to catch up. I have an invitation back at Shanti Niliyam in 90 minutes to try out their new chef before "going live" tomorrow night.

I did notice a yoga studio a couple doors away that really intrigued me with their scope of asana, pranayama, mudras & meditation programs & jotted the number down...

Love & Namaste`,
Yogini Butterfly

P.S. I'll try to post pictures soon...when I figure it out :)