Day 143- grocery wars

I am down the coast at my brother’s house minding his kids with my mum and I am in the mood to cook quinoa and roasted vegetables… My mother takes me into the local bulk buy discount super market. I am almost in tears as I leave. Everything is in a package or frozen! The fruit and veg section was tiny- they didn’t even have sweet potato! And all the veggies had plastic wrapping! I am so horrified and shaken up. As I almost cry, driving home with the kids asking when we will get home, the familiar orange sign of BWS (Beer Wine and Spirits) comes into my peripheral vision. This is my shadow saying, “this is too hard, just give in, become part of the consumeristic culture and just have wine and toast for dinner…” I don’t listen. I physically swipe my forehead, deleting that old samskara (habit) from my mind. I stay strong and cook lentil and roast vegetable pie instead. It is hard trying to be in this world and yet not be affected. I was so angry at the supermarket. Why do people buy crap to put in their bodies? Why does the food industry fill us with crap? Why so much plastic!? Where are the fruit markets lining the streets? You know you don’t belong in this shiny progressive brave new world when, in all its chaos, India makes more sense.

Then I receive an email from one of my friends from the STP course in India; she is an angelic singer and always finds beautiful songs in Hindi describing the principles of yoga. This song perfectly describes my present state and has come just in time as a beautiful reminder that this is reality- this is the struggle we must all face. It would be easy to retreat to a cave and meditate but then, I wouldn’t be learning what I came here to learn. I entered this lifetime, as a woman born in Sydney, for a reason and I must learn to be in this world. Wherever I am, I must find the guru within and learn the lesson I am being shown. These experiences are actually part of the path to enlightenment, not obstructions. There is no need to cry. Just observe, find the truth and always remember the way home is to turn within.

Below the song is translated:

All my wishes and desires are visibly written on my face/forehead.
What can I ask you, really? You yourself understand
Oh Master, Protector

There are only splits, pains in my fate, oh Master/Guru
Set my fate right, dear Guru
At your doorstep, I bow my head and thus, ‘I’ extinguish and am born again. Set my fate right, dear Guru

Whoever came to your doorstep, came with the intent of letting go
They came staggering inside filled with drunkenness of worldly attachments.
They came with a thirst which was unquenched outside, you filled him up completely, fully.
They were seen drenched in Light and thus, rescued.

Chorus: There are only splits, pains in my fate, oh Guru
Set my fate right, dear Guru

There was a fragrance leading me
I lost myself in its search, in the maaya of silken delusion and despite it, I kept yearning for it.
When I started on Your path, then Truth revealed itself to me.
I held within me that fragrance all along, You introduced me to this fragrance.

Of course, I knew only how to be shattered, unfocused and splintered.
I had not learnt to follow the one reason with obedience and surrender
Let me be in Worship/Meditation, Now, I won’t go anywhere else
Don’t turn me away this time. If you do, I won’t be able to pick/gather myself from pieces.

Day 142 – the wisdom of children

My mum and I are driving down to my brother’s place on the south coast. Before we leave I have time to practice and even go for a run. It is one of those beautiful crisp autumn mornings where the sun is warm and the air is fresh. Magpies are crying to the morning and the grass is glistening with dew. As I breathe and run, I feel balanced and ready to be in Sydney again. The 2:1 exhale to inhale breathing rhythm is now such a habit, this feels like the deepest breaths I will take all day.

Driving down, most of the highway is surrounded by bush land. The dry scrub stretches out to my left and beyond that I can see the deep blue pacific ocean in the distance. The familiar smell of eucalyptus, melaleuca and lemon myrtle get stronger the further south we go. This far away from the city, the air feels clearer and colder. As the sun sets I can hear the kookaburras laughing across the sky and the sun is setting as early as 5.30pm. The days are already shorter as winter approaches. Getting up at 4am to practice was great in the Indian summer but here I can’t say it will be so easy. But the sounds and smells of Australian dawn make it all worth it to at least set my alarm for 6am.

When I arrive at my brother’s door I can hear the kids screaming my name as they run to greet me. When we sit down for dinner they both want to sit next to me “because I love Tia!” It utterly melts me.

As I do my morning meditation in front of the fire I can hear my niece, Miss 6 and nephew, Mister 3, upstairs. They run to the banister to look down where I am sitting and I hear them as grandma what Tia (Aunty) is doing. I am standing doing bhastrika when Mr Cat (that is the name of their hairless devon rex) starts pawing at my legs for attention. I pick up his thin body and he crawls across my neck to purr loudly while I do agnisara. When I sit down to pray before breakfast, the kids ask again what I’m doing and my mother, fearing a metaphysical response, she interrupts my answer to say that “Tia is just saying thank you to god for the food.” Ever the pragmatist, my mum. (I will find her later in the garage yelling, “Look at me!” as she spins around with a hula hoop while I try to explain to my nephew why his toy cars would be better for the planet if they were diesel-fuelled).

My nephew keeps telling me that I need to keep growing my hair and not cut it or else “you will look like me and daddy and not like a girl.” Grateful for his style tips, it seems pointless to tell him that girls can have short hair too, or that all the kids in India get their heads shaved at their age. Social conditioning has already set strict guidelines for feminine and masculine attributes and he hasn’t yet turned 4.

In four months since I saw them last, they have both grown centimetres in height and maturity. My nephew is entering the stage of pedantic parent-terrorist and my niece is old enough now to offer him counselling for his tantrums. She is a talented artist and reading far beyond her level. When she asks what I looked like when I was little, I tell her, “well, I kind of looked like you.” Which she seems to like. She has a blue-skinned doll that is a zombie, though she doesn’t know what that is. She has a chronic fear of skeletons and all things to do with death so it’s strange that she likes this doll. Looking at its blue hair, red lips and detachable limbs (Leprosy Barbie?), I notice it must be a Vata because of its hyper-flexible joints. It has serious lumbar lordosis and the wrists are bent at an unnatural angle. But still, it seems like a better image to aspire to than the traditional blonde Barbie.

Doing yoga with my niece, she likes the balancing poses. She is already super flexible and does gymnastics so she is getting strong. When we finish and put out hands together I invite her to say a prayer and she says, “um… Thank you god… For a life!” The simplest and most honest prayers really are the best.

When I look into these kids’ adoring eyes, I wonder why I would ever need love from another human being. These children have pure, unconditional and unquestioning love for me. Sure, by the time they are 15 they might feel differently, but I’m working really hard on the “cool aunt” image. And all that matters is now and they love me now.

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Day 141- a bumpy landing

I’m so excited to be home, I almost run through customs. When I race to hug my mum she has tears in her eyes but suddenly four months dissolves into moments and it is like I’ve never been away.

My first stop is my favourite cafe for a soy mocha and raisin toast. It is a sunny autumn morning and the ocean is a rich blue surrounded by the sandstone cliffs of Malabar. I had forgotten how beautiful it is to be beside the ocean. Coffee tastes amazing- if there is one thing that Australians have mastered is the espresso machine. Toby’s Estate coffee beans have me in sensorial bliss. But the highlight of home is the shower. I’ve been showering out of a bucket for longer than I can remember and the luxury of running hot water was a rarity I learnt not to expect but I am now more aware of how much water a shower wastes. Actually it’s just under 10 litres per minute. So even with my four minute sand timer that I use religiously I am still spending 40 litres of water. In India I could shower with half a bucketful, maybe 10 litres total. I get out and look at my array of skin care. I have a bit of an addiction when it comes to skin products and airport shopping has attacked my credit card. I carefully apply toners and eye creams and lotions and all the other recommended products I would have read about in Vogue. Have I already become a slave to marketing? Is the consumer culture already brain washing me again? I just spent two months washing my hair with a bar of soap. It worked fine before… One outrageously expensive new haircut later and I guess my membership to the consumerist slave movement has been confirmed. Why is it considered impolite to tell a customer how much foils cost until after its all done? I know it can be awkward to make the assumption that I can’t afford it but right now I actually can’t!

Due to the 4 and a half hour time jump I missed out on sleep so I feel hungover even though I didn’t drink on the plane. I wonder around the shopping centre with my friend and mum and in my dazed state I forget what I’m looking for and end up going home with a new jacket. I feel annoyed and disappointed with myself for spending money needlessly. It isn’t that I don’t like my hair or my jacket. It’s just knowing how far that money could go in India… How many lunches it could buy for street children, how many beds for a child in need. With all the money I spent today I could send a girl from Ladli to college for a year
Dinner is my favourite- mum’s vegetable soup. I stop to pray before eating, something I’ve been doing since the Gedong Gandhi ashram in Bali. For the first time today, I feel connected to the higher self. Coming home has been a shock, I almost felt lost and a little homesick surrounded by this consumer culture, but this is all it takes to come back to self, back to true home. I don’t need to be in India, I don’t need to be anywhere on the outside. I just need to turn inwards and in stillness and silence find the cave of the heart where the holy river of life flows and the internal fire crackles and burns.

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Day 140 – everything changed in India

I am ready to leave the guesthouse at 4.30am, but when I get downstairs the gate is locked and the owner is not answering his phone. When the taxi arrives, I have no other choice but to climb the fence. Is it some kind of sign that I shouldn’t be leaving? I am more than excited to get home and see my family, but I also have a feeling that they will need to physically force me, kicking and screaming, through the airport and onto the plane. I wake up early to do pranayama but there is enough time in transit with nothing much else to do but to meditate. I practice a grounding meditation I did once at the start of this journey, over four months ago when I left Sydney. I imagine a thread of light extending form the crown of my head, down through my body, out my feet and deep into the earth, all the way to the core of the planet.

Before I board the third and final plane that will take me back to Sydney from Bangkok I start chatting to a couple of Swiss guys. One of them asks if my trip to India has changed me. As I nod with a smile, I go back to that moment in January when I sat at the airport in Sydney, waiting for a plane to take me to Bali. How different everything was back then. How different I was then.

“Yes, I have changed.”

“In what way have you changed?”

Unprepared for this conversation with a stranger, I blurt out the most honest answer that is available, “Everything. Everything has changed. I have changed entirely.”

When I left Sydney, I was erratic, half full of anxiety, entirely too full of negative thoughts, my hair was long and I was engaged. Now I feel relaxed, centred, excessively optimistic, my hair is short and I am single. Going to Mexico, I realised just how different my spiritual path was to the path that I was on with my fiancé. We had a great time, but I didn’t get to do all the things in Mexico that I wanted to do. I went back to Sumatra feeling once again way too dependent on my partner to keep me happy. I put unfair expectations on him and then when we were separated, I became despondent and by the time I got to Bali, I gave up my power to my shadow by drinking. I was still practicing every morning but with less energy and less prana. After one more week in Bali, trying to find balance I retreated to an ashram and after practising a day of silence for Nyepi, the Balinese Hindu new year, I went to the local salon in Candidasa and shaved off all my hair. By the time I left for India, I had to say a final goodbye to my fiancé, knowing that my spiritual journey had now led me away from our path together and onward on my own. A part of me had no idea what I was doing and I still remember that crippling fear I felt on that first morning in Delhi when I didn’t even want to leave the hotel. Then, meeting our teacher at Sadhana Mandir Trust, the man who shook my world up, yelling out his TLA’s (three letter acronyms) and demanding that I speak about myself in the third person. Three weeks later and I knew that everything in my life had led me to that point. Trekking up to Gaumukh was the single most life changing moment. As I ascended the final metres, I felt that descending force pulling me up and into the frost tipped mountains. Seeing that frozen glacier, I felt like I had entered the kingdom of heaven. They say that Ayers Rock, in the centre of Australia, is the solar plexus chakra of the world. Well then, the Gaumukh glacier must be the world’s crown chakra. It is a physical place where you can reach out and touch god. As I continued through India, praying at temples and visiting ancient forts, I felt the energy of the ancient land, its rich history culminating to create this world of myth. Meeting the children of I-India I was inspired by the people of this world who, despite having no water, no food, no family or no clean clothes; have undying faith in god, and radiate brightness and joy and dance through life anyway. Watching the Bollywood movie with my friends, I realised how different Australian culture was and how lucky I was to be born in a country where freedom of expression is upheld and even if we have no vegetarian burger available at McDonald’s, we at least consider an ‘honour’ killing a punishable crime.

I left Australia with false expectations, attachments and anxieties. I touched the ground of my ancestors. I enjoyed the luxuries and sensory pleasures of Bali. I entered India with fear, was blessed by the Ganges, my ego was burned to the ground, I was chased by a monkey, I walked straight above the clouds and into heaven, I rode an elephant and danced with the beautiful street children of Jaipur. I have become closer to myself than ever before and now feel that my purpose in this lifetime is to search for enlightenment.

What has changed? Besides my body, my mind, my soul, my path? What hasn’t changed as I fly around the world at high speed and high altitude? Well there is no sign of it slowing down. Whether I join a friend and drive/camp to Western Australia, go back to India, Africa, the Morocco or London. I can’t go back now. I have drawn a line in the sand and the only place to go is to keep moving forward. When everything is changing, you have to change everything.

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Day 139 – how sweet the sunshine

My last day in India. I am content to just be here right now. I don’t need to go anywhere or do anything. From 7am when I get up it takes about two hours to do my morning Sadhana but only fifteen minutes is trying to meditate. It is such a struggle that I just give up. I don’t know why it has become so difficult, why I get so easily distracted. I feel like there is an element missing. It’s like I am trying to pick something up but my hands are full. My mind feels stiff, like it is swollen. Flopping down on the bed, I realise that I have not yet found the one thing that can take me to samadhi. I keep practising, though, because the only way to go is forward but I when I feel exhausted and frustrated like this I wonder if I am not moving in the opposite direction. This whole time I have said that I am not searching for a guru. Whether I am ready or not, I have no idea but knowing I don’t come from this culture of guru/student learning I have not considered it seriously. The word guru literally means “one who dispels the darkness”, taking the student into the light. I don’t feel like I am in darkness, I feel as though my path has been illuminated all along, but perhaps the sky is overcast? Maybe I do need a spiritual guide?

Reading The Journey Home, by Radhanath Swami, I come across a passage in which Swami first meets his guru. ‘I felt that all of the events of my life thus far had been conspiring to bring me to this point.’ How often I have felt this, especially here in India. This journey has been so much more than ‘finding myself’. This has just been the beginning of a much deeper journey that is taking place, a a much more uphill path that I am destined to walk. Like the high altitude trek to Gaumukh, the air is thinner but it doesn’t matter because the view is breathtaking anyway.

The questions has been asked in coming to India; Who Am I? Everything now is about answering that questions. As I move through the world, she shares her beauty, wisdom and magnificence, teaching me and guiding me. Perhaps the rising sun can be my guru, the ocean my comfort, the wind my master and the earth my mother?

How sweet the sunshine

How soft he wind

How gentle the whisper

Calling me home

Day 138 – Ajmer and Pushkar

Rupali and her sister, Megha, had let me sleep in their air conditioned room last night as it was too hot in mine. It is mid-morning and already sweltering as I practice in my bikram-like room. I’m halfway through systematic relaxation when Rupali knocks at my door. We are going to Ajmer. I have an hour to get ready. I eat some fruit, silently praying for this banana to fulfil me entirely so that I can fast for the rest of the day.

There is a famous mosque at Ajmer, which is about 2.5 hours away. Apparently if you pray at this mosque, your prayers will be answered. Whilst I don’t believe in spiritual guarantees like this or plenary indulgence, it has sparked my interest and by 1pm we are driving out of Jaipur and through desert-like country.

As we approach the town, it is decided that we will go to Pushkar first, which is another half an hour past Ajmer. Pushkar is famous for having the one and only Brahma temple in the world. Brahma, the creator of the universe, the key divine being who first chanted the sacred syllable OM, once sat on the banks of the Pushkar lake and meditated for 1000years. Here he sent his son Narad to fetch his wife so that they could perform the ritual puja together. Mischievous Narad, however, made sure that his mother turned up late. Brahma grew impatient and instead asked another woman to join in his meditation. Although, I wonder if this is a euphemism for something else, because when Brahma’s wife finally turned up, she was so angry that she put a curse on him in which no more than one temple would ever be erected in his honour.

As we make our way through the main market, we head first to the lake and the small Shiva temple here. There are stone bathing pools surrounding the lake, which is said to be certain death as it is so deep. Men in loincloths, women in colourful saris and children in shorts are all bathing and standing about in the water. We buy the small basket of flowers and take it to a Pandit, who performs the puja for happiness. This puja is said to remove the karma of past lives and of our families. Rup and I each sit down on the cool marble steps leading to a pool that is filled with floating flowers. I clean my hands with the holy water, dabbing my eyes, ears, head and heart and then the pandit leads me through the Sanskrit prayers. He asks my name and gets excited when I say Elizabeth as there is a ghat named after Queen Elizabeth II; “That one there with all the cows on it!” I pray over the flowers, throw one over my shoulder to get rid of the past karma of my family and then he drapes the strands of maroon and yellow thread over my head. He hands me the coconut and packet of sugar balls as he tries to gently coerce me into donating a substantial amount more than I have and I tell him again and again that no, I don’t have that much, not even in Australian currency. I’m still holding the coconut when he finally concedes and with a forgiving smile ties the thread around my right wrist. He tells me I am free to sit and look at the view. I ask about Brahma meditating here and he says that actually all the gods have come to this lake at some point in time and that the mountains surrounding this lake resonate with the energy to answer all prayers. When I leave he tells me that he hopes I will return with my husband one day.

Next we visit the Brahma temple. There are many marble steps so with her broken foot, Rup decides to sit down in a jewellery shop. Walking barefoot up the red carpet, i notice a Sadhu sitting beside a small red Hanuman temple playing the high pitched flute I once associated with snake charmers. But this man is playing only out of devotion. His eyes are closed in blissful ecstasy as he offers his musical prayer. In the centre, behind a small gate surrounding the stone effigy of Brahma, a pandit stands handing out small parcels of sugar sweets for offerings as he talks on his mobile phone that he has pressed between his ear and shoulder. Devotees ring the huge brass bell, waking up god so that he can hear their prayers. I watch as people bend down to touch the floor and then their hearts, then join my own hands in prayer and chant the only prayer I know with Brahma’s name in it. It has been many days since I was in a temple and once again, I feel the energetic resonance that comes from praying in a holy place. When I am done I move to the side where a painting depicts the many headed, white bearded Brahma with the “other woman” as his wife looks on. In the lower half of the picture Narad, Ganesha, Shiva and other gods stand as though approaching a circle of Sadhu’s around a transparent fire. It is a beautiful and powerful image that reminds me of a Diego Rivera mural in the story it depicts. On the way out I notice two small shrines in marble, one for Lord Indra, who rules over heaven and Lord Kuber, who is apparently the lord of riches.

By the time we enter Ajmer again the sun is setting and clouds are gathering. A rickshaw has to take us toward the centre of the town where the mosque lies but he asks far too much so in a huff of refusal, Rupali limps away as though to walk there herself. She shouts back over her shoulder in Hindi and I understand only the word “shortcut”. Knowing she is probably in pain already from her awkward hobble, I run to help her and finally the rickshaw circles back and agrees on a much more reasonable price. As he drives us through the narrow alleys barely wider than the vehicle we are in, a gentle sprinkle darkens the stone ground. By the time he parks and hands us over to the guide to walk barefoot the rest of the way, it is raining steadily. We stop to get a plastic bag for Rup’s leg and when I ask her if she wants to turn back she cries, “no! We can’t come this far and not go on!”

We make slow progress through the narrow streets, entering secret passageways and stone doors. By the time we stop at an ancient doorway to get Rup a sarong (being more Western than Indian, she is wearing a short dress and needs to cover her legs), the rain has turned into a torrential downpour. We huddle behind the immense ancient castle doors but it is Rup who finally decides to press on. As people crowd against the shops, we pass through alleys getting soaked by the waterfall that is being funnelled down the plastic awnings. In utter admiration and love for this girl I laugh as Rupali drags us on, hobbling through the rain in a strange mix of devotion and stubbornness. When we get to the mosque, a beautiful sky blue and lime green archway welcomes us. Within the main area, the ground is flooded to ankle height and with her plastic bag already weighted with water, Rup simply makes her way around it, never stopping or slowing down. There are children sliding around the wet marble on their knees an bellies as adults stand in silent worship under archways and awnings. Rup tells me it is lucky to be rained on, it means god is with us. I say maybe he will miraculously cure her fractured foot and she laughs in delight even though I can see the pain in her face. In the mosque, we stand before the yellow doors waiting to enter as the prayers are chanted over the loudspeakers. For a moment I close my eyes and remember the river Muara in Padang, Sumatra, when we would enter the river at high tide just when the early morning prayers were beginning. I look around and notice that of the three clocks only one is working. One, shaped like an anchor, is stuck at 9.51 with the second hand bouncing on the sixteenth second, forever bowing toward the centre room. When the doors open we flock in with a mass crowd, jostling and squeezing our way through this tiny room. The scent of the roses being crushed underfoot envelopes us as our guide leads us through the prayers and then gives us a handful of roses to throw to the centre. We then eat three rose petals as he tells us that the upper wall and ceiling is plated in gold, the lower walls in silver and that the green velvet, gold embroidered cloth hanging above us cost 2 lakh. Moving back outside, someone has stepped on her foot but Rup again approaches the crowded door to make her wish on some red and yellow thread and tie it to the door. As I step forward with my own, a priest pushes my head back in what I can only hope is a blessing as I tie up my own wish thread. On the way out, another man offers Rup a wheelchair but then our own guide tells her that people with no legs come here and manage fine without a wheelchair. Knowing there are more stairs than flat areas anyway I tell her we should just go.

Outside the mosque, before we descend its marble steps, i look out into the street, filled with a growing mass of people. The crowd is even more dense out here beneath the hanging coloured lights. Are they all here to worship? By now it is pitch black and the tiny cobblestone alleyways are lit only by flashes of lightning. Knowing Rup is in pain as she doubles over with each limping step, I insist we try and carry her but she only let’s us do so for a short uphill climb before demanding to be put down because she can manage. The priest thanks us and is grateful that we have arrived before a festival begins tomorrow as we would not have been able to get in through the crowds. More than today? We could barely move as it is.

Driving home I realise we haven’t eaten all day and I remember the prayer I did over the banana, hoping it would keep me sated all day. I feel like I could continue my fast until tomorrow but when both Rup and I rubberneck the Dominoes sign, I know we are thinking the same thing so we pull into a bakery for pizza and paneer pastries. I had forgotten how good puff pastry can be! I’ve never been good at fasting.

As we drive on I am reflecting on these pilgrimages people make. We come to India or go to Mecca or walk halfway across Europe all for a sacred building that offers some kind of spiritual loophole. I have no doubt that these places resonate with a special morphic field. Perhaps it is the millions of prayers that have happened there already or perhaps a divine presence does get stronger in places like that. But I also believe that prayers can be answered just as effectively under a tree in a backyard, over a banana or even on the loo. I believe god is within, and it takes as much determination and devotion and stubborn courage to close the eyes and turn the gaze inwards as it does to trudge through muddy water and push through crowds. Could I have figured this all out at had I not come to India?  I’ll never know. The truth is that even though I know the journey to enlightenment must happen within, I will never stop searching. Whether I’m visiting a temple, a mosque, a mountain or a river, in closing my eyes for meditation I have opened my heart to the world and everyday it offers me new beauty and wisdom.

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Day 137 – eating too much

I have been looking all over India for an Ayurvedic massage and finally found a place that I actually wanted to set foot in. I am getting classical abhyanga– the oil massage. I lie down on my back and she begins with my legs, focusing on pressure points around the body. When she gets to my head, she presses hard into my skull and seems to be trying to squeeze my brain out of my eyeballs. This actually feels really good! She rolls me over and begins at the legs then moves up to my back.

By now, I am completely relaxed and by the time I come out of the massage I realise my head was completely empty of thought for that last part of the massage. I wonder back out into the dusty Jaipur street feeling balanced, relaxed and a little hungry so I wonder over to a Veg restaurant for my favourite dish, Paneer Butter Masala. I order a green salad which is just sliced onion, cucumber and tomato. I can’t wait for leafy greens when I get back to Sydney! The problem with Indian food is that it is never just a snack. It is always ridiculously filling, regardless of how small the plate is. They always seem offended when I refuse the third chapatti and the rice, but I still have to walk back to the guesthouse so I don’t want to be too full. Later in the afternoon I eat again when Rupali orders a delicious curry of chickpeas and vegetables. We eat it with garlic naan and some kind of deep fried roti. Every mouthful I keep saying, “Ok, this is my last bite.” Why do I do this to myself? I am so full I feel sick. I lie down on my left side with my arm tucked beneath me to activate my right nostril and kickstart digestion but it doesn’t work. The rest of the day I spend rolling around in agony as my poor belly tries to digest all the food I have put in it.

I always get like this during my last few days in a place. I think, soon I won’t be able to eat this so I better get in as much as I can now! This is terribly short sighted and really, eating more food won’t prolong the enjoyment. The great yogi’s and Rishi’s survived on less than one meal a day. In fact, most had little more than a glass of milk each day. Despite their enormous bellies, they gave up their attachment to food a long time ago. Apparently what I am lacking is nurturing and I am searching for this in food so I am overeating. It’s probably true. Well, soon I will be home and mum can pat me on the head and make me her vegetable soup. For now, I just need to be stop eating so much! Tomorrow I am fasting, I promise myself.

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