Tag Archives: India

in a funk

I’m not talking funky music, either! That would be a fun, as well as, funky matter and might even get me off the sofa to dance. I’m talking about being “in a funk.” All January and now I notice it’s already 10 days into February. This must end! For one thing, my birthday is exactly one week away and that would definitely make a funk worse to feel like this on one’s special day.

Dictionary.com says funk means “a dejected mood.” Now look up dejected. Disheartened, low-spirited. Ah, low-spirited, that’s it. We’re not talking spirits here; from time to time in the evening I might have a glass of red wine. No, my spirit has been low.

Must I remind us? It is 11 degrees outside, feels like -1. I like snow but not if I have to shovel it with slabs of ice in it. I like snow from inside a warm home; it looks beautiful out here in suburbia which used to be country. So this extra harsh winter is a factor.

I spent Thanksgiving and longer in India. The first week of December I visited South India where I had to buy a sleeveless top. After sharing all the photos and reconnecting to my Midwest U.S. time zone, I realized I was right in the heart of winter. Ugh. This is also part of it.

Funk. Probable origin Scottish and northern English, from a verb to ‘fail through panic (1737). Suddenly, I feel better. Panic? That’s going too far. I’m just in a funk, that’s all.

Maybe when you’re in a funk you just shouldn’t try to analyze it. Just be. Go through it. Watch some comedies. Catch up on sleep. Relax. And that’s what I did. Especially on those days when the county closed down. Too much ice with the snow. Dangerous to drive. As long as I still had bread, peanut butter, and wine ….. cereal, almond milk, yogurt. Those frozen nan I got from Costco. I hit the carbs a little too heavy but, hey, I was in a funk. 

After all, I didn’t call anyone and yell at them. Even the fitness place customer service, even after they told me my dues were overdue. I calmly told the woman I wasn’t renewing. She let me send an email instead of a letter stating that. That surprise could have doubled my funk. 

I found a compelling book to read (I’ll save this for another blog post). I spent quality time with my two dogs and two cats. I made some great dinners with vegetables I got from Green Bean (organic) delivery. I caught up on my Facebook (is there such a thing?). I drove less, saving gas for my car, and thus money from my checking account. In fact, a week ago I did my taxes and I get a refund. Turbotax makes it easy! They hold you by the electronic hand (they are no paying me to say this). 

The days are getting longer. The sun sets after 6:00 p.m. It is nearly mid February. March is coming, Spring is coming, gardening, sitting on the deck, going barefoot. I’ll admit I’m getting a little ahead of the calendar but suddenly that funk is gone.

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The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

I am obsessed with this film. I’ve seen it twice in one week and ordered the book it is based on.

All the actors do a great job. If anything, I’d like the film a bit longer to get more into the characters but perhaps the book will do this.

This film, will all its color, energy, grace–it makes me want to return to India. I went in 2008; four years have passed. I can recall Varanasi in all its glorious, holy atmosphere at a moment’s reflection. This is not enough. I want to immerse myself in masala, bow to a goddess, kiss a cow! I am 62 now. In this blog, I vow to go back to India while I’m still in my 60s.

This film–I won’t spoil the plot for you who haven’t seen it. Just go.

explaining my disappearance: & what a summer it was!

I know, I don’t really have to explain why I haven’t been here. But I want to, for documentation purposes, if nothing else. Maybe some of you actually wonder.

May 2010: The main activity in my life this month was my Croning. Fifty friends enjoyed the afternoon at my place on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. One thing that was really special was that I brought together people from all the various groups I’m involved with, men and women, gay and straight — and it worked! (It gives me hope for humanity . . . ). We had a circle where Emmy officiated, Yasemin anointed me, and Janice placed a crown on my head, officially declaring me a Crone, or wise elder woman. I had turned 60 in February yet wanted to throw a big celebration in the spring. I bought a chocolate-raspberry cake from Servati’s. The meal was a potluck. I hired the Troubadours of Divine Bliss to play blissful music on my deck. Much love and laughter that day!

The summer is kind of a blur, actually. OK, I just checked my calendar (how embarrassing):

I was very involved chanting, meditating, and being in leadership with my local Siddha Yoga group. Also went regularly to hatha yoga classes.
I seemed to eat out a lot with friends!
I taught another online class through Catherine of Siena Virtual College — the best group yet of wonderfully talented women from The Philippines, Kenya, Vancouver, and the U.S.
I got more training on the harmonium for live chanting at the meditation center.
I began writing for pay for Natural Awakenings magazine!
And, of course, editing The Book.

The Book is a book Maria Motch and I wrote (and she took incredible photos) about our 2008 trip to Varanasi, India. We are calling it Goddesses on the Ganges: Pilgrimage to Varanasi, India.
It is now in the layout phase and should be published-on-demand early this fall! Plus, we got a grant from Women’s Way, thanks to the vision of Bev Bowers. It’s all very exciting!

So, as you can see, I wasn’t just lying on a hammock all summer long. Though that’d be just fine, too.

reliving India: poem 77

Maria came over to my house for the first time. She needed me to burn a cd of her writing and a resume to apply for an artist residency. She also wanted another dvd of our India trip. We were part of a small group that went in March 2008. We had been strangers before the trip halfway around the world. We are now friends.

So after lunch on the back deck where she admired the creek and woods, she asked to pop the dvd in and watch it. I had taken hundreds of her photographs and learned how to make a movie from the images. I added Donna DeLory’s “Ganapati Om” as background music. It has always been one of my favorite chants. Ganapati is another name for Ganesh or Ganesha. This lovable elephant headed god is the one to invoke at the beginning of a project or event (or trip). He is the remover of obstacles.

poem

Oh, Elephant headed One,
bless Maria’s project for she is a wonderful artist
and thank you for bringing India to me.

doors / poem 47

“I’m tired of opening that door for you . . . for nothing!” I muttered to the cat. Medusa sometimes acts as if she’d like to go into the basement but usually declines once I open that door for her (you know how haughty queen cats can get). Then I paused, reflecting on what I’d just heard myself say. I imagined God/dess saying the same thing.

Understand – I don’t usually walk around wondering what God/dess would say (WWGS). Although I am deeply spiritual, I don’t belong to any particular church, temple, or synagogue. I practiced Zen meditation for years and they are notorious for the “don’t know” mind and koans. For several years now I have been enthralled with Siddha Yoga. This practice comes from the Hindu tradition. And although I made a pilgrimage to Varanasi, India, holy town of Shiva, one can’t ‘convert’ to Hinduism. I can, however, appreciate and adopt many of its traditions. I believe we ourselves are divine but often forget it. So much for talking to Myself!

So back to this concept of doors. I have been fascinated with doors since the 70s when I read the book and saw the movie Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse. I’ve even had dreams about doors. There is, of course, that old saying “When one door closes another one opens” which I’ve quoted to myself when times got rough. But this assertion I proclaimed to the cat queen was different. I imagined God/dess shaking Her head, muttering something like “How many signs do I have to give the girl before she gets it?!” The Higher Power might even complain “Do I have to drop a key in your blessed lap?!”

Such is the context for tonight’s poem:

if You give me a sign
I might remember
that I’m truly divine

Remembering India / Poem #11

During meditation this morning, my mind wandered to India. It has been one year and a month since my trip to Varanasi (Banares). I guess it was the tamboura playing in the background that took me there.

Regrets: I wish I could have stayed longer. I wish I hadn’t missed a day being sick. I wish the tour group had all gotten along. I wish I had gone to Sarnath that last day. I wish we had all gone to see that temple with erotic carvings. I wish I could have said goodbye to Raj.

But the trip happened the way it did. I can bring it back any time; it is that real to me. Thus, the context for my three line poem for today, part of my spiritual & literary discipline to write a poem a day for 108 days [see poem #1 below for how it originated, my contact with Puerhan via Twitter].

Varanasi

In the land of Shiva, we visit Durga first.
Floating on the Ganges, we pass the cremation ghat.
Cow grazes calmly in front of the one McDonald’s.

* * * * * * * * * * *  To hear the podcast interview re my trip, go to the Women Writing for (a) Change website:  http://podcast.womenwriting.org/2008/08/12/phebe-2.aspx
08

India is now a part of me

I recently returned from a two week trip to India. Most of the time was spent in Varanasi (Banares), gliding in a boat along the Ganges River or visiting goddess temples.

I am writing up my trip before it fades away. Miraculously, however, India seems to have become a part of me. My stomach calls out for Indian food at least once weekly and I am enjoying listening to various kinds of Indian music. My memories of India are a big part of what I am currently writing about.

* * * * * * * * * * *  To hear the podcast interview re my trip, go to the Women Writing for (a) Change website:  http://podcast.womenwriting.org/2008/08/12/phebe-2.aspx