Tag Archives: Varanasi

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.

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