All posts by Shazar

The Universe is a Friendly Place

Yes I hear you say.. not always.. and you would be right.  But tonight as I came home to my room in Hubli, this was really true for me.  I had been for my first acupuncture treatment – since my last series back in October.

Dr Anand Varma.. what a gem he is.. I wrote of him before .. when I just found him.. and I am back now after such a great result with my knees.. this time I am offering him my cranky neck to have a go at!!  He can stick all the acupuncture needles he likes into me.. I fully trust his long experience and his steady hands.

Today I walked into the clinic and each and every one of the staff welcomed me with big smiles and open hearts.  I felt like a special guest.. I think everyone who goes there gets the special guest treatment ..

I sat down next to a young girl who seems to have cerebral palsy..there with her mother – she is about 12 years old – can’t walk very well but her smile breaks open the heart.  She is in my group.. that is the ones who are scheduled for the 6pm session.  Then after some time on the hard waiting room bench, we were called upstairs.  She and I shared the same cubicle.  The over head fan was on .. as I climbed up onto the high bench and settled in.. waiting for the needles.  Hari Krishna Hari Rama played – over and over the mesmerising chant.. and I was transported.

Finally Dr Varma arrived – replete with new smart phone and all my details and my charts on it to be consulted there and then.  He proudly told me his son advised him on the best way to get set up .. and its working very well.  I joked.. ha I can’t lie to you any more.. its all there at your fingertips.

And so the needles went in.. Hari Krishna continued to play – and I lay back and relaxed.

Half and hour later the nurse came and freed me and my new friend, the young girl on the bench next to me.  I floated out.  And wandered up the laneway in the gathering dusk to find myself an ‘auto’ (rickshaw) – there he was .. and as I started to tell the driver where I wanted to go he cut me off laughing and with a stream of Kannada that I only guessed at – I realised he was the same man who brought me on Friday for my first appointment.

I relaxed in the back of the auto.. feeling safe, feeling cared for, feeling blessed.  This Universe I am in right now .. feels like such a friendly place.  I am incredibly lucky. And I know so many are not .. but for now I simply feel very grateful that I am surrounded by friendly people – I am cared for and I am loved.

 

The Way It Is

I’m not going to say ‘only in India’.. but sometimes that phrase does feel appropriate and today.. well – I had interesting experiences at the carpentry shop!

We are in a big town called Nizamabad – staying at a lodge right in the middle of the market area.  The Deshpande Foundation conference is happening day after tomorrow .. and we have come for that.  I am happy – we have found a lodge which is not only cheap but also clean.  Joy.

So today after lunch downstairs – which got invaded by 12 Indian Ladies having a ‘kitty party’ and making an incredible racket while playing some sort of bingo type numbers game – we headed off through the street markets.  We were on our way to  supervise the building of a wooden model of the bore well recharge process.

The carpenter shop was a small structure filled up with bits of wood, and rough sawdusty chunks of shavings.  Out the front partially on the street lay the beginning of our ‘model’.

I asked Sikandar – ‘Do you have a drawing’ – he looked at me and grinned and said “Yes” but I immediatley knew the drawing was in his head!  He said pointing to the young man who was busy chiselling out a chunk from a board – “I transferred it to his head”.   And so he had.. and the model continued to grow.

I was given a chair and perched there between the shop and the fairly potent drain – played on my phone and watched proceedings.  The ubiquitous chai came – delivered by a small man who when I smiled and thanked him, broke open into a beautiful reply smile.

I caught that one in my head.. not on my camera!

But now its getting too hot.. the sun is sinking and the rays are full into the shop now – so .. the head guy picks up two of the hand made chairs – carts them across the road to a space – plonks them down and invites me and Sikandar to sit there.. across the street in the shade.

The perfect spot to view proceedings.  We sit there watching the passing parade who by the way are also watching us.  The weird foreign lady and her companion – sitting as though in their living room by the side of the busy road.

And the model grew and a couple of hours later it was declared complete and  a success.  Drawings or no drawings – it turned out the way it was planned.  Sikandar and I headed off to find me a new pair of sandals… another story.. for another day.

 

The Gemini Full Moon

Its time.. time to begin getting ready to leave for my next sojourn in India.  And tonight the moon is full and my friend the Cosmic Queen in her infinitely precise words for the astrological times advised:   “Call in the vision of your best possible life, situation – outcome – write!” So I did – at first considering it was time to write my vision yet again.. to write my goals, my purpose – my real reason for being.   Oh such a huge task.

But hiding in the back of my mind, just out of sight,  lay some advice I had received earlier today from Alberto Villoldo – and when I looked again there it was:  “The shaman doesn’t look for meaning in life, but brings meaning to every situation.  She stops looking for truth and instead brings truth to every encounter.”

Ah.. and so like the beautiful night cactus the vision unfolds.  What is vision but the ability to see – the depth of the vision – the width – the far seeing vision – all are dependent on the place of quietness in the being.

And when the being is very quiet – the vision reaches far.

So quietly – I allow the pencil to slip over the page of my journal – allow the words to flow as they will.   “What do I do to bring meaning to every situation?”  Does that mean I stop seeking the big ‘why‘? Perhaps that is the ‘why’ – to create the sacred in each act. To bring that which is holy to the smallest thing, being or doing.

So as I go this time to India – it is to meet each person on the way with love and respect.  As it is also here – in this time as each day we have been standing together protecting and protesting against the imminent destruction of our beloved Beeliar wetlands for an unnecessary and ugly highway.

It is about creating miracles with non violence – with forgiveness – calmness and peace.   But first the peace must be within each of us.

I have been worried:  “Will it all work out .. why am I going, why not just stay here – where life appears to be relatively easy.”  And now comes the answer:  Do you think you instigated this?  Do you really think you are in control?  You are not! Let it go.  Control is no where.  Let go and let God.  And yes – plan – let the plan unfold .. vision – allow the words to flow – the information to arrive – but you are not the controller.

You are simply the instrument of the Divine.  Be that. There is no need to be anything else.

So this then is the vision. To let go and  integrate the Divine fully into my Being – so that I can live that which is my purpose.  To create the sacred in each and every moment of this life I am so very privileged to live.

The mind may still become disturbed as it does.. it may ‘worry’ it may become caught in the whirlpools of loneliness – fear, alienation, concern for small things – but I can return now to this that I know – the mind is not me – for I am of the Divine.

My Mother Left a Scar on My Soul

My mother left a scar on my soul. Can you see it? If you look closely – you may.  If you knew her you might hear her in my laugh – or glimpse a shadow of her being in the turn of my head. The scarring was oh so painful as it was made but now this scar is simply a beautiful mark on my soul.

Her being was special.. yes I hear you say.. ‘all mother’s beings are special’.  But no – you did not know mine. She was my mother.. and then she was gone.
A short time we spent together – only a few years – almost 14 in total – but the blink of an eye compared to a lifetime.

In that 14 years she shared so much. Her love of beauty, her eye for photography, her hand in baking .. she cooked.. oh how how she cooked – while multitasking the day through – she washed and baked and made bread and cooked roasts and quartered the mutton to a tee.

The ‘killer’ (meat in the form of a dead sheep) was brought in by my father every few days depending on the number of ‘men’ she was feeding at the time.
On the Murchison River – some would say the outback – this was not your lamb chops all neatly packaged, your roast leg – already for baking and carving.. no the whole sheep simply stripped of its insides and its wooly hide.

The rest was up to Mum – to get it suitably divided and ready for the kero fridge. Every last piece of that sheep was prepared with a loving hand and provided to the family and the workers in as many different ways as she could dream up that they would accept and eat. Soups, stews, brains, liver fry, shanks – roast on Sunday .. the list went on.

Amy Gweneth Robinson

But let it not be thought that my Mother was just a cook. For she was a stalwart woman – bearer of five children, the backbone of a sheep station – without her my father would never have survived the ‘bush’.

And who was she to me that she has left this exquisite scar on my soul. When I remember her – the first thing that comes to my mind is her fragrance.. the smell of her – that smell that was the last thing that was tangible after she left. I would bury my face into her night clothes and her dressing gown still behind the bedroom door .. and the memory of her would wash over me with the strength of a huge wave ..

but now .. as time has passed – I think of her infrequently – she is around that I know – I feel her laughter at times – and I feel her hand in my own as I too understand the art of the cooking pots and the fire. This she taught me along with the ‘correspondence schooling’ she gave – me perched on the kitchen cupboards reciting my times table while she beat the loaves of bread into submission with her floury arms.

‘Seven eights are fifty six’ I recited time and time again as the loaves and buns were formed on the bench beside me.

And then there was the day when the long black snake slithered into the kitchen .. wove its way into the cupboard and disappeared behind the huge old AGA cooker we had. Mum was not faint of heart .. a snake of any kind in the bush meant watch out.. she took a kettle of boiling water and poured it down the back of the stove.. the snake was not seen again.. we breathed and went back to the times table.

Women in those days in the outback were a special breed. They had to be. Mum was one of the best. She could turn her hand to all things household, she understood how to stitch up a gash in a bleeding dog caught on the barb wired fence, she knew how to grow a vegetable garden that flourished in the harsh land – her chickens gave eggs, she managed the weekly mail truck and the delivery of perishables that otherwise we would never see.

There were I am sure, many things she did that I never knew of – but I always remember her hand soothing my head as she applied calomine lotion to my chicken pox spots in the middle of the night – all those small things that told me how much I was loved.

I don’t know if she knew she would be only with us for a short while – but it seems she did because she gave herself so fully and completely to loving us kids – like she had to supply us with enough to go on with once she was gone.

And now.. what of the scar?  It was raw and unbelievably tearing of my soul for a very long time.   Scars are like that .. they hurt .. and then they heal.   Sometimes breaking open again until one day they are simply a mark – a remembrance – something we will never lose.

I don’t want to lose that scar for in the scar is the sweetness and the depth and the understanding that I was loved. and through that love I myself learned to love.

Thank you my wonderful and beautiful Mother ..
for you gave me life and you gave me love and in that love you gave me the continuation of the understanding of love..
so I too can pass that on..
this is your legacy –
a legacy of the infinity of love.

Miracles in Pathoda Village

Pathoda Village in Maharasthra India – has experienced miracles.

And while there yesterday I was privileged to witness three of them.

The first and most astounding happens nightly in a small corrugated iron house in this remote village. Here there is an altar dedicated to the late Satya Sai Baba where there are several big photographs of the holy man. When one of Sai Baba’s photographs suddenly began to produce copious amounts of vibhuti (holy ash) each night, the humble home was dedicated to the Master – and the family moved to another small place nearby. From that time, the small house, little more than a shed – became a shrine to Sai Baba and regular Bhajans (sacred singing) are held there.

Yesterday as we visited on our Road Trip for Water I saw for myself the clear evidence of the vibhuti almost covering the photograph of Sai Baba. There was plenty of it in a bowl as well, placed in front of the photo, freely available to any who wished to connect with it. During the lifetime of Satya Sai Baba this grey powdery holy ash used to fall from his hands.

This was the first miracle.

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Drinking Tea at the Sai Baba Miracle House

The second involves water.

Two years ago – Sankalpa Rural Development Society did some work with recharging the dried up bore wells in the village. This work was funded by the Satya Sai Baba Trust, so also carried the blessing of Sai Baba. Sikandar Meeranayak of SRDS carried out the implementation of his technology together with some labourers and villagers.

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The second bore well sprang to life

They worked on an almost dry bore well within the compound of the local Hindu Mandir (temple) and directed the rooftop rainwater run off through piping to channel it into an existing bore well. The village area has little rain, but what did come went directly into the aquifer below the ground through the bore well recharge. Until that time, the villagers relied on erratic water supply and expensive tanker water during the dry hot summer months.
There are 7000 people in this village – and today 1000 of those people are supplied by this now fully flowing bore well and here is the miracle.. just outside the fence – a second totally dried up bore well suddenly sprang to life – recharged by the very same system from the first bore well.

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Village kids checking the fish in the holding pond

Another nearby bore well was also implemented with a recharge system – but until now the people have had no need to use that water – even though it brims close to the top as there is plenty from the first two which are producing well.

Close by, just outside the village of Bharangou a third bore well next to a small river was also recharged. This was done with the help of a check dam on the stream and is a briliant success giving heaps of water and the recharge has even affected the three nearby bore wells which began to produce much more water than before.

A miracle?  I certainly thought so!

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The miracle baby calf.

And now for the third miracle.

This pure white calf just born appeared as a miracle to me – so sweet – so quiet, so clean. Is it not true that all babies born are miracles in their own right?

Pathoda – the village of miracles!