My Journey Begins…Connecting to Source Within

This year has been a year of questioning my past beliefs and trying to find ways of looking inside me, instead of wondering if anyone was looking at me. It has been a valuable shift in attention. Mind you, I am certainly a work in progress and have not yet perfected the practice.
Basically, I know what I’ve got to do: Be grateful, go deeper, be mindful of the present moment, be kind to myself, keep the ego in check, etc… But how do I get back on track when I’m distracted?

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Discovering Another Way

In 2001, I was given a diagnoses of remittance relapse Multiple Sclerosis (MS).  The symptoms and the diagnosis came on rapidly, without warning and initially left me feeling 'what now?' I was not interested in taking the medications offered because they were used to suppress the immune system and had debilitating side effects.

My lifestyle and eating habits were clean and healthy. After being diagnosed, I learned to manage my MS through yoga, pilates and diet, but the condition still had a hold on me. 

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Beautiful Bombay

It was half past 4pm as Mumbai (formerly Bombay) began to peek through the clouds. The plane touched down in the hazy mid-afternoon heat. On arrival, I was transported to my accommodations in leafy Bandra, an upscale suburb in West Mumbai home to many influential Bollywood, cricket and political personalities.

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Goa Groove

Through the leafy underbrush, down a sandy stone stairway and across a rickety wooden bridge was the place I'd been looking for; a white canvas tent in the seclusion of the Goan jungle. Steps from a beautiful, private beach by the Arabian Sea, I had found an idyllic place to disconnect and totally unwind.

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Magnificent Mysore

As the tradition goes, I closed the bull’s left ear and whispered “Om Namah Shivaya” (salutations to Shiva) 5 times into his right ear while looking between the horns at the statue of lord Shiva. Though I am not a superstitious or religious person, I felt the tangible hum of ancient energy in this 1000 year old temple…

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Mountains and Miracles in McLeodganj

I had just bumped into the Dalai Lama, at the airport of all places, and we exchanged a smile and a touch in a sliver of time. It was the most surreal experience of my life. What struck me most about the world's most celebrated monk was that his presence was not a big show; there was no pomp and circumstance. There was no elaborate ceremony and no trumpets to herald his arrival. No more than 15 people stood by patiently as he made his way to the car. He embodied the Buddhist teachings with his simplicity, humility and compassionate presence. It was a profound moment by merit of it's pure everyday-ness,

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A Holy Visit to Varanasi

Hundreds of people had begun to gather at the river’s edge for the dramatic Ganga Aarti (a religious Hindu ritual of worship, part of Puja). Bright, colourful lights were everywhere as brahmins (high caste Hindus), sadhus (holy men or worldly renouncers) and everyday people took part in the celebration. Pilgrims from southern India had shaved their heads for this journey and were arriving by the boatloads in their ceremonious robes. Feeling especially spontaneous and spiritual today, I tracked down a barber and he shaved my head, right down to the scalp. Bald, bathed and blown away…

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In Awe of Agra

A sturdy walled city from the Mughal dynasty, the Agra fort’s dramatic red sandstone walls baked in the heat of the late afternoon against a backdrop of sheer blue sky. Built to house royalty in India’s one-time capital, the fort represents the height of the country’s impressive influence and might. For a country whose conquerers and capital have shifted with the sands, the Agra fort has firmly stood it’s ground despite the passage of time.

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A Jaunt in Jaipur

Qutb Minar, an unmistakable minaret constructed (and reconstructed) during the 12th and 13th centuries. The stalwart structure withstood a lightning strike in 1368 and an earthquake in 1505. Following each catastrophe, the reigning sultan repaired the minaret; a testament to the adage, “if at first you don’t succeed: try, try again!”

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Destination: Delhi

A scrappy young boy latched on and followed me until I finally bought him a pani puri (common street snack) and handed him 10 rupees. It’s not possible to prepare yourself for the things that you will see in India; some things you must experience with your own senses. Suffice to say, shockingly poor living conditions are widespread in Delhi and almost everywhere else in the country.

I walked through the park to a nearby Sivananda ashram and took a yoga class early in the evening…

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The Majesty of Nepal

An old legend tells the story of a sinful, grumpy old man who passed away and went straight to hell; the Buddha appeared and his sins were pardoned. As it turns out, the old man had once chased a dog around the Buddhanath stupa. If you walk around the stupa even once, you will be granted one chance to atone for your sins…

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From Bhaktapur with Love

Sitting in the heady evening warmth, we listened to a live trio play mellow tunes on some kind of flute, a string instrument resembling a violin, and a set of hand drums. Thamel at night has all the action and excitement you would expect to find in cities like New York, London or Mumbai condensed into several crowded lanes and tucked-away backstreets, punctuated by that certain Nepali charm. Before long it was time to head back to the apartment, and without much else discussion I made my way to my room and drifted off to sleep.

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"I think I'm goin' to Kathmandu"

This steep hill overlooking the city of Kathmandu is famous for the Swayambhu stupa (Buddhist dome-shaped shrine). Built around 640 CE, it is among the oldest religious sites in Nepal. It’s more commonly referred to by Westerners as the “Monkey Temple” because of the hundreds of cheeky monkeys who play around there, eating crackers and being mischievous. I saw more than a few of them posing for photos and preening one another. Buddha’s eyes gazed wisely out over the city while the mantra “OM MANI PADME OM” echoed across the grounds.

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Sunrise

According to Vedanta (ancient Hindu philosophy), there are two indications that a transformation is taking place within you toward a higher consciousness. The first symptom is that you stop worrying. Things don't bother you anymore; you become light-hearted and full of joy. The second symptom is that you encounter more and more meaningful coincidences in your life; more and more synchronicity. This accelerates to the point where you actually experience the miraculous. 

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Controversial?

Controversial?

My Vision is to Create a future where the body and the self are one; where chronic pain exists only in the memories of the past. I shared that I didn't believe in chronic pain, and that making such a claim made me feel uncomfortable. The discomfort isn't because I doubt my belief, but because I know that so many people suffer from chronic pain who would likely feel my claims are outlandish. But I decided to put it in my vision statement anyway, it is my way of being controversial.

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