Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Celebrating Sunflowers

As August comes to an end,
And steps into September,
The days shrinking smaller,
The shadows falling longer,
Just when I'm starting to think
Summer's almost over,
I see a stand of sunflowers
All in a shiny row,
Tall and golden,
Happy and smiling,
Beaming faces following the sun,
From his rising to his setting,
They follow him along,
Praying, worshipping,
Till the last ray is gone,
And then they sigh and turn,
To wait for another dawn.
 -Saiisha, 2013

I felt like I found gold when I found these happy faces in my new garden,
but this little bumble bee found real gold: 

I brought in a couple and set them on the windowsill
and they make me smile every time I see them smile.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Nest in the Forest

Vanaprastha [vaa-na-pra-stha] Sanskrit 'Vana' forest, 'Prastha' gone to
It is the third of four phases of a man in the Vedic Ashram system. This stage denotes a transition phase from material to spiritual life.

Ever since I can remember, I was always drawn to quaint, quirky little houses set in trees and nature. My first favorite book that I re-read for many, many years was the Hollow Tree House. I couldn't get enough of the tiny little house in the hollow of a big tree that three small children made for themselves in the woods. And then who wouldn't love The Borrowers, the tiny people family who "borrowed" from human "beans" to make their own homes with stamps for art work, and blotting paper for carpeting.

When I was older, and started reading about the Buddha and Adi Shankara's writings, their way of life and teachings enchanted me. Even at a young age, I felt that they knew their way out of this world and its worldly ways. And then the world engulfed me in its ways anyway. I was lost. I couldn't see the woods for the trees. I was so solely focused on the tree that I thought I was, that I lost sight of the path I needed to follow. I followed the flow, the road most traveled. Because I was too afraid to make choices at my crossroads; too afraid to say no, too afraid not to please the people I love. I see all this about myself only in hindsight, looking back at the path I trudged these long years.

Once I started recognizing the pulse points of joy, like a bird that doesn't get confused no matter how dense the trees, I started following my intuition. I started journaling about my joys, I started being grateful for everything that was a blessing - whether I personally liked it or not - they were all lessons to lead me home; I started taking note of my blessings, and started making plans about how to follow my joy. It has been a few years since I started doing that, and even though I had no idea where I was actually going to end up, I knew that each step was going in the right direction - the direction of joy.

I stopped going to parties that terrified me, I stopped calling "friends" that just wanted to keep in touch without necessarily caring about me, I stopped watching news and didn't need TV to keep me busy, I stopped going to places of worship that seemed more like social gathering places; in short I stopped doing everything I could to not do things that didn't bring me joy. Instead, I started spending more time on things that did - plants, gardens and gardening, yoga, food, journaling, reading, nature.

And so following the path that I was meant to take, weighing each step of the way to see if it felt right has been my intuitive way of seeking joy. After all that stepping and walking and flying, this is where I landed:

I have long been inspired by Thoreau: "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." (from Walden)

This little blue house is my attempt to live deliberately, to live light as a bird, to make my nest in the forest. I recognize that this is not exactly the house of a hermit, however I believe it's a step in the right direction. A transition from material to spiritual; towards that fourth Ashram. And I'm filled with joy!