Saturday, December 22, 2012

human life. brass lamp.

it is said in ayurvedic scriptures that a person's life is like a brass oil lamp. gee. what does that mean? you see, when a brass lamp is sparkled and shiny it is the metaphor of a strong and clean human body. melted butter is the pure  nourishment that is being fed into the body regularly with moderation. the wicks are the organs, systems and tissues that digest  the nutrients and turns them into forms that the body can assimilate. together they create the vessel in which the life force blazes. the lamp burns high and bright until the oil runs out. meanwhile great care is taken to keep the wick standing tall, remove particles of dirt and ash from the melted ghee. and this is the way how a person lives his/her life. a clean, simple and full way. only then the person lives life with a natural force that is filled with peace and joy. when oil runs out the flame goes out quickly and quietly. therefore, as far as i know, in all ancient traditions, jewish, chinese, indian, one thing is agreed. it is a sign of great blessedness in a person who dies in his sleep. in fact, rabbi abraham joshua heschel, a universally respected and admired teacher, passed away during sabbath in his sleep. now, that is going out in sublime style. why am i going on and on about all this? my step-father, as i type this, is lying in hospital, in his final days. we discovered him in coma the morning after we had dinner together. i prepared him a plate of food. as always, he ate in quiet. now as i look back i did recognize a tiny signal. he was kind of subdued. given this was the first time i have seen him in over a year because we live a pacific ocean apart, i thought he was a little less excited that i expected him to be. so what did i do? i just let go of the expectation and enjoyed the dinner, enjoyed being with him. less than twenty hours later, i walked through the door. i saw his face before my mother said a word. honest to god and my innermost and highest self, i took a glance over his face as he was lying on his bed i felt this message within me. HE HAS NO WRINKLES. HE LOOKS YOUNGER. HE IS GONE. soon i recall my sister's face as i dressed her body for funeral. the same thing. SHE HAS NO WRINKLES. SHE LOOKS YOUNGER. SHE IS GONE.

indeed. when the flame of life force has gone out, the brass lamp body looks the same. yet something is different. the light is no more. and this is what death really is. the light of life has moved on. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

goddess i am

nine months and plenty of training, mentoring, shadowing and loads of practicing later i can now put myself together from head to toe. i know of pujaris who can do it in five minutes. what can i say? i am what i am. it takes me a lot longer than five minutes and i still have room for improvement especially pleating. but i hang in there and i am getting there. is it worth it? absolutely. it is such joy to perform arati, the ritual of waving a butter flame to express gratitude and the longing to become a blazing light which is none other than that inner light of our own innermost and highest self.

the jewelry and make up are, truly speaking, a glimpse of the awesome brilliance and grandeur of my own light. i don't need them to make me whole but it is certainly loads of fun figuring out ways to celebrate the inner beauty that is already there, to salute the arrival of the goddess.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

dream. serve. vote for obama.

for the kid who dares to dream. for the kid who wants to serve. for them i vote for obama. first of all i have to say i don't agree with quite a few things with what the president has done and still doing. second, i actually volunteered for his campaign in 08, the first time i ever got that involved in politics. not this time around. so it has been kind of sad to realize that i couldn't bring myself to commit to vote for him again.

until 2 days ago i was still undecided. and i am typing this post as election results are beginning to come in. for some time i have been praying for guidance regarding the vote. i keep my mind open. so much noise. so much negativity tossing around. i keep my eye wide and clear, ear steeped in the stillness of the heart.

then a recent saturday afternoon i stumbled upon the news that bruce springsteen performed after bill clinton gave a speech at a rally. i kind of felt drawn to catch that. i did so. the little bit that i heard was exactly what i needed to hear.

2 things. first, student loan reform. graduates can repay their loan over 20 years at a fixed percentage of their income. it means if a young doctor wants to serve in a rural community as a primary physician he/she can do it without worrying about how to pay off $200k student loan. second, young people can be covered under their parents' coverage. it means time for the young one to dream, to search, to experiment, to fail and get up and try again.

how many kids who grow up would do that? i don't know. but one kid can change the world. one kid out there has the chance to become what he/she ought to be regardless of the birth circumstances. it takes fuel and oxygen to set a flame ablaze. and so i vote for obama for bestowing to the kids the conditions to become what they dream to be.

Monday, November 5, 2012

thousand more years to go. west side story

it's been nineteen glorious years. how fortunate hwubby and i have each other to travel life with.

the best marriage advice i ever received is this. hold your hands and see each other you will end in divorce, hold your hands and see god in each other then you'll be fine. i can't say i have totally imbibed this wisdom and totally live by it because in the heat of the moment i forget, and not infrequently. what do i forget, really? that i am deeply flawed and imperfect. sure, my innermost and highest self is pure and perfect. but there is a tangled ball of conditionings, preconceived notions, habitual tendencies covering it. the moment i can bring my attention back to that place of inner tranquility i can see what's at hand differently. the self of me sees the self of him.

i saw the movie 'west side story' when i was little. i loved the music. who created these gorgeous sounds that squeeze my heart and wring my gut? leonard bernstein. bernstein. i have loved that name ever since. and an inexplicable desire appeared. i would like to have that name. i never told anyone. what's the possibility of a chinese girl from a poor neighborhood in hong kong to become a 'bernstein?' well, here i am. as a matter of fact, it wasn't until years after i got married that i recalled this experience. now, with 21 years of spiritual efforts i can truly say that was the voice of my highest and innermost self. the voice of boundless potential. the voice of infinite possibility.

i am truly looking forward to the thousand more years with hwubby, hand in hand, heart in heart, seeing the self in each other.

Friday, October 19, 2012

sahasrara. inner voice.

lately i have been studying the thousand petal lotus. sahasrara. because i want to self-realize and i want to know what the place is like. anyway my study buddy says, let's find an image of it. right away a tiny wisp of voice goes through me. sacred power. a little book. a dense book packed with profoundly esoteric knowledge and graphics of all the chakras. yet i didn't go with what this voice is telling me because my attention habitually goes with the tendency that goes like this, there is something better than this out there, what i know is not good enough. what happens next is i email several people whom i know are knowledgeable about such things. meanwhile that same small voice keeps coming back. so i dig out that little book, open it. sure enough an exquisite illustration of the sahasrara appears before me. i examine it closely. i've looked at this image before, several times over a span of years. still i look at it like i am seeing it the first time. i feel i know it better. before it felt like something so far away, so unattainable. now i have this sense that, yeah, it is in me. i suppose this is recognition, realizing this is part of me. as a matter of fact, it feels more like all that i can see that is me is manifestation of this subtle wonder. there is a tibetan mantra that goes like this. om mane padme hung. translated literally it means 'the jewel is in the lotus.' i am truly fortunate to be on a path that empowers me to experience that lotus right inside me.

since then it has been so easy to guide attention to the depths in the head where this sublime lotus dwells.

 i didn't feel surprised when i received a response from an expert in response to my question. the book 'sacred power' has what you need, go there. i realize this is such a powerful affirmation of my inner voice. this experience strengthens my connection with my own inner self that much more.

somehow all this brings to mind a metaphor from hindu scriptures. this human world is a five colored lake. stalks spring out of the muddy waters. at the end of each stalk is a lotus bud. each bud has the potential to blossom into a thousand petal lotus. very few do so. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

tweak and twist jewish high holidays.

chag sameach. i love jewish high holidays. the intention is sublime. the ten days are really about reflecting on the previous year. the structure is brilliant. begins with new year, rosh hashana and ends with at-one-ment, yom kippur. the whole idea is to look at where in the past year i had been 'missing the mark.' cheyt. a term from archery, meaning just that, not as it has come to be known as 'sin.' what a relief, huh. no judgement. no criticism. above all, all i need to do is to identify the points where i 'missed the mark' and return to where i ought to be, my highest self. the prayers are to steer our attention in such direction and stay there for the ten days and, hopefully, beyond. this process, teshuva, is intense work, hard work. can't stand on the sideline. have to dig deep and be able to look at things as they are, me as i behaved, acted and thought, and, believe me, it can be ugly and unpleasant.

now that brings me to my humble suggestion for upcoming high holidays. tah dah. the truth of the matter is, teshuva, is emotional and mental detox. don't believe me? listen to the recurring calls to yhvh in yom kippur. SWEEPT IT OUT. THROW IT OUT. WIPE IT OUT. CLEAN IT ALL OUT. in another word. flush it out of you.

here is where knowledge comes in. liver works hard during detox. toxins are drawn into circulatory system before they can be expelled. think this metaphor, flush it down the toilet. and herein lies is the problem. part of yom kippur tradition is fasting. no food is good. it conserves digestive fire to pull out toxin. but no drinking doesn't work so good. no water to flush it out. what happens is by late morning of yom kippur i begin to feel dizzy, and headache begins to set in. it gets worse in the afternoon. was it as bad as jon stewart says, i'm ready to punch a baby? i was just too dizzy to know. but hwubby took a look at me, decided on his own that he had to take me home. i took some rice milk, went horizontal for a bit before i could return to the finale service.

according to ayurveda, yom kippur takes place in the season of autumn. two key words for autumn. heat and wind. in the body the wind blows heat upward into the brain where the mind dwells. the toxic heat stirs up negative emotions.

so here's what i'm gonna do next yim kippur. stay hydrated. in fact, during the ten days of teshuva make sure i drink nice and plenty. sweep it out. throw it out. wipe it out. flush it all out. return to who i really am. light. a blazing flame. love. joy. courage. strength. kindness. eternal goodness. eternal godness. hallelujah.

in my humble opinion, this is the number one greatness about this country. i can freely draw on whatever works on the spiritual path. ancient knowledge, cutting edge knowledge, ancient prayers, modern means. i can tweak and twist to my heart's content. this is true liberty.

Friday, September 21, 2012

raging fire. let slave consciousness go.

LA SHANA TOVA. now is the time for jewish new year. may the coming year continue to bring sweetness into you and you and me. sweetness in the bright and bold flavors of strength, courage, perseverance, intoxicating tastes of kindness, generosity. may the breath of yhvh flow into the unfoldments of life. may the merciful one bless us with the awareness to experience the breathing movement touching all that in our life, all that we may not conventionally perceive as pleasant, even all that the mind has been conditioned to think of as bad, unfortunate.

during this period culminating in yom kippur the rabbis say we have to do teshuva. what's that? we reflect on the past year, examine where we were off the mark, forget to think, speak and act from the place of our highest self, and we return.

for most of the past year hwubby was going thru rehab as a result of being hit by a taxi head on, incurring multiple fractures in clavicle, ribs and pelvis. he spent five days in icu, weeks in acute rehab and a full month confined to hospital bed at home. then came months afterward traveling in wheelchairs.

as i look at this pic all i can think of is this. IT COULD HAVE BEEN SO MUCH WORSE. as a matter of fact i recall when i got the call during which i was informed about the accident i clearly see i am in a moment of choice. i can go into the narrow consciousness of 'i'm the victim...why me...blah blah blah.' instead i see my attention dive with unwavering resolve into the opposite direction. That he is in god's hand and i just have to do the needful.

sometimes when we go thru airports with him in the wheelchair and i holding his cane i like to sway it like a baton. he would tease me, what are you doing, you think we are the multitude leaving egypt? i say, hey, why not, that's a good one. indeed, it's a great one. you see, it's hard to take the slaves out of the narrow land and it's even harder to take the slave consciousness out of us.
raging fire burns up dross and out comes pure gold. may we have the understanding to step into the challenge and allow our golden selves to shine forth fully. amen. may it be so. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

brain collision. brain oxygen

there i am immersed in book rewrites. well, actually, not exactly rewriting but restructuring, reconfiguring the way the narrative flows and fleshing out certain aspects that are not written out in the current manuscript. in particular the immortals world. there are scenes of it but i wouldn't exactly say i have painted a world with characters. what has all this got to do with brain collision? what happens is i am working at seeing what's going on where in that world, who's saying what and doing what and .... hwubby pokes through the door and asks, do we have a record of who we sent books to for the back-to-school email blast? boom, and i am not exaggerating, there goes my brain and eye. i look at him. my mind is in the middle of nowhere. i have completely lost that world and this one too. a total train wreck above neck.

back when i was in vaidyagrama i had bloodwork done. the results show that i am just below normal regarding levels of red blood cells and hemoglobin. fascinating. because the blood work done in the states showed that i am 'within range' and i was told that i was fine, not anemic. since then, and i am not kidding, i have been getting a recurring message from within that says one word, oxygen. i immediately knew what that means. i need more oxygen into the brain.

okay, suk wah, what are you talking about, what's the connection here? bear with me a little bit. so when i was in new york, my sister-in-law insisted on me seeing her chinese doctor. i went. here's something amazing about blending wisdom from the east and knowledge from the west. dr sun put something on my fingertip. it's a small device that fits like a cap. after a few seconds a number shows up. dr sun takes one look at it and says, you don't have enough oxygen.

so here's my inner wisdom telling me. this brain collision experience has something to do with the reality that i need more oxygen in the brain. right now i'm going through a chinese herb regimen prescribed by dr sun. i'm already feeling some difference. at least i am sure that it's not that i am lazy. there is a situation in my body that needs to be fine-tuned. i have to be strong enough to go back and forth between the worlds.

anyway, a chinese doing ayurveda and taking chinese herbs with the data from western medicine. how cool is that. how fortunate i am.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

olympics, meditation

at this stage in my life i am appreciating the olympics through the eye of a meditator, someone who wants to attain self-realization. huuuuf, there i said it. by the way, am i going for the impossible? hey, why not aim for the highest.

as i revel in the performances of olympians this is what goes thru the mind. wow, such resolve and determination they have. what sacrifices they have endured to come to this point. so much blood, sweat and tears they must have poured forth over a long period of time. i hear that michael phelps practiced all days of the year for years. i know i ought not to compare. but i really can't say i have been doing what i need to do as a spiritual student with that kind of unyielding, uncompromising tenacity and focus. for a start, i meditate six days a week, sometimes even five. on one hand i say to myself, you have to be gentle with yourself. on another hand, using a metaphor, do i want to skip having food for a day?

soon after seeing this thought i realize a couple of things. first, don't compare. just don't. it's toxic. if i had to compare, why don't i compare with my own progress, how far i have come. look at these gorgeous fruits. the plants bear fruits  in their own pace. do i ever say this makes one fruits better than the other?

second, to realize the self is a life goal. it is smart and wise to treat the body and mind in such a way that i can sustain doing the practices and study over the course of a lifetime. self-realization is not a quadrennial event with a fixed deadline.

thirdly, and sweetly, i don't have to wait until completely and irrevocably self-realized to enjoy the fruit.  on the contrary as i continue to do the practices regularly sweetness keep arising from within. the sweetness of strength, the sweetness of courage, the sweetness of contentment, that golden experience of being satisfied and fulfilled, tasting the priceless gem of love.

Friday, July 13, 2012

so much gold within

a dream of gold. a teaching dream. in the dream i am in a holy event. the participants sit around tables with assigned seating. there are no name cards. just some gold jewelry that belong to that person. so there i am, going around to search for my seat. i am sure i had put down my jewelry to save myself a seat. i go around table to table. while i am admiring all those golden splendor, o how gorgeous that piece is, o how spectacular this bracelet looks, i cannot find my jewelry. i wake up filled with the question, where is my jewelry, where is my seat? at the same time the images of all those beautiful gold stay with me. as i type this i can still see the purity of all that gold, the masterful design and craftsmanship of them all.

what is this about? i go into morning meditation with this question. very quickly a message comes from within. in the form of a question. who do you think those gold belong to? bing, bong, boom, i get it. all that gold are within me. they don't belong to anyone else. they are part of me, part of who i am. just like that my understanding shifts dramatically and expands exponentially. why do i have to search for gold and find a place to sit when i already have a storehouse of gold within and the most sublime seat in my own heart. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

panchakarma is not spa. vacation? nope. retreat? nope.

the most frequent response when my friends hear i went to india for panchakarma goes like this. o, you were on vacation, suk wah? i say, no. they say, in a retreat in an ashram? i say, no. they then say, you were in a spa? again, no. i don't blame them. how could they have known that hwubby and i were actually in a hospital. 

most people in the west know little about the 5000 year old medicinal system in india and close to nothing about panchakarma. sure there are spas and places in the west that say they do panchakarma. but in the west, for all kinds of reasons, they do panchakarma lite at best and  treatments that are diluted or tweaked, or simply, panchakarma in name only. authentic panchakarma involves intense medical treatments that are customized for the patient's condition and have to be executed and closely monitored by ayurveda doctors and trained therapists in a hospital setting. they are done strictly according to the classical ayurveda literature. 

durings the intake process dr harikrishnan wanted to see all of hwubby's medical reports and given the car accident there were quite a pile of them. dr harikrishnan reviews them carefully, examines hwubby, asks questions, lots of questions, and then design a program of treatments that are tailored for him. mine is different because i have different conditions that the doctor has to take care of. during the most intense treatments which went on for a few weeks for hwubby, dr harikrishnan would come to hwubby's bedside to check on him frequently starting 6 am when the treatment begins. 

medicines three times a day or more. the first dose begins at 6 am. treatments everyday. people from the west would ask, why don't you give me more treatments in a day so i don't have to stay that many weeks? doctor would say, can you take three days of food in one? you need to give the body and mind the time to digest and assimilate a treatment. 

strict diet co-ordinated with treatments. there's a list of things that you are asked not to do during treatments, e.g. you are not supposed to be under the sun or wind during treatments. there is a network of shaded walkways for patients to walk gently around. internet activity is not encouraged at all, to say it mildly. hwubby had to sneak around in order to work with his clients on the phone or skype. dr harikrishnan is really not happy seeing him doing such things. he is a gentle soul but it is evident that he doesn't approve of it. what to do. these americans, they do whatever they want anyway. eventually hwubby gives in and puts a stop to phone and email for a few days. give it up to him. it's a huge surrender on his part.

authentic panchakarma is no walk in the park.  seriously. just think of it as doing surgery, major surgery. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

in the wilderness. numbers. vaidyagram

The simple days in vaidyagrama. washing clothes and putting them up on the clothesline become kind of a benchmark in my schedule. like, i started drinking ghee the day i did the last washing.what i want to say is kind of weird but as hwubby says, you are weird, accept it, so what to do but take myself as i am, all of the weirdness. what i want to say is,  as i study the book of numbers which is what we are doing now according to the cyclical design of torah study, i experience what the ancient rabbis said. by the way the hebrew name of this book actually means 'in the wilderness.' don't ask me why it is titled 'numbers' in english. i'm not a bible scholar. anyway this book is about what happens when the israelites are doing in those forty years in the desert. by and large they live by the direct command of the lord who guides them as a pillar of fire. when the fire pillar moves they pack up and move accordingly. when the fire pillar stops that's where they pitch their tents.  for food, manna come down from the sky. it tastes however one desires it to be. one of the ways of the rabbis look at this phase is, those are such marvelous days, we have such direct connection with the lord. somehow this reading resonates with me. as far as i am concerned, in a simple setting, following a simple routine has the power to turn attention within. okay, i am aware that it has not always been this way. for a long time a simple schedule would drive the mind nuts. but, boom, years later, here i am, thoroughly reveling in the sublime sweetness of act such as carefully spreading out a piece of clothing.

 the greens around me are not manicured lawns and landscaped gardens but rather like wilderness. dr ramkumar, one of the founders, is determined to create a forest setting, mimicking as much as possible how the ancient sages dwell. so, in a way, i am in the wilderness when i am in vaidyagrama. the sense of timelessness is pervasive. i love it.

Monday, June 11, 2012

swamiji makes learning so much fun

when we decided to go to vaidyagrama to do panchakarma, and mind you, it was after a couple of years of searching for the right place for this purpose, i thought it would be fantastic if i could just get some great panchakarma. but then, of course, i forgot that a great place attracts great people - a little shout out for myself :). naturally an unintended consequence is hwubby and i have met some marvelous people during our six and half weeks there. including swami pratyagbhodhananda, a teaching swami.

i'm, in the heart of hearts, a bhakta, not a jnani. i don't know anything about vedanta. but i can safely say this much. i know a good teacher when i am around one. for me, a good teacher makes learning a lot of fun. okay, i'm not saying i study vedanta with swami pratyagbodhananda. i just was there when he gave a couple of talks. i like this guy a lot. how can i not when, as part of introducing him, he is referred to as the one who says, the food here is colorless, odorless and tasteless. his full moon face becomes a super full moon overflowing with laughter upon hearing this. i am not exaggerating when i say he is a sweet swami. the simple saffron bag he carries on his shoulder always has a baggie of sweets within. really nice ones too. chocolates. ginger candy. right off the bat of his first talk he says, i'm not in top form because i did not have my afternoon tea. by tea he does not mean the herbal drink vaidyagrama provides in the afternoons. swamiji means the real deal, fine chai. by the way he knows exactly where to get a good cup of chai in coimbatore. back to his teaching. even in a state deprived of 'afternoon tea' he manages to do some shining teaching. he is one of those fine ones who can teach through telling a story. his comedic timing is spot on. i'm not saying teachers should make students laugh but laughter infuses learning sublime scriptures with fun and ease.

you see, when we crack up mental activity stops in their tracks. the mind quiets down and becomes totally still. what happens then? the light of our innermost and highest self shines forth. it is sweet. it is joyous. it is a sense of deep peace. then the teaching in the story simply shine through the mental cracks and touch our hearts. we recognize the truth, we are receptive to the teaching and we laugh some more.

well, it definitely helps his approval rating, as far as i am concerned, that he and hwubby are like brothers and he says, your wife is an even more wonderful person than you are. you go, swamiji. i love you! a special shout out to vaidyagrama. left to myself i would never have met a vedanta swami.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

himalayas come to us

this hair cut happens five weeks into our panchakarma at vaidyagrama. what's cool about this is that during the main treatments we are not allowed to cut hair, shave nor trim nails. really. i have never seen hwubby with a beard till then. that jew-fro is growing wild and happy. so why is that? according to ayurveda, the knowledge of health, wellbeing and longeity, nails and hair are wastes. their growth is part and parcel of the elimination and cleansing and purification process.

so on this sunday a barber from a neighboring village comes in and does his thing. i love it. when doctor harik comes in the next morning he says, nice cut, it's a boy cut. well, exactly how i would have liked it. what about hwubby. check this out.
gorgeous, huh. by the way, the guy he is with is shankar bhau. by-by the way, bhau is their endearing way of calling a friend 'brother.' sharkar bhau is the priest in a distinguished temple 11,000 feet up on himalayas. on november 15 of each year he would close the temple for winter. the last thing he does is to put enough ghee in a lamp so that it will keep ablaze thru out winter. this man, i'm telling you, is overflowing with joy and devotion. he blesses the mala that is around hwubby's neck. hwubby loves, loves, loves him. so do i. when he hums a vedic mantra i can feel the power that flows through five thousand years, that sources from before time and will go on as long as there is time. ever fresh. ever full. ever potent. he makes the prasad for the new year day puja. as i type this i am tasting the sweet vibration in that heavenly sweet.

see how fortunate we are. we don't have to go to himalayas. himalayas come to us. so let's chant.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

prasad. blessed sweets

there are a handful times during our six and a half weeks in vaidyagrama when we actually had food that was sweetened with sugar. NO, not meals. definitely, absolutely not in the daily food. doctorji says, we don't cook for the tongue, we want your digestive system to rest and your liver to work as little as possible during panchakarma. so food in vaidyagrama is what in the west would label as 'high carb, low protein.' I am not exaggerating when i say one patient said, you are starving us. the truth of the matter is, according to ayurveda, i'm told, the ideal food protocol during panchakarma is this. two meals a day. boiled veg. kanji, meaning rice and water. it might sound unbearable. but i have to say, it really grows on me. after a short while i have to beg dr harik, pls, may i have kanji three times a day? no kidding. hwubby says, you have to understand how much suk wah loves to eat.

i discover that the natural flavors and tastes of veg comes through delightfully and enticingly by boiling them. this has made a huge shift in the way i cook now.

for those who are concerned with protein deficiency, don't you worry. there's plenty of mung. now at home we are eating mung in one form or another everyday. it's a must-have for hwubby's breakfast.

in addition, one of my daily meds is a cup of hot milk, that is freshly drawn from a cow on the grounds, and comes with a sweet med. on that note, we are so lucky in east bay. raw milk is available in berkeley bowl. it's at arm's length literally.

all right, what am i talking about? yes, divine sweets. periodically brahmin priests come to the grounds to perform pujas. The core purpose of any puja is to invoke grace, express gratitude for blessings bestowed upon us, pray for harmony, wellbeing for all, strength and courage to move through obstacles, both within and without. most of all we ask for divine guidance to connect with our own love, our divinity, within and see the same love and divinity in everything, everywhere in the universe.

it is the tradition to offer sweets that are specially made for the puja. here, if i recall correctly, it's rice, nuts, pure sugar cane juice, cardamom, ginger, turmeric. an offering to cows on that day in the year when we express our thanks to these phenomenal beings who work hard, serve mankind with quiet steadfastness and make miracle food from humble source. no exaggeration.  they eat grass and produce milk.

anyhow, such is the power of blessed food. it is infused with the nectarean vibration of the hours of vedic chants. truly sweets from seventh heaven. no wonder even doctor ji allow us to partake it during panchakarma. unless you are going thru some intensely intense treatment, like drinking ghee.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

washing clothes. yogic realizations.

big time realization comes anytime anywhere, particularly when i am not expecting it at all. case in point. washing clothes. washer and dryer are beautiful things. but when i have to - actually i choose to - wash our own clothes in vaidyagrama something comes to me in a recurring way. hard stains fade a little on the first scrub, then a little more on the second scrub. you get the pic. sometimes they need to be soaked and let time do the magic. by the way it's really amazing between time and water what miracles can happen. anyway what looked hard and stubborn the night before becomes that much easier to remove.

as i reflect on it i realize the whole thing works kind of like these old habits of mine. okay, there are so many of them. just pick two off the top of my head. addictions to sweets and negativity. they are hard and stubborn stains. stains in the body. stains in the mind. can they be removed? yes....eventually. panchakarma  scrubs the inner oven and pipes, expels the toxins that dust up the mirror of the mind. is there a pill for it? no, there is no quick fix. in the beginning it's hard, can be unpleasant. how hard? how unpleasant? depends a lot of the state of my mind and body. given these habits have been working their butts off for so long they have become hardset stains. the good news is even before the stain is completely gone i am already enjoying the benefits as it gradually fades. negativity is no longer gripping. instead of half a bag of marshmallows i chew up just four. as hwubby says, when they come i am aware of them sooner, they don't take over the driving seat and control how i speak and act. better yet we have the spiritual practices to redirect attention to what we really are. courage. strength. love. fully having the power and capability to choose what is in my best and highest interest.

all this from washing clothes. seriously. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

marshmallows today

the thing i really love about this treatment/program in vaidyagrama is they are equally hands on about medicine and food. doctor actually comes into cooking class to make sure the students, such as me, do not twistarm the kind and sweet cooks into making something not according to the ayurveda way. it felt hard in the moment. what do you mean i can't have sweet after supper?

as i look back now i can see that the docs and cooks and therapists are up against some very entrenched habits in me, like addicting to sweets and overeating.

it's just over three months after panchakarma. i can already see the old habits hovering, looking for a comeback. all right, let me confess, i had three marshmallows this afternoon. all right, actually four. come on, folks. look at the bright side. i could have downed half a bag. am i making progress? you bet. am i there yet? in the words and cadence of my dr harikrishnan, he would pause momentarily and say, eventually, after several courses of treatments.

okay, doctor. we are coming back.

Monday, April 23, 2012

living like a steady, bright flame

on the way to women torah study marcia, ever curious and open-minded, asks about my treatments in india. she says, why did you and ben commit so much resources to do it? six and a half weeks. it is a lot. a metaphor comes to me. it's something that dr ramkumar uses to explain what health is in the context of a human life.

it goes like this. in every indian ritual there is always one or more brass lamp. here's how it works. one or more wicks are soaked in oil, usually clarified butter. when the brass lamp is clean, the wicks are clean and the oil is pure the flame is bright and stable. as long as you replenish the oil and wicks the flames will keep ablaze just like that until the oil runs out. a healthy human life is kind of like this. you feed the body and mind with clean and pure food and thoughts. then your life force will be held bright and stable and so is your life. it's full, bright, beautiful and shining, an joyous upliftment to all who behold it. sure the flame will run out. whatever is born, will die. but the person will stay well and strong and go out in deep peace without having to go through the dying pains. in judaism it is said that the blessed one depart during sabbath. our rabbi's own beloved teacher avraham joschua heschel was like that. this is a great being who truly lived his talks and beliefs, a shining light to the world. i recall his daughter recalling life with her father. he lived simply. he ate simply but what he put into his body was quality food. he conducted his life in a just and righteous way, always kind, compassionate, generous and ready to serve. one thing his daughter said that really impresses me deeply is this. his life in the world was not easy, to say the least. but his daughter didn't recall a single instance when he came home after work and was not a kind and caring father to her. he is truly a pure and strong flame.

according to vedas the most important way to live healthy is, and this even comes before food, to think, speak and act in a righteous way. to this day when i look at rabbi heschel's picture i have the experience of being illumined in the presence of a sublime light.

back to the lamp analogy. say, the wick is dirty, the oil is impure, the lamp has not been sparkled until it shines. go imagine the state of the flame, the state of the person.

so, may we all live like a strong and robust flame that we ought to be. may we only feed our own flames with only the clean and pure in food and thoughts and feelings and emotions.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

me ever fresh, ever new, ever young

without a doubt i have a beautiful life. but if i really had to say, if only i could and would, i would say i want to live the life of this seven year old. he is living and studying with a distinguished brahmin priest, vivek godbole. all day long he recites hymns from the vedas, the over five thousand year old indian scriptures. in between he milks cows and plays. i watch him in a study session. along with other students he sits cross-legged on the floor. an instructor walks back and forth. the students recite the mantras out loud. from these tender young vocal cords flow out these ancient sounds that shine bright and vibrant. every so often the instructor would gesture one student to recite on his own. the fresh, happy voice moves and melts my heart.

i may not have mastered the perfect pronunciation of the mantras. i probably will never be able to memorize a long mantra the way this little kid will be able to do in a few years. yet when i wave the flame to the great gurus who show me the way to my own flame within, i hear my own voice, fresh and young, rising within. i feel that part of me, that essence, that is ever new, ever fresh, ever young, shining and singing. it is my great good fortune that i was able to capture some of it on video. every time i watch it i am reminded how bright and beautiful i can be and ought to be, how fearless i am.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

in my full seva glory

weeks in making. actually it's twenty years in making. i'll get back to it in a little bit. so, dear friends, i wrap this pretty much with my hands. took more than an hour to put me together. a big shout out to annette who hand-held me through at 7am sunday morning.

honestly i never thought i'd be getting into sari. for twenty years i resisted. so something major must have changed in me. i am actually enjoying it. a big part of it is dressing it up, dripping myself in jewelry, decking out to the nines.

as i meticulously and methodically pin, tuck, powder, lipstick and so on and so forth something truly miraculous happens. i experience this goddess shining through me and it'

the glorious sound of the whole sangha chanting takes me straight to seventh heavens. they are these stars and galaxies reverberating boundless joy. i hold my gaze steady on the waving flame as it rhythmically circles under the guidance of my hands. i feel like i am light-speeding through the cosmos while my feet are firmly anchored into the earth.

every offering is a tapestry priceless in its own way. yet there is a common golden yarn threading through them all. happiness. gratitude. the video below is a clip from the finale in the fire puja back in pune, india. but the joy? from the same source. my highest and innermost self.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

waving light in sari

this is not exactly the picture showing me waving light. but with me elbowing hwubby waving light it's close enough.

how did the sari situation go? marvelous. what happens was kate generously came in and watched me. the day before during practice on my own i could see there were two points where i was not clear which way to turn the fabric and to place the pleats. turns out, with kate's two decades of pujari experience, i should pin the pleats over the left shoulder on the upper back of the blouse. also i had to turn the fabric to the right, not to the left in order for the pleats to land properly over the chest.

even then i could see i wouldn't be able to do it beautifully on my own. not yet. because i couldn't execute that pinning on the upper left back of the blouse. i would have to be able to bend my limbs like a pretzel. :)

the most thrilling part is hwubby came to see me wave the light. i heard his voice rising above the rest as i happily swayed the light. and then i got to give out chocolates to hwubby and everybody there. i am serious when i say i truly feel the inner devi is released.

Monday, March 19, 2012

puja in satara

besides doing 46 days of panchakarma in india what else were we up to? how about this. a six hour puja. performed by a very esteemed and beloved brahmin priest. we have the joy and privilege to call him vivek bhau. the indian lady who chaperoned us was stunned in awe when she first found out this was the brahmin priest we were going to. she calls vivek bhau guruji. anyway my point is it is our great good fortune that he would do the puja for hwubby's book. later when hwubby was talking to the dean of a college in pune about marketing, he mentioned he did a puja. the lady immediately says, you did puja, that's big marketing.

where am i? vivekbhau. his chanting of vedic mantras  is, literally, awesome. his sound fills up the atmosphere, reaches out to all ten thousand corners, touches the far edges of the universe, draws in nectar and lifts my heart to the seventh heavens. i can feel the presence of the deities coming upon us. they are very pleased.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

sari sadhana

after a week of hours and hours of wrapping, googling, now i am ironing. this sari thing is truly meditation in action. whether i am focusing on making a pile of pleats, pinning - lots of safety pins in order to have some sense of security, at least at this beginning stage -, tucking - a big part is tucking while not looking bulky and just so that i won't trip on myself -, and now, final pre-prep, ironing. as i pull in another stretch of fabric and gently smooth it out over the ironing board i notice that i am taking long, deep breaths. out of the corner of eyes i catch the huge, golden daisies that are to go onto the tray tomorrow morning. i feel this sense of beauty, shining splendor that is so very mine. it feels so natural to pull out jewelry, make up. i am not just doing it to make myself look nicer. it is what the god within is like. beautiful. shining. gorgeous. this opportunity to wave the flame to the lord is a powerful reminder of who i am waving the light to. my very own innermost, highest self within. the same self that is in all.

btw i am not saying i can wrap as good as i look in this pic. but, believe me, i am getting there. practice. practice. practice.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

me in a sari

this is a cheat pic. how so? i didn't put it on by myself. i just stood there and an indian lady wrapped it for me. i've been a yogini for twenty-one years. i can count the times i was in a sari with one hand and still have fingers leftover.

a couple of weeks ago i was invited to go through a training to wave light in the temple. a generous offer. i don't have to sari. i can be in a punjabi.  my mind was all set on punjabi when i received an email from my trainer. she says, suk wah, i could bring a couple of saris for you to choose if you like. somehow something moved deep within in a subtle, quiet but major way. by the next morning i felt this upswell of resolve to learn how to wrap a sari. so last sunday sylvia spent one and a half hour to show me. i thought i had it down. but, oy, how wrong and arrogant i am. yesterday i tried for an hour. i got as far as tucking the end into the slip but i just couldn't wrap my brain around how to pleat and wrap this thing around me. then this morning, in meditation this came to me. google. i did so. boom. in a fraction of a moment a bunch of videos surfaced. i went through the first one. still couldn't get it. i went down the list. by the third one i got it. i have to say i have a lot to work on the pleating but i am proud to announce that i have got the sequence of steps in order.

twenty one years. well, better late than never. besides, a thousand years is just a blink in god's eye anyway.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

my mother and her 'son'

meet my mother's 'son.' seriously. somehow i've noticed that there's some sort of a thing in the likeness of  my mother playing favorites. for instance. she cooks a meal. i show up in her place. i look at the food and i am drooling. all my faves. smoky and juicy pork chop with caramelized onion. ginger and spring onion chicken. minced beef cake with water chestnut. shittake  and chinese  broc. milky white fish soup slightly tinted with the tangy taste and color of tomato. by the way you cannot make such a soup with those big and expensive soup. it has to be a lot of small, bony fish that are cheesecloth wrapped and cooked briskly so that literally all the tender flesh seamlessly blend into the soup. anyway, where am i? yes, sibling rivalry. i can't wait to start eating. she says, where's son-in-law? i say, he has other plans. i'm not kidding. i immediately see her face clouded over with disappointment. as if that's not enough to show her love for her new 'son' she takes the pork chop away. i say, what is this, am i chopped liver? she says, you can't eat all this. i say, why not.

all kidding aside i realize i do have this attention deficit disorder since i was born. since i was the first child and first grandchild. so by the time my sis came along and then other cousins, i just didn't know how to handle the situation where i was no longer the only adorable baby in the universe. suddenly it appeared to me that all the aunties and uncles had other bundles to hover around and i was supposed to act like a mature, responsible grown up.

now even that, i realize it's a perception that came out of my sense of separateness from my highest and innermost self. really. other babies came along but nobody ever took away their love from me. nobody can ever take away the love that ever dwells in my own heart. nobody and nothing can diminish who i am. well, if it were not for my meditation practice i don't think i would ever have come to this understanding.

so i am truly happy to see the aging parents revel in their big 'son.' after all when they are happy it makes my life a whole lot easier. :)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

meet my hong kong family

it takes a village to care for aging parents. so, meet the 'hong kong village' that takes care of my 82-yr-young mother and my stepfather who is in his late seventies. where's her child? that one and only heartless daughter lives an ocean and a continent away. without them i cannot image how i could still be living in america. so a big shout out to you all, and a special big one to the lady who is all the way to the right on the front row. that's my auntie choy mey, my mother's younger sis. she's the one who's taken up the responsibility on her shoulders. i should say my mother couldn't have found a better daughter in her. well, definitely much better than me. she looks out for my mother with such devotion, thoughtfulness and tons of lightheartedness. while i am on this note i must not forget my godsis, wai ying. she is so patient, kind, sweet and sensitive to my mother. without a doubt a far better daughter than me. where is she in the pic? behind auntie choy mei. anyway, the point is, i have had it easy. thanks y'all.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

that glutton is still in suk wah

before hwubby going away for a week, i pack him up good, i mean, pack up a box of provisions and another of medicine. he's determined to keep doing what we have learned from vaidyagrama and, believe you me, we have been working hard since coming home to implement whatever we can.

well, sure, cut me some slack if you will. there are still some practices i have not put in place yet. like what? like applying warm oil all over and keep it for thirty minutes as early morning practice. really. this is not india and it's winter. what with all the food practices i have to get up at three and do things naked in the kitchen. sorry, call me weakling, whatever.

anyway this is not about me. back to hwubby. bless his heart. keep in mind he is staying with a friend. so, being considerate and sensitive as he is, he makes sure he gets everything done before the friend gets up. it means applying oil, making food including rolling chapati and preparing medicine. granted he says, my chapati is like rubber, you have to give me a chapati lesson. but he cooks mung bean, germ of wheat, quinoa.

then i see there're half of the medicine left. he says, yeah, breakfast i do great but then i just can't keep up with it in the evening. it's hard. either he's out there or he gets in late. since the meds are all liquid we need to get some tiny containers that don't leak so he can take them with him. anyhow he says, i just realize how much work it takes for you to keep both of us going day to day.

what is the hardest thing in keeping a satvic diet? hwubby says, not the diet itself, the hardest is what's going on around us, while in vaidyagram it's the mind that is rambling, but now back in the world triggers and temptations are in your face all the time. true. and it doesn't help he has a history of espresso, lox and bagel, pastries, salad, pastrami. on one hand his palate is fundamentally transformed. he basically doesn't want to have what's offered out there. on another hand, these are entrenched tendencies. there are residual conditioning and they can get at you hard, like the aroma of a fresh croissant and well-made latte.

hey, i am no saint either. i am fortunate. for the most part, i don't have to go to these events and functions. i barely go out at all. still i have weak spots all over the place. for instance, fresh chapati with almond butter and sprinkled sugar. i can hear the stomach say, hmmm, too heavy. but can i cut it out for good? i don't know. i look at that nice, fresh dough and i forget. what can i say. i am really happy with a bowl of congee, with milk or ghee, and veg. it's beautiful. it's deliiish. but...there's still that glutton in suk wah. i see that dough, almond butter and sugar and the mind is insanely overcome with the thought, i have to have it. hwubby is right. get that suk wah in a chinese restaurant she will go nuts. i know. i was talking to a chinese meditator. what were we talking about? comparing notes on traditional shanghainese food. perfectly stewed fiver flower belly. fried and braised eel. spicy beef.

hwubby asks dr harikrishnan, when will it go away? doctorji goes quiet, thinks deeply. in his signature quiet, steady and wise tone of voice, he says, eventually. then another pause before he says, after several courses of treatments. i guess this is kind of like cleaning a very dirty pot that has a lot of hard stains. i have to scrub very hard and i have to do it several rounds. and you know what. i keep at it. the pot is now shining.

Monday, February 20, 2012

good bowel

my doctor says, haven't heard from you for some time, hope you are well. hmmm. how to measure whether i am well, or, to be more accurate, how well i am. bingo. bowel talk. let's see. i can actually have bowel on my own without using any external stimulant very soon after i get out of bed. well, this may not seem much to a lot of people but to me it has been chronic. it is worse after traveling. it would take several days, up to a week, to get it going again. but this time, after traveling for more than 25 hours it's up and running the morning after return. hwubby says, now i get up in the morning and have a big poop, it feels so....relieved, so light. he is right. i don't know exactly what happens during all those oiling, pounding, ghee drinking, and more oiling. something is loosened big time and it is a good thing. i notice it is that much easier to let go of negativity. a facebook friend says, they are cloud passing through the sky. he is spot on. yet for so long it has been hard to catch myself before being sucked into the cumuli of drama. no more.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

life of minimals. life of abundance

hwubby goes to a sunday brunch event. he says, i want  some suji and chapati before leaving the house. i say, o, okay. later in the day i say, how did it go? of course he knows i mean the food situation. he says, there’s omelette, lox, cream cheese. i say, that sounds great. he says, i don’t really want to have any of it, well, a little of it, but... i say, a-huh, it’s not like you have to have a whole plate of it. he says, yeah. pause. he says, i have herbal tea in phil’s. that’s the coffee place he likes to go to. in fact, he has the pic to prove it.

wow. this is major, fundamental transformation. it means his palate has changed in a huge way. actually, mine too. we’ve been back almost three weeks. by and large we have been eating the way we were in vaidyagrama. okay, except almond butter and sprinkling sugar on chapati. just simple vegetarian food. i think i can safely say on behalf of hwubby as well that we don’t feel deprived in any way. in fact we have no desire to eat any other way. this is huge shift. keep in mind this is the chinese new year season. all kinds of yum yum things are calling me. it amazes me that i don’t really miss them. not that i don’t remember how deliiiish they are. i don’t even miss not using onion and garlic.  hwubby says, i was in the grocery store, i had to be on a long line, i watch what’s going on and i just think to myself, how is it that we need five thousand varieties of everything. i know. dr ramkumar says, living a life without excesses, a life of minimals, is a life of abundance. so true. and it’s not just some truth some expert says. it’s my experience. i live it. it’s a state of abundance when the mind is that much quieter and clearer.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

will never find another you

there i am meditating away. so sweet. so quiet. so easy. by the way i have been doing alternate nostril breathing before morning meditation. how come? since vaidyagrama. every morning dr ramdas would lead morning prayer and part of it is this pranayama. i love it. so i take it home with me. anyway, much as i love dr ramdas, and by the way, he is as much fun as he is a good doc, this is not about him. particularly not today. the point i am trying to get to is this. a tune begins to loop around in my inner world. actually it's the last verse of a song, a folk song i think. i watch it hop and swing on and on. what a sweet delight. it's still dancing in my being as i type this. here it goes.

if they gave me a fortune
my pleasure would be small
i would lose it all tomorrow
and never mind at all
but if i should lose your love, dear
i don'know what i'll do
for i know i'll never find another you,
another you, another you.

yes, you, hwubby. happy valentine.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

salutations to chapati, my own chapati

miracle of miracles. i can eat chapati. it has to be my very own handcrafted chapati. but, the point is, i am free from this gluten-free restriction. how does it happen? i don’t know. since the only thing that has happened since my last chapati is....panchakarma i can only wildly guess that all that purging and oiling and baasti-ing have something to do with it. as i receive from my meditation today, i realize i am a great alchemist. there is this huge mystical world within me. so much alchemy that are beyond the radar screen of regular awareness is going on. i probably will never know the detailed biochemical action that is involved. but, who cares. i don’t have to know how electricity works to enjoy its benefits, right? i do know this, though. a big part of what they do in vaidyagrama is to get my digestive fire up. with so much toxins removed and i am striving to do the right things, like, not to drink cold things, particularly during meals, my digestive fire is not dampened the way it was used to. really, i had my days of downing icy coke while overeating. 

of course there is challenge down the line. for instance, does it mean i am never going to have ice cream again? what about my lovely ice cream maker? is it goodwill bound? and check this one out. when am i going to start churning butter?
to be continued. meanwhile i enjoy my hot off the stovetop chapati. generously dollop ghee - handcrafted - and, this part is not to be revealed to my dr hari k, sprinkled with organice cane sugar and almond butter. it’s yummy breakfast with a cup of tea, i mean, that tea as made in vaidyagrama, aka, chai without black tea.

have i also mentioned it's thrilling to see the almost done chapati swell to this happy buddha belly? the earthy aroma is golden and tantalizing. i am mouthwatering and all fired up.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

ecstatically vaidyagramified

hwubby opens the door. his best friend, joseph, says, you look ten years younger. that is just kind of what people say when they see hwubby. you lost a lot of weight. you look great. you look younger and younger. okay, enough about that gorgeous hwubby. about me. i haven’t lost a lot of weight. in fact i haven’t lost any weight. in the body. but i feel so much lighter in the mind. for example. yesterday i have to take care of this debt collection letter from kaiser, our health insurer. as i review the content of the letter, which  says i owe them hundreds of dollars, i notice something refreshingly different in the state of mind. before panchakarma i would immediately have the thought, o, no i screwed up some bills. i would get worked up. now, after panchakarma, something got lost. some entrenched mental wiring. there i am looking at the letter and i feel light and i am aware of the flow of the breath coming in and going out. i see a whiff of that old conditioning. but it is weak. i don’t even have to make an effort to make it go away. it just does. 
to cut it short, because it involves several phone calls with different areas in kaiser as well as the collection agency, turns out pharmacy, doctors, hospital send out their own bills. they don’t talk to each other. somehow there is a two dollar balance in the pharmacy which, by the way, i can confidently say i have never seen a bill of. but, i quickly decide it’s not worth it to dig into that in view of all that are awaiting me to take care of after being away for three months. 
i feel i have lost a lot of weight. i don’t know the mechanism of it. but all that pounding with herbal poultices, all that oil poured and rubbed over me, all that ghee that i drank, all that sweating, all that purgation, all those herbal enemas, oil enemas, all those awful medicines, they have made possible the miracle of miracles. to weaken the hold of negativity on the mind. in the words of hwubby, all those pipes got scrubbed out. all that stubborn mental circuitry got knocked loose. now things just flow. his buddy, joseph, a master carpenter and contractor, know exactly what he means. 
we are so vaidyagramified. and ecstatically so. a big thank you to my dr harikrishnan, dr ramdas, dr ramkumar, and all the vaidyagramites. we are reaping the sweet fruits of your dedication, conviction and hardwork.

Monday, February 6, 2012

panchakarma is a plumbing job

we’ve been home for twelve days. it’s easy for others to see the transformation in hwubby. after all he has lost eighteen pounds. whereas i have no poundage to show for it. as a matter of fact my beloved dr harikrishnan says softly and gently at one point, you can actually gain a little weight. much as i do anything he tells me to this one is too far out for me. anyhow back to hwubby. he has this great way to put it. he says, it feels like all the pipes are cleaned, things flow easier. i agree. it does feel something is loosened up within. the state of mind is not so easily bound up by this thought and that emotion. within three days of return i did taxes, met a litigation deadline, which means constructing a legal package for arbitration, all while implementing the daily medicines and fresh meals daily. really. i roll chapati, make ghee, cook herbs. i am the chopper, cook, dishwasher. it’s true that i am flat tired by six. but without a doubt i am strongly anchored in a place of clarity and ease. there is no sense of being overwhelmed even though there is one flurry of activity after another. all that pounding, purgation, baastis and vaastis have removed not just toxins from improper metabolism of food but also mental toxins. it just feels that much more effortless to stay in the witnessing state. what a great plumbing job this panchakarma has done.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

subtle shift

going into panchakarma i don’t really have a specific disease in the likes of diabetes, multiple sclerosis, not even high blood pressure or cholesterol. i’m not on any medication. so it’s more subtle for me to gauge the benefits. not like hwubby. after a couple of weeks into the course of treatments designed for him he’s already off all meds. but, back to me. i notice something is shifting within. i recognize some deeply lodged tendencies are loosened. being judgmental to myself and others. taking what others says or do personal. like this or that. doesn’t like this or that. and so on and so forth. i still see thoughts and emotions roaring. but it’s much easier to just watch instead of reacting to them. it just doesn’t make sense to be tossed around by anger, resentment and their extended family.  as dr ramkumar says, love is the only natural emotion, all other emotions are unnatural. simple and right on the money.