Thursday, January 5, 2012

i am a latkes, ayurveda way

when i realize we’ll be traveling during chanukah, the eight day jewish celebration of light and rededication, i think, o no, i’ll miss latkes and lighting the candles. well, that’s what i think. 
so, here’s a shout out to joseph, a thoughtful young man. when he hears hwubby and i are going to be in india during chanukah he immediately asks, in his pure, kind voice, are you going to light the menorah? hwubby pauses and says, uuuh, i don’t know how we can take the menorah. keep in mind that every jewish home keeps at least one menorah and most of them are not small or travel-friendly. i can guarantee that. anyway, back to joseph. he is quick. not missing a beat he says, you can get a travel menorah. gee, we didn’t think of that. and that’s what hwubby got. a mini menorah that comes with 44 mini candles. 

it so happens hwubby and i are on different panchakarma schedules. for instance, i drink ghee for three days and he for seven. why drink ghee? to dislodge and float toxins. physical toxins, say, from eating incompatible foods. emotional toxins, say, from holding on to resentment, guilt, worrying, you get the drill. it can be a long menu. then it’s onto the next step, to draw them into the intestines. then what? what else but out. and that’s really the core meaning of panchakarma, cleansing actions.

anyhow, back to chanukah in the ayurveda healing village. for the first few nights we light the candles in our room because by the time we both finish our treatments it’s past sundown and we are advised to stay indoors. but we really want to light the candles in the hall with everybody during the daily program. finally our unwavering wish bears fruit. on the fourth day of chanukah we both are bathed and refreshed before the program begins at sundown. we ask dr ramkumar if we could share the ritual with everybody. he is overjoyed. he says, that’s exactly what he wants this place to be, a place where people of all spiritual traditions can freely worship. this cool guy truly takes the meaning of healing village to the sublime level.
i look around me after the candles are lit. what do i see? one big family of shining faces. we all have the same smile, same devotion, same light. indeed we are all of the same light source.

as it turns out, during this period i have this treatment, for seven days, where they pour very warm oils all over me. lots of oil. pots of oil. i feel like a bright and beautiful latkes. in the words of our dear friend carmen, you have all the oils to make enough latkes for the whole world. really, i haven’t missed anything. rather, i have gained so much by realizing that there is this fascinating connectedness permeating everything. i can see it in everyone, everywhere when i keep the mind clear and open. 

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