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.