Friday, April 12, 2013

golden rule. shoes. abhyange

photo by nat
between shoes, golden rule and ayurveda treatment i’m making quite a leap, don’t you think?

okay, here it goes.

to cut a long story short, these walking shoes i got from the store, they are great for my bunions but they are sooooo expensive even on sale. $168 after 40% off. hwubby said, you walk so much better in them, it's worth it. o, have i mentioned that joanna, the mephisto consultant - yes, that's the title on her card - went thru several pairs and brands and then spot-breaking to get to this point. she worked hard. none felt right until this baby. i had no idea what the alphabets 'mbt' on the shoes meant. i thought that's some kind of mephisto. later on i found out that it's a brand on its own. mbt stands for masai barefoot technology. seriously. folks, they develop technology to try to replicate the experience of walking barefoot in paddyfield. okay, back to my shoe story. i hemmed and hawed. finally what cinched the deal was i could return them in 7 days. i thought i would definitely return them. i just couldn't see myself pouring out almost two hundred bucks for sneakers.

photo by nat
next day. i walked around in them inside house. well, i have to be honest with myself. it's refreshing to feel the feet securely and comfortably housed. also standing in these shoes the body naturally and gently rocks back and forth, kind of like aloft over hawaiian waves. still, the price tag gnawed at me. an inner msg came. online. so i did. sure enough midway down the first page of google search results there’s a site that caught my eye. fast forward a few more hits later i am in this online shoe store exclusively for mbt shoes. check this out. the style that i got from the store is half price here. wooohoooh, i am thrilled. immediately the i-love-bargain tendency took me over. ask hwubby. he would tell you, my darling wife loves to get something for a penny on the dollar. yes, i'm proud to call myself cheap. i love hand-me-down. way back when i was living in ashram, there was a room where donated items were placed. guess where i got all my garments. i call it vintage. now i have a generous and gorgeous sister-in-law who happens to be same size of mine, with fabulous taste, and periodically send me boxes of beautiful stuff. i call it heirloom.

where are we? right, shoes. hmmm, i shall return what i have and order online. the mind is totally sucked into this old tendency when all of a sudden i heard loud and clear two words. GOLDEN RULE. i tried to ignore it but it wouldn’t go away for good. it kept flashing big and bold on the mental screen. the stubbornly lodged tendency wouldn’t budge either. this is about a hundred dollars. why wouldn’t i want to spend 50% less to get the same thing. yet, something strange is happening within. i thought this would be a no brainer yet i experience this unease, queasy feeling. something is not totally clear. not yet. there is a real tug of war within. i know enough by now that i decide to let it sit a little bit instead of pushing ahead.

half a day later. as i do my daily abhyange, an ayurveda treatment that involves rubbing medicated oil over joints and body, i feel this squeeze in the heart. i rub a nice scoop of warm oil over the chest, feel better, and i remember something, something that happened years prior but the pain is fresh as ever. you see, i was in mortgage work at one point. i remember i worked hard, jumped thru fire hoops, to get a difficult loan through only to have the borrower walking away just before closing because they found a loan with lower interest rate online. technically they could do that. according to the industry practice none of the effort i put into mattered. yuck. i remember that ugly feeling vividly, as oil quietly permeate every pore of mine. i hate it now as much as i did then.

aaaah, wham. golden rule. don’t do unto others what you don’t want others to do to you. legally, technically i could return the shoes. but i would be treating people in the way i don’t want to be treated. i love a big saving but at the end of day this is about me walking the talk, living what i believe in.  as i contemplate this i realize something subtle has shifted. some veil is lifted. the mind, through which i think, speak and act has been cleansed in a deep way. the light of the heart is able to come through. i am able to discriminate, to see what truly matters is that i act from the place of the highest and most sacred self. that's the source of abundance.

so, now, how about i give a shout out to  abhyange. i truly believe that the treatment, prescribed according to my condition and performed authentically and diligently, contribute to diminishing the grip of such an old tendency on me, cleansing the lens thru which i perceive myself and the world. from that state i can see the connection between the teaching from an ancient sage and the situation at hand right now in 21st century.
photo by nat

there is more. it’s not that i didn’t have this realization before. i just didn’t act on it. it's not even that the old tendency comes back no more. far from it. the difference between then and this time is that i experience huge unease when i try to entertain the idea of returning the shoes. it’s a feeling of betrayal, turning my back on my own nature, my highest self. the force of highest self outweighs the opposing tug of old tendency. the pull is so strong that it becomes so easy to decide it’s smarter to yield to it. it's a physical sensation in the body, sickening, almost nauseous. emotionally i can't bear the horrific feeling if and when i return the shoes and say i get a better price online even though i wouldn't even know about this shoe without your expert service. the bottom line is this. the old tendency is no longer in the driver seat. my highest self is. once a patient, after much haggling with dr ramdas over her treatment plan, said, all right, i’ll surrender to you. dr ramdas said, no,  you are not surrendering to me, you are surrendering to your self.
dr ramdas showing me how to churn butter

i love money but, at the end of day, as dr ramkumar says, money is not the driving force. never. welcome, suk wah, to a deeper level of purification. amen.  

Friday, April 5, 2013

drinking oil out of love, with love, for love.

photo by nat

i think that everyone who goes to vaidyagrama to do full panchakarma after much deliberation having some sense of what they are getting into. wouldn’t you think so too? boom. i couldn’t be more wrong. check this out. there’s this guy. he’s indian, young, open face, always carrying a cheerful smile and walking around radiating lightheartedness. one day i overhear him telling another patient he has a construction company. i say, wow, that’s quite a commitment you make, to come for panchakarma. he says in an easygoing manner, no, i didn’t come for treatment. i say, what are you talking about, you are drinking ghee for 7 days. he says matter-of-factly, i mean, with no drama, just like it’s the most natural thing to do in the world, and what does he say? listen to this. he says,  my wife has to come for treatment, so i stop everything and come with her. just like that. yes, folks, meet vikram, the guy who tags along with his wife and ends up doing full-on panchakarma. i salute him. he just dives in with a nice dose of good cheer and always ready to burst into a good laugh.

my hwubby always thinks of me first. in vikram he has found a match. on christmas night i put on a blinking red nose and sang ‘rudolph the red-nosed reindeer‘ during the group dinner. next morning, vikram came to me and said, with this mile-wide grin and happy, wide open eyes, thank you, thank you, my wife loved your nose, thank you, you make my wife so happy. i was deeply moved. i told hwubby about it. hwubby said, give her the nose. we went to their room and presented reshmi, a lovely, sweet young lady, with the gift. she was thrilled. vikram was just beside himself watching his wife being happy. snehapana means love drink. vikram truly drinks ghee out of love, for love and with love.

photo by nat
so now i think his wife is so lucky. well, i'm happy to be wrong because after getting to know reshmi just a little bit i realize, in fact, it's vikram who is truly fortunate. reshmi has this full moon lakshmi face shining the warmth of morning lights. she is a young working woman and lives the best of timeless virtues. as they tell me the tale of how they have come to commit to a life with each other i learn so much from them. they stand in their hearts and treat their family with deep love and respect. my american friends, we have to understand that in india families play a big role in marriages. i'm humbled and impressed with vikram's clarity of mind and unwavering determination. since knowing reshmi from childhood he had no doubt that if he had to marry this would be the girl. here's to you, vikram, you have an eye for a great wife. well, almost as good as my hwubby. :) once knowing what he truly wanted he pursued it with thoughtful calm, respectful persistence, tireless efforts and endless patience.  truly their story is a living example of 'love conquers everything.'

i heard their story on my 7th day of drinking oil. i have to say that really helps me to digest that 180 ml with total ease. there's no end to the power of love.