May 2016 Archives

10527442_10153099845253452_6926736732397991134_n.jpg

In three weeks, I'll be arriving in Suffolk--visiting my motherland for the first time since my mother's death. What will I find? Will the church bells be loud with her absence or resonant with her presence? Will the oaks in Christchurch Park, the Lebanon cedars, the arboretum, whisper to me of loss or of enduring connexion?

I travel there knowing that my mother is gone. I miss everything about her--the humour, the cheerfulness, the wisdom, the occasional acerbic comments, the dementia wackiness. Her departure leaves a gap that can never be filled. You only have one Mum. Yet I know that, though their physical presence is gone, neither she nor my father can truly be dead, for they live in me. They have given me so much more than chromosomes, for they nurtured my gifts and sowed the seeds of the neuroses that bring me growth.

When I stand by the estuary to watch the ships come in, my father is there, teaching me how to predict the wind and weather. When I hike in the mountains, he is there, reminding me to look back and take a mental photo, so I will find my way on the return journey. When I look at the forest, he is there, showing me that trees are not just green but also indigo, turquoise, silver, red, gold and black. What paint colours must I select to capture this view?

And Mum--she is there in every pot of soup I make, every batch of chutney I stir, every story I tell. She inspires my life as a doctor, reminding me every day to offer my gifts to the world, but she also permeates my most private and intimate life--she, the woman who defined for me what a woman is. When I look in the mirror, I see her eyes; when I breathe, I feel her breath.

In the person I am today, I see my father, the quiet, introverted artist and also my mother, the lively, outgoing doctor and public speaker. Though I miss my parents deeply and feel the loss of them every day, I know that they live on--in me, in my siblings, in their grandchildren, in all whose lives they have touched.

My parents loved Boulder, the Flatirons, Eldorado Canyon, Peaceful Valley and Wild Basin. The places I know and cherish are their special places too. But soon I'll be traveling from the home I've found in the Western United States to the place they brought me to as an eleven year old, the provincial town where they made a home for us and where they lived, worked and loved for over fifty years. What will I experience, how will it be? Will the journey bring tears, joy or both? Walk with me and we shall see.

P1080416.JPG

If you want your dream to be
Take your time, go slowly
Do few things but do them well
Heartfelt work grows purely
If you want to live life free
Take your time, go slowly
Do few things but do them well
Heartfelt work grows purely

Day by day, stone by stone
Build your secret slowly
Day by day, you'll grow too
You'll know heaven's glory

If you want to live life free
Take your time, go slowly
Do few things but do them well
Heartfelt work grows purely
If you want to live life free
Take your, time go slowly
Do few things but do them well
Heartfelt work grows purely

Day by day, stone by stone
Build your secret slowly
Day by day, you'll grow too
You'll know heaven's glory.

(By Donovan, in Brother Sun, Sister Moon)

"If you want your dream to be, take your time go slowly." Honoured guests, staff, graduates and students, each of you in your own way a part of our Alandi family--today's graduation is truly a story of patience and perseverance.

First of all, perseverance on the part of the candidates, each of whom had initially hoped to graduate much earlier than today. Heather Marie, despite being evacuated during the 2013 flood disaster, was on track to graduate in 2014 when challenging life circumstances intervened. After a long interruption, she has resumed her studies and brought to completion what she started in 2012. Heather, thank you for persevering!

Akacia--Tessa--was accepted for the 2013 academic year--and we were eagerly awaiting her arrival. But again, life circumstances intervened, preventing her moving here when she had planned. Remarkably, she held firm to her vision and intention and has now graduated as a practitioner and been accepted into our ground-breaking doctoral program. As for David-- he should have graduated in December. Somewhere along the way, David realized the benefits he could gain from taking extra time and accruing additional experience. If you want your dream to be/Take your time, go slowly. David too has been accepted into our doctoral program, so we look forward to graduating two outstanding Ayurvedic Doctors in 2018.

Let us look next at the patience and perseverance it took to arrive at this moment--this well-loved garden filled with students and their family and friends--a garden, be it said, that has literally been build step by step, stone by stone. When Sadananda and I arrived in America in 1985, dressed in white cotton robes, with sandals on our feet in the winter snow and eighty dollars in our pockets, who could have predicted this day? From a tipi in a friend's back yard to a tiny apartment in a Tucson back street, from there to the basement here on Twentieth street, the journey has been slow and full of pitfalls, with many highs and lows along the way. The black pearls and shimmering white pearls of this journey of co-creation are strung on the unbreakable thread of patience.

As an eighteen-year-old medical student at St Barts in London, grappling with calculus, titration and cadaver dissection, never for a single moment did I imagine where I would be, what I would be doing today. I had no idea that such a place as Alandi Ashram could exist anywhere in the world--still less that I would be living, teaching and practicing Ayurveda in this humble yet all-embracing space.

The creation of a profession is another aspect of today's celebration that has called for great patience and perseverance. Alandi has been involved with NAMA, the National Ayurvedic Medical Association, since its first public meeting in Berkeley California in 2000. Over the years we have worked, slowly, carefully and by consensus, to bring the profession together and create educational standards and a National Exam, crucial steps along the way to becoming a licensed healthcare profession.

And Ayurveda itself, as an outgrowth of the perennial wisdom, embodies millennia of patience and faithfulness. As Doctor Ram Manohar has said, Ayurveda is the result of a vast clinical trial involving countless people and stretching across thousands of years. Behind every sutra, every axiom, every verse of the texts lie generations of trial and error, stretching back to our earliest origins as a species; honed through deep thought and reflection by the finest minds of the era. Why do we fall sick? What is the cause of imbalance? What is the relationship between external phenomena such as weather and our internal state? What is the relationship between plants and people--which ones kill, which ones nourish, which ones heal? What are the elements of life? What is life itself? What is the soul? The sages of yore pondered these questions, discussed them in conference and wove their conclusions into easily memorable verses that were learned by heart before they were ever written down. We are the fortunate ones who inherit this vast body of knowledge.

We are the fortunate ones, the immensely rich heirs of all that has gone before us. Heather, David, Akacia--you have worked hard and demonstrated loyalty and commitment. Today we celebrate your achievements. We honour your families and ancestors and all they have contributed to making you the people we know and love today. Yet also, let's take a moment to think of all the spiritual ancestors who stand behind you today--your teachers, staff and chefs here at Alandi, the NAMA community, our colleagues in Colorama; Doctor Lad, Doctor Frawley and and Doctor Svoboda, who worked so hard and gave of themselves so freely to bring Ayurveda to America--their teachers, Vimalananda and Māma Gokhale. Behind them stands a vast assembly of people whose names are unknown, whose lives have slipped past unnoticed, yet who contributed in ways great and small to the vast corpus of knowledge, philosophical, practical, herbal, botanical and culinary, which is your inheritance. On this auspicious day, let us take a moment to thank them and count our blessings.

Count your blessings one by one
When dawn appears and day has just begun
They will light your heart with happiness
Make each hour bright and bring you gladness.

Count your blessings one by one
When twilight falls and toil of day is done
And in sweet dreams they'll come again to you
If you will count your blessings each day through.

Count your blessings while you may
For we are here but little time to stay
All around are hearts sincere and true
Lovely things abound just waiting for you.

Count your blessings while you may
The big or small, whichever comes your way
For then you'll find this world a place of love
If you will count your blessings from above.

Song by Reginald Morgan, lyrics by Edith Temple, 1946

P1080508.JPG

Pages

Powered by Movable Type 6.1.2

Follow alakanandama on Twitter

Twitter Updates

    Natural Health Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

    About this Archive

    This page is an archive of entries from May 2016 listed from newest to oldest.

    March 2016 is the previous archive.

    June 2016 is the next archive.

    Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.