Amazing Followup Story

Soon after I published yesterday’s post (Mystery Tool: Gimlet), I received a phone call from a neighbor… and she was crying.

Though I’d been writing primarily about the gimlet, an antique tool, I had included photos of some of the other “trash” we’ve found during the forest restoration work. One of those photos was of a bracelet I had unearthed in Winter or Spring of 2018 when I was digging out blackberry roots.

At the time I found the bracelet, I believed it was costume jewelry, but as I continued to look at it I began to wonder. What if the band was made of gold and the jewels were real? I decided to take it to a jeweler. I was a little disappointed when, after looking at it through a microscope, the jeweler reported that it was “fun” jewelry.

Well, it turned out that the bracelet was valuable—just in a different way. When my neighbor read my post, she had seen the photo of the bracelet. Through her tears, she told me the bracelet had been her mother’s, and it had been stolen from my neighbor’s house in 2014! She said she still had a segment of the necklace and an earring that went with it. I, of course, returned the bracelet.

I get chills even now as I think of my neighbor’s deep emotion, the remote chance that I had found this particular item in one shovelful of dirt in an acre of land; that it belonged to one of the two neighbors who I know reads my blog; and to make it even more remarkable, she has helped during some of the restoration work parties! So much Grace.

Living and Learning in Amritapuri, India: January 2-7, 2017

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Grace is Flowing

I have felt graced many times lately. The ones I’m remembering in the moment are:

-I wear a Fitbit that serves both as a pedometer and as a watch. For some unknown reason, the Fitbit hasn’t synced for the last six weeks, so I’ve had to add 1 ½ hours every time I looked at the watch. That has been a nuisance. One day this week, I looked at my watch and the time was correct. It felt surreal.

-Last week I made an appointment for a massage. (Various forms of body work and classes are available here. The proceeds help fund Amma’s humanitarian projects.) When I arrived at the session, the massage therapist asked if I wanted a Swedish massage or Reflexology. I said “Both!” That wasn’t an option so I got the massage.

When I was in Tai Chi class on Thursday, I started feeling the nerve pain I get in my toes when my low back muscles are too tight. Towards the end of the class, a friend who was on a break from the Reflexology class she was teaching, walked up to me and asked if I wanted to have a Reflexology treatment in a half hour. She had an uneven number of people in her class, and needed to have someone receive a treatment when the students paired up and worked on each other. I, of course, was delighted to serve in that way!

-Amma held darshan in the temple again on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. That felt like such a gift. Being in the temple brings back so many memories for me plus it feels more intimate than being in the big auditorium.

-I’d been feeling down for awhile and hadn’t been able to shake it. On Wednesday, the crowd was small so I decided to go for darshan and ask Amma, internally, to help me lighten up. When I entered the darshan line, I learned that the man next to me was from the UK but had been living in a Buddhist monastery for many years. He was on his way back to the UK, where he plans to start an intentional living community focused on mindfulness and sustainability. He had never met Amma before. I loved talking to him while we proceeded through the darshan line. When I reached Amma, she held me for what seemed like a very long time. I feel so blessed to have her in my life.

-Someone asked me a few days ago if I would be willing to be the first person to hand Amma prasad this coming Sunday. They always like to have an experienced person do that job at the beginning. Needless to say, I didn’t have to think twice before I said yes to that!

– Amma comes to the beach for meditation and a question and answer period on Monday and Friday evenings. I didn’t go on Monday, but I heard afterwards that instead of being next to the Ayurvedic building, sandbags had been put on the beach and the meditation was held there. I felt sad that I had missed that experience so I made sure I went yesterday. It was wonderful to be there although I was sitting on the side and much lower than most of the people so I could see Amma but not much else. I had no idea what a big area our group covered until I saw this photo on Amma’s Facebook Page. I will go earlier on Monday!

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-Tonight Swami Amritasvarupananda sang a song that used to take me into such a deep state of meditation. I haven’t had that experience for many, many years, but it happened again tonight. I am feeling so much gratitude.

Saraswati Garden and Eco Textile Work Center

I’ve continued to work an hour or two in the Saraswati Garden and Work Center most days. On Wednesday, we harvested the rest of the turmeric. Yesterday it was boiled and today another devotee and I sliced it. It will then be dried and ground into powder for use in dying fabric. After two hours of slicing, my hands were even yellower than when I did it for the first time. I know from experience that I will be yellow for days.

I’ve seen big lizards in the garden several times on this trip, but they always move so fast that a photo is out of the question. Two days ago, one scooted in front of me and then up the side of a wall. It then stayed in one place while I took out my camera. As soon as I snapped the shot, it sped off.

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The garden has lots of caterpillars. I turned over a coconut shell yesterday and it was filled with caterpillars. I walked back to the house to get mye camera. There were still a lot of them in the shell when I returned. I associate caterpillars with destroying gardens and trees but I don’t see any evidence that these are hurting the plants in any way. I wonder what they are eating.

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Wrapping up

A week from today I will be in Dubai waiting for my flight back to Seattle. I’m starting to sort through my belongings and pack. Before long I will be cleaning my room in preparation for the next person that stays here.

Even though I’m starting my ending process, I know my trip is not over yet. I have almost a week of experiences still ahead of me. On Monday, I’m going to Vrindavan Gardens, the oldest of the tulasi gardens. I’ve heard new things are happening there and I’m eager to find out what they are!

To see all of the posts in this Amritapuri series, click here.

I Don’t Know My Name

It has been years since I’ve watched “America’s Got Talent” but I put it on while I was waiting to hear the results of yesterday’s U.S. election primaries. I cried when I saw this performance last night, and cried even more when I watched it on YouTube a few minutes ago.

Judge Howie Mandel loved her performance so much that he hit the Golden Buzzer which allows her to go directly to the live shows that occur towards the end of the competition.

 

A Day of Challenges!

Today was one of those days where I had “plans” but all of them changed.

It started with me waking up at 1:45 a.m. I had been dreaming about Sanskrit and about blogging, something that is happening with increasing frequency, but thankfully it is not usually that early. As I moved from a dream state into a more conscious state of mind, the idea of posting a Sanskrit declension matrix by making a Power Point slide show came to my mind. Then the idea of adding audio to it surfaced.

I have helped others with Power Point slide shows before but only by typing in the words. I had never done a real one and I certainly had never put audio to one. As I lay there sleepless, I started pondering how to do it. Around 3:00 a.m., since sleep didn’t seem to be coming, I got up.

I went back to bed for about an hour and a half at 5:00 a.m. and then spent most of the day working on this project. The slide show went together quickly and even the audio was reasonably easy to figure out. But then came getting correct pronunciation, correct timing and most time consuming of all, finding a way to put it into a format that the blog would accept. That last part took until 7:45 tonight! But with Grace and persistance, I finished it!

I’ve mentioned in earlier posts that every noun in Sanskrit may have 7 or 8 different cases. You can identify those cases by how the word ends.

Cases:

1st case is the subject
2nd case is the object
3rd case – “with” (with a fork)
4th case- “for” (for the beggar)
5th case- “from” (from the city)
6th case- possessive or “of” (boy’s; of the boy)
7th case- “in, at, on”

The slide show will present the declensions for the pronoun “aham” which means “I”. Singular, dual (2 people) and plural (i.e. three or more) forms will be presented for each of the seven cases. You will notice that some of the words are the same but have different meanings. In those instances, we have to read the word in a sentence to determine the meaning.

So with that for an introduction, here is my PowerPoint Slide Show with Audio of the declensions for the word “aham”! (In hindsight, it would have been helpful for me to put the case number and whether the word was singular, dual or plural on the slides, but even this way it gives you a good idea what the process is like!) I hope you enjoy it.