Tag Archives: Ayurveda

Collage: “Aerogramme from Pokhara” for Paper Post Boise exhibit

As it goes, in April 2023, I dropped a Mail Art collage (with theme of pandemic-ness) into the mail *juuuusssttt* as we were heading to the airport to take my first trip back to Canada for a long time (as well as taking my wife and son to meet their relatives and pals).

As much as i can figure, the exhibit was put on by Kollaj magazine and PaperPost Boise for an exhibit at Boise State University, ergo:

“Paper+ Post is an international open call for mail art with collage as the theme. Postcard-sized mail art will be presented in an exhibition at Boise State University titled,Paper +Post.

This exhibition will feature collage and mixed media works highlighting current worldwide trends in collage. We are asking participants to respond to life during the pandemic these past three years. We welcome participants to ponder the question,“How has living with the pandemic for the past three years changed your life?”

Upon conclusion of the exhibition, artwork will be preserved in Boise State’s SpecialCollections and Archives at Albertsons Library.Paper + Post’s open call for collage-themed mail art is being held in conjunction with World Collage Day, an annual, international celebration of collage.”

Paper Post Boise (dropbox file)

Made a few variations of scans quickly using flatbed scanner and an overhead laser scanner with very different colour results / collecting here as well as showing the envelope’s enclosures “opened up” and other hidden gems. Which variation do you prefer? It’s up to you, not me after all.

One of the curators found a common experience about the fable Yak & Yeti Hotel where i stayed with Cmdr Magnum,

“It’s perfect and so interesting. There’s a tiny bit on there that says Yak & Yeti (a very nice hotel in Kathmandu). It reminded me of a trip I was on, after crossing overland, camping between Lhasa Tibet on our way to Kathmandu, we stayed there! I’ve never checked into a hotel as dusty & filthy dirty as I was that day. And despite that, they served us some kind of welcome drink in the lobby right then. We were astonished and so grateful to have made it there.”

I replied: “it’s truly an historic hotel… As a kid growing up in Canada reading accounts of Himalayan expeditions in a canvas tent in our suburban backyard, I remembered expeditions using that as the first checkpoint in the last checkpoint on their trips… As it goes, I checked in there on the night before Nepali New Year’s Eve and it was a packed with a variety of clientele from expeditions with huge carts filled with climbing gear to distinguished local elites coming for festivities. was only there for one night and where am I “best outfit” a custom hemp clothes made in Pokhara (where my fictional aerogramme comes from) and a topi hat… Then I moved over to a six dollar a night flophouse in the Thamel district, and my freshly polished boots became filthy in the muddy streets and I went back to my usual “dusty dirty” mode as I hopped on a plane to Abu Dhabi filled with young Nepali fella with their travel scarves heading off to do dangerous challenging jobs (for low pay). Thanks so much for sharing your memories. If you have anything written or documented, please share with me.”

artifacts collected authentically

Other artifacts include: receipt from Sabriti Hemp Shop and vibes from my time at Ayurveda Health Home which i used as a context yet set in 1975 (Aug 1st as was the postal cancellation). Various stamps – wood/ink and postal – plus trekking permits, and a combination of typewriter (Olivetti Lettera 34) and fountain pen. Continued the conceit the aerogramme was refused for enclosures and thus lost in dead letter piles. Did Thor’s letter ever find Ms. Heda?

The exhibit happened while I was off on the ramble, and so kind missed it in real life, but there is a IG video and if you look closely, you can catch my piece. I guess now goes into a special collection. Not quite sure what that means but its fun (especially considering how infrequently I *actually* send something out for display rather than just “sending something out”)

As it goes, I’ve always made these kind of travel ephemera collages but just now realizing that other people enjoy this kind of stuff :-) I guess I’m a slow learner.

here is my “Aerogramme from Pokhara” with new pals on display though the exhibit is over and done with

Healing Ramble: Story of Ayurveda Health Home, Pokhara, Nepal, 2017

Memo: What follows comes from my erstwhile “Healing Journal” – written/compiled on a foggy meandering journey to various countries (Pacifica, Phitsanulok, Cochin, Pokhara, Dikwella/Galle…) visiting all manner of hospitals, clinics and exploring various healing modalities and techniques.

Shared here more-or-less unedited for posterity (whatever that is) and to shed light to those struggling who might come across this riff. Please watch the “Healing Ramble Introduction” video for context on this series.

With respect and understanding that not everyone can do *this* – i have another riff about “why” to seek medical care or healing treatment elsewhere (not in US/Canada in this case). For now, use it if you need it, if not just pass along.

Very happy to step into this compound

Handy:

Memo: What follows is transcribed from my diary very shortly after my stay, more or less verbatim, at the risk of being redundant, i have previously shared:

Pokhara, Nepal, 2017

Along my healing journey, I received treatment had the most wonderful Ayurveda Health Home in Pokhara, Nepal.

This company operates two facilities, one in Kathmandu and one in Pokhara where i did my treatment [update: subsequently built a 3rd clinic which looks like a wonderful mix of the 2 and maybe this one is no longer operating?].

The hospitals are part of a German-Nepal partnership. As such, the facility ran on a very prompt German-like schedule, but with exceptionally diligent Ayurvedic practitioners, including several full-time doctor/medical officers.

On the way to AHH

The chief amongst their practitioners is the world-famous Dr. Rishi [update: RIP] – a most elegant and graceful man who emanated healing energy and power. While he is primarily based at the Kathmandu facility, he flew to Pokhara for my intake for which I was very grateful.

Me with Dr Rishi on my “out-take” review in Kathmandu / bless his memory

He had thoroughly reviewed my medical file in advance (including notes from Dr. Veena’s Ayurveda and my tests in Phitsanulok), and the intake was several hours long starting with a long discussion about my symptoms, background and objectives, followed by a massage, then an *extremely thorough* physical inspection.

I should mention that I had originally intended to go back to India and Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra but for some strange reason, my Indian Visa was declined creating a rapid change of travel plans which became *a little bit expensive* and complicated but I worked through it all by adding in a wander through Malaysia after more hospital tests and treatment in Thailand, OK carry-on…

The days were very busy, but very well organized. I would receive very complete instructions, hands-on, for each of the different treatments, which I would later self-administer.

These included various mouth cleanings, nose cleanings, eye cleanings, eye exercises, meditation, and so on. I also received a series of instructional sessions about the overarching concepts of Ayurveda – the history, background, purposes and information about doshas and the importance of the mind/spirit/body connection.

I also participated on one-on-one yoga sessions. The yoga was very gentle and suited for my body and condition. Rather than complicated poses, started with very simple joint rotations and was very calm rather than stressful experience. (Note: it seems strange to call yoga “stressful“ but doing complicated poses and rapid movement is very difficult for me – as i found later at Peacock Ayurveda Garden).

I received dozens of different kinds of massage, with different oils, different techniques, sometimes two practitioners working on me at once, herbal poultices, salt poultices…

I also went through an extensive series of enemas (don’t freak out)… some to cleanse and some to fortify. It was pretty intense to say the least but I was extremely well supported through the process, and my diet gradually build back up from thin rice porridge and herbal tea, to more substantial food, before I would rejoin the rest of the group for more standard meals.

A warm and welcoming table to convene with other patients
Continue reading Healing Ramble: Story of Ayurveda Health Home, Pokhara, Nepal, 2017

Healing Ramble: Peacock Ayurveda Garden ~ Dikwella, Sri Lanka, 2018

welcome to Peacock Ayurveda Garden

Memo: What follows comes from my erstwhile “Healing Journal” – written/compiled on a foggy meandering journey to various countries (Pacifica, Phitsanulok, Cochin, Pokhara, Dikwella/Galle…) visiting all manner of hospitals, clinics and exploring various healing modalities and techniques.

Shared here more-or-less unedited for posterity (whatever that is) and to shed light to those struggling who might come across this riff. Please watch the “Healing Ramble Introduction” video for context on this series.

With respect and understanding that not everyone can do *this* – i have another riff about “why” to seek medical care or healing treatment elsewhere (not in US/Canada in this case). For now, use it if you need it, if not just pass along.

Gist: Along my healing journey, I sought treatment at Peacock Ayurveda Clinic in Dikwella (map to Peacock), close to noteworthy Galle, in southern Sri Lanka. I stayed in-patient for three weeks for a complete “panchakarma“ program.

Background: Certainly, Ayurveda has a number of different flavours in terms of quality and type of the facilities… Ranging from “spa-like“ facilities catering primarily to relatively wealthy or western clientele, to very spartan and rustic, often government-run, facilities treating local people (see Dissanayake diary).

Can be difficult to find the exact right fit mixing with medical needs but with comfort and safety enough to have a relatively enjoyable and stress-free period of time.

This is especially important because doing an extended panchakarma (five medicines) program as it can be rather intense. You are quite literally cleaned out inside and out, and your days are quite packed from early morning onwards with yoga, meditation, meals, doctor consultations, various massages, eye, ears, and nose cleaning, and some of the treatments, let’s just say can be rather “delicate“ or even rather embarrassing. Further, the effects of the treatment can be very intense and lay one out for a couple of days.

I researched a lot of different facilities around Sri Lanka and ended up on this one which seemed, from the outside, to be a good fit for me. While overall it was not near as fulfilling of an experience at my time in Ayurveda Health Home in Nepal or Dr Veena’s Ayurmantra in India, it was a learning experience.

“darling, i’am off to a rejuvenating Pachakarma treatment, see you in a two weeks”

Grounds / Facilities: Of the four different (at the time) Ayurveda facilities at which I received treatment, this one was definitely the most fancy and spa-like.

oh hi buddha

There was a pool (which frankly I was really never able to use but that’s cool), lounge chairs, beautifully manicured gardens with flowers in abundance, and overall the facility was very splendid, filled with interesting antiques, and the patient rooms were like a very nice hotel rooms, even with a private patio area for sitting and resting.

the grounds were immaculate and yes sometimes peacocks

Treatments / Schedule: The treatments were performed in a variety of traditional style huts, which were quite functional as well as charming. Each day, I was issued a fresh sarong and shirt and hat as the treatments are very oily. Additionally, I was given a basket of tiny disposable underwear to wear during the treatments.

Most days, I would have a short consultation with either the senior doctor (a gentleman who was very busy and often/mostly offsite) or a junior doctor (a young lady who was clearly still learning and mostly observing but very kindly).

Dave working on healing at Peacock Ayurveda near Galle, Sri Lanka (with Dr.)
Dave working on healing at Peacock Ayurveda near Galle, Sri Lanka (with Dr.)
Continue reading Healing Ramble: Peacock Ayurveda Garden ~ Dikwella, Sri Lanka, 2018

Healing: Story of Dissanayake Ayurvedic Hospital ~ Galle, Sri Lanka

not really at the hospital but still captures the spirit of the scene

Memo: What follows comes from my erstwhile “Healing Journal” – written/compiled on a foggy meandering journey to various countries (Pacifica, Phitsanulok, Cochin, Pokhara, Dikwella/Galle…) visiting all manner of hospitals, clinics and exploring various healing modalities and techniques.

Shared here more-or-less unedited for posterity (whatever that is) and to shed light to those struggling who might come across this riff. Please watch the “Healing Ramble, introduction video for context on this series.

Importantly, this is not meant to be a travelogue or creative writing exercise, just laying out my experience as it came to me. I may include some links to other projects or creations that came out of this, maybe… I’m not there yet.

This entry, from is from Galle Sri Lanka, late 2017 and written in the weeks following. It’s now April 2022, i live in Japan, am stable if far from “normal”.  No comments, sympathy requested or accepted. Carry on. 

Dissanayake Ayurvedic Hospital
Dissanayake Ayurvedic Hospital: Sign

Background: Along my healing journey, I received treatment at Dissanayake Ayurvedic Hospital in Galle, Sri Lanka, a government-run, pay-what-you-can facility.

I attended this hospital for Ayurveda treatments for some weeks during Dec. 2017-Jan 2018 and was treated by a kind practitioner called Ruwan. I also met with a wise Doctor who recommended I do a longer in-patient Panchakarma program here, but… some life situations changed and i didn’t do the program. I saw the rooms and talked to the doctors and while it was very spartan and not cozy, the staff seemed to be very intent on their practice.

Dissanayake Ayurvedic Hospital: Lobby
Dissanayake Ayurvedic Hospital: Lobby

Routine: Mr. Prem dropped me off via his Tuk-tuk (he introduced me to the facility in the first place), i then went to a window to announce myself (to everyone’s great surprise!) and then sat in the waiting area. Mr. Ruwan would come back from lunch, i would strip down to underwear and lay down on a wooden table (covered with a vinyl sheet) in a shared room with folks coming and going for massage with loads and loads of oil.

Dissanayake Ayurvedic Hospital: Treatment room
Dissanayake Ayurvedic Hospital: Treatment room
Continue reading Healing: Story of Dissanayake Ayurvedic Hospital ~ Galle, Sri Lanka

Healing: Ayurveda Health Home, introduction + review ~ Pokhara, Nepal

Memo: What follows comes from my erstwhile “Healing Journal” – written/compiled on a foggy meandering journey to various countries visiting all manner of hospitals, clinics and exploring various healing modalities and techniques.

Shared here more-or-less unedited for posterity (whatever that is) and to shed light to those struggling who might come across this riff. Please watch the “Healing Ramble, introduction” video for context on this series.

(also riffs already from Thailand, India etc + tips about pros/cons and how-to logistics coming…)
welcome gates in Pokhara, Nepal (note they have a few facilities in Nepal

Visits to a few wonderful, unique, intelligent clinic/hospitals in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka played the most critical role in bringing me “back to life” from MECFS – no, i’m not healed but i manage. Anyhow…

In this dispatch, i’ll introduce Ayurveda Health Home in Nepal – they operate clinics in Kathmandu and Pokhara where I did my panchakarma 3 week treatment cycle. [Update: now another facility] and are a German-Nepal partnership company and bring the best of both cultures into the operation.

me and the esteemed Dr. Rishi (rip) so much goodness – note my custom hemp trouser, Topi hat and Thai-made custom shirt

The facilities were fantastic – simple and sincere and functional, the staff was next level skilled & diligent, and the skill of the key medical officers – led by the brilliant, international reknowned Dr Rishi & my lead (the coolest and kindest) Dr. Rumee – empathetic, knowledgable & superb. 

view from my darling room in Pokhara
Continue reading Healing: Ayurveda Health Home, introduction + review ~ Pokhara, Nepal

Rest in Peace to Ayurveda Dr Rishi in Nepal

My heart aches at this shocking news. Dear Dr. Rishi was such an instrumental part in changing my life for which I will be forever grateful. In his presence, I felt a very rare and powerful and graceful energy which I will always remember.

His credentials and accomplishments are endless as he travelled the world bridging cultures and sharing his knowledge of Ayurveda as well as other healing modalities with scholars and practitioners. He kept up quite a schedule but also was the chief medical man of this highly efficient and effective group of clinics in Nepal.

DaveO and Dr Rishi at Ayurveda Health Home in Kathmandu. Nepal – note almost matching moustaches

I remember sitting with him at lunch as he gently ate and kindly answered my questions (building about the differences between traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, and the importance of being present and doing the most minor activities with intention – including eating and cleaning.

Importantly for my healing journey though, he travelled from Katmandu to Pokhara specifically for my intake at the hospital – along with his luminescent colleague Dr Rumee. After *losing* so many years of my life to chronic and complex illness I was so discouraged as doctors never seem to take the time to listen to me and thoroughly examine and inspect me. He listen to all aspects of my life, physical, emotional, spiritual and so on with a deep well of empathy and acknowledgment.

Wishing every blessing my wee heart can muster for his family, friends, colleagues and other patients. I will light incense in your honour from Japan and remember you always so very fondly.

In gracious remembrance of a wonderful human.

Note: much more to share about my time to Ayurveda Health Home in Pokhara and later a visit with Dr Rishi in Kathmandu.

Continue reading Rest in Peace to Ayurveda Dr Rishi in Nepal

Healing: Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra, review

panorama of the neighbourhood from the rooftop of Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra in Kerala, India

Continuing the story of my stay at Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra iin Trippunithura, (near Kochi), Kerala, India. Part 1 is a personal diary of my stay seeking treatment for syndromes, there is also a collection of “Kerala Field Notes” with riffs and lousy snaps about a few other activities while there.

For background on the series, check the Healing Ramble introduction video and follow along for Auroville diary, a rapid exit and then onwards to Nepal and possibly Pacifica, maybe Adelaide. Maybe you already saw the dispatches from Phitsanulok, Thailand. 

Unsurprisingly, there are various photo essays (ephemera, Lomo “spy camera” from a cenotaph in b&w or colour for your amusement), a Remembrance Day podcast and video spiel from Gandhi beach.

Next, (for convenience and hopeful promotion of Dr. Veena’s Ayurveda Hospital – Gmap), sharing a publicly-posted review (under no-longer-secret-pseudonym), ergo:

Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra Review

I recently stayed three weeks in-patient at Dr Veena’s Ayurmantra and found the experience was exceptional due to the kindness and skill of Dr. Veena and Dr. Hamesh. 

After years of shuffling between all manner of specialist doctors with divergent opinions but no solutions besides prescription medications and experiencing little to no improvement, I decided to try a non-traditional approach with Ayurvedic medicine and set out to find a clinic which suited my needs. I wanted a place that was small and attentive and not a “tourist spa”. Further, I sought a place with amenities and cleanliness which would make my stay pleasant.  Continue reading Healing: Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra, review

Kerala Field Notes: painting, rupees, museum, specs, wedding etc

The doors open, you don’t know where you might go, so you go

An omnibus round-up for lousy photos of logistical considerations, various tasks and personal memories in Thrippunithura (Kochi), Kerala, India (wiki), late 2016 while staying at Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra hospital. Please read the related story and consider watching the “Healing Ramble, introduction” video for context on this series. 

In the neighbourhood

sherbet coloured houses in the neighbourhood 

I sought permission to go out of the house to explore the neighbourhood, and after a while, she relented, warning me of the intense heat. I made a few oil pastel paintings of neighbouring houses which were all “sherbet coloured“ with lime greens, tangerine oranges and lavender which I found delightful.

i stepped out to make oil pastel painting and quickly made pals / note my awsum disposable clothes 

However, as soon as I would sit down with my art supplies, the neighbourhood boys and men would gather around to see what I was doing, ask me dozens of questions, and look on intently at everything I was doing. Continue reading Kerala Field Notes: painting, rupees, museum, specs, wedding etc

Healing: Story of Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra ~ Thrippunithura, Kerala, India

Me and Mr. Mohammed the Ayurvedic practitioner at Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra in Kerala, India

What follows comes from my erstwhile “Healing Journal” – written/compiled on a foggy meandering journey to various countries (Pacifica, Phitsanulok, Cochin/Kochi, Pokhara, Dikwella/Galle…) visiting all manner of hospitals, clinics and exploring various healing modalities and techniques. Shared here more-or-less unedited for posterity (whatever that is) and to shed light to those struggling who might come across this riff.

Please watch the “Healing Ramble, introduction” video for context on this series. Importantly, this is not meant to be a travelogue or creative writing exercise, just laying out my experience as it came to me. I may include some links to other projects or creations that came out of this, maybe… I’m not there yet.

This entry, from Thrippunithura (Kochi), Kerala, India (wiki), late 2016 and was written during my stay and in the weeks following – hence possible tense shifting and “note-style”. For the record: it’s nowJune 2021, i live in Japan, am stable if far from “normal”.  No advice or sympathy requested or accepted. Carry on. 

Thrippunithura, Kerala, India , Nov. 2016

Intro: On my healing journey, I had tried most every possible medical modality to find some relief, and was determined to try everything which showed reasonable promise a benefit.

A friend from Dubai recommended Ayurveda as a natural and holistic approach, and in a fog – truly, in a really difficult point in my healing process, I investigated 20+ Ayurvedic clinics in India and Sri Lanka – very rapidly and without knowing what i was doing really…, received all manner of different replies, prices and recommendations.

my first cup of Chai in India! such splendid heaven for a dime

I settled on Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra the province/state of Kerala, India due her excellent clear communications and no nonsense approach to the clinic (some seemed dodgy, others were “resorts for yuppies” with very high rates, most told me to “call” and i am not a phone calling type). 

Settling-in

I flew from Thailand (after time doing a load of tests at a hospital in Phitsanulok) to Kochi (aka Cochin), spent two nights in an airport hotel recovering in a bath {note: will share travel tips later in the series}, venturing out only to drink coconut (below) and tea (above) and rolled by taxi to the clinic – exhausted, demoralized, confused but open to anything.

stepping out into “all of the India” to drink a coconut 

The clinic was run by a whip smart woman named Dr. Veena who was sometimes assisted by her husband, a jovial tall thin man named Dr. Hemesh who worked at a regional Ayurveda hospital requiring a long bus ride for him every day. Such chemistry between them ;)

I lived in-patient in this facility for three weeks. My room was simple with the bed, wardrobe and desk and a wet bathroom. For much of the time, I was the only patient in their small three-story facility. Other times, there was a couple from Malaysia.

They also had a wonderful 3-year-old daughter who spent the day with relatives and came home welcoming me with a best hug calling me “Uncle”. The staff included a house lady, and a practitioner, a short Muslim man with a moustache – though almost every man the state of Kerala had a moustache. My 3 week, intensive, in-patient program of traditional Ayurvedic treatments was designed to address chronic pain, pain and heaviness in legs, reduced/uneven sleep. The treatments consisted of various massages with medicated oils, plus inhalations, purging, dripping medicated oil/milk on forehead, eyewashes … plus specific food for body’s needs, meditation time, stretching and a variety of herbal medications.

assorted Ayurvedic medications i took “to go” at the end of my treatment cycle along with Dr Veena’s handwritten direction 

Left with 2 month program of medications (capsules, liquids, ghee, powders…) and advice to avoid cold, avoid acidic food and meat, do yoga stretching and breathing exercises. Day-to-Day

Shirodhara vessel for gently pouring liquids over the forehead 

Continue reading Healing: Story of Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra ~ Thrippunithura, Kerala, India

“Thunderstorms in the Crash Years” – audio story about #MECFS & #Fibro

Dave working on healing at Peacock Ayurveda near Galle, Sri Lanka (with Dr.)
Dave working on healing at Peacock Ayurveda near Galle, Sri Lanka (with Dr.)

 

Amidst a thunderstorm at 4AM on a balcony in Chiang Mai, Dave discusses – with excessive frankness and emotion – various medical conundrums (Fibromyalgia and CFS-ME) and details the physical feelings of “crash mode” as well as the mental strain in dealing with self de-identification and inter-personal relationships, confusion in seeking help, and various alternative treatments.

audio story about #MECFS & #Fibro, just click play below

Always be kind for: Thunder in the Crash Years – Postcard #75 (75MB, 37:09, mp3, stereo)

No sympathy or advice requested.

(un-licensed but fairish-use) music by:

  • Tegan and Sara “Wake Up Exhausted” (demo)
  • Billy Bragg “Must I Paint you a Picture” (extended)
  • New Pornographers “The Crash Years” and “Adventures in Solitude” (studio)