Tag Archives: himalayas

Sort-ganzing Global Postcards into Folios

Ya like postcards? Oh good! Handwritten Letters abound (with related anecdotes and digressions)

Let’s take a world tour with postcards, c’mon

Delightfully and gratefully, so many postcards and letters over the past few months, from Vietnam, Ireland, Ukraine, Germany, Bahamas, Croatia, Spain, Austin Texas, St John’s Newfoundland and St John Arizona, San Francisco via Prince Edward County (not island), Austria (by way of Himalayas) various British Columbia islands and mainland, of course around Japan (Gifu especially), and heck Cape Cod and more.

Each comes with a story, some with sketches so – in a poorly lit bedroom with a strange machine at side – riff about each and share the stamps and stories which stashing into a folio. Folios really as some go in “general”, others have a separate binder, others into a special collections, others to be considered at a later point.

Then all tidies up with sharing postal address and a Dymo Label.

Includes backgrounder about Wade Davis’ stellar book about early approaches to Everest from Tibet side “Into the Silence”.

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

Artifacts: Nepal Relief Efforts round-up, Vancouver, 2015

In 2015, Nepal suffered a series of cataclysmic earthquakes, devastating villages… {I suppose it’s worth noting that this was also in the week of some other conundrums and tragedies involving the royal family and cataclysmic change in government and society in general}.

Anyhow, living in Vancouver at a time, and feeling lousy about my then-new-found health situation, I tried to participate in various relief efforts and *at least* document and amplify as best i could.

riffs and musings about Nepal

Since my childhood fascination with the Himalaya mountains and the thought of drinking yak milk tea high altitude, villages, Nepal held a place in my heart. {I also have a dear friend from the country who’s helped me out in multiple times of disarray}.

As it goes, a few years later, I finally made my first visit to the country for an extended Ayurveda treatment and was unbelievably charmed and fascinated by the intrepid and kind nature of the Nepali people.

As such, this post is simply to remind myself, others and history about the grassroots efforts that went on at the time to bring relief.

Postcards: Specifically, I did my own campaign of “Postcards for Nepal” in which anyone who demonstrated some activity to support Nepal relief efforts, would receive one of my handmade postcards. Not a big deal i realize but you do with what you have.

Postcards from Nepal relief

evidence of postcards for Nepal

Campaign posters: And, as is my habit, I documented handbills and flyers for other relief efforts and campaigns and did my best to donate and promote Nepal relief efforts and admired the grassroots and creativity of many of the initiatives. I see you.

another really interesting grassroots initiative to send medical equipment. As I recall, there was also some early instances of 3-D printing put to use during this time

Food: I also worked with then-nearby Gurkha Nepal restaurant who were hosting weekly lunches and dinners at which proceeds went to the relief efforts.

checking in from Gurkha restuarant

Some really nice guys working there (as I understand, they subsequently sold and moved on). Also noting that i chronically misspelled the name of the restaurant.

Continue reading Artifacts: Nepal Relief Efforts round-up, Vancouver, 2015

Buddha Annapurna – Annapurna Sunrise

annapurna - buddha - blue buddha lake

Buddha Annapurna

There was already a full moon
And a snowy peak behind
Then you read from Buddha
Reminding all to be kind

Respect is key to happiness
Giving away leads to wealth
Think kind thoughts about others
To enjoy your own fine health

Simple truths from Gautama
About the middle way
Passed down through sutras
Seekers chanting each new day

I often wonder how it feels
To sit under a single tree
A seed a day towards enlightenment
The mind roams peaceful and free

In the village I wander
Maybe treading in his step
Humble confident and searching
To the others, offering help

annapurna - buddha - young boys

Holy Donkeys – Annapurna Sunrise

annapurna - donkey

They’ve walked this path
So many times now
With others much like you
Sandals or rubber boots
Packs filled unnecessarily

Donkey trains bring water jugs
Propane to the cook fires
Gee and haw along the trail
Simply follow the one in front
Who allegedly knows the way

Indeed lead mule walks simply
By intuition and repetition
And even muscle memory
Towards the sun in the morning
Downhill in afternoon

Do they call each other cousins?
Parents, friends or kin?
Or are they a collective without ego
Ritual or sin?

A collective hauling comfort
Up to rustic places
Nodding along with the rhythm
Not even bothered to
Glances backwards at your faces

annapurna - donkeys - boys

Forgotten Village – Annapurna Sunrise

The cook pot is blackened
But you easily clean up the mess
With gritty river mud scraped
From your stream of consciousness

Wander up an invisible path
Even the elders don’t know it
Chasing a mysterious girl
Named after an ancient poet

I can’t see her footprints
But I see her shining eye
In the constellations high
Above the blue night sky

Reflection in the mountain lake
Shows me growing worn
But I blink three times quickly
And see that I’m reborn

There’s wisdom plainly hidden
On the edge of mountain cliffs
Stories shared by ancients
Around campfires, becoming myths
Books don’t capture the secrets
For truth look deep into teacups

In this forgotten village
They’re made of bone and marrow
Stubborn as a donkey
Rugged as the buffalo
Giving love like sacred Amma

Monk chants echo through valleys
Low, soft and precise
Repeated through centuries
Many times ever since
Taught by a lost wanderer
With no interest in being found

Prayer flags amplify
Take noble words higher
Attenuate on a frequency
Improbable to detect by wire

I will always return here
Flying high like a hawk or sparrow
Won’t tell you the village name
You find it when you’re able

The maps might give a clue
But not the right directions
You’ll only find the magic
By following inner vision

In the forgotten village
This village is forgotten
Deliberately mistaken
Not meant for finding
Books reveal their secrets
Obvious in endless myth
Your own forgotten village

annapurna - village - house

Peaks – Annapurna Sunrise

Peaks

So many came from overseas
Seeking adrenaline and light
Colored bags filled with dreams and schemes
Forgetting to slow down right

When everyone’s a guide
There’s no one left to lead
There’s power in independence
But more in empathy

Don’t underestimate compassion
Because when walls coming quaking down
If you’ve given freely
Then you always will be found

Don’t think about reaching peaks
Where others have died unfulfilled
Find your own distant summit
Gaze up from the greenest field

Morning, Pokhara – Annapurna Sunrise

Morning, Pokhara

Morning, Pokhara

Farmer calls to the cow, gently
Corralled in a stonewalled fence

Mother calls her child from an open door
Time for a freshwater cold bath

Labourers scrape broken bricks over the edge
To collide with roof of corrugated tin

Birds call and puff splendid plumes
Demonstrating their innate biologic worth

Trekking guides ply for determined hikers
With different dreams of dizzy altitudes

Cafeman tempts the passers-by
With steamed milk tea and German pastries

Boatman sits quietly with paddle
Ticketbook ready to ply to the lake

The foreign lady talks more loudly
Convinced she’ll be more understood

Dogs yap at movements all through the night
Vigilance unnecessary in this dewy hour

Roosters ritually announce another day
Repeating proclamations well into afternoon

Trucks honk repeatedly for someone
Anyone… to open the rusty metal gate

The black-haired girl sweeps stairs routinely
Her distinct action – whisking dust before polishing

The Stupa gazes quietly from atop the hill
Tea houses lead the way to certain inner-peace

The hotel open doors pleased for patrons
But remembering the days before…

Annapurna and her cousins hide behind clouds and mist
Only revealing peaks when fully dressed

A lonely man seeks a barber to trim a shaggy face
Possibly reveal a timid smile

Morning, Pokhara

Annapurna Sunrise – Annapurna Sunrise

annapurna sunrise - annapurna, sunrise

Annapurna Sunrise

A sunrise isn’t just a sunrise
Each a unique event
The dawning a new circumstance
Unknown since yesterday

Sun glances off the glaciers
Bells on buffaloes provide the song
Your own personal time lapse
Just remember how to breathe

Jagged peaks like ripsaws
Loom over soft curved paddies
Village with rocky pathways
Laid down in olden days

Ridgeline too high for goats
Who would rather look away
Down valleys filled with grasses
Occasionally find a berry

Unaware of their varied fates
Living only for the now, knowing
Can’t control how long you live
Only your present tense

Each day
Lived in anger and greed?
Or fill each
with vast abundance?

Today is not a photograph
Or another dress rehearsal
For a foretold mystic afterlife
In which you are an exalted master

You are given gifts each day
Of beauty, challenge and hope
Hard times bring lessons
Unrequested by conscious self

The glowing dawn brings new noises
Into your tiny universe
Children resist cold washing
While Grandmas fill steel mugs

Buffalo and yaks are elder siblings
Calm, strong and helpful
Giving milk and fuel each day
To people, without expectation

Maybe you’ll bring them fresh hay
Maybe they’ll find some alone
Unimpressed by your shiny toys and colours
Needs kept more elemental
Warmth, food and rest
Content with two as an option

Each house climbs higher
Up the mountain slope
Precarious and sturdy
On each leans a chimney
Releasing pungent smoke

The humans slip outside
Tasks to do, Gods to please
Receive blessings of beauty
Tomorrow, clouds might roll back in
Savour while you are able

Cold water bath for each tiny kid
Strengthen them for future days
Aiding dreams of others
Serve all but not servant to none

Do not mistake diligence with complacency
Lo the free-flying hawks
Wings may appear the tools
The a clean mind does the flying

Simple kindness the underrated virtue
Honesty brings clear respect
Clockwise round the massif
Chanting all the while

Prayer bells go anti-counter-clockwise
Or is it the opposite?
Spin it wrong, good still comes
When done with the right intentions

annapurna sunrise prayer wheels