A day off in the Redwoods-Mount Madonna, CA

Today is our day off. I took my sleepy self to the hot tub at 6:30 am. No one about and sorta silent. Just me and the cat. I dipped in the steamy water and then when it got too hot, stepped out for some asana practice. Then when it got cold, went in again. Like that, for at least an hour or two under the towering redwoods. I never made it to the Redwood forest in Maui so this reconnecting with my favorite tree was great.  Although I was not actually in the ocean, I was looking at it. And was also happy  to know that I was looking at the other side of the same body of water I had looked at for so many mornings on the island. There was comfort in that.
After the tub, I stopped at the Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple, which is what Mount Madonna was built around. This particular retreat center was created by a revered Guru, Baba Hari Das back in the 70’s, and it is dedicated to this wonderful monkey.

In my humble opinion, the temple and Christmas lights and bells, conch shells and flowers is quite a garish site but that would be a cultural thing. The statue, itself is cleaned and newly painted about once a month in the brightest orange you can imagine. Ganesha, 1/2 elephant, half man,  is also present as his loving playmate/bro and I learned a bit more about flying monkeys and elephants from a beautifully robed man who put the saffron dot on my head and served me some tasty treats for Prasad.

PD, as he called himself, showed me the shakti yantra inside the roof of the temple and pointed to an equally ornate structure being built in honor of Ganesha. Can you say, Big Serpents? As he explained, the deities, although Hindu are not worshiped but the attributes and qualities of the deities are useful teaching tools to help us mere humans navigate our lives. He mentioned that Baba, now in his 80’s was holding Darshan in the conference hall in the next 10 minutes and that I should go and introduce myself. I had wanted to do that anyway and so I walked over to the hall and sat in front of the man who has been silent since 1959. Sweet. Among 20 people or so, I asked for his blessing for this next adventure in my life. It was so casual and I liked it that way. I mean, this is a Karma Yoga community and in service to being in the world. Why wouldn’t it be a casual thing?….after all, life goes on.

I have met some wonderful people in the last week from all over the country, world, actually. Rasksha is a new friend who has travels from Delhi, India specifically to be in the yoga therapist training. I found that really curious and one more reason to respect and understand the depths of this lineage and education. It is powerful and works and defiantly, higher education.

( wow, pause button, Raksha just “happened” to be walking down the hall and for the last 30 minutes she gave me the download on the deities etc. in the form of a flow chart as well as the “skinny” on the fat volumes of Vedic texts. I repeat, Wow….Gary walks up and I get the opportunity to express my gratitude for the people he attracts and that I am one of them. Phew. Fun. No accidents. And it’s just beginning)

More to say but for now, I am committed to only being on the computer for short periods of time and letting go of this 21st century addiction as a practice. I am ready to inhale the essence of Redwood Tree as I walk the trail in the woods with an 85% dark chocolate bar in my pocket.

I have not let go of that attachment just yet.

much love here and an “over the pond”, aloha, Linda


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