One full day back. I need every practice I have learned at the ashram: morning meditation, kirtan, Japa, being mindful of my thoughts and words and choosing actions carefully, pranayama, asana and sangha (via Facebook now that I can no longer attend satsanga in the Temple).

Leaving Paradise Island on the boat at 8:30AM went smoothly–even with the ton of bags I was carrying. I was supported.  At the last minute I was able to leave some books to be mailed to me in Brooklyn. Swamiji was not present at the morning staff meeting due to the mantra initiation he was leading for the current TTCs (yoga teacher training students) in the Temple. Parvarti led the meeting and remembered it was my last day so that I got my parting Om Tryambakam chant from everyone to protect me on my journey back to Brooklyn.

Though my flight was delayed I enjoyed the extra time to just sit at the airport. I was able to get a gift for my young neighbor who took care of the Bebe for two weeks last month when my tenant was out of town: a Bahamian wood carving of a cat! I don’t know what I would have done without the help of Alicia, Joyce and Ed. They were there for me on all fronts: Ed took photos of my crashed car and sent them to me, Ed and Joyce held the keys to my home and helped to arrange for housekeeping while I was gone and Alicia lovingly visited Bebe every day when the tenant was gone. With neighbors like these it is hard to imagine leaving Brooklyn! My heart overflows with gratitude.

Gratitude is a practice I had started long before the Ashram and another one that was strengthened by the experience of living there. It is amazing to me the little things that I have taken for granted. Doing tapas and living in austerity as one does in the Ashram puts it all into perspective. Much more is in perspective now. Like where I seek support: in the many Names and Forms and practices that honor Brahman. Like where I feel support: I am much more attuned to energy in general and notice (often, but not always, without judging) how someone is responding or reacting to me. This carries into email as well as non-verbal exchanges. As soon as I feel judgement or a lack of kindness or a demand from someone I take a breath and notice. Then when I am really in my own center I look to see the suffering of the other person. Maybe they are stressed by something and feel a need to control. My heart goes out to their discomfort. Sometimes just the breath and a lack of resistance to “what is” shifts the energy. If the energy does not shift and I am able to, I remove myself from the situation and their presence if it continues to be disturbing to my peace. Then I look inside myself to see where I am in judgment or stressed–because, as Advaita Vedanta teaches, what is without is also within.

Sometimes you have to deal–like I will tonight at the the Board Meeting where I will again preside as the coop President! I plan to start the meeting with a moment of silence while I silently repeat Om Tryambakam three times for protection for the new coop Board to journey through this first meeting of the new term!