In which I fly! To Seattle! On a plane!
While I was there I enjoyed a lovely retreat, learned a new meditation technique, suffered a vicious spring cold, had a series of trippy spiritual revelations, and ate a lot of refined carbohydrates.
My friend Toni was slated to go with me and drive us to Seattle, but for some reason I kept blowing off making our reservations for the retreat and the hotel. Two weeks before Amma’s visit, she called to say that had to have a minor surgery that week and wouldn’t be able to go. Suddenly we not only didn’t have reservations, but I didn’t have transportation either.
And then things got awesome.
Another friend spontaneously gave me a round-trip flight from ALW to SEA with some of her miles, and at the very last minute – literally days before the retreat – a total stranger responded to my post on the Travel Exchange site and offered me a space in her room in the program hotel because her 4th had suddenly and unexpectedly cancelled.
It’s been my experience that there is often an inexplainable amount of coherence around traveling to see Amma. Some years you just make your plans and go, no problem. But other years, a long list of unlikely events unfolds in a way that seems entirely natural at the time but is, upon consideration, really pretty weird. We find ourselves saying things like, “Amma wants us to come,” but I think the mechanism is vastly more complicated than that. Point is that without that free flight and the cheap room, I simply would not have been able to afford to go and be with Mother for more than a night, let alone for the entire retreat.
I spent most of my time in the program hall where photography isn’t permitted, but here are the few pictures I did take.
I bought a pink dupatta that exactly matches a skirt I already had, a t-shirt with an OM symbol on it, Amrita Mala vol. 2, some Marikolundu (perfume), a white choli I need to have altered before it will actually fit, The Timeless Path, and a few fun stickers of stars and Hindu deities.
Every time I see Amma I want even more to be with Her all the time. It’s so easy to be what you most want to be when you’re around a being like that; returning to ‘real’ life year after year remains a disappointment (I mean, it’s not like I’m any kind of successful householder with relationships and responsibilities or anything), but as time goes by I become better and better at living the realization that She’s always available if I just remember to invoke Her.
I really want to go to live in Amritapuri for half a year. Someday. Hopefully. I mean, if I can ever afford it. (First I need to get divorced and fix my name, get a passport, apply for a visa, and save up enough money…)
In other news, I haven’t had a cigarette in ten days. (This is due entirely to grace, and not any strength of character or discipline of my own. I didn’t even go through any twitchy withdrawals or crankiness or intense longing; I was too busy meditating and being very, very sick. All I have to do now is not start again.)