Tag Archives: osho

Indigo Tree, Ubud

The Walk to Jembawan, no.3

Dear Friends,

Most mornings, I wake up early and walk from Bisma Street to Jembawan Street, which takes approximately fifteen minutes. Along the way, there is a rice field, a school, the outdoor market where vendors sell fresh fruits and vegetables, restaurants, gelaterias, cafes, small boutiques, and stray dogs that are strangely quiet. Today is a ceremony day, as almost everyday seems to be in Bali, and some men are decorating  bamboo poles with colorful flags.

Wayan, the caretaker of the villa, in which I reside, is always up and sweeping at 6:30am. “Good morning, ” he smiles; “Yoga now?” I walk down a narrow, unpaved path to Bisma Street, where Guday (pronounce Good Day), who is Wayan’s cousin, greets me with a warm “Good morning.” In Japan, I acquired the habit of bowing, which is unconsciously done to all along the way. I bow to the elderly man in the sarong, who walks down Bisma Street every morning at the same time; I bow to the schoolgirl on the scooter in the brown uniform, who’s just driven herself to school, though she can’t be more than twelve; I bow to the man sitting on the sidewalk enjoying the morning breeze. I bow to them to respect their divinity, as much as my own.

When I lived in Cacapava many years ago, I walked daily– a longer journey physically, but the same distance inward as this walk to Jembawan. The walk in Cacapava would encompass pastures, cows, horses, a few houses, butterflies, stretches of cloudless sky, solitary pilgrims (on occasion), questions from within and when lucky, answers. Walking was a meditation, and with each step, seeds were planted in my mind and heart that are now beginning to flower.

Though Cacapava and Ubud are more than fifteen thousand kilometers apart, when I walk in Ubud, I’m also in Cacapava. Technically this experience is new, but it’s all familiar: the way the sun  holds my face up, the way the window frames the trees, the way the ceiling fan chases mosquitos away, the way strangers say, “Sister,” the way the airs sizzles and palpitates, the way the sweet, ripe banana tastes, the incredible beauty of strangers, the awareness of what “is” combined with the struggle to accept the “now.” In Ubud, as in Cacapava, a smile given is a smile returned.

Being in Ubud is no accident. It took years of travel along an invisible current to reach here from Cacapava, and the journey was challenging and worthwhile. On the journey, there were: new cities to live in and explore, interesting people to meet and love, awesome accomplishments, stunning failures to learn from, romances to get lost in, failed relationships to glean wisdom from, boring jobs to get through, resolutions to make (break and ignore), pain to endure, awareness and ignorance. The thread that ties Cacapava to Ubud forces me to examine the question to myself (and you), which stems from the then and relates to now, “What would it take?”

What would it take?

1) What would it take for you to realize that you, and only you, are responsible for your happiness?

2) What would it take for you to stop looking for approval outside of yourself and draw strength from self-love?

3) What would it take for you to understand that you are as responsible for the well-being of others as you are for yourself? (You are your “brother’s” keeper– The joy of others is your joy.)

4) What would it take for you to accept yourself; to look at yourself as your own creator? (To look at yourself, and think, “Yes! That’s just how I wanted it.”)

5) What would it take for you to give more than you receive today?

6) What would it take for you to claim your divinity; to acknowledge your god self?

7) What would it take for you give yourself what you need– a kind word, a nap, a hug, a vacation, a fantastic meal, a hug, a moment of silence?

The walk to Jembawan, no.3  filled me with many questions, which will take many journeys to answer.

My friends, be well.

photo (19)

Love,

Val

p.s  I love to see when you’re dancing from within. It gives great joy to feel such sweet togetherness. Everyone’s doing, and they’re doing their best. –Bob Marley (Jump Nyahbinghi)

 

Glad List- #6

Today’s been such a quiet day– quiet, but easy and relaxing. When I got home, I was thinking, “I have to write my glad list, but nothing happened. What will I write?”

I wondered: Should the “glad” thing of the day be that it didn’t rain; or that my morning started with Tiease advising me to wear long johns, a small but sweet thing; or that two of my favorite students took lessons today, so I had two hours and forty minutes of enjoyable conversation; or that my last student didn’t show, so I could leave early; or that my sushi bento from Takashimaya was fresh and an ocean of goodness; or that I’m now surrounded by warmth (literally); or that Juliano introduced me to ,  a cheerful, upbeat Brazilian song espousing pure adoration for Tokyo (and many places in-between), and it makes me smile every time I give it a listen.

Pretty soon, it hit me, that nothing has to happen; the whole point is to be glad.

1) I’m glad that I came upon this quote on the Osho page on FB:

o3

Feel thankful,

and never demand in your prayers

because all demand is complaint deep down.

Just thank.

Let every prayer be only that of thankfulness, a

thanks-giving.

 

Never ask, and you will be surprised:

continuously gifts start coming-

gifts that you had asked for and gifts

that you never asked for.

 

Take care,

Val

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

p.s Warning: Don’t listen to this song if you don’t want to dance or feel joyful.

Me gusta tokio
 Mira los karnako
 Me gusta tokio

……………………………..me gusta jamaica
 Me gusta brasil me gusta guiné bissau
 Me gusta españa me gusta africana
 Me gusta istambul me gusta los andes
 Me gusta barretos me gusta peru
 Me gusta barramas me gusta pequim
 Me gusta moscou me gusta lo reggae
 Me gusta lo samba e o rock and roll

The Glad List- #5

Hi Friends,

As most of you know, when I moved to the U.S at eleven, I wasn’t very happy. It didn’t really help matters that I moved in the fall, and the temperatures were below eighty degrees, soon to be below seventy. It also didn’t help matters that I was a still developing (ok, not even yet starting to develop) underweight kid in a junior high school of girls who looked twenty-five. Plus, my father insisted that I dress and look my age: no makeup, no nail polish, no jewelry, etc. etc. Now, really!

There were two things that made me extremely happy in Long Island though– Pizza Hut and Dominos (in that order). The year I left Jamaica, there was one pizzeria– Shakey’s. For some insane reason, I hated pizza then. I thought it was weird and too cheesey. However, when I moved to L.I, there was pizza at every sleepover, birthday party, and lunch. Pizza became not only my best friend, but my most fulfilling and filling relationship to date.

As I told you a month ago, it came to my attention that I had to cut dairy from my diet (or face the consequences), and I can’t remember ever feeling so sad by any news. However, I missed my best friend, and decided that we should meet up tonight, even if she hurts me to the core. So, tonight, I’m glad for:

1) My small Pizza Hut cheese pizza (just a few slices will be consumed) and my small Haagen-Daz green tea ice-cream. My tongue’ll be so pleased, as “this is the moment” to eat pizza.

osho2

Take care,

Val

The Glad List- #4

Hi All,

Tonight, LD and I went to Daikanyama and Roppongi to “find life.” The night was going swimmingly well; first we went to Kin Folk in Daikanyama, then Agave Cigar and Tequila Bar in Roppongi, where three guys sat beside us, and I was chatting with the winning S, a Japanese guy with perfect English (lived in the Arizona for four years).

Sadly, or as fate would have it, turns out, S and the other guys, work at the same office as LD‘s ex; they got on the subject of lost love and killed the mood. Woe is me. The three guys went on to another bar, and invited us, but LD was in no mood to go. We wound up at Alfie for one super over-priced drink. the caught the last train. ($17 for a gin and tonic. Yikes.)

1) Today, I’m glad that I have a friend like LD, who’ll be my wingman. Strike up a convo with the guys at the next table, find out all the pertinent info, and really try to make it happen for me. We swore, on the next outing, we’ll get it right.

another time
another time not tonight

osho
Ciao, :)
Val

p.s this was written on the Hibiya line on the way home. To reiterate, Tokyo’s awesome.

Osho Would Say “I Am the Black Gold of the Sun”… You Are Too.

Find ecstasy within yourself. It is not out there. It is in your innermost flowering. The one you are looking for is you. – Osho

Today, I spoke to my very dear friend N while on a two-hour break at work. We hadn’t spoken in eons, due to time differences, the general business of her grad school life, and that neither of us are on Skype at the same time. I’ve also been partly responsible, because I’ve withdrawn from many “social” things, i.e., Facebook, Skype and an abundance of social activities, largely because I’d like to quiet a lot of the “noise” around me/ in me. It seems to me, so much of my daily life gets caught up in a lot of mindless chatter and inattentiveness…

The mind is always ready to go on some ego trip. And if you are fed up with the world, then again the ego starts finding new ways and new means to enhance itself – it becomes spiritual. You become a great mahatma, a great sage, a great scholar, a man of knowledge, a man of renunciation; again you are special. Unless the desire to be special disappears, you will never be special. Unless you relax into your ordinariness, you will never relax. - Osho

It seems lately that I’ve been a renouncing fool, but I’m not running away from things, but running to something. Trying to “be.” Looking for peace within myself and not looking for answers or validation from other people or from artificial, temporary buzzes. This is a period of “not really caring” about the opinions of others. It’s about trying to quell the ego. It’s okay if you think I’m a bitch, or kind, or superficial, or ugly, or attractive, or well-dressed, or poorly dressed, self-involved or giving. It doesn’t matter, please say what you like.

Your whole idea about yourself is borrowed– borrowed from those who have no idea of who they are themselves. – Osho

The most amazing thing I learned in college was how insecure most people are, including myself. I met some of the most wonderful, beautiful girls. Girls who swore they were ugly or fat or a combination of the two. I couldn’t believe that acknowledged “beauties” and genuinely lovely people could be so hard on themselves, have so much ingrained doubt. I was a size seven then, and internally browbeated myself about that until I got to a weight I found “attractive.” Did I become happier then? No. As I get older, I realize that this is what this life does to us. (Sometimes, it’s not life but family and friends). Beats us down. Forces us to concentrate on the superficial, the inconsequential, the complete time wasters. If we knew we were the black gold of the sun, if we knew and believed we were Godly/God-like/divine from day one, could anyone tell us we weren’t good enough? Would we even care what another person thought? Would we care if we weighed more than a few pounds past the “ideal?”(In case you’re in doubt, the answer’s a resounding “No”).

Take hold of your own life. See that the whole existence is celebrating. These trees are not serious, these birds are not serious. The rivers and the oceans are wild, and everywhere there is fun, everywhere there is joy and delight. Watch existence, listen to the existence and become part of it. ―  Osho

Let’s go inside our minds. Meditate. Become. It would be nice to spend as much time on the spirit as on dining out, make-up, clothes, hair maintenance, etc. It would bring real joy. N said that she’s been reading my blog and I seem very happy. Tokyo makes me glad (the orderliness, the courteousness, the amazing food), and there are great days, but as I told her and all of you in previous posts, I’ve felt something is missing. I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion that I’m bored, despite the social activities and gregarious people that surround me. My boredom isn’t coming from the outside, but within. For years, I aimed to attain spiritual clarity to quiet my hyperactive mind, but I haven’t done anything in months. Not even as much as a moment of gratitude or a silent moment. N‘s conversation about “fantasy lives,” a part of which will follow, reminded me that there’s more to life than shopping, acquiring, eating, and living without an aim.

All that is great cannot be possessed – and that is one of the most foolish things man goes on doing. We want to possess.  ― Osho

N: my fantasy life is a bit silly but I would love to live in a bungalow by the beach, grow fruits, and write a book.

valerie smith: Dude, me too!!!! That’s not silly at all.

N: No kids.  Just me and my husband.

valerie smith: Me too, but not the fruit part.

N: Just living. That’s what I want.

valerie smith: I love that!!!

N: So ya, that is what I’m visualising. Now to make it happen.

valerie smith: I think that’s amazing not silly at all.

N: Just very low-key.  No make up, no handbags. I got rid of half my wardrobe recently. Kept only what I like. Was so liberating.

valerie smith: I’ve done that. It feels great. No makeup would be fantastic.

N: I realised that even though I now have enough to buy what I like, when you have the expensive handbag or shoes, the happiness is short lived, you’re bored after 5 min. It’s not satisfying. So there’s got to be more.

valerie smith: yep.

Each person comes into this world with a specific destiny – he or she has something to fulfill, some message that has to be delivered, some work that has to be completed. You are not here accidentally – you are here meaningfully. There is a purpose behind you. The whole intends to do something through you.  ― Osho

What is my purpose here? If nothing else to bring a smile to someone else. (I make myself smile all the time, it might mean I’m crazy… ?). Though, this blog is a journal of sorts, it’s meant to be positive… for myself and others. How would relaying the days I feel down serve you (and obviously, there are some) ? I don’t believe it would. Everyone’s mission is different however, and I learn from and relate to the sadness of others. In a previous post’s comments, my brother said I was being “Pollyanna-ish,” and I thought “Yes, I’m glad, I’m happy, my intentions are succeeding.”

Be well.

Nobody can say anything about you. Whatsoever people say is about themselves. But you become very shaky, because you are still clinging to a false center. That false center depends on others, so you are always looking to what people are saying about you. And you are always following other people, you are always trying to satisfy them. You are always trying to be respectable, you are always trying to decorate your ego. This is suicidal. Rather than being disturbed by what others say, you should start looking inside yourself… – Osho

Letter from Tokyo: Be Patient

Dear Friend,

The best thing about life is its unpredictability. We never know what’s going to happen from one day to the next, and though we try to rush it (C’mon life!), it unfolds exactly at the pace it should/when it should/how it should. Patience is key. (I know sometimes you want to slap patience in the face, but grow to love her. (If you don’t love her, then at least tolerate her, like I’m doing with my nutty roommate).

Look at your life; could you have imagined last January at this time that your days would consist of mixing herbs in your home lab, drinking $12 lattes at Starbucks, learning Japanese (again) in Japan, crushing on men like you were fifteen, practicing Bikram yoga in Tokyo, teaching English in the suburbs, and making every single day new?

What has been is what will be,

and what has been done is what will be done,

there is nothing new under the sun.Ecclesiastes 1

You’re blessed and all your heart’s desires will come true. Your wish is for marriage and children (I’m not quite sure about the latter), but if that’s what you want, that’s what you’ll have. I encourage you to follow the advice of Osho: Today is all there is; if you want to live, it’s now or never.

1) That guy you like, Y, tell him. If it doesn’t work out, then you can move on. Risk is important… you can’t gain anything without taking one.

2) Turn your focus outward. Let’s not spend too much time Skyping about men, thinking about crushes, or anything that will bring positive energy down (as in: “Why not me?” and “Why don’t I have a/b/c?”). Do exactly what you have been doing: meditate, keep improving all aspects of your being each day, and live a full life. If and when “he” comes, you’ll be ready. However, you’re certainly not going to create hiccups in your life and your joy waiting for “Mr. Right” to come along, are you? No! (Scream it with me). Have fun… you’re in Japan!

3) Trust God.

2012 is your year A. It’s the year for all of us. Though, we’re both waiting and rushing it, it’s only just started. Let’s be patient.

Here’s a sentiment from Linda Gregg that you can remember each day, and especially when Mr. Japanese hottie comes:

Let birds, let birds.

Let leaf be passion.

Let jaw, let teeth, let tongue be

between us. Let joy.

Let entering. Let rage and calm join.

Let quail come.

Let winter impress you. Let spring.

Allow the ocean to wake in you.

Okay?

Love,

Val

Prepping For Paris

Dear Friends,

In less than eight hours I’ll begin my final day of work in New Jersey. Three and a half years of working and studying at an end (still can’t believe it). My boss threw a lovely farewell yesterday replete with champagne, an Eiffel Tower red-velvet cake, and many guests. Now, it’s time to keep on truckin’.

This is the plan: Paris from July until October, as long as a tourist visa will allow. Aim to find work in France after becoming TEFL certified, which I just read in Teaching English Overseas is next to impossible for Americans (Eastern Europe’s much easier); or, if no work materializes, I could obtain a student visa. On my list of desires, studying again is tied for sixty-sixth place with “being afflicted with leprosy,” and “cuddling with a llama on a ninety degree night.” The thought of student loans gives me the heebies. If no job arises then I’ll move on to Belgium where I have spoken to program directors, and it’s proven easier to find teaching jobs. Ah employment… there’s actually nothing that thrills me more than the thought of my impending unemployment.

The universe is bounteous; it contains large amounts of amazing. Up until now, I’ve nibbled around the “amazing,” taken small bites of “good,” sometimes “really great,” but now I’m ready to devour/slurp/nyam all the goodness this life has to offer. In the words of Frighty and Colonel Mite, “Life is what you make it.” If reality’s like fantasy, in France I’ll be awed by beauty at every turn (landscapes, architecture, parks), live on a block with a bakery and eat fresh bread daily (though I don’t eat bread here), be surrounded and inundated with words that I don’t understand, appreciate all the sounds around me, then marvel when language begins to click, be confused/thrilled/frustrated every day and be grateful for that, make time to write every day about new experiences, meet interesting people, travel, and be confronted with a bit of magic, and by magic I mean “magic,” however it comes.

Preparing for the trip has been relatively easy, mostly because I’m a minimalist and hardly own anything (one person’s “poor” is another’s claim to “minimalism”). An apartment was found on Craigslist for a reasonable rent (I learned quickly that there’s no such thing as a “reasonable rent” in that city. The rents made NYC look downright affordable. The studio, a seventh floor walkup (no need for a gym) is tiny/boxy/ungrandiose, but it has its own bathroom, large windows, and a lovely view of a park. An added benefit is that it’s only a twenty minute walk from the school.

The hardest part, the only hard part, about packing was deciding which books to bring. I don’t own a Kindle and have no intentions of buying one (cheapness, or the love of turning actual pages? I’m still undecided). However, though I scream “Yay books,” I’m crying “nay” to their weight. Thus, I’ve decided to bring only nine: a French/English dictionary, a French grammar book, Leaves of GrassThe Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Osho’s Joy, Andrew Stone’s chapbook In Disguise, Wole Soyinka’s autobiography, Lorna Goodison’s Controlling the Silver, Helene Cixous’s Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing. I’ll know if nine were too many when I’m lugging two suitcases up numerous steps.

And, speaking of steps… thank God for change! Making baby steps, big leaps… for flying and landing in new places, with new people, and luckily having Skype to keep one grounded and in touch with the familiar– faces, voices, meanings of things.

Best,

Valerie

Old and New and Newer Older V

Though I have some work to do, I’ve spent this rainy morning looking through the documents in my “fun” folder. The “fun” folder that’s saved on my desktop includes amusing email correspondences, wacky photos of friends, forwarded jokes, and events that I hope to accomplish. It’s always interesting to compare one’s plans from the past with those of the future. My favorite things to do list was written a few years ago, and I reference it often to see what was done, what’s still left to do, and if my interests have since changed.

Here’s the old list (absolutely unchanged):

july and august have 31 days, so my 31 things to do this summer:

1) learn french (rosetta stone promises basic fluency in 8 weeks)
2) write creatively everyday (by aug should have a short story)
3) buy a sketchpad and some paints
4) pay macys bill off in its entirety
5) get a box of godivas and eat them all guilt-free
6) bake double fudge brownies (buy a pan)
7) see a play
8) buy a cheap bicycle and ride in branchbrook park
9) practice yoga (still dvds)
10) go sailing
11) attend a performance (dance or music)
12) go to a sporting event
13) take a fun class that requires no mental ability
14) rent annie, west side story and the way we were
15) early one saturday, go to greyhound and take the first bus leaving (ticket under $50)– spend the day in that town
16) visit walden
17) get some goldfish and a small tank
18) have a picnic near a lake w/ a picnic basket that includes
cheeses/wine/strawberries/cold chicken and chocolate cake
19) go to the zoo
20) go to the botanical gardens
21) go to a fair or coney island
22) read war and peace or crime and punishment past page seven
23) take a trip to jamaica
24) travel to europe (received 2 emails about copenhagen this week)
25) turn off the phone on mondays
26) volunteer
27) practice complete silence once a week
28) fast once a week
29) clean apt and donate to the salvation army
30) visit more museums
31) read more osho

Sadly, there are quite a few things that up until now that haven’t gotten done: I never bought that bicycle, took a “fun” class, wasn’t parenting material enough for a goldfish; never read War and Peace or Crime and Punishment; never had a picnic, visited Walden or the botanical gardens; never took a random Greyhound trip, baked brownies, or went to the zoo, etc.

However, it amazes me how many things were put into motion with that list; a friend suggested that we go to Berlin and Copenhagen that August and we went, two months later Jamaica called, New York Cares became a project for a few months, read tons of Osho, paid Macys and cut up the card, and best of all ate boxes of Godiva chocolates by myself. Boxes.

It amazes me that year after year French fluency has always been number one on my things to do list, and it’s actually going to happen this year, in France and not on a couch at home or a class at the Alliance.

So friends, here’s 2011′s list for the newer, older V:

1) learn french
2) read war and peace or watch war of the roses
3) visit amsterdam, madrid, helsinki, marseille
4) have a picnic in a park with a basket filled with grapes, cheeses, bread, wine, and a bowl of sardine surprise
5) lie all day on a beach…….all day
6) take a fun class in mime or jewelry design or pottery or photography
7) get paid doing something that i love
8) donate clothes to the salvation army
9) go to the zoo and pet the animals that won’t kill me
10) couchsurf (with friends and friends of friends)
11) cycle (on a bike or in a gym)
12) learn to cook a fancy dish, maybe a knockoff version of Ian’s beef stew by way of Julia Child
13) write a short story or a book or a poem or a play or a letter to a friend
14) see a play
15) visit a psychic
16) go on a retreat in the mountains
17) be happy with less

The world is open, receptive and waiting, and as always I’m extending the invitation to those of you who’d like to do some of these things with me.