(my pre-birthday hike)
(we ended up walking down the mountain in the night!!!)
For the period of about a year-and-a-half after I finally found out how to actually meditate in April 1982 (having put in much effort already for eight years, without benefit) and I moved away from the party neighbourhood of my youth, there seem to be no photos of my amazing progress. Now, by chance, I saw THAT Ed, exactly thirty-four birthdays ago, strolling along with a wedding procession in the heart of New Delhi!
I had arrived alone at 2:00 a.m. in humid Bombay two weeks before, after an exhausting series of flights, with an overweight suitcase and a phone number. It was the first international journey in my quarter century of life on Earth. (Little did I guess then that I would return to India more than twenty times!) Someone back home in Vancouver had just bought my ’65 Chevy panel van, enabling me to join my new yogi friends on the India tour. A kindly airport police officer helped me reach the others, already a huge, international group of pilgrims, and that very evening I met Shri Mataji, the founder and teacher of Sahaja Yoga meditation, on the first of many joyful occasions over the coming days, years and decades, in various countries.
Among the many memorable events in Delhi was our viewing of the new Gandhi movie in the cinema that it had world premiered in just nine weeks before. (As a girl, Shri Mataji had spent time with Gandhi at his ashram, where he would sometimes implement Her advice on spiritual issues.) I remember walking out of that air-conditioned building and looking up at the hot, wide blue sky, realizing that those historic happenings had taken place not long ago under this very canopy.
I was lucky to be among those few of us from Canada (at that time there were only a handful of people practicing Sahaja Yoga in North America) that were invited to stay for a few days with Shri Mataji in Her daughter’s house. Several massive public programs were held throughout the city, and I attended my first puja, which celebrated Shivaratri at that time. At the compound where we all met each day, someone organized a cake and candles 🎂, and some new friends sang Happy Birthday to me that third day of February … so long ago, now! I drank lots of yummy chai there, discovering too late that the caffein was brutal on my sensitive liver. We also travelled up to the Himalayan foothills, where I saw some Indian girls enjoy snow for the first time. I spent that wonderful month in India without getting sick, a bit of a miracle (although as soon as I got back to the West I cleared out quite thoroughly!)
I still feel all that as a solid building block in my evolution, and this unexpected window view now brings a fresh breeze to grownup Ed.💨
(And, adding an interesting twist to the perspective: I happen to be turning 59 now, the same age Shri Mataji was when we first met back then!)
Shri Mataji gave each of us a present that afternoon (6 Feb 1983)
They were original Indian artworks. Somehow I managed to hold on to mine (the only thing I have left from my early twenties). It now hangs in my little art-studio in our homestead in the Vienna Woods:
(read more here …)
-(click on Jim’s nose to sail over to the album)-
I arrived on this planet — in the wild West — when Elvis was King, and hamburgers, beer and cigarettes were the source of inner happiness.
It’s been a long, uphill struggle, sometimes fun, and sometimes miserably hopeless. But when I look inside myself right now, I feel peace and gratitude.
It’s not over yet.
Luckily, I believe in happy endings.
Thank you for being here now, on my birthday.
Not to sound cliché,
But as an Aquarian,
I’m allowed to say
I actually love you all!
Along life’s long road I’ve often philosophized about the significance of birthday celebrations. Rationally they sometimes seemed to be funny, superficial rituals done out of habit. After all, what’s so special about a particular day just because it marks a certain amount of time after the date of one’s birth?
It wasn’t until quite recently that I was able to see that, whatever else to the contrary we seem to be, human beings are vessels designed to hold and share tremendous amounts of the potent elixir known as love; and that, in an adult’s busy life (unlike that of most small children), we often need a special focus point in order to exude that pent up reservoir so that it, and our well-being, can be renewed.
A birth day is the celebration of a loved one’s very existence on Earth — the miracle of a unique being developing into that friend in your life. The urge to celebrate this moment is universally inherent; a natural, inbuilt spark that ignites the combustible element of love (at least once a year!)
Besides being a special moment for others, it suddenly brings to light our own living value. Just as the sun can’t know itself unless it sees its light gratefully received by all the flowers on Earth, we can’t know the reason for existing without the joyful kaleidoscope of reflected love in the hearts of those around us.
I would like to thank the many friends all over the planet who thought of me with a smile today, including the hundreds who sent a few precious words of encouragement. I am once again reminded why I’m here.
I’d just like to thank the Universe and all my friends and helpers – known and unknown – on this germinating day one of a new year on Earth (my birthday). And thanks to you for stopping by. I may never have the privilege of meeting you in person, but I’ve been around long enough to know that the most important and potent exchanges that go on between people happen in the mysterious realm of the heart, well above and beyond formal introduction.
So I sincerely hope you’ll enjoy this day as much as I do.
(hosts of angels created for the occasion by my artist wife!)
Today, on the 21st of March, as spring once again raises its smiling face, the 86th birthday is celebrated of someone I dearly love – a very special someone: Mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, outspoken advocate of individual and universal spiritual revolution, known fondly worldwide as Shri Mataji (beloved mother). This humble mention is to honor all that is highly promising in each of us, and all that she has done to reveal that, in order to create a better world for all.
Jai Shri Mataji!