Monday, 28 September 2015

Pilgrimage around mount Arunachala, India

Indian children on the road
On one of the mornings in Thiruvannamalai, India our yoga teacher Ganga took us on a pilgrimage: circumnavigating the holy mount Arunachala. Normally that is done in bare feet on full-moon and festival days with thousands of pilgrims, but one can also walk the 14km circle in one's own time. The circumambulation is considered to be a sacred act and beneficial in all ways. According to Sri Ramana Lord Shiva resides on mount Arunachala.
Indian Hindu deity
We started at the side of the huge Arunachaleswar temple complex and circled around the extinct volcano clock wise. 
Indian Hindu temple
I had taken my camera with me on this tour thinking I could take photographs while walking, but the pace was too high to keep up so after a while I decided to split from the group together with another member and to tour the mountain at our leisure.
Indian man on bicycle and henna hand
We took a coffee here, a break there and after some time we were looking desperately for a toilet but could not find any. We decided to take a rickshaw to town for lunch and not before long we met the other members in one of our hotspots. This post gives an impression of the tour.
road around mount Arunachala
Members of our travel group. 
Indian woman in Thiruvannamalai
 Indian woman carrying a basket in one of the roads of Thiruvannamalai, India.
Indian woman tending garden
Indian woman tending the garden at a small ashram we saw on the way.
monkeys on scaffolding
Above and below: monkeys on the scaffolding of the Arunachaleswar Temple. 
monkeys on temple scaffolding

sound horn truck
Almost all trucks are embellished and have the notification sound horn painted on the back. Traffic in India is very noisy and hectic.

See also: Travel Day in India, our resort in Thiruvannamalai, Pondicherry, Auroville.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Travel Day in India: from Auroville to Thiruvannamalai

Indian man on motorcycle
Travel Days, I remember them from my days with Holiday on Ice. I used to work as a traveling secretary with the show, living out of a suitcase as we called it and staying in hotels. Travel Days used to be a little stressful: packing my suitcase, checking out the hotel, paying the bill, having a lift with one of the skaters or taking a taxi to the railway station and a train from thereon.
India: on the road
The travel days in India were a lot more relaxed: transportation was arranged beforehand by our yoga teacher Ganga. All we had to do was to pack our stuff, check out, pay the bill and get in the bus which was waiting for us right at the guest house. Piece of cake.
India: on the road
The first travel day was a short stretch by Indian standards: it took us about three hours to go from Auroville to Thiruvannamalai. The distance was not far in kilometers, but the 'main' road was very bumpy. Also, it had rained the night before so it was muddy and the road had lots of puddles causing the driver to drive carefully. Ganga said they have been working on this road for years, but they still have not finished it.
street corner in India
I took a few snapshots from within the riding bus, they are not meant as serious photographs but merely to give an impression of the countryside and the smaller towns. Those who have been to India will probably recognize the country's characteristics.
view on Indian street
Enjoy the ride!
man carrying firewood in India
See also: Auroville, Pondicherry and Thiruvannamalai

Sunday, 20 September 2015

50 years of me

50 years of me
50 years of me
Today my family celebrated my niece's birthday, as well as my mother's and mine. My niece had her birthday on 13 July but never got to celebrate it with us, my mother's birthday was on 3 September and mine was on 30 July, while I was in India. So it was a big get-together here in Amsterdam with lots of drinks, food and laughter. Above is the collage that my father made for me in the old-fashioned way: he took photos of old photos of me, cut them out with the scissors and glued them on a large piece of paper. I love how it turned out: here is me young, older, innocent, mature, with long and short hair, smiling, having the flue, pale and bronzed, in winter and summer outfits. Half a century of me.
my brother and sister
my brother and sister
my painting nieces
my painting nieces
niece Lisa painting
niece Lisa painting

Friday, 11 September 2015

Following your highest excitement

patterns on the beach
Last weekend I participated in another contemplative photography weekend in Zandvoort. Actually that is not correct, it was not about contemplative photography, but it was given by the same teacher and the substance of the workshop was on a higher level: about abundance and finding our highest excitement, the Path of Creation.
reflection on silver car
The universe expresses everything in abundance, so we are also an expression of abundance: growth, curiosity, happiness. But we humans tend to think in shortcomings, failures and defects and we have a limited perception on abundance in general (money, possessions), actually abundance includes everything: nature, feeling good, moments. Our senses are the gate to experiencing this happiness. 
semi-circle in sand
Everything that we give attention to tends to grow, look at our worries. If I lay awake at night because I worry over something (I do that a lot), the thing that I might be afraid of happening, will actually happen because I give it so much energy. That is one of the reasons why affirmations and goals always are drawn up in a positive way.
green kite in sand
During the weekend we practiced changing our thoughts from shortcomings to abundance in various sessions by visualizing what we desired in our lives. The weekend was about how to manifest our desired reality. How do we do that? By choosing at any given moment our highest excitement, it is as simple as that.
foam lines in sand
Choosing our highest excitement in small and big decisions, to the best of our ability, taking action on that excitement as far as it feels right and without expectations of the outcome.
little boy on the beach
It is what children and animals, especially cats, do: they live in the moment and they do whatever they feel like best at that moment without pondering whether it is good for them or not, they go unconditionally for their highest excitement.
overal view on the beach
During the afternoons we practiced following our highest excitement in town and on the beach: we were not given an specific intention for photography, we simply walked around with our cameras, walked where we felt like going and experienced abundance everywhere: rain, sunshine, sand, people, friendship, space but also the abundance of food and drinks.
raindrops on window
And that felt good. By the photographs you can see that I was stopped by a variety of perceptions.
red flower on black doormat
I also choose to practice following my highest excitement at work this past week: I was asked to temporary fulfill a higher position and after a night's sleep I accepted without worrying about what will happen to me afterwards (I will get my current job back, but will I still like that?).
surfer dude on the beach
I also felt that NOT following my highest excitement at work, read: taking time to talk to colleagues, and to continually rush to the next job was making me unhappy and draining me. My senses let me know that that is not the right way to do my daily chores.
washed up seaweed
So I experienced with that too this week. My fellow secretary was taken ill and a lot of work was coming in hourly, I was swamped. The first day I was trying to keep up with my email and I went home exhausted. The next days I took mini-breaks: chatted to friendly colleagues for as long as that felt good. I still had a lot of work done, but I felt less drained at the end of the day.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Wedding on the beach

bridal couple on the beach
Right now I am in the middle of a photography weekend in Zandvoort, the Netherlands. It started last night and to take as much advantage of the day as possible I took off to Zandvoort in the early afternoon thinking going to the beach for a brisk walk with K. later on. The weather was already a bit turbulent.
bridal couple on the beach
Transportation was not very smooth: the tram was stuck because of a broken cable and my connecting train just rode off when I entered the platform. A little agitated I settled in my hotel room and waited for K. to arrive. Meanwhile I heard the wind picking up and showers of rain were pouring down.
bridal couple on the beach
We decided to go for a walk with our cameras anyway although the wind almost knocked us off our socks. I had not been to the beach in this kind of weather in ages so I was kind of excited.
bridal couple on the beach
Just between showers we saw this bridal couple emerge, she was without a jacket an with a flying skirt, he was charming with his candid smile.
bridal couple on the beach
And I was thinking two things: I have never been married before and if I ever do I probably will not wear a white wedding dress.
The second thought was: would I like to photograph a wedding? I saw two photographers circling around the couple urging them to pose this way or that way and they obliged. I photographed my brother's wedding about 13 years ago, I liked doing it because they were family. Photographing total strangers on their big day is an entirely different matter. So, I don't know the answer yet. I don't feel the urge, so for the time being I'll just leave it.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...