Winter Solstice 2000

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Gambier Island, British Columbia, 3 December 2000, Sunday November and December are usually my least favourite months in B.C. The shortening, darkening days are made more dismal by dreary overcast skies and steady rain. Happily, this fall has been the driest and sunniest in my ten years here. The leaves are still turning colour and reluctant to fall, showing wonderfully warm hues in the bright light. It is being a beautiful ending to a magnificent year. I can’t remember when I have enjoyed a year more.After a torrential rain Friday night, the sky cleared yesterday. I came over to my island cottage to bask in the stillness. Last night, in spite of temperatures in the 30s, I slept on the deck in my cozy down bag. There is such magic in winter nights: the silence really does have a holy quality, as the Christmas song says. There is such clarity. This morning’s very southern sunrise shone brilliantly on the water. The cottage is warm without building a fire. This is a perfect day to reflect on life’s blessings, to feel gratitude for the love between us, across time and space.November, true to form, did bring some rain into my heart. For the past six months, I have been sharing some of the sweetest loving of my whole life with Shepherd. On Halloween, he initiated a sudden change: indicating that he wants to shift our intimate relationship to friendship. I felt very sad. It’s hard to let go of such deep sharing and connection. I let myself cry and grieve, and felt wonderful support from several of you. On the deepest level I realize loving always involves a letting-go, allowing the loved one to be free to follow their own life and destiny. I’ve been focussing on that level of my love for Shepherd, as we both learn a new way of being connected. I trust that more sweet loving will be coming my way.During the same time period, I have felt deeply touched by the loving, supportive messages I’ve been receiving about my upcoming India pilgrimage. It’s been amazing: like Christmas and my birthday rolled into one. Nearly every day for about six weeks, I’ve received a card, letter, e-mail or cheque. It’s being a very palpable reminder of how much love I am blessed to enjoy! I feel so very grateful.

Am very excited about the trip. I plan to begin my pilgrimage in Oakland, CA, at the ashram of my Baba Muktananda, where my first real initiation into the heart of yoga began in 1976. I’ll celebrate New Year’s there with an evening of traditional sacred chanting, and have a few days to visit friends. I fly out of SFO on January 4 to Singapore, Delhi, Lucknow and then by bus to Allahabad to join the teeming hoards converging on the sacred Ganges for ritual bathing on certain auspicious dates. After 3 weeks there with the tour, studying yoga and Tantra at its source, I’ll strike out on my own for up to a month. I definitely want to visit Varanasi, the holiest of Indian cities, where devout Hindus come to be cremated on the Ganges’ banks. I also hope to visit Ganeshpuri, near Bombay, where Baba is buried, as well as Pune and maybe Rishikesh. All of that will depend on my health and how well I am coping with the sensory overload that is India. I will be remembering my dear ones and carrying you in my heart, being sustained by your love and sending my own your way from these powerful places.

My very warmest wishes for your health and happiness during these winter “holidaze.” May you experience the silent, holy night in your soul, and may your heart be full of love. Your devoted, sequoia      

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