Morning Kriyas, shortly after sunrise .. Ayurvedic start to the day …. nasal salt water neti pot flush, salt water gargle, rosewater eye flush 🙂 …
Cashew fruit with nut at bottom … loved unaltered fresh from the tree cashews! Had a small bowl with breakfast every morning … mixed with dates and raisins! I am not quite sure when this quiet stillness set in, but I like it!! … I guess a full month of virtual solitude, daily yoga, meditations, vegetarian food and the absolute quiet of Devaaya Nature Retreat will do that!! It is a small place that could probably host up to eighty guests but during this monsoon off season period, rarely were there more than six or seven guests … at one point only a Swiss/Romanian couple, Max, Gabriella and I were the only guests. Needless to say, the staff of fifty were doting on us!! Divar Island, with about 7,000 friendly folk, is so removed from the rest of India … a calm oasis in the midst of chaotic crowds! Everyone working at Devaaya also live on the island. I feel as though I am on some alternate universe most days. The owners keep all staff employed year round even though business slows to a halt for monsoon months, June to the end of September. This generous policy makes for very loyal staff. They are all busy repairing or working on maintenance projects during this slow time. Winning formula!
My cottage 🙂
As anyone who meditates regularly is aware, a peaceful quiet moves in, much like cool fresh air replacing all the endless chitter chatter and preoccupations that generally take up residence in the mind … after a long meditative retreat, a quote by Leonard Cohen, comes to mind … “the less of me there was, the happier I became”. He became bored with his own dramatic storyline and embraced what was around him instead …. I totally get that!! We become so immersed in our own stories, our self absorbed lives that it is easy to miss the miracles happening all around us every day.
On an evening walk I came across this happy lady fishing … no words necessary, just smiles
A veritable mini UN on my last day at Devaaya …. Daniela and Elsa from Italy, Mohammed from Saudi Arabia, Volha from Belarus, Saravana from Dubai and Canadian me :). A family from Delhi arrived later in the evening. Waiters Antonio and Mario never cease to put a smile on my face …. friendly funny guys … Mario knows some Finnish he picked up over the years from tourists, giving me an opportunity to practice mine :). With Mohammed, I revived a few words of Arabic, surprisingly retained from my past life in Kuwait :)!!
We were invited to join in a prayer session with the staff one evening … Christian prayer service in Sanskrit 🙂 .. learned Volha from Belarus is a professional violinist! … she picked up the violin of one of the staff who had played for us as we chanted prayers and entertained us all further, playing the Beatles ‘yesterday’ beautifully!
Most travel brochures of tropical Goa and India in general, do not show the garbage that line so many streets! Few are comfortable discussing this problem … but impossible for a clean freak like me to ignore! Everyone assures me there are government initiatives in place addressing this problem. Devaaya, on the other hand, is spotless … the outside maintenance crew is always working hard, tidying, sweeping, picking up, keeping the retreat in pristine condition! I take a few street pictures in the capital of Goa, Panajim … The Portuguese colonized this part of India five hundred years ago leaving behind a lot of very old churches … resulted in many converts to Christianity (build and they shall come) . My pictures are not works of art but they are real street scenes. I do not gloss, edit or attempt to make something over … I leave that to artistic photographers :). My pictures are just ordinary … exactly what I see as I walk along ….. had a few guys offer me their sugar cane juice bought from a street vendor 🙂
Max, Gabriella, Claudia (a young German lady who joined us at Devaaya for a week) and I exploring a tiny island beside Divar
An unusual abandoned bird nest … Max took it back to Switzerland with him … a bird watcher …
Scenes around Panajim, Capital city of Goa
An iconic view of Old Goa and below … ….. the garbage strewn area I had to stand in to get above picture 😦
I will surely miss this location for morning yoga 🙂