Thursday, January 28, 2010

Elis for sale!!

The show is tonight, but I wanted to tell everyone. My Etsy shop is now open again... check it out!!

Also, here are a few photos of what we have been making.

These are called Elis'
They are for protection and to help you remove fears in your life and to help you have good dreams..

They are filled with symbols to help do this.

tikka powder: represents the goddess (within you)
puja ash: represents the god (within you)
fishing net: to help catch evil spirits
elephant tail hair: represents Ganesha, the remover of obstacles
tumeric: for health and also represents the goddess
medicinal wood: for good health

Each Elis has been blessed in a ceremony and is made of pure silver and 22k gold.

They are handmade in the traditional Indian way over a fire. Your purchase of this piece will help support a hard working craftsman and his family in South India.

With the blackened silver chain the cost is $200 without the chain it is $180.

We are also making a few gold chains from scratch, they are 17 inches long and 20k gold. The purchase of a chain goes to help support the same family. The family of my teacher and guru. Please email me if you are interested.

I only have 7 Elis' left. So, if you would like one please email me to reserve it.

Your wish has been granted…

About a week ago, Balan said to me… ”Samia, you sing Bhajan at our festival”. I, said, “no no no”. Their whole family chimed in and after a little prodding. I agreed…

Yesterday, Divya said to me, “Samia come, we go to the temple.” I said, “Why?” She then went on to tell me we had to ask some board members of the temple if I could sing at their big yearly gathering. I thought to myself, that is weird, I had been thinking they already had asked and it was all set up.

So, we walked to the temple and I asked her what she was going to say. She told me she was going to tell them it is my wish (my wish, yes me, samia’s wish) to sing to Krishna at their temple festival. I told her no, it is your wish… She said, “yes yes Samia, it is our wish, but we will tell them it is your wish.”

We walked through the palm forest and up the little roads to the temple. There were 2 men there. The girls spoke with them telling them about “my wish to pray to Krishna (sing to the people about Krishna)”. They went back and forth for about 5 minutes and then we left. I asked Divya what they said and I guess the guy they spoke with said, if it was up to him it would be ok, but he had to run it by the other board members and we should come back tomorrow (which was today)…

This morning we walked back to the temple, we spoke with another man, we went into the temple to pray to Krishna, Ganapati and Devi… We came back out and the guy said to me…”Madam, your wish has been granted”

I will be singing 2 prayers to Krishna tomorrow night…
At the Adikadalayi Krishna Temple Festival
Kannur District, Kerala, India
Time TBA
Please join me…

Friday, January 22, 2010

paradise part 2

It seems like it's been forever since I've blogged. The internet is a bit hard to come by here and when I do have it the connection is slow so it's hard to post... But now I am in a very busy internet cafe in Kannur, the largest town near the village I am living in.

The last week has been fantastic and hot hot hot....We've made our first Elis' (a type of pendant) photos soon.. I will have a few for sale when we finish them and will blog all about their meaning. They are soooooo cool and they are for protection.

One of the highlights in the last week was, Steven and I handmade and hand-rolled linguini and made tomato sauce for Balan and his family. Great fun was had by all and it was the first time all 4 of them had eaten anything, but Keralan food. It really put a lot into perspective for me. Someone who has the great fortune of being able to travel the world and eat food from all over the place. We ate it with our fingers on banana leaves... The traditional Keralan way. They do not have forks.. It was a lot of fun!

The next few days will also be great fun. balan's family is having a big puja (ceremony) at the small temple they have on their land 150 people will come, all from their family. I am quite excited about this event. they have been preparing for days. Some ladies have spent the last few days, clearing the land of brush, some have come to make the food menu. there will be decorations and there is a lot of excitement in their home at the moment. Their ammama (grandmother) will have 5 generations there.

I am also completely honored to have been asked to sing at their village temple next week. They have asked me to sing a few songs during their festival. aahhh.....

along with learning how to make jewelry, in the traditional indian way, I have been trying to learn a bit of Malayalum, the language of kerala. it is so much fun!!

all is well here... I'm here for another 10 days or so and then on to the southern part of kerala for awhile...


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

a little slice of paradise!

A few tough days of travel, with a few road blocks on the way, we made it to paradise. We are now in the northern part of Kerala, in the jungle, on the Arabian Sea, hanging out with one of my favorite families in the world, Balan the goldsmith and his family. It is so nice to be in the tropics, hot and humid, surrounded by palm trees and the sea. I am so happy to be here.

And work has started too. We arrived yesterday morning after a long sleepless night on the train, I have a cold too, so I'm a bit stuffed up and couldn't sleep. We dramatically changed climates and are now in 90+ degree weather. I am getting used to it, but I love it.

Today I watched Balan make a beautiful gold belt for babies. He made 3 and it is 2 weeks of hard long work. I am hoping we can make a few lovely items while I am here for 3 weeks.

all is good, except i want my nose and throat to feel better!!


Friday, January 8, 2010


Today was our last day in Bodh Gaya. It was an extremely powerful visit for me. 4 days of teachings from His Holiness The Dalai Lama, and the city buzzing with monks including The Karmapa Lama, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Khyongla Rato, among others. Many of our teachers were here and we ran into so many dharma friends from all over the world. I am feeling a bit sad about leaving, but know the rest of our journey will bring a lot of joy as well.

onto Goa for one day and then to Kerala to be with my goldsmith teacher in the jungle.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Bodh Gaya: Part 2

Day 3 of the teachings... day 3 of being in Bodh Gaya. The teachings are so fantastic. I feel so completely in my head and it feels really good. After the teachings today, I ran back to my hotel to get my camera to try to take a few photos. I was in the crowd of people again, just sitting there, feeling so at peace amongst everyone and the chaos. My mind was really quiet and I felt as if I had been in silence for days. It was interesting, a bit hard to explain. If you have been on retreat, maybe you know the feeling I am talking about.

My photos didn't really turn out. Yesterday I talked about how I was standing in the crowd feeling so alone as the world passed by. It's kind of how my photos are. I took them from that perspective, I was standing still, while people were walking by, not the best situation for photo taking, but here are a few.

I'm feeling really exhausted, the combination of the very philosophical teachings and being outside all day and being in India, makes this lady a very tired one.


photos 1 & 2 Bhutanese
photo 3 Incense shop
photo 4 petrol station (i'm not kidding)
photo 5 Tibetan monk giving food to a an Indian begger

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bodh Gaya & The Buddha

Today is our second day in Bodh Gaya. The place where the Buddha became enlightened! We are here listening to teachings from the Dalai Lama (along with 10's of thousands of others). There are people from all over the world. Mostly, Tibetan monks. It's so inspiring to sit and listen to the teachings in such a powerful place. I feel sooooooo calm. It's amazing.

As we left the teachings this afternoon, I wanted to stand in the crowd and watch people go by. I love looking and watching and seeing people and different cultures. I have been particularly inspired by the Bhutanese. Bhutan is a tiny little country to the north and east of India, way up in the Himalayas. The people are Buddhist and their government has decided to focus on something they call Gross National Happiness rather than focusing on Gross National Product. It had been closed off to westerners until recently, so the culture is still very pure. Many bhutanese have come to the teachings. I love seeing new cultures and their dress and especially their jewelry......

The woman and men look very Tibetan, and both wear very raw turquoise earrings, as well as interesting gold hoops, which have inspired me to design some new earrings. I am soooooo excited about this. While in the crowd watching, I felt like I was standing alone, as the world walked by in a whirl.

We then circumambulated the stupa and the Bodhi Tree where the Buddha sat and meditated for 2 weeks after reaching enlightenment. It's quite amazing to be here.

I hope to have some pictures tomorrow. We are not allowed to bring our cameras into the teachings. So, I have not been taking any pictures.

Monday, January 4, 2010

leaving the magic!!!

Sitting here in a little café, up high, looking at the top of a temple with Ganga Ma in the distance. It is our last day in Varanasi. On the move again, the night train to Bodh Gaya.

I’m getting into the groove now, feeling comfortable with the few things I have with me in my backpack. There is something comforting about having only the things I can carry on my back. The simplicity creates space in my mind, a calming effect.

I’ve been reconnecting with my neglected yoga practice here also, which feels so good. Waking every morning (early) to the sounds of prayers on the river. My body is feeling more calm too, less tense from the travel and the tenseness of my mind….

It’s been 10 years now, I’ve been coming to India and she still feels right.

Thank you Varanasi for your magical energy. Thank you Ganga Ma for your healing powers.

Until we meet again,

Saturday, January 2, 2010

music man... listen here..

check out this little video of the varanasi singing sadhu...I love India

Varanasi. part 2

Day 4 of this magical city. New Year's Eve was a great night to remember. The Ganga was lit up with thousands of small candles, offerings for good health, safe journeys and good luck.... As we stood on our balcony over looking the river watching the candles float by, we listened to the sounds of music coming from all directions.. A puja, in one place a man singing to god in another. It's a never-ending feast of sight and sound.

We decided to go to a concert for our New Year's Eve celebration. it was a concert of tabla and slide guitar.. Then an open mic. which we played at. Our first time playing to an international audience (: It was super fun!!

This was followed by an all night puja (blessing ceremony) on the river. Quite amazing!! Thank God for earplugs.

It’s interesting to come back to a place after 10 years… Varanasi seems much the same to me, except maybe more internet cafes.

We’ve spent the last couple of days doing a lot of wandering, I love the winding streets and the never-ending “new” sights… India is filled with interesting things American eyes have never seen and will never see again. Today, as we were leaving our guesthouse, a sadhu singing to god, was sitting outside. He was singing and singing in the most amazing voice. We recorded a bit and I hope to put it up on this blog sometime. Sadhu’s have renounced the material world and spend their lives praying to god and living off of the kindness of others. This guy was awesome. I would have loved to listen to him all day.