Here now and now here or nowhere

The title of this blog comes from a play on words that "now here" is also the same letters as "nowhere" just with a space added in the middle. I am always trying to get better at being in the here and now, and I've always been a bit of a joker so that is why I chose this name.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

PoTD - Bitterheart

I saw this bumper sticker on the back of a truck the other day while waiting for a roadblock to clear and found it so to the point. Thought I'd share it with y'all.  Stay off the sweets :)

Monday, March 26, 2012

A walk around Punakha

I went for a walk around the Punakha lodge last week and I just "developed" my digital film. It was a small but beautiful loop around the area. Along the way I discovered a freshly skinned cow, some cactus, cows blocking the path, and I ambled down the local stream. The last picture is taken in the courtyard in front of the farmhouse at the lodge. I spend mornings and lunch here and love basking in the sun's warmth while soaking up the positive energy that this area offers.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Fauna comes to me

I was practicing yoga alone the other day in the yoga room at the Paro lodge when I heard a commotion outside. I looked out the window and saw an ox and cow grazing on the land behind the spa. I knew that they shouldn't have been there by the hotel standards but I didn't want to call security to disturb them. No guests were around and they looked so peaceful. So I just watched them eat and listened to them "moooo" for a while. Eventually they moved past the spa area and into very common areas so I was forced to call the management to have them sent on their way. It may sound so simple and maybe silly, but watching wild animals live is always so inspiring to me. I turn into a little kid and "ooh" and "ahh" at every cow, horse, chicken, mule... etc that I see along the way.  In the US we are disconnected completely from the natural wildlife, save for maybe pigeons. 

Later that day when I was teaching the staff class for yoga, I kept gushing about these cows. The staff, used to having wildlife walk into their villages and maybe even their houses, thought I was nuts. I kept going on and on about this beautiful black ox with the most gorgeous horns and how it was perfect with my yoga. Then out of nowhere these three pretty birds all lined up on a branch outside the window. One of the staff noticed it and pointed them out. they were all next to each other at first and the staff commented on how you never see three sitting directly wing to wing with each other on one branch. Again I was having this amazing connection with how wonderful nature is. Unfortunately I only had my old iphone which is slow and doesn't have the best camera, so the picture is a little blurry and also I couldn't snap it in time with the birds next to each other.

Part of yoga is about connecting with ourselves and our natural surroundings. We're one with ourselves, with nature, with the universe.  To be able to practice yoga in surroundings that are so connected with nature is truly a blessing. We make these safe and welcomed studios in big cities to help us feel more connected with ourselves and less connected with the busyness and disconnectedness of the cities and that is wonderful and I'm so grateful for all the studios that I've been fortunate enough to practice in.  But to look outside and see ox grazing, birds chirping, horses plowing fields, cows pooping and to be so close to it, to nature... well it brings me back to a place I've never been but where I always belong (if that makes sense).  

But now I find myself writing on my computer on a beautiful sunny day in the beautiful valley of Punakha with birds chirping all around. And I can't help but think, "What the fuck am i doing staring into this machine... I should go for a nature walk or hike." So off I go to explore the beautifulness that is this region of Bhutan. To explore the beautifulness that is the life I live.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hiking up behind the Punakha lodge

There is a temple up on top of the hill behind the lodge in Punakha. I heard that the walk was nice but a little steep, however the views from the top were very beautiful of the valley.  I decided to go up for a walk alone, without guide. Why would I need a guide, it's a straight line (or so I was told).  Well, it was beautiful and it was nice, but it was not a straight line. And the altitude played havoc on my lungs, as I had to stop frequently to catch my breath.  At one point I called a friend and asked "Where the fuck is this temple?" and "is it worth it for me to keep going up and around" (straight line my ass!)   But I kept going and made it to the top, and was very happy that I did.  The temple on top is simple and quaint, but that is one thing that makes it so nice.  It's authentic and not too done up, like other tourist site.s  They were making butter candles for puja the next day so I made one for them as well (you can see it below on the wood in front of the other candles).  Before I left, this old lady yelled at me to come back and then she gave me a handful of sweet potatoes. I politely declined, but she wouldn't hear of it so in the end I took a few and they were delicious.  On the way down I noticed there was a great view of the Punakha Dzong in the distance through the valley.  

It was a great hike and well worth it. I did miss the trail once and slipped off the side, pulling a muscle in my leg as I fell, but with every high sometimes comes a slip or two.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Punakha Dzong

I got moved to the Punakha lodge for a few days and one of the top things to do while in Punakha is to go to the local Dzong (fortress). The Punakha Dzong, also known as Pungtang Dechen Photrang Dzong (meaning “the palace of great happiness or bliss”)  is the administrative centre of the county/district. Built in 1637–38, it is the second oldest and second largest dzong in Bhutan and really the most beautiful fortress in the country (that I've seen so far, but also from what I've been told.). The Dzong was the administrative centre and the seat of the Government of Bhutan until 1955, when the capital was moved to Thimphu. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

PoTD - First Snowfall

You can't really see it, but there is snow in the air here.  I was so excited as I hadn't seen snow in quite some time. Even though it was just a very little bit, I was like a boy in a candy store hopping all over the place while still sitting in the small cramped taxi.  It's the little things in life. 

PoTD - i love this sign

I love this sign. Every time I drive by it I laugh out loud. Poor English signs are always a good laugh but this one has something more for me.  What is the inconvenience they speak about? It's a mystery to me. The sign is on a clear road with no real signs of danger or of a traffic back up, yet for some reason they are regretful?  I don't know what it may be about, but it still makes me laugh and laugh.  

Don't have regrets, dear sign, you are forgiven.

Tiger's Nest

You can't really go to Bhutan without hiking up Tiger's Nest (Paro Taktsang). A temple built into a mountain cliff where Guru Rinpoche (aka Padmasambhava, the guy who brought Buddhism to Bhutan) supposedly meditated in a cave for 3 months during the 8th century. So, why is it called Tiger's Nest?  Well the two legends are as follows.

"Taktsang which literally means "Tiger's lair", it is believed that Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) flew to this location from Tibet on the back of a tigress from Khenpajong. This place was consecrated to tame the Tiger demon.  An alternative legend holds that a former wife of an emperor, known as Yeshe Tsogyal, willingly became a disciple of Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambahva) in Tibet. She transformed herself into a tigress and carried the Guru on her back from Tibet to the present location of the Taktsang in Bhutan."

Regardless of the storied origins, the main temple is very impressive.  The hike isn't too hard, though the high altitude does make it harder than if it was in SE Asia or the States. I hiked it in the traditional dress of the Bhutanese men as a way to maybe connect more with the hike, temple and grounds around me.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Drukgyel Dzong

Near the hotel in paro is an old fort in ruins. The Dzong was possibly built by Tenzin Drukdra in 1649 at the behest of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate victory over an invasion from Tibet. In the early 1950s Drukgyal Dzong was almost completely destroyed by fire. Now it lies badly damaged and last years earthquake in Sikkim felt shocks ripple through the area causing the Dzong to fall apart even more.

After I was done touring the fortress I walked down through a little village and back up by the stream that runs by the hotel's side.

Notice the second photo, one of many sacres sites in Bhutan. A phallus.