Our Summer in New Zealand
The morning sun is filtering through my bedroom window, bathing my bed with a warm golden light.
It is summer here in New Zealand, and the birds are singing a symphony of whistles and calls.
My heart is overflowing with pleasure and joy.
Oh, how I love to be here, slowly waking to the sounds of nature, looking out my window at the calm vast harbor…
Our garden looks amazing.
It is green and lush and filled with flowers.
For the past two months since our return from Bhutan and Sikkim, we have worked diligently on maintaining and improving our property.
While I was focusing on staining our vast decks and the exterior walls of our wooden Japanese-designed house, Jules was working daily in the garden, trimming fruit trees and overgrown plants, weeding and landscaping the large garden.
Both of us have been focused on our tasks, working six to eight hours per day.
We had a great time working at it.
At the end of each day we could see the improvements and felt productive, strong and capable.
In the past two months we have done more than we have done to improve the property in years, and the house and the gardens seem to be glowing in gratitude.
We had a long stretch of fabulous weather with long sunny summer days on our side.
We did not just work, in fact we had a fantastic time going to the beach, traveling around the Far North of NZ, and showing some of our beautiful country to my sister, who visited from Los Angeles.
We have abandoned all thoughts of selling our property in the Hokianga, after realizing what a unique and wonderful paradise it can be…
I am not suggesting that our remote rural retreat is the ONLY paradise, all I mean to say is that if one is willing to let go of false earthly dreams and fears, lacks and of many of the ego-based ideas of what constitutes a wonderful and beautiful life, one can discover the rich layers and the beauty of the simple life.
Our quiet retreat is beautiful and restorative to my soul.
The garden has trees that have been full of fruit, which I made into many tasty fruit salads.
Our summer days were filled with happiness, good food, love, laughter, physical activity and glorious sunshine.
I am fully aware that it is not WHERE you are that dictates your happiness, but that it is the thoughts, ideas and feelings that you cultivate INSIDE yourself that do so.
It is your INNER environment that brings you joy or that makes you feel depressed.
Thoughts and feelings tend to build up on one another, until we live in an inner environment that can be cloudy, misty and discontented, or one full of inner sunshine and contentment.
In the past week I even started spending much-valued time in the studio painting.
I started a new painting of a Buddhist Wrathful Deity called “The Six Arms Mahakala.”
The wrathful deities which are depicted often in Buddhist iconography, symbolize enlightened beings who come to help sentient beings to progress towards enlightenment and realization of the Truth.
The Mahakala Wrathful deity is usually depicted dancing on a large lotus flower, stepping on human forms and wearing a necklaces of human heads.
It has long red nails and a fierce facial expression, often with three heads and long fangs.
The Mahakala deity is a symbol that aims to remind devotees that all human forms which we believe to be so real, along with all physical reality, are no more than a collective illusion created by people who perceive the world through individual egos and bodily identification.
Nothing could be further from the Truth…
The world of mortal and finite bodies is nothing but an illusion, while life truly is loving, eternal, full of possibilities, Spirit and joy.
Needless to say, one can choose to ignore reality and to live in a myriad of fantasies and self-generated painful illusions, imagining oneself to be finite, lonely and limited.
Yet our dreams and illusions about ourselves and about the nature of reality, cannot really affect or change the Reality that we are Holy children of Life, Eternal and all powerful.
What was it that our elder brother Jesus said?….
“Know you not that YOU ARE GODS and that the Spirit of God dwells WITHIN YOU?….”