The Lovelorn Peacock

Peacock

Image by Henry McLin via Flickr

      In the summer of 1971, I moved from my hometown of Orlando down to Miami to help start an ashram there.  A friend and I were part of an organization that taught yoga, meditation, vegetarian diet and a lifestyle of disciplined, spiritual practice.  He had been dispatched from the main center in Orlando, some months prior, to start yoga classes down south and had showed up at my door one day to ask if I would move there and help him.  I thought to myself, sure, why not, it would be an adventure.

     He had rented a small house in Coconut Grove on shady, coconut tree-lined Kumquat Street and I took up residence in one of the tiny bedrooms when I arrived.  Right down the street was another communal compound of people making a home together in a large, two story house.

      It was a cool time to live in Miami.  There were neat little “head” shops, and many “hippie” type stores that sold candles, incense, clothing, books, etc. and some great health food stores and even restaurants that were completely vegetarian.  It was all new to me but I was in my element!

      Before long we had gatherings of like-minded people coming nightly for our yoga classes and life was humming along.

      Part of the charming quaintness of Coconut Grove was the community of peacocks that freely roamed the neighborhood streets.  You could hear their ear-piercing calls from blocks away but I never tired of spotting them walking down the road, perched in a tree, or up on someone’s roof.

      One male peacock in particular started frequenting the small, enclosed courtyard in front of our house.  Soon he started showing an unhealthy interest in me.  Whenever I would arrive or depart the house, and if he happened to be outside, he would approach me with his feathers spectacularly displayed and “shake” them.  This bird was courting me!  With his feathers held straight up, he was just about as tall as I was.  Whatever direction I took, he would get face-to-face with me and “shimmy”.  I became a bit intimidated by this…yikes!  He was extremely insistent, and I took to running past him to get in or out of the house.

      But after some time, I believe he finally realized that his love for me would remain unrequited and he moved on elsewhere to find a more suitable partner of the feathered variety.

This is a re-posting of one of my first blogs for Monday Morning Writing Prompt–Let’s Have Some Fun!:  http://liv2write2day.wordpress.com/2011/10/16/monday-morning-writing-prompt-lets-have-some-fun/

My Spiritual Guides

 

Yogananda

Image via Wikipedia

 

My first guide was Mother, who taught me to pray

then I learned about Jesus and the Christian way.

Years later, I discovered Yogananda and his

teachings of grace,

and many more mystical sages and saints.

I embraced Mahavatar Babaji, the Kriya guru,

who magically maintained his countenance of

about age twenty-two.

I’ve studied the Sikhs and their legacy of writings,

that I’ve read and reread and found so inspiring.

Yogi Bhajan was my teacher who taught me yoga, meditation and service

and doing right by our brothers by putting them before us.

I learned about Lakshmi, Saraswati, Sita and Rama,

Ganesha, Hanuman, Kali and Shakti–

these Hindu deities are always with me.

And now added to that are the Buddha’s forms–

there’s Mother Kwan Yin, bodhisattva of compassion,

who touches my heart deeply, never to be forgotten.

There’s Thich Nhat Hanh, Pema Chodron, the Dalai Lama

all whose inspirations help balance my karma.

I feel these guides near me,

encircling me with love,

supporting me when needed,

always enriching my soul.

You’re Under Arrest

Rama and Sita, worshiping a lingam

Image via Wikipedia

About a year or so after moving to Miami and helping to start an ashram there, my husband and I relocated from Coconut Grove to a large, two story house situated close to Jackson Memorial Hospital in a lovely neighborhood not far from the Miami River.  Our neighbor’s properties had enormous, lush mango and avocado trees which we were welcomed to help ourselves to whenever we liked.  Miami is certainly a paradise of tropical fruits and these were two of my favorites–we kept a steady supply in our kitchen.

By this time, we had several people living with us full time and visitors were oftentimes coming and going.  My husband, who was the head of the ashram, had started a landscaping business with a few of the other men that lived with us and it was growing quickly.

We had settled into a regular routine with our new life in Miami and had managed to meet some kindred spirits and were attracting quite a few people to our yoga classes and intensive courses that we were offering.  Two of these people, were Yogi Rama and Sita, his wife.  Yogi Rama was a beautiful “old-timer” hatha yoga teacher and he and Sita lived in South Miami, not too far distance from us.  We became good friends with this older couple and visited with them at their home on occasion.

Through Yogi Rama’s involvement with the community, a young woman had come to his attention who had a young daughter and needed a place to stay.  So he thought of us.  Back then, ashrams were very closely related to “flop houses”.  We would be approached by all kinds of people trying to “find themselves” or wayward travelers thinking that they would give communal life a try for awhile.  Apparently, we were an experiment in spirituality.  But if we had the room and the people agreed to get up in the mornings and participate in our sadhana, most of the time we would allow them to stay with us for a nominal fee.

So we felt sorry for this single mother who apparently had nowhere to go and invited her to move in with us.  But very soon it was obvious that this woman was trouble–in fact she was a lunatic!  She was irrational, argumentative and confrontational and no one in the house could get along with her.  Her poor little girl…  We realized that we had to get her out of the house but she refused to leave.  In no time, she and my (now ex) husband started butting heads and one day an ugly altercation broke out between them.

After the argument, things cooled down momentarily but we were left with a strong sense of uneasiness.  What were we going to do?  Soon the answer came knocking on our door, but it wasn’t the solution we had envisioned.  The next afternoon, two police officers came to the door with two arrest warrants–one for my husband and one for me!  What!?  We were being arrested on assault and battery charges that we later discovered were brought against us by our wayward tenant.  We were taken from the house, placed in the back of a squad car, driven to police headquarters where mug shots were taken, fingers printed and then booked into jail.

We spent several long hours in jail (separately)–well into the night until bail money could be scrounged up to get us out.  When we finally returned home, the woman had vanished and never showed up for the scheduled court hearing.  The bogus charges were dropped against us.

I think these days you have to have some kind of proof before the cops will just come and arrest you…right?  I still sometimes find myself wondering about how that happened.

Safety Precautions…

When I lived in Boston, during my ashram days in the 70s, I started carrying a police whistle and a small billy club with me.  While walking alone from my house to the main ashram (which was about two blocks away and around the corner) for our morning yoga and meditation sadhana, I had had a frightening experience.

It was very early, before dawn, and the streetlights were still lit.  There had been several inches of snowfall recently which the snowplows had piled neatly on either side of the road.  Apparently, everyone else from my house had already walked over, so I was on my own that morning.  So I’m walking along in the cleared street and ahead of me to my left, lying in a snow bank, I see a figure–this figure is a man–this figure has his pants down around his ankles, this figure is naked!!!.  As I approached him, (now at a much quickened pace) he spotted me and began getting to his feet and muttered something unintelligible; I started running and as I passed him, he staggered toward me (very slowly) and as I continued to run, all the while looking over my left shoulder to keep an eye on him, he stood in the middle of the road and just stared after me as I disappeared around the corner.  Whew!

I never did have to blow my whistle or bop anyone with my club but I did feel safer having them with me just in case.

The Lovelorn Peacock

Peacock

Image by Henry McLin via Flickr

     In the summer of 1971, I moved from my hometown of Orlando down to Miami to help start an ashram there.  A friend and I were part of an organization that taught yoga, meditation, vegetarian diet and a lifestyle of disciplined, spiritual practice.  He had been dispatched from the main center in Orlando, some months prior, to start yoga classes down south and had showed up at my door one day to ask if I would move there and help him.  I thought to myself, sure, why not, it would be an adventure.

     He had rented a small house in Coconut Grove on shady, coconut tree-lined Kumquat Street and I took up residence in one of the tiny bedrooms when I arrived.  Right down the street was another communal compound of people making a home together in a large, two story house.

      It was a cool time to live in Miami.  There were neat little “head” shops, and many “hippie” type stores that sold candles, incense, clothing, books, etc. and some great health food stores and even restaurants that were completely vegetarian.  It was all new to me but I was in my element!

      Before long we had gatherings of like-minded people coming nightly for our yoga classes and life was humming along.

      Part of the charming quaintness of Coconut Grove was the community of peacocks that freely roamed the neighborhood streets.  You could hear their ear-piercing calls from blocks away but I never tired of spotting them walking down the road, perched in a tree, or up on someone’s roof.

      One male peacock in particular started frequenting the small, enclosed courtyard in front of our house.  Soon he started showing an unhealthy interest in me.  Whenever I would arrive or depart the house, and if he happened to be outside, he would approach me with his feathers spectacularly displayed and “shake” them at me.  This bird was courting me!  With his feathers held straight up, he was just about as tall as I was.  Whatever direction I took, he would get face-to-face with me and “shimmy”.  I became a bit intimidated by this…yikes!  He was extremely insistent, and I took to running past him to get in or out of the house.

      But after some time, I believe he finally realized that his love for me would remain unrequited and he moved on elsewhere to find a more suitable partner.

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