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    Breathdreamgo Mariellen Ward living her travel dreams


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    Breathdreamgo Mariellen Ward living her travel dreams Empty Breathdreamgo Mariellen Ward living her travel dreams

    Post  B.B.Baghor on Sat Dec 13, 2014 4:18 am

    Breathdreamgo Mariellen Ward living her travel dreams Unname10

    Such serenity and peace, radiating from this Buddha statue. I like that term......... breathedreamgo

    By Mariellen Ward on Dec 12, 2014 12:11 pm

    Buddha’s timeless serenity

    With some of the other travel bloggers at TBCAsia, I cycled through the ancient city of Polonnurawa.
    Polonnurawa was the royal city of the Polonnaru Kingdom, largely built in the 12th century and abandoned
    about a century later. The site was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1982 and is one of the leading
    historical attractions in Sri Lanka.

    Throughout the extensive site, I was astounded by the beauty of the Buddhist carvings. In one dark temple,
    I felt like I was entering a portal to antiquity. Several large Buddhist statues seemed to shimmer and glow in
    the dim light, and I was told they were each made of a different stone — so that each glistened differently.
    The effect was uncanny, and when I walked outside into the bright sunshine and saw the clear blue sky,
    I felt like I had returned from somewhere.

    But the best experience of Polonnurawa was yet to come. Near the end of the site, we parked our bikes and
    walked to into a parkland setting to see three massive, beautiful and serene Buddha statues on display.
    I read that just seeing them evokes loving kindness in the viewer, the mute statues doing the work of sage
    teachers and meditation practise.

    Perhaps it was their influence that made me connect with a large family of Sri Lankans who were seated on
    a big rock, facing the sublime statues. I smiled at them, they smiled at me, and the next thing you know,
    I was seated among them, linking arms and getting our photos taken together. We laughed together and
    enjoyed the lovely spot, lit by the slanting rays of a warm afternoon sun.

    These are the moments that make being a tourist worthwhile — when you reach across language and
    cultural barriers to just BE together in a common humanity. We were all devotees there together".

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    Breathdreamgo Mariellen Ward living her travel dreams Empty Mirabai Expedition Breathdreamgo journey in India

    Post  B.B.Baghor on Sat Feb 21, 2015 5:55 am

    Here's an update by Mariellen Ward, her Breathdreamgo expedition in India. I so appreciate this womans soul and
    her courage. She's very dear to me and I like her style, in writing and radiating her energy. She's the one in the white dress below.

    Breathdreamgo Mariellen Ward living her travel dreams Miraba10

    Finding gold in Mirabai’s palace in Rajasthan by Mariellen Ward

    I’M ON AN INDIAN TRAIN, tucked into a second-class berth, lower. Above me a man is snoring loudly, and across from me a
    handsome man with greying hair, in a crisp kurtah, is reading “The Secret,” in English, which seems like an incongruous book
    for an Indian man to read in India. It’s late, the train is dark but for running and reading lights, and I’m relaxing with an e-book.
    I can’t fall asleep because I have to get down at Ajmer in central Rajasthan in the middle of the night.

    The train is late. Not much, but instead of arriving at 1:15 a.m. in Ajmer, I arrive at 2 a.m. Arriving so late at a train station is
    my biggest worry about this itinerary, but my travel agent arranged for one of their best drivers to meet me there. And sure enough,
    Avtaar is waiting when I step down. So relieved.

    Mirabai smallTHE MIRABAI EXPEDITION is a cultural journey to follow in the footsteps of Mirabai, a 16th century poet and Krishna devotee.
    I undertook the expedition in October 2014 by travelling to all of the primary sites associated with her in India. It was made possible by
    an Explorer’s Grant from Kensington Tours, as part of the Explorers-in-Residence program. To find out more about Mirabai, read Tracing
    the Myth of Mirabai.

    I’m not settled into my hotel in Pushkar — Inn Seventh Heaven — until 3 a.m. I chose to stay at Inn Seventh Heaven in Pushkar because
    I was there before. It’s a five-storey haveli, all in white, with a whimsical inner courtyard that features birds playing in a fountain, swing
    seats and a device that sends food from the kitchen on the main floor up to the rooftop restaurant by pulley. It’s on to my first list of  
    favourite hotels in India.

    I’m in Mishti, the same room I loved before, with its stained glass windows, heavy wood furniture and Rajasthani decor. And, like before,
    I eat all my meals on the roof. One of the waiters from 2010, Raju, is still here, though he seems older. I learn that he’s had two kids since then.
    It’s nice to be back at Inn Seventh Heaven, but it’s not the same. Either I’ve changed or the place has changed, or perhaps both. It’s still beautiful,
    but I find the staff a bit more jaded and laconic (except Raju) and the renovations to the roof, to add a storey, ruins the open-to-the-sky atmosphere
    of the restaurant that I previously loved. Back then, I was recovering from heartache and staring up at the sky was my solace.

    On my first day in Pushkar, Avtaar meets me and we walk together through town to meet someone that Anoop, owner of Inn Seventh Heaven,
    suggests I talk to about Mirabai. So we walk out of the haveli, around the corner and we are in the busy market that wraps around most of the lake.
    We go straight to meet Ravi, of Roots of Pushkar music store, and luckily he’s there and happy to chat. As a music lover, Ravi knows Mirabai primarily through the songs and bhajans she wrote, or that were written about her. He brings out three CDs, two beautifully produced (by Roots of Pushkar) with great cover art and booklets, and I buy them all. Then he calls his brother-in-law, Milap, in Merta City, and arranges for me to have a tour of the Mirabai temple the next day.

    I have come to expect this kind of over-the-top helpfulness in India, but I hope I never take it for granted. India can be challenging and frustrating
    in so many ways, but the people usually make up for it. I have never met more warm and helpful people anywhere. Merta City is about an hour’s drive from Pushkar, and I actually arranged my trip to be there for the annual Mirabai Festival. Somehow, I missed it but Ravi says it’s not worth attending because the music is electronic. And then he makes a face, like he has just discovered a fat fly in his chai, and that says it all. So, I no longer feel bad that I missed the festival and give myself up to enjoying being back in Pushkar, back in Rajasthan and hot on the Mirabai trail.

    Together, Avtaar and I walk around Lake Pushkar just as the sun begins to set. Sunrise and sunset on Lake Pushkar are both magical times. Temple bells ring, people leave their worldly concerns behind to gather peacefully on the ghats and the mirror-like lake glistens in the soft and changing light. The only disturbance is a “fake priest” who tries to extort money from me, unsuccessfully, in exchange for a fake puja “for your family.” I can’t understand why Pushkar hasn’t clamped down on these guys. They really make a trip to Pushkar annoying.

    But after successfully dodging a couple more, we do a complete circum-navigation of the tiny lake and it’s dark when I arrive back at Inn Seventh Heaven  Avtaar and I meet the next day for our drive to Merta City, Mirabai’s birthplace. I’m really excited to explore the second stop on the Mirabai Expedition, and the unknown journey that awaits. We drive out of Pushkar and past the vast desert-like fields that host the annual Pushkar Camel Fair. Within an hour, we are in Merta City and look to meet our guide.

    We park in a very narrow lane, beside a temple, and find Milap and his young son waiting for us. They escort us upstairs to their home, a spotlessly clean, light-filled and spacious flat over an electronics store. We meet his wife and daughter, too, and enjoy chai together. Milap, his son and his daughter accompany Avtaar and me to the Mirabai Temple. I started as one, and now I am part of a five-person entourage. We walk for about 10 minutes along a narrow road through a busy market in the hot sun, and suddenly, in the middle of all that bustle, we are at the Mirabai Temple.

    I am immediately impressed with the place — by the size, the design, the beauty of the temple. Inside the atmosphere is tinged with green light
    because of the green plastic roof. A serene statue of Mirabai faces across a checkered tile courtyard towards the inner sanctum, the Krishna temple.
    She is frozen in an adoring gaze of love and devotion.

    Breathdreamgo Mariellen Ward living her travel dreams Naamlo11
    Garden exhibit at the Mirabai Museum shows her with her beloved Krishna

    A group of women sit in the courtyard playing music and singing Mirabai songs. After darshan in the Krishna Temple, I join them on the floor to experience the camaraderie of women and the music of Mirabai. It’s a wonderful and exhilarating experience. I feel warmly welcomed by them. One woman hands me a pair of cymbals while others move aside to make room for me. The woman leading the singing catches my eye and signals for me
    to join in. I am beginning to get an idea of Mirabai — the joy and love she engendered, and the femininity of her creativity and devotion. And I am delighted to see that she is still honoured today in her birthplace, in a very real and kinesthetic sense.

    As we are leaving the Mirabai Temple I feel very full, very satisfied with my Mirabai experience. But much to my surprise, Milap tells me we are going
    to the Mirabai Museum next door. This is news to me. I had no idea. The Mirabai Museum never came up in my research. The Mirabai Museum is housed in the palace she called home until marriage. I discover it’s a fairly new museum in a very old building. The Mirabai Museum is in fact housed in the former palace that was her home. I am dumb struck, because I thought her house was in ruins. It turns out the house she was born in is now in ruins, but the red sandstone building I am entering is where she grew up.

    We enter through a thick, medieval-looking gate, into a sizable courtyard. At the back of the courtyard is the palace. It is not a big palace, but it is impressive enough. Even more impressive is the care and thought that went into preserving the name of Mirabai in this museum. Her life is plotted
    with signboards, portraits and paintings throughout the lofty rooms. In the main room — perhaps the throne room? — there is a beautiful, gold-
    coloured statue of Mirabai placed behind a railing and in front of a portrait of Krishna.

    I am really impressed with this display; it evokes the quality of devotion and reverence that Mirabai represents. As I’m standing at the barrier, paying homage to Mirabai and also trying to imagine her actually living within these rooms, I am introduced to two local journalists. It seems like a coincidence they are at the museum at the same time as me. I continue to walk slowly through the museum, enjoying the spacious rooms, naturally cool even in the heat of the day, and filled with delightful images of feminine beauty and heartfelt devotion. My entourage continues to grow as I walk, with the journalists and several young local people joining us.

    In one room, a kind of hallway filled with portraits of Mirabai, painted in wildly differing styles, the locals point at a romanticized oil painting with an unmistakably European air. “Mona Lisa,” they say, indicating that the painter of Mona Lisa also painted this portrait. “I don’t think so,” I say, unsure about whether to burst this beloved myth"(for the complete newsletter, including pictures,
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    Post  B.B.Baghor on Sun Mar 08, 2015 8:49 am

    Breathdreamgo Mariellen Ward living her travel dreams Naamlo12

    Women dancing at Aurovalley Ashram’s anniversary celebrations

    "Amid all the bad news, let’s celebrate the strength and beauty of women in India (and everywhere)"
    by Mariellen Ward

    For the complete newsletter go here:

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    Post  B.B.Baghor on Mon Mar 30, 2015 12:06 pm

    Thubs Up  A beautifully written and moving letter by Mariellen Ward. I enjoy her storytelling and sharing of the heart, for it's
    only through her eyes and words, that I can for the first time, have a sense of how it is to be in India. The pictures, Mariellen
    includes in her letter, are chosen as careful as her way with words. And the elegance of clothing is great, how to dress in white,
    that way, amidst the hustle and bustle of streets with cows, markets and hurrying traffic. What a world of contrasts, elegance and
    rawness of disease and poverty, or so it seems. I can picture myself in such a reverie of draperies, preferably by the sea, with such
    a sunset as at the end of Mariellen's letter and day.

    Breathdreamgo Mariellen Ward living her travel dreams Naamlo11

    Mirabai Expedition 5: Releasing the bonds of love
    BreathDreamGo By Mariellen Ward on Mar 29, 2015 10:01 pm
    This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series

    "The key to the Mirabai story

    I know what Mirabai’s essence was, what the key to her story is, and what I am meant to learn from this expedition.
    And I can say it in one word.

    Love is all that matters.

    Krishna is awareness and Mirabai is love, and together they merged. This is our higher self. This is the story of Mirabai.
    But there is something else, too. That evening, Hardik and I go to the seaside to watch the sunset, at the western-most
    point of India. Hardik and I talk about our lives and about the idea of following your heart and listening to your inner voice,
    as Mirabai had done. (And, indeed, as Mahatma Gandhi had done, too.)

    He tells me he had married for love, and risked everything. Because of family disapproval he and his wife and two children
    live alone in a tiny house with no windows. He tells me he had an IT job he loved in booming Hyderabad, but came home
    because his father was sick and needed him. Now he feels cut off from the world in a small, remote seaside town. He tells
    me he followed his heart and believed in love. No, he didn’t tell me this part, he didn’t have to.

    Then, after a pause, he asks me why I am interested in the story of Mirabai. I say, “because of what you just said.”


    We listen to the ocean waves, the call of the birds, the devotional music floating on the warm sea breeze. In silence we feel
    the bonds of love, freeing our souls to soar together and alone, one and oneness".

    Breathdreamgo Mariellen Ward living her travel dreams Naamlo12

    Complete letter:

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    Breathdreamgo Mariellen Ward living her travel dreams Empty Mount St.Helens 35th anniversary of the volcanic eruption

    Post  B.B.Baghor on Fri May 22, 2015 1:49 pm

    Breathdreamgo Mariellen Ward living her travel dreams Spirit10

    Hiking the tough terrain of Mount St. Helens on the 35th anniversary of the volcanic eruption

    Near the top of Mount St. Helens, where the 1980 volcanic eruption blew the top of the mountain off 35 years
    ago today, the barren rocky landscape was streaked with rivers of hard, black basalt lava flows, and cloaked in thick grey
    clouds. It was eerie, very calm and there were no visible signs of life.

    You could easily mistake this for a devastated region. The May 18, 1980 eruption was the deadliest and most destructive
    volcanic event in the history of the United States. Fifty seven people were killed, 250 homes, 47 bridges and many miles
    of railways and highways were destroyed. But if you saw only death and destruction, you would be missing the real story
    of Mount St. Helens.

    Breathdreamgo Mariellen Ward living her travel dreams Cairn10


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    Post  B.B.Baghor on Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:31 pm

    Breathdreamgo Mariellen Ward living her travel dreams Zmm9oo10
    Summer at the cottage in Ontario, Canada

    By Mariellen Ward on July 21, 2015 in Canada

    EVERY SUMMER, I start thinking about the cottage. Each type of summer weather brings back a distinct memory
    of what that particular type of day was like at the cottage. I might be walking in the park or near the lake in Toronto
    on a clear, bright, sunny day, with fluffy, high clouds overhead, and a crisp breeze snapping sails and flags, and I’ll know
    exactly what that kind of weather would be like at the cottage. In my mind’s eye, I see the gentle whitecaps on the open
    lake beyond our protected bay; and I imagine myself in a light sweater (or, if the memory comes from the late 60s,
    in a poncho), playing on the dock.

    On days like those, my mom would do laundry in a fat, ringer-washer that sat outside the cottage. As she put the
    rung-out clothes on the line, she would invariably exclaim, “Oh what a glorious drying day!” At night, when the sky
    was clear, I would take the canoe out to the middle of the bay, and lie on the bottom watching the milky way churning
    above, so real and close, I felt I could reach out and stir it.

    Oh what a glorious drying day!

    On overcast days everything was different. I can see the grey skies over the deep-green lake and the trees and grass
    dripping with moisture. Warm, rainy days would find me and the other kids swimming in the shallow bay. There was something
    special about playing and swimming in the rain; we felt as if we were getting away with something, as if we had entered a
    special, magical, kids-only zone.

    If the rain was really heavy, we would tip the canoe—the red canoe my dad built and varnished every year—upside down on
    the beach and hide underneath, peeking out to watch the drops splash the surface of the lake and make ever-expanding circles,
    mesmerizing to watch. When I got older, I liked curling up inside the damp cottage with a book. I kept my entire collection of
    Nancy Drews at the cottage—all 42 of them, at the time—for such days. I would find a quiet corner, sip a cup of tea and invite my
    cat Marmalade to join me. I can recall the comforting sound of the rain as it spattered on the wood roof above me and made me
    feel cozy and snug inside—especially if a thunderstorm was rolling in.

    On really hot and humid days in Toronto, when I feel imprisoned by the heat, that’s when I’m most likely to think of the cottage.
    I remember what it was like to walk up the long country road on a hot day to go to the corner store. The walk seemed interminable
    and I was always thirsty and bushed when I got to Tremblays Gas Bar. I bought a root beer or cream soda and Eatmore chocolate bar,
    and if there was money left over, an Archie’s comic book. Then, there was the long walk back and I’d head straight for the warm back
    bedroom that always smelled like wood to change into my bathing suit so I could jump in the lake.

    I know exactly how the light changes from the vital burst of early July to the long shadows and melancholy twilights of late August.
    No matter what the summer weather is like in Toronto, I can always imagine what it would be like at the cottage—how the lake would be,
    whether it would be calm and flat, or whipped into choppy waves. I know what the sky would be like, how the clouds would gather along
    the shoreline. I know exactly how the light changes from the vital burst of early July to the long shadows and melancholy twilights of late
    August. I know how the meadow plants in the field across the road—the weeds and wildflowers, grasses and bull rushes—would grow,
    reach their full height and then begin to dry out by the end of summer.

    In the summer, I often think of the cottage, which is only a two-hour drive from where I live. But I can’t go there.
    After being in the family for about four generations, the cottage had to be sold almost 20 years ago years ago;
    and since then both my parents have died. My siblings and I are all grown up, and two have children of their own.

    Sometimes, it seems incredible to me, inconceivable, that I can’t just reach out and touch those days—the happiest days of my life;
    that I can’t go there, to that cottage, on that lake and find it as it once was, with the people who were once there.


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    Breathdreamgo Mariellen Ward living her travel dreams Empty Top 5 festivals of India to foreign visitors

    Post  B.B.Baghor on Sun Sep 20, 2015 3:46 am

    oTop 5 festivals of India for foreign visitors
    By Mariellen Ward on September 16, 2015 in India, Travel Tips

    3. Durga Puja

    3. Durga Puja is truly one of the great festivals of India, and though not as well known as Diwali and Holi, has a lot to offer visitors.
    Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) in West Bengal is THE place to celebrate Durga Puja. The festival honours the goddess Durga, who
    represents the divine feminine energy, or shakti — the force, power and warrior aspect of the divine mother. Taking place over
    five days, Durga Puja’s date is tied to the phases of the moon. This year (2015) it’s October 19 to 23.

    A year in the planning, Kolkata’s many talented artisans go to great lengths to create pandals — decorated stages that exhibit
    statues of the goddess Durga. Each night of the festival, crowds of people move from pandal to pandal admiring the art work
    and enjoying live music. On the last day, the statues are taken by procession for immersion into the Ganga (Ganges) River,
    known in Kolkata as the Hooghly.

    What you need to know:

    Durga Puja is as much an arts festival as it is a religious celebration. The festival essentially turns Kolkata into the world’s
    biggest open-air art gallery. Bengali culture is known for nurturing some of India’s greatest artists, writers and filmmakers
    (such as the great Satyajit Ray), so the creative nature of the Durga Puja festival should come as no surprise.

    How to celebrate:

    The best way to celebrate is to go along with the crowds visiting the pandals each evening.
    Top tip: Meghdutam Travels, based in Kolkata, is a foremost proponent of Durga Puja. The company works tirelessly to
    promote this festival, and offers a six-day Durga Puja tour that includes cultural shows, visiting Kumartuli (the artisans quarter,
    where the statues are made) and other top attractions, and of course total immersion into the carnival-like atmosphere each evening.

    Where to celebrate:

    There are other places that celebrate Durga Puja — last year I joined the festivities in South Delhi — but nobody does it better than Kolkata. This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that should not be missed.


      Current date/time is Fri Feb 28, 2020 6:09 am