Finding Prabhupada…

A very long time ago, while perusing a used book store, I came across an interesting looking book called “The Krsna Book”. Being forever interested in all things India, I snatched it up. And, like so many things in life where we have every good intention of diving right in, the book landed upon one of many shelves with many other books holding ranks in the “next to read” pile, there it sat for many, many years.

While living in Los Angeles, my husband and I would visit the Venice Beach area often, being draw to the Bohemian vibe. There I ran into a Hindu monk. He was dressed in saffron and sported a shaven head with a little pony tail in the back and a curious looking bag around his neck. He was working a booth that was stationed along the board walk there with a lot of other similar vendors. While securing the purchase of a Hindu Calendar we struck up a conversation. I was telling him how I was very interested in converting to Hinduism and inquiring how to go about getting into that belief system and philosophy, when he asked me what was the religion that my family traditionally followed. After revealing to him that the majority of my family had practiced various degrees of Christianity over the years – from active to fallen away – he advised me to follow my family’s religiosity first and then if I was still not feeling fulfilled by that to then look further into Hinduism. So, I took his advice. From that point in time I explored Christianity, Judaism, Wicca and other New Age systems getting heavily involved in all of them, only to be left feeling like I had hit a wall on each respective path. And even though the paths taken merely led me around in circles back to my original starting point, I can see the wisdom of doing it that way. No stone left unturned, as they say.

That was 25 years ago. I have come a very long way, baby…

It was a  little over 3 years ago that I was going through my book shelves looking to see if there were any books that I had maybe outgrown or moved past, so that I could possibly donate them to charity so as to clear up some badly needed space on the dusty old shelves. There it was. “The Krsna Book”. Huh. I had forgotten all about that book. Taking it down off the shelf, I headed into the living room where I love to sit and get lost in reading. I opened it and there was a photo of a little Indian man, very regal in stature but kind of eye. His name was A.C. Bhaktivedanta Srila Prabhupada. A mouthful, but one I would become very accustomed to and then even attached to over the following weeks and months. Opening that book literally changed my life forever and for the better to say the least.

As I read, I remembered the Hindu monk that I had chatted with all those years ago. No doubt he was a Sanniyasi. As I became more engrossed in the Krsna Book, I began to research the author, the philosophy that he taught, the religion that he stood by and everything else that went with his teachings…for I had quite literally stumbled upon the Mother Lode and every word was another stepping stone that was approaching the very answers that I had been in search of for so, so long. And to think that those answers had been sitting right there upon my shelf all along. I was astounded at how that book had followed me from the City of Angels, Los Angeles to San Francisco, home of the Golden Gate Bridge to the chilly shores of Lake Michigan to the Oldest City Saint Augustine, Florida then finally to the home of the  World’s Most Popular Beach in Daytona Beach, Florida. Life is simply astounding, wouldn’t you agree?

The book was the best I had ever read. I just couldn’t get enough. I wondered who this Srila Prabhupada was. I wanted to know more about him…where is he now? Where does he live? How has it been for him and the movement since this wonderful book was published? I just had to know more. So…I took to the interwebz and YouTube.

It wasn’t long until I discovered the horrible truth…sweet and wonderful Srila Prabhupada had died under very suspicious circumstances. All evidence pointed to his demise being perpetrated by the very people whom he entrusted the most…his closest devotees and right hand men. I was shocked. I was horrified. I was incredibly sad upon learning all of this information. But for some strange reason, I was not at all surprised by these events. It also made me very determined to learn as much as I could from and about this beautiful Holy Soul who was showing me the path to True Enlightenment. I then declared in my heart and to the world that Srila Prabhupada would be my true Spiritual Master.

So my journey began and is still on-going. Please stay tuned to this tiny place in cyber space if you would like to see what happens next on this, my very own exciting spiritual adventure

…until next time…

…Hare Krishna!

Long time…no see…

It has been a very long time since I have posted here. No excuses. Just real life happening, and that is the most important thing for me at this time. I used to be online a lot. But I have found that online is not where life really is. I love to read and do research on things that interest me at any given time, but spending hours per day in front of a computer is not the way I wish to spend my life these days. Having just reached yet another birthday, living in the 3 dimensional world is a top priority these days. Nuff said…

One thing that I have been working on over the last few weeks and months is deleting most of my social media accounts. The first one to go was FakeBook. When one deletes an account they sand a file via email of all the information that they keep on a user during their tenure on the platform. It was a real eyebrow raiser. Over the course of the many years that I spent on FakeBook – from the very beginning of  its inception…what…2004? 14 years – they had sold my information to literally hundreds of companies looking to part me from my hard earned money.  The whole fiasco reminded me of quitting smoking. Before you quit it seems very hard. But once you do, you wonder why you hung on to such a nasty habit for all those years.

Google+, LinkedIn, Snap Chat and Instagram were not far behind. It was so liberating to unload social media…like purging nasty parasites. I still have twitter for the time being and do have accounts on Gab and Minds. I watch YouTube but never post there as I am not into making videos at all, but f these platforms keep following their path of censorship, they may be going by the wayside as well. We shall see…

Watch this blog for more frequent updates! I promise to try to post more in the coming weeks…

Namaste! 🙂

 

Riders on the Storm…

Riders on the Storm…

When Jim Morrison recorded and released this song in 1971, I was a tender teenager on the edge of seventeen. Not only did I adore The Doors, but I absolutely loved this song. Little did I know back then that I would be whispering this very song frequently after my move to Florida’s east coast almost every year.

Hurricanes are a different kind of animal. They are patient until they unleash their fury. They are massive and determined. They are influenced by their surroundings but retain their stubbornness in the face of it all. Ya gotta respect them. “Political correctness” be damned, they should all be named after women, however, as the male of any species could never even come close to portraying the temper of these most awesome displays of Mother Nature at her ultimate power.

If given the choice, however, I would court a hurricane way before tornados and earthquakes, both of which I have lived through as well to tell the tale. Tornados and earthquakes are quick to strike without a moment’s notice, sneaking up behind you and smacking you down before you know what has hit you. Facing a hurricane is like the count down to High Noon at the OK Corral. The clock ticks. You prepare as best you can. Then the winds turn up their voices, calling you out into the street to face your opponent.  But this duel is not like most. The hurricane has a blind eye, grabbing and snatching and spitting at whatever is in her way. And in her tantrum, she lashes out without feeling, plan or care. Such is her nature.

There is no way to face her down either. The most you can do to fight her is to curl up into a ball, protecting your vital organs, and let her slap you around with her windy breath until she tires of it all or moves on. Once she has passed on (or passed out), you find yourself peaking through stretched out fingers from underneath your elbow hoping you have seen the last of her. Like a lady of the night, sometimes she is in a hurry; other times she takes her time. But unless you leave her company, she will definitely have her way with you. And just when you think you have seen the last of her kind, along comes one of her buddies, following along in her wake, looking to stir up trouble.

Often folks will ask me what it’s like to ride the storm. It is stressful and nerve-racking. If I had my druthers, I would prefer to not have to do it. But there is a stubbornness in me that I see in the storm that prompts me to stand my ground, hunker down and keep an eye on my space for the duration if at all possible. Our home is fairly storm worthy (knocking on wood). When my sweet granddaughter asked me not too long ago, “Will you be safe, Grandma?” I relied to her, “We are the three little pigs. Our house is made of bricks. And no hurricane wolf is gonna blow our house down, my dear!”

Social Media Eats Itself…

Pepe says… F@#% it…I very much dislike social media and FakeBook (FaceBook) in particular. Some of you may be now asking “…why?” Those who know me well already know the answer to that. For everyone else…

In the beginning, I – like so many others – jumped onto the social media bandwagon with flourish and gusto! Myspace paved the way. Then came FaceBook! Bigger! Better! Shinier! Sexier!!! Yay! So, everyone climbed aboard. One big happy family.

Then…things began to get a little…weird…

Suddenly, FaceBook knew a lot about me. At the time I couldn’t understand why and how they knew where I was born, where I went to school and who my friends and family were. Now I know how, of course. Suckerburg sold us out to the Feds. Plain and simple. But, being somewhat naïve about the ways of the world, I just chalked it all up to the nature of the beast and ignored it all. What was the harm? I could keep in touch with friends, family and clients in the FaceBook environment and besides everyone was doing it, right?

Then the real weirdness started…

I made a “Fan Page” for my business. This would be great, I thought. Here is a place where I can reach out to all my clients and keep them informed and up to date on all the latest in the realms of Sleeping Gypsy! Soon I noticed, however, that my 1500+ “fans” were not getting info from me or my page. Only 3 to 5 individuals were seeing my posts in their feeds. What?! That just doesn’t seem good. Then I noticed that they wanted me to pay 100s of $$’s to reach those other folks thru the FaceBook platform. Ummm…no. That’s not gonna happen. Not in MY Faerie Tale world, it’s not.

Then came the “real name” flap. Someone – probably a competitor – “turned me in” for using a “fake name”. My business name to be exact. I could use that name if I jumped thru all sorts of procedural hoops to prove who I was for realz.  Now things seems to be getting more and more ridiculous. So, reluctantly and with great protest, I submit my real name. Now, it’s not like my real name is any secret or mystery. I am just of the old school thought that if someone wants to know my real name they should just ask me. Having grown up from an era that witnessed the birth of the internet starting from dial in 1200 baud modems running telnet and bulletin boards to the cesspool that is the world wide web of today, I am very reluctant to put my personal info out there for every weirdo and whack job to see. So, I cave in to the peer pressure thinking I am being old fashioned, a fuddy duddy…a stick in the mud. So, I acquiesce and cave in. I submit…against all of my better judgment. (Remember when I say “Always follow your first impressions? Listen to your intuition?” Duh……….

This is when the real “fun” begins…

I, like many, was bullied in school as a child and very young adult. The kids at my middle school in particular bullied me relentlessly. Physical, verbal, sexual, emotional assault was a common place thing for me and a challenge to my psyche not to mention my mental health and physical well being. I managed to survive – my parents were not really involved with my schooling or my life, for that matter, so I had to go it alone most of the time. Needless to say…I managed to get thru it and leave it behind for brighter days. At least after graduating high school I could set my sights for a real life with real friends and not be tortured by bullies. That is…until the bullies managed to tack me down using FaceBook. Now, all of a sudden – some 40 odd years later – here they were!  Stalking me and trying to make my life miserable once again. This is when FaceBook officially became FAKEBOOK in my paradigm. Sure, my blocked list is 10 miles long at least and so into the pile they went with the other trolls, monsters and demoniac rascals. But at some point one has to ask one’s self…why? Why does one bother with this crap just to be stalked, bullied and info farmed by big corporations and the Feds who don’t give a sh!t  about me or my life only just to add my ID number to the millions of other common, decent Americans (and others) who they have listed on their lists and compiled on their piles. Bleh. Peace…OUT.

I gave up on Myspace years ago. Twitter has been taken over by the snowflakes and bullies. I rarely use Twitter any more after being bullied there. Ello has not piqued my interest, really. But Gab.ai has been a good place to get not fake news and YouTube I view on a daily basis. Pinterest is fun for storing graphics and sharing creative ideas! But Google+ (or anything Google or Yahoo related, for that matter) is a no go.

So…here we are. I am just -> *this* <- close to deactivating my FAKEBOOK account (because mostly you simply cannot “delete” an account on FAKEBOOK…mostly.) Twatter and GAG-gle+ are not too far behind either.  I guess I am just putting this out there just in case there are any other lost souls out there who feel absolutely disgusted with social media and are thinking about bailing from them also. You are NOT ALONE, my friends. You are not alone. In fact you are in very good company!

In closing, if anyone needs or wants to keep up with me just look right here. My blog is up and will be until the interwebz goes flatline. Until then…stay thirsty, my friends…

Pepe says… F#%K it…

Walking on the Sun…

XIX. The Sun

Hello! It has been quite a while since I have written here. Been so darned busy these days, tho! “Whatcha been up to. Gypsy?” many ask. Well, let’s see…

Finally settled into our new place – we absolutely love, love, love Daytona Beach! Love the peeps! Love the vibe! Love the town! This town has everything! But most of all the lovely folks who live and visit here! Really love our new little house, too! What more could one ask for?

Store’s been open since January and it’s going great! Summer time aka *Walking on the Sun!*   is a challenge, to say the least, as this has been the hottest summer we’ve had for a while. Temps are mid to upper 90s, which is pretty normal as far as I’m concerned & is status quo for the deep South. It’s the consecutive days without rain that have been making it real Dog Days for everyone. So, we shake the rain stick and dance a jig! Gentle, soaking rains, please?

Then, there’s readings. Then writing. A lot. Then, reading. Sewing. Knitting. Making. Busy! Keeps me out of trouble…  😉

General Election less than 100 days. Please keep your hands and feet *IN* the ride at all times. Thank you! 😀

Hope everyone out there has been having an awesome summer! Watch the Fire in the Sky as we so lovingly regard our beautiful Sun! Promise to write more when I can find the time! Have fun! Be safe! Love you all!

La La Land…

Welcome to Daytona Beach!I always thought living in a highly haunted town would be fun, and for the most part it was. Highly stimulating, Saint Augustine has a world of charm. But, after a few years the constant bombardment of spirit activity bouncing off of one’s psyche and id can become tiring, overwhelming, exhausting. Add to that the never ending stream of tourists and strangers coming and going, one can find themselves feeling just a little bit displaced, a ship drifting along a distant but familiar shore.

Chatting with folks that have been born and raised in the Oldest City lends another side of the story. Not many who can claim the sea side town their birth place still reside there, the lion’s share of them having already relocated, pushed out or moving on for one reason or another. But most of them sing the same old song…their beloved Saint Augustine is not what it once was. Gone are the days of quaint and relaxed community, replaced by what the City Commissioners have created in a profit making sort of Disneyland for tourists. There is that same old familiar right side of the tracks where the city will support the community, but only if there is money to be had in it for them. Then there is the other side of the tracks which is anything not belonging to the right side. I even saw a story written up in the infamous “Old City Life” magazine that opined anything north and west of the Old City was ghetto slums where the undesirables live. A stern letter to the editor of said rag went without consideration nor reply. I’m sure other property owners like myself were not at all appreciative of the stigma the city had put upon them and were just as irate as I was at hearing that my tax dollars and residency was considered valuable not at all.

In essence, what had once been a sweet seaside community with caring neighbors and a sense of belonging, where artistic folks could let their paints flow free with the sea breezes had been transformed over a very short period of years into a money pot for those with vested interests. Add to that the energy of oh so many angry dead and you’ve got yourself a reason to move on. Oh yes…angry. Anger built up over centuries of war and bloodshed, slavery and abuse, disease and poverty. Chatting with a retired tour guide of the oldest streets, I was told that only about 11% of the “oldest” buildings within the Oldest City were really original in one way or another. All the rest were replaced and fashioned to resemble the oldest things. What used to be a flourishing artist community has now been discouraged and dismantled, laws forbidding artists to ply their trade abound within the city limits.  But the homeless bums can enjoy unlimited loitering, threatening passers by and pan handling to their heart’s content. And when Lincolnville was “just another slum”, the only place that many of the locals and artists could afford to live, the area went virtually ignored and left blighted until by chance some enterprising chap thought to capitalize on the authenticity of the area when the trend seemed to catch on and now, with most of the locals pushed out, it has become one of the most lucrative and desirable parts of town to reside in. (Move over South Park…)

Tolomato Cemetery. Joke. About twice per year the City opens the old rusty gates of one of the country’s oldest cemeteries to allow tours conducted to raise money for upkeep to the grounds. Chatting up a docent on that sunny fall afternoon brought confirmation of something I already sensed…mainly that there was no one still buried in the old hallowed grounds. They had all been moved some decades before to other cemeteries far and wide. Fake. Like the rest of the poor old town. This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. :/

That’s fine. I am grateful that I was able to reside in that place for six years, enjoying my favourite landmarks, the Bridge of Lions and the Firehouse Beach. Yearning for something different, I moved on…

Now we find ourselves immersed within a new adventure which I will share with you, dear friends, as the adventure unfolds! Daytona Beach is a most fun town! The choice of food and restaurants can not be beat and the friendly atmosphere of the town is contagious! I didn’t realize just how invaded with negative spirit energy I was in Saint Augustine until I left that place. Like a breath of fresh air, I now have my wits back! Yes, there is still the occasional wandering spirit looking for peace and someone to validate him or her, but not like the constant stream of souls that move through the Oldest City’s space. Yes, it is still one of the most active spirit sites on the planet, so I urge anyone who wants to experience it to most definitely make the trip. But for me…I like to call Daytona Beach home…for now. 🙂

Florida Autumn…

Barn owl...

It always seems like it goes down the same way every year…around the middle of June, Florida becomes a beautiful, sunny furnace. Everyone feels like they are walking on the Sun. And, while the warmth is glorious, it gets a little old around early August, where you will find nearly everyone counting the days until those hot winds and humidity begin to wane.

And then it happens…

Almost like magic. The switch is flipped and the sweltering heat ceases literally overnight, shifting from oppression to liberation. The AC is turned off and the windows and doors are flung open with gleeful abandon. The usual cacophony of amphibians and cicada fades into a quietness ushered in by the rare song of birds on the move from there to there. The air takes on an heirloom quality of that familiar autumn relief, prompting more leisure time out of doors as everyone readies for the holidays beginning with my favourite…Halloween!

Up north, the leaves are turning and the temps are plunging, but here in the south the seasons take there time winding down. Our leaves hang around until mid-December. The beach is still doable well into November. Never snowing works for me, loving the ambiance of a huge queen palm stuffed full of twinkle lights. I am amused by the local clothiers displaying their boots and winter jackets, as if they know what real cold is all about. But we let them have their fun. I’d rather pretend that it is freezing cold out than to actually be in the arctic of a northern winter.

The little critters ready for the nap and leisure that comes with the cooler temperatures, the frogs and lizards the first to retreat for the season, and we dearly miss them around here when that time rolls around. And there is nothing finer than to lie in bed, windows open, with a cool gentle breeze drifting through the darkness, being wrapped up in a snuggly quilt and hearing the trill of an owl floating in the night on the smell of jack pines, their silent flight only noticed after their song is gone. Oh, how I love the fall!

Sure…most folks grumble about the time changes and the ever decreasing hours of light given to the day. But I never notice. I simply wrap myself up in Autumn and let my heart soar on the clear cool ways of this time of the year, each time feeling like first time and eagerly anticipating it each and every time as if it was a new surprise. The respite that comes with the shortening days brings a welcoming sigh of relief and a well deserved relaxing. A time of resting…

Enjoy the season, my friends…

…Namaste.

The Shop is Moving!

…and it is a good thing!

Just an update about the store. Last weekend was our final weekend at the St. Augustine Market Place. We had a good run there for six long wonderful years! But as we are relocating to Daytona Beach, Florida, we will also be bringing the store with us! If all goes to plan, we will be reopening  around Christmas time, sometime thereabouts. Or at the latest right after the first of the year 2016. We are so excited! I cannot tell you how much!

In the meantime, I wish to thank all of the wonderful clients and customers who have been with us throughout these first years and hope that they will continue to be our patrons. It has been a beautiful surprise to have all the phone calls and messages of support and approval come flooding in at the news of our advancement up and onward to the next level of success! The whole journey has been truly an inspiration!

As the time draws nearer, I will be sending emails, postcards and phone calls to every client and customer with contact information and news. As always, you can drop me a line, respond right here to this post, or call at anytime for further information. I will also be posting our progress right here to share with all of my dear friends, clients and customers so that no one will miss a thing! This really is a most exciting time!

Thank you again, everyone! We love you all! <3

Vardo Kids...

Miss Gypsy…where have you been?!

I have been getting that a lot lately and so this morning while I have a spare minute or two, I thought I’d share some of the happenings going on in my life right now. All good! 🙂

First off, as anyone who knows me well knows that I am more and more disenchanted with social media lately. I have decided to do most of my social sharing right here on my blog. Social media has become a cesspool of drama which I just don’t have room for in my life. So…if you wanna take a peek into the life of a Sleeping Gypsy, look no further than this place right here.

 

vardo camp

That being said, hubby and I have been busier than little beavers! We decided a while back to sell our house in St. Augustine and move south to Daytona Beach! This means a lot of work. We are relocating our store to the Daytona Flea Market late this year or early into 2016. This is a definite step up up UP! We are so excited to be making this advance you have no idea just how excited we are!

Daytona Beach and surrounding areas are experiencing a tremendous amount of growth right now and all sorts of good things are going on down there! I will still be doing readings on a regular basis, but the retail side of my business will be on hold until we get settled. In the meantime, we will be moving to our new abode very soon!

I will be sure to keep you all posted as things progress and develop. Our lives are just so full of blessings and work and business right now that it is really hard to keep up on the cybersphere end of things, so I do apologize for not being more active online. Real life calls! But I have not forgotten you guys…my friends and customers and clients that make my life so bright and full of meaning and joy!

And rest assured…I will be contacting each and every one of you personally with updates as to my contact information so that everyone will be in the loop and on the same page!

Wishing everyone a wonderful day! 🙂

…Gypsy. <3