This post is about a different kind of journey, an inevitable one that is at the center of every religion and culture around the world.
It’s been nearly two weeks since the relative of someone dear to my heart passed away. It was exactly during Yom Kippur, the holiest and most solemn day for the Jews. The purpose of Yom Kippur is to bring about reconciliation between people, individuals and God. According to Jewish tradition, it is also the day God decided the fate of each human being.
It was a Sunday afternoon, the sun shined high over our heads.We said our final goodbyes during a touching and lovely Jewish service. The Rabbi performed a series of prayers and afterwards the family read a few of the deceased favorite poems. One of them was a beautiful poem by Maya Angelou.
We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love cost all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.
After the service, we went off on a boat on the San Diego Bay to place the remains in the calm waters of the Pacific Ocean. A truly beautiful celebration of life.
The greatest influence in your life, stronger even than your will power, is your environment. Change that, if necessary. Until you are mentally strong, you can never be what you want to be without good environment to help you. –Paramahansa Yogananda
For my birthday, I really wanted to do something different, something that would refresh my spirit and my mind. Oh boy, was I blown away by the beauty of the meditation gardens in Encinitas, about 20-25 miles from San Diego. I was so glad my boyfriend’s mom told me about them. Otherwise, I don’t think I would have ever heard about them. This is truly a hidden gem in San Diego, a great place where one can truly appreciate silence and its power.
The meditation gardens are part of the Self-Realization Fellowship Retreat and Hermitage.
The Encinitas Center was founded in 1937 by Paramahansa Yogananda, this super cool poet and philosopher who came to the U.S. from India in the 1920’s, bringing with him his meditation teachings.
Besides a vast array of plants, trees, and flowers, there are several ponds with mini waterfalls housing huge Koi fish who like to stick their heads out begging for food, or maybe trying to get pet!