Monday, April 10, 2017

Happy Holi ~ Spring and the Triumph of Good Over Evil

In a conflict between the heart 
and the brain,
follow your heart.
~Swami Vivekananda

Holi Festival of Colors 2017
Whittier NarrowsEl Monte

The year began with a bang. The Women's March in Washington was such a high and I came back energized. I was on an activism high! I continued writing emails, making phone calls and sending faxes but so much news was gushing in like Niagra Falls, it got overwhelming.

The data and information black outs with the EPA, National Parks and NASA ... people being held at the airports and on and on. Then the threats to National Endowment for the Arts, Public Broadcasting and even possible funding cuts to Meals on Wheels? I started getting depressed. I was still writing, faxing and calling but I was losing energy and getting more and more bummed out.

If I did nothing I would feel helpless, powerless and ungrateful, but I know the key is balance. It's temping to lie on the bed and just keep reading all the information that is constantly being updated, but that is the crazy spiral. So yes, balance. If you are able to, you have to get out and refill the well! We know this of course but when you are depressed it can be immobilizing.

I had read about the Holi Festival that takes place in India every year but I also knew there were celebrations closer to home and even one that was less than an hour away, at Whittier Narrows, in El Monte. Any time there's an opportunity to do something I've never done, that I can add to my "new experiences" list, I try to make the effort to do it! (Unless it involves eating slimy things. Then I'm out.)

Be as simple as you can be;
you will be astonished to see
how uncomplicated and happy your life can become.
~Paramahansa Yogananda

My friend Karen is pretty much up for anything so we headed out to the park where they were holding the festival. There were booths with groovy jewelry, "harem pants" and various other treasures ...

Aren't these earrings pretty?!

By the time we got there I was already hungry so we headed to one of the vegetarian food trucks that had yummy Indian food combination plates ...

Anyway, by the time we were at the food truck, we found out that the bags of colored powders everyone throws were sold out!

The sweet Indian man (who now lives in San Diego) that was next to us in the food line, kindly gave us a full bag of his hot pink powder and then started telling us about the Holi Festival and its meanings. Apparently there are a few. In one story there was a God who fought an evil being and there was big triumph of good over evil, (who can't get on board with that?!) and then another involved the love story between Krishna and Radha.

My favorite thing he talked about was that, in India, Holi is a celebration that goes on for days and that everyone is so covered in colors that no one knows what cast anyone belongs to. Everyone is together and equal, and everything else disappears.  He was grinning from ear to ear as he remembered.

He also said the dyes they use in India can last on your skin for a week and that if you try to stay away from the celebrations and stay away from the dyes, your friends will come and find you, and you will be completely doused with the colors and much "worse off" as far as being completely dyed, than if you had just taken part in the festivities in the first place.

In a day, when you don't come across any problems-
you can be sure that you are traveling in a wrong path.
~Swami Vivekananda

After sitting on the grass eating with a bunch of other folks, we walked over to the main stage where they had been leading a meditation and playing music. Earlier I heard that they'd had yoga and dancing.

There were different kinds of music at the festival, including Indian Hip Hop fusion! It was so much fun! The energy was beautiful and light, and it felt so joyful just being there. People were dousing each other with colors and smiling and laughing.

Karen and I in a cloud of colors!

Your own Self-Realization is the greatest service
you can render the world.
~Ramana Maharshi

Empty bags of colors ...

The one who loves all intensely
begins perceiving in all living beings
a part of himself.
He becomes a lover of all,
a part and parcel of the Universal Joy.
He flows with the stream of happiness,
and is enriched by each soul.
~Yajur Veda

Karen took this of me (below) with my new phone. Actually, all these photos were taken with my iPhone 7plus. I put tape over the speakers, microphone, and charging entry, to protect it from all he powders.

Different creeds are but different paths
to reach the same God.
~Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

Here's some video I took:

Happiness is your nature.
It is not wrong to desire it.
What is wrong is seeking it
when it is 
~Ramana Maharshi

Yeah, so I was definitely covered from head to toe ...

This young lady was standing near us. It was so much fun seeing everyone in various levels of abstract Holi colors! Each person a work of art!

The human body is the temple of God.
One who kindles the light of awareness within
gets true light.
The sacred flame of your inner shrine 
is constantly bright.
The experience of unity 
is the fulfillment of human endeavors.
The mysteries of life are revealed.
~Rig Veda

I just had to photograph these adorable ladies and after showing them the photos they were so excited that I texted the photos to them. 

And below, Ganesha, the Remover of Obstacles! Who doesn't need that?

Karen ...

Y'all might have noticed my hair was blonder and shorter than usual. And thicker. I'd heard that if you are fair haired the dye can actually color your hair, so I wore my old 20 dollar wig to protect my highlights. Here is the aftermath! (My hair was saved but I did have hot pink arm pits for two days!)

Walking back to the car through Whittier Narrows park ...

When the mind is still, 
then truth gets her chance to be heard 
in the purity of the silence.
~Sri Aurobindo

I thought, in this post, I'd include some shots of Govinda's since we sort of on that theme.

Govinda's is the Hari Krishna place on Venice Blvd. where you can get a very yummy and reasonably priced vegetarian lunch! I usually meet my friend Shea there, sometimes with her sweet daughter Scarlet.

Upstairs from the cafeteria is a shop that carries beautiful Indian tunics, some of the Hindu Gods and Goddesses, as well as incense and other items.

This was a beautiful organza tunic!

Ganesha again ...

Tunics in every color, in silk or cotton, with simple or intricate embroidery. (I have one of silk fuchsia tops from the shop!)

At some point I should do a post of Little India. It's down in Artesia and I haven't been in years!

Anyway, the colorful festival was definitely a boost to my spirits, a beautiful way to ring in the Spring, and a wonderful way to get my energy on the upswing!

Here's my favorite photo of the day!

For more about Holi, click here.

As long as I live,
so long do I learn.
~Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

Blessings and light!