Last Year’s Trip to California

Surfer on Venice Beach

We just returned from California.  We also went last year.  Going back in time, this is a reflection on last year’s trip.  It was truly a blessing in so many ways.  There was getting to be on the ocean, reconnecting to friends, meeting new friends, getting to be in the presence of our teacher, who is of the lineage of Yogananda, to name a few.  We got to visit SRF which sent chills up me, as did the film our Swami showed of Yogananda’a earlier years during our meeting.  We listened to just five minutes of a Sanskrit mantra done without taking breath.  You literally quieted down and couldn’t move for a while afterward.  It was like an hour of total body and brain massage.

We had great sattvic food served to us, which is always a cleanse, and you never even get hungry.  I was really surprised my husband didn’t starve, but he was fine.  It was a service meeting, as we signed up to be volunteers.  We are being taught Vedic wisdom, ayurvedic principles, environmentalism, vegetarian eating, and yoga practices.  On the other days we discovered great organic/vegan restaurants, so plentiful in California.

Santa Barbara Beach

We drove both up and down Highway 1 from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles as well as through the mountains.  We were on Venice Beach, but were not really attracted at all to the commercialism and had no desire to even see Hollywood or the normal tourist things.  We would have gone to the Getty (perhaps next trip), but we stopped so much to observe nature that we ran out of time.  The weather was just too perfect to be indoors.  My uncle plowed us out of a now bank the day before, or we wouldn’t even had made the plane.

I loved the ocean, the mountains, the fresh air, the views, but still I love where we live.  Real estate was unbelievable there.  I can understand why.  People were renting just a bedroom and bathroom for one thousand dollars per month and were grateful to do so for the benefits of living there.  Everyone was so relaxed.  Traffic  was easy-going like the people.  We did a lot of walking and found a very nice coffee shop  in Venice Beach for breakfast.  We got to go again this year. They had the most delicious bagels.  The homeless and rich blended really well.

Sites of Venice Beach

The California weather had an equalizing effect on all, no matter how absurd.  People there could truly follow their heart.  There was a total acceptance of differences and no judgment from what we could see.  I found this truly refreshing.  As we walked down the street around the sleeping homeless a policeman pulled up beside us and rolled down his window, laughing, “It isn’t as glamorous as you see on TV is it?”  I guess we stood out as tourists.

I think my husband was ready to move out there.  The one thing we have over all of it is no other houses around us and the silence, and of course a much lower cost of living.  I guess I’m a recluse at heart.

On Venice Beach we ate at the famous Sidewalk Cafe.  The picture to the side is one of the many views from the outside cafe.  It was Spring in the section of California we were visiting.  I’m thankful we went when we did.  Most any other time would have been too crowded.

Sierra Mountains

Our favorite restaurant was The Seed Kitchen, a vegan, organic eating place right across from our hotel.  While there we got one of their cookbooks….more on some recipes from that later.

I think my whole life revolves around having spiritual experiences, as this trip was one.  Also, just being in the now, wherever I am, is one as well.  Learning to see the divine in everything and accepting life and people and the lessons they bring is my passion.

I’m thankful we got to go back again this year, reconnecting with previous friends and making new ones.

Vendanta Temple

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