Hello friend. I hope you are well. Everything is perfect here in Paro, Bhutan. However perfection is -um -sometimes very unexpected and surprising. Uh Oh! Is this discomfort? Could this perhaps be what the Buddha called “suffering”? Or “stress”? We’re all learning that happiness and perfection are always a question of perspective. I’m learning to hone my thoughts and to notice my mind’s shenanigans! The mind is quite flexible, you know. And since we can control our viewpoint every moment, I choose to see my life as perfection. I hope you see yours that way too. This isn’t a sweet-faced cover-up. It’s accepting whatever is with joy and surprise. Here’s my report.
I’ve been waiting for 3 months for Lama D to arrive in Bhutan. Looking on the bright side, it’s a perfect opportunity to finish my books. When we are able to listen, life leads us along our highest path. Although this turn of events is surprising, lonely, and at times uncomfortable, I am happy. Yesterday I was at the Paro Monastery. I love the painted lion.
This is Paro, where I hang out every day, a small airport town in the center of Bhutan. Nestled in a beautiful valley between forested mountains, the air is pristine and the water is clean.
The Paro Rinpung Dzong is a fortress built in the 12th century and re-built in the 1600’s to protect the valley from Tibetan invaders. It’s almost impenetrable from the outside with high walls and a wide moat all around. The Bhutanese defenders were expert archers and marksmen. They were also adroit at throwing stone catapults down from the high walls. This monastery-fortress is the seat of the local government, home to several hundred monks, and is truly magnificent inside.
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These are my six books. As five out of six manuscripts near completion, I polish each one. Working with my brilliant publishing team is a joy. And BTW, it is challenging every bone in my body. This week I’m working on a short video for each book to show publishers.
This has been a week of countless video trials. Here are a few rough screenshots. I must memorize a text and speak it word for word. I am patient and persistent. I practice first in my hotel room. Some days are too windy or cloudy. Dogs barking or construction pounding can ruin a take. I set up a tripod so the camera doesn’t shake. No squinting is allowed. Every take is better. This “path to perfection” is a challenging process. I’m still working on it. Today I’m working on timing, which means inserting important pauses, using fast phrases, and S L O W phrases for clarity.
Soon I will finish three videos – one for each book or series: 1) Buddha Speaks, 2) Heal Your Past Lives, and 3) Walking in the Footprints of the Enlightened Ones -The Bhutan Travel Cookbook.
I’m staying in the beautiful Spirit of Bhutan Resort, which belongs to a close family friend. I’m almost the only guest in lowest season. From here you can see the Rinpung Dzong monastery in the distance. The rice fields have just been plowed for the season. Soon they’ll be tall and green with rice. Winter is cold here, but it hardly ever snows. This is my home for about a month.
This is the front entry of the Spirit of Bhutan resort. The owner is lovely, the hotel is clean, the staff is diligent. They treat me like family.
Today my breakfast at 9:30 am consists of fried red rice with vegetables. I adore Bhutanese red rice. The local grains here are very safe, all organic, unsprayed, and unrefined. I’m looking out on the city of Paro, the monastery, and rice fields.
Lunch today is yellow dal and sautéed veggies. Delicious! I ask them to use no sauces or commercial additives. They use butter or mustard oil in my food, as I cannot eat cheap GMO soy oil from India that is popular here.
My special treat every day is to have a little chocolate. I find sugar is toxic for me and everybody. But where do you find unsweetened chocolate? In a local grocery I found this Indian chocolate sweetened with Maltitol, a fermented and non-toxic sweetener. What a find!! A few squares every day probably won’t kill me.
This is Pema. Sometimes she brings me Masala tea to help keep me working through the afternoon. I love the spices!
I keep a supply of fresh tangerines from the family farm in my room and my favorite quart jar for drinking water. The hotel staff is quite surprised that I drink 2.5 liters of water each day. I firmly believe it’s healthier to eat less food and drink more water. And better to drink between meals. I don’t think they hear me, but they are kind and patient.
I try to do a round of simple yoga and qigong every day in addition to my morning meditation, a variety of floor and standing movements. I find these are essential for mental balance. Sanity is precious. I am pretty tired of living out of a suitcase for 18 months. However I am not fed up enough to go back to my previous life. Nope. It takes courage to change your destiny, to claim your destiny. And things are starting to get interesting!
I’m working on my books, and every day is filled with words of the Buddha. This project is a blessing and total joy. Below are a few samples from my set of 54 cards from Buddha Speaks Oracle Cards. These are authentic translations of the Buddha’s words direct from Pali, Tibetan, and Chinese texts, adapted into plain English for easy understanding of advanced concepts in simple words. This is a unique and timely project that I hope will help many people see the Buddha’s words in a fresh perspective.
Thanks for checking in. I’m fine here in Paro. I see everything happening in the news. Yes, the world is on fire, and there’s no escaping it, even in Bhutan. I’m here to help – see my new blog posts at JanesHealthyKitchen.com for the best viral prevention on the planet. Please stay well. Sending so much love to you!