Joy’s Tales from Thailand 2019

Tales from Thailand #6

Hello, dear readers. I’m sorry to leave you hanging for so long, especially after suggesting that my health wasn’t robust. (It is now) The photo below is from two weeks ago, at the new S.D.S. organic farm, far south of Bangkok.

The land was donated by Mei Oo, the woman on the right. She is also the leader of the Dhammachat Bambat/Nature Cure program, who will be fearlessly leading our expedition into rural Cambodia next week.

Soon after we arrived at the new farmland, this woman came to pay her respects to Venerable Maichee Sansanee. She told us that she’d attended a single weekend retreat at S.D.S. fourteen years ago, and it changed her life completely. She realized, she said, that happiness comes from the inside, and that good things happen to happy people. This knowledge preserved her sanity after their farm was wiped out by flooding, and she had to beg from neighbors just to stay alive. Now that she’s on her feet again and the S.D.S. farming operation is moving into her neighborhood, she wants to donate a portion of her crops and her labor to S.D.S., out of gratitude. This is the kind of “currency” that fuels our center.

Above, I am teaching Nattui my
signature song in Thailand:
Happy birthday to you/Happy
birthday to me/Every day we are
born/Every day we are free!

Nattui runs a farm-to-table operation nearby, as well as a successful organic
restaurant in Australia. She was on hand to offer suggestions and encouragement. She will be closing up her life in Australia soon and come be the new manager here. We finished our excursion with a vegetarian lunch at Nattui’s very popular nearby restaurant/organic farm.

Before dawn the next day, I headed out to the airport to fly to Sakon Nakhon, a town in the north of Thailand. The staff met me, and we proceeded to Watkampramon, a.k.a. Cancer Village, in the rural Issan countryside. . .

Read the full Tales #6 (pdf)

Tales from Thailand #5

Hello again, friends. Thanks so much for your insightful and heartfelt responses to these Tales. Though I’m not able to respond personally, they are definitely appreciated, dears.

Today, I have time to start the fifth Tale, even though I sent #4 out yesterday…because I’m sort of hiding out in my beautiful little kuti/house today.

The truth: I haven’t been present for alms-walk or Kitchen Zen or my afternoon gardening sessions with Chom for three days now. I’m QUITE hesitant to admit it, but I am sick.

Tales #4 was originally going to be about my super-human level of newly reinforced immunity against all bacterial invasions e.g. I had a Splat-Factor rating into the Stratosphere, just short of Breatharians and those who claim immortality.

The photo above, which I refer to as “Morning Sunshine” is now my first beverage of the day. Yupp, it’s urine therapy….I know

the BlinK
(a.k.a. I can’t believe she wrote that

Read the full Tales #5 (pdf)

Tales from Thailand #4

Hello, dear readers.
Honestly, I’m not sure where to take you, at this point in my journey. I’ve had too many adventures to relate them all…and I’m acutely aware of how easily I can sway your opinions just by turning my camera or perspective one direction or another.

I’ve just returned from seven days in a rural orphanage in Kanchanaburi. It was pretty much pure chaos, since the staff and the director, MC Jutipak, were all away at a conference, leaving a struggling skeleton crew to maintain the 85 children.

I don’t know if it was because of, or in spite of their freedom, that the children seemed incredibly cheerful and creative…

Read full Tales from Thailand #4 (pdf)

Tales from Thailand #3

Kitchen Zen! A truly humbling experience…What a wonderful opportunity to fail so blatantly, on so many levels e.g. hand-slicing tarot chips with a simple grater for an hour. They’re supposed to be consistent…no two of mine look alike! And I keep switching hands, cause I’m a wimp!

Or peeling hundreds of friggin’ quail eggs, until I’m cross-eyed. (Actually, I was the last one standing, in that particular event) Isn’t life fascinating!… (from a note I wrote to my pal Chef Tuesday last week.)

I’d like to dedicate this issue to the many millions of prep cooks and chefs working around the world, out of sight, in the pre-dawn hours. . .

Read full newsletter Tales #3 (pdf)

Tales from Thailand #2

Hello again, dear readers. This is probably not the image you expected to see in my second Tales this year.

But I must credit Winnie-the-Pooh as a major inspiration behind my current mindscape . Or rather, Pooh was best able to sum up the advice given to me by my teacher Anna Cox, right before I left on this adventure. Anna told me:

Effortlessly let go of any work….and see what stirs, into the light.

Pooh told Christopher Robin:

Doing nothing often leads to the very best of something.

I usually do not watch movies on airplanes anymore, because I am so vulnerable that they make a very deep unshakable impression. But in the final two hours of my days-long journey, on the flight between Seoul and Bangkok, I decided to watch Disney’s new movie, “Christopher Robin.” And I was well-rewarded.

“Doing nothing” includes releasing anxiety, not overscripting, and gently demoting this harsh, comparing mind…. At least I’m well aware when this silly old bear is seized with the desire for more “honey,” be it attention, immortal youth or sugar. . .

Read the full newsletter Tales #2 (pdf)

Tales from Thailand #1

Greetings, dear readers.

I’m home, again, here with my heart family in a heart-centered community, doing what I love. Not that my life is any less wonderful in Fayetteville or out at Wattle Hollow. It’s just another flavor.

My dear friend Nawng Joy met me at the entrance to S.D.S. and unveiled the latest miracles here at the center, too many to recount in just one Tale. But for openers: There are now a couple of caves that are constructed entirely out of pink Himalayan salt blocks (!), and heated with light bulbs. I’ve never heard of or imagined such a healing modality. But as I sat inside meditating, the first day, it stimulated a memory of some long-past or future experience, almost out of time…

Read the full newsletter – Tales #1 (pdf)

Tales from Thailand – Prologue

Greeting, dear readers.

I would love to introduce you to one of my oldest companions: the Sugar Monster. He travels with me everywhere, anytime. This tile depiction is situated right around the corner from my refrigerator, in Fayetteville. Sugar Monster is eternally trying to get back into my kitchen. So time is on his side.

Just when I think I have the upper hand: sufficient maturity, comprehension and determination..BAM! Sugar Monster grabs the wheel, albeit only for short episodes. Well, mostly. And why do I reveal this rather ignoble and embarassing fact? Because I need a fair witness….as I head off to Asia……

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