Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pashupatinath Temple Burning Ghats Photography Books

As promised in my last post, I am very pleased to share my first travel photography book, which is now available via blurb!

Pashupatinath Temple Burning Ghats is a celebration of Impermanence, a core concept in Hinduism and Buddhism. 

Pashupatinath Detail Page at blurb bookstore 
Shot from a distance so as not to intrude on anyone's privacy, this 32 page photo essay chronicles a Hindu funeral ritual from a perspective of reverence.
(All images copyright 2011 by Tammy Winand)

The book has minimal text, in the form of photo captions, which seek to explain scenes many viewers may not be familiar with. I sincerely hope that, as well as being visually engaging, it will be a learning experience for all who view it.

I continue to work hard every day to incorporate the teachings of Buddhism into my everyday life, becoming more and more open to being in the moment and accepting life's challenges.

Many fellow dharma students have told me that my practice is patience. 

Transformation via dharma practice can be excruciatingly slow. Realizations come and go. You may feel "enlightened" and "get it" one day but soon realize that with every new major challenge you need the same help and lessons that brought you there.

We can only stay on the path, bringing ourselves back THIS moment repeatedly.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Impermanence and Suffering

The months since I last updated this blog have been filled with unexpected challenges that have tested every aspect of my spiritual and emotional growth. Nagging illness of varying degrees of severity, emotional abuse and failed relationships, accidents which could have been life threatening had things gone just slightly differently. The move from Boudha back to McleodGanj. The move from McleodGanj back to the USA.


Learning that you are viewed as an object to be used by those you have devoted so much time and energy to. Learning that even a Buddhist monastic can act completely opposite than the Buddhist precepts dictate, causing deep harm.

Painful stuff.

Often working in a blur, not even sure what you are doing, just killing time. Every day fading into the next, and never feeling sure you are going to get through to see another one. 

One day it becomes clear that you are, in fact, still alive, and that progress has somehow been made, in invisible moments. Somehow the seemingly random bits and pieces have fallen into some kind of pattern. Healing has happened, even if only in small amounts. 
New projects have begun, and some have even been completed.

It often feels like I will never be exactly where I want to be. I often feel hopeless, too far behind in "work" to ever catch up. There are some paths which I thought would lead me home that now seem to have been dead ends. These days I don't even know where that longed-for "home" might be.

Still, I am continuing the journey, trying to "allow" surprises to appear.

In my next post, I will share one of those "surprises", a photography book from one amazing afternoon on the outskirts of Kathmandu.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What Am I Doing Here?

I have been in Kathmandu for just over three weeks. Today I found myself shaking my head at the strange blend of similarities and differences between life here and in the USA, and also comparing it to my life in India....  

I am not exactly feeling "homesick", although there are a variety of things I wish were part of life here. One source said I am experiencing one of the phases of "culture shock", where you realize that, even if you become accustomed to a place and learn a little (or a lot) of the local language, you will never really understand the local way of thinking.

As I write this, it is nearly noon, and I am under an awning in Nir's Toast Restaurant and Bakery's garden. A thunderstorm is getting into full swing. It's very refreshing, but, frankly, I'm not feeling very well. I rarely ever feel well these days. I'm plagued by headaches, achy joints and muscles, fatigue.

I find myself pondering, yet again, what I am doing here. By “here”, I mean on the other side of the world from where I was born and raised. Am I simply killing time? What do I want from this experience? I honestly do not know the answers.

What I know is that I am no longer satisfied with my work as a human rights activist and Tibet supporter, at least in the form that I have been doing it over the past half year. I feel used, drained. I am not sure I want to continue studying the language or even dharma. Both pursuits have brough more stress, less pleasure.
I feel like I need a long break.

The western woman with her back to me at the next table lights a cigarette after finishing her beer, and sun reappears. She's left her order of french fries virtually untouched. I leave my last bite of buff thenthuk as an offering to the hungry ghosts.

Blue and yellow prayer flag banners at the Kagyu monastery next door snap in the wind. No ceremonial music emerging, today. Only the “buzz” (more accurately a loud incessant grinding) of the generator during one of the daily scheduled power outages famous in Kathmandu.

Maybe there aren't even supposed to be any answers, though that thought makes me very uncomfortable.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Renewing my Commitment to this Blog

Once again, I have let life, or perhaps just laziness, get in the way of this blog. Somehow another 5 months have slipped by since my last post.

You'd think I had nothing to write about.

Despite my wide range of online pursuits, most of which are months behind what I'd like them to be, it's not as though I have no "free" time.
The truth is, I am plain unmotivated, as well as unorganized.
If only I could make a list of daily tasks and stick to it!
And, if only my internet connection cooperated at those times!
My connection these days, while I am in Kathmandu Nepal, is much faster and more reliable than most wifi spots in McleodGanj. It has been working the past few days without much issue, but there are still many times when I log in and see that yellow exclamation point announcing "limited connection"...or worse, the RED X.

I have recently asked some online friends to help me be more accountable for updates. There really is no excuse for letting things go for 5 months! I invite any and all of my readers to nudge me at my various social sites if they fail to see a new post at THIS page at least once a month (hehe, I'd like to say "once a week", but I don't want to scare myself!)

Meanwhile, my intent is to update Everyday Exile Project main blog at least twice weekly, and Everyday Exile Photojournalism once a week.

I welcome suggestions from readers on what they would like to see here. What kind of details interest you in a chronicle of a spiritual journey and travelogue?

If you read it here, will you still be interested in the "planned" book when it comes out?