This journal is about the life of Katalin Koda, founder of the rubybleu foundation. It includes new information regarding the foundation and the work she is doing in South India.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Dr. Sarita Shrestha and Women’s Health Clinic 

Rubybleu Foundation is currently raising funds for an Ayurvedic women’s health clinic in Nepal.  Ayurvedic medicine is a traditional healing system which uses herbs, yoga and massage for preventing disease, supporting the body and treating illness. In 2003, Dr. Sarita was the first recipient of Rubybleu Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit that supports women and children in India and Nepal.  Other projects include scholarships for girls and microloans in South India.  More information is found at:  www.rubybleu.blogspot.com

Dr. Sarita Shrestha has been practicing and teaching Ayurvedic medicine for over twenty years.  She is also a Western trained physician specializing in Ob/Gyn and combines the two methods in her diagnosis and treatment of patients.  Dr. Sarita was featured in David Crow’s book, In Search of the Medicine Buddha and continues to teach at Mount Madonna in California.

 The Ayurvedic health clinic in Nepal is accessible to six surrounding villages and supports over six hundred patients.  The clinic has a staff of three doctors, two birth assistants and a pharmacist.  Everyone is treated, even if patients are unable to pay.  The clinic provides basic care for sickness such as flu, coughs, and infection.  They primarily use natural, Ayurvedic herbs for treatment and some Western medicine.  The clinic also provides an invaluable resource for the women, who often have minimal support or understanding about women’s issues regarding birth and proper healthcare.  Counseling is one of the goals of the clinic, along with yoga and meditation. Through Dr. Sarita’s direction, local farmers are growing and harvesting Ayurvedic herbs used to produce natural medicines.  The clinic also hosts herbal and Yoga workshops and camps to promote awareness for natural healing, Yoga and massage.
            Donations will provide further support for the health clinic by: enabling the expansion of the herbal garden and farming for Ayurvedic medicine, support the creation of herbal, Yoga and natural birth workshops and allow the clinic to buy needed medicinal supplies. 

For more information, see www.saritashresta.org You may also contact Katalin directly at katalinkoda@yahoo.com

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Monday, November 03, 2008

blue mango tree 

i sit under the blue mango tree

indigo night sparkles with children’s laughter

quoting dylan red wine breath the morning after

i remember how he sang to me,

‘to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free’

it’s a poem, this moment

this moon glow on it’s way, waning.

it’s a poem, this breath, diamond sent

power seeping earth, mixing heaven scent.

a crystal glance suspended, hanging,

twanging and changing

this poem, this moment

undone, unbroken, unspent

i sit under this blue mango tree

india’s red roots growing deep into rock

as the ladies drink chai, and sing their day’s talk

legs draped over cool cement, casually

baby swings high, screaming sublime glee

i sit under this blue mango tree

electricity’s gone, the dark soft falling ‘round

the moment hangs like the cluster mango i found

shy woman’s brown eyes flashing asunder

calling the faint clouded thunder


Friday, March 14, 2008


Vespers: the evening service of divine office, recited before dark

I’ve landed in Bangkok again, exactly four weeks after my last trip here, this time with my family. Leon turned to me upon arrival, love pouring out of his eyes and remarked, “Wow, you look beautiful. You look dusky.” And that is exactly how I feel: dusky, of the vespers; the word that I used when I sat with dear friends of Varkala, on the wet roof of sweet Rubybleu House one last time, in hot pink India candlelight, the word I described myself in this Moment: Vespertine

Vespertine (besides Bjork’s best album ever) is a term used in the life sciences to indicate something of, relating to, or occurring in the evening. Etymologically it is related to Vespers, which is a term in astronomy that refers to Venus in the night sky. And religiously, it is that special Catholic mass given at dusk, at the time when night is coming on and the beauty of day is drifting out toward the quieter time of night.

So, the Vespers are where I sit, in the smoky violet of endings, of spiraling out and away. We have left the lovely ‘gem of a guesthouse,’ our dear Rubybleu House, a bit earlier than expected, and are on to something new, moving into unknown futures, uncharted waters. A few months ago I could ‘see’ in the mind’s eye, the quiet part of me that has undisturbed inner vision, a purply smoky silver cloud hovering sometime over mid-march. I had no idea why I was seeing this nice but seemingly meaninless image, until I stood in my empty studio, lilac walls glowing in the early morning, smoke rising from the fires across the red brown and gold soil, my eye catching the long red lane for the thousandth, yet last time. I was saying goodbye to the space I have spent the last five years making art, practicing healing and connecting with Spirit and Earth timeless mornings, evenings and nights. Saying goodbye in mid-march, an unexpected and somewhat abrupt departure from our beloved India.

We knew that we would be leaving Rubybleu House due to the return of the house owner and so we’ve been preparing for several months to leave. I had a shamanic healing session in the early part of the season with dear friend Amina that called upon Jaguar, the archetype of the West, of endings and deaths, to assist me with this time. I reclaimed the fearsome Black Panther of my childhood, reforming the frightening image into one of strength, power, beauty. A power animal that is a window into the Void, a guide for the unseen. For me he is a traveler into normally unknowable futures, able to reclaim those seeds of the misty tomorrows. He has helped steady me in turbulent times, the reminder that things are not as they seem, especially during dark, unfriendly moments when the Goddess presents herself akin to Kali: fierce, dark, mysterious and laughing in hysterics at all our well-intended plans.

It’s all too perfect that I now prepare to call in Jaguar, the archetype of the second chakra, on this full moon in the continued work of the Munay-Ki. I was initiated by Amina into the nine Incan rites a few weeks ago and began the process last full moon by calling in and honoring the South, the Serpent archetype of the Root Chakra. Thus began the intense process of dealing with the reality of the First Chakra: survival, home, fear, grounding and the connectedness to Earth. Thus the journey of leaving our home, packing, literally shedding the skin of the past, as Serpent does, was more than just synchronistic! I laughingly joked with Amina saying maybe she better warn her future initiates, that when you call in Serpent, you may be getting more than you bargain for!

So now we rest for a moment in Bangkok on this day of Oestre, the time of Rebirth, before traipsing, gypsy style, with our bags of summery clothes and poi and angel wings to descend America in the cold spring, excited to watch the unfolding of garden beauty in the West. And this full moon, tomorrow evening, I’ll call the Jaguar of the West to honor the emotions that undulate in waves through my Sacral Chakra. And it is oddly perfect that as I do this we also prepare to move to Sunset Lane near Hartford, Connecticut to and spend the time in the Vespers of my Grandfather’s long life and the changes that are happening to him.

I’ll miss Rubybleu House and it’s golden sunlight streaming from the West through the palm fronds, the Tibetan prayer flags fluttering, the garden shimmering delightfully. I’ll miss the varied travelers traipsing through our garden spinning their wild, wondrous India tales and remarking on the various states of the World. I’ll miss the studio and all the healings it witnessed, the writing that was accomplished there, the art that unfolded. I’ll miss the roof and the moon dances held there, the star bound travelers sleeping and dreaming, the sacred spaces that were held to honor the solstice, the four directions, the elements.

I’ve also put up a small photo album online and you can check out


to see some of the images of Rubybleu House and Gardens over the last five years.

Take care all of you dear ones,

From the Vespers,



Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I have no idea what to title this blog as so much has happened (or not happened) or shifted or changed or fallen apart or rearranged since the last time I wrote, its hard to know where to begin telling the latest stories of Katalin: Artist, Earthkeeper, DreamTime Sister, Gypsy Mama. I am filled with the whirl and wonder and wisdoms of so much, and feel simultaneously light and open and fiery and chaotic, as if two sticks are rubbing in my heart, causing sparks to fly, newness is growing and I’m almost trembling, wondering what will happen as the golden sheen breaks out across the diamond skies. So, I call this one Untitled, appropriately, and leave it all open, nameless, undone so to speak.

Right now, this Wednesday afternoon, I’m sitting in my sister’s lovely new apartment in Bangkok, Thailand, the late afternoon sun starting to glow in the newly bought palms inspired to finally write another blog entry, after months of retreat away from this online journaling that connects me in with my dear community of family, spirit brothers and sisters, other dancers and weavers, artists and storytellers, vision makers and dreamers.

Two things inspired me to write this: firstly, leaving India this time, taking a short, one week vacation to Bangkok to visit my sister and mom has me feeling all achy and longing. I think I’ve fallen (even more) deeply in love with the Goddess that is India and she’s starting to work around the most ancient parts of my Self or selves, being as multidimensional that I am. Is this even possible? Last time I
returned, my last blog entry, which was an amazing six months ago (can it really have been that long!?!), I felt great Mother India’s gentle loving arms reach up from the earth, through the cracked concrete of New Delhi to embrace me. I felt like I was coming Home. Not just the place I dwell, or the house we’ve made into Rubybleu House and painted turquoise and garnet. Not just the place where my daughter was born, her placenta buried under the palm in Kerala’s iron red soil. Not just the place where I have discovered more about who or what I am than any other place on Earth…in fact I’ve been exploring these questions so much, that I now have even less idea of who or what I am and some notion of walking the path moment to moment. But more on that later.

I was coming Home to where the Earth meets the Sky in the crazy jumble of humanity, where the smells of Life and Death smack you in the face and you can’t pretend it doesn’t exist. Where spiritual Masters reside in special, quiet ashrams or communities, or in Himalayan caves and the Goddess is still revered. I have been coming to India for over seven years now and she is so deep in my blood, that for the first time I miss her upon leaving. Instead of the normal relief of escaping the madness, the chaos, the filth and the poverty for a while…somehow it doesn’t matter anymore and I know it’s not India that has changed.

The second thing that inspired me is my sister and her ‘fiancé’s’ decision to not
have a wedding. The gathering of family that transpired last night with the frank discussion of planning a giant U.S. wedding from Bangkok was very beautiful. They decided that since they are already married, to forgo all the intensity of planning this huge event and spending thousands of dollars and simply celebrate their love daily. The look of relief on Carmen and Esan’s faces was priceless. I swear Esan became a year younger. This photo is of them enraptured by their decision to spend all the time and love on creating wondrous lives for themselves instead of one special day. I realize what a non-conformist, cultural rule breaker I am when I noticed how joyous I felt over their conscious decision to not get sucked into the fairytale wedding nonsense that seems to have overtaken America.

And I ask myself, so who has changed? What has changed? From the outside looking in, it’s clear that there are big shifts happening. Our dear Rubybleu House is being reclaimed by the owners and we will have to relocate next year. Where and in what way that will happen remains to be seen. We will certainly move to a house somewhere on Varkala cliff, maybe set back a little. But do I dare to say ‘certain’ when almost every person I know who’s made big life plans this year are all coming tumbling down? It seems the Goddess is having a great laugh this month, watching as dear friends are parting ways after years of relationships, businesses failing or changing form, weddings coming undone, and expectations are falling to pieces. It’s exciting!

I am almost done with my rewrite of the Reiki Warrior book, now titled The Sacred Art of Reiki: Healing as a Spiritual Discipline. Llewellyn Books plans to have it out December of this year, 2008, so you can really look for my book in your local bookstore! This is a huge step for me, a
contract as a soon-to-be published author and I plan to continue writing and writing and writing. I went off to Karuna Farm (check out http://www.karunafarm.in/) to work on the rewrite and reveled in fresh clear air, the misty mountains, time spent alone. Time to write and contemplate and do my practice is so nourishing that I smile just thinking about it. I went through a few months, after meeting Karmapa, and coming back to Varkala descending into caterpillar stage, curled up and quiet, even amidst the sparkling madness of Season Time. I came back from Karuna revitalized and joyous, so much so that since then I’ve been dancing, making fires on the moonlit beach, playing guitar furiously, writing poems, learning Neil Young songs (yes I’m finally branching out from Dylan).

I’ve also been connecting in with the sisters of Varkala and relating our stories of mayhem breaking loose in plans and relationships. Five of us, all struggling with our men, got together for Valentine’s Day and made collage, reclaiming a bit of continuity, in spiraling womyn style. Trying to gain clarity and open our heart’s to the growth and intensity that happens as we change as humans traversing the Earth journey.

Rubybleu Foundation has received an influx of support and we wish to thank you deeply for that. We will continue our scholarship program as the best and most sustainable work we can do with the funds we have. Some Varkala dwellers from England volunteered this year as well. Clare and Sabrina worked with training the women in making bracelets and Lucy began showing them basic computer skills. Our treasurer, Jasmine Tabisaura, is planning to come for a visit in May. Look for the upcoming information at http://www.rubybleu.org/

Yoko is growing fast, dancing more, singing songs and riding the waves in, letting herself tumble and splash about, kicking her legs furiously. Ocean child…ocean child… She is getting browner in the sun and she has tiger eyes that give a hint of Mogly from the Jungle Book. Her Malayalam is improving by attending a local school and speaking with the children. She is going with her dear friend Luis and enjoying making art, playing on the swings and the challenge of group social dynamics.

I breathe in the sultry night of purply, wild Bangkok air and wonder about the future, but try not to think in terms of plans. The Goddess is teaching me well and I dance the moment, buy fire poi and sticks, striped socks and sparkling cloth for circus March in Varkala: come and sit with us by the fire on the moonlit beach, ocean crashing, while the drum of Mother Earth's heart beats on and fires sing through the night, just celebrating the turning of this precious earth and mysterious wondrous Life.

Now that my sister has canceled the summer wedding, the days are open again and who knows what adventures lay await for us! All I know is that change awaits, hovering, every moment, every sparkling second...this ever unfolding Journey.

Take care all of you and remember ………. All you need is LOVE, LOVE, LOVE…


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Sunday, September 02, 2007

Roots and Remembrances

I know it’s been many months since I last posted a blog but the time seems just to swirl on by and before I know it, so many days have passed. I am now in McLeod Ganj, home of the Dalai Lama, the compassionate King of Tibet who lives here in exile, welcomed by India fifty some years ago. The last time I walked these paths was four years ago, when I grieved for a lost daughter and planned our wedding in Nepal. And before that, it was seven years ago when I studied Tai Chi and went to the Dalai Lama’s teachings. And now, the passing of days becomes suns rising over moons and setting over suns again. I watch my daughter grow in wonderment, prepare for more teachings from the Dalai Lama, note the quietness that grows steadily within and settle down to a cup of tea as the rain pours away in the brilliant monsoon green Himalaya mountains.

Before leaving Varkala in June, I had a Reiki session with one of my students. As a gifted and intuitive man, on the healer’s path, I relaxed deeply into the session while he focused the treatment on my left leg and foot. They had been hurting, partly from too many hours spent over Reiki clients, barefoot on concrete, passing Reiki for hours from January to May. Aaah, the paradox of healing…heal thyself, heal thyself I tell my students over and over, as the primary motto for Being a Healer. Afterwards, he and I talked about my foot and he mentioned to me, ‘Well you are returning to your roots, after all,’ meaning the east coast of the U.S. But I dismissed this idea, as I have been returning to Maryland every year to visit family and friends. But, funnily enough, this time WAS different and certainly a return to my roots, roots of many colors and many depths.

We arrived in Maryland the weekend of Leon’s father’s funeral. Leon’s father, Don French, received two purple hearts for his bravery in the Second World War and we attended a special ceremony at the Arlington Cemetery where both he and Leon’s mother were laid to rest. The day was hot and bright as we heard the 21 gun salute and the haunting sound of taps wind its way over the most honorable place of burial in the US. A lovely night was spent with the French family, telling stories, giving gifts, drinking wine and reminiscing on those who walk the earth and retire, their stories left in the hearts among the living.

This summer was a time of deep rest for me, as I was so busy last season at the Rubybleu House, hosting travelers, giving Reiki sessions and teaching. I spent most of my time with my family, almost in a kind of hibernation, resting and rejuvenating.

And I reconnected with family and friends in a way I haven’t done for years. My sister came back to plan her wedding and we hung out in Maryland together. The last time we were together in our parent’s home was six years ago. I also saw one of my cousin’s after eight years and even reconnected with old friends from high school. It really was an unexpected return to the roots, a time to celebrate my lovely family and friends from a decade before. It is remarkable how people can come back into our lives and grace us with new gifts, spontaneous joys and old memories.

Yoko had a fabulous time with her grandparents, Uncle Paul, Aunt Carmen and dear cousins. One of the highlights was certainly the Harry Potter Ball which was held at the local bookstore to hype the final release of the last Harry Potter book. I decided to dress Yoko up in Beth’s old witch hat and cape, made by Mom/Jane/Nana and still shining blue. Pointed hat atop all that wild blonde hair an adorable Indian dress was too much cuteness for the crowd and she ended up being crowned Queen of the Harry Potter Ball! This landed us fourth instead of three-hundredth in line to buy the book. And the seventh installment is well worth the read, let me tell you!

I also took a lovely workshop, an introductory exploration of shamanism where we journeyed the deeper, rooted connection to the Earth. Through drumming, working with power animals and dancing we discovered the interconnectedness of ancient traditions. The workshop, taught by Dana Cougar Robinson, is from Michael Harner’s Foundation of Shamanic Studies and well worth looking into. My experiences of journeying were profound and provided me with deep insights into my earth adventure. Check out http://www.fss.org/ for more info.

This summer was also a time to nourish the roots that have been formed by Rubybleu House and Rubybleu Foundation. We are gearing up for next season:

So now, as I settle down to write my Reiki Warrior book, I find myself still remembering the past of these familiar misty mountain paths. I revisit the Dalai Lama’s temple but carry new wisdom of the Kalachakra (wheel of time) vision that came to me some months ago. I reminisce about old
friends, special Dharma connections and the profound wisdom teachings th
at come from the Buddha.

I smile deeply because sharing this place with Yoko was very special for Leon and I. She was enchanted by the ‘froggies’ (the fog) coming into the mountains, the monks in their red robes who to her are all the Dalai Lama, the sound of the long Tibetan horns blowing in mid-morning, the flames that burn constantly in the temple, the gold statues glittering with gems, simultaneously symbolizing illusion and wisdom, spinning the red prayer wheels, watching the prayer flags flutter their prayers to the sky. Yes, we do love this path of Dharma and continue to water the seeds of Love and Light in little Yoko and ourselves. So, the ‘froggies’ are coming in…and I begin my month of quiet writer’s retreat of solitude, while Yoko
and Leon head back to Rubybleu house.

Hope to see you all there this season!

Until next time,



Thursday, April 26, 2007


These past days I have been reacquainting myself with the basic concepts of the Buddha Dharma. One of the main teachings is the mediation on Death and Impermanence. In light of the recent death of Leon’s father as well as the intense tragedy of Virginia Tech, my contemplation has been compounded with the reality of how precious Life really is. And life is so precious only because we die, because our bodies, our selves are walking this earth for such a short time, because nothing lasts forever and impermanence is the true nature of the Universe.

I am blessed in a way, in the paradox of Blessings, having experienced cancer at nineteen and a baby death at twenty-six because the stark reality of Death and Impermanence stood in front of me, shining truth onto my face. This is a Blessing because having not only understood and realized the concept of death, I have experienced it as well. And, from these experiences I have taken the wisdom of imbuing the moment, every moment, with the sacred awareness of Being. In other words, I try not to waste time. Each day I make an effort not to spend the moments of my life worrying or fretting or unnecessarily analyzing and judging. Instead I concentrate on cultivating compassion and dedicating each day to healing and helping others to ease their suffering. And, of course, I count my blessings and enjoy the beauty of this world. I celebrate my life through art, poetry, dance and openness and provide a space for others to do the same.

The afternoon is shimmering in our magical, tropical garden. As I breathe, write these words, contemplate Death, I am struck, not by the horror of tragedy but by the suffering of those who have inflicted the horror. The suffering and fear that may come as one passes from this realm into the next is something to be thought about, dealt with care and compassion. And yet, I know that life indeed emerges from the ashes, that rebirth is one of the most powerful forces in the universe.

An old and dear friend of mine, Janel Beckham, Virginia Tech Alumnus is also honoring the power of rebirth by dedicating her time to honor those who have suffered in the tragic loss. She is compiling a special project called Resignation and Bloom: Words for Hope and Healing, an edited collection of creative writing, essays and images which will be presented as a gift of hope to the Department of English during the weekend of May 12, 2007 during Virginia Tech’s commencement festivities.

Please visit
http://www.resignationandbloom.com/ to find out more about this incredible project, submit poetry and artwork and donate funds.

I am always struck by the beauty of people coming together to honor those who have passed on. This summer we will be showing our respect for Leon’s father in Arlington Cemetery in Washington D.C. His mother will be buried alongside in a special ceremony for war veterans.

And, as some things pass, others continue to grow. Rubybleu Foundation is proud to announce we have enough funds to give three scholarships for children to attend higher education next year. Also, with the welcome help of Sabrina Davis, a social worker from England, we have begun development for a Volunteer Program in concert with the Sister Mercy Education and Resource Center just near Trivandrum, Kerala. Stay connected to
http://www.rubybleu.org/ to find out how you can come and volunteer in India to teach English, assist women’s groups and work with Free Trade.

Leon, Yoko and I will be visiting the States June 15th through July 24th. We will be in the Maryland, Washington D.C. area for most of the time and in the Bay Area of California June 20th to 28th. I will be teaching Reiki Warrior: First Degree Reiki in San Francisco and Columbia Maryland.

In the meantime, the garden, the Reiki, the Yoga, the beach, the sun, the mystical chants of India’s dawn seed our soul and allow us to Be more deeply, to honor the precious Life and remember that every breath is sacred.

Till next time,


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The past two and a half months feel like they’ve streamed by in a colorful, magical blur. A month after Yoko’s birthday, we held our annual Winter Solstice gathering where burning my fears and stating my intentions loud and clear to the Universe seems to have worked quite well.

January was a wonderful time with Mom/Nana visiting from the U.S. and Carmen and Esan from Thailand. We all had a great time hanging out in Varkala, enjoying the beach, the cliff food and our LOVE party. Leon and I said our vows again, wearing our wedding clothes, adorned with jasmine and marigolds. We honored Carmen and Esan’s engagement with Mom between us, holding a clear space for Carmen and I and our great loves.

Of course, the extraordinary highlight of the whole trip was the weekend visit to the Maldives. Yoko still talks about the airplane to the Maldives and all the fish. After a hair raising boat ride across open ocean water, I felt blessed to be swimming along magnificent coral atolls, witnessing not only hundreds of colored fish, but two sea turtles and a few eagle spotted rays! Seeing those soft, flying beauties winging their way through the deep indigo water really made my heart soar.

Other news is that the site www.matadortravel.com has just launched which connects unique travelers from all over the world. I will be publishing articles about people in India so check it out and use it to hook up with travelers, writers, artists, visionaries.

The Rubybleu Foundation is pleased to announce that Gigi, our first scholarship recipient is doing very well in her college education. We met with her during Christmas break and are happy to see her moving forward in her schooling. We hope to continue support for her as well as giving two more scholarships next year.

The season is flying by and I’m meeting such wonderful people this year, healers, artists, dancers, writers and others who are dedicating themselves to building a community in Varkala. The flavor of this village is diversifying and growing each year and I wholeheartedly welcome you all to come and partake in the beauty of living by the sea and in the magick that is India.

Much love and light,

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