That I may see . . . day four
that I may see . . . . day four
BhaBhai: if someone seeks and becomes Gurmukh, then he
dwells in the home of his own heart.
BhaBhai: The way of the terrifying world ocean is
treacherous. Remain free of hope in the
midst of hope
, and you shall cross over. By Guru’s Grace, one comes to
understand himself; in this way, he is Jiwan Mukt, dead while yet alive. II41II
(936) –Guru Nanak
In the early days of sobriety,
literally—to my email, my bank card—everything
Even as my motto denounced all hope:
“Abandon hope all ye who enter here.”
It seemed so very romantic and desperate and spiritual
Which is actually nothing like early sobriety—
At least the romantic part;
desperate—probably; spiritual—not really,
“remain free of hope in the midst of hope”
and with that consciousness one is promised
liberation—jiwan mukt—remaining dead while yet
Inert, free of all action,
It longs for nothing, but in the midst
Of that cold, lonely darkness
As a nation, we were built
While we held people in chains.
Even now, we bind ourselves
To things, to people, to time.
we have let loose upon the winds:
We no longer hold these truths
As self-evident; our logic has been
Crucified on a cross of greed and corruption.
So yes, let us abandon hope
And deliver them to
These promises of a nation
That I may see . . . Day Two
Day two . . . (reflections on my husband)
He stands a man unencumbered
He does not bow to false patriotism
Instead, guided only by his own internal ethic,
He lives for the good, wherever it is found.
Once a soldier, now a farmer
At war with grasshoppers and drought
But at peace with himself
So that I may see . . . Day One
This morning in my meditation at the Ranch, I asked Yogi Bhajan, How can it be? How can Trump be President-elect? How did this man rise to power? And how is it that the Ardas welcomed his ascendancy?
I heard in response, "So that you may see." So, although I have not used this blog regularly for many years now, I turn to it again as a repository of my exploration of seeing.
Past the paddock toward my early morning
The Painted Pony, restless in the light of the full moon,
Snorted boldly at me and ran
Like a child in a summer rain.
The cold making a fog of his breath.
The night air catching us both
The orange-haired monster now running for president has silenced so many woman, his power alone silences most; his capacity for slander and bile silences the rest. I have never been subject to his particular brand of "hands-on" misogyny but I have been silenced nonetheless. The feelings, the memories his rhetoric has triggered leaves me feeling hollow, burned but not clean. There's a heaviness, a confusion, a sense of fighting through mud which has swallowed up all my words. Consumed the source of my power--my voice. So today, after a more than a week of silence and wondering where the words went, I made myself sit with the silence and allow it to speak. Allowed myself to come home--to myself.
I Came Home
I came home from elementary school
Crying that I felt raped
A boy had kicked me
I felt violated.
My mother asked,
How do you even know the word
I came home from middle school
Knowing something was very wrong
A girl in the grade below me was
How could it be? She was
Younger than me.
I came home from a pool party
Feeling slightly sick to my stomach
Not knowing why:
His words made me feel so
The way he looked at me
Made me want to
I came home from bible camp
And all I can remember
Is the feel of him
Against my leg,
Exciting and also scary.
Still, I wondered why
something inside me is
So very sad.
I came home from my sleepover,
After my first kiss,
A first kiss I wanted,
A first kiss I positioned myself for,
But it did not go as I had imagined--
Things never do. There was no
Sweetness, there was nothing tender.
It was all so very mechanical, so very
I came home from my first date,
He was older than me, too old,
I don’t know why but my parents approved.
He touched my thigh,
He kissed me
Without knowing me.
I came home from my first year of college
With a boyfriend, a nice guy,
My parents liked him
more than I did.
He cried the last time we made love
His tears fell on my “good girl” dress
handmade by my mother and I
Raged with a white hot heat.
I never wore it again.
I came home after the first time
I made love to someone
I actually loved,
Looking into his eyes
I lost my breath.
I can’t breathe.
I curled up on the bathroom floor
Panic--in full flight.
I came home from my first
One night stand
And felt so powerful--
No names, no need,
Just pure gravity,
The pull of the other
And the self up in flames.
I came home years later
a man on my arm.
Better than I deserved,
not anything like what I expected,
truer to me than I could
ever be to myself.
I came home
A Very Subtle Year
Greetings. It's a new year and my only commitment thus far is to write more. I left my full-time employment so that I could write and proceeded to write less than ever. . . . best laid plans and all. Still, this is a year of the subtle body, of listening and obeying what you hear. This is a year of quiet resilience and steely steadiness. This is a year of infinite knowing and trusting, even in the face of ever-present doubt. This is the year of The Guru Within. And my inner voice has been whispering for more than two years now, write, write, write. So, here I am: writing.
There are many schools of writing. I suppose the two polarities I identify with most are these: One, If you can avoid writing, then please, by all means do. The world only needs those writers who MUST write. And Two, write for the exercise of writing. Practice your craft, tell your story so many times that it becomes its own story, listen to what is within and let it out. But the bottom line is this: I'm happier when I'm writing. Even when it takes me to dark places; even when I don't like the response I get; even when I'm scared by what I find on the page at the end of the day, I'm still happier when I'm writing. And that's what this being human is about yes? Being happy and whole and healthy--at least to the degree we can.
Last year was a challenge on a lot of levels: professionally, personally and spiritually. I'm not saying any of those challenges have resolved themselves completely, but I seem to have learned to put one foot in front of the other and continue forward. Even when it's like walking through mud. To put my reliance on momentum alone. Some kind of movement was better than none. And I learned that I could put out a beautiful, inspired album (The Pearl: Maiden, Mother, Crone) even when I didn't feel an ounce of inspiration myself. I learned that I could inspire others to teach and take on the identity of Teacher even when I was in complete duality and doubt about my own identity. I learned that I could be a person of faith without believing in anything outside of myself. And finally I learned just how fortunate I am that even in my most ungrateful selfish moments, I have had a home and food to offer to a stranger and I have had the Guru's Bani to bring me back to myself and my highest vibration.
So, I move from the year of challenge to the year of subtlety--and I look forward to reporting back to the things I will have learned by this time next year--God willing and the creek don't rise.
blessings and prosperity to you all in the coming year,
sat purkh, human being, woman, writer, singer, songwriter, teacher, trainer, wife, daughter, sister, auntie, gursikh, and more....
Friday Night Rant
In my position as a somewhat public figure, I sometimes get e-mails or comments suggesting that I shouldn't say this or that, or promote this person or that person, or support x or y. I usually take it with a grain of salt and wish them well and press delete. But in the recent weeks and months, there's a new wave of fanaticism arising in Sikh Dharma around the world. Friends of mine have been threatened, slandered, and generally harassed in a way that is downright scary. And in writing this, I suppose I'm opening myself up to the same. But I can't not address this, especially when perfect strangers feel like they have the right to tell me what I should believe, or imply in some what that I don't understand the tenants of my own faith clearly enough to speak about it.
First--let me make my position very clear--if you are a fanatic of any ilk, I have no interest in defending myself to you. All I have to say to you is, Quit being a fanatic. It's against everything that I know to be Sikhi and it's rooted in a deep-seated self-violence that spreads itself out in waves of shame and blame all around the world.
Second--let me say that although I am Sikh--I am an interfaith Sikh. I take the four doors of the Harimander Sahib seriously, all are welcome and none are turned away. That the one God we recognize is the one God of everyone--no one is outside of God, not even God. And in my heart of hearts I know that if Guru Naanak were alive today, he would not have stopped at "There is no Muslim, no Hindu"; he would have continued on to say, No Christian, No Sikh. I was told this week that I needed to research my own faith more deeply before posting things. Well, you know how well that went over. But it did make me start to think. How do I talk about Sikh Dharma? What are the principles that resonate with me most? I've already left the religion of my childhood because it denied the paths of so many others; and I promised myself I would never sign up for a path that denied other paths.
So here's My Sikh Dharma--and if you don't like it--well, get your own page and write your own truth:
1. "the guru takes you away, and the guru brings you back." With this principle we understand that there is no room for judgement in Sikh Dharma. Everything is by the hand of the One Doer.
2. See the faults of others and then unsee them--from the Ardas, our daily prayer. With this we plant the seed of forgiveness in ourselves and our communities. Forgive, and then forgive again. Operate from the positive and act for the good of all.
3. Humility is the ground. Every step we take as a sikh must be rooted in a deep and all-pervading humility. God is the Doer.
4. Praise is the practice. Just chant--everything else will be taken care of.
5. Identity is everything and nothing. With Guru Naanak we understand the humility of nirgun--without form; and with Guru Gobind Singh we see the radiance of sirgun--with form. Find your place on the spectrum and be yourself, formless within the form.
6. "put your head in your hand" -- conquer your ego and live from your heart. Quit bullying people and just mind your own business and become the dust of the dust of the saint's feet.
7. Service is joy. Sacrifice is love. Become a living Saint by becoming completely and utterly human.
8. God is within--Antarajamee--the Inner Knower of Hearts. There's nothing outside of me.
9. Prayer is a Power. Trust the Guru's Bani and allow it to purify your thoughts, your heart, and your mind.
10. Be still and allow the universe to come to you. Chant the name. Live simply, sing sweetly, serve food, practice right livelihood and become Jiwan Mukht--dead while alive. In this way we live fearlessly and cultivate the courage to sacrifice.
Becoming a Teacher
I recently completed the KRI Level Three Teacher Training in Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan. A long fruitful process that begins with the first step--the call to become a Teacher. I remember saying to myself, I'm going to be a Yoga Teacher--a full 10 years before I ever even found the practice that would become my path! But somewhere inside myself I understood that as a reality of my identity.
The call to become a Teacher is a profound urge to serve, to uplift and to cultivate a mind that can be at rest, even under the greatest stress. The call to become a Teacher must be answered. It may take 10 years or it can happen tomorrow! The nature of Kundalini Yoga is that it calls you to act--now! Not tomorrow, not someday, not maybe, but now. And that willingness to say Yes is the same power that will enable you to fulfill that Yes. Saying yes to becoming a Teacher is saying yes to trusting the universe to come and serve you in your identity so that you can in turn serve others.
The KRI Aquarian Teacher is a three-tiered program: Instructor, Practitioner and finally Teacher, which takes you progressively from the skills you need to deliver the experience of Kundalini Yoga, to the transformation that results from becoming a Practitioner, and finally the consciousness that one cultivates to hold the vastness and integrity of a Teacher. It's a life's work and you can begin it now!
I'm involved in two KRI Level One Teacher Trainings coming up this year: Immersion 2015 here in Espanola, NM and a 10-month course starting in September in Reno, Nevada. To find out more or to register today see:
kundalinireno.com or immersion.kriteachings.org