Greetings from the Land of Enchantment: July 2006

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Island: Now on Video

Well, I never would have rented it if my friend hadn't recommended it to me. This near-future science fiction movie boggles the mind. There are too many references to name and too many associations to absord, but in the end, it's a great action-adventure drama that works, despite underusing the talents of Johannson and McGregor. I was totally drawn in.

It covers all the ethical and historical dilemmas of the human psyche: slavery, soul, and solipsism. Medical ethics are thrown out the window in the name of beauty, long-life, and greed. The polarity of the human mind is portrayed by the unwitting acceptance of the majority and the curiosity and desire for 'more' of one lone man--who changes the landscape, literally, for everyone else.

Plus it has great chase scenes! Rent it.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

photos from the Authentic Relationships Course

I made a few friends during the course as well as deepening some already established friendships. To the left is one of my closest friends here in Espanola, the fabulous Devi Dyal.

This is obviously a shot of me during the course....looking hot and sweaty but deep in the meditation of God and Me, Me and God are One.

More photos to come in the coming days...

A guest blogger on the state of the world

One of my dearest and smartest friends responded to my slow crawl through African history this summer (mixed in with a LOT of bad tv) with the following. It was so brilliant I had to share it:

So hard to find the balance isn't it? I want to read about dark history, and I do read about it, but then it is so depressing and disheartening. When terrible things are happening in the world, as they are right now, as they always seem to be, I find I want to read about such things less and would rather watch stupid TV. Then I feel guilty about watching stupid TV when bad things are happening and people stay ignorant about them. Then I think that what makes bad things bad is, in part, the fact that they steal regular, safe normal days from people in which they might do things like watch TV and not have to think about heavy things. Then I think about how much energy it takes to power the world's TVs and the impact this must have on global warming and the overall destruction ofthe environment. Then I go back to reading. Then I think about all the trees that were cut down to make a book. Then I try to read on-line. Then I think about the energy it takes to fuel my computer and the fact that the last computer I got rid of went into the land fill because we didn't have programs to recycle them yet. And so on. It's enough to make a girl fall into a state of frozen indecision and despair. --Tamara, Seattle, WA

Monday, July 24, 2006

All that Jazz

There's nothing like live music! Especially live Jazz! I spent the weekend at the Santa Fe Jazz Festival. Amazing stuff.

Friday night began with the Newport Jazz Allstars. Now, my favorite kind of jazz is the old-fashioned pass-it-around improvization. But it's a bit much with a 9-10 piece band. A quintet maybe. Quartet is the best. However, there was an amazing Clarinest there that made the show worthwhile.

Saturday night began with a surprise. The Brass Band I'd gone to see had a family tragedy and didn't show. So, I balked a bit when a blind guy walked onto the stage and sat at the piano. I had come to see a 12-piece brass band! However, my skepticism was quickly replaced by awe. I am continually amazed by the power of the individual performer. To hold the audience in the palm of your hand and to change their hearts and minds with your voice and your presence. It's so powerful to witness. It's my favorite way to perform and the most moving shows I've ever seen have been in this genre. Anyway, this guy basically gave us a history of jazz: beginning with the old spiritual hymns, moving on to rag time and then be-bop and finally one of his own pieces that was just amazing.

He was followed by Los Hombres Caliente. And were they hot! Oh man. This guy could play the trumpet and his band was equally talented. Brilliant. I highly recommend them.

Last night was Branford Marsalis and his band. They are tight and have been playing together for years. The drummer, Watts, is exceptional and they are all brilliant performers and composers. I especially loved the piece written by the pianist called Hope. I've seen them in Seattle as well and they always put on an intense if fairly short show. Blackzilla was an especially intense piece. Like a wall of sound. If I had one criticism of Branford and his band it's that they do put up a wall and seem somewhat veiled from their audience. They are very intimate and tight with each other on stage, joking and talking. But as an observer I feel left out, not included, which for a live music show is disappointing. I want to feel engaged and pulled in. Excellent craftmanship is always amazing to witness, but to have the skills and pull the audience in, is genius. Still all in all, I'm going to buy their CD, especially if I can find the cut 'Hope.'

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Relating Authentically

It's been a rough couple of weeks. But I'm still standing.

I've been looking in the face of addiction and it's so ugly. It makes me so grateful for the life I have now. And it's confronting me about the behaviors I still hold onto that no longer serve me or those that I love.

This journey of recovery is so much more than just not using. Because even if our bodies our sober, our minds aren't, unless we maintain a certain simple attitude. To be in the grip of anything is so painful. But to be a slave to our own madness is a terrible thing, especially when our minds were given to us as a servant.

Self-assessment and awareness, love and compassion, surrender and strength are the way out, but the path is often very, very dark. Unless the meditative mind can be corralled, the negative mind and the positive minds join forces to completely spin us out--we become compulsive, obsessive, exaggerating, and destructive. The very definition of a an addict.

I am so grateful that I was not only able to surrender, initially, but I was also able to stick around long enough to claim my own power back. To embody the Bhakti/Shakti principle and polarity that is this Trantric practice of Kundalini Yoga.

It is a narrow blade we walk, and it can cut so sharply and deeply. It's killing hundreds everyday. Destroying families. Destroying lives. And it's only going to grow colder and meaner as time passes. People will be hopeless. But there is always hope and as my teacher says, kindness is never wasted.

May the hand of AA always be there to reach out to the fellow sufferer and may the teachings of Yogi Bhajan always be there to uplift the spirit so that we may all be lifted up to our true, authentic nature and our promised birthright: To be Happy, Healthy, and Holy.

Today's Yogiji quote:
"The mind is beyond time and space. It is part of the Universal Mind. It is given to you as an instrument to serve you. What happened? It became your master and you became the servant. The mind becomes a monster when it becomes your master. The mind is an angel when it becomes your servant. It is all in your mind. The meditative mind is a purely beautiful state of living."

Coincidence? Think again.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

From the Mountain to the Maya

Just after solstice, my sister arrived. What a blessing to have her in my life! We realized that it was really the first time, as adults, that we had been alone together--just us. Usually we meet as an entire family once or twice a year. And I've had individual trips with my brother several times (which are also great!) but to have her here, in my home, was such a blessing. She really is a great person--funny, spontaneous, open-hearted, and beautiful.

The morning she left I began the Authentic Relationships Pilot course here in Espanola, NM. What a ride! There were some very profound moments for me. I could really feel Yogiji's presence throughout the course and was very moved by the events and the meditative space that was opened up. What a profound difference to be meditating with people who've been teaching and practicing for years. I really do believe it was the beginning of my becoming a practitioner.

The day after the course ended I received a call regarding my sponsee. (As many of you know I'm a member in good standing of Alcoholics Anonymous.) This sponsee was drunk and beligerant and needed a place to stay or go to jail. You can imagine the polarity of coming off a week-long teacher training and then straight into the hell that is addiction. Needless to say, I feel really worn out and emotionally drained. My nervous system is a wreck!

Pray for me and pray for everyone who continues to live in the delusion that anything outside of themselves can change the way they think, feel, or behave. It's an inside job. And sometimes (most of the time) we're beyond human aid. We must seek the spark of our own Divine Spirit and the help of our Lord God, by whatever name we seek him/her. It is only through that connection, that union, that yoga, that we find peace and are able to relax and be ourselves.

Be Free. Don't be afraid to be.