Greetings from the Land of Enchantment: February 2007

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Michael Franti--Patron Saint of Peace

Yesterday was my 7-year sobriety anniversary. Sort of a big deal. I'd just gotten in from Seattle and was exhausted when at 10am I remembered I had bought tickets to Michael Franti and Spearhead. My first thought was, I'm too tired. And I feel like I'm coming down with something. And, and , and. . . . But I am soooo glad I went.

I've been a fan of Spearhead for probably close to 15 years now. I've seen Michael Franti perform on tiny piers, smoky clubs, acapella at peace rallies, and now in a grand theatre. He only gets better and better. In fact, of the many times I've seen him perform, I believe last night was the best--even though I wasn't feeling 100%. I felt so uplifted by the end of the show. He's a magician and a healer and a peace maker, yogi, sadhu, saint, and, and, and. . . .

During the encore he brought a couple up on stage to dance. The guy then proceeded to get down on one knee and ask the girl to marry him. Then he pulled two kids onto the stage to jump around. After every show he sticks around and says hi to people, jumps down from the stage and gives out hugs and hellos.

As my friend and I were coming down the stairs from the nosebleed section, I said, I think I want to go down and see if we can say hello. I'd gotten a hug from him at another show years ago in Seattle. And it was a long shot, there were tons of people there. But it's like receiving darshan, so off we go and he was there waiting with open arms. What a lovely human being.

He has become so radiant and light over the years. He's always been positive and political, but it seems now that he's transcended--beyond the polarities as we say in yoga--and even his songs talk about it. "Nobody's right and nobody's wrong."

I can't imagine a better way to have celebrated my seven years!

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Homecoming Concert

Well, with the help of a few friends and several strangers, we pulled off a lovely event Saturday night while I was in Seattle visiting friends. Mollie, once a stranger and now a friend, helped to pull the entire thing together through her connections at Samadhi Yoga. Kathleen Hunt made the space available. Joe Panzetta, musician extraordinaire, helped make me sound good and get the word out, as did many other teachers in the Seattle area. Thank you!

With about 25-30 people there (I forgot to count), we were able to raise $76 for the Library of Teachings and have a lovely, uplifiting time together. Thank you for your generosity everyone!

People came who I didn't expect: Manpreet Kaur and her mother; Karin, a former client, friend, and fellow musician, as well as several people I'd never met, local students in the area and some people who just love to sing (friends of Don). People didn't come who I did expect--so it all evens out in the end.

I'm going to continue the spontaneous Kirtans in New York hopefully as pass through on my way to Boston. So look out East Coast!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Kirtan Saturday, February 24, 2007

Sat Purkh Kaur Khalsa

aka Chiara Huddleston

Saturday, February 24th, 7:30

Samadhi Yoga on Capitol Hill

New Spirit Voyage Recording artist and long-time Seattle Resident, Sat Purkh (Chiara) returns for a homecoming concert.

Come cozy up with Sat Purkh and Friends for a night of singing, chanting, and laughing.

Her new album will be available Summer 2007.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Patience Pays--Wait

I can't believe this has just happened, so I'm just going to write it out:

I've just been offered the contract from the Spirit Voyage Idol Contest that I participated in last summer. I fly out at the end of the month to record an album that will be available for Summer Solstice 2007.

Thank you for all your prayers of support and continually asking me over the years, "when are you going to record?" I finally have an answer for you--next week!

Wahe Guru ji ka khalsa
Wahe Guru ji ki fateh!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Lonely Hearts Club--Not

Well, I have to admit I'm a bit shocked. My Valentine's day message got more feedback than any other in the history of this blog. Evidently matters of the heart matter most. (Although I still encourage you to scroll down and participate in the Birthday Dedication!!! Please?)

Valentine's day was an opportunity for me to relish my friendships. Several friends sent me chocolates--yum! and even though my evening plans fell through, it turned out to be a delight. My close friend Gurpurkh came over to comiserate and we ended up laughing well into the night. Just the medicine I needed.

The twilight broke with 4 inches of fresh snow and an opportunity to read from the Guru at 4 in the morning (our weekly Akhand Path) and sing with my friend Dharm in the morning chants at Sadhana. A perfect way to start the day--topped off with hiking with my dog for an hour in the fresh snow!

There's nothing like being the first tracks through soft, fluffy, bright snow. The sound Vinnie (my chow-chow) makes when he rushes past me, the crunch beneath my feet, the eerie quiet. Stunning. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Valentine's Day Is Over--I wish

Oh, that old Billy Bragg song. . . .what to write? How does a single woman approaching 40 write about Valentine's day without being too cynical or too sappy? How many presents can one get for oneself without it becoming an empty cliche?

I went to bed last night thinking about all the machinations women go through--fretting and worrying about whether they'll get married, have a family, be able to manage a career, blah blah blah. And I got very resentful when I realized that men probably don't lie awake at night worrying about these things at all! I also bet that they don't have strange totems tied together with red string in their 'love' corner; or sleep only on one side of the bed in order to 'make room' for their soon-come beloved; or leave half of their closets empty; or any of the other strange, bordering-on-superstitious, behaviors of single women trying to attract a mate.

So, I decided that this year--besides the lovely little raw chocolate brownies made by Kirnjot that I highly recommend--I was going to give myself the best gift any woman approach 40 could possibly give herself: I'm going to liberate myself from all such machinations of folly. I'm going to sleep in the middle of my new, huge, queen-sized bed. I'm going to use every single closet in my apartment. I'm going to clear out all my superstitious totems to 'love' and its incredible sway over my psyche. I'm going to quit wishing and hoping and dreaming and all such gerands of grandeur and I'm going to just be in my life--as it is--right now.

I feel better already. Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 12, 2007

sleeping beauty

I'm reliving my first few months here in Espanola. I went to sadhana everyday and slept every weekend. I was wondering why I had no motivation to do anything this weekend but sleep and read and occassionally feed myself and then I remembered my first few months here. I went to sadhana faithfully and every weekend I slept and slept and slept. Well, things do come around again and as much as I'm glad to be doing sadhana again everyday, I wonder if I'll ever build up the stamina to have a life, too.

Still, I did enjoy reading in bed all day Saturday and sleeping and getting up to make myself dinner (feel-good food: garlic mashed potatoes and greens) and watch a movie.

Sunday I sang in gurdwara and stayed for langar. But then it was off to dreamland again and a loooong nap.

I suppose if it's sadhana or "a life" I'm happy to choose Sadhana, but I hope it changes with time. Until then, sweet dreams.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

"all the news that's fit to print"

Isn't it interesting that the New York Times has finally decided to put pictures of what's happening in Iraq on the front cover--now that the tide is turning and both sides of the aisle have declared their non-confidence in the President's plan? I can't help but question the validity of a newspaper that calls itself the 'paper of record' when the only thing it seems capable of is riding the tide.

I've seen three days in a row now--on the front cover of our regional NY Times--pictures from Iraq. Where were these two years ago, two months ago even? Now that it's safe for the Times to have a position against the war they will. I personally find it repulsive.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

The Oud and other weekend activities

It was a very busy weekend; normally, the Monday after the Super Bowl I would have nothing on my mind but whether my team won or lost (it won). But I had such an eventful weekend that I'm not going to talk about that sloppy, rainy, messy, game at all--other than to say I'm glad the Colts pulled it off.

Friday night began with a concert at the Gig--a charming, tiny live music venue that's for serious listening only. No booze, no smoking--just auditory delights and a lavatory for emergencies. Anyway, if any music pulls at my heart strings, it is the oud. Yes I have fond associations (the love of my life played the oud) but it's also just the most melancholy, but open and pure sound of any stringed instrument out there. The energy of the musician and his drummer was so pure--so radiant--that I was instantly in love. And not in the swoony 1930s bad b-movie way, but in the pure, dive-deep-int0-the-ocean-of-sound-that-is-love-way. There was so much love in that room from the sound and the vibration of the musicians that one was literally 'in love'. Swimming in it!

Saturday was the usual morning: sadhana, the bhog, teach my class, but then I worked a couple of hours here at the office and then went straight to bowl with some friends for the Rotary Club fundraiser. I bowled a 135! my first game; it was all downhill from there, but still fun to have bowled over a 100. Saturday night was an impromptu gathering at my friend Japa's. Great fun, great food. Tried to teach everyone how to play pinochle but it's going to be harder than I don't realize how complicated something is when you've played it your entire life.

Sunday began with an early trip into Santa Fe to lead the services at the Unitarian Universalist Congrational Church. Snatam and Sangeet led the jetha--several of us joined them. Dharm Singh--from Chocolate Maven fame--gave a little homily about Sikhism. It was very well received. I broke down. Still don't really know why; but I had to lock myself in the bathroom stall between services and sob. In some way I must be mourning my past. After the confrontation over the holidays with my plane mate, I've had to really take a hard look at the faith I grew up in and the faith I maintain now. So I suppose I was just moved by a group of people who, like Sikhs, are open to all paths and feel no need to say one is right or wrong, but simply to follow the one that feels right for them. It was very moving. Sangeet has decided we need to take the show on the road. So if you know of any congregation that would like to know more about Sikhism--we've got a program for you!

Sunday ended with the game--a big gathering at friends. I, of course, am the only woman in the living room watching the game. My friend later joined me so I wasn't so alone in my enthusiasm but I suppose I'm still a puzzle to most people. As my friend Sangeet said to me earlier in the afternoon after the interfaith program, "you really are a puzzle; well-read and politically informed but also likes fashion magazines and sports." Ah. I'm afraid it's true.

Well--that's my report. Live from here in the high desert of Northern New Mexico.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

1000-day Projection--Join me!

Dedicate Your Birthday to the Legacy of Yogi Bhajan

Help the Library of Teachings Archive Become a Reality!

Join us in this 1,000-day meditation

My friend and I were out on a walk the other day and I said, “I’m going to raise money for the Library of Teachings for my birthday this year. What would I rather do, get a blender or help generations of people live in their excellence?” Well, of course, the answer was obvious. So, an idea was born.

First, what is a birthday? The Teachings tell us that the true definition of a birthday is when the Bij (seed) of the soul decides to merge into Prakirti (Creation) and play out its individual karmas. Yogi Bhajan wanted us to dedicate our birthdays to the greater good, reminding us that our birthday is a time to express gratitude for the gift of life and the Teachings. Let’s get back to this tradition of consciousness and prosperity: everything that you give on your birthday multiplies tenfold and comes back to you throughout the year. The Universe comes to meet your gift.

Second, what if every student of Yogi Bhajan’s around the world dedicates their birthday for the next three years to contributing to the Legacy of the Teachings. If our vast international community works together we can bless ourselves and future generations by preserving, archiving and creating access to these incredible Teachings.

We’ve decided that we want 10,000 people to dedicate their birthday to Yogi Bhajan. What would that look like? If each donation is a minimum of $300, we could have three million dollars by 2010. And what would three million dollars mean? A great beginning—we could digitally archive the entire Library of Teachings—over 30 years of audio and video lectures by the Siri Singh Sahib (Yogi Bhajan). Professionals from around the globe have submitted proposals—with tears in their eyes—hoping to work with this archive because they’re so touched by Yogi Bhajan. They want to be a part of making this legacy a living reality—don’t you?

We pledge to raise $300 or more on our birthdays this year for the Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings in gratitude for what we’ve received from the Divine. Will you do the same?

Click here and fill out our pledge form:

This year, on your birthday, let your friends and family know that in lieu of gifts, you will be donating to The Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings; ask them to help you make this dream a reality by giving you a donation to this project. Whatever amount you raise is valuable! We hope that word of this project reaches the ear of everyone who’s ever been touched by Yogi Bhajan; and we ask that you hold it in your projection for the next 1000 days—even dedicating your next three birthdays (until 2010) toward making the Library of Teachings a reality.

Please send this to 5 friends who love the Teachings as you do. Also, we want to hear from you—write us and tell us about your birthday party, send photos, tell stories and share in the prosperity of making this dream a reality!

See to pay on line or make your check payable to:

The Library of Teachings c/o

Kundalini Research Institute

PO Box 1819

Santa Cruz, NM 87567

Be sure to put “Birthday” in the memo. If the amount is over $250, you’ll receive a gift acknowledgment letter that you can use for tax deduction purposes.

Keep the Teachings alive! Pass this on!

Japa Kaur Khalsa, DOM & Sat Purkh Kaur Khalsa (aka Chiara Huddleston)