I just returned from the Japji Course in Crestone, Colorado with Ek Ong Kaar Kaur Khalsa. Now, EOKK is one of my closest friends here in Espanola; so it was a bit surreal to be in the audience, taking the course, and realizing, not for the first time that she is a teacher with a capital T--Teacher. I was stunned by the depth and breadth of her teaching. I learned so much. If you ever have the opportunity to take this course with her--do not pass go, do not collect $200--just go!
It was an intense weekend to say the least. Lots of pain, lots of healing, so many moments of illumination. I need to pray about how much detail to go into within this fairly public forum, but if it becomes clear it's okay to share, I will.
One other piece of the weekend that upped the intensity level was that EOKK had asked me to open the course by singing Japji. I was on fire by the time I finished, literally. My face was bright red and I was schwitzing. It was so intense. But people said it gave them an experience and that's what counts, I guess. I'll have to work on it a bit more before I could ever record it, but it would be interesting to work on.
One of the biggest things I had connected for me this weekend was the idea of Karta Purkh. One of the songs on my new album is called Aisa Nam--it has an English chorus that talks about being held by a hand, which I always assumed was my Christian roots peeking through, but it turns out that Karta Purkh, one of the many names or qualities of God within the Sikh Tradition, was translated by Yogiji as 'the hand that carrys or guides'--so my intuitive relationship to these pauris turns out to have a foundation in the naad.
Crestone Colorado, much like New Mexico, is sort of a spiritual 'hot spot'. There are more than five traditions represented in this tiny valley, which is beautiful and amazing. An almost complete circle of mountains contain this valley--stunning views, great energy. But can I say that Coloradans are really strange? Hard to describe, but strange--like they're all just passing through--transient vagabonds. . . .at least in this tiny valley.
Anyway, highly recommend Crestone if you're looking for a spiritual retreat that also has great bike trails, white water rafting, plus it's only half an hour from the Great Sand Dune national park....got to make another trip soon.
Labels: japji, naad
When the sun shines
. . . .it shines so brightly.
Yogi Bhajan often talked of the relationship between men and women as the relationship between the sun and the moon. The woman orbits the man; "how can the sun know itself without the reflection of the moon?" is one of the reasons men are said to need relationship more than women. However, what happens when there's an eclipse? Or night falls? The moon is still supposed to reflect--to be constant even in its cycles. This, I've found, has been the most challenging teaching to live up to of the many 3HO teachings on relationships.
My own particular sun has been eclipsed, cold and dark, for several days, in varying degrees: from complete hibernation to peeking through the clouds to full, mid-day radiance once again. And when the sun shines--man does it shine! I feel like a kid on the first day of summer break! But when it's cloudy, it's a s---storm.
And I, the moon, in this scenario am supposed to keep steady in my orbit, reflecting the sun's most inherent quality, light, and growing and receding as the days pass without ever questioning the presence of the sun or its return.
I'm not saying I succeeded, but I will say it's a sunny day! my oh my!
the world responds
Please see this link for a fascinating and moving survey of the world press' response to this week's shooting at Virginia Tech.
The Yogi in the Real World
As women, we're pretty sensitive creatures--intuitive, insightful, aware of the slightest changes in tone, posture, gesture--to the point that we generate trouble where there was none. I fall prey to the commotion too, even with my more overt masculine qualities--straightforward, direct, blunt. One of my touchstones speaks of the 100 forms of fear being the root of all our troubles--emotional insecurity, financial insecurity--you name it.
As I look at the events of this week I begin to understand why I'm in such a state of overwhelm: I'm in the middle of financial insecurity--overcommitted myself to things I now can't afford; I'm in the middle of emotional 'insecurity' in that I'm involved in something so new that some level of insecurity is only natural and normal; I'm in the middle of job overwhelm, new tasks assigned all the time, even as my standing responsibilities get further and further behind. Up to my eyeballs as they say.
I have a history of mental illness. In my twenties I used to desribe my mental state like this: take a scalpel and run it from the crown of my head down the middle of each of my limbs and trunk and pull so that every nerve is exposed--that's how I felt--filleted. I'm happy to report that my nervous system is much stronger now. I'm under way more pressure than I used to be and now it just looks like your typical 'bad day', with the occasional crying bout in the shower--hydrotherapy (smile). So even though yesterday I felt filleted, in reality, it was just 'a bad day' and I'm learning to show up despite them. And for that I'm soooo grateful. I suppose it's just the reality of being a yogi living in the real world.
For the longest time I lived in fear of a major depressive relapse; but now I have faith in my own experience, practice, and discipline. And I believe in tomorrow--which is always a good sign!
So, to tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow
may you be blessed with peace and tranquility
may prosperity ever blossom in your presence
and may the light of you soul shine brighter
and brighter, illuminating your path
and guiding those in your wake
toward their own excellence,
their own experience
It's amazing how shocking something like this can be--and yet I'm still trapped in my own little world of polarity, my own narcissism, my own attachment to happiness and aversion of pain. There have already been waaaayyy to many reference to 9/11, so I apologize in advance. But there was a moment after 9/11 that a friend of mine said, "nothing will ever be the same again" and I remember thinking, "that's ridiculous". People will continue to have road rage, people will continue to be jealous, people will continue to wake up and drink coffee and go to work and make love and cry when they're overwhelmed. Is there an overall shift in conscioussness when such gross, public levels of tragedy happen--maybe? But for how long? Especially when in the midst of all of this, I'm still concerned about my own small world of pain and pleasure.
Infinity is by definition infinite--and it's always there for us to tap into. Dip our pen into the well and write our one line in destiny. But most of the time we're lost in the play of duality--the world of maya--and all its commiserate pains and pleasures. The Divine Comedy. I wish that today I felt eviscerated because of what happened in Virginia. But I'm not. I placed myself in a position to be hurt--and I'm hurt. It's a very human thing to do. But in the face of such pain, the question will arise, is it human to take that pain and kill 33 people because of it? The tendency to de-humanize this young man is almost inevitable. None of us wants to identify such violence with humane behavior--with being human--and yet we continue to pay for a war that is killing hundreds of civilians every week, if not every day. We're bringing home men and women with no arms and legs while the press focus only on the 'low' death count.
What does it mean to be human? What does it mean to love? It certainly doesn't mean being a slave to the law of change, or karma. It means transcending. Doing what we ought to do, always elevating ourselves beyond our own selfish desires. Because when we don't live to this principal, we drown in a misery of our own making.
Who knows what motive they will ascribe to this young man's actions? And who knows to what extent it will be true or false? But as I look into my own heart of darkness, I see the seeds of misery that I planted. Yogi Bhajan says that we should not look for the good in ourselves, but rather the great. Be great. Be Excellent. Be to be.
So in the wake of such tragedy and in the light of my own personal shortcomings, I recognize that "God has made me the best he can; if he could have made me better he would have" and I will sew myself up and take the next right action and continue to open my heart so that that Infinity which is love and which is within each one of us can overcome this painful present moment.
Well, I've gotten some lovely feedback about the final cover design. But I realized I should acknowledge the two artists whose work inspired the final piece. Out of their selfless service and love for me, they spent a lot of time putting together mock-ups for the album cover and I'm so very grateful for their contribution to what became the final image.
My friend Bachan from Vancouver, BC submitted several versions of a wonderful collage she put together using the same idea. . . . to the left you'll see my favorite. For more of her art and music, see her website www.huemanbeing.com
My niece Hannah Huddleston, who like her mother and grandmother, is an amazing artist (PLEASE GO TO ART SCHOOL--just an idea--smile) submitted this lovely drawing:
Nectar of the Name
So this is the cover image--or at least really, really close to the final cover image for my new album. It's based on a vision that came to me during a healing session a few years back and marks the beginning of my healing process.
I was studying for my Level Two Reiki Practitioner certification and we were doing a group healing--all practicing together. In this particular session, a hummingbird came and dipped its beak into my heart; it felt so completely real. And it was in that moment that I knew my heart was sweet once again. If that moment marked the beginning of my journey, then the "Meditation to Heal the Wounds of Love," which is on this album, marks the completion of my healing.
I hope you like the cover and I hope you enjoy the album--look for it on Spirit Voyage or at your local specialty retailer in June 2007!
My hope is that this music will serve you in your own healing process and uplift you as you walk this path toward the God within. Sat Nam.
Labels: healing, music, spirituality
Leave it to the South . . .
. . . to find yet another way to humiliate women. South Carolina and Missouri are both looking to pass laws that would require a woman (in the language of the law, 'mother') seeking an abortion to review the ultrasound and 'alternative' literature an hour prior to the procedure.
This seems to me at the most fundamental, human level, cruel; at the political level, manipulative; and just plain, downright mean. It also seems to point to the continued belief by those who oppose abortion, so called right-to-lifer's, that a woman seeking an abortion is somehow morally corrupt or without due gravitus in making this particular decision about her own body.
There will always be abuses of every sort. But from my experience, most women seeking an abortion do not do so lightly, or without the naturally arising feelings of doubt, pain, and remorse. It's a hard decision, but those who make it do so because they think it is what is best--for themselves and for the potential life.
Yogi Bhajan always supported a woman's right to choose. Primarily because he asserted that what was best for the woman was best for the child, the family, and the world. If the timing was not right and the woman's interests were not served, the child, the family, and the world would bear the cost.
Seeking an abortion is not a decision made over lunch, in-between shopping excursions. It's an often painful dialogue between your deepest wishes and your present circumstances. In many states, it's a grueling process of driving hours to the nearest metropolitan city that even provides the service--often having to make more than one trip--the initial appointment and the procedure never falling on the same day. To make the process even more humiliating seems to me full of spite and mysoginy--rage even--which begs the question: What did women ever do to the South?
Breakfast with Superman
One would imagine that breakfast with Superman could be overwhelming. What do you fix for a superhero? Is my usual Sunday brunch enough? Blueberry waffles, tofu sausage, maple syrup, fried potatoes. . . . I burned the tofu, the potatoes may have given him a stomach ache, and the waffles just didn't seem to be their usual over-the-top delicious. Am I trying too hard? Or was it because it was dinner time and my timing was thrown off by not having Gospel on the radio or the birds chirping in the morning? Or is it simply hard to concentrate with Superman in your living room?
I laugh--breakfast with superman--because it's a phrase I picked out for my vision board 2007, along with love, romance, commitment, among other things. I've never been one to invest too much in the positive projection approach to life ("the secret" for example). Life happens and it's what we do with it that matters (according to Yogiji). Anything that I've manifested has usually been because a small, quiet voice whispered into god's ear and said--this would be cool, if you have a chance to get to it--and then I promptly try to forget what it is I long for and move on with my life, my day. But something in me must be shifting, or maybe it's just the Bahuta Karam's (a pauri in Japji Sahib that brings prosperity) because my vision board is coming to life in front of my very eyes. "The giver keeps on giving" and it is only we who tire of receiving--so I'm concentrating my attentions on gratitude and just being in the moment--witnessing the miracle that's occuring with every breath, and every sight of him--my very own superman.
With that said, I hope to be posting a new version of Dhan Dhan Ram Das Gur--the miracle mantra--for you; it was written in the wake of this miracle I'm living in.
The adventures of falling in love are myriad: confusion, miscommunication, fun, laughter, and yes, some pain. Falling in love fast means all that plus the potential for a major crash; that's why I'm so grateful I live in a spiritual community--when you're headed over the bridge, there's a guard rail there to pull you back from calamity and point you back in the right direction.
There is a belief system in the culture that supports taking time. Time between relationships; time between heartbreaks; Time, Time, Time. That in some way time alone will be the cure all. I've clung to this idea for years. My teacher, in turn, directed us toward another option. He said, you can either allow the cycles of time to determine your action or you can proceed from what you know in timelessness--or something to that effect. Basically saying that time isn't the primary factor--identity, consciousness, and will are what really matters--and, of course, love.
As we sat and discussed how we feel, what our experience with each other has been, how our pasts contribute to how we relate, our families, our goals--everything--I realized that I could finally relax. We weren't hurtling off into space and we weren't backing away from what was happening--we were just in the moment, experiencing the joy of being together and relishing the thought of our future.
Afterwards, my beloved said to me: Why were you going to let me take a break? I didn't want to; you didn't want to. And I realized that with this man I can just say what I need and want--and even though he may not always like it, he will remain to listen and to love and to lead us toward the good. And I'm grateful to know this, so early on; and I'm practicing trusting it.
Together-- a poem
I bow and I bow
because I don't know how
to do anything more
than love you
I sit and I wait
because there's no where
to go without you
is held only by a slender thread
I pray and I pray
for the day that you and I
become one, become we
free to be
The things we say
As men and women I think we have very different approaches to communication. I tell everything to my girlfriends, well, not everything. But almost
everything. Men on the other hand, say very little. I used to wonder how my mom could stand how silent my father was until she said to me, Well, darling, he talks to me
There are some things that I feel like I would burst if I didn't share, wheras a man could never speak of it--ever. Interesting the social nature of problem solving for women versus the solitary reflection of the man. I admire both skills.
Then, of course, there are the ways we communicate to each other--not just to our friends and family. What do you say or not say to your partner? I haven't been in a relationship in a loooong time, so my "what to say" meter is a bit rusty. I just speak from my heart and then backpeddle later. What a man considers a confrontation, I consider an interesting observation. I've got a lot to learn, to say the least. I've always been a bit intimidating, I'll admit. But it never occurs to me in the moment. I believe I'm just stating my position, or being honest, or inquiring into the root of the problem; meanwhile, the man has this glazed look on his face, or worse, he looks angry or withdrawn.
Yogi Bhajan taught that a man shuts down after 9 minutes--and you never know why, until it's no longer relevant because you've both moved on. So, the key is to apologize quickly, forgive easily, and never assume it's about you.
The Big Game
Okay--One of the big games of the year--is tonight! Florida vs. Ohio State. I didn't get to see all the games approaching this final NCAA game, but I saw the final four this weekend and I hope that this final proves interesting.
Saturday's game, Ohio State v. Georgetown, was great! The second game, between Florida and UCLA was not so great. . . .so it will be interesting to see how the two teams match up. Florida has the experience and the speed; Ohio State has the big man in the middle and what seemed like really disciplined team play.
Not sure who I'm routing for yet, but I have a feeling if I don't go for the gators I may get thrown out of the party tonight! ha!