Greetings from the Land of Enchantment: September 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

At home in your own heart

The new shabd I learned this week has really been a blessing--auspicious (one of my favorite words)--it's called Thir Ghar Baisho. It's perfect for me right now as my mind swings wildly one way and then another. In its opening lines, it basically reminds me of everything I need to know right now--what I need to remember with each breath:

thir ghar baishu har jan pi-aaray.
satgur tumray kaaj savaaray.

Remain steady in the home of your own self, O beloved
servant of the Lord.

The True Guru shall resolve all your affairs.

There is nothing to do. There is no more to be. There is only my prayer and the faith that God the Doer will resolve my affairs. Not the most comfortable place for me to be in; I'm chock full of insecurity and doubt. But it's good practice. And until more is revealed, I get to practice being kind: kind to myself and kind in my thoughts and actions.

Practicing kindness
in the home of my own heart

In my Heaven, David Byrne is God

It's been a weekend of music--and what a weekend it's been. Things were jump-started with a rehansabhai for a friend's 120-day celebration. This all-night singing fest had me scheduled in at 1:30am! Yikes...I thought surely I would be singing lullabies as everyone else slept the night away, but lots of people were awake--and if they weren't awake when I started, they were awake by the time I finished. (Although, the rousing Jai Bhagauti that followed served to wake up any remaining sleepy heads!) Great fun.

Saturday was the final day of the raag course I participated in this week. Beautiful--and even if I never sing traditional, classical kirtan, it gives me new ideas and helps me learn new shabds.

Sunday morning I was awakened by the phone with a request to cover someone's kirtan slot...soooo, more music, and I got to play the new shabd I'd learned (in my own way of course).

But the penultimate moment was Sunday night--David Byrne in Concert! Amazing! I can't believe I've never seen him before. He was and is a genius and I got so much joy from just watching him. The show was more than I could have ever expected. I was always a fan (back in college) but now I have a renewed zeal for this creative, eccentric, expressive, beautiful man. A must-see show if he's ever in your area!

Friday, September 26, 2008

40 Days until the Election

So today marks the beginning of a very important 40-day sadhana. . . . as our country chooses its next president, please remember: we get what we deserve--so deserve more! Ask more of yourself and of your country than lies and deceit, ask more of your country than ignorance and attachment to philosophies that are so bankrupt that they require another philosophy to cover their $700 Billion dollar belly-up. . .and still the wolves and the crow cry for 'freer, truer markets'.

The financial markets are man-made systems based on good faith, rolling credit, and trust in a future. . .none of which have anything to do with a 'free market' but instead represent a carefully calculated, managed, and massaged public perception of prosperity. The Republicans have been espousing a dead philosophy for more than 20years of my life. It began with Reagan's trickle-down theory--and why any true, blue-blooded laborer ever fell for that line of crap is beyond me, but that's a different question--and continued with Bush's 'war' economy. How an entire generation has forgotten the benefits of the New Deal and managed economies via Government spending on people and not WAR is beyond me, too. It's like mass amnesia, which they use to fuel mass ignorance and hysteria.

I don't think these banks deserve a bailout but I'm not an idiot. I understand that in some measure the government has to intervene or we'll have a Greater Depression, on an epic, world-scale, because these are not 'American Economies'--they are world economies.

Oh--and if you want your daughter (or yourself) to have the right to choose, and you want to have access to healthcare, and you'd like your son or daughter to come home from Iraq, you might think about those issues too in the coming days.

Recommended Meditation:


Aap Sahai Hoaa
Sachay Da Sachay Doa
Har Har Har


Left hand: Saturn Finger (middle finger) and Thumb touching
Right hand: Sun Finger (Ring finger) and Thumb touching

Chant: 11 minutes

Thursday, September 25, 2008

tattvas--a poem


I am earth
You are water

I am fire
You are air

We dwell in ether
across space and time

Polarity's perfect play:

Krishna dancing
with his flute

Ganesha riding
upon the rat

Lila turning
and turning
and turning

Laughter spills
from our cup of sorrows

Joy arises from ashes
blood turns to milk
gold from the philosopher's stone

these lowly forms
elements co-mingling

a quixotic elixir
drink from this cup
and never be thirsty again . . .


Monday, September 22, 2008

I like Black People

Here are some photos from the Obama rally this past Thursday right here in little ol' Espanola. All credits belong to Convivial Design Group, Abiquiu, NM (also known as Gyan and Prabhu Jot). . . enjoy!

Singing and singing and singing

Well, it's been a weekend filled with singing--to the point that I don't really feel like I've had a weekend. But it was nice to return from Minneapolis and have another performance lined up. Our jetha sang at the International Folk Art Museum in Santa Fe--amazing place. I can't believe I've never been there before. A definite must on my list of things to do this fall--go back and wander around.

Five hour rehearsal on Saturday and a three-hour performance yesterday, then sadhana this morning--I'm about sung out (read: wrung out). But I really can't be because the Raag course begins today. . . .so more singing!

Meanwhile, I continue to get hints from the universe that it's time to record again. So, I'll just continue to wait until the right time and the right funding and the right set comes together--all in guru's time.

Until then,
Sing until it hurts
Sing until your heart
bursts open
Sing until that final
tear falls
once and for all
Sing until love
and then sing
rejoicing in the fall
sing with each breath
and each step

Friday, September 19, 2008


The shadow rises up
like the seventh wave
crashing against the psyche
sucking you under
carrying you out to
the great ocean,
the deep, cold
blue sea

The current stronger
than your own will
stronger than your practice
bearing the crushing
weight of years
of sorrow and
the great, wide

Out of breath
the instinct to live
grows stronger with each
beat of the heart
pulse pounding,
struggling for breath
to the wide
blue sky

Surfacing, returning
to the breath
the moment
when all things
are new and
shining like the sun

Life lives
even in the darkest
corners--the smallest light
can remove the shadow



Well, I'm thoroughly sunburned and still recovering from a day of political rallying here in Espanola....but we made Salon's online magazine (my daily news source) and we might just make a big difference in the general election!

It was fun to be a part of the 'scene' and it has been a HUGE wake-up call for me. One would think that I've lived here long enough to know that I live in a largely latino place; but I have admit that although I've known it intellectually, I haven't really related to this place in that way. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing really.

But in volunteering for the campaign and in hearing the way the campaign addresses local residents, I realize that my 'cultural' blindness may be hampering my ability to really relate to this place: its history, its people, its richness, its ethnicity. I am white, white, white--or gringo as they say around here. And my whiteness (or pinkness as a friend calls it) has always been a sore spot for me. But what can you do? It's who I am...but I did realize that more than 60% of residents in my county speak Spanish as their First language--even if they've lived here their entire lives. And I've been waking up in the morning with Spanish going around in my head, which seems implausible given I don't speak Spanish, but there it is. I guess I'm finally ready to learn to speak it (after 6 years of studying it-ha!)

So--vamanos Obamanos!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Word from the Master

What is the enlightened language of the man?

Whenever man has come to realization, all he could say is Sa, that is why Sa Ta Na Ma has first word Sa and music has the Sargam: Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Da Ni Sa. Sa is the experience of the action and reaction, both, spontaneously. You cannot become a bird without feathers and you cannot become spiritual without knowing the spirit.

You have to understand to stand under and then you have to test yourself, your physical, your mental and your spiritual self. Therefore I say to you today: the mind is a constant action and reaction of intellect. When you experience the consciousness, you relate it to infinity. How do you relate it to infinity? Through the mantra. What is a mantra? A word. A word which means what? Nothing, but also means everything. A word, which relates the finite to infinity, which inspires you.

God is infinity but when you consciously, constantly, creatively subject your mind to the object of mantra, then you become divine and infinite. Understand? That is why repeating the naam makes you, naam.

You are what you speak, you are what you eat, you are what you do.

--Yogi Bhajan, July 7, 1976

May you speak with committed language

May you eat food that nourishes the body
and the spirit

May your every action uplift
your self and everyone you touch

May your meditation be true
and may you always know your own
your very own note,
your very own song,
your very own voice,
your very own you.

The Honey and the Honeycomb

In the metaphor that is life and spiritual practice, my teacher often describes the formless and the form as honey and honeycomb. The honeycomb (form) can be either empty and dry or full and sweet--it is the honey (the formless) that is the essence, that provides the meaning.

So, too, people can either attach their lives to the honey or the honeycomb. If they attach to the honey, then wherever they go, they bring their own purpose, meaning, and intention to that place and serve that present moment. They are their own home in the world and they bring a sweetness and a lightness to everything they touch. The formless is free to create form, spontaneously, wherever it finds itself.

If however, they attach to the honeycomb, the form, then their relationship to the honey is not stable; they are insecure, shakey--in fact, if they derive their stability from the honeycomb, which is just an illusion (because remember, honey isn't necessarily present in the honeycomb), then they often find themselves in a dry comb, or a catacomb, and every once in a while, through a moment of grace, a place clothed in honey. But because they are relating to the honeycomb and not the honey, they drown. They panic in the presence of the formless. They are so identified with and attached to places and people and things that no longer feed them, they have so lost themselves to a form that doesn't give them what they want, and yet still they can't let go. It's the essence of addiction.

So, in this metaphor, am I lost in the honeycomb or finally becoming the honey? I have spent years attaching to empty honeycombs: dry, empty shapes and forms of things I believed I wanted--all the while thinking that if I believed enough, hoped enough, loved enough, the empty comb would suddenly be filled with honey. While at the same time, I have always known that I am the honey--at home anywhere in the world--because I identify not with a particular form but with the formless, my essence, my identity as sweetness and light--honey--food of the gods.

May the formless
take shape in you
and may you
be you

honey, dense and sweet,
spun into dreams and
of mysterious and
myriad forms

love and light
mutual delight


Here in Northern New Mexico, mineral baths are an ancient source of healing, along with the land and the air and the people. I'm lucky enough to live close to a favorite spot, Ojo Caliente, where you can head up after work and soak away all your troubles, visit with friends, and now, hang out in woven hammocks (a nice addition to the regimen).

Last night I soaked and prayed and laughed and came home to my cozy house and my beautiful animals and crawled into bed. I woke up this morning and realized that none of it was important--at least not in the face of what's really important. I got an e-mail this morning from a friend in Houston who's experiencing an entirely different kind of soaking. Her home is flooded; they are living on bottled water, ice, gas camping stoves and a new generator. But she and her family are safe and together--and that's what matters to her. And to me.

May we all be safe
and may we all be happy

May we all have a place
to turn to for healing

May we all have friends
to laugh with

And may we all know love
infinite, divine,
cozy and kind

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


It's a term used in child-development for that going and coming that happens between a toddler and its mother. The mother's only job is to just be there--and let the child go and come, go and come. I often feel like I'm that child and God is the great mother, watching me go and come, go and come, always there, even as I always doubt She will be.

When I left for Minneapolis, my heart was full of hope, again. And hope is a dangerous thing. One of my mentors said, 'just have faith'. So I dropped my agendas, my strategies, and my usual bag o' tricks and decided to just go, be open, and see what opened up before me.

I came home full of that same hope--dangerous territory. Because people and things will always in some way fall short--not because they are not enough, but rather because I still, after all these years, don't know how to ask for what I really need. I still, after all these years, fall headlong into a future not yet written, hoping to be caught and, more often than not, I find myself picking pavement from my knees. In my desire to please--and not push--I end up destroying it all away anyway--sabotage.

So I return to my old adage: Abandon hope all ye who enter here. I return, again and again, to God and wait for faith to awaken in my heart a patience and a compassion that will allow everything--even what I'm most afraid of--to be okay. Cultivating a faith that redirects my hope to what is, right now; a faith that creates in me a grateful heart; a faith that allows me to continue on, despite all my insecurity and fear, because hope--that dangerous animal--has stirred my heart to love. And love can only fall and continue falling--in the faith that when love is love, it is an infinite fall.

Faith: rapprochement, returning again and again,
to the one who sustains us all, and praying
that this time, love
will be waiting
for me
at the end
of the infinite fall

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Censorship and the Death of Democracy

There is a great article on Salon today comparing the radical right-wing Republican agenda to extremist Muslim fundamentalists--both are distortions of the religious rhetoric from which they are derived and both are said to be working in the 'name of God'. But not my God and not your God--only theirs. There is but One God--Ek Ong Kaar--and we're all participating in what and how that God gets expressed in the world.

Much has been talked about Sarah Palin's endeavor to ban books from the Wasilla Public Library and the subsequent firing of the librarian. Some of it is true and some isn't; but for Palin to have inquired at all about banning books is frightening enough in today's political climate. Censorship is just the beginning of a historically repeated practice: governments slowly eroding the rights of the people in the name of doing what is 'best' for them--security, safety, morality, what have you. But in reality it's just another name for power and corruption and the absolute erosion of every principle that 'America' stands for.

Anyone recognize the pattern? Or do I have to spell it out? (Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Lenin, Stalin, Mugave, Pol Pot, to name a few--and if we're not careful, we'll soon begin to add the names Bush, Cheney, Palin and McCain to the infamous list; but this time it's on us--fellow citizens of what we like to think of as a democracy that is America--not anyone else.)

Monday, September 08, 2008

Who's Afraid of Sarah Palin?

Just got this off the wires and thought I'd share it here. Friends of mine have been traveling throughout the west on their way home the past few days and have been hearing mixed reviews about the Republican Party's VP pick. . . .some ecstatic, some not so. My earlier post gave you a summary of my take on the situation; but for those who want more information, I give you this from Anne Kilkenny, resident of Wasilla, AK and fellow voter and citizen:

I am a resident of Wasilla, Alaska. I have known Sarah since 1992.
Everyone here knows Sarah, so it is nothing special to say we are on a
first-name basis. Our children have attended the same schools. Her
father was my child's favorite substitute teacher. I also am on a
first name basis with her parents and mother-in-law. I attended more
City Council meetings during her administration than about 99% of the
residents of the city.
She is enormously popular; in every way she’s like the most popular
girl in middle school. Even men who think she is a poor choice and
won't vote for her can't quit smiling when  talking about her because
she is a "babe".
It is astonishing and almost scary how well she can keep a secret. She
kept her most recent pregnancy a secret from her children and parents
for seven months.
She is "pro-life". She recently gave birth to a Down's syndrome baby.
There is no cover-up involved, here; Trig is her baby.
She is energetic and hardworking. She regularly worked out at the gym.
She is savvy. She doesn't take positions; she just "puts things out
there" and if they prove to be popular, then she takes credit.
Her husband works a union job on the North Slope for BP and is a
champion snowmobile racer. Todd Palin’s kind of job is highly
sought-after because of the schedule and high pay. He arranges his
work schedule so  he can fish for salmon in Bristol Bay for a month or
so in summer, but by no stretch of the imagination is fishing their
major source of income. Nor has her life-style ever been anything
like that of native Alaskans.
Sarah and her whole family are avid hunters.
She's smart.
Her experience is as mayor of a city with a population of about
(at the time), and less than 2 years as governor of a state with about
670,000 residents.
During her mayoral administration most of the actual work of running
this small city was turned over to an administrator. She had been
pushed to hire this administrator by party power-brokers after she had
gotten herself into some trouble over precipitous firings which had
given rise to a recall campaign.
Sarah campaigned in Wasilla as a “fiscal conservative”. During her 6
years as Mayor, she increased general government expenditures by over
33%. During those same 6 years the amount of taxes collected by the
City increased by 38%. This was during a period of low inflation
(1996-2002). She reduced progressive property taxes and increased a
regressive sales tax which taxed even food. The tax cuts that she
promoted benefited large corporate property owners way more than they
benefited residents.
The huge increases in tax revenues during her mayoral administration
weren’t enough to fund everything on her wish list though, borrowed
money was needed, too. She inherited a city with zero debt, but left it
with indebtedness of over $22 million. What did Mayor Palin encourage
the voters to borrow money for? Was it the infrastructure that she said
she supported? The sewage treatment plant that the city lacked? or a
new library? No. $1m for a park. $15m-plus for construction of a
multi-use sports complex which she rushed through to build on a piece
of property that the City didn’t even have clear title to, that was
still in litigation 7 yrs later--to the delight of the lawyers
involved! The sports complex itself is a nice addition to the
community but a huge money pit, not the profit-generator she claimed it
would be. She also supported bonds for $5.5m for road projects that
could have been done in 5-7 yrs without any  borrowing.
While Mayor, City Hall was extensively remodeled and her office
redecorated more than once.
These are small numbers, but Wasilla is a very small city.
As an oil producer, the high price of oil has created a budget surplus
in Alaska. Rather than invest this surplus in technology that will
make us energy  independent and increase efficiency, as Governor she
proposed distribution of this surplus to every individual in the state.
In this time of record state revenues and budget surpluses, she
recommended that the state borrow/bond for road projects, even while
she proposed distribution of surplus state revenues: spend today's
surplus, borrow for needs.
She’s not very tolerant of divergent opinions or open to outside
ideas or compromise. As Mayor, she fought ideas that weren’t generated by
her or her staff. Ideas weren’t evaluated on their merits, but on the
basis of who proposed them.
While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our highly respected
City Librarian because the Librarian refused to consider removing from
the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents
rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin's
attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew
her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the
Librarian are on her enemies list to this day.
Sarah complained about the “old boy’s club” when she first ran for
Mayor, so what did she bring Wasilla? A new set of "old boys". Palin
fired most of the experienced staff she inherited. At the City and as
Governor she hired or elevated new, inexperienced, obscure
people, creating a staff totally dependent on her for their jobs and eternally
grateful and fiercely loyal--loyal to the point of abusing their power
to further her personal agenda, as she has acknowledged happened in the
case of pressuring the State’s top cop (see below).
As Mayor, Sarah fired Wasilla’s Police Chief because he “intimidated”
her, she told the press. As Governor, her recent firing of Alaska's top
cop has the ring of familiarity about it. He served at her pleasure
and she had every legal right to fire him, but it's pretty clear that
an important factor in her decision to fire him was because he wouldn't
fire her sister's ex-husband, a State Trooper. Under investigation
for abuse of power, she has had to admit that more than 2 dozen
contacts were made between her staff and family to the person that she
later fired, pressuring him to fire her ex-brother-in-law. She tried to
replace the man she  fired with a man who she knew had been reprimanded
for sexual harassment; when this caused a public furor, she withdrew
her support.
She has bitten the hand of every person who extended theirs to her in
help. The City Council person who personally escorted her around town
introducing her to voters when she first ran for Wasilla City Council
became one of her first targets when she was later elected Mayor. She
abruptly fired her loyal City Administrator; even  people who didn’t
like the guy were stunned by this ruthlessness.
Fear of retribution has kept all of these people from saying anything
publicly about her.
When then-Governor Murkowski was handing out political plums, Sarah got
the best, Chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission: one
of the few jobs not in Juneau and one of the best paid. She had
no background in oil & gas issues. Within months of scoring this great
job which paid $122,400/yr, she was complaining in the press about the
high salary. I was told that she hated that job: the commute, the
structured hours, the work. Sarah became aware that a member of this
Commission (who was also the State Chair of the Republican Party)
engaged in unethical behavior on the job. In a gutsy move which some
undoubtedly cautioned her could be political suicide, Sarah solved all
her problems in one fell swoop: got out of the job she hated and
garnered gobs of media attention as the patron saint of ethics and as a
gutsy fighter against the “old boys’ club” when she dramatically quit,
exposing this man’s ethics violations (for which he was fined).
As Mayor, she had her hand stuck out as far as anyone for pork from
Senator Ted Stevens. Lately, she has castigated his pork-barrel
politics and publicly humiliated him. She only opposed the “bridge
to nowhere” after it became clear that it would be unwise not to.
As Governor, she gave the Legislature no direction and budget
guidelines, then made a big grandstand display of line-item vetoing
projects, calling them pork. Public outcry and further legislative
action restored most of these projects--which had been vetoed simply
because she was not aware of their importance--but with the unobservant
she had gained a reputation as “anti-pork”.
She is solidly Republican: no political maverick. The State party
leaders hate her because she has bit them in the back and humiliated
them. Other members of the party object to her self-description as a
fiscal conservative.
Around Wasilla there are people who went to high school with Sarah.
They call her “Sarah Barracuda” because of her unbridled ambition and
predatory ruthlessness. Before she became so powerful, very ugly
stories circulated around town about shenanigans she pulled to be made
point guard on the high school basketball team. When Sarah's
mother-in-law, a highly respected member of the community and
experienced manager, ran for Mayor, Sarah refused to endorse her.
As Governor, she stepped outside of the box and put together of package
of legislation known as “AGIA” that forced the oil companies to march
to the beat of her drum.
Like most Alaskans, she favors drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge. She has questioned if the loss of sea ice is linked to
global warming. She campaigned “as a private citizen” against a state
initiaitive that would have either a) protected salmon streams from
pollution from mines, or b) tied up in the courts all mining in the
state (depending on who you listen to). She has pushed the State’s
lawsuit against the Dept. of  the Interior’s decision to list polar
bears as threatened species.
McCain is the oldest person to ever run for President; Sarah will be a
heartbeat away from being President.
There has to be literally millions of Americans who are more
knowledgeable and experienced than she.
However, there’s a lot of people who have underestimated her and are
regretting it.
•“Hockey mom”: true for a few years
•“PTA mom”: true years ago when her first-born was in elementary
school, not since
•“NRA supporter”: absolutely true
•social conservative: mixed. Opposes gay marriage, BUT vetoed a bill
that would have denied benefits to employees in same-sex
(said she did this because it was unconsitutional).
•pro-creationism: mixed. Supports it, BUT did nothing as Governor to
promote it.
•“Pro-life”: mixed. Knowingly gave birth to a Down’s syndrome baby
BUT declined to call a special legislative session on some pro-life
•“Experienced”: Some high schools have more students than Wasilla has
residents. Many cities have more residents than the state of Alaska.
No legislative experience other than City Council. Little hands-on
supervisory or managerial experience; needed help of a city
administrator to run town of about 5,000.
•political maverick: not at all
•gutsy: absolutely!
•open & transparent: ??? Good at keeping secrets. Not good at
explaining actions.
•has a developed philosophy of public policy: no
•”a Greenie”: no. Turned Wasilla into a wasteland of big box stores
and disconnected parking lots. Is pro-drilling off-shore and in ANWR.
•fiscal conservative: not by my definition!
•pro-infrastructure: No. Promoted a sports complex and park in a city
without a sewage treatment plant or storm drainage system. Built
streets to early 20th century standards.
•pro-tax relief: Lowered taxes for businesses, increased tax burden on
•pro-small government: No. Oversaw greatest expansion of city
government in Wasilla’s history.
•pro-labor/pro-union. No. Just because her husband works union
doesn’t make her pro-labor. I have seen nothing to support any claim
that she is pro-labor/pro-union.
First, I have long believed in the importance of being an informed
voter. I am a voter registrar. For 10 years I put on student voting
programs in the schools. If you google my name (Anne Kilkenny +
Alaska), you will find references to my participation in local
government, education, and PTA/parent organizations.
Secondly, I've always operated in the belief that "Bad things happen
when good people stay silent". Few people know as much as I do because
few have gone to as many City Council meetings.
Third, I am just a housewife. I don't have a job she can bump me out
of. I don't belong to any organization that she can hurt. But, I am no
fool; she is immensely popular here, and it is likely that this will
cost me somehow in the future: that’s life.
Fourth, she has hated me since back in 1996, when I was one of the 100
or so people who rallied to support the City Librarian against Sarah's
attempt at censorship.
Fifth, I looked around and realized that everybody else was afraid to
say anything because they were somehow vulnerable.
I am not a statistician. I developed the numbers for the increase in
spending & taxation 2 years ago (when Palin was running for Governor)
from information supplied to me by the Finance Director of the City of
Wasilla, and I can't recall exactly what I adjusted for: did I adjust
for inflation? for population increases? Right now, it is impossible
for a private person to get any info out of City Hall--they are
swamped. So I can't verify my numbers.
You may have noticed that there are various numbers circulating for the
population of Wasilla, ranging from my "about 5,000", up to 9,000. The
day Palin’s selection was announced a city official told me that the
current population is about 7,000. The official 2000 census count was
5,460. I have used about 5,000 because Palin was Mayor from 1996 to
2002, and the city was growing rapidly in the mid-90’s.
Anne Kilkenny
August 31, 2008

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Current State of Feminism

On the radio this morning, they were telling the story of the year that 'bra burners' gathered at the Miss USA pageant to protest and call for a women's liberation movement. It was 1968, the year I was born. A few years later, my own mother picketed the state capital in Austin, Texas, to protest against the Equal Rights Amendment to the constitution--yes, you read that correctly. She only confessed this to me a few years ago, with some trepidation in her voice. Yet, despite my roots, or perhaps because of the vibration happening the year I was born, I became a feminist (well as much as anyone from my generation could be one).

I quickly learned the limitations of the movement as well as the complete lack of awareness on the part of women my age and younger of the benefits that the women's movement had delivered to to them. Before the early 70s, women couldn't get a credit card without a cosigner, much less buy a car or a house. So even though women still aren't paid the same as men for the same work, we've made progress.

Forty years ago Yogi Bhajan came to the states and within 10 years he began his own women's movement--The Grace of God Movement--to elevate the consciousness of women and in turn heal the planet. He would scoff at those women crying out for 'equal' rights and declared that being equal to a man would not only be impossible but a huge step down for women, who he described as 16 times more intelligent, 16 times more capacity, and 16 times more powerful than men. (The downside is that we're also 16 times more neurotic, insecure, etc., but we don't like to talk about that as much--smile.) That in fact, women were the source of everything--including men.

So as I listen to contemporary women still longing to be "equal" to men, I let out a little sigh. Why be equal when you can be worshipped? Why be equal when you can be infinite? Why be equal when you can be you--and there's nothing equal about that!

Love at First Sight

Our culture espouses this notion of love at first sight from the time we're very young. In movies, books, stories, poetry, and songs, we're fed the idea of the look, the moment, when everything changes. It's an expression of our soul's longing for transformation, for union, our longing to belong--to something, to someone.

Everything has a polarity just as everything has a seed of truth, a kernal of wisdom, in it. So, love at first sight? Is it really just karma, samskaras, patterns, hooks--love at first bite? Or is it that moment when the heart sees, again, for the very first time? That spontaneous opening, that fresh breath of air, that awakens us to possibility? For it's never about the one upon whom the gaze falls; it's about the stirring in our own hearts. The truth in each moment, the opportunity to be new, with each breath, to renew.

So as my gaze rests upon your face, in the presence of the guru, and I sense my heart stirring awake, I understand that I love. Just that--I love. I still have within me--after all the pain and heartache--the capacity to love, to love infinitely, to love infinity--to love at first sight--and see myself, again, for the very first time. And with any luck, finally be able to see you, too.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Politics and the Not-so-usual Suspects

I have to admit that I've been unwilling to watch the Republican Convention, so I can't pretend to a fair discussion about the events...but I did take an online 'political' test recently which was a confirmation of everything I've known intuitively for years. Neither party is even on the same playing field as me and my ideas. So for years, when I said I didn't see any real difference between the Democrats and the Republicans, I was right--at least from my position out in Far Left Field. But the past 8 years have taught me that whatever nuanced differences there are--they're VERY important! Evidently political rhetoric and the policies they give birth to are like the Richter Magnitude Scale, each 10th of a point along the continuum that is liberal-conservative actually represents a significant difference in effect. A devastating difference.

So abstinence education gives birth to a national spectacle of a teen wedding, talk of 'experience' in the White House is now obsolete, and the last gasp of misogyny as displayed by a 'pit bull' with lipstick is now the Republican Party's answer to women and their 'issues'. Give me a break.

Women are smarter than that.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

oh, the water

Oh, the Water

It was as though we already knew

the element of water
our home
bridging air and fire
the fluid, changeable source
of a common good
a shared desire

It was as though we already knew

moving across the lake
buoyed by the surface tension
of each and every water molecule
we were alight
electric eels, dancing helixes
beneath a wide blue sky

It was as though we already knew

to touch would be
too much, too soon
we would need the earth
beneath us, to ground us
we would need food and a fire
and the laughter of friends

It was as though we already knew

oh, but the water,
the water would always be
our medium, our source
the quixotic mixture
of danger and delight
the nectar of love at first sight


Auspicious Beginnings. . . .Happy Endings

I've always been a big believer in 'signs'...things, people, and events pointing the way to some meaningful something. Sometimes the signs have taken me in entirely 'wrong' directions--painful, delusional holes that I thought I'd never scratch my way out of. Other times, I've been delighted to see the path open up before me in ways I could never have dreamed.

In fact, it's been a motto of mine for years--the way things begin is the way they end. The way you live is the way you die (I've got to do some meditating on that in the coming days and weeks! Life is short and growing shorter with each passing day.) The beginnings of things are so very important. They are the seeds of things to come--the bij--the essence that will one day bear the fruit.

For example, I moved here to New Mexico just over three years ago--and since day one, I've found myself in auspicious surrounds, meeting the people who would give me the opportunities I have today: to work with and serve the Teachings of Yogi Bhajan on a daily basis with some of the greatest living teachers of Kundalini Yoga. Auspicious.

Other auspicious beginnings have come together in the past few weeks. There is a sweetness in the air, a lightness in the heart, and a possibility on the horizon--an opportunity to create something good. Because it's not all signs and wonders; it's also conscious intention and applied intelligence.

But nevertheless, when I got in my car to go to sadhana this morning and the first song I heard on the radio kept repeating the refrain, "put your sailing shoes on" I had to smile. Because yes, I considered it an auspicious sign of things to come.