In India, I experience the gamut: giddy laughter, loving kindness from strangers, heart connection, unexpected friendships, communion with cows, encounters with monkeys, blaring horns, sublime sunsets.
What I don’t think I have conveyed is the journey within to deep stillness – the Gift of Presence – that has been my India.
Words really don’t do India justice, and I have a hard time putting some of my deepest emotions to words, so I have attached a short 90 second video of some very sacred moments that are forever dear to me.
The soundtrack is me “tuning in” with the Adi Mantra. Something we do at the beginning of every kundalini yoga class and meditation. I was chanting this mantra in the early hours of morning, when it’s still dark and the winds come roaring down the foothills of the Himalayas. I was tucked into a blanket and let the familiar chant ground me and connect me to the Golden Chain of my teachers, and connect me to my yoga mat. To my heart beat. If you listen carefully you can hear thumps and bumps in the background. They are monkeys having a morning romp before the warm midday sun makes them heavy lidded and lethargic.
I’ll be traveling back to this country, to this yoga hall, to one of my soul homes, in just a few short months. There are spots for 2 more people if you would like to join me.
We have curated a tour that delivers daily opportunities to connect deeply to your Self, to nurture and restore with yoga, meditation and Ayurveda. Time on the Ganges, swimming in waterfalls, hiking in the foothills of the Himalayas. Satsang with living saints. Stillness.
If you feel the call, contact me. I’m here to walk you through the details. Step by step.
On Sunday, as I was going through security at DIA, I saw a TSA agent help an elderly man who was struggling with his backpack. It was a busy morning and people were rushing to empty their bins and put their shoes back on, and the man was trying to quickly exit the security area but his backpack strap was tangled and he couldn’t get his arm through. The TSA agent reached over and lifted up the pack so that there was more room to maneuver and the man was able to put his pack on. Tears stung my eyes at this simple act of kindness between strangers.
Last week I sat vigil with a man who was dying. I do this as often as I can, but what was different about this time was that he was conscious. Not just awake but aware. This was a first for me. It’s one thing to walk in as a complete stranger and sit with a person who is dying when they’re unconscious, but to walk in to somebody’s room when they’re alive and present seems presumptious at best and intrusive at worst. In that moment I had to push ego aside (“Will I be good enough?”, “What do I have to offer?”, “Who am I to be here?”) and say a prayer to be of service. To say he was gracious would be an understatment. Welcoming me into his journey, his transition, with a smile and a whispered “hello”, it was his kindness that allowed me to access my highest self and connect on a soul level for a brief period. We prayed together, I stroked his magnificent head and laid my hand on his heart. To love freely, without any thought of past or future, is to truly be present and timeless. The gift was all mine.
I looked up the definition of compassion and learned that it translates as “suffering together.” And it’s not just about suffering – when we feel compassion, our heart rate slows down, we secrete the “bonding hormone” oxytocin, and regions of the brain linked to empathy, caregiving, and feelings of pleasure light up, which often results in our wanting to approach and care for other people. Compassion generates more compassion. Beautiful.
Yesterday I shared a burden with a friend and she cried for me as I could not. I was numb and all cried out. Even though my heart was heavy, seeing the kindness, the compassion, in her eyes, gave me a sense of peace and I felt lighter, less alone.
“Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t appreciate kindness and compassion. ”
So a couple months ago, I called Kirsten Boyer to see if she would be open to taking a photo of me for a flyer to use on the India trip. I’d seen her work and thought she does lovely things with light and I was thinking possibly she could take a nice, professional head shot of me. As we were brainstorming on the phone, Kirsten asked me if I had any interest in making a short informational video for my website – something for people to watch and get a better feel of who I am. “Oh…like a virtual business card?” I asked. “Yes!” Kirsten exclaimed. “Sure, why not?” I answered. And that’s how a phone call with Kirsten about a head shot for a flyer becomes an entire website with 5 (five!) videos and some of the best pictures I’ve ever seen of myself.
I’ve been wondering what is going to come of this…why a website? Why now? The noticing part of me is watching…observing…curious to see what will evolve. Kirsten was my midwife. She might be uncomfortable with that title, but I’ve thanked her all along for inching me along, seeing a bigger picture (no pun intended.)
Working with Kirsten is a special experience. She has an amazing eye – she can take a cloudy day, a clump of weeds and a self-conscious model and get this:
One of the best parts of working together was getting to hang out with Kirsten. I miss her now that the project is done. I’m busy cooking up new ideas so we can hang out. Maybe I can carry her camera equipment 🙂
Don’t be fooled by her gentle demeanor. It’s a tribute to Kirsten’s personality that she is as approachable and mellow as she is, but she knows what she is looking for in a picture and she’ll direct you. Your best bet is to enjoy the ride and trust her eye. It was creatively inspiring as well as heart opening to work together. She modestly claims that we “co-created” this project. Not so sure that’s how I would describe the long hours we spent with me blanking out in front of the camera and her coaching me to talk about why I’m so great. (aargh) There were definitely edgy parts for me about being the subject matter of all of this – a website about Me, starring Me, all about Me! Kirsten was just the right mix of support and heckler; reflecting my gifts and believing in them, and also helping me laugh at myself.
Kirsten put many hours into this project and I think the videos are amazing. When I die, you can play them at my memorial as a tribute – they’re that good! When I watch the “Spirit” one, I always cry and I have to remember that I’m still alive.
I really do feel like Kirsten saw a better ‘me’ – and captured it on film. The Me that I want to be – that I’m striving to be. She raised the bar and I want to be that person that I see in her photos. I’m becoming…evolving…into a brighter self. I am forever grateful that she was part of this unveiling in me. It feels alchemical.
I wish I could gift everyone I know with a session with Kirsten. She’ll take photos that will make you feel beautiful, she will put you at ease and you will get to banter with a fine, saucy wit. I hope there are things in her life that make her feel as beautiful and radiant as she is.
Today, in The Morning Blessings, I read: Life here is precious, for we are love and light evolving as beauty and joy each and every moment. Today you can begin to feel this divine Selfhood by being who you really are. Each time you look into the mirror, go beyond your personality and see the divinity that is within. Make it a point to see yourself as Spirit in all you think, say and do.