If I should die soon
Tell my children to look for me in India.
In the prayer bells
Ringing out over the Ganges,
In the tablas beating their rhythm over the
As the red sun melts into purple sky.
Look for me in the Varanasi sand bar
As the dogs creep closer to the fire.
In the ghee filled bowl burning brightly,
And the flower offerings bobbing drunkenly downstream.
See me in the sari clad women sprinkling Ganga water on strangers, blessing them.
Let them feel my arms wrapping them in each soft shawl they try on, and every white dress they see.
Sip me down in their lime sodas, quenching their search.
Seek not but find me in the tuberose offering at Saraswati’s feet,
Or the monkey’s soft “coo coo” at their door.
Let them find joy in the calf’s jingle bells and the soft white spot on their foreheads.
Step on the soft sand of Rishikesh and know
I was happy here.
I am going back to India this November! Julia Myers Patterson and I are co-leading a group of men and women to Rishikesh, India this November for Diwali – the Hindu Festival of Light. This is a dream come true for me to be able to experience Diwali in all its exuberance and share my passion for India with this group and to co-lead with Julia – a woman who holds space with such love and peace. To learn more about the trip, see our Enlightened Tours website for all the details.
I know many people are feeling overwhelmed with everything they are reading and hearing about in the news. Whether I am discussing the natural disasters, or the latest events in the United States, every conversation I have with friends revolves around what we can do, how we can help. I had tea with a friend of mine, a retired attorney and fellow yogi, who said “I didn’t used to believe in evil.” and paused for a moment, calmly picking up croissant crumbs with his fingers, “Now I do.” Things are feeling pretty dire – more than usual. Is this just me? I wonder… I am deeply saddened by recent happenings in the world (both natural and human) and I also believe that we are greater than this and that LOVE conquers all.
I have written before about Yogi Bhajan‘s prophecy that the world’s hectic pace will only continue to increase and many people will be overwhelmed – on all levels – and not know how to keep up with the chaotic energies. He went on to say that a third of the world’s population would die, a third would go nuts and the last third would be left to hold it all together. There are times when this prophecy feels like it has come true and it’s my choice to decide which third of the population I want to be a part of.
The day this picture (above) was taken, I had just driven 500+ miles in very challenging driving conditions: high winds, forest fires and driving rain for several hours. I was driving a 22 feet van that I was not wholly comfortable with and even hydroplaned a few times. When I finally pulled into the RV park, my legs were shaking. I then proceeded to get into a huge argument with my daughter who left to stay with a friend for the evening. I called a friend and sobbed. After the cry, I felt…so much better. Lighter. Less alone. Normally, I like to cry in private and talk to friends after I’ve had my breakdown. I made a conscious decision to let myself be seen in my tenderness and it was a personal stretch. I am grateful I made the decision to be vulnerable and reach out vs. keep it all to myself. Thank god for loving friends that are lifelines!
When the darkness befalls me (whether because of what’s happening out in the world, or because of whatever is going inside of my own psyche) it’s time for me to reach into my Self Care tool box and use whatever is appropriate for the situation at hand. I don’t intend to be Pollyanna or to sound naive, but don’t underestimate the power of Self Care! When the world feels overwhelming, I turn inwards and listen closely. “What do I need right now?” I ask myself. Usually an answer pops right in. Othertimes, I have to just use trial and error to see what helps. Getting out in nature is always a great place to start for me.
Spending the last month on the road, in a van, living with a 15 year old boy, has challenged my self care routines. There is very little alone time (something that I normally rely on heavily for self-sourcing), there is limited wifi (connecting with friends/lifelines is almost nil), the weather was initially very challenging (exercise was not happening for days.) I wasn’t meditating, I wasn’t practicing yoga, I was feeling isolated from adults and totally catering to another human 24/7. Thankfully, I am remembering my own teachings on Self Care and Self Love from LOVELUTION! and putting my oxygen mask on first again. Phew!
What does that look like? Have you heard that expression “If Mama Aint Happy, Aint Nobody Happy”? I’ve started making sure that I am doing something for myself each day that fills up my tank. Whether that’s a solo run, a tea date with a friend, making time to write at a wifi cafe or bringing back my meditation practice (why oh why do I ever let this go?) The expression “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine” is my simple prayer and intention. I want to shine as brightly as I can so I can add my light to all the other brilliant lights in the world and we can shine light in all corners, dispelling the darkness and love it up so that it doesn’t need to spread.
Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the LIGHT that is you. -L.R. Knost
I once heard a woman say that as soon as she sat on her yoga mat, she was home. I will go one step further and say, when I sit and connect to my heart, I am home. There’s a lot going on right now for me around the concept of ‘home.’ For years I have prayed to be a “Citizen of the World” living the life of a gypsy, meeting people from different countries and learning about their cultures. I imagined I would have a home base somewhere (Colorado? California?) but most of the time I would be off having adventures – sometimes by myself, sometimes with Andy and sometimes with the kids. As I write this, I think it sounds like the musings of a young girl and perhaps sounds immature. Yet, these “adventures” I’m referring to stem from a deep desire to be of service, to connect from the heart with humanity, to experience the “oneness” in all things and to show this world to my kids. To expand my boundaries into the unfamiliar, because in doing so, I get out of my ‘self’ with a small ‘s’ and see that I am a drop of water in a vast beautiful ocean.
I once went to a homeopathist for a consultation. After several hours of questions, she gave me my personal remedy – not for an ailment, but for who I am: Falco peregrinus.
Know what that is? Falcon. Peregrin Falcon. I looked it up. Falco Peregrinus is Latin for Falcon Wanderer. Yup. Sounds about right. I’ve lived in 2 countries and 11 states, and moved over 23 times. In some Native American culture, Falcon is referred to as “The Stranger.” I can relate.
Andy and I drove out to California this summer on our 3rd annual road trip. Just us. No cell phone service, no computers. Just the two of us, a great playlist and a lot of sky.
Want to know what’s living for your partner? Sit in a car with them for 2 days. And listen, really listen, to what they have to say. Turns out, sweetie has been phoning it in on our daily life. (I knew it!) I’ve been extra busy with kids, India, death work while he’s been busy with work but with a growing dissatisfaction with his time off. This is a guy who is feeling his mortality, a man who loves the ocean and has never lived near one. A man nearing retirement who has never had the luxury of time to himself. I’m all about freedom (falcon, remember?) I never want to feel trapped and sure as hell don’t want my partner to feel trapped.
For the next hour, somewhere in Utah, under the vast expanse of sky, I listened to my husband talk about how unhappy he was in his daily life. How he longs to live near the ocean before he gets too old to appreciate it. How he’s lived in Boulder for the past 28 years and how he’s ready to leave. A life lived for others…wives, companies, children – and now maybe it’s his turn…
The blessing of this talk was that I heard – really heard – him. I took it seriously. I love him and want him to be happy. I want us to both feel free, never trapped. Andy’s conclusion was that he could never live in CA because I wasn’t ready to make a permanent move – yet. And so, he was trapped. Stuck. Grounded.
Long story short…we signed a year lease on a beach cottage in Santa Cruz. Over the next year, Andy will live there two thirds time. I’ll be there at least a third of the year. This means we will be spending some time apart. This means that sometimes I will be living in Boulder without Andy. As much as I consider myself a free spirit, I have been surprisingly challenged by this new arrangement. My beliefs around home, marriage and parenting are crumbling and there is no manual for this! Where is my manual!!! (shaking fist!) Once again, I am pioneering a different vision of what is “normal” (I don’t think there is a normal per se) and I can’t find the “how to” manual.
When I am in Santa Cruz, I feel suspended in amber – like I have stepped out of my “real” life into a fantasy life I have dreamed up for myself. I have a beautiufl yoga practice in Santa Cruz with an amazing community that has welcomed me. I ride my bike everywhere. I have a beach house where every thing in it has been carefully chosen by Andy and me. I sit at the harbor and watch dolphins (yes, dolphins) play in the surf. I surf! I paddleboard. I am going to learn the ukelele and paddle the outrigger canoe with other women on Thursday mornings.
When I’m in Santa Cruz, on a long weekend with Andy, I miss my kids. half of my heart longs to be with them. When Andy and I are apart, I am loving that he is filling up at the beach, giving himself the gift of being near the ocean and I am missing him and looking forward to the time we will be back together. When I am in India, skyping from outer space, nothing could be more poignant that calling my children and getting the answering machine. It’s rare that we are ALL together and when it happens, I cherish it. Heart overflowing.
“There is nothing from outside. Try to understand that. All is in you. You are the storehouse of your totality.”