29

I turned 29 today. Technically? One of those “not a big deal before the big deal birthdays” emotionally? Crucial considering there have been multiple milestones crossed. 

I made a list of things I wanted to do today, to really set myself up for the year –

1. Something Giving – Donated 10 dollars to a food bank because I have recently become vegan and wanted to give others a nourishing plate. Discovering food as an ally has been empowering for me ever since I have given up the cow in the new year. Giving that back meant something to me. I heard a story about Yogi Bhajan, that he used to make people bring cookies on their birthday. Even if it was a new student, who raised their hand in class saying “It’s my birthday” He would tell that person to bring cookies for the class, and they all would wait. He thought it was so crucial that you started your year off gifting that he was willing to wait for you to come around.

2. Something Creative – This is my true self. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been trying to tell silly stories and make people laugh. I have fallen in with groups of people who are making things – whether that is a community, a book, a piece of art, a kid, a costume for comic-con, a song? Everything that you create and share makes you radiant and I wanted to explore that radiance within myself. I started work on a screenplay that has been stuck in my head and causing anxiety because I don’t have the words for it yet. Here we go.

3. Something with Yoga – My BOTTOM line!! Yoga has become like my religion – when times are hard I lean harder on my practice and find the strength to get through the pain. I went to a class tonight that was later than the others, but I knew was a good fit for me. I am a Kundalini Yogi but have been taking more posture based classes to learn the correct alignment in other forms. I get there, and sure enough I’m proud of my decision.

First, the teacher was older than myself. I love older yoga teachers because they have recognized the power inside them at any age goes beyond physical posture but still challenge your entire self on the mat. Gurmukh, the master teacher who taught me Kundalini Yoga? Was making me sweat in her 70’s and still makes people sweat today.

Second, the teacher reminded me what I knew was important while teaching me new things : when you take a yoga class it is never about how you bend or what you are physically capable of. It is how you handle yourself in the world when you leave class that makes you a yogi, how you interact with your friends, community, and those who need you that is your yoga. She showed me a posture that I needed to align my neck during shoulder stand, and she made me think about how I want to share intention and blessing with others. 

Third, the teacher gave me a hug at the end of class when I told her it was my birthday. Hugs are always awesome. 

4. Something involving a Friend – I spoke to a very dear friend of mine who has gone out of her way to make my day special, and shared some nice love on the phone. Then I did what I do every year : write 3 pages in my Google Drive entitled “29” and write every bit of magical thinking inside of me.That was when another friend appeared. She hadn’t been described to me in that way since I had been in therapy, but this friend became truth as soon as I wrote her. Our duality inside us is such that we have the critic and the friend – the critic saves us from making bad choices but can cut us off if we let him take over. The friend is constantly there for others but sometimes can forget to be there for himself. The friend is expansion, compassion. This year, I did something with the friend inside me : Treated her like she was a precious jewel. That God and me, me and God are one together. Friends, forever. 

May all of your birthdays be creative, prosperous, kind, generous, filled with divinity, light and love. May you have many birthdays that are better than the last, and may you be happier with each coming milestone. May you bring life and adventure as you take advantage of the gift of being human. May your light shine through your years as you do : with every intention towards truth and your inner destiny. May you be of spirit, always. 

Sat Nam

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Onions and Sacred Meanings – Ganzheitlichkeit

I have been obsessed lately with eating large amounts of onions. Yellow, golden onions that I grill with tumeric and olive oil, the smell so warm and welcoming I lose myself in watching the alchemy. As I type this, my mouth is watering as I’m thinking of flashing on a sauce or seven on top of warm and crispy pile of those babies. 

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The health benefits of onions are many, rich in fiber they have high volumes of fiber and sulfur. Not only does it assist with blood and cholesterol levels, but also may inhibit tumor growth and colon cancer. 

But more importantly, the onion is representative of the philosophical idea of Ganzheitlichkeit, or holism. The idea that the total being is what needs help when seeking spiritual enlightenment. Physical, Psychological, Social, all total aspects add up to the total self and when they are in balance create a sense of well being. The thick layers at the top are the skin, and every single layer beneath adds to the total volume of our capacity for self. 

Last week, I found the most beautiful onion at the grocery store. Fat, with the thin skin around it ripe and delicious looking. When I got home, I found the onion had absolutely no core, but a flimsy tuber that was purple and loose inside the first three layers. 

In the Aquarian age, more people are seeking wisdom of the total self. It is normal to feel like that onion, that every exterior part of you is rich and fat and healthy, but the core feels undeveloped. The inside feels like it needs work and in truth, that is where we need to start. But where is the best place to start?

Your mind, body, spirit are layers of self mastery that take several lifetimes to achieve. Don’t be discouraged if you feel rotten at the core at first. Practice. Learn to love all the layers of yourself and explore different parts of them. As you get better, you will feel stronger. 

The discipline of peeling back the layers is a difficult journey, but the results are so worth working through it. 

May your inside core be fat and healthy as you pursue your path and destiny. May you feel at home in yourself first so you may serve others. May you eat well, be well, live well, love well. May you be like an onion in bloom, rich with layers of prosperity and seed wisdom. May your sens of Ganzheitlichkeit be formed from the core of who you are. May you be happy, healthy and whole. 

Sat Nam

PS – My favorite recipe for onions lately. Enjoy!

Ganzheitlichkeit Salad by Nam Joti 

1 Cup Spinach (For use as Salad Base)
1 Yellow Onion
A few spoonfuls of Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Tumeric
3 Tbsp Hummus
2 Tbsp Chopped Almonds
Trader Joe’s Goddess Dressing

Cut onions into long pieces and grill with olive oil over medium heat. Sprinkle tumeric over onions and cook unitil onions are grilled and golden. Remove onions from stove and pour over bed of spinach on a plate. Add hummus and almonds on top, then as much dressing as you want. YUM!!!

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Vices and Vegetables : Echoes of a Cleanse

No booze, no caffeine, no sugar, no dairy. Nothing left…so what do I start thinking about ALL the time?

Sex.

Oh my god, sex is the one thing healthy that Gwenyth Paltrow can’t ruin. And yet, it’s still robbing me of subconscious protein…establishing trust, relationships, learning how not to lie to people and how to change myself first before I can save others.

And yet all I can think about is how nice it would be to invite some raw cucumbers into my salad. GOD I DID IT AGAIN!!!

I’m not trying to be a purist. Everyone should have a healthy relationship with their libido, a drive is a drive. But I’m trying to figure out why I’m piecing together my shame spiral of self-hatred and what’s blocking my way is this tiger mind.

Here’s what they don’t tell you about cleansing. When you have no more vices left?

The only vices you have are your thoughts.

If we take ourselves by what our thoughts are, we discover where we are aiming our lives. We become the victims of our own numbness and patterns we feel we can’t control.

I can’t pretend things aren’t lonely anymore. So my mind sends me a thought that I can escape every fear I have with some kind of fantasy. A fantasy that takes me away from reality. Far from appreciation of the life I have, but into posession of a life I am desparate for. Far from living in the present, I’m presenting myself with a pattern of distraction.

In the coming months of the new year, may all your thoughts be pointed towards dreams of the present. May fantasies become realities through the moment lived. May every feeling, emotion and reaction you have become acknowledged and cleansed when you don’t need them anymore. May you eat all the things that make you healthy and soulful, may you give yourself space to be whole. Be you.

Sat Nam.