I Believe in a Working God

God only works when you do. Recently, my God has been an awkward teenager working at Burger King, who knows he’d rather be outside in the sunshine but really wants that XBox. With an extra hundred in Christmas money plus a little bit of allowance from his family, he’s starting the process of saving for his future. But then he sees a beautiful cheerleader and wants to buy her tickets to a concert, or a pony or anything she wants. 

I’m here to tell you the XBox or the girlfriend are both good choices. But the working God tells you that no matter what you choose you still have to work for it – and if what you are working for is aligned with your destiny? He’ll make it harder and easier at the same time.

I’m going to list the jobs I’ve had since graduating college in 2007: stage manager, actress, temp office worker, door to door fundraiser, waitress, event staff, discount bookstore seller, hostess, usher and box office manager, yoga studio front desk employee, hostel concierge, point of sale supervisor, retail associate, barista, catering staff and film production cooordinator.

It took me until film production coordinator to find something that I really loved and even now I realize the climb in that direction is just beginning. I’m also looking for a house that will support me – a tiny home on wheels that will allow me to travel as I need to for work. In the X Box corner we have career : the thing I need to make money and the thing I want to enjoy doing. In girlfriend corner we have art: telling stories, enjoying the moment, having adventures and seeking my spiritual fulfillment daily.

In the very first pauree of Japji, there is the evocation of the working God, or Karta Purkh. This invites God to do the work for you, all you have to do is keep up. All you have to do is keep working towards one direction and let love have no opposition in your life. Let your mind be clear and your heart be full. Empty yourself of all needs to be right, have outcomes or seek. Let love in, and more love will come.

I wish you a beautiful evocation of the working God inside you. Sat Nam. 

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The Mind, The Student, The Power of Habit

Imagine your thoughts as a community college student. They go to school, and the majority of their life is spent growing pathways of knowledge into growth. The mind has been given an opportunity to expand itself, gain social mobility and become a contributing member of the larger world.

But like most community college students? The mind has hobbies. Distractions from what is really important. Some extracurricular activities that don’t really serve the larger goal of whole life education.

So you take your pot-smoking, netflix-watching, class-ditching, binge drinking thoughts and what do you do?

Replace old attentions with new ones. Find the mechanism for each old thought and welcome a new way of thinking. 

One of my favorite books of the last few years has been The Power of Habit : Why We Do What We Do in Life and Buisiness. In this book, Charles Duhig outlines our mind’s underlying connection to our habits and breaks it down in three steps.

From "The Power of Habit", The Habit Feedback Loop

From “The Power of Habit”, The Habit Feedback Loop

Say our college student is going into finals week. He has to be out late studying. Since he doesn’t study, his mind goes to the exact same thought pattern the last time he crammed for finals. Red Bull. He has drank so much Red Bull in the past during finals week that it is ingrained as symbiotic with studying.  That would be his visual cue. Finals + Late Night Studying =Red Bull. Not only that, but he also has a cue of the kiosk next to the library, which is the same place he bought a Red Bull the last time he forgot to study.

Then we enter routine. Drink Red Bull. Study several hours. He moves through his routine and pattern and doesn’t even think about how he came to this choice. It’s no coincidence that most habit-forming addictions come from places called “convenience stores”. The mind is lazy. When making decisions, it will choose routine every time out of convenience as a way to expend less energy.

Finally, we have the reward phase. Sugar high. Seven hours of energy. An overnighter spent cramming semesters worth of knowledge into one evening.

The one thing I find absolutely crucial in this book, and something that I consider every time I focus my attention on habits is this : this cue and reward system cannot be changed, it can only be replaced with alternate cues and rewards.

Say our college student has made it to the last semester. He no longer has school, but now he is working at Save Mart to pay off student loans while he finds a job. Does he go to the Red Bull whenever there is an early morning job, or has he learned from the constant shaking and does he switch to juice or tea?

This week, I am trying to change one pathway involving my yoga practice. For the past months, I have been trying to get up at 5:30 every morning to do my daily Sadhana. It’s been a struggle. So what do I do, when faced with a pathway that doesn’t have a cue in place yet? Change the cue.

When I wake up, the first thing I do will be my practice. Before I answer any email, look on Facebook or eat breakfast, I am going to hit the mat this week.

Have I been successful? Not entirely. Am I giving up? Hell no.

May you commit to change one small pathway in your practice of life this week. May all of your unconscious habits benefit a life that is healthy, happy and whole. May you look at your habits with love, and look to change the ones that don’t serve your love. May you move forward, even in the dark.

Sat Nam

Prayer for Opportunity

If nothing else? I am alive today. I am fed today. I am loved today. I am sheltered today. Everything else is just another opportunity to show gratitude for being visitors on this crazy planet called Earth. 

Being human is an enigma of puzzling opportunities. You are either taught at a young age that you are infinity and that you are loved and supported or conversely? You are made to feel like scum and you carry that with you. Even those who were taught to be infinite will feel like scum and those who were treated horribly can have a beautiful sense of infinity about them.

I have an opportunity this week that I know is perfect for me. I meditated this morning in a bath of sacred water and I discovered what real opportunity is.

Let’s go over the options, shall we?

Option A : A life that is flexible, supported by health and the ability to forge a path for the little guys. You are nervous and hesitant because every time you work for the little guy you don’t support yourself. But this is FINALLY the opportunity I have been waiting for. Enough to make it, and then enough time to work on the life and the passion. Enough time and enough money, but not a lot. 

Option B : A life that is solid. Stable. Defined hours but lots of money. Would give you all the financial support you need to make a long term goal a reality. The massive amounts of work you put into this job you would probably hate, but accepting this destiny as a part of your long term plan versus focusing on the present. 

Option C : A life that is engaging but unknown. The work is interesting, varied and something that hasn’t been attempted. Something that is completely new territory but unbelievable amounts of instability. A new path never forged by yourself, you would be gaining new skills with something you are maybe interested in, but don’t know what to do quite yet with. 

I know what my answer is. I know what works best for me. But it may not be what works for the truth in every destiny. Opportunity is not just money. Money is a medium. Opportunity is the chance to forge a life that you want which is aligned with your destiny. Opportunity brings more opportunity. Life brings more life. Prosperity brings more prosperity.

Yogi Bhajan, in his infinite wisdom once said “To be blessed is to live in gratitude, so that God can fulfill you forever”. Today, in the face of all these massive choices and wonderful opportunity, I would like to make my prayer in thanks. Thanks for letting me live on this earth one more day, healthy, with the chance to explore more of this beautiful planet. Thanks for giving me the chance to forge a path. Help me accept the path that I am on and give me the prosperity and the wisdom to see the opportunity in every day. Thank you for the love I have felt from those enlightened beings on my path. Thank you for this prayer. 

Sat Nam

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In gratitude for the immersion of the Self. 

Conscious Communication : The Importance of the Kind Vibe

How many of us wish we could edit parts of our lives, publish the good and get support for the bad? There’s Facebook, which can always make you seem like you are having more fun than you actually are and engaging with more people than you could ever authentically do in one lifetime. I watched this video last week, and after deliberation on this form of media? What we are really craving is conscious communication with the self and the soul of others. What we are getting is the bare bones minimum of that experience, and for that we feel alone.

Yogi Bhajan talks about conscious communication in many of his lectures on purpose and projection. What truly is striking is the fact that communication starts with the soul and projection of a person, something that Facebook will never be able to communicate. I liken this feeling to when the Dalai Lama or Beyonce enter a room. The entire room goes silent or rapt with applause. They are communicating their true presence and for that, they command your attention. We may be able to fake a good time had by all last Friday night on social media, but we can’t fake our authentic self.

There have been a lot of posts related to grief lately. They make me want to reach out and hug the person inside who is either going through cancer, dying or seeing a loved one do the same. I recognize that sending out the information is important, and calling to the attention of one’s community via social media would bring a comfort in this time.

But what are the options? Someone posts “My mother is dying of cancer” and you just press…Like?

I wish there was a button for kind vibes. When you focus your attention on the person who is suffering and send out good loving thoughts their way. When you and your spiritual community gather and in their own way create a healing vibration. When the atheists don’t pray or gather but call a person who is suffering because it is the kind thing to do. When no matter what your background or faith you can send good vibes to someone, and it is important. Because instead of disconnecting with technology, you are connecting your authentic self to another person who needs direct attention of love.

My brother Michael has been a stunning example of how to display direct attention on someone who needs it. In a crazy few months where death has been near him and his loved ones, the trend has struck again. His girlfriend lost her mother to an aggressive form of cancer that took over 2/3 of a lung. Both he and Becky have been together for 6 years and I believe this is the toughest thing they have ever had to face. But they face it present with each other and with direct attention that makes me proud to have them as family.

So what does this mean for presence? Is it hard to sit with someone when they are going through rough times? Yes. But essence over vanity is always a good way to choose. Give people your conscious communication, your direct attention, and kind vibes. You never know when you are going to need those yourself.

May your week be filled with ways to heal consciously. May you follow your pain with direct attention. May you help someone who is in need of kind vibes, and give compassion to those in grief. May you live as though everyone you meet is deserving of your direct attention. May you fill your heart with grace and compassion.

Sat Nam

 

Duality

Ah, the calamity of love strikes again, as I’m once again crying in my bathtub. We come to this earth and love is all around us. Then by around age 5 we go into “somebody training”, where we are taught that we are supposed to play a certain way and follow a set of rules. Then love comes in and breaks them all.

 And suddenly it’s as if we are naked for the whole world to see and we can’t understand our world anymore. We meet people and have experiences and make discoveries I call “Before/After’s”. Meaning, before you I felt this way and after you I don’t look at the world the same. 

I much prefer to have my “Before/After’s” to be experiences. A sunset, my favorite band, a piece of art – those are all things that we know aren’t supposed to last. But you look into someone’s eyes who has seen you in the worst parts of yourself and kissed those ugly places…those souls you meet who don’t let you get away with being fake or shallow. Those people who you feel like the best version of yourself around. Those kind eyes. That heart. 

I’m very conflicted in writing my feelings right now as I type this. Divinity wants me to say what is on my mind all the time, duality tells me to be soft and move like waves through the world.  But Divinity also has come to me in a vision and told me dear you are royalty. A queen who can share light to everyone she touches if she makes her love universal.

And here we are in the grey area we call humanity. Love and calamity. Queens and Chameleons. The gross and the beautiful. We are all of these things as human beings. More than ever I am praying for the strength to let all of these fake identities go. I am not one thing, I am the total of all things, God being the divine light holding it all together.

I am praying to love myself enough that I can forgive myself for being stuck in this grey area called life. I pray to forgive myself for being human, angry and base, lustful and forceful, crazy and caught in a web of fear when I let it get to me. 

I pray for those who have loved me in their own way in this lifetime. I am learning to let go of you in my own way, and I feel so ashamed by not being able to share things that I feel are hurting. I want to stop chasing what isn’t for me in this lifetime – let go of those attached feelings that mess with my head and can’t let me appreciate the selfless love inside.

I pray for those who have been in pain from a long time ago. You and all of us are filled with duality. We are no different from each other in the fact that we all are capable of doing great and horrible things. But the person inside those things is perfect. Nothing needs to change about that person but their consciousness, and nothing needs to happen but healing. Every day. Love remains when we can see the spirit of man and not the letter of his karma. Grace is learning to see that in everyone you meet, especially those you love with all your heart. 

May all of those dualities dissapear, and may the ones you live with be managed with an open heart and a trained mind. May healing happen in conflicted souls. May we all heal ourselves with love and peace in the heart. May we practice this all the days of our lucky days on this planet. 

Sat Nam

Be the Light : The Lesson of My History Crush

I have a girl crush on someone who has been dead for over 60 years. I’ve got it pretty bad. I want to buy her anything she would ever want, if she were to time travel to the future and discover H&M. I want to ask her everything, who was her first crush, what is her favorite ice cream flavor, what kind of person did she imagine herself to be when she grew up? I want to meet her family and walk with her in her neighborhood. I want BFF status, of course, but will settle for for MySpace top 8 circa 2003, when that mattered.

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Her name was Hanna Szenes. Born on July 17, 1921. Hannah enrolled in the British Army in 1943 and trained as an Airwoman 2nd Class in the Women’s Auxillary Army. One of 37 Jewish soldiers from Palestine who parachuted into Yugoslavia. The mission: rescue the Hungarian Jews who were about to be deported to death camps. On March 19, 1944 she and two other soldiers would land via parachute in war-torn Yugoslavia only to learn that the occupation of German soldiers had already taken place. They continued on to the Hungarian border only to be captured by the police, who found her British Transmitter and arrested her for treason.
When Hanna Szenes was in prison, she used mirrors to communicate messages of hope to other prisoners. She would sing during the long days and drew stars of David in the dust. She was tortured, put on trial and killed by a firing squad seven months after her capture. Seven months in which she told all those around her a simple message: hope is a light universal seen long after it is gone.

 

“There are stars whose radiance is visible on earth

though they have long been extinct.

There are people whose brilliance continues to light the world

though they are no longer among the living.

These lights are particularly bright when the night is dark.

They light the way for mankind. “ -Hannah Szenes

In Kundalini Yoga, you are given a spiritual name, by the universal teacher and divine Guru. The name given to me is the name I blog under, Nam Joti. It means One Who Shines with the Light of the Holy Name. Light of God, Lioness of God. If there is anything I can share with you today, its the idea that your inner light prevents you from being put into any prison. There is no external force that can put you in a cage that you haven’t submitted to. Hannah wrote the most beautiful poetry in a cage, she made the most wonderful example of how to be light when you are surrounded by darkness. 

Today, on the Spring Equinox, we are released from the prison of Winter. May you celebrate the light in your life today, whatever brings you joy and does not seek to harm. May you be the lighthouse in the darkest of prisons. May your love shine with the radiance of kindness and may you be prosperous because of it. May your light be so big it heals nations. May your light be a universal, loving light. 

Sat Nam

The NASA Article – 20 Things to Do When the World Ends

I used to act in theatre shows. Usually, by the time the show ended was when I figured out how to play the part. Which is why, when I read this today I started to think about the various ways I figure things out right before they are over.

Yogi Bhajan, the great teacher of Kundalini Yoga, taught us that Akal means deathless. You go to a place where death cannot touch you, and death becomes a part of you. Recently, I’ve been trying to go to this deathless place because when I don’t meditate I go to this place of paranoia. The world is in this state of paranoia because of climate change, and as a result we are feeling the pressure.

But what if that deathless place was actually a power position? One of my friends who knew Yogi Bhajan claims that in the months before his death he had an incredible magnetism, more than his usual amount. His radiance shown on the path of his physical decline as he transitioned to the other world.

What if the declining state of our planet could actually move some of us to realization of how we want to live peacefully? Things we want to do when we feel that planetary pressure?

In order to ease my paranoia, I want to make a list of 20 things I want to do when the world ends.

1. Everything I am doing right now. I hope I am so present with my path that every action I am taking are things aligned with my inner destiny.
2. Hold hands with Michael Fassbender on the beach as we watch the sun grow warm.
3. Laugh with someone so hard that my sides start to burst, and I forget for a moment that everything is over.
4. Find something beautiful and appreciate it.
5. Find family. The ones that want to share in the fortunate present and not panic about the immediate future.
6. I may stray from veganism for a moment so I can enjoy my Dad’s steak recipe for the last time. Buffalo Wings and Goat Cheese, you aren’t safe either if you are still around.
7. Go to work if it’s somewhere I love being. Find work helping someone else if that isn’t the case.
8. Dance. Feverishly.
9. Go somewhere I’ve never been before. If people have rioted their way into the White House? I’m going to wear Michelle Obama’s inauguration dress to my quickie wedding with Michael Fassbender.
10. Go somewhere I have been before, but find a new way to experience that place. Turn the parking lot of Wal Mart into a canvas. Turn an abandoned auto shop into a place for crossfit trainers to throw car parts around in a Strongest Person in the Apocolypse competition.
11. Be naked. A lot.
12. Sing. All my favorite songs and all my favorite sounds. Rosemary Clooney, Amos Lee, Nina Simone, Rilo Kiley.
13. Kiss a stranger on the mouth and tell them they are perfect. Then walk away.
14. Kiss a robot on the mouth and tell them they are perfect. Then walk away. Unless the robots have taken over, then feverishly seduce robot in order to secure food.
15. If there are still movies around, re-watch Drop Dead Gorgeous, like, a million times.
16. Forgive myself for not living up to my full potential. Then do something to correct that.
17. Chant and do yoga in the morning hours and then go outside and feel the soil in my hands.
18. Read a story to someone. If I can’t find a book, then make one up.
19. Tell everyone I’ve ever cared about that the love they have given me means more than the end of the earth.
20. Never spend another minute on Facebook.

May you bring peace and healing to your planet.

Small Messages – Serve and Be Served

I worked as a waitress off and on for about 8 years. The work was difficult, of course, but I could always count on one member of staff really being my saving grace : making me laugh, cheering me up, helping me when I was over-sat with guests and couldn’t handle another table of sixteen.

Some places I did feel welcome and as a family, but the last place I worked I truly had trouble (as I always do) with fitting in. I’m kind of a daydreamer, I make strange comments about the way things are, and I don’t enjoy watching professional sports – trouble when you work at a sports-themed restaurant. 

But thankfully, my one person who I could count on to make me laugh was there. Truthfully, there were 3 women who I connected with, but this place had such high overturn it was hard to stay grounded. We would don voices of Jersey housewives and gossip about our fake mob husbands. Laughing so hard, fake nails would fall off, hopefully not into food.

Last week, I saw a message from this person on facebook – the scary generic kind that screams “I’m in trouble”. 

So I sent her a message. Poetry, jokes, songs. I haven’t been in contact with this person for years. Then she told me the truth : her boyfriend hit her. Hard. She moved out. Someone being tormented by someone they trust. NO ONE deserves to be treated that way by someone they love.

I’ve been sending her small messages. I’m no hero and this isn’t any kind of pride point, I just want to do what she did for me – make me smile when things really sucked and I felt alone. Sometimes, working in food service can make you feel like a servant, who is doing everything right and still getting torn apart by volume and stress. Which is why you always want to have someone like my friend on staff, they remind you that you aren’t what you do – you are who you are. 

I’m always so amazed when the person who inspires us the most to smile feels like they are undeserving of the same when they need it. I’m sometimes that person, I realize now. But what are we here except for one purpose…

We are here to serve and be served. To take care and be cared for. To love and be loved. To be grateful for it all.

I hope in the coming weeks, months, years after any kind of trauma we find the courage to leave it behind. I hope that we can help each other when we need it most. I hope all of our best intentions and prayers go into small actions – kindnesses and small messages that you are not alone. I hope that if you see something going on with a friend, no matter HOW long it has been since you talked? You speak up. I hope that you connect to people who need it, because they need you. I hope you know that love never means that things have to hurt.

I hope that your love can help others and you can be helped as well.

Sat Nam. Love one another.

Also? Here is a cool program I found. If you are considering an upgrade on your cellphone, check this out. 
http://www.verizonwireless.com/aboutus/hopeline/index.html

Eavesdropping on Dad Wisdom

I’m sitting in a Starbucks and I’m watching a dad and his seven year old son engage in conversation. “You cannot wish for something, you have to drive for it. I’m wishing for something, but do I have an outcome? You have to focus on outcomes. In order to get there, you have to focus on the next answer, and the next and the next.”

It sounds harsh, but it’s rather sweet. The boy is chewing on his straw and pretending not to be engaged. But he really is listening with his full attention. I can see the pieces of himself that is growing through guidance, and whatever that means for him in the future he has someone who cares that he succeeds.

I remember some similar conversations with my father as a kid – “We don’t QUIT because it’s HARD, we are KELLEY’S! I don’t want to hear WHINING I just want DO-ING!!”. I’m very proud of this wisdom – as a result I am someone who, no matter what her emotional state (and there are many) she can still show up to work and do the job she came to do. It’s why even in a tent with holes in it I still feel warm under the sky…because regardless of my foundation I love building my house and keeping it, flawed as it is. 

The wisdom of the father can be that like Jupiter – the Roman God of the Sky and thunder. Just like when our fathers shoot into the wind with their children, thy can come out of the sky like lighting. Father energy is very powerful because it is honest. It doesn’t lie to us or sugar coat the truth for the sake of our feelings. It tells us what we need to know. It makes mistakes, surely for no one taught the God of the sky how to rule the universe and his family at the same time. But even as Jupiter was a flawed and human god, he ruled the sky regardless of what was going on. He was the king. 

The flip side to that father energy is the rigid sense of right and wrong we can sometimes get into on principle. How many times during election years, fiscal crises, or general times of discontent do we fight over things that don’t matter? Does our sense of security fall because we are constantly challenging our security blanket? We are supposed to – that’s the job of the children to challenge their parents with a new vision of the future. 

But we also have a duty to them that we can grow resentful of sometimes. To respect their opinion when we disagree. To grow away from them because we must seek community of our own. To be patient with them as they have been with us. To recognize that we put them through some shit when we were young and they resisted the urge to drown us or sell us off to the circus. 

May your week be filled with the wisdom of the father – truthful, guiding and consistent. May you have someone in your life to absorb the wise energy of the father from. May you be resolute in your path with a father’s mind inside you, and a father’s light to guide you. May you forgive your father for things he hasn’t done and may you draw gratitude for the things he did. May you do your best, never quit, and be strong and graceful as the father energy serves you and your community. 

Sat Nam

The Envelope – Becoming Whole Information

Imagine someone gave you an envelope filled with your destiny information : everything you were meant to accomplish on this planet – Be a parent. Go to Harvard. Become a raging asshole and inspire people to NOT be like you. Make macaroni art. Travel the jungle via pogo stick and blog about it. Discover a new kind of Kale.

Would you open it? Would you follow those instructions, even if you didn’t like them? Would you not want to know at all?

To be honest, I would probably open it. I’m interminably curious. But then if it was something I hated that I would have to do? I’m not sure how good I would be at attempting. Doesn’t it feel like sometimes we land on that thing we hate anyway, but had to discover that we liked it before? The teacher we never said we would become, the kids we never thought we wanted, the corporate sell out that we hate the message but love the money of. 

In the Piscean age, the time before the Aquarian age we are living in, people handed us the envelope. The letter of the law meant more than the spirit. Women were property. Sin was absolute. God belonged to those who could pay for him. Marriage was between a man and a woman. These were all decisions made from the letter of one absolute truth : we were here to pay our dues and then live on in another life. Suffering, inevitable. We had little information so we trusted what we knew of the small world of letters.

Now, we are living in an age where we have much more information then we could ever get our hands on. Every day we are handed a different envelope, tweet, text, viral video that describes a different destiny. A different way of thinking, expansion. We can travel across the globe in a second via Google maps, see the lives of celebrities on Instagram, and any question we might need the answer to we have it in minutes.

How do we filter through society’s spam folder and open the letter of our destiny? Once we open it, how do we use it to become whole information about the state of our soul’s journey?

There are many ways to do this, and each way is different depending on the person. For me, it’s Kundalini Yoga and meditation. For others, it may be music. It may be running, cooking, dancing, singing…whatever brings the soul joy. But the difference between whole information and retweeted cultural nonsense in our soul’s journey? How we use our body as an informational tool.

In the last week, since moving to a new town and searching for a job? My body has been immensely important in processing whole information. Yes, I had an excellent interview, but am I sensing with my soul that this is the right choice. Am I sweaty during the interview because I know this isn’t a good fit? Am I feeling in my core that this is what will support my life’s path? Do I feel the presence of my interviewer, are they really processing what I am saying? Am I understanding their needs?

When I leave that interview, I have more information than when I left. WHOLE information. I know within 15 seconds of leaving that interview if that will work, won’t work, or maybe needs more time to work for me. No longer am I just trusting my brain, but my whole body with information. The envelope is becoming less of a letter and more of a spirit. I’m opening pages of a book I never knew before. 

Faith, Trust and Intuition is a whole body experience. Use your head, but connect to the heart. In the end, that is where the most information is stored.

May you trust the sensory information you get from the present. May your soul be tied to every decision you make, whether consciously or unconsciously. May you enjoy every minute of navigating whole information because you trust the life you love. May you be consistent in your determination to be a whole working system. May that system work for you, so your destiny may land happily on your shoulder. May you live with love. May you be happy, healthy and whole. 

Sat Nam