Ride the Focused Float

Water is my calming element. Every time I am in it, around it, or watching it my mind instantly tunes into my organic self. I feel free, floating and alive. When I was a kid, my dad signed me up for swim team. Bad idea. I never wanted to get across the lane, I was having such a fantastic time feeling supported by this magical atmosphere. My lap time was probably close to an hour, and getting me out of the pool is exhausting. 

Today, I have things to do and a big project I am undertaking to build my own version of home. I still need to find a job, and I have to support myself. I feel the gravity of my situation as the shadow side of my freedom. Imagine that same swimming pool but filled with molasses. Or, just when you feel the most connected in the water, another kid holds your head down. Or even worse, tries to pull you out because everyone else is heading home. 

Why doesn’t the world let us stay where everything feels good? Why are we constantly encouraged to leave our freedom behind because everyone else tells you it’s time to grow up? Why is the struggle towards floating a constant FIGHT???

I dream of being a woman in balance: floating in the atmosphere of her element but so focused that even if all the water were to drain out of the pool she would still feel light – airy in her own atmosphere. Untouchable. Free. 

The mind is your focused float. Start there. Your body is your conscious balance in that float. Keep going towards that delight. Your soul will emerge from those two feeling good. Be good to them. Be good to yourself.

May you float free and focused. May you find your element. May you feel joy, always. 

Sat Nam

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Mars and the Marshmallow Test

Temptation is a bitch. Building, releasing in such small increments, no reward on the horizon. But then I learned a valuable phrase this week “Thank you, but I am waiting to hear back from other opportunities that may be a better fit”.

The new moon is in Aries this month, and the inner warrior is giving prime opportunity to let things happen that is never before thought possible. Spending time meditating on the warrior, the person you are becoming and a life you never thought possible for yourself? Prime time to do so.

Which brings me to an experiment that I keep bringing up when trying to build a future. A study done at Stanford looked at the effect of delayed gratification in children, what is famously known as the Marshmallow Experiment.

In this study, they offered children a choice : one marshmallow now or the treat of your choice later. A hard choice for any of us to make, especially for children. Only one third of the children studied even dared to wait for the second marshmallow. Knowing what I do of myself at that age? I’m not sure I would have had the patience then, either.

But here’s what they found in a continued study of these subjects : those who waited for the second marshmallow had better SAT scores, more advanced education and a lower Body Mass Index. Those who have the mental capacity to wait have the mobility to transform.

This month, our Mars warrior inside of us needs to advance forward. More than ever, he has the opportunity to overcome massive obstacles and grow in success. But we have to look at what kind of warrior we want to be : the kind who plows through the unknown with panic and fear, or the one who patiently waits for his destiny to land on his shoulder.

I know what I want in a future, because I know what I want at present. I know who I am and I know why I came to this planet. But I am willing to sit at Starbucks, answering emails, filling out applications, and seeking the spiritual and creative community I was born to serve. And yes, I am also willing to listen to the 3rd playing of “Shiny Happy People”, that is on the Starbucks soundtrack of the month.

Onward and In Place to Victory.

May you find your center so all things may come to you. May your Mars Warrior move forward by finding the silent place inside. May your destiny be so clear that you are willing to go through fire to fight for it. May all bits of your life’s information come to serve you, as you learn to serve others. May you be prosperous, victorious and strong.

Sat Nam

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

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

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.

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!!!

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

Bang Head On Desk – Staying Present

I am a daydreamer. Always have been, ever since I was seven and my mother signed me up for youth soccer. I spent the entire time playing with my pigtails, chasing butterflies, and making cut-grass angels. As I get older the problem becomes that the daydreams have taken over to include entire lives that I’m not sure I’m capable of leading. There is so much part of being human that is constantly dissatisfied, so we are given to these fits of fantasy.

For example: 

I’m applying for a job that I might actually be good at. I find it on Craigslist, and I open an email to describe my skills. This has been a long search for jobs that I am not at all qualified for, but this one has software I am familiar with, an environment I might do well in, and skills that may transfer. Hallelujiah!

But then, I start the fantasy. If I work at this job for 30 hours a week, then that gives me some flexibility and time to apply for production manager positions, to expand my career, to write more, to travel, to live the FULL EXPECTED LIFE OF A CAREER WOMAN ON THE VERGE OF FINDING HERSELF!! YES!! 

Send.

Without, of course, the resume attachment. 

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So what do I attempt to do? 

Bang. Head. On. Desk. It’s an acronym, of course for act of remembering how to take it back to where you are.

B, H – Be Here. All Present Sensations. All things that can be are here for you now. If you are having trouble feeling this, try to breathe through your nostrils alternately closing one side each time. Left, then Right, then Alternate. Do that for as long as you need to until you feel present.

O, D – Open, Divine. Once you have finished maintaining present consciousness, feel the process of opening. Feel your heart creating your present situation for you. Close your eyes and connect to that heart, and imagine that energy expanding until it reaches around the city block. Then the sky. Then across the seas. Then through space and time. Feel that divine energy inside you.

May all of your fantasies be present with your conscious self. May your fantasies be seen through the lens of your current reality. May you become present and real. May you believe in the power of your open, divine self. May you have infinity in the presence of your soul.

Sat Nam. 

Ra Ma Da Sa – Heal Thyself, Heal the World

Last week, I had a panic attack. The first one I have had in years. Hands shaking, my mother tranquilized me with her calming hands as I cried so hard my entire body felt an exorcism of grief. This is a feeling I have been storing in my body for several weeks. Loss of a relationship one year in the making, loss of a job that made me feel alive, the loss of my grandmother and her release from pain. Everything hit me all at once as I began to break down. One piece at a time.

We have so many ways in the current culture to destroy ourselves. Let me list some that I have engaged in.

  1. The Boring Drugs – Bad Television, Food, Booze… all things seemingly normal and undetected in all social circles.
  2. Sex – Ok, this list is starting to sound like a purity test. I’m not on this earth to make anyone, least of all, myself look like a soapbox diva. But what better way to forget than to lose yourself in another person? When did we decide as a culture that medicating using another’s genitals was a good idea?
  3. Self-Importance – We are taught, in America that the bigger we are the more powerful we become. Bigger homes, more followers, more social networking and more social anxiety. I am the most socially adjusted person until I engage in online comparison and then fear sets in. Where were we before we coveted our neighbor’s online post? How did we even survive?
  4. Martyrdom in the name of Service – When you are inspired to give, you want to give more and more. But if you never give to yourself you run on fumes and become either a financial, emotional or physical martyr. The cause of your life is to live it happy. When you martyr yourself in the name of others, you never get that solid foot on the ground and lose your liberation.
  5. Fear – I’ve let fear destroy many wonderful experiences that could have been completely pleasant. Shows I have been in, projects I have started, friendships? Relationships that never started because I couldn’t tell someone “I think you are amazing. You make me smile, and you add color to my view of the planet”. Chances, adventures, life. All curtailed out of a non-credible emotion.

So how do you heal from all these subconscious traumas? How do you resonate healing and love when you are falling apart? Where are the healing hands of your earthly and heavenly mother when your entire body resonates with these self-destructive tendencies?

There is a beautiful meditation in Kundalini Yoga. Tonight I felt the waves of peace roll over me as a voice whispered in my ear: “I think you are amazing, you make me smile, and you add color to my view of the planet”. It’s the inner voice I have been afraid to tell other people, because I need to tell myself first.

Healing cannot happen unless it starts at our original home, the heart.

Sitting on the ground with your legs crossed, close your eyes and focus at your third eye. Hold your hands palms flat at the level of your shoulders. Elbows are bent and resting next to the shoulders. Back straight. Breathe. Chant along with these beautiful elements, bringing in the navel point as you chant the syllables Sa and Hung, illuminating them both –

Ra – Sun

Ma- Moon

Da – Earth

Sa – Infinity

Sa- I call on Infinity

Say – I personally embody that Infinity

So – I merge with that Infinity

Hung – That esscence, I am thou.

To finish, hold your breath and visualize that green, healing energy of love. Send it to yourself, to the planet. To the world. Inhale and focus on that person or place you need to heal. Exhale and Inhale one last time, send it out further than you ever imagined. Exhale and heal the world.

Start with 11 minutes. Start with the love that you owe yourself as a divine being having an earthly experience.

May your week be healed by everything that makes you fall apart. May you peel back the layers of fear in your life to reveal the healing vibration of self love. May you care for yourself so much that all others are healed by being around you. May you inspire others to be healing waves of love. May that wave submit itself into an ocean of compassion. May that ocean be our planet. Sat  Nam.

Try this musical version with Snatam Kaur! Rights belonging to the artist-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9OCEfi4Lv0