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 Good Lonely

I’m entering a phase in my life I’m choosing to call : the good lonely. Its a big, amazing world out there and I want to experience every dimension of it. Some parts of that dimension require solitary confinement.

There are some days when I stare at the roof of the ceiling in my room and wish to be miles away from where I am. The only thing pulling me in any direction is towards a life of adventure, prosperity, happiness and creative sharing. 

Most days though, I feel alone. And that’s OK, it just requires a balance of surrounding myself with love whenever that feeling enters my soul.

When you are 29, your personal crisis’ stop being cute and they start feeling like a spiritual deadline. Your friends are partnering off and making families, everyone expects you to have a career path planned, and all success is measured in what kind of phone you have.

Which is why you need the good lonely at this time in your life. It’s a time to reject all that and really allow yourself to occupy the space of your life. No one else will do it for you.

I’m grateful for this time, frightening as it is. It’s allowed me to make some rules for myself that have made me feel stronger, lighter, more myself.

1. Treat yourself like royalty. It’s the only way to move through the hard parts in life is to make sure you are well cared for by the power of your soul.

2. Don’t be afraid of taking up space. As a woman, I really feel like I’ve been beat down over my lifetime with reasons to apologize. I refuse to, anymore.

3. Failure is encouraged. Graceful and teaching moments of failure are the best thing you can ask for at this point, because each one leads you to more information.

4. If you don’t agree, don’t participate. A job, a housing situation, a relationship, a lifestyle. Don’t make choices based on what’s expected of you.

5. Stay strong and flexible. Your vulnerability mixed with your strength makes you compelling, just as you are. Don’t change it because you feel like you have nothing to offer.

6. Surround with people who make you feel loved and take you out of yourself. It makes all the difference in the world.

7. Separate feelings from facts. Meditation helps this. So does time. So does perspective.

8. Build yourself up so you can build others up. It will make you strong, sensitive, and compelling.

9. The only relationship you ever really need is with your higher self. Whatever that is, keep searching for it and never give up.

10. Realize that you are a living system that has karmic lineage. You alone are radiant, powerful and beautiful. Be the living embodiment of dharma and you will never feel alone again.

I wish you all a very good lonely.

Sat Nam

Walk in radiance and you will never feel alone.

Walk in radiance and you will never feel alone.

Ways to Take Up Space

1. Say what you feel the moment you feel it. Tell the grocer he made a mistake in a very kind way. Tell your friend they are making you feel pressured, marginalized or hurt. Tell your lover that you love them and appreciate everything they do for you. Tell your parents thank you. 

2. If that makes you uncomfortable, write those feelings down and then say them later to the person. It still counts.

3. Sing loudly. In the car, in the shower, on stage, recorded or into your hairbrush. But sing with your whole body.

4. Hog the covers. If there is someone next to you at the time you attempt this, play-fight them for it. Roll around as much as possible while doing this. Wedgies are fair game. You know you are doing it right when the covers leave the bed and there are no winners. If you are single, make a fort just for you in the living room and invite in friends – or enjoy the solitude. 

5. Do some creative vandalism. Something impermanent that changes the landscape of how your space is defined. Arrange a few post-it’s so they make a smiley face on your wall. Put a ribbon on a statue. Make the outline of a heart in rocks on someone’s door. Attach a kite to the back of a garbage truck.

6. Think like an animal. Growl. Run. Chase. Fetch. Play. Find a field where you can run around and bring out your inner wolverine. Watch people be curious, and then not give a crap. Just don’t leave…traces. 🙂 

7. Reserve It – Is there a place in the park you like to go, a library, a dance studio, a street you like to run? Give yourself space to be in those spaces and give yourself time to be happy in them. For me, that is the bathtub. Mine, mine mine. 

8. Be selfish – Take care of buisiness, then do what you want. You have the right to be where you are and have that be exactly where you want to be. You get there by expressing the need from your true self, and then letting that true self take action. Take what you need, because then you acknowledge the plenty you have. 

9. Do something completely out of character – Ask someone out. Take a class you always wanted to. Travel. Eat something you are curious about. Make space for yourself to explore something new, and you will feel new space inside of you grow. 

10. Love – Love makes you big. Love makes you so big that all the issues you have to deal with become small. Love yourself so much that nothing will disturb your peace of mind, that you feel big in a land where you are taught to play small. Love your limits and go through them. Love everyone around you so the size of your love can carry you. 

May you take all the space you need, and give all the space away. May you vibrate time and space so that all may serve you.

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

Knowing your Truth vs. Knowing Your Infinity

It’s impossible for me not to get excited about things that make me happy. If you told me that there is a 50/50 possibility that an adorable puppy CPA would do my taxes for me, lick my face AND get me a refund? Even if it’s a remote possibility I’d be wagging my own tail and thinking about how amazing my life would be post-puppy CPA…whom I am prematurely naming Agent Clive Barker. 

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Let’s talk about getting you a write-off for your stamps. But first? Scratch my BELLYYYYYYY.

Which is why there is a balance between knowing the truth about yourself, and knowing the truth about the impossible things that may happen for you when you are ready for them. 

I’ve had a crazy couple of days. Yesterday, I had an interview for a puppy-CPA of a job that I was SO convinced was mine. It had everything to make my dream of a living and a life – holistic atmosphere, flexible schedule, hours, benefits and a living wage. Not only that? I was extremely qualified for the position.

My heart was set on this being a decision made for me by the divine. This was a job being given to me by the universe for the 300+ resumes I had sent out during the month of March. After the interview, I went next door to a jewelry shop and the made friends with the lady at the counter, who after I described my qualifications? Told me she was SURE I had the job, and offered me a room for rent at her house in Pacifica if I wanted. 

Signs. Signs. Signs. 

Too bad it was April Fool’s day. 

After a mini- breakdown, I realized I had another interview the next day. I was dreading it. This was a possibility that I had only considered since I was on a hot streak with interviewing. Again, qualified for the position but scared of something that might not fit my lifestyle and long term goals. I have gotten to know the truth about what I was searching for lately, and it had discovered that money and freedom are two things that I really wanted to be partners in my newfound quest for happy. Is that a CPA Puppy? Maybe. But at this point, I was willing to hope that by knowing exactly what I wanted, it would show up for me when I least expected it.

So I show up to the second interview. A start up company. Very new office, expanding, developing kind of place. Something that made me nervous but not frightened by possibility. I sit down with the staffing agent. We talk about my qualifications. It went pretty well. Honesty in shortcomings, integrity in answer, but professional and capable answers. The first thought that entered my head after the interview, I swear to the Puppy CPA? If I ever thought I quit acting because I sucked at it? Not true. That was the most honest I’ve ever been within the format of someone I’ve never been before. 

 It is so hard to carry the spiritual weight and range of the truth of who we are and the infinity of who we are meant to become. Maybe we are meant to do one kind of work, maybe another. Perhaps we have talents we haven’t discovered yet because we haven’t spent the time exploring. Knowing how to stay true to the person you are while still looking for the universal and infinite self is the battle we wage every day.

When we are confronted with this, sometimes we run. I felt like bolting the morning of. Call it nerves, call it wanting to be true to my soul, call it whatever you want. But then this amazing thing happened. The second half of the interview involved the managing members of the secretarial staff having lunch with me.

It was a really fun conversation.

The Assistant to the CEO and I found out we shared a birthday. The meeting room was called the “Charlie Chaplin Room” with a big picture of him behind us. Charlie, my interviewer, and I, were all born on April 16. I talked about my work as a production manager, all the things I enjoy doing, both in life and in work. Everything overlapped. We talked yoga, travel, Mean Girls, community, and all different things that made it fun to be there. Not only that? I sold a version of myself I didn’t know I was capable of before. A part of myself I had never considered to be functional in. 

And I made them laugh. That felt pretty good. 

I don’t know if I’ll get the job or if my next few weeks will be filled with more ups and downs. But I feel more confident now that if I can balance the truth of my infinity and the truth of myself? All will just become known with more information. 

May you know the truth of yourself and the truth of your infinity as they merge into one. May all prosperity come to you when you sit and be present with your inner light. May you be confident in your totality as you move towards balance. May truth be your identity. May that puppy I hired to look at my W2’s be as qualified as he promised he was in the interview. And if he wasn’t, may he still live a happy life rolling in the grass. 

Sat Nam

Why the Sweedish Chef is My Favorite Muppet

Because he does what he loves, even though no one understands him. I want to be just like that.

May your bork be borkity bork bork. May your bork shine through the dimensions of derpity flerpity berk. May all power, love and prosperity be borkity bork derp dorp.

Happy April Fool’s day, readers!

Sat Nam (Translated from Gurmukhi : Bork)

sweedish chef

Never Give Away Your Power

I met someone today I really admire, because she has a talent that I have never possessed in my life. She tells everyone exactly how she feels when she has those feelings, and she tells people what she needs. If you pronounce her name wrong? She corrects you. If she wants you to hold her hand, she says “Hold My Hand”. How many people do you know, including yourself, who never ask for what they need and give away all their emotional energy to maintaining the feelings and patterns of others?

This week, I’ve felt like I’ve been giving my power away – the stories I read on Facebook or the Internet, emotional boundaries that I constantly let people cross, Deadlines I’ve been meaning to meet but have given them to the time needed to devote to others. Patterns are popping up that I realize have been imprinted over YEARS.

Your emotional energy is like a free goodie bag from the drugstore. Most of it is crap, and everyone gets the same bag – fear, jealousy, anger, love, compassion, happiness. Usually the stuff you get in this bag has been handed to you based on previous emotional purchases you have made. Sometimes, you can make a really cool discovery – but beware of which drugs you wish to take and which drugs will make you break out in hives. They come in the same kind of package, and they make the same promises.

I’ve made a discovery this week that I have given a lot of my emotional power to those who are emotionally unavailable. It hurts to find this out, especially since all of these people from my past have understood me where most find me obtuse. In an effort to continue to treat myself like royalty, I have to turn my heart into the hope diamond. Keep it safe, let people admire it for what it is, but only let those who are truly qualified to handle it put their hands on it. 

Alright, now you might be thinking – well that’s HARSH. But what would be the worst part about shutting out those people who, whether they know it or not, are hurting you? I’m not saying cut off all contact or turn off every emotion you have towards someone. But limiting your exposure to the part of that person that hurts you? Might be the best thing for both of you. 

If someone toxic is calling? Don’t answer. If you know you don’t want to read something about someone you have been thinking about? Stay off Facebook. For fuck’s sake, don’t let anyone get away with making you feel like you have to do or be something you are not. If they threaten to leave you, let them.

Never give away your power. Ever. I’m not saying don’t love people, or feel things, or let people into your heart. But your heart is the Hope Diamond, more magnificent than any other gem on the planet. Let those who would admire you, admire you, and those who would try to break the glass never get in. Only let the gentle hands of the open-hearted and emotionally qualified scrub the surface of your already glorious soul.

May you stay away from all bullshit this week. That is all.

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

Face Ritual

Tribal Warriors, Bridesmaids, Receptionists, Fashion Models and Incoming High School Freshmen Girls. All approach the ritual of the face with stunning discipline. Growing up, I had a friend who had a ceremonial way of putting her face on and taking it off. White headband, wash, foundation, powder, eyeliner, mascara. Every day, same time and same stunning attention to protocol.

When I was a waitress, I called makeup my “War Paint”. When waiting tables, you need to feel like you are in control as the elements around you swirl with chaos. Wearing makeup was a way to show my tables “I got this”. You would be amazed how many naked-face days came up with fewer tips than when I wore eyeliner. I don’t think it had anything to do with aesthetics – more the fact that when I looked in the mirror I knew no one would call me “dearie” that day, or think it was my first day on the job. That gave me confidence.

But what kind of ritual was really engaged in the putting on and taking off of a public mask? Are the foundations we create for ourselves, even on a surface level, foundations for soulful development?

We see a movement in celebrity culture towards the “naked face” and “non photoshop” photo. People commend these culture makers for being so brave and honest and open about what they look like, but the ritual of our criticism remains the same. We judge naked-face photos just as rigidly as we judge bad photoshop; with stunning cruelty and love it or hate it rigidity.

I participated in The Color Run last week, a 5K where participants are bathed in colored chalk. A celebration of happiness, health, and fun. Some of it felt like the selfie olympics – people would stop to take group photos during the race. Some of it looked like fun, as people played pranks on each other and recorded them with cameras, but the constant posing? Part of me was like, hey guys – want to actually walk or run in this and see the world around you that is happening?

Have we reached an era where we are more interested in recording the surface aspect of our lives rather than participating in them? Do we want our face-value image more than we crave the actual experience?

Last night, I did an impulsive meditation. It wasn’t a part of my yoga practice, but it felt like real life. My skin, after being drowned in colored chalk and bathed in hard water? Has been breaking out. I wanted a soulful remedy for an irritation – to be PRESENT with my face as I cared for it and ceremoniously created a ritual of small amounts of self-love.

I took a Q-Tip, put cleanser and water on it and I traced all the dirt off with the ends. I rubbed the edges of my blemishes with precision and curiosity. I was tempted to break the skin, even use tweezers. But like all problems the gentle solution is usually the easiest one. I took a warm washcloth, soaked as steamy water rose off of the edges. I gently washed every corner of my face and neck and took stock in the places missed and re-worked. I must have spent 20 minutes with myself, the water, the mirror, and the present moment. It felt amazing.

I think the best part of this ritual was the eye contact. When looking yourself in the face and seeing all the history of your experiences, the laugh lines and the dark marks, it becomes valuable to you. The warmth and love that I give to my face is like the warmth and love I want to give to myself : every day, and acknowledging all the things that I am and am not with joy and cleansing ritual.

Your naked face is what you live with every day. No matter what you put on and take off, learning to lean into the deep and infinite parts of yourself will bring you peace. May you learn to make loving rituals for yourself that truly give you grounding. As you put on and take off life’s tasks and rituals, may you value the person who participates in them. May everyone who looks at you be healed by the love behind your eyes. May your face heal others as it communicates kindness and compassion. May your joy be present in your face.

Sat Nam

facewash

Samsara and the After Dark Toasters

This week, I worked at the Computer History Museum in Los Altos, CA. It dawns on me that every piece in here was once a modern masterpiece. It had its premiere, use and time and then it was deemed obsolete. The military supercomputers gave way to 8 bit technology gave way to the IThing, then the IThing5, and so on and so forth. It dawned on me as a beautiful reminder.

Everything has its cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth.

In Hindu and Buddhist terms, this is called Samsara. It means continuous flow. The life cycle of everything under the cosmos, including the cosmos itself. To everything, turn turn turn, there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven. What we are aware of as time is a constantly changing cycle in which we are constantly a part of as living moving beings.

Take for example, the flying toaster. It’s the first exhibit that you see when you enter the museum, in reference to a screen saver called After Dark. These screensavers were popular when Apple Computer systems first came out. They exhibited an animation for your sleeping computer while you were away from the screen – flying toasters would pop toast out of their winged backs like majestic Valkyries.

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But what I learned today, was these flying toasters were inspired from an album cover. Jefferson Airplane, who has winged coasters on the cover of their album. The toasters on the cover, unlike the ones on the screen saver, have a clock face on them. Almost as if they knew their time was not quite up, that they were not quite ready to disappear into obscurity.

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So what is present in this history lesson? Passage of time on the wheel can be illusory. I’m sure those toasters on their original album cover had no idea the immortality they would achieve. The influence of their flight was not seen by anyone, least of all Jefferson Airplane, who I’m pretty sure sued the software company at one point.

What we don’t know about our passage on this wheel of time could fill volumes – we are constantly moving entities of magic and the more we grow aware of our smallness the bigger we become.

What I imagined my life would be at this point is a far million miles from the life I am living at present. I read a bio of a friend of mine, who three years ago was hoping to do something creative with her life. She is still trying that. I hear her voice, and I echo it as my own. Sometimes I feel like my creative energy is lost in translation – from what I hear we both are trying to make a living and a life.

May the wheel of Samsara prove all of the talents you thought fruitless are glorious reflections of the soul. May your cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth have echoes of your true self in all of it. May you trust the wheel knows where it is going. May you bow to the universal divine consciousness inside you and follow that no matter what the cost. May you be whole in your knowledge that you are working with time and it will never crush you. May your Samsara carry you to beautiful places you never thought possible. May you be.

Sat Nam