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.

Becoming Captain America

Times of grit and times of grace are needed, now more than ever. Homeless families trying to keep minimum-wage jobs, global warming crisis that is causing levels of panic, veterans coming home from war and causing harm to themselves and others. We are no longer peacemakers if we want to make an impact, we have to be the cause-and-effect participants in helping the person next to us. 

And it starts with the nuanced hero at home.

Look at your life, everything about it. Which parts make you feel scared? How often do you find yourself alone with your thoughts and they make you feel lost? Which parts of yourself are you really convinced may someday be the end of your own happiness. 

Comic book movies have been hitting the theaters and making big bucks lately : The Amazing Spider Man 2, Captain America, Winter Soldier…

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What do these movies have in common? Good guy. Bad guy. Good guy wins. Bad guy loses. It’s what we are all hoping for ourselves : some clarity of the enemy and the hero. What we are doing wrong and what we are doing right in our life becomes a true or false question. We become heroes. 

Today, I give myself permission to be the nuanced hero at home. The hero who has trouble getting out of bed sometimes because things are hard for her. The hero who then decides to do yoga instead of feel bad about it, and calls her friend to say hello. The hero who sucks at math. The hero who is constantly apologizing for things that aren’t her fault. The hero that isn’t sure how to live in this world, but keeps trying to be better even when she sets herself back.

I’ve got some news : the nuanced hero at home is the good guy and the bad guy all at once. Make peace with who that nuanced hero is RIGHT NOW, and end your suffering. End the idea that you have to have it all figured out. End the idea that you can’t handle the unstable life you have, or that peace is an impossibility. Because at the end of the day, the nuanced hero needs to be happy – and he’ll find that making himself or herself happy first, then sharing that with others. 

I wish all this for you, my heroes. 

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

Why My Career Needs a Big Wheel

It was hard to say no to $20.00 an hour, 40 hours a week serving as production manager for another feature. The job would have been three months out of Freemont, introduced me to many different hard working people in the Bay Area, and given me some real challenges in a field I have really loved working for. But I need some big wheels until my little ones can run on their own. 

Now what do I mean by this? Imagine your life as a series of gears, all moving together. Big wheels are what give you the most support and stability. Career, Health, Family, Spiritual Life, Community, Partner/Romance. Things move slower with the big wheels because things are less likely to change on those rotors. Not everyone’s big wheel is the same. Someone’s spiritual life might be going to church, it might be finding art in a museum. One person’s definition of family differs from the next, but they are stable and give a sense of connectivity. Romance might be a partner or it might be learning how to fall in love with yourself.

But what’s the key in the big wheel? Stability. Even Bear Grylls takes a knife with him when he goes into the woods, and he isn’t completely on his own  – let’s not forget there is a cameraman there. The poor bastard.

ImageThen you have your little wheels. Those are the things that fill in the gaps – passions, hobbies, adventures, love, entertainment. Those are things that don’t have to be huge, they just need to be what makes you blissfully happy. For me, that is my yoga, my friends, film making, writing, travel and challenging my whole self  to discover. That is laughing and sweating every day with purpose.

At certain times, things won’t always be moving forward. Big wheels will fall off. Little wheels will stop making us feel something. It truly is a lucky thing to have your big wheels and your little wheels be the same thing – to be so at one with yourself that you draw forth the opportunity to let all things be supported by themselves. 

I know to support a passion project you must support yourself – and I know that if I was to take that job that I would spend 3 months completely dedicated to it becoming a reality and none for making a stable place for myself in this world. I feel the same way about passion projects right now as I do about boyfriends – I would love to have one but I need to make sure that I’m stable enough to get into it.

So how do I handle the time in between boyfriends? When I need a big wheel so I can’ t do much of my little wheel? I’m going to see my family and friends, the big wheel I can always count on. I’m going to a film panel this weekend talking about DIY filmmaking and try to meet people. I’m going to continue to search for a big wheel that supports my little wheel. I’m going to continue to follow my big dreams and be big enough to let some little ones go for now.

May all your big wheels be stable. May all your little wheels bring you joy. May both work together. If you can’t travel to India, may you find the best Indian Cuisine and di May both be the same, someday. May you live in pursuit of balance because of glorious self-love. May you be happy.

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

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