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. 

The Girl Asleep at a Party

When I was in college, I used to get blackout drunk. At UC Santa Barbara, that is called “Wednesday” , Certain as there was a Saturday and I didn’t have rehearsal? I’d be drinking 5-6 hard liquor or beer drinks a night and wandering into a stranger’s house to use their bathroom. 

There would always be that one girl, asleep at a party. She’s surrounded by activity, people are stacking cups on her head, and the world could light on fire – she would not wake up.

A few months ago I had a very rude awakening. The world, the planet, our lives are all short and maybe we are able to come close to our reason being here. But in the meantime happiness is the only thing worth pursuing even if it means risking the way you used to be.

I’m anxious. All the time. I don’t know minute by minute what I’m supposed to do and I’m letting others dictate that for me. I’m trying to surrender to the path, let the ride be the guide and really choose what challenges me and makes me happy to wake up every day.

Put the pursuing of that makes me want to be the girl asleep at a party. I know I won’t be able to go back to it, but I want to be her, just for an evening. 

I’ve taken a little bit of Kava-Kava, this herbal anxiety medicine that I found at the organic drugstore. It makes my lips tingle. It makes me want to eat a cookie. It makes me want a hug. It makes me want to pass out in the middle of the party.

This is the challenge of a conscious life : once you wake up, you can never go back to sleep. You must be conscious at all times even when it feels painful or scary. You must be the truth about your life if you want to get anywhere close to your joy.

I hope that I’m listening to what I truly believe is in my heart. I hope to stay awake and energized throughout the entire process of transformation. I hope I don’t get swallowed up by what I expect of myself. I hope that I don’t die before realizing infinity every day. I hope I can live in joy and happiness even when it hurts. I hope to never fall asleep again. 

May you never fall asleep again. 

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.

When Venus Gives Career Advice

I’m sweating in a small room for 8 days straight. I have been calling C.E.O’s of tech companies on a telemarketing job, and the hours are making my brain melt.

Enter Venus.

Venus is a woman to whom I was assigned to check in with. Her very presence makes me nervous. Tall. Poised. Sterling Eyes. Wedding ring that would make Kim Kardashian jealous. Rumor has it she has worked in film. I’ve seen her drive a very expensive-looking BMW out of the parking lot. She is top-of-the-mountain engaging and doesn’t have to say a word.

As an artist, I have been taught to be vulnerable and real. That is where I live most of the time in my nervous universe – accepting the fact that I feel like a fraud and seeking truth within that falseness.

But then I meet Venus and I want to be just like her : UNCONQUERABLE.  A wall of fire and ice that says “Don’t Fuck With Me”. It is this that leads me to be timid and not try to fuck with her.

She’s walking down the hall. I don’t realize she is talking on the phone with a client, because she has been walking in the office. After I interrupt her, I go into my cubicle and continue my job.

She comes back in, and I apologize for interrupting her phone call…again.

She looks around and says…”Can I give you some really good career advice?”

She shuts the door.

My heart is in my mouth.

“Sure.”

“Never say you are sorry to anyone. Especially women! You have NOTHING to apologize for, so why are you apologizing? Do you think a MAN would apologize for what he did? Absolutely not. I was walking around, my phone in my ear- if HE didn’t know then HE doesn’t care. Don’t care so much, and never apologize.”

I know it sounds harsh, but she says this without sounding angry, resentful or like she is saying anything else but the truth.

I say thanks, appreciate the advice, here’s what I wanted to tell you. We go over the phone list and strategies for the afternoon call list. She leaves the room.

It takes 5 seconds, but I burst into tears. How many apologies have I made over several years for no reason at all? How many times have I been afraid to interrupt, offend or hurt?

I can pinpoint the exact point in my childhood when this hit me over the head : without any blame or resentment, I can seriously recall the moment when I was taught never to invite yourself over to anyone’s house. Make sure you ALWAYS have permission. ALWAYS.

But what happens to Venus inside us, the goddess of love who knows what she likes, what she wants and how she should get it. Who is unapologetic about the fact that she EXISTS, and CLAIMS her sacred space without attachment to the opinions of others?

The rest of the phone calls, I counted every apology said on the phone. 3. That means on average? At least 4-6 times a day I make myself feel like I shouldn’t take up space. What has that done to my subconscious desire and has that robbed me of any opportunities to grow?

This week, let Venus be your Goddess of the sacred space. I hope you own the space of your life, fill it with love and don’t apologize for what it looks like to others. I hope you take up so much space that you can be seen from heaven with your impact. I hope you use that space to change the world. I hope you never have to apologize ever again.

Sat Nam

time-management-woman

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

Knots

Patchy foggy pieces of information in bulk are far worse than small amounts of clarity. When you look at a big tangle of knots, you see parts of the rope that once were straight. You can see their entry and exit into the frayed tangle of mess – have some idea of where they are going and what parts of the whole they represent. You see the pattern of their relationship with the entire messy tangle, maybe you might even be able to see which parts they are connected to.

I’ve come to a point in my climb up career mountain that gets pieces of information at a time. One job offer fails, the other one calls. I have a great interview and then a terrible one. I can tell the instant I’m doing well and when I’m faking it for the sake of a paycheck. Each one of these experiences are tiny knots to untie.

For example. I’m sitting in a warehouse in San Carlos with two commercial directors. I’m enjoying myself. I’m talking about past experiences and future offers of help. They are engaged, and open to potentially take what I am offering on the table. This, like a few other production leads, will go nowhere. Both parties have not received enough information, because they are each untangling knots of their own.

I don’t know it yet, but I need a big wheel job to pay for my base expenses before I can even THINK of taking on this project. They don’t know it yet, but they can’t really present me a valuable offer without looking at their budget first and knowing exactly what kind of person they need. We both are learning things, and we part knowing that we aren’t right for each other. Sadly, this is the best version of a date I’ve had in months.

And so it goes. This applies to personal knots as well. I only know enough about the next relationship, the next adventure, and the next part of my life I want to experience based on what I untangle.

Then there are those huge, messy, lifelong knots – the ones the mind keeps going over. My emotional attachment to unavailable men, the low feelings of self-worth and coming from a place of lack, performance anxiety, financial instability, emotional eating, and the conscious choice of what I’m thinking is true about myself versus what actually is – conformity to norm versus my truth.

When your mind is constantly focusing on the unmanagable task – taking the smallest part of a messy rope and saying “This is what I’m learning right now. When I learn what part of the whole this is connected to, then I can solve the bigger problem.”

May your knots in the coming weeks be broken down into small tasks. May the information be clear. May you have the courage to follow your true intuition, and trust that the knot was once strong rope. May you have the patience to let time manage the unmanagable knots. May you be fearless in your pursuit of your soul’s mystery. May you unravel your destiny one piece of rope at a time.

Sat Nam

knots

O time! thou must untangle this, not I;
It is too hard a knot for me to untie!
– Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Viola 2.2.40

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

 

The Squeak

It sounds like a nonconformist slide whistle, which at any hour of the day will make the most annoying noise I’ve ever heard. I sit at the front desk of a lobby office, and suddenly that noise becomes my tell-tale heart. WHAT THE HELL IS THAT???

It’s the office drink refrigerator. Every time the glass moves against the opposite wall, it makes a rubbery whistle that is really irritating. A squeaky honk or a honky squeak? I can’t tell anymore. 

I sit here for 8 hours and none of it will ever go away. I can’t tell when the noise will come into my world, or when it will leave. It chooses how to present itself, it makes itself known and it comes back without my permission.

In many ways, this is how karma is processed. You never know when your bad cycles are going to appear, your old patterns that are going to pop up. I never know when I am going to feel shame, anger, fear, depression or loneliness creep up on me – but I know the vibration of those feelings the same way I feel this sound. Like, OH NO! Not THIS again. I’m sick of this fantasy/nightmare/problem that I thought I dealt with already.

The source may be the same or different, but it doesn’t matter because it seems interminable. And it’s the same sound, every time. A single noise in an otherwise noiseless world that keeps popping up, over and over again until it is all that you can think about.

We come to this planet as guests of an already perfect system, and our imperfections catch up with us. It’s only natural.

What we fail to realize when we process these sounds, feelings, vibrations, sensations? Is that we don’t need to fix any of it. We just need to let go of it the same way we let go of the noise that pops up in our heads. Every time we feel something, it doesn’t have to overtake us – they aren’t facts about our life, just information about trauma and drama not yet processed.

On this day, I hope that you find the silence in yourself when you hear only noise. I hope you recognize that in spite of your karma, you are all divine beings. I hope that you identify the source of your noise and learn how to live with it or let it go. I hope that you overcome all the squeaky sounds in your head that tell you that you aren’t worth jack. I hope that you eat your karma for breakfast so you can serve your higher purpose all day long. I hope you believe enough in yourself that the sounds don’t matter. I hope you have peace in your heart. Always.

Sat Nam.  

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!!!