Solstice and Finding Yourself at Great Height

Today is the longest day of the year. When I woke up at 5am I looked out my window and saw everything crisp – clean lines outlining everything in sight. A birth of vision. Minutes before I was huddled in my bed, dreading another day of worry, anxiety and fighting the choices I had in front of me. 

There comes a certain point when you realize nothing is a good or bad choice. You are just constantly making them and feeling the effects every single day. 

That is why I love solstice. For one day, there appears to be the magic of equilibrium. Magic is in your heart and you can see clearly the foundation of who you are. There are no choices there is just the brilliant magic of being present.

Today I make the choice not to let my emotions take over. It’s hard, because as much as I love my yoga practice sometimes I think it makes me overly sensitive and shaky. I look at a homeless person and I feel like I want to take care of him, and then I feel mad when I can’t give him a home. I see a dog and I want to smush his face into my hands as he licks my cheeks. I see a very beautiful man at the counter of the coffee shop and I feel such joy when I make him laugh. I read about the slums of Brazil and how people are selling their daughters to tourists and I want to fall apart. 

Not today. Today – equilibrium. The power of the neutral mind. We all can find what we are looking for with the help of the neutral mind. Today I will find a way to make my mind so big that all the emotions that usually cripple me will become trusted sources of information. Just like the sun I will rise to the highest point in the sky. Not even fear will be able to touch me at this high point. 

And yet? I will feel absolutely nothing. I hope to be so high in the sunshine that everyone I meet is touched by love. I hope to share my destiny with others in a way that I am always present and aligned with my dharma. Rich or poor, For Better or For Worse, Sickness or Health I choose my soul to be my soulmate. All things that orbit my soul will be a reflection of the God inside me, and not the other way around. 

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. 

Nurture the Freakish Gifts You Have

I have never been very good at finding myself consistently. Over and over again I adapt, survive and stay just below the surface of potential because it is safe. I’m trying to break out of this pattern of behavior and I’ve discovered a new tool of community: the freak inside of me. 

I am confused by gifts sometimes. God gives so many of them and yet pursuing all of them come with throwbacks. You follow your gift and talent artist you become a survivor, maybe even a bitter one. You follow the gift of a relationship and it can hurt you. You follow the gift of community and it may come at you with pitchforks. You follow the gift of choice and five more you have to make with all kinds of consequences. 

It’s a baffling blessing. So what is one to do? 

EXACTLY WHAT YOU LIKE DOING – WHETHER FREAKISH, STRANGE OR UNCONVENTIONAL IT IS YOUR ACTIONS THAT WILL WIN OVER TALENTS EVERY TIME. 

I’ve realized that you become your gifts whether you are aware of them or not. A human being responds to it’s environment but when you are really vibing with yourself right? The actions you take towards your gifts gives you more community than you ever imagined.

I became a vegan six months ago. It started as a way to cleanse after a breakup, but slowly became something I was passionate about. Animals, my body and health, the way it supported my yoga? I became freakishly passionate about it. I was living in a place where to say you were vegan was the equivalent of saying that you had an eating disorder. People did not know what to do with the freak who they could not cook nor shop for. 

Now I am searching on craigslist for a place to rent. I’m living in Oakland, and of every listing I see veganism comes up regularly. There are people who are passionate about yoga and sustainability and gardening in almost every “about me” section of the renter’s information. 

It was then I realized : I brought forth this community to me through the gift of action. I didn’t know it then, but everything I ate was determining my environment. Everything I made for myself is happening for me whether I know it or not. 

All small managable tasks will create your environment. What you do every day will determine your fate, not what happens to you like the lottery. I try to remember this as I continue to hold out for work that I am passionate about that pays. Surround myself in the area, the people, the work that helps me get more work. It will all become known to me. And to you too.

In the coming weeks, I hope you find your freakish gifts and then a tribe comes along that nurtures those as well. I hope you become everything you are- infinite possibilities. I hope you have the strength to keep up even when you don’t feel like it. I hope you live life happy, healthy and whole. 

Sat nam, you freaks. 

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

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.

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,

The Price of All That Happy

I saw an adorable but ugly dog – my favorite kind. I squealed at him and shouted, “PUPPY!”. The owner looked frightened. When I find out that my favorite band is playing near me, I’d put on displays of convivial joy while hunting down tickets online. If someone handed me a shaker of truffle salt? I would jump up and down in excitement.

Professionals stay neutral. Children stay happy. Realists stay realistic, but also can’t get hurt as easily. Where is the middle ground? Neutrality is what we seek on the spiritual journey, but also happiness. What happens when we seek to cross these both? Does it even happen?

This morning, as I wring myself out in yoga class and get rid of all the fears that surround me on a daily basis? I’m struck by the fact that we can never have a lot of happy without a lot of sad. Just as in a risk-and-reward situation, the higher you go the higher you have to fall.

Consider the wave. As it heads towards the shore it gets highest before it falls. But then it goes back and another high is reached. The water goes fast and then slow, and paces based on it’s peaks and valleys. When it’s closer to the sand, it is forced to absorb the changing landscape before it has strength to rise again.

life like this...

life like this…

But it always rises. The higher it goes the more it inspires, accumulates and moves. It takes the whole landscape with it and fills its volume with sea life. It’s majestic, joyful and moving as the way nature intended. Beautiful motion.

I realize I am in a phase of my life now that I am tentatively calling “the good happy lonely”. I’m a woman on the verge of the next phase of my life and trying to enjoy the present while all of life fills itself inside me. That makes me happy. The price of all that happy is an equal or greater amount of sadness sometimes. But I have to know deep inside me that the wave will grow strong again even when I don’t feel it will.

The price of all this happy is sometimes laying on a mattress in the middle of the floor and feeling a void. The price of all that happy is a vulnerable feeling that I’m exposed as a fraud to everyone who knows me, false as that assumption may be. The price of all that happy is some sweat, tears and pain. The price of all that happy is sacrifice. The price of all that happy is some love lost over time.

But then I see a carton of truffle salt in the grocery store and I think – the world cannot be so bad. This savory fruit of the sea exists, and just like the sea will rise with me again.

May the price of all your happy be the strength to fight for it and let things go. May the price of all your happy be presence. May you ride your life like a gentle wave and feel lighter in every step along the way. May the price of all that happy be a committed relationship to the wonderful, amazing soul that you are.

Sat Nam.

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Cities, get ready — the tiny houses are coming

Nam Joti:

This is a real dream of mine. Project info to follow, check my blog for details!

Originally posted on Grist:

If you’re looking for tiny houses in cities, prepare to look in unconventional spaces.

In Tokyo, for example, on a plot the size of a parking spot, a tiny house is tucked into the corner of a busy intersection. In Seattle, you’ll find one on a pie-slice of land smushed up against a standard-size home (evidence of a bad divorce). In Warsaw, you’ll have to peer into a three-foot-wide gap between buildings.

We’ve all heard it before: Cities are growing. Everyone wants to live in a city. Young people are sprinting into cities as quickly as their dumb pants will allow. And while there’s been some talk of city centers beginning to draw people back in from the suburbs in recent years, it’s undeniable that sprawl is still very much a component of metropolitan growth in the United States. The much-beloved youth mecca of Austin, for example, grew…

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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

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