collective rise.

SRF

 

It’s election day. Only a few hours from the results.

Some people feel that we don’t have any good candidates. I may agree that one candidate is not worthy

But I do not agree that she will win only because of her male opponent’s downfall, because, as usual, the stereotype that a woman wins when the man is not strong.

I am not saying that I agree 100 per cent with all that Hillary has put out there.

But when I study her as a candidate, she is a woman that can handle sh*#.

I’m not saying the millennial who wrote that viral article about Hillary Clinton is not right. There were some seriously valid points there.

But when I voted for Obama I heard some arguments.

When I voted in my first election for Al Gore, I heard some more.

Am I a democrat? No, I’m a woman who believes in having rights and choices.

I voted today not because I don’t have any good choices and for the mere sake of it. I had a good choice that I chose to vote for…because I believe it’s time a strong and qualified female took the office.

I voted because I have the right to vote and even with my friends who say “voting doesn’t matter”… I voted because I can.

Because it was more than a presidential election, but one that had me reflect on props (aka issues that matter in the place I call home).

You know less than 100 years ago, women could not vote.

Heck…I had one on one conversations with my grandparents who lived through a time where their country was taken over (British rule over India) and they could not vote. In their own damn country. (Shashi Tharoor had my attention in a recent article I read)

Can you imagine, America?

As Thanksgiving approaches we should be grateful for this ability to vote, to buy land, to have rights over our own bodies and children and so much more.

Talk to someone who lives in a tyranny. In a dictatorship.

And with the hate that this election ignited, it’s scary to think we could head there.

Hate is not what we should focus on.

We need to shift on coming together.

Especially if things don’t play out how we want. We all want something different.

Whoever wins, we as the people that live and breathe freedom should stay banded so that as a the collective, we can rise.

And so if you vote, protest, call, write to legislation…whatever you do, do what you believe with conviction.

Don’t sit back and expect the world to fall into place and run the way you want. Don’t sit back and complain without changing divisions to equations of peace through action…your action.

Be the change you wish to see in the world.

That’s what this poem calls for.

 

a moment to pause.

 poem for anniversary

A poem dedicated to my love on our anniversary.

A moment to pause…

page in my pregnancy diary.

 

Everything felt heavy for a minute

Felt like weeks

In the days that the rain had come down hard in words and thunder around me

And it had left a residue of gray clouds in my mind as I pieced together what was left in this time

Time is moving fast

Yet my body is heavier and slower in these last few weeks of carrying life

Soon he will emerge

And enter this world

Anxiety of perfectionism patterns set in

The nesting crept up on me

As our home reeked havoc

with 3 year old footsteps

Everything in storage…

We are half in and half out

The heaviness

So I started to fall off my balance beam

As a kid I remember gymnastics and standing on the beam finding a focus and breathing

Like my yoga mat now a days

And it came back to me

As light breaking through that dark

The reminder

Of presence

As I hold belly with awe

And balance

As I kiss my daughter with heart

And nurture

As I hug myself with self care

And feel love

In that light

Shifting my focus

From needs

To gratitudes

Doesn’t mean I don’t need

What I voiced

Simplicity of touch

In my vulnerability

But I found what matters

And a new focus gives me space

To breathe

Into my own feminine power

Smile

At the beauty of my little girl wearing sunglasses in the sand

And be one

With the life I am blessed to carry

As I protect him from negative

Remind myself of my wholeness

I am love.

why trump and jenner are not worth my words.

strong woman

Lately all I see in American news is what seems like a Kylie Jenner obsession or the Donald Trump show.

I actually, to be honest, had no clue what the whole Kylie Jenner saga was when at lunch with friends who seemed to know the details of her latest life story. I said I would Google what they were talking about later, but never did so I won’t even get into it here.
Then there’s Trump running for president, who is hard to avoid with his racist imitation of Chinese business men, his anger against a respected South American reporter, his comments on immigration that sent France and Germany to call him America’s worst nightmare.
Internationally, he confirms the narrow minded stereotype of Americans. I read a meme recently, “if you like that Donald Trump speaks his mind, you simply are saying I’m a racist.”
And I just can’t believe him and this Kylie are still parading our news when the Egyptian government has killed and imprisoned innocent journalists. Not to mention the war torn country of Syria who far deserves words in mainstream media over them.
The people who are caught up in American current events may not have even heard of or know very little of what’s happening in Syria. Mainly because of what shadows their daily newsfeed and front pages of newspapers. Syria is hardly one of those topics.
So wait for it, it’s news that may not entertain you but trust me, is truly worth reporting on.
The violence in Syria began in March 2011 to now. The middle eastern country has been crippled by a brutal civil war.

Since then, the United Nations estimates more than 200,000 people have died in the clashes between President Bashar al-Assad’s government and rebel forces who want him out.

At this point 9 million people have fled their homes in Syria, and over half of those refugees are children.

In 2011, when I read (in an international, NOT U.S., article)  that 15 school children had been arrested and reportedly tortured – for writing anti-government graffiti on a wall, I wanted to protest with those mothers.

The protests were peaceful demands asking to release the kids.

The government responded angrily, and the army opened fire on protesters, killing four people.

The following day, they shot at mourners at the victims’ funerals, killing another person.

As if that wasn’t enough.

Last year in 2014, ISIS entered eastern Syria to gain power and land.

You know ISIS, the crazy fundamentalist group that has destroyed countless ancient world treasures.  And since their invasion, destruction has become normalcy in Syria.

ISIS reportedly placed improvised explosive devices (IEDs) around the 2,000 year old ancient ruins of Palmyra, in Syria, after capturing the adjacent city of Tadmur.

In the city of Aleppo, 60% of the Old City, a Unesco World Heritage site, was destroyed in the fighting.

People are forced to leave their homes.

It is the largest refugee movement in recent history. And the violence doesn’t look like it’s going to stop.

Listen I’m not a reporter but at the humanitarian level, this is crazy. It is now the world’s biggest internal displacement crisis, with more than nine  million people forced from their homes but remaining in the country.

And then there is the boy. Now this, I saw in my newsfeed. 

syrian boy

This boy, Aylan Kurdi is 3 years old, the same age as my daughter. His body washed ashore on a Turkish beach recently, as him and his family filed for and tried to seek refuge with relatives in Canada.
So, as you continue to watch the Trump show, remember we don’t need a “smart business man” running our country whose main offering is knowing how to “play the game” at being an ambassador of the world who would eventually aid in decisions that affect countries like Syria.
This is not a game of Monopoly Mr. Trump. We need someone who values a relationship with money, with all humans, with education, with morality, with our changing world and its complexities that affect people like Aylan and the the millions of Syrian refugee children, our own nation’s colorful families and yes, even Kylie Jenner.
References:
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-22798391
http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/16979186
http://www.wsj.com/articles/image-of-syrian-boy-washed-up-on-beach-hits-hard-1441282847

 

a meditation poem.

my inner lotus

I wrote this during my first yoga teacher training. I had come home from a strenuous day of asana, but felt open, heart centered, raw. So I meditated and the words danced in my mind. I picked up my journal after opening my eyes and this is what I found…

AUM. 

If you would like to learn more on how you can find bliss and creativity in your daily life, try this simple FREE 9 day meditation challenge I created for Project Yourself here: http://new.projectyourself.com/13280.html. It begins this Friday, May 22nd. 

je suis.

i-am-520074_640

 

It’s been awhile since I’ve been here and between work, being a mommy and life, I missed my spoken word expression.

A few months ago, my Facebook newsfeed was covered with “Je Suis Charlie” on the horrible shooting that took place at the satirical Charlie Hebdo newspaper building in Paris.

It hit me.

Not only because it was sad that lives were lost, and not because it was in Paris, (if you know me, you know I love Paris), but because it felt like…artistic expression was attacked. And that hurt.

I had written this poem after that, and as more news popped up relating to how I felt. The ISIS destructions, Boko Haram and it’s unthinkable doings.

Alongside the Charlie massacre of 12 innocent lives lost on Jan. 7th, there was a Nigerian massacre which took place the same day, where hundreds of bodies, too many to count according to the news, proclaimed it to be the biggest massacre of Boko Haram yet.

So many innocent people are hurt and suffer.

What I loved about the Je Suis Charlie movement was that there is a clear message to the ones who are hurting this world’s people.

Regardless of the threat of hatred or violence, journalists and non-journalists alike refused to be silenced.

This poem may shock some people.

I am not a war expert or have not spent time working in the UN, for the government or on ground with military personnel.

However I have travelled and volunteered, I have met people of all races and religions and I know some things about peace from an inner place I find that really works well.

Here’s what we need to do if we want to stop it all. Excuse my language, but to f@ck Boko Haram from it’s power. The ISIS and all the terrorists.

It’s simple but there’s a whole lot of, what the New York in me calls, shootzpa, to get through.

We need to stop the sensitivity issue.

We need to prevent future massacres by allowing American and progressive Muslims to speak out forcefully against their radical coreligionists—and the media must cover it. Charlie must draw it. Poets like me must voice it.

A verse from my prose:

…”This is not a war on terrorism
It is a war on all our people
By the trapped minded terrorists
And if we can start
Telling truths
About the control of institutionalized religion
Vs freedom and power of inner consciousness…”

Check it out:

 

year of my avocado tree.

DSC_0381

Photo taken in Napa Valley, California: 2008 with my Nikon SLR

HAPPY NEW YEAR. 2015 will be a good one…

It takes 8 years for an avocado tree to grow and bear fruit,

I live in our countries’ avocado haven…

So I know.

How much care

Goes into one tree

of life.

8 years ago was his first

coma

so we planted

seeds of hope

let our love shine and

watered it with prayer

but things still turned yellow…

remember that bamboo plant?

that nani revived

sang it from yellow stalks

to sprouting green leaves,

yellow sclera eyes

to now

my father’s sparkle.

her Sanskrit shlokas

filling walls

that were crumbling

with each episode

of pain,

as my mother glued

them back

piece by piece

as she always did.

the fruits are growing

and we are breathing

life force into weak limbs

breathing

fresh air again

to surprised hearts

breathing out

instead of holding in

we are breathing

this delicious blessing,

these fruits have never tasted so good,

mother earth

your miraculous ways

have

my hands

at

my

heart,

this year will be a good year

for our avocado tree.

a thank you note to the universe.

the universe

Photo taken in Buenos Aires, Argentina with my Nikon SLR: March 2011

 

Dear Universe,

It’s me again. With all this talk about gratitude from Thanksgiving last week, I thought it would be appropriate to send you a little thank you note, too.

A few months ago, we spoke about my father. I had reached out to you to return the sparkle to daddy’s eyes.

Since then, I’ve talked to you often in my meditations, and like you always do, you told me to just let it all be.

What’s meant will happen.

So, in true mindful fashion, I let go.

I didn’t worry every time I hung up the phone with daddy of what tomorrow would hold, (or at least, I didn’t worry most of the time).

Even when he had that horrible fever, no wifi to FaceTime or see each other, I waited.

He was India, this was the new step, miles and miles away, I trusted.

I trusted you. I trusted daddy’s gut feeling on being there. I trusted myself to be able send positive vibration.

And then without a word, you graciously answered me.

In the most surprising, joyous, amazing way.

His transplant. His surgery.

“Is this really happening?”

I cried, smiling.

I couldn’t believe, on that day of gratitude, what you had sent us. My mother, siblings, husband, aunts, uncles, cousins, all of our many friends and even my little toddler daughter… in prayer mudra.

Oh thank you, as an understatement, thank you universe for your generosity, for the learning, and ultimately, for daddy’s sparkle. It’s coming back, I feel it.

 

happy anniversary from your miracle baby.

my parents

Today is my parents 34th wedding anniversary and yet, our whole family is spread across the world. A time ago, we would have been piled on my parents bed, laughing at an American phrase my mom picked up from my brother, but of course butchered in her Indian accent. My sister would have been massaging my father’s head, (she is the world’s best at scalp massages), my mom would have her Bhagavad Gita in her hand, since most likely we all jumped onto their bed interrupting her nightly spiritual reads, (she always happily accepted and anticipated those moments of course), and I would put my head right on her chest to listen to her heart beat, my favorite. It feels good remembering that on this day, where I celebrate their love.

I tried to FaceTime with my father yesterday to tell him all this, but the connection was bad so will try again. Yesterday was one of those awareness days, too. There are so many it’s hard to keep up with them all, but when I saw all the hashtags on Facebook for this one, it caught my eye.

It was world premature birth awareness day. And I thought, wow, so much has changed.

33 years ago, on a cold NYC mid-December day, my mother gave birth to me. 2 months early.

Then the less than 2 lbs. of my early existence was rushed to special hospital for special treatment. And my new to this country mother, and my young father both prayed.

I imagine what it was like back then, before the fancy NICU rooms of parent interaction and promising technology and before people made a big deal about bringing awareness to babies who had to fight for their life.

I imagine what my mother felt, giving birth to me without her mother or sister by her side.

I can imagine all this now because for me, it was quite different. I had my sister in the room with me when I gave birth, I played spiritual music and had my yoga mat. My sister massaged my back as I bathed through contractions, my husband held my hand when I started crying, my daughter was healthy.

I am a mother, a parent now, and so I can viscerally feel the truth behind their words of nightly prayer with their best friends, as they all stared into the plexiglass window at my little body, chanting for the vibration that they created to try to heal me, lift me, strengthen me.

So when my parents called my grandfather in India on the phone, my mother’s guiding light, he said to name me Puja.

That is what I became then, their little prayer, the one that beat the odds, whose lungs grew strong without any issues, the girl who ended up being tallest in her class and who could run the fastest on field day.

And when I would hide my baby pictures from embarrassment, the ones of me in an incubator, my father would kiss the picture and say, “you were meant to fit in my palm perfectly, my beta,” my mother would hold my hand and say “you are my miracle.”

Their words of joint love that I celebrate today, they lifted me, strengthened me. Their little miracle baby.

I remember this one moment so clearly, as a child, overhearing a story of a baby being born earlier than his due date. Like me…but not making it. He was born too early, they said. And right then and there, I closed my eyes, held my little palms together and whispered, thank you for this chance. 

festival of inner light.

SRF

Photo taken with my iPhone: October 23rd 2014: Self Realization Fellowship, Encinitas, CA

Our mornings on Laila’s school days consist of a general routine: getting ready, picking out what to wear, (my 2 year old has recently become very opinionated on her daily outfits…oh teenage years, that will be even more fun- sorry about the days I fought for ripped bell bottom Levi’s mom!), lighting a diya, breakfast, getting her lunch and school bag ready to go. And we are off.

Then it’s working, prepping lunch for my husband, teaching, picking her up and cooking dinner. If I can, I will squeeze in my yoga/meditation practice in there, or at least some pranayama. But mostly, I find myself working and taking care of and nurturing my family, something I carry with high esteem as a momma.

So today, after I dropped her off, picked up my husband’s dry cleaning and headed home to my computer for work, I took a different turn. I had just had a phone conversation with my best friend about self-care.

I drove down the 101 and found myself at a place I took time to go every day during my pregnancy.

At the Self Realization Fellowship Meditation Garden, I sat on my favorite bench and I closed my eyes and took a deep breath in and out. I let it come back to me, slowly, as the noise of my long list of things to do silenced, faded to a background. As the current background noises I heard, started to somehow blend with my breath. Ocean, leaves, birds. I let compassion in. For the nature I heard at first, then my sweet baby girl’s face filled my sun-kissed mind, and it kept going…for my love, my husband, for my whole family. I thought of my sister who was visiting us this evening, my brother who had just texted me, my mother and father who I miss dearly. My friend who I had just spoken to, my in laws who would be visiting next week. How amazing to have so many loved ones, I thought. And as the silence took over, as my breath felt fluid, as the thoughts dissipated, I felt my heart full of love for myself, the inner guide who always shines in my most difficult moments and helps me, this inner voice…she is my light.

When I opened my eyes, it was as time had stood still. My list was still there, my work was still ready for me. But you know, it felt like forever that I had spoken to her, my inner goddess, full of shakti, it had been some time since I had found her and embraced her. And in that moment, I realized how important self-care for myself truly is, especially to be able to tend to the needs of my loved ones and shine with my work.

May your inner light glow with compassion and truth today, happy diwali.