We know listening is key to healing conflict, yet we seldom know where or how to begin.
In this experiential live online session I led for the global Truth and Reconciliation Weekend, we explored listening through questions like:
How can listening catalyze healing between and within us? How can we listen to those we disagree with? How can we connect beyond our ideas of eachother, beyond right and wrong, good and bad, us Vs. them thinking?
This is a recording of a session facilitated by Ishita where we will experiment with a way of being in relation to each other and ourselves that deepens presence, authentic connection and heals division.
Bring your curiosity and the willingness to see and be seen to each exercise.
As you follow the recording, turn the questions being explored onto yourself and notice what you discover.
If you are moved by the session and wish to continue diving deeper, I hope you’ll join me and a group of peers committed to bettering the world.
The world is begging us to show up fully for ourselves and each other from a place of love.
“ That’s my fiercest hope – is that we come back to the natural intelligence that flows through us, instead of constantly negating it. It’s surrendering to the impulse that is the driving force of life. That’s the impulse of creation coming through you!
What could be more natural? What else could bring fulfillment? “
I had a colorful conversation on my soulful colleague Andy Cahill’s podcast, the Wonder Dome last August. He asked me what my fiercest hope for humanity is- a beautiful question he poses to each of his guests.
I realized my fiercest hope for humanity lives in you. It breathes in the way you and I show up in the world, and in these catalytic times, our way of being is more important than ever.
In this intimate conversation we talked about being human and whole, and the juicy possibility that emerges when we come together as one- in service of a world that consciously and lovingly includes and transcends all its parts.
If you’ve been in one of my group courses you know this place of possibility, and if you haven’t, I hope you’ll join me. The world is begging us to show up fully for ourselves and eachother.
You can meet me in all my colors if you listen in!
Saying a hearty YES to diving into the uncertain, unknowable, unstable life has always led to openings beyond what I could imagine.
My partner and I came to France for a friend’s celebration on a whim. Our bodies like the field of Europe. When it was time to leave, we just didn’t feel right getting on our plane, so we sat there letting it go without us on it.
It was the first time I consciously and willingly let a plane ticket go waste- big for me!
We put all the possibilities on the table- staying another month or two years- we would do what felt right. Something wanted to be seen, and we were ready to meet it.
It’s so easy to trick ourselves into believing self-imposed limitation. It is so easy to forget and deny ourselves how free we actually really are. And we are here to re-member this, continually- to keep coming back to center.
There were a hundred reasons not to follow the call, and we could easily have indulged any of them, but that would have been betraying the emergent. And I am a willing slave to it.
And then our adventure began- as did synchronicities. And the thing about planning an adventure is, you can’t.
The journey through this newness has been full of elation, wonder, awe, love, beauty and grief, mourning, anger, longing, renewal and release. There is an expanded possibility.
As it happens, we are growing through Life.
I’m taking notes- yes the conscious journey isn’t easy, but it is full of resource to bring you safely through the storm- not unscathed but truly changed.
It will make you aware of, open and expand the crevices where you hide from yourself, from each other. And it has us.
“Thou shalt be a nomad!” Erik said when I asked in March, what the universe was trying to teach me with no home to be found after 6 months of looking, none of my visions coming manifest!
The message was pretty clear, and it has been showing us slowly, the shape it wanted to take.
I had planned to be settled in a house, establish a Come to Center space and be running a full workshop schedule by now. Oh and have a “regular routine” – something I keep tricking myself into believing I want, when in reality, I don’t!
And I am SO glad I am not!
Exploring the insides of a new culture and country, learning about it and me, swimming through my own darkness into the Sun and back everyday, is teaching me to listen anew. The ocean and my marriage are my biggest teachers right now.
When I am here-now, I belong everywhere and nowhere.
I forgot for a second how much of a nomad I am at heart, how much travel enriches us and the physical immersion into new landscapes changes our inner landscapes…aah yes.
My work is an expression of my Life, the thing about working with energy and consciousness is that they transcend construct, time and space. Come to Center is still funneling the transformation it needs to because I am transforming and growing.
Life is in sync. I’m learning so much, and enjoying it.
I feel truly homeless and fully at home in it. I’ve never been a creature of habit. I’m holding life preciously.
I’ve learned time and again it’s a good thing when my dreams don’t come true, because what does instead opens me up to higher possibilities in ways I could never conjure.
Thankful for the beauty of our world, the love in our hearts, and those around us, the marvel of modern technology, and the courage to choose freedom over comfort.
May it be so for each of us. Thank you Life. More please.
I had the privilege of dancing Oak Dance last weekend, my first step into Native American ceremonial space. It was time. I am American now.
Dancing to the Tree of Life to bring Light down into the earth for collective liberation. Dancing to celebrate Life, release and renew Self…While the core group danced in person, many of us were remote- satellites from our own lands.
Like every initiation, it was intense. And in the intensity, emerged revelation. It was a lovely experience and a chance to see my protection patterns in full swing!
I started out trying to do it right, by all the rules, dance in perfect sync with the group etc. rather than listening to and trusting what felt good and right to me was enough!
Much Tightness to start!
And then as I relaxed and surrendered.
To the ancient voices singing to the drum, to myself, my inner rhythm, to what is, to the intention rather than the form- there were deep openings.
I felt the field come alive.
As I danced my intention into being, I saw the late Lakota Chief, Ascended Master, holder of the light- Frank Fools crow’s face pop up in my mind.
Everything went silent. I just cried and danced with abandon in that meeting for a while.
There are some beings who do that to me…Thich Naht Hanh, Paramhansa Yogananda…just the slightest brush with their field silences everything superfluous.
I return home.
And crying, dancing in the sound and the silence, I realized why they say not to take the lord’s name in vain…the power and grace of simple invocation is real. It was beautiful.
I felt the force of everyone dancing our collective intentions into being around this country.
Know that a group of souls danced for YOU. Prayers for your highest good have been imbued in the air you breath…the breath of Life.
It was palpable and profound.
You see, no prayer is ever wasted- every prayer changes us and when we change, so does our world.
Maybe you have felt it too- the power of shared intention. Of community with healing purpose!
How lovely to be weaving sacred space into my every day. I feel blessed to give and receive the work that flows through me.
As we closed, I saw myself descend down into physical reality after three days in dreamtime!
I felt much gratitude for who I am, who I’m with, what we have done, and how we do it.
I am unmistakably different. That’s transformation.
What a gift! What a blessing!
And there is so much to grow into. The power of my intention is weaving the dream for me to step into. The Everything is listening.
Big breath in. Big breath out.
Thank you. More please!
PS: IF you are interested in self-transformation in a powerful loving community, join us in the next Murmurations cohort starting July! More info below:
Metamorphosis is all around you.
This is not a time to hold back, it’s the time you’ve been readying for. Your life situation is the catalyst, your desire the compass, and Truth your guide.
Join this transformational community to dive beneath the surface and heal disconnects that keep you stuck, separate and suffering.
Heal inner division to embody vibrant wholeness. Release your past to answer the call of a creative future. Connect with heart, purpose and a community of care. Learn how life actually works, and use it to fuel your evolution. Take your rightful place in the expansion of collective consciousness.
Let’s take a moment to celebrate we made it through a whole year in a pandemic amidst heightened tumult, before we begin life’s next movement.
The Equinox is recognized by Yogis as a day conducive to inner harmony. When we attune and balance this dimension in ourselves, with necessary preparation, it gives us an assist on our path to liberation.
To help access this gift I recorded a meditation for everyone in MURMURATIONS. If you wish to receive this short 10 minute meditation practice just send me an email and let me know.
This exercise is for any one who wants to live a conscious life. It’s a space to tune into our inner masculine and feminine polarities and discern how they are relating within because awareness of our inner mechanics is the first step to self-mastery.
No matter what kind of body we are in, or how we identify, what we call Masculine and Feminine are fundamental principles that shape all our existence.
Those words point to the most elemental aspects of creation- beyond sex, gender, identity or sexual orientation.
These polarities in form the manifest– we know them as Yin and Yang, Shiva and Shakti, Anima and Animus, being and doing, active and receptive…heart and mind, intuitive and intellectual…and so on…in their union lies wholeness and in wholeness lies liberation.
We get so much information when we create space and tune in.
I visit this exercise every Equinox- it’s different every time. It clarifies my inner directives to tend to as I step into this next season. If you want some inspiration, you can see my meditative impressions here.
I’ve been watching what folks in MURMURATIONS are discovering through the meditation as they share their words and drawings with us all- the wisdom surfacing in the depths of their silence is still blowing me away…
What are the movements wanting to happen in and through YOU?
Maybe you want to take a moment and tune in to…find out who’s here now, how your inner man and woman are, and through them, what you need to balance these dimensions for a wholesome life. If you want my guided meditation to support your self-inquiry, just ask!
The next cohort of MURMURATIONS begins in June- maybe this conscious community can help you shape what’s springing forth from you! It is so joyful and fulfilling to guide and grow with this cohort, I am delighted to usher in the next.
This 6 month immersion is a space where growing, healing and awakening together to something bigger than ourselves is our priority.
If it calls to you, explore the website, watch my invitation and reach out to see if it’s in right rhythm for you. And if you know someone who’d enjoy joining us, please share it with them.
Intimate group limited to 8 participants, 6 months,12 live group calls, 2 individual sessions, 2 personalized consults, small group practices, partnered session exchanges, tailored home practices, readings, meditations, movies, an online community to journey with, surprises! FUN! and so much more!
This journey in transformational community is for you if you are wanting:
– to cultivate presence and live anchored in your center regardless of circumstances. – to come out of your closet and own your truth and purpose. – more real, balanced and connected relationships. – to deeply love and understand yourself and the nature of experience. – to connect with natural intelligence and make sense of your role on Earth. – playful and grounded spiritual development in a sandbox of value-aligned peers!
These mantras touch something so core and essential in me, I cry every time I meet them.
Excerpted from Alice Bailey’s Treatise on the Seven Rays, each describes the energy of the constellation through which the Soul chooses to incarnate- our deepest longing and purpose, embedded in sound with such simple profundity.
Writing it here so I can re-member and access this knowing as I make my way into Esoteric Astrology!
THE WORDS FOR THE SIGNS OF THE ZODIAC
From the angle of form. Natural order. Retrogression through signs. Pisces through the Signs to Aries
Pisces “And the Word said: Go forth into matter.”
Aquarius “And the Word said: Let desire in form be ruler.”
Capricorn “And the Word said: Let ambition rule and the door stand wide.
Sagittarius “And the Word said: Let food be sought.”
Scorpio “And the Word said: Let Maya flourish and let deception rule.”
Libra “And the Word said: Let choice be made.”
Virgo “And the Word said: Let matter reign.”
Leo “And the Word said: Let other forms exist. I rule.”
Cancer “And the Word said: Let isolation be the rule and yet the crowd exists.”
Gemini “And the Word said: Let instability do its work.”
Taurus “And the Word said:. Let struggle be undismayed.”
Aries “And the Word said: Let form again be sought.”
From the angle of the soul. Spiritual order. Correct passing through sign. Aries through the Signs to Pisces.
Aries “I come forth and from the plane of mind I rule.”
Taurus “I see, and when the eye is opened, all is illumined.”
Gemini “I recognize my other self and in the waning of that self I grow and glow.”
Cancer “I build a lighted house and therein dwell.”
Leo “I am That and That am I.”
Virgo “I am the Mother and the Child. I, God, I matter am.”
Libra “I choose the way that leads between the two great lines of force.
Scorpio “Warrior I am, and from the battle I emerge triumphant.”
Sagittarius “I see the goal. I reach the goal and see another.”
Capricorn “Lost am I in light supernal, yet on that light I turn my back.”
Aquarius “Water of life am I, poured forth for thirsty men.”
Pisces “I leave the Father’s Home and turning back, I save.”
It’s the weaving of Heart and Mind, Love and Power, Earth and Sky, Masculine and Feminine, Seen and Unseen, Sacred and Mundane- through the thread of your truest longing.
Awakening and healing in conscious community, come dance the dream with us!
Together we will be Scientists and Mystics. We will test everything in our experience. We will be Individual and One. We will look in the mirror of relationship. We’ll keep what’s useful and discard the rest.
An astrologer will illuminate your path and place in the order of the Everything. An herbalist with help you ground it into Earth through the wisdom of Plant Medicine. A cacao ceremonialist will open and connect our hearts to the heart of the Mystery. I will hold a mirror to both your light and your shadow. We will learn to walk in love together towards our deepest yearnings. You will cultivate self-trust through your direct experience.
It’s my most vulnerable and wholesome offering yet.
Years of silence taught me to speak. Years of kneeling taught me to stand. The little girl who longed to be Krishna, the “Why Girl” kicked out of Physics class, the idealist who rebelled against reality, now stands a woman embracing it.
In celebration of her wholeness and brokenness, a lifelong love affair with life and the Divine has planted her firmly on very Human feet. A wounded healer, a mystic, a teacher and sometimes, a magician. She is first and always, Human.
I trust what I feel when I tune into the silence. I ask of the Mystery and receive with grace. Always, it is precisely enough.
I know the whole thing has nothing to do with me and it’s all for me! Eyes open or closed, wherever I look I see me in you in me in All That Is. Dimensions melt into dimensions. Time warp equations of college Physics have never made more sense.
I’ve come full circle, again. Love is.
Crossing cultures, continents and paradigms, I take my place in the Everything as I invite you to take yours, alongside a masterful guide, and the manual of your experience.
If you can see yourself in this circle with us, know that a place is being held for you. Anchored by a crystal, blessed by fire and honored with loving attention.
2020 has made it clearer than ever that community is a deep human need! Connection is what we all want underneath all our wants- connection to ourselves, to each other, to something bigger than us. Here’s a story about how I created my own community when I wanted it the most!
Not long after I moved into Joe’s triple decker in Somerville- what I called Casa 69 because I wanted so badly to speak Spanish, I got to know my neighbors in the other 5 apartments, only to find out they didn’t know each other. Even though I was the newest to the building, and others had lived there for years on end, no one had gotten to know the people living 6 feet away from them. Literally! And I couldn’t believe it!
Our sense of community is intrinsically different in America than it is in India- our space bubbles are smaller in India, somehow everyone shares a sense of belonging that is easily extended…Riding a train for 3 hours can have you end up exchanging food over discussions on politics and religion, holding people’s children…there’s an easy familiarity in ways that most Americans I know may be terrified by!
Not knowing your next door neighbors is like a warped version of an impossible reality for most Indians!
I got to confront this difference in many forms as an international student and again and again as a young professional moving around the country alone. So back to Casa 69- I saw so many fun people stacked above each other and suspected they’d enjoy meeting each other!
In fact, I was craving community- like many of us are now! I wanted the kind where you just knock on each other’s door to have a chat, to borrow some milk, to share the craziness of the snowstorm (or the pandemic) outside…So I decided to create it.
Next day, I made these (to me hilarious and awesome) fliers from a deck of post-its my friend Loren had gifted me. For a second I worried they might seem preposterous to a serious Church-goer, but if they were offended, we weren’t going to get along any way! So I posed it as a divine duty- I mean, Jesus says know thy neighbor, right?! I slipped a flyer under each person’s door.
There was a buzz in the building, planning as we crossed paths in the hallways for days, I bought some cupcakes, some wine, and when the day came, so did every person in the building.
Crammed into my tiny living room over a circle of food and wine, we exchanged stories, happy to discover unexpected camaraderie over the hilarity of our rental configurations and the eccentricities of our landlord. We roared in laughter as we shared our reactions to him blocking out our bathroom windows, all at once, for no reason…We laughed as we realized the Americans were outnumbered by international folks- we had an Irishman, a German, two Mexicans, and of course, me, the resident Indian!
As time went by, the distance shortened.
We knocked on each other’s doors, we played tennis, made art, went on adventures..we even combined apartments and hosted Casa 69 parties (you may have been to one), we had late night existential discussions over music on our porches…We cried and laughed together through life’s growing pains. Some beastly nor’easter nights when Boston was covered with 6′ of snow, I put a giant lasagna bake in the oven n we’d all snuggle into my living room to play games n voluntarily be locked in together!
We became friends. So much love, so much community, just waiting to be put together…oh and most of us aren’t connected on facebook :) 2020 has made it clearer than ever that community is a deep human need! Connection is what we all want underneath all our wants- connection to ourselves, to each other, to something bigger than us.
We all want to belong to something, know that those around us stand with us, that we are part of a grand adventure together- it’s more fun to share the ride!
New partners, new jobs, new horizons came and we all left that building eventually but I still talk to each of them, though less often. It was the sweetest period of my Boston life and I’ve drawn on this experience often to bring people together, and more importantly, bring cool people to me!
They say strangers are just friends waiting to be discovered. I couldn’t agree more!
How are you building community through the pandemic? It’s the balm we all need and in these times we need to actively create and nurture it. I’d love to hear your adventures in turning friends into strangers.
If you’re interested in sharing this kind of fun community, with a purpose to support your deepest intentions- join us in Murmurations! A transformational community starting Jan 28, shepherded by yours truly.
A group of some really cool folks is coming and I’d love to have you too! Your new friends might just be waiting to be discovered.
This Winter Solstice closes out a big year, beginning an especially potent one, dissolving old forms and creating newness fueled by the fire 2020 lit in our hearts. It’s extra special to me because, this year, my intention includes helping you birth yours!
Just as the Solstice Sun sets tonight, Saturn and Jupiter will form the mythical Star of Bethlehem, last seen in 1623, as they cross paths in the early sunset sky, followed by a meteor shower at night. Worth getting out in the cold to witness!
On each Solstice I make space to be with myself in nature and set intentions for the next half of my revolution around the Sun. It matters, read on to hear why.
This Winter Solstice closes out a big year, beginning an especially potent one, dissolving old forms and creating newness fueled by the fire 2020 lit in our hearts. It’s extra special to me because, this year, my intention includes helping you birth yours!
The keyword for this time is daring, and I am opening my most daring offering yet- a transformative community to heal and awaken together.
In this 6 month journey, we will fly together to pave the path to your deepest intentions in a loving, conscious community.
In the last cohort I led, two people stopped smoking without actively pushing to do so! Such is the power of an intentional and loving group to heal.
And this course is all about that- coming together with intention and love, as one, tapping into intelligence bigger than each of us, amplifying the gifts we each bring, while healing our shadows.
In the last intensive, each of us asked ourselves: What is my deepest longing? What stands in my way? What stops me from unconditionally loving myself? What stops me from unconditionally loving others?
As we dropped our masks, allowing ourselves to see and be seen, as we invited our longings and resistances to be known, embraced and loved, magic happened. As we dared to name our deepest calling, and commit to our heart’s call, we embodied the intentions we had set in just 6 short weeks.
The next round goes for 6 months to anchor us through the passing trials of the pandemic and exploit the potency of this transformational time between the Winter and Summer Solstices.
If you’re longing to create change in your life, this may be just the time and place to heed that call.
The Solstice may seem like just another day for you, and beyond the cool physics of it, I too didn’t pay much attention to it for most of my life, until something in me shifted.
Let me tell you what makes the Solstice is so important to me now.
In my late 20’s, I noticed I craved time with the Sun and the Moon like people crave chocolate! As I began to honor my need for more time in nature, I noticed that my whole nervous system responded to the rhythms of the Sun and Moon.
If you pay attention, you’ll notice too.
I couldn’t deny what was happening outside me was reflected in my own neurophysiology!
A true skeptic, I started paying attention. I found clear patterns in my way of being- how I slept, how much, how much I ate, how talkative I felt, what I wanted to do with my day, actually were clearly reflected in the phases of the Moon. Then, I started seeing the bigger patterns through the year…how the Equinoxes and Solstices and the phases they ushered shifted my leanings.
At one point, I could tell the phase of the moon by sensing into my body and my energy when I woke up in the morning. In it I saw again a reflection of the Sanskrit mahavakya “Aham Bhramasmi.” I am the Universe, or, my identity is cosmic.
It is. And so is yours.
It was in those days that I realized the Solstice was significant. I could feel my energy build up as it approached, shift as it left. Every cell in my body knew something was about to change, and I could use it to my advantage to release, re-set and re-align.
Later I learned that the Solstice is a day that Yogis – those who aspire towards and embody the ultimate union, between the individual and the universal – recognize as a time of transition into enhanced receptivity of Grace for every body. All of creation comes together to enhance the light within us- and enlightenment becomes a heightened possibility.
All thresholds embody possibility, and the Winter Solstice marks the expansion of light on Earth. Where the Summer Solstice is the beginning of Dakshinayana, a time of purification and cultivation, the Winter Solstice is the beginning of Uttarayana, a time of heightened receptivity.
And because, as Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj said, “both astronomy and anatomy describe you,” if your inner landscape is releasing, re-setting and wanting new direction, know it’s because you are part of life’s great rhythm.
Because you and I are the Earth, the changes out there are reflected within us- so the light expands inside us, just like it does outside.
That’s why it’s a good day to set intentions, and the keyword here is daring. And that’s why Murmurations is intentionally aligned between the Solstices- to mine the potential of this time.
To declare how you want to be. To channel your innermost fire. To articulate your deepest desires. To include all of creation in its fruition!
The time is now. The time is ripe.
If you forgot you can negotiate with the universe, let me remind you you can! And now is a good time to do begin.
Our intentions do exactly that.
So now my Solstice celebration includes going out at sunset to greet the Sun and the Moon, making a fire and reflecting on the year past. I thank the experiences I lived through for their teachings and release parts I don’t need on the journey ahead. Then, I open inner daring and set intentions for what I want to nurture in the year ahead, clearly, so all the forces that be, conscious and unconscious, know and align to my intent.
Knowing that the whole universe is listening, I invite it to participate in realizing my heart’s intention.
I hope you’ll pause and find your way of marking the moment and daring to dream big, because you know in your bones that holding back your heart isn’t why you’re here now or how you want to live.
Maybe you too can ask what are your deepest intentions? Even if you don’t know how you’ll get there, what do you long to create in your life?
If you are committed to your intentions and clearing the blocks that hinder your way, life will find a way to orchestrate their fruition. Having a mirror to reflect your truth, your beauty, your power, your shadow facilitates the journey, and getting there is more fun when we go together!
If you’re still reading, I hope you’ll join me and eleven courageous inner explorers in the six month sojourn through this sacred time, in Murmurations.
I’ve come to suspect it’s a living truth that we want to give the world what we most need, and when we do, it comes right back to us.
“Hi, do you want a protein bar?” I said to the old Black homeless woman sitting on a park bench alone away from the crowd of homeless people milling about in Prichard Park.
I had already gifted away the bags I had made to younger folks on the other side of the park. But as I left, looking for the old man I had seen a few weeks ago, I saw her on the bench by the toilets, alone, calmly watching the world go by. Her spirit called, shining in her eyes.
“What is it?” she asked.
“Chocolate brownie.” I said, hoping she’d like the flavor.
“Yea- thank you. God bless you.”
“Thanks, bless you too!” I took a bar out and handed it to her. But it was hard to walk away.
“What else do you need?” I couldn’t resist asking.
“What do you have?” she asked.
“I have nothing right now. But I’ll come back for you. Do you need things for the winter?”
“I don’t know, I haven’t thought that far ahead.”
“Do you have a warm hat?”
“Do you have warm gloves?”
“Do you have warm socks or a scarf?”
“Ok- well I’ll come back and bring you some. What size do you wear?”
“In what? shoes or dress?” She asked.
“Both.” I said.
“I wear a 10 – 1/2″ in shoes and a 10 or a 12 in dress.”
“But you’re so tiny! Are you sure?” I couldn’t imagine how she’d fit a size 12.
“Yea. I like comfortable clothes. None of that small medium. I don’t like that Medium.”
I laughed. “OK. So where can I find you? Here?”
“Well- I don’t know. I got places to go. I’m trying to take the 5 o’ clock bus to go see my Dad. I move around you know. You tell me when you’ll come.”
I pause. Logistics…”I can come back in two weeks on Sunday.”
“Ok- well if I’m not here you can give the stuff to someone else who needs it. You just put it on the wall, they’ll take it from there. Wait, no it’s better to talk to a person. You don’t know what’ll happen to the stuff if you just leave it.”
“Yea- well, I’ll see if I can come by sooner.” I said, realizing this was a thin plan.
I walked away, wondering how to make it work. As we drove away I wondered if I could run out and get her some warm things before she possibly took the bus. She didn’t look too worried about anything so I worried she’d go without. It was 4:38pm, and if she got to the 5 o’ clock bus I’d surely miss her.
Driving away didn’t feel right. I found 11 dollars between the glove box and the change pocket in the car. It wasn’t much, but it was something. I asked my partner to swerve back around, I had to catch her.
She was heading into the toilet, I caught her just in time. I called out- “Hi, you! Hold on!” She stopped. “I don’t know if I’ll catch you again, but here’s eleven dollars. Go buy some warm stuff at Goodwill.”
“Yea you right. I was going to go there. There’s two of ’em.”
“Yea you can probably buy some warm socks and gloves with this and maybe a hat too.”
“Once someone gave me warm boots and they were black and and so warm they cleared my digestion right up!” she shared brightly.
“I believe that.” I said, feeling the pain that perhaps she herself couldn’t feel, imagining what going cold and hungry does to a stomach. I saw her wrinkled hand holding the money lightly, spread out.
“Well it isn’t much but put it away in a safe place.” I said.
“No, no- it’s a miracle!” she cried. “See God loves me and God loves you!”
“Yea God does love us.”I said.
“And I love you!” She added, eyes smiling.
“I love you too. You’re so beautiful, you know?” I said. It was all over her face- radiance, contentment, surrender.
“No, no, you’re beautiful! It takes one to know one!” She said.
We both laughed.
“God bless you lady!” She said. “And your soul! May God keep you safe.”
And I walked away laughing crying.
I’d prayed that morning that I would give to the homeless with humility and grace, and here I was receiving the same.
What are my implicit biases around gender, race, age and nationality?What are yours?
How are they affecting our discernment, and our ability to receive the gifts of those who we disagree with?
These are the questions I myself am sitting with and hope you will too. Last week I went in for an interview for US citizenship. After 19 years of living here, I will be granted the right to vote. The man who granted me this right was a Mexican immigrant, spoke with a Mexican accent, and represented the USCIS.
It was beautiful. In him, was the reminder that I will be just as much a citizen as anyone else. First, second or two hundredth generation Americans are all just that- American. And the law of a land must include and nurture all those who dwell in it- the Tao names this beautifully- IF we wish to create harmony. There are plenty of ways not to.
I have been mourning the sad state of this nation and this divisive politik that wants to get the worst in us.
I know what it’s like to come to a new land without 300 years of my ancestors living here before me- the loneliness, the hope, the despair, the fear of losing the life I have created on a single employer or govt officer’s whim. I know the pain of not being able to call home home, not knowing whether to buy real furniture because my visa may expire in a year.
And through this all, I know the incredible gifts of the Divine- I know what it is to integrate polarities of two divergent cultures within myself, bringing the best of each together, in new beautiful ways.
My family lives on four continents, and my children will be children of an immigrant and my God! I hope they protest louder than I have, calling for reform where reform must happen, because they’ll belong here in ways I am only just about to.
I know the immigrant story from the inside- and I assure you it is not the narrative of entitlement, America hating, self-serving drama we are often sold on the news.
Like wholeness comes from wholeness, trauma perpetuates trauma.
No amount of meditation or immersion in silence clears that out unless we’re truly willing to look in the mirror honestly, take responsibility for the ways in which we ourselves (each and every one of us) perpetuate pain inside and outside and sit with the unbearable within us rather than projecting it outwards, and of course, invite our own pain to be seen, known, lovingly held and transformed.
I content the era of the “power over” strong-handed authoritarian leader is coming to an end, and for that matter, I sense this may be the last time two white men in their 70’s are running this race.
A different reality is taking shape. Like a dying animal you can hear it going out with a scream.
Trump may well be re-elected as many people say (I don’t know), but that re-election is going to bring its own demise.
Even as I feel the collective cry for coherence, I do not think this country is ready to receive it just yet. For as Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev noted, “for a Buddha to rule the world, we must have Buddhas to recognize, and elect one.”
No. I do not think either candidate is the Buddha, but I can see the humanity of both- their failings and their goodness, through the veil. I hope you can too.
When (very soon) I am granted the right to vote, I will use it to elect the man who reflects power, not dominance, models empathy, compassion and humility, and has dedicated his life to serving our nation.