12.31.2014

2014 in review

here's a review of my 2014 through instgram photos. one from each month. there were some months where I had so many fun memories to choose from, but I wanted to limit myself to just one photo per month. some months are just something random, because that's how life is. anywho, here's my 2014...



january: I had a yajna performed by a brahmin astrologer in vrndavan in order to pacify the planet venus, who was apparently a bit peeved with me. I had to chant this mantra every day. in the end he said that venus was pacified. I ended up with bronchitis. my husband ended up with a new job!


february: I turned 35. yeay me. (madhavi also turned 12!)


march: I was lucky enough to host a few kirtan programs at the yoga studio where I study/teach. march was just one of many. but my deities (radha-damodar, above, are my traveling deities that madhavi takes care of) also got new outfits!


april: I got sucked into the alex and ani trend. my arm is the one on top. the bottom is my friend katie "kdubbs".


may: madhavi went to her first ever school dance. I treated her to getting her hair done at a salon. 'cause ain't nobody got time fo' curlin' no hair!


june: I got a new tattoo! this hamsa hand with om and lotus, courtesy of tom yak, was a necessity because I am surrounded by all kinds of dark, negative energy where I work. I need all of the protection I can get!!


july: madhavi was gearing up for her big dance performance at radha-govinda mandir so that meant a lot of trips to iselin. that means a lot of bhel puri and dosas. I also wore that dress a lot this summer.


august: madhavi performed for sri sri radha-govindaji and their assembled devotees for sri krishna janmastami. so much pride and joy here. and well deserved!


september: vyasa-puja month! all glories to my guru maharaj. I heart him!


october: I was so fortunate to attend the geraldine dodge poetry festival and see/hear/meet so many awesome poets! and THIS dream came true! I met Billy Collins! you can tell by my psycho-stalker smile how exciting this was for me (and by his "meh" smile how ordinarily not exciting it was for him).


november: I did my usual black friday hunt at anthropologie and didn't buy this shirt. still regretting it. (I did get other good stuff though!)


december: holidaysholidaysholidays. and also my second annual home photo shoot with my little ladies. we got a bunch of really good shots for our holiday cards. I sent one with the image above that said "peace and love" or something like that - but the joke in my head was that this fierce pose wasn't very "peace and love", so I made this alternate with the "a beautiful mess" photo editing app. I didn't actually send this one out. I thought some people might be offended. I personally think it's hilarious.

so peace out 2014. you weren't the worst... but you could have been better. here's to a fabulous 2015! happy new year to all! xo

11.14.2014

rākhe kṛṣṇa mare ke mare kṛṣṇa rākhe ke

have you ever had one of those days where you feel Krishna's protection? I'm having one of those days. in, like, an almost overwhelming way. and not because something bad happened to me or because something bad almost happened...you know, like when you almost get into a car accident, but don't and then thank god for saving you?? yea, not like that.

no. more like I feel like I can actually see Krishna moving the material world in such a way to protect me from the fragility of my mind and senses. things not happening, or happening, but in just such a certain kind of way.

I don't know. maybe it doesn't make sense. but I so rarely have experiences like this - where it seems like I can actually feel Krishna's presence in my mundane life - that I felt like I needed to express it some how...

anyway, thank you, my dear Lord. xo.





10.23.2014

diwali disappointment take deux

the other day I happened upon a draft of a blog post that for some reason I never actually posted. it was from diwali of 2011. maybe I thought it was too depressing...? because instead, I ended up posting this weird superficial entry. shrug. at any rate, when I came across the original post I thought, wow, the more things change the more they stay the same...which, incidentally is one of my favorite sayings. I wonder how much longer it's going to take for me to either actually affect some change in my life or just surrender to the fact that this is my life.

here's the original post from 10.26.11, which was titled "diwali disappointment". how emo.

***

I'm a little surprised at myself. this is my favorite time of year, two-fold. one, because it is fall - and the weather is just perfect and nature, in death, is beautiful. and two, because we are in the middle of my favorite month on the indian-vedic calendar - kartikaI love kartika for so many reasons: hearing the pastime of mother yasoda binding krishna to the grinding mortar with her rope of love; singing the most beautiful song of that pastime every night and offering candlesrasa garbha dances and diwali, and the best holiday of all - govardhana puja (my favorite because it is the only non-fasting holiday... krishna wants you to eat more! aniyor!).

but I am surprised at myself... no, disappointed with myself... that I'm not doing anything this year. like really nothing. nada. zilch. zero. no kartika vows (think lent, but different), no damodarastakam and offering of lights every night. I haven't even been to a temple once this month. sigh. I'm so sad. for real.

last year we didn't really do anything because gita was still so newborn-ish. it just didn't seem practical. this year, ugh, I don't even know. I'm tired. I'm busy. but sadly, mostly just uninspired. I had so many plans in my head this time last year of what I would do this year - I wanted to do a "devotional" style family portrait and send out diwali cards, like christmas cards - but to celebrate the indian new year. I wanted to (by this point) be going to the temple every sunday. I wanted to be reclaiming my spiritual life - at least in some capacity. but I'm not. I haven't done any of those things.

today is diwali - the festival of lights that celebrates the return of lord rama after his years of exile. it is a day for celebration - a marker of a new year. my inner prayer tonight is that someday soon I will find the balance in my life - that the material and the spiritual will some how come together without crashing or exploding or knocking me over.


photo of our altar from the first night of kartik last year, 2013

10.21.2014

poem: tryptich purge

tryptich purge

1.
some people say
regret nothing.

but you,
you I regret.

2.
sometimes
all I can think of

are all the bullets
dodged,

despite the ones
left behind.

3.
the cards say
let go.

my daily prayer
is for release.

10.20.2014

procrastination at its finest

so I have a bunch of stuff that I should be doing right now, but instead I decided to fill out this tween quiz that madhavi had pinned on pinterest. dude. don't even ask. I know.

1. full name: kadamba mala devi dasi

2. current crush: mc yogi

3. addiction: (iced) tea

4. how tall am I: 5’4ish

5. relationship status: grihasta

6. girls I trust: I’d say I trust my bffs (see 23), but honestly, I don’t really trust anyone completely except my husband. everyone has loose lips to some degree or other. myself included.

7. boys I trust: my husband.

8. current mood: meh. not super, not unsuper. just kind of whatevs.

9. favorite color: black

10. confession: I don’t have a daily yoga-asana practice.

11. who I miss: my guru maharaj.

12. who I last hugged: gita, this morning when I dropped her off at school.

13. who understands me: I don’t think anyone understands me completely. hell, I don’t even understand me completely…

14. someone who is always there for me: my husband.

15. last text: from madhavi. to my husband.

16. what pissed me off lately: hmm. I was in a class where the person relating a story didn’t really understand the story but made a huge judgment about it. it's kind of hard to explain without going into detail, and my instinct is that I don’t want to be critical of this person because I respect the person. but this particular incident made me so heated because I felt like it came from a place of ego and ignorance. like the person could have said the same exact thing, but if I knew that the person knew what s/he was talking about I could accept it – not agree, but just accept that that is his/her view. anyway. whatevs.

17. who makes me laugh the most: this is hard. I feel like I’m surrounded by funny people. my husband, gita, kdubbs, lavanga, myself. I mean seriously, I’m pretty funny. haha!

18. who I do the craziest stuff with: I guess Katie-kdubbs. we can get pretty silly. though I think most of the “crazy” stuff we do are things we just talk about hypothetically but don’t actually do. haha!

19. who makes me smile: my husband, my daughters. krishna.

20. what am I listening to: this kid in my class is breathing really loud right now. they're in the middle of taking a test and this is what I’m doing to procrastinate other things I should be doing…

21. turn ons: this question makes me feel weird.

22. turn offs: making sounds when eating; breathing too loud; snapping gum; using gross words for body parts (think the “t” word for breasts); bad grammar.

23. best friends: jd, lavanga, katie, abby.

24. second confess: hmm, I can't think of anything good. hmmph.

25. what I hate: the fact that this is the lamest kartik ever for me. I've pretty much done nothing. and it's all completely my fault. on one hand I'm just being lazy as hell. and on the other hand I set my life up in such a way that I never have the ability to have a real spiritual life. 

26. who’s annoying: amber from rhonj


random store selfie from the summer. yea, I don't know either.

10.16.2014

{YSP} yoga sutras of patanjali 1.2: shush it!

in continuing with my idea to take a look at the yoga sutras, here is sutra 1.2 and my notes/thoughts from reading the commentary...


योगश्चित्तवृत्तिनिरोधः॥२॥

yogaś citta-vritti-nirodhaḥ

“Yoga is the stilling of the changing states of the mind.”***


so what does stilling the changing states of the mind really mean?! hey, ms. mind, shhh, be quiet! but how do we shush up that mind? 

-control the senses, firmly.
-become equaninanomous (which is potentially not a real word – but practice equanimity)
-be without pain
-the stilling of all thought

“cessation of the permutations/activities of the citta

citta?! what the heck is a citta? is that like a hamster? hmm, well maybe... 

so the citta is basically the mind, but like the subtle mind. it's made up of three parts - buddhi, ahankara, and manas. and these parts are influenced by all kinds of things - like prakriti and purusa.

citta à prakriti/purusa, aka material nature and pure awareness/consciousness à buddhi (intelligence) – how we discriminate; ahankara ([false] ego) – how we indentify; manas (mind) – accepting and rejecting emotionally… the internal body.

citta is often used interchangeably with the word “mind” – but it does essentially encapsulate the three elements of buddhi, ahankara, and manas.

ok, but why can't the mind just be quiet all by itself? because of the vrittis...

vrittis: any activity of the mind – thoughts, ideas, mental imaging, cognitive act performed by any of the three elements of the citta.
“if citta is the sea, the vrittis are the waves.”

we must understand our separateness from the mind in order to understand the soul as the true self.

and with that there are all kinds of other influences, like the gunas, and sense objects, which make samskaras... and ermergerd it's enough to make my brain want to explode.

the commentary to this sutra - which is probably one of the most important sutras because it's essentially the definition of yoga - was SO complicated. I really just skimmed it. because, in the end, if I'm looking to give someone a basic definition of what yoga is beyond asana, I would never break it down into all of that. of course, I need to have a firm understanding of the citta and the vrittis and the gunas and why being sattvic is important and all that... but that's not what I would say to a new person! so where am I at this point in my summation?

there's no better time than now for practicing yoga. yoga is really about making peace with the mind so we can realize our true nature as the soul.


***(as translated by edwin bryant)



10.08.2014

the vows I would make if I could keep them

today is the first day of kartika - the holiest month in the vaisnava calendar. it is a time of deep prayer and a time to make promises (vratas) in order to come closer to krishna.

I suck at making vows. I always want to make them and keep them in earnest. but I usually flounder and falter. I feel especially unprepared to make and keep even the simplest vrata this year. but if I lived the perfect spiritual life, these are the vows I would want to make...

- chant damodarastakam and offer a candle daily

- read krishna lila daily

- chant my japa

- make an offering to my deities daily

- no tv / social media

- write every day

when I look at them all together they don't seem so intimidating... well except maybe the no tv / social media one... but it makes me wonder why it's so hard. my life is hectic and crazy and busy. I guess that's my reason, my excuse. I keep telling myself that one day it won't be like this, that one day I'll be able to worship krishna the way he deserves to be worshipped. one day. hopefully before I'm dead.

happy kartika!

damodar-lila painted by my husband as a gift for a friend

10.03.2014

poem: if I lived there I'd be home by now.

if I lived there I’d be home by now.


I spend my life in
exhaustion,
“working like an ass”
as my teacher’s
teacher would say.
spreading myself
always
too thin.
grinding my self
down
into little pieces,
working the pestle
until there is nothing.

but I don’t want to be
nothing.
I don’t want to dissolve
or merge
or melt
or become one
with anything.
I want to sit next to him
so he can put his arms around me
and tell me
it’s going to be ok.
everything will be
ok.
you
will be
ok.





9.26.2014

{YSP} yoga sutras of patanjali 1.1: the power of now

I was thinking something maybe fun/interesting to do would be a short series of blogs and thoughts about patanjali's yoga sutras. I'm currently in a 500 hour yoga teacher training (I know, I haven't talked about it at all...yet...) and my teacher was saying how we'll mostly focus on the first sixteen sutras - sometimes called the "sweet sixteen" and that eventually she'd like us to have a working explanation/definition of these sixteen sutras. so, like, if someone came up to me and was all, "oh-em-gee- what's this yoga stuff?!" I could hypothetically give an answer based on philosophy instead of just being like, "dude, totes like bending over and putting your foot behind your head and stuff." (clearly, I'm just kidding...I hope it's clear anyway. ha!)

I'm using Edwin Bryant's edition of the sutras for a few reasons. first, I kind of know him. I mean, we're not like chums or anything, but my oldest daughter's (madhavi) father used to rent a room from him and so I kind of got to know him that way - like when I was picking up/dropping her off and stuff. also madhavi and Dr. Bryant's daughter are about the same age and they would play together in the summers. He also hosts (or at least used to - not sure if he still does) a kirtan at his home every so often, and I used to go pretty regularly. I have so many friends who have studied with him (as he is also a professor at Rutgers). He is also a follower in the krishna-bhakti/vaisnava tradition, which makes me feel like his commentaries/interpretations are soundly based in the same tradition that I follow. he also has a british accent. this actually doesn't have anything to do with anything other than it's just kind of cool.

so I thought I would just take it one sutra at a time and just give some thoughts. now, seriously, anyone who knows me knows that I'm the least philosophical person out there - so these are literally just my thoughts. let's not get carried away thinking that I know what I'm talking about or that I even remotely believe that I think that I know something.

now that we have that all straight... let's get to it.


the first sutra reads:

अथ योगानुशासनम्॥१॥
atha yogānuśāsanam

Dr. Bryant's translation is "Now, the teachings of yoga [are presented]." I've also heard this translated as "Now is the time for yoga," which a little bit speaks more to my thoughts on this verse. so I'll kind of jump between notes I took and my thoughts...

- initial verses of any sacred text usually begin by announcing the specific nature of the subject.
- he (patanjali) starts with the word atha, which means "now".  
now... like right now, in this moment, we are going to talk about yoga. not yesterday, not tomorrow. dude, right now. and me, patanjali, I'm about to tell you all about it - yoga - what it is, what it isn't, and how to get it and do it. 
but also, now is the time...because everything in the world is so f'ed up that we need to get down to business immediately... which leads to my note from Dr. Bryant's commentary...

- when we exhaust all else, then we come to this...the highest: yoga.

who was the first person to realize this was the way to go about it?

- when Hranyagarbha wakes up on top of the lotus, he is immediately overwhelmed - so he stills the mind - this is the first practice of yoga (and is a total hint about the definition of the word "yoga"!!)

so patanjali ...

- picks up the scattered pieces (about yoga) from the puranas and herein gives us the essence.
- by using the prefix anu patanjali himself indicates that he (is not the creator) is continuing something (in terms of explaining yoga) that has already been started.

my summary for this verse: there's no better time than right now for yoga. come 'n get it.

9.24.2014

things that I find comforting

here are some things that I find very comforting, both when I'm not feeling so great and just in general.



- hot tea. usually green.

- popcorn. buttery, with salt and nutritional yeast. a big ass bowl of it!

dog not necessary.

- a law and order marathon. usually svu, but I'll settle for any variety if necessary.




- cheese. as in mac'n. and french fries. ok, basically carbs.

- eka pada rajakapotasana. dead style. held for at least five minutes on each side.

this isn't the dead variety, but you get the idea.

- closed eyes. dark room.

- chocolate. in pretty much any form.

- hearing my guru's voice.

- a hand and/or foot massage.

there was another one that I thought of and I've been sitting here for the past five minutes trying to remember what it was... oh well. this list is pretty comprehensive.


tryin not to, bro.

9.23.2014

signs and symptoms of my depression

this is today...


- it feels like I am moving through water. everything is slow motion.

- there is a constant lump in my throat, and/or I am on the verge of tears at all times.

- I'm hungry, but I'm not in the mood to eat. I'll eat, but I'll eat pretty much whatever just to make the feeling of hunger go away.

- things that residents say that would normally not bother me make me angry. very angry.

- I can't even get myself to go out and get my daily iced tea fix. because seriously, who cares?

- I simultaneously don't want to be around anyone and want to be near people. (I think this is actually that I don't want to be around anyone, but I also kind of know that being around people will make me feel better...)

- The urge to curl up into a ball in a dark cave becomes almost irresistible.

- I think about how I do care what other people think of me, even though under "normal" circumstances I can easily pretend/convince myself that I don't.

-chocolate doesn't help.


a drawing by gita govinda titled: "mommy eating a doughnut and a carrot",
which has nothing to do with my signs of depression,
except maybe that eating a doughnut might make me feel better.

9.22.2014

faith, surrender, and anxiety

oh, hey.




so I was kind of sort of thinking/wondering about the relationship between faith a surrender because I had to put together a potential yoga workshop...like, I could make the theme of the workshop whatever I wanted as long as I had a corresponding story to go with it. so anyway, I had this idea to have a wall workshop centered around the interconnectedness of faith and surrender wherein I used the story of Draupadi's disrobing in the Mahabharat. so I wondered which is the appropriate term for "surrender" - because in sanskrit there are a few... pranidhana, saranagati, saranam...anyway, that's just the back story to why I thought this little excerpt I'm about to share was neat.

after I had already written out the workshop, I was listening to this class from my guru maharaj and found this little portion quite applicable to some things I was thinking about. I thought it would be fun to share. because sharing is caring and stuff.

just as a side note: remember that this is my transcription of a spoken class. so the grammar and whatnot may not be perfect, because maharaj is speaking it. and also this is a small section of a bigger class... which incidentally, you can find here.

from Sunday, September 14, 2014: class on Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto 1 Chapter 6 Text 16.

"[…] Faith also means saranagata. Faith means surrender. What’s surrender mean in Sanskrit? Saranagata. That you go for shelter. You’re confident. You’re confident that that relationship with the divine that you will maintain in every way. You lose any type of fear that you have. You become fearless. I was thinking today that all anxiety is connected to the desire to enjoy and control. All anxiety practically speaking. Because what’s our anxiety? That we’re losing something, or something is not going to go our way… it all has to do with control of the world. I was thinking, you know, and I’m watching…at least I hope I’m advancing a little bit that I can watch my mind…and even if I can look at it, it’s so real sometimes these… and I just see, you have one major anxiety and then somehow you get over that major anxiety and then the next day you have some other anxiety. Something that was so unimportant the day before when you had that other major anxiety. And then when that major anxiety goes, then that minor anxiety becomes so real. So many silly ways in which we wander, but one who has faith, one who has devotion, one who has love…then his happiness is within his own hands. Because it has to do not with his destiny, what happens with one, but with one’s freewill, how one is responding. It doesn’t matter the external circumstances. […]"




9.14.2014

sri vyasa puja: #ddsvp2014

yesterday was the celebration of my guru's birthday, otherwise called sri vyasa puja. it was a great day spent glorifying his kindness and mercy. here is my offering to him for this year.

***

Dearest Srila Guru Maharaj,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. All glories to you!

As I write this, it has been less than a week since I was fortunate to spend the weekend in your association at the annual Bhakti Immersion retreat. As I’ve settled back (unfortunately) into material life and the spiritual haze has (unfortunately) lifted, I keep coming back to one moment during the weekend…

It is late Sunday morning – the last maha-kirtan of the weekend. I am standing in the back, not dancing in ecstasy like everyone else. Though I am chanting and clapping, I am mostly just watching. Towards the end you come over to me and tell me how happy you are that I am here. At first I think you are probably just saying this to be polite – not that I am doubting your sincerity, but it is more that my insecurity tells me there’s no reason for you to actually be happy about me being around. But then you say something that is so simple, but goes right to my heart: “You’re really a part of this now. I’m so glad because this is what I’m about,” you say as you point to the kirtan, “this is who I am!”  I choke back tears. I’ve done nothing to deserve such kindness. This is truly your mercy.

When one first gets to Vrndavan sometimes the actual arrival is mundane – perhaps just pulling up in a Tata Sumo and finding a room at the MVT. But you always say that a person has to actually enter the dhama – through kirtan and sincere prayer. And that moment, when it actually happens – entering into the dhama – is an amazing feeling. That’s what this moment from the retreat felt like – as if I had entered, somehow, some deep part of our spiritual relationship.

I have struggled a lot recently with the idea of bhakti as love, and what that means in a practical way and also spiritually. I heard several times over the days of the retreat how this bhakti-love is not a feeling that washes over you like in an illusory romantic kind of way, but that it is cultivated and develops over time. I often doubt whether I am capable of giving or receiving such a deep kind of love. It seems so complicated and unreachable. And just see how easily you gave it to me.
I feel like I say this every year, but it is truly the thing I am most grateful for: Thank you, Guru Maharaj, for never giving up on me and keeping me around, despite my attempted escapes. I can only pray to continue to receive your mercy and love.

Always your servant,

Kadamba Mala devi dasi


photo by kisori radha devi dasi. the look on maharaja's face cracks me up!



6.03.2014

a book review: the palace of illusions by chitra banerjee divakaruni

here's something I don't usually do: a book review.

THERE WILL MOST LIKELY BE SPOILERS! BE FOREWARNED!


well, actually, if you already know the story of the mahabharata, one of india's oldest and longest epics, then there really isn't much to spoil. if you aren't familiar with the story, this might give a few things away, though maybe not too. but what I will warn is that some of the things that I will talk about don't happen in the real mahabharat, so that might spoil a few things if you're going to read it. 

the other thing I want to say before I do my little review is that there are two ways to look at the story of the mahabharat: reality or mythology. the book I am reviewing here, the palace of illusions, has "a novel" as its subtitle, which indicates that it is meant to be read as fiction. that's cool. I get that. personally, I believe the mahabharat is a true historical story. I also believe krishna is god, soooo, those things kind of go together. some people don't believe that and approach this story and the included sub-stories as fiction. I respect that. it's just like people who don't believe the bible is historical. but I think it's important for you, my dear reader, to know that I don't have that view. just, you know, to set the tone.

I'll present my review in two sections - what I liked and what I didn't like. but first, here's a little background.



in the palace of illusions divakaruni presents the story of the mahabharat from draupadi's point of view. she is one of the main heroines of the mahabharat story. it is told from her perspective from the time she is born until she leaves the earth. if you want a true synopsis of the book, you can follow the link to amazon. but this is pretty much the most important piece - that draupadi tells the story.

I believe in saying something nice before giving criticism, so here is what I liked about the book:

divakaruni is an amazing wordsmith. the entire book is so poetic - but not in an unapproachable way. and I loved (for the most part) draupadi's narrator voice and the energy she carried throughout the novel. I've only read kamala subramaniam's translation, which is a very easy read and I highly recommend, but poetic is one thing it is not. I haven't read krishna dharma's verison either, but I've read bits and pieces and felt like it tried hard to be more poetic than subramaniam's, but falls short. so I really appreciated the over-all flow and tone of divakaruni's telling.

I also liked how she didn't end the book after the war at kuruksetra. she brought it through to the end of draupadi's life, with nice details, including draupadi meditating on krishna at the time of death. I really liked that.

here's what I didn't like:

I know that this was meant to be a novel and a piece of fiction - a "half myth" as is stated in the amazon synopsis, but divakaruni takes some liberties that I found really disturbing. at one point I actually considered stopping and not finishing it. ok, so here are some things that might spoil the book, just fyi.

first, she made draupadi obsessed with karna. like secretly in love with him. this doesn't happen in the real mahabharat. draupadi was chaste to all five of her husbands in body and spirit, always. I actually did my senior thesis for my undergrad degree about how insanely chaste draupadi was. trust me, she was not secretly in love with karna. like not even close. this bothered me the most about the book. and in the end, when draupadi goes to "heaven" so ends up with karna... yea, no. that didn't happen. and it's a totally weird liberty to take. 

in the same regard, she made kunti's character really mean spirited. she made it out like kunti didn't like draupadi and that draupadi didn't like her. hello, queen kunti is way too awesome to be the jerkface mother-in-law that divakaruni made her out to be. not even possible.

that pretty much sums it up. I mean, I guess I'm glad I read it. but in the end I was bummed about the novel-esque-ness of it. I'd give it 2.5 stars if I had to. like if there was a gun to my head or something. read it if these things wouldn't bother you. but if they would, don't trouble yourself.

4.23.2014

not even the unexpected.

I've been thinking a lot lately about what my problem is. I mean, duh, I have a lot of problems. I know that. but I mean the problem with why I get frustrated and stressed out so much. and I think I've got it. or maybe at least a big part of it.

I expect.

it's not even that expect too much. it's that I expect at all.

as a very elementary (but not necessarily real) example, if I say "Hi!" I expect a "Hi!" back.

and you see, this is the problem. because expecting leads directly to disappointment almost all of the time...for so many reasons.

first off, who am I to expect anything from anyone? as if I am somehow entitled to or owed something, anything, at all. I think, though, my expectations don't come from entitlement. because I never expect something, don't get it, and feel like what is due to me has not been delivered in like a toddler-tantrum kind of way. it's different. I almost feel like I don't know how to explain it.

maybe it is egotistical and narcissistic of me to think/say this, but I feel like I'm a giver. I'm not saying I'm not a taker. I do my fair share of taking. but more often than not, I give. and give. and give. and sometimes my giving feels more like a blood letting. like I'm not always handing candy out. sometimes mo'fos just snatch it right outta my bag. (ok, that was weird...)

it just gets draining I guess. doing, doing, doing. and I don't do things thinking to myself "oh, I'll get THIS in return." but when I get nothing after an extended period of time, I am absolutely worn thin and down to the bone. and I break. and the breaking isn't pretty. in fact, it's usually followed by ugly crying, which almost always leads to a few sties in my eyes (this is a new phenomena. every time I cry now I seem to get a sty. it's like my body is rejecting my one fulfilling release. I really can't win.). and the cycle seems never ending.

maybe this is the thing: if I do something for someone, a "thank you" would be nice. if someone hurts my feelings, intentional or not, just an acknowledgement would go a long way - I'm not even asking for an apology. just a freaking ACKNOWLEDGMENT.

that's it too. like, I'm here. I exist. I'm sorry if I expect people to act like human beings. I know, it's craziness. but I'm here. I'm a person. I have feelings. I see you. I see your feelings. I try hard, so very hard - harder than you can see or know - to be a good friend, wife, mother...a fucking human being. like I try to at the bare minimum to be a human being. is that crazy? is it crazy to want to be treated like one? that if you hand me a piece of paper and in my accepting it I accidentally get a paper-cut you simply say, "hey, I'm sorry! totally didn't mean that. I know, paper cuts can be the worst." it's really that simple.

but honestly, don't even expect the unexpected. because even that shit will disappoint the hell out of you.

tard also expects nothing. I, on the other-hand, totally expected people to notice the tigers on my shirt.
no one did. what was I thinking?
(photo by kate manna)

4.19.2014

poem: poem for her, poem for self.

because sometimes I'm talking to you and my self at the same time.



poem for her, poem for self.

I see you
when you think
no one is looking,
and for a moment
all of the hurt
melts away.

in your face
I recognize
the sadness,
feel its depth,
know it
at its core -
like looking in a mirror,
I think to myself,
we are more the same
than different.

if only you’d stop
chasing your own tail,
stop running
towards what you
think you know
but don’t.
if only.

2.23.2014

poem/prose: forgiveness

found in my phone notes, from 8.6.13, 7:41pm.

forgiveness


he ruined forgiveness for me the minute he hit her, said he was sorry, and then did it again and again. decades later I tell my therapist that I cannot forgive him, because to forgive means to say it is ok. she tells me that forgiveness does not have to mean concession. it can just be letting go. I try that on for size. at first it is too small. then it is too big. and then, somehow, as time goes by and the pain fades slightly, the fit is ok.
now, as the tables have turned, and I am the one who has done wrong, the one who has plunged the knife of hurt into another, twisting it one time too many, packing the wound with the salt of my selfishness. it becomes hard to breathe under the guilt. I stuff it down as deep as I can. and although it is heavy and weighted, it floats to the surface. it bubbles over.

***

here are some random quotes from a podcast/forgiveness seminar called "The Life of Forgiveness" by Mahatma dasa. I never finished listening to the whole seminar series. I should really do that.

"forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past."

"resentment is a weapon you use to punish the other person."

"mercy makes up for what we lack."

"an unforgiving heart is attached to hurting another person because we were hurt by that person."

(if you search Mahatma on itunes, I'm pretty sure you can find the podcast - I really do recommend it!)

2.22.2014

5 random things: panic at the disco

here are a few things that make me want to hyperventilate.


1. driving a brand new car in the winter. dodging potholes is really stressful.

2. having a very new student come to a yoga class who has some kind of body part replacement (think knee, hip) or physical injury. want to kick the anxiety up a notch? new student with a knee replacement at a yin class.

3. being the only person playing kartals during a kirtan. or, even better, is when I'm at a class and my guru is about to lead kirtan... I see him scan the room for someone who can play kartals, and then I see the look on his face when he realizes I'm the only one. sweaty palms x10.

4. when I make a joke to break the tension in a weird situation...and no one laughs. and then I make it worse by explaining the joke. aaaaaand still nothing...

5. having to cook for large groups. having to cook something I've never made before for other people. or these two combined.



2.21.2014

poem: wreck(age)

wreck(age)

I have
intentionally
left you behind.

promised myself
to
lock you
out of me.

but today I see
the car crash
that you are -
the train wreck
smoldering -

and even though
I find myself
rubbernecking,
unable
to look away,

I am
so grateful
that I got out
of the car,

that I missed
the train,

that when
(eventually)
you are
a house
burning down

I will be
far
far away.

2.18.2014

5 random things

1. why is jillian michaels always shouting, even when she's just talking?

2. I haven't had spanakoptia in a long-ass time. too long!

3. I bought a new car yesterday. my anxiety-gut over whether or not it was a good idea is still hurting.

4. deep down I truly believe I'm never going to be a school counselor and it makes me superduper sad.

5. I recently had my astrological charts done and had the brahmin astrologer do an 8 day fire sacrifice to try to please venus, who is apparently angry with me. I'm thoroughly convinced that my recent illness is related to karma burn-off from those yajnas. I'm supposed to have a mars one done too, but I'm kind of terrified.


2.13.2014

something

I am writing because I should be writing. I want to write about why I don't write, but what is the point of that? that's worse than a poem about writing poems (actually, I like poems about poems, but some people don't - so this comparison is for those people). writing is about opening, letting go, validation. but when you are holding things close and fear judgement, it makes writing hard. but wait, I'm almost writing about why I'm not writing. didn't I just say I wasn't going to do that?

so then why now? because sometimes things happen - happen so suddenly and unexpectedly - as to open our eyes. and I feel like - no, know - that I am becoming - have become - one of those writers that "once was". I used to say, "oh, yes, I am a poet." and now I am just some girl, some woman, packed full of life, who says, "oh, yes, I used to write poetry." and it totally grosses me out.

I don't know. my head is full of mucus (literally) and my lungs shudder and burn when I inhale and my wrists are sweaty and I'm a manglik, and I have lft, so writing this right now is uncomfortable. but I'm doing it, because putting something down - as nonsensical and kookie as it might be - is a step forward. and so I did it and I'm done.

2.04.2014

poem: radio silence


radio silence

I have folded myself
up
into
and over myself
like a paper origami
fortune teller
full of secrets
instead of future.
I want to shed those ties
like the leaves
of the thirsty
and neglected
house plant.
instead
this is the story
of my silence,
the story
of the things
I cannot say,
the things
I will not tell,
the things
that have
ruined me
for myself
and
for you.