11.13.2015

poem: par for the course

par for the course*

I have noticed
that when
you are around
I turn it up,
bring myself
to the next
level -
pure
unadulterated
fake
manic happiness.

in one
quiet moment
away
I realize
that I do this
for two reasons -

one: revenge -
to grate
your nerves
like
the proverbial
nails on
a chalk board,
so that the shrill
sounds
of my voice
will make you
want
to not only
stab your
ear drums
but also
scratch out
your own eyes.

two: satisfaction -
so that you
will know
I am happier
now,
without you,
than you
could ever
even dream
to be
caught
in your
self-perpetuating
cycle
of dysfunctional
misery.


*"par for the course" - an idiom referring to what is normal or expected in any given situation or circumstance.

10.27.2015

poem: parallel lines

parallel lines


I used to think
I needed
love
to come to me
in order to breathe.

looking back
I see how
I gave it away
too much
too easily.

I want us
to love
each other
without
having to
say it.

I want it
to exist
simultaneously
instead
of waiting
to get it
so that
I can
give
it back.

love
should be
circular
not
linear.

but
it seems that
that is how
we have
taught
each other.

we used to
love
in parallel lines
that would
cross
like
an embrace.

now
we dance
in circles
around
each other
to avoid
intersecting.

I don’t know
how
to go back
to the
starting line,

if we
can ever
make
shapes
with the
geometry
of us
again.

10.26.2015

café ramblings



this past saturday was amazing. my book "launched" and I was really fortunate to be able to read some of my poems in front of real-life people. it was a very validating experience for me...to feel like people really thought my work was good and maybe even like it is art.

I can feel the creative energy of this vata season flowing. I was writing in my head (as usual) while driving to work this morning. it turned out to be (at least for right now) two separate poems that I was somehow writing simultaneously... well, in my head, at the time, it was one poem, but once I got to work and actually had a chance to start writing in earnest, the lines became two different poems. they're still rough right now, so I feel like I need to give them a little room to breathe and grow before I share them.



I'm also reading this amazing book of poems by maggie royer called the no you never listened to. it's soooooooo good. so good. so.good. it's extremely raw and honest and even though I've not had the same experiences as her (as the poems revolve around her sexual assault) I can relate to her honest, vulnerable purging. and reading good stuff makes me more creative, and ultimately a better writer. number one rule of writing: read. read. and read more.



I'm sitting in this little local café as I write (madhavi is participating in a scholastic competition down the street) and there's all of this amazing art on the wall and a fire place going and an espresso machine making frothy sounds and hip music playing (well, it was hip, but hootie and the blowfish just came on... seriously?!)... and as I was just about to start writing about how I've come to the realization that living a "writer's life" would probably be too hard for me... I started to feel a burn in my chest like it's the thing that I want more than anything. to sit and write. to feel as comfortable and at peace as I do right now in this moment all of the time. but I guess real life isn't really like a coffee house, right?

at the stay gold café and lounge in belmar, nj



10.20.2015

alternate endings

I wrote this poem a few days ago, but can't decide what to do with the end. here are both versions. just because.

version #1

***

survivor's guilt

it's something I
     cannot fathom
being a survivor
                 of you.
when I
           inadvertently
                               encounter
            a photo
            of you and
                        your latest
            victim
I do not feel sad
        that I got
             out,
        that I survived
               and she might not.
instead I think
                to myself
I'm so glad
that it's someone
else in the fire
and not me.

***
version #2

***

survivor's guilt

it's something I
     cannot fathom
being a survivor
                 of you.
when I
           inadvertently
                               encounter
            a photo
            of you and
                        your latest
            victim
I do not feel sad
        that I got
             out,
        that I survived
               and she might not.
instead I think
                to myself
better
        her
            than
                  me.

10.08.2015

working my way through $100 worth of magazines and existential crises

my day in a nutshell. yes those are tween fancy cat ears. 
I recently went on a bender at barnes and noble and spent an insane amount of money on, yes, magazines. and when you buy super pretentious magazines and actually read them, it takes a long time to get through them. anywho, one of my purchases is always poets & writers. I don't know why... I honestly only read bits of it. I realized as I was flipping through it today that I found myself basking in the mfa ads...daydreaming and wishing and regretting that time back in 1999 when I had a full naropa application filled-out and ready to go, and then I didn't send it. shrug. I don't even remember why... but if I had done it then, I'd have my mfa already! and then I think about how I applied to the nyu mfa program and didn't get in. oh, but then I think about how I applied to the farleigh dickenson program and got in... and then didn't go because gita had just been born and I couldn't go to the residency... I don't know. part of me feels like what's the point? #doublerahu and no expectations of success, right? but then part of me feels like #yolo, wtf, why not?

I don't know. my husband would probably kill me if I even mentioned going back to school. plus, why do I even want to do it? you don't need an mfa to be a writer. and I'm already teaching at the college level (well, albeit community college adjuncting...). is it just for my ego? maybe. probably. but what else is there, really? I know that I'm on a professional treadmill right now. I'm runningrunningrunning and getting absolutely nowhere (thanks, rahu). but I could get an mfa and still go nowhere - as was proven by paying a lot of money and spending a lot of time getting my master's in school counseling - oh, right, I'm supposed to be a school counselor right now but my karma sucks and I'm not!

so, yea. back to I don't know. what if I just picked three programs and applied? just threw it up in the air and waited to see where it all landed? it's something to do, if nothing else. right?

10.07.2015

blank

it's not so much that my mind is blank as much as it is just exhausted. I feel like if I can't give you, dear reader, something of quality then why even write? but then again, when am I ever giving you, dear reader, something of quality? ha! this whole week has felt very nonstop. I feel like I spent the whole day doing stuff, but I have very little to show for it. and tomorrow is going to be a long day too - one I'm not particularly looking forward to either.

remember that show where the girl could freeze time? what was the name of that show?! anyway, sometimes I wish I could do that. I think she used to like snap her fingers or clap her hands or something and then all-of-a-sudden everyone but her would freeze. I need that. so I can freeze time and take a damn nap!

I guess I shouldn't hold my breath though, right?

10.06.2015

lists are my go-to

some pieces of today.

1. as I already inquired on fb: how is it only tuesday?! (this was actually one of my first thoughts this morning)

2. I thought the bhutas didn't come out during the brahma muhurta? I swear I got clamped this morning - around 5ish. it felt really real. but then again, maybe it was just part of my dream? - which was also super weird. but I don't remember it clearly enough to explain. but I do remember feeling like I was shouting the maha-mantra and "RADHE RADHE!!" really loud, but I wasn't because I wasn't actually awake... and I was feeling the clamp!

3. I hate the new credit cards with the chips in them that you have to stick into the machine and leave there. it really irks me for some reason.

4. ever not remember what you did in the shower? like you're standing there and all of a sudden you're like, "whoa, wait a minute? did I shampoo my hair already??" yea, I'm pretty sure I washed my face twice this morning.

5. I need like three more hours in a day. maybe four, actually. even if I spend them doing nothing or sleeping, I still need them.

6. I ordered 51 copies of my poetry book today. it's weird. and scary. and crazy. and idk and stuff.

7. now that it's getting crisper outside, we don't leave tulsi out or put her out in the morning. so she doesn't go outside until I get home. I moved her three different times so she could get some direct sunlight.

8. is it friday yet?

9. I wore the bunny dress today.


hey little guy.

10.05.2015

freewrite: sooooooo...

I had no idea what to write, so I just started writing. this is very disjointed and flow of consciousness - welcome to my brain. ha! anyway, writing every day is hard. when I asked gita what I should write about she said "cows burping". so yea, you can see where that ended up.

***

so, yea. here I am. again. my little office is cold year round it seems. in the summer our downstairs holds the cold from the a/c, and it seems like in the colder months it will be harder to keep warm. but I'm here none the less. my eyes are heavy. I meant to iron my dress for tomorrow - a cute black babydoll/swing style dress with grey bunnies. but now I'm too tired. I guess I'll wear something less wrinkley. I've been going pretty much nonstop since I got home from work - where I also feel like I was goinggoinggoing all day. though most of my "going" at work seems to be while sitting at my desk. when I think back, I didn't do anything particularly strenuous - I'm reading A Child Called "It" with my residents and we blazed through 27 pages. that's a lot for them to read in one sitting - it's basically reading bell-to-bell, which is intense for them. but we all want to be finished with the book so badly that they just powered through. I did some online browsing. madhavi needs jeans. there is a shirt from american eagle that I've been eyeing since the summer. I'm almost finished with the book I'm reading and trying to decide what is next, which means amazon scrolling. but I didn't buy anything. then checking emails, balancing my checkbook, grading papers, making some last minute changes to my poetry book manuscript. and then all of a sudden I'm home goinggoinggoing. emptying the dishwasher, chanting my japa, bringing the ladies to go get pumpkins, then making dinner - monday is one of my only free nights at home, so it's one of the only nights I have to cook. tonight was cornbread and four bean chili. plus gita needed a new batch of soup - she only eats lentil soup, basically. so there has to be some ready for her thermos for lunch tomorrow. I had to just go up to say goodnight to gita and she kept answering everything with "humpback whale" attached. like I said, "goodnight, gita. please stay in your bed tonight." and she replied, "ok humpback whale!" umm, ok? ha! she's such a weirdo, especially when she's punch-drunk tired. I think I'm going to end now. I've been trying to make a habit of reading for 30ish minutes when I'm home in the evenings, from 7:30-8. it doesn't happen every night, since, as I already said, I'm not home every evening, but it's nice to do when I'm here. so yea, I'm going to do that now. read, drink this cup of tea, and then zone out.

10.04.2015

thanks, rahu.

I've known for a while now that my next major astrological period wasn't going to be a good one. and it's all about one planet: rahu.


I don't remember doing this, but I apparently endorse "rahu for president 2033"

I've been trying to keep a positive attitude about the whole thing - one astrologer (not the one I'm currently taking advice from) told me this would be a good time for me - spiritually. though we all know that a "good time spiritually" usually means lots of material suffering, so that's kind of a trap. ha! needless to say, since my rahu period started back in May of this year, things haven't been all that peachy. so I figured it might be good to reach out to my astrologer in vrndavan and see what's up and if maybe there was anything to be done (and by anything, I mean a fire yajna. if you're not familiar with what this means, the quick explanation is that the astrologer, who is also a high-class priest, does sacrifices of different articles (not animals!) while chanting mantras for a period of time (sometimes many days) in order to calm or appease the malefic planet in question.). I emailed him the other day and finally got to skype with him yesterday. as a side note, skyping with someone who is in vrndavan is kind of awesome just by itself - it's like vrndavan coming through the computer!!!

actually, first I got a disconcerting email from him that quickly explained that my rahu period would go from 2015-2033 and it "doesn't seem good period for you". I don't know about you, but an 18 year period that doesn't look good is kind of terrifying. luckily, even though he was real with me about it, he kind of settled my anxiety a little.

maybe I should make a short explanation of why rahu is bad. I don't know the whole story completely, but my understanding is that back in the day, rahu wanted to drink amrita - which is like the holiest nectar of the gods. the sun and moon saw this and they were like, "oh hell no!" and went and told vishnu, who swiftly cut off rahu's head before the nectar could be ingested. rahu felt some type of way about how the sun and moon snitched on him, so he's made it his (eternal) life's mission to battle them at all times.

this is important because some people say rahu isn't inherently bad. or that they had a rahu period and it wasn't bad at all - that maybe they actually had lots of positive things happen. of course, as with an astrological situation, it's a person-to-person situation. it just so happens that my major issue with rahu stems from the fact that the sun is my ruling planet and sits happily in my first house. so when rahu comes along, he just wants to fight with the sun. you know, because snitches get stitches.

but I digress.

first the kind of badbad news. I'm not only in an 18 year major rahu period, but a three year rahu sub period. double trouble rahu. this means that basically the next three years are going to suck ass. my astrologer said to basically have zero expectations of a positive outcome for anything. I won't feel like myself. he equated it to being in a really fast car that's stuck in traffic - it just wants to go, but literally can't. I can look forward to my mind being in a fog and feeling really depressed. oh, and probable marital difficulties. that's always a bonus. he emphasized that this is not the real me, and that I will often think to myself, "what is happening to me!?" and people will start to act differently towards me. so much to look forward tom right?!

and if this all wasn't totally awesome, then came the answer to one of my major questions - about my health. I was careful to not give him too much detail as I wanted to see what he was going to say. so I just alluded to the fact that I've been having some health issues that I was really concerned about and whether or not there was a connection. without telling him anything more than that he explained how rahu sits in the first house looking down at the seventh house and this explains problems with the lower organs. plus, each planet rules an internal part of the body (sun=life airs, moon=mind, etc) and rahu resides in the lower organs. this basically explains everything - last year my papsmear (sorry if this is tmi, but whatever) came back abnormal. I had pre-cancerous cells that had to be removed. this was, of course, terrifying. and the procedure was not only painful, but left me unable to do any kind of physical exercise for almost two months. when I went back for my follow-up pap, it came back clear, so I naturally relaxed a bit. I just recently went back for my annual check-up and my swab came back abnormal again. my doctor explained that the levels weren't as high as last year, which is good. but he was concerned enough to do a biopsy. luckily, the biopsy didn't show high levels of the cells, so he wants to just wait. but still. I'm simultaneously freaking out and in denial. but good old rahu is apparently hard at work in there.

so what's to do? I'll have a rahu yajna done - an 8-day fire sacrifice that will hopefully keep him from banging on the door for at least a year. my astrologer says I'll probably have to do one every year just keep rahu in check. I guess if that's what it takes. it seems like it's either that or putting some rocks in my pockets and walking to the river.

in the spirit of keeping everything on the light side, here are my proposed tshirt designs for #doublerahu20152018



10.03.2015

meh.

the problem with trying to write every day is that I have to actually have something to write about. I suppose I actually have a ton of things I could write about, but writing requires a certain kind of energy that I just don't feel like I have tonight... or most of the time for that matter, which is probably why I don't do it as much as I should. I'm not sure how I feel about the fact that a good portion of my writing has become just making lists. five things I did today; ten things that annoy me; today's to-do list; what I need from the grocery store, etc. it is what it is, I suppose. maybe I should just be grateful for the process and just do it without overthinking or talking about doing it.

five things I did today:

* skyped with my astrologer (a whole post in itself!)

* went to a lovely baby shower brunch

* took a bad-ass nap

* took gita to get her halloween costume

* kept breathing.

I guess that's that for today.


10.02.2015

lilith fair

this afternoon while I was driving madhavi to her dad's for the weekend, I got the urge to put on some music. I often drive in silence so as to better hear the chatter in my brain - but it felt too quiet all around. I couldn't really decide what to put on and as I was thinking about it, this conversation I had with two of my god-siblings popped into my head. we were eating lunch together one afternoon this past august at the bhakti immersion retreat, chitchatting and prajalpa-ing and though I can't completely remember the context, I said something about how I never really listened to hard-core music before I met the devotees. I think in my first year or so as a new bhaktin, I listened to a little shelter and 108, but meh, not my speed. so the obvious question from my friends was about what kind of music I was into. I'm always a little embarrassed to answer this question, because there aren't many devotees who share my musical taste (for some very odd reason). I think I answered something like, "I don't know, like girlie music - tori amos, alanis morissette... like that." they both kind of laughed and one of them said, "so like lilith fair music?" and then we all kind of laughed together - though I think they were both laughing at me. ha!

anyway, stream of consciousness... this made me think of ani difranco and I realized I hadn't listened to her in forever! so I put on some playlist that I made ages ago and just soaked up how awesome she is. how could I forget???

madhavi didn't like her at first - but after a few songs in she said she wasn't so bad. and then I was thinking how I should make her a playlist of awesome 90s(ish) girl music...I mean, taylor swift is great and stuff... but she wouldn't be so awesome if it wasn't for the ladies who came before her!

I have to really think about it more, but here are a few of the songs I would put on the playlist:

* tori amos - silent all these years

* alanis morissette - head over feet (but acoustic... because.)

* fiona apple - sleep to dream

* pj harvey - man-size

* ani difranco - both hands

* bjork - like someone in love

* liz phair - extraordinary

* lisa loeb - stay

* natalie merchant - carnival

there are so many more I could add. these were just the first artists/songs that popped into my head. and if I added more recent stuff, this list could go on and on! #90sforlife ha!


90s girlie music me. taken at the talent show my junior year, when my band, ophelia's soupe, won playing a tori amos song! 

p.s. I've never been to the lilith fair. just for the record.

10.01.2015

coffee is a choice

I've been thinking about blogging for the past few days. I have time during the day when I can, but I usually just spend a lot of my day wasting time on tiny bits of nonsense here and there. under my picture on the right hand side over there ----> it says something about "seeking sanity through writing" and I was thinking how I hardly ever write. not that blogging has to be exclusively the way I write or create... but my point is that if I'm not doing it, then I can't complain about not feeling sane - whatever that means!

at some point today I realized that today is the first of october and the beginning of the month is always a great time to start projects and stuff. so I thought why not just write today...? actually, my first thought was that I should try to write something every day this month. but I'm hesitant to say that or commit to it. because we all know how much I'm not so great at sticking to things like that. but maybe I will. who knows. it would be really good for me, I think, if I did.

here is a list of things that I don't do regularly that I think that if I did I would be more calm, peaceful, and sane.

* write

* yoga-asana

* read for pleasure

* take a bath at night

* breathe deep

* eat whole, healthful foods

* be silent and more internal

* go to the temple and be in the association of devotees and friends


why don't I do these things? or some of these things more regularly? none of them in-and-of-themselves are complicated or hard. I don't know. I think my excuse for so many years (at least for some) was that we lived in that teeny-tiny condo and I didn't have a proper space for myself. but now we're in our house and I have this super awesome and fabulous office/yoga space that is ALL MINE! and honestly, I'm so grateful for it. I honestly feel so peaceful sitting in here. granted, it's only been within the past week or so that it's really been "together". I had it mostly cleaned up, with the exception of a few things, but I spent time organizing more last week and now it's even more peaceful.

so what's my excuse now? I think my emo-bi-polar moods often influence my laziness. it feels so much easier to crawl up into a little ball watching dr. phil while eating nachos than it does to turn my brain on and do other things. but even as I write that, it doesn't make sense. I don't know. maybe I don't have an answer. or maybe I just have deep samskaras that I haven't worked my way out of yet, much like a drug addict. shrug.

but why dwell? I'm here now. and for this moment that's all that counts.

oh, hey. just sitting at my desk writing in my office.

p.s. I didn't know what to title this post. I overheard gita telling my husband "coffee is a choice!" I don't know what she was talking about, or even if that's what she actually said, but it sounded funny, so why not?

4.20.2015

I am

I've been having my residents read/listen/watch and write poetry for the past few weeks - you know, since it is national poetry month and all. admittedly, I haven't been writing very much. in years past I have participated in the 30/30 challenge, but I don't know... I just haven't really been feeling it. or rather I should say, I haven't been feeling very inspired to write in general.

today their prompt was to write an "I am" poem - wherein they define themselves (or something like that) through responding to a variety of prompts. since I basically haven't written anything, I thought maybe I should take a swing at it. why not? anyway, I don't really love what I wrote, but it wasn't really about that anyway. I just felt like I needed to write something. even if it came out like crap.

***

I am

I am tired and aware
I wonder what will break me
I hear my own breath
I see this moment passing
I want to hold onto the past, move faster to the future, and control it all
I am tired and aware.

I pretend that I am ok
I feel the scales always tipping
I touch my own sadness
I worry that it will never release
I cry like the yellow wallpaper*
I am tired and aware.

I understand that this is all temporary
I say that nothing matters
I dream of all the things in between
I try to keep moving
I hope for the balance
I am tired and aware.


*yellow wallpaper reference about how I cry. just in case you didn't get it.

3.27.2015

cleansing realizations

I started a juice fast/cleanse this past monday. I basically have only been doing organic green/veg/fruit juices and small amounts of fruit since then (though I had a spinach salad for lunch today). I've done many cleanses/fasts in the past (check out the cleanse tab in the labels!), so I'm no stranger to not eating for a few days. I will admit that one of my main goals (always) is to shed some pounds. I'd be lying if I denied that! but I will say that this time around, while I was hoping to lose at least 5 lbs (only lost 3ish), I was really looking to do some serious detoxing. I've had some ups and downs as the week has gone by and I thought I'd share a few thoughts/realizations that I had.

* before I started the cleanse I was feeling very heavy - not like fat (though that too!) but like heavy in my body - weighed down, sluggish, and truly just gross. I was having a lot of headaches and every time I ate I felt just not good - what to speak of my overall mood, which, as you probably read, was not very good. my hope was that through the fast I would gain some lightness and clarity. my first three days were super yukkie - I actually felt somewhat worse in the sense that I had massive headaches and all of the other things that go along with detoxing. but these are normal and expected. but what I can say is that as I woke up today, on day 5, is that I feel pretty fabulous all around. my head is clear and sharp and my body feels lighter and less bogged down/sluggish, despite this very seasonal kapha weather! if for no other reason than this, this whole cleanse was worth it!

* I've read where people say they don't get hungry while they cleanse. I guess this could be true for some (who am I to say?) but I won't lie and say that's me. yes, I was hungry from time to time. but what I noticed most often was that when I wanted to eat I usually wasn't hungry at all - at least physically. most of the times I wanted to eat I noticed I was either stressed or bored. I know this isn't a huge revelation in terms of being an emo eater. but I guess I never really actually thought about it in the moments when it would happen to me in the past. I use food a lot to fill the empty spaces - it's honestly one of my only vices. well, except this other one...

* so I will admit that even though I noticed that I fill those places in myself where I could be more thoughtful and mindful with food, I have also realized that I fill them with things, aka I shop the blues away. and so even though I wasn't consuming food, I ended up consuming this, this, this, this, this, this, this, and this (I also bought some haiku books from amazon, but they don't really count because they're for work and I'm not actually paying for them...). yea, that's a lot of stuff. and a lot of money I don't have. I ended up sending my husband a text profusely apologizing for these purchases, though he wasn't even aware of them at the time. the only explanation is that I am trying to fill the emptiness with things. more this, this, this. sigh. I don't know.

my intelligence understands all of this, but my emotions don't. or maybe they do but they don't want to claim ownership, and perhaps that's why I keep eating and buying. stuffing myself with stuff I don't need - whether it be food or saris (though c'mon, those saris/tops are fab!). so I don't have any deep answers or solutions... just these thoughts. it's a start, I suppose....?



3.24.2015

are you there yoga? it's me, kadamba mala dd...

when I started my 200 hour yoga teacher training in 2012, I was on a long upward climb from a very low point in my life. I went to the training to try to save myself – to give myself space, to learn how to be with myself, to heal. and in a lot of ways, that’s what happened. I’ve said many times that yoga saved my life. I loved my training for so many reasons: I was practicing often – I was focused on learning and discovering and developing. but my intention going into the training wasn’t to teach. the teaching after I was done happened in a very natural way – I could do it and I didn’t mind doing it. I enjoyed it. and so for about a year after I graduated from my 200 hour course I taught at the studio where I had learned.

I was happy with where I was, in a sense, but if you know me then you know that I have a problem with being too idle. hmm, actually, maybe idle isn’t the best word – because if you know me then you know I’m hardly ever idle. I work. a lot. I work a lot. but there’s something else in me that always wants to be learning and advancing. maybe it’s an ego thing – I don’t know. that’s another topic for another day, I guess. what I’m getting at is that I was feeling that learning itch. I was feeling über restless, and so the idea of doing a 500 hour training was never far from my brain. I had considered a few different trainings – but many of them were inconvenient for one reason or another… distance, timing, cost, etc. and, in earnest, I had always shied away from the idea of doing the 500 training at the studio where I did my 200 because of a seva requirement that is attached to it - basically a big number of hours dedicated to community service outside of the classroom time, which isn’t bad in-and-of-itself but seemed very impractical for me because I am so busy in general, and also working with the unknown gives me anxiety.

but I digress. so anyway, the itch wouldn’t go away… and so (after a long discussion with my asana guru) I decided to do the training at my home studio where I taught and learned so much already.
that all sounds great. so why don’t I feel that same sense of relief with this training as I felt in my 200? why don’t I feel like I’m being saved anymore? why do I feel hopeless and lost?
the only thing I can come up with is this: I teach, I am training… but I don’t practice. I am a yoga teacher who isn’t actually practicing yoga. and by not practicing I mean I don’t have a daily asana practice – of course, in many ways I practice yoga in my everyday life. but that’s not what I’m talking about here. I mean that physical movement that brings me peace. and I’m not doing it. there is something different about being in this 500 then when I was in the 200 – maybe I am not exploring asana as much – maybe that’s good, maybe it’s not – I don’t know. but I can see what’s not working and it’s me and my practice.

and so I’ve decided that I need to do something. like, literally do something. I can’t have a physical asana practice with the way my life is now. and I need it so very desperately. with that I think I’m going to stop teaching for a while once my 500 hour training is complete and focus on my own practice – more importantly, making/creating/holding the space for my own practice.
this makes me sad on one level – I have so many ideas for classes and workshops and whatnot, and I do actually like teaching. but on another level it’s a bit of a relief. it’s one less obligation, one less job. and yoga was never meant to be a job or obligation for me.

with all of that said, my prayer is that I will be able to find my practice again soon… to be able to reunite with this old friend. 

a vision board I did pre-500 training.

a vision board I did this past weekend. just see the difference in need and intention.

3.19.2015

frustrated with being frustrated

one of the more (not really) fabulous things that comes along with my depression is becoming easily frustrated and impatient. in general, as a person, I have a tendency towards being an LFT, or having a low frustration tolerance. I get easily aggravated by long lines, bad drivers, and just incompetence in general. but when I go deep into my depressive state, my LFT is heightened. the tiniest things rub my nerves raw - people talking too loudly, repetitive sounds, eating/drinking sounds... my children doing pretty much anything... and when it gets too intense I just want to sit down and cry. but I don't, because that would be ridiculous. so I just kind of stuff it all in, and it builds. and I feel like I just want to give everyone and everything the middle finger.
mostly, though, I'm just frustrated with feeling frustrated and on edge. like I just want to chill out and feel not so sensitive. I don't quite know how to do that, so I'm just trying to wait it out. this too shall pass, right? right??


this is from december, but somehow captures a lot of feelings.

3.18.2015

one step forward from three hundred and one steps back

yesterday I felt better. I even feel better today. I’d say it progressed on monday afternoon from being down-at-the-bottom depressed to monday evening feeling half angst-y and half numb. I want to say yesterday I felt better; I think I did. but I also feel like I wasn’t feeling anything at all. I think that’s something that maybe is sometimes hard to explain, or maybe hard for some people to see/understand. “feeling better” doesn’t mean happy or healed or cured. it’s a qualitative thing – meaning better but not best -  better than wanting to evaporate into nothingness, but not dancing in a field of wildflowers.

I read this article on mindbodygreen yesterday and so much of it hit home. granted, I don’t take medication anymore and I hope I never have to or do again, but I understand what is behind all of that. like even when I’m “doing ok”, the depression is still there. It is always there, hiding, lingering, being. I’m not knocking taking medication – please don’t misunderstand that – but for me, personally, there is no amount of medication that will take that away. my experience was that the medication just put a blanket over it… pushed it under the couch, so to speak. it was still there. I think – no, I know – it will always be there.

so I live with it. I guess…if that’s what this is. it doesn’t always feel like living though. that’s hard.

what’s harder – maybe – is being bipolar, or manic-depressive. whatever. being extreme. that’s what’s really hard. I often think that it would be easier to just be depressed. because when the mania, or the “up” comes inevitably the “down” will follow. it took me a while to realize this – that while the “up” feels good, the “down” feels even worse. it makes sense, when you compare it to substance abuse, why people get hooked on drugs. you know, they want to maintain the high. because the down is so painful – but only after knowing the up. if there’s no up, there’s no point of reference. and the more up I feel, the worse the down feels. almost like the difference in dropping something from different heights. like if you drop a pebbled just from your hand to the ground, it’s not such a big deal. but if you drop a brick off a ten-story building, it’s going to hit the ground hard. it’s kind of like that.


so, anyway, I kind of feel even right now. like the road is flat. no hills. but there might be some potholes. you know it was just winter. and winter always leaves potholes in the pavement.


a few years ago I taught 'six word stories' to my residents. this was my personal example.

3.16.2015

do not be alarmed freewrite

sometimes I imagine it like being in a tiny row boat in the middle of the ocean. maybe with oars – maybe without. it actually doesn’t matter, because it’s the middle of the ocean, and it’s choppy and full of giant waves, so what would oars do anyway? I fall out of the boat and the sea is so aggressive that it feels like I’ve fallen into something like a whirl pool. I must have a life jacket on because I won’t sink. but I’ve been trying to stay afloat for so long that my whole body is exhausted. It can’t fight against the current anymore. but the life vest won’t let me go under. I want to go under, because I can’t swim anymore. but the damn flotation device won’t let me.
part of me imagines getting back into the boat somehow. maybe the storm calms. maybe the water becomes placid and peaceful. maybe the sun comes out and I reach the shore.
or maybe, in the midst of the storm, I unclasp the life jacket and take it off. and maybe the sinking is slow and peaceful and quiet. maybe the sinking goes on forever.

***
he says that the negative talk in my head is too loud. he says that it’s all I hear. so he doesn’t say anything. in reality, he has given up the way I have given up. he won’t say it though. but I will say it. because I know it.

***
the thing is, I would never kill myself. my fear of death is too big for that. I don’t want to die; I want to not exist anymore. I want to vaporize, or melt with the snow and seep into the ground. I want to wither and petrify. I want to disappear in the magician’s box. but I don’t want to die. dying is a different thing. dying is a scary thing. I won’t kill myself. just know that much.

***
here is what is so inconvenient about all of this: even the simplest, dumbest things will send me over the edge. for example: I am spending the week administering standardized tests. this means my normal schedule is not normal – so when someone in charge doesn’t remember that I have to have a break for lunch, it makes my whole face go hot. it makes me want to throw things. it makes me want to burst into tears. because why are people so dumb and incompetent? why don’t they think about ME? why don’t I matter? what is my worth? all of that because people are human, and I can’t even forgive that most of the time.

***

these are all of the things I want to say but not talk about. talking implies conversation. conversation means back-and-forth discussion. if I talk people will try to solve. I don’t want solutions. I want relief. I want release. relief, release. a deep, full, complete exhale. no in, just out.


image detail from no matter the wreckage

3.11.2015

free write release

I feel like a failure at everything. and when I am in moments like this one, where everything is dark, I believe that there is nothing else in the world other than my failures. the logical part of me understands that I most likely feel this way because of hormones, but the emotional part of me – the part that is actually feeling things, doesn’t care. I think a lot about moving to a holy place – like mayapura or vrndavan. I think about it with a sense of deep longing – as if perhaps that would somehow take away a chunk of my suffering, as if it would give me some relief. I tell you this because this morning I was wondering to myself whether or not people in india – like very spiritual places, where Krishna is their center – whether they suffer emotionally the way I feel like I do. like, are they depressed? do they feel sadness like this? or are they always blissful and happy and just loving Krishna 24/7? of course, once this thought left me, I realized how silly it was. because I understand that we all suffer to some degree or another in our own ways – because this is the material world, and it is full of suffering. because this is the material world, and as long as you have a mind then you cannot escape its constant chatter and whims.


but this isn’t about all of those practical principles. this is about all of the weight I feel on me. the changes that happen that shift me. and ultimately, it is about the things I cannot control…and I control nothing. I control nothing other than these things I am thinking, feeling, expressing right here, right now. I so badly want to feel nothing. to be so numb that these thoughts do not exist. these feelings will no longer be. I want darkness and silence and warmth and nothingness. I want peace. total peace. but I have no hope for it. no energy left. everything feels heavy. too heavy.

these are my feet, which are at the bottom of my legs, which are (pictured here) up the wall.


***I wrote this earlier in the day. it's now several hours later, and after a good cry and a talk with a co-worker, I actually feel a bit better. it's amazing how things change moment to moment. oh, these moments...

1.20.2015

dear body

dear body,

I hate you. it's true and it needs to be said. but most people will think this is because of some body image problem or lack of self-worth issues. but no. let's be real here: you are just a bag of suffering. my neck hurts. my hamstrings hurt. the inside of right knee hurts. the bottom of my left foot hurts. I just ate some crappy food and my stomach feels gross. I have hemorrhoids (yea, tmi, I know)... need I say more about that? my cuticles are peeling. my leg hair won't stop growing. my cervix could be growing a giant tumor at this very moment that will kill you! so much suffering in one tiny, tiny package. and all for what? to be here in this crap-tastical material world to enjoy?! enjoy what? where? yoohoo, enjoyment!! where are you?! marco! hurlo!?

sigh.

I guess it's a good thing that I am not you, dear body. but with all of the time we spend together, you could have fooled me. I try to take care of you the best I can, but you often betray me with all of these aches and pains. give a girl a break every once and a while, eh?

I'm trying not to be mad at you, because, after all, you're just a body. but still. stop being such a hater. chill out a little.

sincerely,
me.


1.14.2015

karunika



compassion is a general principle in yoga. it is especially emphasized as a quality of a vaisnava/devotee of krishna. among the twenty-six qualities of a devotee, compassion is named by itself, but can also be noted in other qualities - such as the first: "he is kind to everyone". I found myself thinking about this just a bit ago when one of my neighbors popped into my head. and I was thinking all kinds of judgmental thoughts about her and then I was like, "why is it so hard for me to be compassionate towards certain people?!" I don't have an answer to that question. but I thought maybe I would make myself a list of people that I find it most difficult to be compassionate towards in an effort to somehow cultivate this quality within myself.

* the mother of the girl who bullied madhavi for two years, who is also now my neighbor.

* the girl who bullied madhavi for two years.

* my upstairs neighbors who have severe mental illnesses.

* a co-worker who is so socially inept that she doesn't have the capacity to understand the world outside of her own box.

* a co-worker who, for seemingly no reason that I've been able to figure out, purposefully "threw me under the bus" (as they say) many years ago.

* a former friend who was a manipulator, and who also blamed me for things I didn't do or say.

* a former friend who is a self-sabotager.

* myself.

I have to say, just making this list has shifted me a bit. because I was trying hard to describe these people without using their names, but also without saying judgmental things...I don't know that I was totally successful in that, but this little exercise has given me a lot to think about. I wouldn't say I've magically become compassionate towards these people, but at least I'm thinking about the fact that I'm not. and that's something better than nothing.

1.12.2015

schnerpin merpin

you see, my friends, the problem about blogging more often is that I don't always have something interesting to say. so what do I do then? I mean, I have a few back-up post ideas that I've had in the back of my mind for a while, but most of them would require a good amount of thought and effort... and today is so rainy and lazy that the last thing I want to do is, like, think and stuff.

mondays have been hard for me every since I started my 500 hour yoga teacher training program. I'm there most of the day on sunday and then I work all day on monday and then I have to go back to my ytt in the evening and I don't get out until 9pm. yea, it stinks. I mean, yea, it's temporary and all... it's only until april... but still, in the moment it sucks - especially when all I want to do is roll up into a ball on my couch and hibernate. first world problem, I know.

today has just been mostly quiet. my residents are reading Shooter by Walter Dean Myers. it's an ok book... they like it and don't complain when we have to read, which is always a bonus. they're also watching Bully at the same time to keep them interested (bullying is one of the themes in the book). I also spent some time catching up on reading and other homework for my yoga teacher training. then I went to target and roamed around a little bit, mostly aimlessly, but then I ended up getting madhavi some new school socks/tights. after lunch I read some of The Red Tent, which was followed by a good, hardy belly laugh with some co-workers over this cat-picture article. I mean, honestly, who doesn't think kitlers are hilarious?!

alrighty people. I think I've bored you enough with my uber boring day. but I'm keeping the momentum going. and that's all that counts, right?

1.09.2015

this week

this week I...

- realized that if I only worked one job and didn't constantly over-commit myself, I could actually cook dinner for my family more regularly.

- received an irritating email from a student who was dissatisfied with his final grade. this wouldn't have been so bad except he blamed me for the grade. and I quote, "you ruined my 3.94 GPA." yea, pretty sure I didn't do that.

- was reminded how very much I do not want any more children.

- stressed over a strange full-body rash that madhavi broke out with over the weekend. we were convinced it was fifths disease, even though her doctor said it wasn't. well, her doctor wasn't sure exactly what it was... but anyway, she literally cleared up "over-night" monday into tuesday. she's still a little hoarse from having a chest/sinus thing going on. but she's thankfully much, much better.

- was quite productive. I cleaned out my folders from last semester, did lots of shredding, caught up on all my blog-reading from over winter break, started The Red Tent, worked out my syllabi for spring semester, wrote a letter of recommendation, and cleaned my classroom fishtank/dusted around my classroom. honestly, with as much free time that I have at my regular full-time job, I could have easily done double this. but why?

- shopped a bit online. purchases included: bulk asafoetida, contour memory foam pillow, bully, and some aveda face stuff. I also received this book, which I ordered last week. I think it will be my next read once I'm done with The Red Tent. oh, and I'm still waiting to get this super awesome shirt in the mail, which I ordered after the new year when the company offered 20% off. I'd been eyeing it for a while, so I figured whatever, #yolo.

that's all I've got peeps! I hope you had a fantabulous week and stayed warm wherever you are in the world!

1.07.2015

smallish big

I don't have much to say, but I need to write something so here it is.

oh, but first - I added a new tab up above... "stats" - it's a replacement of the "non-faqs" tab. that one got old and boring, so I decided to make it something new. enjoy, or something.

I heard this quote the other day and I thought it was so amazing that this will be my sharing for today. it's such a small and simple saying, but so profound and beautiful.

"You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair." -Chinese Proverb

bam!

and here's a little bonus...one of my residents was super cranky this morning and rather than get beotchy back to her, I decided to try to lighten her up a bit. so I looked up corny jokes, and this was by far the biggest hit:

-Why does Snoop Dog use an umbrella?




-For the drizzle! (but you have to say it, "fo' da drizzzzzle!"

you're welcome!

1.05.2015

winter vacay

back to work this morning...but to be honest, I'm a little bit glad to be back in my routine. here are some random things I did during my winter break.

- finished reading Mockingjay (it was pretty good…I was both disappointed and satisfied by the ending.) and read Yin Yoga: Principles and Practice (short but sweet! learned a few things… which is always a bonus!).

- watched a lot of movies: We’re the Millers (hilarious!); The Wolf of Wallstreet (good, but super explicit and raunchy in some parts); Wild (sooo good, but very heavy); The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I (so far so good. they split the movie pretty much exactly where I thought they would. they didn’t really seem to change much – some of which I liked, some I didn’t. overall I liked it though.); Into the Woods (I quite liked it, though if you don’t like musicals or fairy tales then don’t bother. it was reaaaalllly long.).




- watched my fair share of Law and Order: SVU.

- cleared off my dvr. this included mostly lots of episodes of The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns and Beyond Scared Straight (which gita is strangely fascinated with...).

- ate a lot of cookies, chocolate, and sugar in general.

- took a few good naps.

- got to go on a date with jd (see Wild, above).

- updated and added to my family picture wall (swapped out the photo of madhavi, bottom center, and then added the three on the right).




- thought about going to the gym…thought about it.

- cleaned/dusted stuff that doesn’t usually get cleaned/dusted. this was coupled with lots of laundry and dishes.

- perhaps best of all! received new outfits for our deities and got to dress them all! they look so beautiful!





basically I watched a lot of stuff. ha! my break was pretty chill over all - I felt like I was constantly doing something, but also had a good amount of relax time. onward and upward... to spring break that is...




1.02.2015

always with the best of intentions

I think I've explained many times that I am not very good at making promises to myself (and sometimes to others) and keeping them. promises, vows, resolutions, whatever. I have a tendency to not follow through. I don't know why, because in my mind that's not who I am. I'm a person of my word... in my mind. but also my mind is a monkey-mind, so it makes up all kinds of things... including excuses as to why I can't/won't/shouldn't keep those promises.

but I'm a bit of a glutton for punishment... or no, that's kind of depressing. I'm a secret optimist? or maybe just a realist with good intentions... whatever I am, I'm going to make another go-around at some resolutions for this coming year. I'm trying to make most of them easy and attainable... but also a few that are a challenge. because, why not?

here we go...

* read at least six books for pleasure. this means that these books are not required by work or school or some kind of training. they are to be chosen out of pure whimsy - well, maybe with a little exception. 1. I'd like one to be a book of poetry... I have so many. but generally I just flip through a read random poems. I'd like to pick one and read it cover to cover. 2. one of the books has to be one that I already own. sometimes there's a book I really want to read so I buy it, but I don't have the time at the moment. then it usually ends up on my bookshelf and I kind of lose interest and it just sits. so I think I need to read one of those. ha! 3. I'd also like one to be related to devotee life somehow. but it has to be something that's not satsra necessarily. because I don't want it to feel like I'm studying. remember, this is about enjoyment and pleasing my senses!! haha! oh, I should also mention that I do already have one lined up for my first book of the year,  The Red Tent, which I think I'll start on monday.

* lose 10 lbs. and mean it. guys. I'm sick of this up and down crap. and now that I'm heading over the mid-thirties hump, I know it's only going to get harder. and actually, I'd like to lose 15 lbs., but I'm trying to be reasonable with myself. also, no fasting/cleansing to do this. serious proper diet and actual exercise that will include strength training.

* learn at least two (new?) hare krishna tunes and one bhajan on the harmonium. I say "new" with a question mark because I actually really want to re-learn two specific tunes that I used to know but never wrote down so I totally don't remember them. I'm not sure which bhajan yet - but I'm leaning towards maybe bhaktivinode thakur's nama sankirtan.

* blog more. at least three times per week. I'm thinking monday, wednesday, friday. because guys, c'mon. it's dumb that I don't!

* complete at least two things from my 40/40 list. I'm not going to lie. I'm pretty sure I'm not going to do most of the things on that list. but there are some I still want to do. and I don't want to totally give up. I'm not sure which two I'll focus on, but I do have an idea of what at least one of them will be. but I'm not telling yet.

* practice and (perhaps) advance with the reiki biz. so, I became attuned and reiki level one certified a few weeks ago but I pretty much haven't done anything with it since I took the class. it's timing, really though... with the holidays and all. but I want to start practicing and hopefully do the level two certification.

* start my little publishing press idea called tea or me. this has been a dream for a long time - to publish vaisnava/krishna-concious inspired works, not just by myself, but by other young devotees. with a focus on fiction and kitschy writing, it will be all about expressing without boundaries - indirectly but directly serving all at once. anyway, I have so many ideas that are all jumbled up - and even a first book by a really fabulous young vaisnavi... I just have to get myself focused! so yes, this year!

I think I had like twenty other ideas... but I need to be realistic. so, yea. this is it. we'll see how it goes.