9.25.2016

sri vyasa puja 2016



Dearest Srila Guru Maharaj,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. All glories to you on this most auspicious day.

It’s hard to believe another year has gone by. It feels like it was just yesterday that I saw you walking up the stairs at the home program where I first met you. And it definitely doesn’t feel like sixteen years ago that we were planning your 50th birthday vyasa puja celebration.  Sometimes I come across pictures from ten or fifteen (or more!) years ago of you, and sure, I think you look younger, but I’m always surprised, because you have always seemed the same to me. Your energy and dedication to your own sadhana as well as your preaching in Srila Prabhupada’s mission never falters. It never takes a break. Even when you “take a break” at Govardhana for Karttika or go to your place in upstate New York, you’re not really taking a break. You increase your chanting and your sadhana. You somehow do more even when you seem to be doing less! Year after year I have seen you continue to keep the faith, walk the walk of a true guru and sadhaka, as well as adapt your preaching approach and style based on your audience without ever compromising your message, intention, or loyalty to the parampara. What more could a person ask for in a guru?

I sometimes make jokes or complain about how bad my karma is or how I have the worst planetary alignments and I am always suffering so much. But when I think about how lucky I am to have you as my guru, I realize how ungrateful I am. Krishna has given me the best guide for spiritual life and I all too often squander His gift – the gift of you as my guru. I want to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to you because somehow you got stuck with me as your disciple. I am clearly getting more out of our relationship than you are and for that I will be eternally sorry. I can only hope and pray that you will continue to tolerate my nonsense and that the burden of me will not become too heavy. I know that it is mostly you dragging me along this path of bhakti, but I promise to try to get up and jog behind you more often.

Always and eternally your servant,

Kadamba Mala devi dasi

8.23.2016

perry farrell is my vartma-pradarśaka-guru

I realized the other day whilst showering that is was august 2016. that might not sound very earth shattering, considering calendars exist and whatnot, but it dawned on me that the very first time I ever met the devotees was in august of 1996 - twenty years ago! it feels like twenty years ago for sure... but also, not. which is weird. you know, time flying but also being slow all at once and everything. 

I'm kind of sad that I missed the anniversary of the exact day, but then I realized I couldn't remember the exact date. thank god for google and the infinite time capsule of the world wide web (thank you for inventing it Al Gore!), so obvs I googled it. well, I mean, I googled the date of the festival that I went to where I met them. and there it was! august 17, 1996 - the day perry farrell became my vartma-pradarśaka-guru.

I don't remember much surrounding the actual event - other than it was a music festival (called the enit festival) that farrell was putting on that was supposed to be like lalapalooza, but different or something. anyway, my boyfriend at the time like worshipped perry farrell and he was playing with porno for pyros...and it was at (what was called at the time!) the garden state arts center, so we were for sure going! 

I remember entering the festival site, which was in front of the actual concert center - on the lawn (not like lawn seats there... like the giant lawn that's almost on the parkway)...and walking down some steps or something and that's where I first saw them - these white american people... dancing and singing... in saris!!!...under a tree, and flowers were like literally showering down on them. it was out of a movie or something. and I looked at them and thought (or maybe even said out loud, I don't remember) "that's it! that's what I want to do with my life!" they had a giant picture of prabhupada in the center that they were dancing around, which I didn't pay too much attention to, or think anything of. I just remember it was him (though I didn't know who he was at that time) and not krishna... like I wasn't really making a connection to krishna at that point... just that it was hindu-culturally to some degree, and it was non-indian people. I want to say I bought a soft-back bhagavad-gita as it is, but I don't really remember that for sure either. ha! I do remember signing my name and phone number on a guest list (which led to me being contacted later) and I feel somewhat certain that it was dhanishta mataji (from brooklyn) at the table... but I can't be sure of that either. then I remember turning around and seeing perry farrell, in the flesh, gliding down the steps, looking like he had just gotten off a bus from heaven. I'm not saying that because I was in love with him or thought he was sexy or whatever (I was more of a trent reznor girl), but because he had all of these markings on his face and a jewel on his forehead and (in my memory) this crushed velvet suit (though I feel like I'm making that up) and he was all lanky and just god-like looking. it was all just so magical, all at once. I wanted that same paint on my face, so I went over the the little face painting they had and this girl (who I remember finding out later was named saranam, and I believe was a disciple of bhir krishna goswami...I think?) give me red gopi dots with an om in the center. from there, I just remember watching everything... going to the actual show. half naked girls dancing and getting set on fire during the porno for pyros set...and going to the ocean queen diner at like 3am or something crazy like that.

I assume this is a photo of him from that day.

most importantly, a few days later I got a call about a "hare krishna program" literally 1/2 a mile from my house. and I went. and it's all history from there!

of course, krishna had been in my life in tiny ways before that day... a copy of sri isopanisad that a different boyfriend had given me (but I had no idea what it was about), posters from east meets west, a sari given to me by my one and only indian friend, a beta fish I named "krishna", a natural affinity to all things hindu...but it had never come together all in one place like it did that day. it literally all came together at the right time and in the right place.

so today, I honor sripad perry farrell... my vartma-pradarśaka-guru. krishna operates in the weirdest ways! ha!

(link here to an article about the enit festival)

8.21.2016

once more with feeling, starting tomorrow, and this time I mean it



this is it. I have to get it together, lose 15lbs and stop the insanity that is my crazy, emotional, and emotionless eating. so yes, tomorrow I will start. for real.

obviously, I can't start without a plan. it's in my head and it's reasonable. no crazy juicing or fasting (though I don't knock it)... but no counting/weight watchering. a simple plan, with some restrictions, but it's doable and my goal is attainable.

I think I'll write more about the details of the plan tomorrow. I kind of just want to chill out... plus my stomach is full of pancakes (which are obviously not on the plan) and it's hard to think. honestly, I don't know why I always wait until like 8:00pm to write... I never feel like it! ha!

anywho, I'm going to couple my plan with some good reading... I was going through my amazon list the other day trying to decide what to dive into next and I came across a different book, which led me to women food and god. it felt right as soon as I saw it, so I clicked and shipped and here I am. I'm only through the first chapter, but so far, so good. I feel connected to it and hopefully Roth will give me some deep insights to help me along this journey. because seriously, this is it.

I mean it. seriously.

8.20.2016

when all else fails, saris

today is my eleventh wedding anniversary. jd and I went out to dinner and ate an insane amount of gluten. that's about it.

since I don't really have anything interesting to say and the fullness of my stomach won't allow for any level of intelligence, here are some beautiful saris. just for fun. #eyecandy #sariporn


totally my pallet. here.
simple, subtle, hearts! here.
pinstripes? yes please! here.
birds!!! here.


elephants! here.

not my usual color pallet, but I love a kalamkari. and this is so unique! here.
that texture though. here.


omg. from here.



I probably could have linked like 20 more. everything on parisera is so amazingly beautiful... but also cha-chinggggg expensive! anywho, it doesn't cost anything to look! 

8.19.2016

poem: moon rising

moon rising

the moon rises
faster than you'd think.
shining strawberry
over the ocean
waves crashing,
it stops people
in their tracks.
a lady complains -
she can't get a good photo,
as if the moon
isn't posing for her
properly.
disappearing
behind the clouds,
another woman
is astonished -
where did it go?
as if
it could just
fall
out of the sky
and sink,
caught in the
undertow.

8.18.2016

poem: reminders

reminders

I tried
     to erase
     you from
     my life

because
     that was
     what I
     was taught
     to do.

but you
     show up
     in the
     smallest ways,

tiny reminders:

a vase on a shelf

a ring in a box -

me,
     slowly
     becoming
     you.

8.17.2016

obstacles on the path of getting my sh*t together

as a follow up to my post yesterday about how absolutely gross I feel and how disgusted I am with myself, I thought I would delve into the things that I feel like are standing in the way of me making any level of commitment and/or progress in the weight loss department.

1. my health, or in other words fibromyalgia.
this is a huge thing for me. I am basically in constant pain somewhere in my body at all times, though usually and mostly in my right hip. there is a deep and inexplicable pain right in the fold area of my right hip that radiates down my leg at times. it's not arthritis or any bone-on-bone issue. there are a few theories about the muscle pinching nerves, but at any rate, it's there and very little that I do makes it feel better.
this also contributes to my complete and utter lack of stamina or recovery when it comes to exercise. I essentially can't do any level of excess physical activity because it completely exhausts me - if not in the moment, I will surely feel it the following day. actually, at one point I had started to feel a lot better and promptly got myself to the gym that I pay for every month but don't ever go to...I worked up a sweat on the treadmill, stair climber, and elliptical and felt really awesome while doing it and after. but the next day I was barely able to get out of bed and had crazy brainfogfuzz. it's not a fun feeling. so there's a part of me that has pretty much given up on exercising. that's a very discouraging feeling, in case you were wondering.

2. food is life.
this basically boils down to the fact that I really like food, a lot. and eating is one of my only vices. I don't drink, do drugs, or smoke, or whatever else you could insert here. I basically eat. shopping used to be a huge vice for me, but even that I've gotten a little bit more under control. so yea. eating. food makes me feel good. except when it doesn't. but I am for sure under the illusion that it does. that it is the warm hug that I need when I feel sad, or something to do when I'm bored, or a reward when I've done something good. I don't much know what to do with this part of it, other than to try to undo this thought process. but of course, like most people with great attachment to something, I don't know how much I really want to.

3. I'm an extremist.
this is a deep part of my personality - all or nothing. I know it's a weakness and I've been working on trying to not be so black and white about things, but it's not easy to change something that is kind of like the fiber of who you are. so when I want to go on a diet and I just can't commit, or I make a poor food choice, or whatever, I give up pretty easily. because if I can't do it 1million%, then I don't want to even bother.

4. I've done a lot of extreme dieting (shocker!).
if you've known me for a while or followed this blog at all, you'll know that I've done my fair share of diets... from weight watchers to juice fasts like the master cleanse. I've been very successful on some. but what I've realized is that my brain is fully burnt out on diets and cleanses. if I find myself even remotely considering any kind of restrictive diet, my brain immediately starts freaking out and seeking carbs and dairy. ha! but seriously, I just can't do counting points or calories or whatever.

5. it all feels hopeless.
feeling hopeless and helpless about anything is a really hard obstacle to overcome. and that's basically where I am. I'm getting older. my body is changing. I feel like I have no control and sometimes like I am out of control. I want to just reign it all in so bad. but I feel like I am up against so much every day and it's a losing battle.

sometimes when I think about this overeating/weight problem the first verse from sri upedesamrita:

vāco vegaṁ manasaḥ krodha-vegaṁ
jihvā-vegam udaropastha-vegam
etān vegān yo viṣaheta dhīraḥ
sarvām apīmāṁ pṛthivīṁ sa śiṣyāt


"A sober person who can tolerate the urge to speak, the mind’s demands, the actions of anger and the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals is qualified to make disciples all over the world."

obviously I'm not looking to make any disciples (lolzzz!), but I've always remembered how I once heard that controlling one of these items leads to controlling the next and before you know it, it's all under control and you're at peace (that's a super loose paraphrase, of course!). and that's all I want - is to feel comfortable in myself and be at peace. I can see how it would be easy for some to assume that I just want to be skinny or whatever... but it's not like that. I know I will never be "skinny" - and skinny for my body is like 125lbs. I'm relatively robust in some areas and perhaps even "big boned"(??)... I know I'll probably always have a little junk in the trunk, and that's ok. but I'd like to fit into the clothes I own and love... and feel comfortable in them. like not having my jeans dig into my waist when I sit down... and listen, I was wearing like a 10/12....it's not like I"m trying to squeeze into a size 6 or something. so yea, I don't feel like I'm being unreasonable or asking for too much or having weird unattainable expectations outside of reality.

so what do I do in the face of all of this? I'm not 100% sure. maybe I'll tackle that tomorrow.

mood: hidden frida kahlo


8.16.2016

I'll start tomorrow, and other lies I tell myself

I often wonder when I'm going to get my shit together. everyday I say tomorrow. I will start [insert healthy goal here] tomorrow. I feel disgusting. I can't stand to look at myself in the mirror. I don't know how to feel better about myself unless I actually make meaningful changes.

I've been thinking a lot about the idea of just accepting myself as I am. like just saying, "you know what, this is who I am. and this is who I'm going to be. and that's that. and I will like it. I will like myself." how much easier life would be if I could just not have to worry about what I'm eating, or how much I weigh, or what I look like in a photo or an article of clothing. but it's like, I just can't turn it off. I can't accept that this is my body. this is who I've become. and that it just keeps getting worse.

2009. right before I got pregnant with gita. skinniest I had ever been since having madhavi.


yet somehow, despite this deep sense of disgust with my body, I can't seem to actually do something about it. why? what is going on that I can't JUST DO IT - commit to whatever I need to do - eat less, move more - and just get it done??

also 2009 right before I found out I was pregnant. I remember feeling so slim and squeezing into that top, which was a hand-me-down from anapayani. and I haven't been able to squeeze into it since.

and I know there is someone reading this thinking, "oh, kadamba mala, you'll never be happy, no matter how much weight you lose." I can tell you for sure that's absolutely not true. in the early part of 2012 I actually got down past my goal weight (a weight I wouldn't even dream of trying to get to now)... and I FELT GOOD. unfortunately, I had some other stuff going on that ended up giving my extreme anxiety and depression and that was when I went on anti-depressants and gained a shit ton of weight back... and ever since then I've been struggling like crazy. and the depression had nothing to do with my weight or body image. that was the only thing I actually had going for me! now it seems like everything else is reversed. for the most part, other than my physical health, everything in life is ok. but my body is a freaking hot mess and I just can't take it anymore.


I know, totally weird picture, but I couldn't find the original. anyway, 2012, right before I started gaining a ton of weight back.

I know someone is probably thinking, "oh, kadamba mala, you're not fat! you look great!" well, whatever. it's all relative. of course, obviously I'm not morbidly obese... but that's not the point. I am overweight for my height, even if it's only by 15-20lbs. my weight just keeps going up. and it's absolutely 100% my own fault. sometimes I like to try to trick myself by saying things like, "I don't even eat junk food." or "I don't even drink soda!" or "I eat pretty healthy." lies. all lies! (well, except the soda thing, I really don't drink soda very often and we basically never have it in our house.)

sigh. I don't know. there's no conclusion here. no declaration of a plan. not even a thought of one. just venting...which is basically a waste of time and energy.

I feel embarrassed even posting this photo. this is from june, and actually I think I might  have weighed 5lbs less than I do right now. I was trying to get madhavi to take a picture of me for a new profile pic and I was just so disgusted with all of them. ugh. I look huge. and haggard. you can see the weight in every part of my body. my face, my neck, my arms. I hate it. I have every bit of it.

8.15.2016

back to reality

yesterday I returned from my annual vacation, aka the bhakti immersion retreat in upstate ny, which is run/organized by my guru, Srila Dhanurdhara Swami, and my godbrother, the (in)famous Raghunatha. it is four days of off-the-grid into nature yoga, philosophy, and culture. classes range from gentle and strong vinyasa, to bhakti relationships, to introduction to palm reading and indian classical dance, to Raghunatha's version of cross-fit called "the bhakti beast".




I always go with the mood that these four days are my vacation. I want to see my guru, spent time hearing from him, and just be able to chill... not have to worry about cooking for myself (or scrounging up food from somewhere I should say). this year I decided that I wanted to take it to the next level of relaxation and not even pressure myself to go to every scheduled session. I wanted to just spend some time by myself, read a bunch and write even more, and also spend some time chanting japa.

I'll admit, I did spend more time by myself, but I didn't do nearly as much reading or writing as I wanted...I hardly even chanted any japa. it was SO intensely hot. SO FREAKING HOT. and the humidity was off the charts. if you're anywhere in the northeast right now, you probably understand... but in past years (and this was my fourth year going), even if it's been hot in nj/ny area, it's always been way cooler up there...like to the point where you'd have to wear socks and a sweater at night, so even though I saw the weather forecast, I wasn't totally thinking it was actually going to be that bad. but IT WAS. it was like, oh, hey, I'm sitting here just breathing and not even moving and there is sweat dripping down my legs. that level hot. I don't want to complain about anything about this retreat... honestly. because this is the gift that my husband gives to me. he stays home by himself for four days with gita and sets me free to be by myself and be totally selfish. so I don't want to be a baby about it. I enjoyed myself and the weekend was awesome... it was just, so... moist.

anywho, the heat factor definitely made it a wee-bit hard to enjoy the things I wanted to enjoy. because after-all, this was about my enjoyment. I spent a good three hours one day just laying on my bed with the fan on me because I couldn't take sweating for another moment. and on Saturday I was determined not to sweat at all for the whole day and I made it until lunch... and I was DRIPPING while I was eating... and all I was doing was eating! ha!

so I tried to vlog a little bit, but the videos are mostly me talking about how hot it is (boring)... and I journaled a little... but then I didn't have much to say, or I felt incoherent because I was so hot... or all I talked about was hot damned hot it was... so yea, I read a bit. I finished these two novellas (here and here) by braja sorensen. I also revisited a fiction piece that I started like ten years ago and I actually wrote almost a whole page, which felt really, really good. so I think that's going to be my new project. it's actually on my 40/40 list (#29)...to write in earnest, with the intention of actually finishing it and publishing it.

oh, I also did actual retreat stuff! ha! I went to my guru's classes in the mornings. I was also SO excited that this lovely couple Denise and Bill offered their healing bowl class... wherein they play these amazing himalayan singing bowls and then actually place a bowl on your body. it's so amazingggggggg! Mother Rukmini was also there and offered a beautiful class on relationships in bhakti. oh, and I really enjoyed the discussion in Madan Mohan and Kaustubha's Brave New Gita talk. of course there was lots of soulful kirtan with this amazing devotee Jaya Jaganatha and Rupa Vilas and Komala Kumari. so much good stuff jam-packed into those four days.

as much as I loved being there, I'm also quite happy to be in my own bed and air conditioning. until next year...

when I first arrived...before I knew how much sweating was about to happen.



8.10.2016

freewrite: and nothing hurts.

I can feel it. the way you go silent and just walk away. the way you don't even try anymore, because why beat the dead horse? why bother? I don't blame you. if I could get away, I would too.

I am sick of my insecurities too. just when I think they are gone, they come back like they were there all along... because they were. because they are. they are the deepest rooted part of me. they're voices so constant for so long that I hear them without hearing them.

but I have accepted them this way. that they are forever. I try to make friends with them because what else can I do? resistance only makes them stronger. they are strong in their voices. resilient in their silence. push and pull. push and pull. push. push. push.

but I understand that you can't. I understand that they are too much for you. that I have done enough to make you think why even bother? what's the point? you can walk away and you should.

I am overbearing and too much. I cannot be loved because I cannot love my self. I don't even hate myself anymore. it's too much energy. but I don't even have the capacity or understanding of what it would mean or feel like to love myself. so I can't expect anyone else to, either.

it's ok though. I've gotten this far. one day at a time. one step. one breath. it's all I've got. and if I pretend not to care enough, I don't even feel the time go by. and nothing hurts.


(kelly vivanco)

8.09.2016

talking to my self

I am not the controller. this is something I tell myself regularly. actually, I barely tell myself this. but I should. I should tell myself this every other second.

I am not the controller.

let it go.

let it all go.

because you can't change it.

you can't control it.

you don't know everything.

and you're not always right.


these are the things my ego needs to hear minute-to-minute. this is my hardest battle. even admitting this is a small shedding of my ego. well, an attempt to shed it anyway. I think if I say I'm shedding my ego, that's actually ego talking. because why would I tell you if I was actually doing it? ha! just see!




(I don't know if I'll ever stop thinking I'm right about everything! don't tell my self I said that!) ;)

8.08.2016

mood: jack kerouac holding a cat, 1955

honestly, you guys, I've been doing so little that it's like I can't even form words to communicate in any intelligent or useful way. ha!

ugh, I just wrote this whole drab paragraph and erased it because, seriously, just nothing intelligent to say! it was all dumb dribdrab about the dumb dribdrab crap that I've done today, which really amounts to nothing other than watching tv/movies and reading.

there are some deeper, inner-work things I want to write, but I don't know...for some reason I just don't want to, or can't, dive into it yet. I leave thursday afternoon for my annual four day trek at the bhakti immersion retreat. I won't be able to post from there, but I will be writing. I think the deeper thinking will come then.

until then... well, it's just superficial crap. sorry?




8.07.2016

a lot of nothing

it's hard to write when you spent a lot of time doing brain-numbing nothingness. I wasn't even going to post anything because I literally did basically nothing today and don't really have anything to say. but I wanted to try to write every day this month, so here I am. so here are the highlights of today:

- I slept until approximately 9am. I can't even remember the last time I did that. thanks melatonin!

- jd and gita went to the philly art museum. I get museum fatigue (it's a real thing!) and basically want to take a nap as soon as I walk into a museum, so I stayed home.

- I finished eleanor & park. I think the three words are "I love you" - though I am open to other ideas and suggestions. you won't know what this means unless you read the book and it's not really a spoiler, so go ahead and read it if you haven't.

- I got deep into the netflix show grace and frankie. it kind of like an "older person" show... but I quite like it. I want to dress like lily tomlin's character when I grow up.

- jd kindly brought me home a faux chikki cheesesteak from the infamous govinda's gourmet to go in philly... omg, gluten overload. it was delicious, but I never want gluten again. ever. (at least for right now)

- we just finished watching the netflix movie tellulah with ellen page. it was good, but sad. we both agreed that the baby crying put us into a lot of anxiety. babies are just anxiety!

I mean, when I make it into a list it looks like a lot... but it's basically sitting in bed all day reading and watching tv. it still feels weird to be doing so much nothing, but also really good. so it's cool if you judge me and think I'm wasting my life away in maya, because I don't care. zzziiinnnggg!



8.06.2016

reading: e & p

I've been engrossed in Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell for the past few days. I feel like I can't get out of that world. you know that feeling?...when a book is so good you can't get out of it, even when you're not reading it? that's where I've been. it was originally recommended to me by my friend India a while back. I started it four or five months ago but got distracted by the million other things I do. I have other books I want to read, but I felt obligated to read this one first since I had already started it. I'm so glad I dove right in. it's so good - so honest, raw, and real. I'm about 200 pages (of 325) in... I may finish it tomorrow.... but I texted India earlier and told her that if anything super bad happens at the end that I will set the book on fire. thankfully she just laughed and didn't give anything away.

I love reading. I'm sad that I don't do it more often...well, I mean, I do it every day at work when I read books with my students, but it's not the same. this is the kind of reading I love the most...sappy, beautiful, full-of-all-the-feels, emo YA books. ha!



8.05.2016

freewrite: filling in the spaces

trying to "do nothing" is weird.

I don't do well with free time.

I keep trying to fill the spaces with things, thoughts, feelings - all spinning in the hamster wheel of my brain.

I start making plans for the future to fill in future time/space void.

I tell myself to stop doing that. tell myself I need to do nothing. tell myself to stop trying to fill the empty static space.

I clear off my dvr. I read. I write. everything still feels empty.

sink holes are scary. they open up in the middle of anywhere they want, swallow everything on it, around it. things, people, things, people, fall into it. never come back. it's never full. always hungry for more. the hole just gets bigger.

what would happen in a sink hole kept opening horizontally... all the way through to the other side of the earth?

acceptance sometimes feels like defeat.

I don't like losing.



8.04.2016

poem: infinity

infinity

now the dust
has settled,
thick enough
to write the
truth
in fingerprints
that reveal
our histories
despite ourselves.
we can
wipe it away
with dirty rags
or bundles of feathers,
but it will keep coming back,
the dust of us,
our dead skin
floating
through the air
visible only in the light
of the sinking
sunset
through equally coated window shades,
until it reaches
the end
where it waits
to be stirred up
again.

8.03.2016

vegetating

I finally feel like I am settling into vacation mode. my husband and I were watching the news earlier and the ten-day weather forecast came on and as we looked at the week ahead, we both realized that I have all the free time in the world right now. I reassured my husband that I was going to spend a lot of time doing absolutely nothing. and that is indeed the plan. I wouldn't say I did absolutely nothing all day today - I did accomplish a few minor things... folded laundry, sent some emails, did some editing for my guru, went and bought hangers (I know, weird)... but over all, it was a day of just nothingness. watching mindless tv and laying in bed. I will say, overall I feel less tired today. though my body still hurts. my lower back is quite sore - like in a way it usually isn't, so I can only attribute it to my 48 hours of being dedicated to 10,000 steps. I probably should have done some yoga today... but meh. I'm honestly super down with just laying here some more. ha!

tomorrow we're going to the movies for a morning matinee. that's about the extent of my plans for the next, oh, hmmm, week actually! a week from tomorrow I'll be heading off to the bhakti immersion retreat. I hope to get a lot of reading and writing done there, though we'll see how it works out.

for now, I'm going back to veggie out. and I don't feel bad about it one little tiny bit.




8.02.2016

a lesson in detachment

I'm basically two days into my "new beginnings" month and I'm already giving up on one of the things I wanted to do.

I've been struggling with my weight since, well, a long time... and I've really been trying to get 15lbs off for some time. the whole fibromyalgia situation has made that even harder than usual... but mostly just being busy and overwhelmed and not having time to exercise. but I'm always trying. I joined a gym at the beginning of the year... got a fitbit for my birthday... so I thought, now that I'm on vacation and new beginnings-ing, I should make an earnest effort. why not try to pack in those 10,000 steps a day that everybody swears by? I mean, right?

so yesterday, I basically laid around all day and then hauled it to the gym and spent 1 hour and 20 minutes clocking in those 10,000 steps. by the end both of my hips were burning (usually it's just my right), it felt like I had blisters on the bottom of both of my feet, and I had a stabbing pain (and weird clicking) whenever I stepped with my right foot. but I was like, yo, just suck it up. no pain, no gain... or something.



when I woke up this morning I knew there was no way I was going to do another hour and twenty on the treaddy. but I was still determined to make some effort, so I thought, ok, I'll just go walk for 30 minutes and I'll be running around all day, so maybe I'll make up the difference in life-steps. by the time I got home from the gym I was ready to go back to bed for a week. I was so exhausted. and I had that all-too-familiar foggy/fuzzy feeling in my brain, like nothing was clear and I could hardly exist, let alone take another 6,000 steps or whatever.

I rested a little bit, and then rallied through the rest of my day. but I realized that this was something I was going to have to let go of... this idea that I can just decide I'm going to do this heavy physical stuff just because I wanted to in my head. my body was literally like f#*k you! and I can want to walk 500 miles (do you have that song in your head now??), but if I can't physically move, well, then, yea, not happening.

and so it goes. I don't know what I'll do from here. I know tomorrow I'll be resting. I need to re-strategize. we'll see what krishna wants I s'pose.

sigh.

8.01.2016

reset

it's never too late to start over.

a few months ago an opportunity more or less fell into my lap: the yoga studio where I did all of my training was closing - the owner need to move on, run her budding ashram project in pennsylvania. as soon as I heard, I knew I had to pursue it. how often does a business space become available that is set up almost completely for what you want? and she wasn't selling, merely turning over the lease. and so I sought out partners, knowing I couldn't do it alone. after lots of talking and planning, the three of us did it. we opened our own yoga studio....oh, did I mention that we did a complete top-to-bottom re-paint and took out walls and build shelves and stocked and cleaned and didn't sleep...and got it all together in two weeks?

it wasn't easy. but I felt like this was a once in a lifetime chance to contribute something to the community. to take on a true seva. to maybe even find my dharma (I'm in denial of what my actual dharma is, but that's a whole other topic). I will say, though, that I missed a few opportunities to listen to my intuition. I remember one instance in particular, where I was really feeling it in my gut - that paramatma whispering ever so gently: kadamba mala, don't do it. you already do enough. but I was already in deep - had invested so much time and money. I couldn't not do it at that point. so I persevered. we opened. I taught the first class. we had students. we were doing it. we did it.

I think, as I look back, I really underestimated how much work it would really be. I guess I didn't think it would be no work, but it was a lot of emotional energy. much more than I had anticipated. and so came the stress. my weekends gone (I was teaching both saturday and sunday). I was working seven days a week. on mondays in june I was literally working three jobs in a row: my full time job, teaching a studio class, and then going on to my adjunct class. I wasn't seeing my family. to say it was exhausting is an understatement. by the time june ended and july rolled around, I knew there was no way I could do thing long term. and even as time moved on and I had cut two classes off my teaching schedule... I just knew. my passion wasn't there. this wasn't my dharma.

I should also mention the one huge thing that was the shady umbrella over this whole situation: my fibromyalgia. I was formally diagnosed earlier this year, but I think that even though I live with it everyday - the sometimes overwhelming fatigue, the physical pain, the fogginess over everything - I think there's still a huge part of me that doesn't believe it's there - that one day I'll wake up and just feel normal. so even though I take a handful of herbs every day, I don't really take care of myself in other ways. and stress is the biggest trigger for me. even though I had made some progress in terms of feeling better after I was diagnosed and before I started this venture, once I was in it, I was flaring up regularly. something had to give. it was me. it was this.

I remember the day I decided that I was going to step away, I said to my husband that I knew it was the right decision because my sense of relief was so much greater than any sense of attachment that I had. so to be honest, I'm not sad. I'm relieved. once the agreement was reached with the person buying out my share, my soul immediately felt lighter. the business... the partnership... yoga... had all become an overwhelming burden. and now it has been lifted. and I am so grateful.

with that said, it wasn't all misery. we have an amazing staff, and I had even more amazing clients/students. I reconnected with one of my teachers from high school...how crazy is that?! so, it's not all regrets. it's mostly not regrets. but those things, those regrets, I don't see them as negative. these are the things I learn from the most. I learned a lot. I am grateful for all of it. every bit.

it's never too late to start over. today feels like that - a day to start over. it's the first day of the month, the first day in months that I didn't have to wake up to an alarm (though I slept like crap!), the first day of my vacation... so many possibilities. but mostly, the possibility to take care of myself. so that's the plan. a month of total self care. part of my plan is to write every day. maybe you can come along on this journey.


3.03.2016

letter two

dearest younger me,

everything will get better. actually, it will get a little worse, but then it will get better. there will be a few times in life like that - the getting worse before it gets better. but it always gets better.

you will always be ok. even when you think you won't be - you will always be ok.

you are enough. you will think that that boy is the only one who will make you feel like you are worth something, but let me tell you - you are enough. sometimes for some people you will even be more than enough (that's meant to be a bit of a tongue-in-cheek joke... but you probably know that, because, well, duh, you think you're hilarious!).

trust your gut. listen more to the people who care about you. but mostly, always listen to your intuition. it's never wrong.

keep writing. don't stop. apply to that damn graduate program! you'll regret that you didn't.

speaking of regrets... you'll have a lot. but it's ok (remember I said you'll always be ok??). regrets aren't bad like most people say. they will help remind you of how you will become who you will be. and even though there will be lots of painful things you have to work through you will eventually be glad that they happened to you or that you got through that pain because you are slated to be someone bigger and better than you think you could ever be. and I don't mean this in a like, "omg, you're going to be so famous!" kind of way. I mean it like you're going to help and touch and be meaningful to others and that's important. (by the way, "omg" means "oh my god" - it's from the future and things here are so much weirder than you could ever imagine!)

you'll know your teacher when you see him. you'll never doubt him - I can promise you that. but try not to stray too much from him or your faith. he will save you so many times even though he won't really know it. but most of all you will save yourself because you'll go back to that faith. your faith (which you don't even know yet!) will be the most important thing to you.

you aren't going to be awesome or cool... you already are. you are talented. you are something.

you.are.enough.

love,
me.

p.s. don't get rid of all of your awesome vintage dollar-bag thrift store clothes!!! that's one regret you don't want to deal with later. trust me!!! ;)




3.02.2016

letter one

dear honey,

isn't it weird that we call each other that? I don't remember why we chose that - though I know I felt like not calling you by your name was a conscious choice - that's part of the culture we have tried to adopt - a chaste wife never calls her husband by name. so I started calling you honey. it's weird when I think about it, but not weird when I say it.

in this month of letters that I am about to embark on, it's hard for me to start with one to you. I feel like I can't say any of the things I would really want to say because the truth between us is too intimate. but maybe you know all of those things in your heart. I hope you do at least.

so I'm not sure how to spend this writing space. do I tell you how much I love you? that you're a good husband? a good father? all of those things are true, of course. or maybe I should spend it apologizing for not always being the best wife or mother or person. aren't these the things we say all of the time to each other? You are so good. I love you. Forgive me for not being perfect. I don't know. it is all true, but feels so forced here.

for some reason one really great memory just popped into my head. it's one of my favorite times we've shared in our time together...

I think it was the first time I came to see you in michigan - or maybe it was when I came to pick you up? I can't remember... but what I do remember is you took me to the detroit temple and I had never been there before. and it was practically a ghost town - no one around at all really. but you found the pujari (who you knew) and he gave you two maha garlands. and we were standing in the temple room and jokingly placed the garlands around each other. I remember not thinking anything of it as we were doing it. I remember I was wearing overalls (haha!). and we were standing in front of Radha-Kunjabihari. after we placed the garlands around each other's neck the realization came to me that that's what people do when they get married. we had only been together for a short time - maybe a few months?? - but we had just done this ritualistic thing like it was natural, like it was something we were supposed to do. I've always thought of this as our first wedding. it was just us and Radha and Krishna. what or who else did we need?

I hope we can come back to that place soon - the place of only needing each other and god. and maybe we can help each other only need god in the end.



3.01.2016

writing and responding to prompts

well, hello there.

I spent the past month (as you are probably well aware) writing a haiku every day. it was quite a challenge, honestly. I didn't think it would be. I thought, meh - 5-7-5...seventeen syllables... how hard can it be? I mean, I'd written plenty of haiku before. and mostly I love writing haiku - the simplicity, the minimalism. love. but doing it every day - forcing it even when I didn't want to... it was hard. and I don't love everything I wrote. and that's ok. it's the process, really. the process isn't always pretty. actually, mostly it's grimy. but that's how you get to the good stuff - by sifting through the dirt and junk and finding that little gem every so often. no mud, no lotus.

I don't love prompt writing - aka when there is a pre-set prompt that you are meant to respond to. I know and understand the value. and I've had lots of great poems (or ones that I like) come from prompts (this one is a perfect example - one of my total favs)... but it's not always easy. and ugh, the worst is getting a prompt that you just hate. but I want to write. I want to write regularly. so I think I'm going to keep going. try to keep writing every day. but I know if I don't have something to push me, then I won't do it. I've tried before and failed. but you know, try, try, and try again. or something.

so that's my plan for this month. pick a list of prompts and just write. I'm not 100% sure which prompt list I'm going to use yet. I've found a few but I'm hemming and hawing over which one - because honestly, every list has at least two or three prompts that I think are dumb or I just don't want to do. but I can't let that deter me. I'll pick one by tomorrow and get this party started.





2.29.2016

NaHaiWriMo: twenty-nine

XXIX.

there is no such thing
as extra time. time He is,
destroyer of all.

2.28.2016

NaHaiWriMo: twenty-eight

XXVIII.

tiny remover
of obstacles - do your hands
ever get tired?

2.27.2016

NaHaiWriMo: twenty-seven

XXVII.

fuck this pain body,
this pain world, full of nothing
but duality.

2.26.2016

NaHaiWriMo: twenty-six

XXVI.

driving alone my
failures are magnified by
street lamps and darkness.

2.25.2016

NaHaiWriMo: twenty-five

XXV.

I am not ashamed
to regret myself from the
past. it wasn't me.

2.24.2016

NaHaiWriMo: twenty-four

XXIV.

it's weird the things that
make me think of you, like butter-
flies trapped in lucite.

2.23.2016

NaHaiWriMo: twenty-three

XXIII.

if only it was
as easy as picking a
card, answers so clear.

2.22.2016

NaHaiWriMo: twenty-two

XXII.

I want to say that
thirty-seven feels like six-
teen, but it doesn't.

2.21.2016

NaHaiWriMo: twenty-one

XXI.

fourteen years ago
from right now, I was waiting
in stillness for you.

2.20.2016

NaHaiWriMo: twenty

XX.

expect nothing, get
nothing. everything is an
illusion anyway.

2.19.2016

NaHaiWriMo: nineteen

XIX.

the cycle repeats -
come back full circle every
time. but will you change?

2.18.2016

NaHaiWriMo: eighteen

XVIII.

little virus, when
you woke from your long slumber
did you stretch and yawn?

2.17.2016

NaHaiWriMo: seventeen

XVII.

you would think giving
up would be so easy, but
the ego holds on.

2.16.2016

NaHaiWriMo: sixteen

XVI.

peeling cuticle
is a reminder of truth:
I'm not this body.

2.15.2016

NaHaiWriMo: fifteen

XV.

to make a habit
they say do something twenty-
one times, not fifteen.

2.14.2016

NaHaiWriMo: fourteen

XIV.

I time love for god -
slowly realize what a sweet,
clear life he opens.

2.13.2016

NaHaiWriMo: thirteen

XIII.

I'm going to be
honest: I don't want to do
this. but I keep on.

2.12.2016

NaHaiWriMo: twelve

XII.

formation of birds
flying - dark, clear sky whispers
keep moving - don't stop.

2.11.2016

NaHaiWriMo: eleven

XI.

either you are lost
or you are not lost, he said.
the truth is simple.

2.10.2016

NaHaiWriMo: ten

X.

how did we get here?
he asks. I've been thinking the
same thing every day.

2.09.2016

NaHaiWriMo: nine

IX.

what language will my
blood speak? the unthinkable
secrets in crimson.

2.08.2016

NaHaiWriMo: eight

VIII.

honesty and truth
are not the same. stand naked,
know the difference.

2.07.2016

NaHaiWriMo: seven

VII.

no one could under-
stand how that girl fell into
that dark well: I do.

2.06.2016

NaHaiWriMo: six

VI.

it is a heavy
weight that pulls like gravity
into the darkness.

2.05.2016

NaHaiWriMo: five

V.

this temporary
body feels so permanent.
but it's just karma.

2.04.2016

NaHaiWriMo: four

IV.

everything spins out
of control. 'fake it till you
make it' is bullshit.

2.03.2016

NaHaiWriMo: three

III.

rain melting the snow -
it is the evolution
of things: birth and death.

2.02.2016

NaHaiWriMo: two

II.

the more I look at
myself, the more I see you.
the things we become.

2.01.2016

NaHaiWriMo: one

I'll be participating in national haiku writing month. because haiku.


I.

in the beginning
everything is so simple
care-less love that blinds

1.03.2016

resolutions revisited

around this time last year I posted a set of what most would call "resolutions" - though I kind of like to think of it more like a yearly to-do list. I thought perhaps I should revisit the list to let you all know how I did. I mean, I know that you've been waiting a whole year to read this entry and now it's finally here! (haha, a little joke for my brain... because I know no one even reads or cares!)


1. read at least six books for pleasure.
now, in the original post I went into great detail as to what this meant and what the six books should consist of. I didn't meet all of my criteria, but I'm happy to say that I did actually read six books! here's the long and the short of that...



I started with the red tent - which is not pictured here because I gave it away when I was done with it. I mean, I guess I liked it. it wasn't bad, but I had to drag myself through some of it. after I finished it I watched the tv movie, which was just ok too.
then there was paper towns, which I enjoyed but wished ended differently. I just finally watched the film this past week and wasn't disappointed, though I wasn't totally loving it either. it didn't follow the book quite as closely as the fault in our stars, but it didn't leave out a ton of important information either.
I was exceedingly disappointed by triangles by ellen hopkins. I previously read the crank triology and really loved it, so maybe my expectations were a bit high. she mostly writes young adult and this is one of her two adult novels and it just felt like it was trying too hard the whole time - to be adult, and sexy, and bleh. I don't know.
the living is a bit of a cheat in the sense that my original resolution stated that none of the books could be for work. this was technically for work, but I'd never read it before and was pretty into it. I read it over the summer with my residents and it was a good summer book in the sense that it reminded me of a good beach read...even though I don't do beach reads, so maybe I don't even know what that means! ha! anywho, I enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading other stuff by de la peña.

got to meet matt de la peña!

I was really proud of myself when I read not only one, but two books of poetry. the goal was just one - and the first I read was milk and honey by rupi kaur - who I could do a whole blogpost about because she's so amazing... but I trust you can do your own research and love her in your own time. but I LOVED this book and actually if you order it now, it has even more stuff in the edition that is for sale on amazon and it's all amazing and awesome and holycow this is a long ass sentence but that's how much I love her!!!
the second book of poetry was meggie royer's the no you never listened to. I liked this a lot - though part of me felt like I wish I hadn't read it cover to cover. in some places it felt a little forced and repetitive... but I don't even like saying that because I did really like it. and I can see how it would be an amazingly cathartic read for anyone who has been a victim of sexual assault. it's powerful and raw and royer's voice is fresh.
last - but absolutely by no means least - hunger makes me a modern girl. I'm not huge into memoirs, but I super duper love carrie brownstein. I loved this book (though I will admit, I was reading feverishly when I first got it and then pittered out halfway through - but I picked it back up like we had never been apart and finished it quite quickly!). if you were a teenager in the 90s and even remotely listened to riot grrrl or alternative music, you'll love this. it only made it more amazing that I was able to see her live for a reading/q&a through the philadelphia free public library. I'd say this and the rupi kaur book were my favs of everything I read.

carrie brownstein in the flesh!

maybe that should have been its own post all together? oh well.

2. lose 10lbs.
wtf/fml. whatever. does it count that I lost 8 and then gained 12??? I don't even know. I'm so annoyed and depressed that I really can't even talk about it.

3. learn at least two tunes on harmonium. 
yea, basically just didn't even happen. I'd say I had a nice devotional upswing from spring through summer - I saw my guru a ton and then there was the new temple opening. but I didn't settle down with the harmonium much. I get discouraged really easily. that's about all I can say.

4. blog more.
well, I started off decent with this one. but what I've found is that if I have nothing to say, it's hard and annoying to force myself - even though they say that's what writing discipline is all about. I've adopted a more "go with the flow" stance with myself and agreed (with myself) that writing/blogging sporadically is ok.

5. complete at least two things from my 40/40 list
well, I (we - my husband and I) definitely accomplished #2 - "own a free-standing home. with a yard. maybe even a pool – maybe." we closed on our house at the beginning of June - and yes, it has a pool!


closing day!

I think I also kind of did #3 - "visit the casa azul", though not the real one... the fake one they recreated at the ny botantical gardens. it might have to do, as I see no relative plans in the future for going the mexico.


from the casa azul recreation at the ny botantical gardens

and maybe putting out my book counts for #11 - about getting published. but I don't think it actually counts because my intention is the be published by someone else... not myself. so I at least did one legitimately. 

6. start my little publishing press called tea or me.
well, I actually did this! it's exciting, but also scary. I have so many ideas - but also I have to convince other people to buy into the idea (not with actual money, but with emotion, of course). the start was definitely a soft-launch, as they say, in that I've only put out my own work. but that was something. and I do have plans for more. so cheers to at least one more publication (not by me!) this coming year!




well, so, I guess that's that. I did some, but not all. and well, it is what it is.


1.01.2016

poem: unresolved

unresolved

to resolve
     to re-solve
solve
     these unsolvable
things
this unsolvable
life
to promise
     to have
          and to hold
          the unholdable
ether
     of vows
unkeepable
unknowable
     secret things
hearts
     always broken
unhealable
unfixable
by promises
by vows
by resolutions
forgotten.