Friday, November 18, 2011
friday, nov 18
the great refuge from the mind is the body
the mind goes in a thousand directions,
but the lingam and yoni only go in two
man and woman
in and out
consciousness also goes in and out of itself
from darkness to light
with every inhale i am born
and with every exhale i die
hold you breath in
hold your breath out
where did you go?
these are saying that can only be understood through direct experience
when my lover touches my body, i feel the silent One stirring inside me
my body heats up like a burning coal and the serpent begins to move
in figure eights through my spine
and i wonder, who can withstand such a fire?
so much of my work has been done alone
has cost me much
and still, i have withstood such a fire
i have not turned to the left or the right
the fire has burned through the center
i try to please you, my lover
but still, i am a handmaiden of the mother
if you stay or if you go
we walk the edge of the knife and never know
my heart can be broken
and even psalm could die if her life force poured out her broken heart
but still i would serve my mother
i am not good and i am not bad
i am, like consciousness
Sunday, November 13, 2011
I am getting ready to go on another journey to India, to leave my home in America and travel and teach and go to the red light district to teach yoga to a sex workers co-op there.
I woke up in my warm bed in Venice beach this morning, in sunny southern California, and stared up at the ceiling, my eyes still heavy from sleep. I asked the ceiling and God, (if God is in the sky beyond the ceiling), does it matter? Does any of it make a difference? Why not stay in my warm bed? I could feel my partners body, heavy with sleep beside me. I could feel the soft rise and fall of the blanket with his breath. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have made a home here. I would still be traveling like a gypsy from plane to plane, to spread the word, to spread the good news, as Jesus called it.
You have to look a lot of suffering in the eyes to share the Good News. I think of the friends I made last year with the sex workers in Kolkata. I think of the woman with the burned face, when I asked her about how it happened, she said "they poured gasoline on my face and lit a match". Is it possible for humans to treat each other this way?
I go to teach them yoga because it saved my life. I came from a lot of suffering myself and nearly lost hope for living a few times in this life. I hit a rock bottom in an emergency room and knew if I went to yoga every day, it would make my life possible, sane. A lot of my own suffering came from a background of sexual abuse. So many of the sex workers have similar stories. So many men and women everywhere I teach do. Shame is a terribly binding force on the human heart. There are no easy answers when it comes to sexuality. The sex workers are not victims, they are strong, resiliant, funny women who are finding a way to survive and thrive. They have organized into a workers union and fight to have sex work acknowledged as real work to, to have the rights and respect of any worker. Of course, this work exists on the fringes of society, and most of society would rather turn a blind eye.
What can we do about this? How can we make change, make the world a better, safer place? The more I do the work, the more I realize how big the problem is, how many faces there are, like an ocean that multiplies itself with each new wave. I realize my own limitations and I wrestle with my own ghosts.
My own son has been angry with me for many of the trips to India I have made. When I called him last year from a crackling phone line in Varanasi, he said, "Why are you trying to help people in India when your own son is in pain?". Good question. I just know I have had to. Other times he has told me he is proud of me. My heart goes up and down, but the path keeps unfolding straight ahead, one step at a time. I try to balance it all, to be a good mother (good enough), to follow what is my path. Why do I call it my path? Because it pulls me forward when I don't know why, towards some invisible place, I know it is the truth because I feel it comes from my gut. My guru told me that the spiritual path is standing on the edge of a cliff, knowing you can't go back to your old life, and feeling like you will die if you take the next step off the edge of the cliff...but instead you land on a bed of roses or you fly.
Can we make a difference? I know I have made a difference in myself. I am not good or perfect, but I feel that I am doing what my soul came to do. When I was younger, that was the worst pain I had, was feeling deep inside me that I had to find a way to share and express the work my soul came to do. When I think about going back, I get a funny feeling in my stomach, a loss of gravity as if I am on a roller coaster. It is the feeling my body has when I am afraid. Sometimes it means I need to turn back and sometimes it means I need to walk forward. Not much interesting or powerful work has been created without confronting fear, even fear is a great ally in helping become our best.
I want to teach these women yoga, I want to make their lives and stories visible to the world. Where shame and suffering have been hidden, let us shed light and breath fresh air into old wounds. Will it make a difference? Who knows, I just know what I have to do.
for more info on this project go to: www.couragetorise.org
to support the project, buy the benefit music cd -go to: www.mothermedicinemusic.bandcamp.com
Why go on pilgrimage (Hero’s Journey)?
The path of pilgrimage is as old as time, as dusty as the bare or sandaled feet wandering the desert, mountains and rivers. Seeking, seeking something to be answered from inside from a physical journey taken on the outside. They say no matter where you go, there you are. You cannot escape yourself. This is true, but Place and Land and Temple will change you. There are people living in other cultures. They are different than us, thank god, and have things to share with us. To share no on the flat pages of a book, but in the rocky terrain, in the smell of spicy sweat and exotic foods. These people have built statues, temples, churches; have placed stones to cast ominous shadows from the sun, foreboding prophets in a silent language that can only be learned by gnosis, the personal experience made real in flesh. And sometimes the pilgrimage is to something made by hands larger than humans.
Different physical lands are all places on the body of the Mother, and they have earthly and astral downloads and activations for the hungry seeker. These pilgrimages are prayers made of effort, sacrifice, determination and ecstatic longing. It is said by many traditions that once you commit to a pilgrimage the testing begins. Why? We do not know, we only know it is so. The Sufis say that most people cannot stay in the dergha because the atmosphere is too thick, too concentrated for most minds. Most minds are scattered . You need single focus. They say you can only stay in the dergha when you have only one question left. What is the question? They won’t tell you.
The hero follows the call to adventure, to pilgrimage. After facing outer obstacles and inner demons she returns home a prophet. She doesn’t look the same as when she left, a strange glow of inner fire in her eyes. Will she find rest after her adventure, her arduous journey? No! The integration back home is often the most painful of all. A prophet is not welcome in their hometown. The prophet speaks uncomfortable truths. The hero returns different when their relations want them to stay the same, not to rock the boat.
Pilgrimage brings adventure and acceptance. What god has for each is the portion each will get. It is enough. Inshallah
Have you felt called to journey to India? Land of saints and magicians...Land of sweet and spicy chai and mystic holy rivers...Let me share the magic with you...
In all her holy rivers and mountains and crowded cities, India whispers in your ear, "Remember your Soul"
I have been traveling to India to study Yoga and Tantra for the past five years and have been bringing groups of students to experience on a cellular level the Motherland of Yoga. Just the trip to India will transform your life...India has a gift to share, to remind us of what is magic and what is most holy within ourselves, to light the flames of devotion and the path of ritual and remembrance.
Swami Sivananda said: "Love, Serve, Give, Meditate, Purify, Realize, Know yourself, be happy and be free"
to learn more about this India Pilgrimage go to: