Monday, November 16, 2015

It's impossible to say "nothing has changed..."

A conversation with my dear friend this morning began with her saying "I don't know what's wrong with me. Nothing has changed in my life but I woke up feeling so depressed." I lovingly pointed out that, actually, something has changed in her life, and that something was the terrorist attacks last week in France.We are ALL CONNECTED. (Sorry for the all-caps, but sometimes it's necessary). Somewhere, several tens of thousands of animals are likely being slaughtered horribly as we speak. Somewhere, in the depths of the ocean, a turtle is choking on a snarl of plastic Wal-Mart bags. Somewhere, in some derelict rural lot, a swarm of ants is being set on fire by a group of misguided boys. Somewhere, a girl-child is being sold into slavery because her family has to choose between food and her. So she becomes someone else's food. I'm not trying to be a downer here, but it's important to remember that until ALL BEINGS are free from suffering, none of us will be free from suffering, because we are those all-belngs. I invite you to pray that everything and everyone--including the perpetrators--be free from suffering and that all beings experience peace and happiness.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Saturday in Florida began with an early trip to the farmer's market...

Saturday in Florida began with an early trip to the farmer's market, to pick up my organic greens from #GreenFlamingoOrganics and listen to that day's entertainment (a kitchy lounge keyboard player delivering an unironic version of "Black Magic Woman" followed by "The Long and Winding Road"). Then I caught an unexpected buzz from my ginger-lime kombucha (causing me to skip yoga) and an unexpected big score at the thrift store ($4 Juiceman II!). Then a field trip to #CassadegaSpiritualistCamp--which is kind of like Hogwarts for adults--with my friend, where we communed with crystals and had our futures told. Then a sunset walk on the beach, watching lightning dance behind the clouds. Then dinner consisting mainly of the market greens, then evening sadhana, then a lovely conversation with one of my best friends from high school (with a brief reminiscense of our wilder Saturday nights from youth) and finally, retirement, crawling onto the thermopedic mattress with a good book.

My high school friend pointed out that I was living the life I had always wanted. She was speaking of the music, and of my forthcoming album (woohoo!)--I have always wanted to "be a singer." But it's larger than that. The psychic today told me that the universe was bringing me peace, because I had asked for it and had "worked" for it. Oh, yes, we worked for it. But I also think that inner peace is somehow easier to achieve in 85 degree weather, with the ocean as one's soundtrack. At least the Yankee in me says that. I think my Florida friends might agree. In the meantime, in this month of #gratitude, I am grateful for the sun. And the sea. And friends. And lounge singers. And my teachers. And on and on and on.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Abandon your homeland. That is the way of the Bodhisattva

As I prepare to migrate south for the winter, I am filled with, well, mostly melacholia and yearning, because I love New York, and I hate to leave it. But I just don't do well in the cold, or the darkness; thus, as soon as the clocks change, I bolt. So I have to leave what I love in order to preserve my sanity, that I might continue to be able to love. I wish there were another way, but maybe this is The Way.
This morning, I opened my little pocket booklet “The 37 Practices of the Bodhisattva” at random and read this: "Abandon your homeland. That is the way of the Bodhisattva."

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Up here on the mountain, our growing cycle is always about a month behind...

Up here on the mountain, our growing cycle is always about a month behind the rest of the Hudson valley. The tomatoes are still green, the sunflowers are only waist-high and the raspberries are on the perfect verge of being overly ripe. In a way I feel like it's still August, or even July, because aren't tomatoes a July thing? 

But every once in a while I see a swath of bright orange leaves decorating a distant tree, or I hear the plunk of an apple falling to the ground and it hits me that it truly is September. The bittersweet month. 

Even though I'm supposed to be practicing non-attachment, I sure am attached to summer, because most of the things I love occur in summer: sunshine, warmth, songbirds, flowers, butterflies, green grass, thriving wildlife, trashy books, music festivals, etc etc. 

But the good news is that everything that ends begins again and everything that begins ends and the one constant thing within us all is eternal and beautiful.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

An infrequent and brief album update from the writer who never has time to write...

This week we're getting ready to mix the one track on my album that hasn't quite come together the way "I" had envisioned it. This is a traditional "Govinda Hare/Gopale Hare" kirtan song that we recorded in honor of Shyamdas. (The song and its unusual instrumentation basically came to me in a dream, fully formed, the day after Shyamdas died). All this time I have really clung to that dream-version of the song, and all this time I have been singing the song to Shyamdas, but it still wasn't coming together. Several weeks ago I actually prayed to Shyamdas for guidance and the next day, out of the blue, a good friend wrote to me saying that she really wanted me to meet a good friend of hers--a fellow Buddhist practitioner named Susan Ryan. I knew who Susan is of course--she is Shyamdas's sister--and we have met at various events, but we hadn't really spoken at length up to that point (which is mainly a product of my own shyness at large events). Long story short, Susan and I connected by phone a week or so after that and we spoke about how much we love Shyamdas. Then another message came to me in a dream to re-record the chant like a true love song (to the Divine) rather than in the big way I had initially envisioned it. So that is what we are doing today. I am grateful for all the guidance I have received on this project--from both visible and invisible sources. JSK!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Reason #517 to love Woodstock, NY

Ah, country life.

This morning, on my daily post-meditation walk past Karma Triyana Dharmachakra monastery, I happened to run into a young bear who was just about to cross the road to get back to the state forest. This bear seems to be a regular at KTD, especially after the pujas when the food offerings are brought outside. Anyway, I'm so used to bears at this point in the season that I didn't even pause when I found myself a few feet from this one. "Hello, Torma Bear," I said casually, taking out my ear buds in case he had anything to say. "Be careful crossing the road.There are a lot of cars out today." 

I swear the bear looked both ways and gave me a nod as if to say, "I'm cool."

Then we both went our separate ways: he into the forest, me down the hill.

Oh, how I love summer!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

I attended an event today at which all the "mothers" were given roses. I wasn't offered a rose, because I didn't bear any children in this lifetime. It was actually rather awkward, and for a moment I almost cried, but I kept silent. Because the truth is: we're all mothers, whether we've delivered actual human babies or not. Later, I went to volunteer at the animal shelter, and did energy work on a literal bucketful of sick kittens. They were all entwined in impossible ways--some of them resting, some of them playing. The rascal of the litter kept biting his sister's ears, but she was too tired to care. As I did the energy work on the kitties, eight pairs of tiny eyes watched me with utmost trust and curiosity, mewing in that tiny, heart-piercing way kittens have. My heart responded with compassion and care, and I thought: this, too, is motherhood. So is watering a plant. Or picking up a stray bit of trash on the hiking trail. Or saying "thank you" to the wind. Any act of caring is a manifestation of motherhood. So to all you "childless" friends I say: even though no one is giving you roses, the wind says "thank you" right back. Happy Mother's Day!