Shiva/Shakti

Shiva/Shakti

Sunday, March 22, 2015






Mantra


Om Namah Shivaya
She chants
In her head
Still in her bed.
It’ s a secret.
Why?
He wouldn’t understand.
Every day at dawn,
Silence,
Lights still out,
Jasmine oil burning in her nose,
A sandal mala in her right hand,
One-hundred-and-eight beads:
Auspicious number,
Numeral form of Om.  
Like touching Shiva’s lingam
In an Indian temple.
      Om Namah Shivaya
      She repeats.
      Soothing sound,
      A warm bath in a winter night,
      Chamomile tea for stomach ache.
      Drinnn…
      Wake up,
      Time to start the day,
      Place the beads under the pillow,
      Until tomorrow.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

LORD SHIVA

You
Who destroy to create anew
Can you wipe her out?
A greasy stain removed,
Erase her from this earth.
Clean chalkboard.  
Is it in your power to give herr wings?
Would you?
Could you?
Sashay her to higher dimension,
Shake your matted brown hair 
And caress her bones with your holy tresses, Envelope her in a warm embrace
A Kashmir blanket in a winter night? 
You are the one she wants to rest with.



Sunday, March 8, 2015

"I used to worship the deity in the Kali temple.
It was suddenly revealed to me that
everything is pure Spirit.
The utensils of worship, the altar, the doorframe-
all Pure Spirit.
People, animals, and other living beings-
all Pure Spirit.
Then, like a madam,
I began to shower flowers in all directions.
Whatever I saw I worshipped.

One day, while worshipping Shiva,
I was about to offer a bel leaf 
on the head of the image,
when it was revealed to me that 
this Universe itself is Shiva.
After that, my worship of Shiva through the image 
came to an end.

Another day I had bee plucking flowers,
when it was revealed to me that
the flowering plants were so many bouquets.
It was revealed to me in a flash. I didn't calculate about it.
It was shown to me that each plant was a bouquet,
adorning the Universal Form of God.
That was the end of my plucking flowers.

I look on man in just the same way.
When I see a man, I see that it is God Himself
who walks on earth."

-SRI RAMAKRISHNA 

Sunday, March 1, 2015



An open letter to Bali
Dear Island of the Gods,
before we go our separate ways (well, i'm going you are staying) one more time, let me tell you what I have learned from our time together.
1) Despite my many years as a flight attendant i am not a light packer; although i have mastered the art of folding clothes with the least amount of wrinkling pretty well.
2) i am most definitely not a backpacker. In fact i despise backpacks. It's a pain to put them on, they pull the shoulders down, in a not so comfortable way, hair gets stuck and pulled under the straps no matter what. And it is impossible to walk under that weight. i have, however, made friends with fanny packs. i never would have thought that... but hey...
3) waking up at 3:30 every morning for prayer and meditation is a refreshing experience that leaves energized and balanced. all is quiet; the only audible sounds made by nature... and satvic energy is in the air.
4) A mosquito net can make a difference between a sleepless and a sound asleep night. Especially if it has no holes in it.
5) Mosquitos, red ants, gnat-gnat, and all sorts of other visible and invisible bugs come out looking for blood (mine) at dawn and dusk and no amount of lemongrass, tea trea, citronella, whatever insect repellant oil can prevent that. Period. The tinier the bug the bigger the burn, especially while trying to fall asleep.
6) Sleeping in the jungle (with or without a mosquito net) is a little (a lot) like being one with nature and feeling its overwhelming presence. Kinda scary at first... but after surrendering to the sounds and the little creatures making them it is possible to enjoy falling asleep with frogs, birds, cicadas, cats (2), mice (1), and dragonflies.
7) The screaming of a pig who knows is about to get slaughtered is similar to the sound a human being would make (i imagine) if struck with a knife in the center of the throat. (i hear that's how the animal is killed). a horrific mixture of fear and fury that takes several days (and nights) to absorb. And it still sits there at the bottom of my eardrum. (Heart wrench number one).
8) The view of a dead, bloody, one-eyed rooster at the side of the road, discarded after he lost in a cock fight (no, i did not attend it) feels like a heavy punch in the stomach. (Heart wrench number two).
9) i am not ok with puppies being sacrificed. No, i am not ok with that. No matter how i try to justify it. (Heart wrench number three).
10) A brown bearded monkey chained to a tree on a very small metal rope long enough to barely allow her to climb half the length of a tiny trunk makes me want to scream, cut the f%#^+=• chain, and set her free! (Heart wrench number four).
11) Duck eggs are much yellower and much bigger than chicken eggs. Although the ducks roam around quacking freely, eating the organic foods they find in the rice fields, something about them makes me want to gag. And no, i cannot eat them.
12) i am not a hot yoga yogini. Practicing and/or leading an asana practice at 2pm under a tent in the middle of the rice field is not my thing. No, it's not my ego nor my anger saying that.
13) The soothing sound of the Balinese version of the Gayatri mantra at dawn, noon, and dusk makes me want to chant. And so i do.
14) i am not a hippie. And i don't care to be one. i am pondering upon the possibility that i may still be a city girl (you can take the girl out of Milano but can you take Milano out the girl?), because i have often felt the desire to wear high heels (ok, flats) and possibly not yoga clothes (ok, just for a day).
15) If one randomly uses terms such as, namaste feel your energy shanti ego drop the story (huh?) kundalini unconditional trust (are you crazy?) shift blessed inner child shadow to name just a few of the most heard "new age" words yogis and yoginis (and alas! yoga instructors) are pronouncing at a popular yoga studio in Ubud (and not only!) one is expected to know what one is talking about and/or be able to explain in simple language such knowledge.
16) "Real" yoga, the one that takes you to the core of who you truly are, the one that cuts through the pretenses and gets you raw happens while doing nothing, in the mist of not trying to being "spiritual". It shows up unexpectedly on and off the mat; most likely when alone and in silence the demons in the head come up without warning, screaming for attention like a two year old. No other possibility, but to face them. After all, the only way out is through.
17) Mastering the art of patience and acceptance (!) is precisely that, an art; an advanced yoga practice, the one one learns when surrender is the only option. Well, the other option is not to surrender, fight the situation, get frustrated, angry, possibly shout, and then what?
18) Ecstatic dance is a super charged shakti filled way to balance one's energy. Move a muscle, change a feeling.
19) The Batu Karu Temple visit did something to me. Was it the holy water? The majestic trees, the silence, the river i immersed my feet in, or...? i am learning to accept the throbbing headache in the center of my forehead -as a memory of you Bali- until it will decide to leave me.
20) Leading daily yoga sessions for an array of beings reunited in a sacred space is a tremendously rewarding yet humbling experience. i bow in gratitude to all of you who showed up on your mat every morning in the predawn light and/or in the afternoon under the sweltering heat and put your trust in me. A particular thank you goes to the gentleman (not so gentle) who, on Friday the 13th (!) at the beginning of class told me, "maybe you want to check in with yourself; i don't like the way you are setting up things". Although not sure what it was all about, i certainly welcome the reminder of always staying connected to oneSelf. Body and Spirit never separate. Of course the storm at the end of class that almost tore the bale down brought everything back in Divine order.
So,
terima kasih Bali for this time together. You will always be very dear to me. But i have a confession to make here, one that has been sitting at the tip of my tongue for quite some time now; i hope you will forgive me when i tell you that no amount of jungle, gamelan, nasi goreng, coconut water, hair oil, rice fields, lulur treatments, and batik ... can take the place India holds within my heart. i know you two are different and i shouldn't compare apples and oranges or lemongrass to frangipani, but i can't help looking at an image of Ganesha in one of your jalan and compare it to the ones in Jaipur. i can't see a monkey without recalling the ones i fed in Rishikesh and Shimla. i can't stare at a Shiva murti without going back to Eklingji in Udaipur. i can't smell a stick of incense without seeing the Varanasi aarti in front of me. i can't attend a fire ceremony without remembering the havan at Chidambaran. i can't enter a temple without missing the ones in Vrindaven. i can't drink a Pitta tea or eat a Kitchari without thinking of Chakrapani ... ours has been an illuminating journey, island of the Gods, and for this i am oh so grateful! It's time for me to say good-bye to you, Bali. Until next time, if there will ever be another one.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sunday, December 28, 2014

"We have all heard that no two snowflakes are alike. Each snowflake takes the perfect form for the maximum efficiency and effectiveness for its journey. And while the universal force of gravity gives them a shared destination, the expansive space in the air gives each snowflake the opportunity to take their own path. They are on the same journey, but each takes a different path.

Along this gravity-driven journey, some snowflakes collide and damage each other, some collide and join together, some are influenced by wind... there are so many transitions and changes that take place along the journey of the snowflake. But, no matter what the transition, the snowflake always finds itself perfectly shaped for its journey. 


I find parallels in nature to be a beautiful reflection of grand orchestration. One of these parallels is of snowflakes and us. We, too, are all headed in the same direction. We are being driven by a universal force to the same destination. We are all individuals taking different journeys and along our journey, we sometimes bump into each other, we cross paths, we become altered... we take different physical forms. But at all times we too are 100% perfectly imperfect. At every given moment we are absolutely perfect for what is required for our journey. I’m not perfect for your journey and you’re not perfect for my journey, but I’m perfect for my journey and you’re perfect for your journey. We’re heading to the same place, we’re taking different routes, but we’re both exactly perfect the way we are.


Think of what understanding this great orchestration could mean for relationships. Imagine interacting with others knowing that they too each share this parallel with the snowflake. Like you, they are headed to the same place and no matter what they may appear like to you, they have taken the perfect form for their journey. How strong our relationships would be if we could see and respect that we are all perfectly imperfect for our journey. "


YS

Sunday, December 14, 2014


"Live each present moment completely 

and the future will take care of itself. 

Fully enjoy the wonder and beauty of each instant. 

Practice the presence of peace. 

The more you do that,

the more you will feel the presence of that power 

in your life." 



Paramahansa Yoganananda