Tag Archives: kundalini

Missives from the Mat 6 — Meh-tough-is-icks. Re-entry and Resuming #numerology #kundalini #yoga #chakras #nabhi #kriya #bacon #metaphysics


Metaphysics. Argh.

So, coming back from the retreat, I’ve got lots of woo-woo on the brain. It’s normal and the week at the beach helped me to distill it with my logistical reality.

At the retreat I ate this:

vegetarian polenta lasagne. lots of amazing food like this for 16 days prepared by a professional chef. i was spoiled.

caprese salads and vegetarian polenta lasagne. lots of amazing food like this for 16 days prepared by a professional chef. i was spoiled.

At the beach I ate this:


bacon. tons of it. prepared by another and wholly separate (former) professional chef who also spoiled us.

My re-entry has been relatively smooth. There are bumps here and there. I’m trying very hard to get back into the yoga practice I enjoyed while on the retreat. It’s hard. I did a couple days’ worth before the beach trip but then I had to put the brakes on that completely while there because I didn’t want to draw too much contrast to what I experienced in the mountains versus what I was experiencing at the beach. Plus, if I’m paying any attention at all to the lessons learned or at least taught on the retreat, it’s two things: 1) to live in the moment and enjoy where you are; and 2) that there is no difference, per se between the experiences and no judgement of either. We are all existing together, not separately. It’s just the venues and the players that have changed, but in the essence of life: we are all doing the best we can every day to do the best we can.

So this morning, I was ready. I set my alarm last night and I woke at 6:30 (got out of bed at 6:45) to go to my office with my books and resume the mediation and the kriya assignment I’ve been encouraged to continue (start) to address my “path” number, 3, which also represents the 3rd chakra, which as the fates would have it, has really been my lifelong challenge/opportunity. So, yoga being what it is, it’s all tied together: the meditation and kriya is called the “nabhi kriya” and it also addresses the 3rd chakra. The 3rd chakra is the Nike chakra, the “just do it” chakra. It is represented by the color yellow (which is often a significant part of my dreams). Threes are sort of the middle child of the numerology world (from http://www.numerology.com/numerology-numbers/3) …

The number 3 is like a gifted teenager who is still under the protection of its parents: a bit spoiled, certainly scattered and perpetually in need of guidance. However, the most obvious traits of the 3 are in the creative field. A powerful need to express feelings, ideas and visions of the imagination, coupled with an extroverted personality, makes it likely that a person with 3s in key points of their Numerology chart will seek a career in art, especially the verbal arts. His or her social skills are also excellent. Charm, wit and a sense of humor help a 3 individual along his or her path, and if that weren’t enough, good looks and compelling charisma make this “kid” particularly attractive.

Blah blah blah. Tell me something I didn’t deny know. Look! There’s Elvis!

I have known for years, nay, decades, that I’ve had a special on-off relationship with my 3rd chakra. I love the guts it gives me to do some things and I bemoan the guts it requires of me to do other things. I’m great as a first-responder: I’m there with a lasagna, a joke and a shoulder when someone needs it. But when it comes to me… erm… Elvis? Anyone?

No wonder so many are drawn to those with 3s in their charts. Followers are even willing to forgive less favorable traits exhibited by 3s, like a lack of focus and direction, a tendency to procrastinate, an inability to finish projects and an unwillingness to take responsibility. On the other hand, there is a superficial side to the 3 that can be harder to look past: a narcissistic streak, a vanity, a need to be the center of attention. It is easy for the optimistic 3 to enjoy day-to-day life as long as all is well, but when challenging issues arise, it can become quickly apparent that most of the 3’s focus has been on that sunny exterior, leaving its internal fortitude lacking. Without much moral strength or spiritual depth, a 3 can easily succumb to difficulties unless friends and family move in to support it.

‘Internal fortitude lacking.’ OUCH. It explains some of my stomach issues, some of my food “sensitivities” and the fact that my lower back hurts because I perceive my lower abdominals as weak (I refer to the zone affectionately as “Midge”) and I honestly can say that I feel it “talking” to me from time to time.

For the 3 to become a well-rounded, balanced and happy person, it must learn discipline. Some lucky 3s who exhibit talent early in life (such as gifted dancers or musical prodigies) are placed in an environment with just the sort of discipline that a 3 needs to protect these talents. Another unique quality of the 3 is its tendency to be “lucky,” or rather, to be in the right place at the right time. This may be connected to its innate sense of rhythm; timing can be measured in seconds or in years, by the beating of a heart or by the movement of the stars. It is all only a matter of scale, either way, the 3 seems to be in tune with the cyclical nature of our surroundings.

Yes, I am keenly aware of timing, both internally and externally. I can sometimes feel my heartbeat in my forearms and ears if am still. I can hear it when I sleep, which I reeeeeeally like to do, so yep: guilty as charged on that whole ‘discipline’ thing. I used to be really disciplined… that’s the bad side of a 3: we can be obSESSive… (as I sing the “sess!” part).

So, my 3 needs work. My spiritual and effective weakness in this area was made crystal clear to me during the retreat. We were on the deck one day and were going over the chakras as manifested in the physical sense. I volunteered to demonstrate my 3rd chakra’s solidity and grounding anemic condition for all my soul sisters to see. It was humbling. I knew I was “weak” in the Nike department, I put up a good front and I do lots of physical and personal growth things that other people don’t or won’t do, but the thing I really want to do, the thing I was bred, raised, educated and groomed (and apparently numerologically destined) to do: write a book and get it out there, is my kryptonite.

Yet despite all my “YOU CAN DO IT!” memes, I’m still hiding in the corner under a threadbare blankie, looking for Elvis.

The way this yogini went after my 3rd chakra intention was with loving and supportive compassion, but with the precision and aggressiveness of an excimer laser. She was amazing. Why did I subject myself to this? Because I paid almost $4,200 for the entire thing and by God, I was going to get all I could out of it.  

I knew it then and I know it now: It’s no surprise to me that my 3rd chakra is out of balance. I even knew it was really out of balance. What blew my mind was that it was part of my numerology. But of course! Why wouldn’t it be part of my numerology? Fine… but my PATH? The very thing … the essence of what will bring me to myself?! Phuuuuuch.

So I’m in. I commit to at least 40 days of the nabhi kriya.

This morning I’m all alone; and that aloneness makes me very self-conscious. For the first time in a while, I understand what “strength in numbers” means (all references to numerology notwithstanding here).

What I learned this morning is that I’m rusty. I forgot to rub my hands together to create a connection between the left and right hemispheres of my brain. I forgot to put on some sort of music to keep me from wondering if anyone was walking outside the room.

Once I figured that out, I tuned in: I chanted “Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo” and totally forgot to breathe correctly. I ran out of breath. So I had to start again. I rolled my eyes at myself, which I can’t believe I did, so I immediately apologized to myself and said “Self, get over it, you’re rusty. It’s OK. You’re trying. Start again. Remember the hands this time.” So I did. I found the music, I rubbed my hands together, I inhaled deeply and I chanted.








I immediately missed my friends from the retreat. I opened my eyes and looked around to see if anyone was laughing and pointing at me. Of course no one was, I was alone, desperately alone in fact, but I was still terribly self conscious.

But I realized I had an ally: my beautiful wool and silk light blue shawl that I bought at the retreat. I had a new blankie. A power blankie. No! A cape! My kundalini cape! I could not only hide under her, but she could bring me some focus too, and some strength, and identification with growth.

She would remind me of those days when I wore her on the deck in the chilly morning fogs. She kept me warm. She allowed me to feel a part of the tribe there, she also helped to feel safe doing what I am earnestly committed to doing: creating a solid 3rd chakra point in my body and my spirit to push me to get things done.

that's me in the background.

that’s me in the background. just seeing this picture transports me to that awesome deck and all those wonderful souls. the woman in the foreground was my roommate. aren’t the shawls gorge?

So I got her out and smelled her gentle woolen scent and I unfurled her and got started.

I warmed up. I closed my eyes again and mustered my courage. I did the sufi rolls and the “washing machine” torso twists (elbows up, hands on shoulders and twist from side to side inhaling on the left, exhaling on the right) and some other arm thingies and …

Then I determined it was time to do the kriya to address my 3 life path and my 3rd chakra.

Find the book that has the kriya. Find the book. Where is the book? Where is the freakin’ Kundalini Yoga book? Did I leave it at the retreat? No. I’ve had it since coming home.

Fine. Do the other kriya, the Adi Shakti.

No. I’m here to start the nabhi.

On and on it went. I consumed about 30 minutes looking for the book. Then I found it. Then I looked at the kriya.

Ooofda. Leg lifts. A freakin’ ton of leg lifts. Well, doing 40 or 90 or 180 or 1,000 days of this on a daily basis should definitely resolve any “Midge” issues… 

It reminded me of the calisthenics we used to do at day camp. I still haven’t done any comparative analysis on the matter, but the timing of Yogi Bhajan’s arrival to the United States to share the technology of kundalini yoga dovetails suspiciously close to the fitness trend of calisthenics that I remember my mother doing three times.

Irony in the irony: today’s experience directly showed me how out of balance my 3 is: I was logistically unprepared. I started at 7:00am, but I didn’t have my stuff. I went online to find the kriya and meandered the yoga sites. I found it, several times, but I talked myself out of using the online ones because they weren’t >insert Veruca Salt< The One In The Book!

I wasted time, being self-indulgent. Trust me… I see it all now, I’m paying attention and I was paying some attention then too, but I told mySelf to shut up. By 10:30, I was finished, I was committed. It might’ve been the world’s longest nabhi kriya ever, but I did it.

I did almost all of it for the recommended times too. I am pleased to announce that my core is strong, but my low back needs some support, so I allowed the support, no judging. I can tell you this: when I’m done, my abs are going to be insane. I read online that someone said this kriya saved her life. I am just hopeful it will give me mine back.

I feel like all I’m doing is barking at you guys… please chime in and say hello. Ask me questions! I’ll be happy to answer them!

Thank you.

Missives from the Mat 5 — Start and the Pressure Will Be Off #Yoga #Bhajan #Writing #Numerology


It has been a long time since I’ve written.

I have actually wondered if I would be able to start up again; on the blog, I mean. I went from writing every day for 31 days about Carl Jung and how I interpreted him to stopping almost completely for almost a month. That’s a hard transition. I went from mindfulness on paper and sharing it to mindfulness in the ether and installing it.

Y’see, the yoga retreat was a profound personal experience. I remember driving away from my home, that Thursday afternoon almost three weeks ago when I began my journey looking in my rearview mirror at the three sons and husband I would be separated from for more than a fortnight. That rearview mirror moment was the last time I was the person I was before I changed.

That sounds weird. Let me rephrase: I am more the person I was meant to be now. I have less pretense, less interest in what other people think. I’ve always been pretty confident seeming, but that was because I wanted everyone to get along. Now, it’s not so much that I’m less interested in people getting along, it’s that I’m less interested in having to make people get along. They will figure out their way. I have my life to figure out and I have three boys to mother and a husband to partner. It’s just clearer now. There’s something to the power of being with complete strangers for 15 overnights (about 350 hours) for a yoga retreat. The moment some people say yoga, others envision pretzels or insane postures.

The yoga we practiced every morning at 6:00 am, one time at 4:30 am, is totally different. We would sit on a massive wraparound deck to watch the sun rise when we managed to peek out from under our shawls during a meditation. That 4:30 am practice is something that created a cosmic shift in my consciousness and it will forever be revered as one of The Most Inspired Moments of My Life. Each morning we were to be in a meditative state 10 minutes before the practice began. That meant for yours truly who loves her blankets and her bed that I had to be awake at least 40 minutes before the start. So on this 4:30 am day, I set the alarm for 3:50 am and I woke with little resistance; even with a sense of childlike glee. I’ll explain in a later post why this timing is so special. But it was as if my spirit knew I was going on a trip. And I did go on a trip even though my body never left the planet.

sun up.

sun up. 6:01am due east.

The sun never rose the same way every day; it never does and it never will. But it was always majestic the way the earth bows to the sun.

still glorious, no?

still glorious, no? this was shot at 5:53am i’m pointing west.

We were treated to some of the most wonderful weather ever for those 16 days. I kept on saying to people who were not from this area of the world that the Heavens must be smiling upon us because it has almost never been 59˚ on any morning in July or August in the Virginia Blue Ridge.

The yoga I talk about now transcends the poses. It goes right to the spirit and it means Guts, Determination, Growth, Strength and Self.

Strength and Self

The poses come later. The work, it’s a pleasure, most of it. There were some kriyas (sets of yoga exercises) that set my shoulders on fire. I miss them. I miss that wonderful, bearded wiseman, Kartar Khalsa, who would state to us, “I can show you how to get there, I can show you, but you have to do the work, you have to get there.” He wasn’t talking about stronger deltoids or trapesius muscles. He was talking about stronger Selves, with a capital S.

Kartar Khalsa Singh. Yogi. Badass. Compassionate.

Kartar Khalsa. Yogi. Badass. Genius.

This Self is part of the genius of kundalini yoga. Rephrase: the pursuit of the Self is the heart of kundalini yoga. One of our yoginis at the retreat, the owner and author of the program, Shakta Khalsa (and Kartar’s wife) has a phrase, “Yoga is the science of the self, and kundalini is the awakening of the self. It is that simple.”

This retreat was more healing than it was learning. Ok, that sounds bad. That’s not what I meant. I did a ton of learning. I can tell you all about how babies have this life stuff all figured out and if we’d just do with our bodies what they do with their bodies from time to time then we’d be totally happy. I can tell you about the eight limbs of yoga (I just can’t find the sheet in my binder) and the 3rd chakra and the lymphatic system and why cold water on the thigh is a bad idea (because it leaches calcium from the femur). I can tell you about acidic foods and the energetic transfers and releases of certain chants and kundalini exercises. I can. And intermingled in all of those discussions and lectures and yoga sessions and kriyas and asanas were life-affirming, life-changing lessons. It’s metaphysically impossible to attend a training retreat of this caliber without changing on the inside. Impossible. The bottom line is that it’s impossible also, for me to explain it all to both of you in one post. So natch, I’m considering a book.

These women, the 13 of us and then 1 extra and 2 of our originals left and then that 1 extra did too and then 4 more came in… (it was a little revolvy-doory there for a bit) are in each others’ DNA. We just are now. I will never forget them and seeing the pictures they are posting as well as the ones I will share in a photoblog post about the retreat (to come soon) bring back all sorts of warm fuzzies.

I wonder about the numerological significance of choosing 16 days for the retreat. Numerologically, the 16 converts into a “7.” A 7 represents the seeker, the thinker, the searcher of Truth (notice the capital “T”). The 7 doesn’t take anything at face value — it is always trying to understand the underlying, hidden truths. The 7 knows that nothing is exactly as it seems and that reality is often hidden behind illusions (I got this from http://www.numerology.com/numerology-numbers/7). I have a seven in my soul position, which is sort of a big deal, and it explains a lot of things which I will go into in a later post on numerology and how learning about it and myself has vexed liberated me in a lot of ways. Go to www.3ho.org to learn about your numbers.

When the 7 is in balance, we are elevated, happy, curious, philosophical, sensitive, a “solitary spiritualist” and we lean a lot (or we should) on our inner voice, our inner knowing. When the 7 is out of balance, we can feel lonely, reclusive, aloof, hypersensitive (I AM NOT!), fear scarcity, confused, find fault and demonstrate a lack of boundaries both emotional and physical. The bottom line is that we need a lot of alone time. This was something I wasn’t sure I was allowed to express as a need for myself because I’m a fairly gregarious and social person, but man, when I saw that I was WAHOOO! All you suckas git lawst! I need some alone time! Holla!!

I’ve just recently taken out my books from training. I went to the beach for five days after I returned from the retreat and so I’m just getting back into “normal” here at the house. Just having this time alone to do some writing has been nice. I really haven’t had much alone time at all, actually.

Yogi Bhajan, who to me looks like a movie star in the photo below had five sutras (statements / aphorisms) for the Aquarian Age. One of them is applying right now: “When the time is on you, start and the pressure will be off.”

Omar Sharif, anyone? Sheesh this dude was intense. Never met him.

Omar Sharif, anyone? Sheesh this dude was intense. Never met him. He “died” in 2004; I say “died” in quotes because in the tantric yoga and metaphysical tradition, there is no death. I dig that.

So here I am, starting and deciding to write.

Ok, ok, here are the other four:

Recognize that the other person is you. (Reminds me of that phrase, “when you point the finger at someone else, you’ve got three other fingers (yours) pointing back at you.”)

There is a way through every block. (Notice he didn’t say around every block… yuk yuk a*hem.)

Understand through compassion or you will misunderstand the times. (I got nothing.)

Vibrate the Cosmos, Cosmos shall clear the path.


Heck yeah. Ask me about the Soul Retrieval. No, wait, don’t ask. Just ask me where $100 went in less than five minutes. I’ll tell you, it went on a ride on a train through the desert. (I told you not to ask… I’ll explain in a later post. I promise, Marn.)

So no, I haven’t changed in a cellular way; my yoga retreat sisters would likely agree that none of us has changed cellularly; but we have changed in an energetic way and my manner of thinking and old patterns of reactivity and blame and fear are almost things of the past. Now it seems it’s like logistics are the stepping stones.

But embracing the woo-woo isn’t new to me.

Y’see, I was already On That Bus before I left. I was someone who believed in the things that were unseen more than the things that are seen. I learned on the retreat that it’s likely because I’m left-handed that I’ve already got some of that thinking in the bag. We right-brainers tend to be more creative and as long as we’re not suppressing it, we can easily relate to other people on an energetic level. We can let things slide because we know: it’s not real. Whether it’s an intuitive realization or simply because we are geniuses, we left-handed people have a different sense of the world.

As I said earlier, there were 13 original students on the retreat. I’m not taking away from the four awesome peeps who joined us later because they are cool too, but the 13 of us altered each others’ menstrual cycles (someone foolishly suggested that it takes a month to do that, well we yoginis can get that shit done in two weeks, holla!), we shed tears with and for one another, we held hands, we held hugs for more than six seconds, we chanted, we punched the air, we pounded our fists, we asked a ton of questions, we disagreed, we snarled a little, and we grew a lot. We drank and showered in fart water — that has to count for something, right?! — and we really miss each other. I never belonged to a sorority in college. I commuted to college. So this is my first sorority and I can tell you this without a doubt: I’m glad I waited to join this one.

Some of us are having an easier time than others re-entering the Earth you inhabit. I can tell you that going to the beach for a week with my cousin and kids helped a lot. I miss the mountains though. I’ll post again soon, mostly pictures about the days there. I would go back in a heart beat… but only with those soul sisters. It wouldn’t be the same without them.

Thank you.

Missives from the Mat — 4: Fart Water #yoga #sadhana #kundalini #retreat


What tastes worse than well water with too much sulfur in it, especially after you brush your teeth?

Not much.

Note: I started this post on July (yes, July) 28. Today is August 11. I’m running through the content below and am going to try to make sense of it, these 13 days later, so I apologize up front if you end up getting a migraine (yes, I have that kind of power, I know, it’s scary right?). Just trying to keep at it. But don’t give up. Many other posts will be coming along in a day or so about my epiphanies, moments, observations and pictures of food and signs around the retreat site and sunrises and sunsets and healing adventures (anyone out there have a “soul retrieval” performed? oy) and how 13-15 of us survived with very erratic wifi availability and what some of us did during the our occasional digital diets; and my personal favorite: what’s more neurosis-inducing than living with a bunch of psychoanalysts? Living with a bunch of people who might be able to see your aura and your not knowing it. It was a little like wondering if your zipper was constantly needing adjustment or having an eternal panty line…. more to come.

We ended up bringing in those 2-gallon jugs of mineral and spring water because the minerals here were turning our silver jewelry black, our gold jewelry copper and making the cucumber water smell like it had more gas than inherent in the cucumber to begin with. Everyone assures me that it’s safe and that drinking water with lots of sulfur in it won’t hurt me. I get that… I really do; but it’s a little hard to feel clean after bathing in fart water. It just is. I know… I’m not India with 999,999,999 other people around me. I’m in a house with granite countertops and a Jenn-Air cooktop.

So far, though, I must admit that the shortage of Cap’n Crunch in my diet has had pretty awesome effects. On day 3, Sunday, I can actually recall things much quicker than I used to. I remembered not only what I was looking for but where I last deposited it. That hasn’t happened to me so quickly for awhile now.

Chanting. Lots of chanting going on. What’s wild about the chanting is that you can feel the transfer of energies; you can feel the difference from when you began to when it ended.

Lots of breathing in from the nose and out through the mouth or in through the mouth and out through the nose or in one nostril and out the other or holding breath on an inhale, which is something many of us do all the time without thinking about it, but what about this?: holding the breath on an exhale? Not letting the air back in? Try that one a few times. (More to come about which kind of breathing to do when and what the effects can be.)

This retreat is covering a feast of topics for teacher certification: senior yoga, yoga for depression, yoga for women, children. Studies on the glandular systems; the chakras; shifting of subtle energies through kundalini.  For two days in a row, Friday and Saturday and my arms and shoulders wanted to cry but they couldn’t because they have no tear ducts, no matter how much yoga and chanting I did. The kundalini exercises are amazingly difficult: they’re all based on moving emotional and psychic energy through and out of our bodies and they get stuff swirling and tingling and you’re told to think about your challenges, and frustrations and focus on your darker emotions and how those factors coalesce. All the while for one of them, you’re running in place and literally boxing with the ether (which is all an emotion is anyway, it’s just another kind of energy) and you’re working stuff out. On one morning, they had us run in place for 22 minutes with our elbows held at shoulder height or above the entire time. Try it… you think you’re tough, ok. You probably are. That’s why you should try it because … well: my calves were toast for two days after it, and if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that being “tough” is pointless. People see right through it. I don’t mind being thought of as strong, but tough? You can have it.

. . . .

On one particular morning, we did the 22-minute run in place kriya from hell. The 21-year-old son of our teachers came to join us to help us keep up the momentum by playing the tablas (drums) for that entire time and then some (and he’s amazing at it, so everyone was working on that deck). So we’re all gearing up… I decide to turn my body in a direction where I can’t see anyone else: I’m looking at the mountains. I thought, “Hell, if those mountains (what some of my friends out west refer to as ‘hills’) are as big as they are and got put through some serious pressure to get to where they are then I’ve got nothing to complain about,” so I’m in. 100%.

After the first two minutes, my arms start to burn and shake, so I looked around and saw that our teachers were swing theirs, just keeping them high up, so I did that. I channelled my inner Balboa: I’m swinging and sniffing and snorting like Rocky, making my worst Stallone-inspired snarls and facial squinches. I’m throwing cross-cuts, jabs, hooks, blocks and ducking… all the while breathing in and out of my nose which creates some crazy woo-woo insane energetic reaction in the face. Every once in a while our teacher, the father of the tablas player would call out, “bring out all your frustration, your anger…” which was a really good reminder for me because sometimes I get so into a workout that I sort of forget it and I start to feel Zen-ish and so reminding me of why I was doing this incredibly crazy boxing-while-standing-in-one-place thing was motivating.

As for my legs? What legs? You see, running in place for me, a runner and a rower and a forward-thinking person is: stupid. It’s worse than running on a treadmill. Why? Because it’s all calves and forefoot strikes and utterly painful. There is no heel strike and then roll to the forefoot. There is no breeze to cool you or terrain to explore with your soles or eyes. You’re all there. It’s truly: in the moment. But I’ll never forget this particular exercise; it will be my go-to when I’d like to take hostages.

At the halfway point, Shakta, the wife of our respective teacher calls out, “We’re halfway there, we have less than 11 minutes to go!” which sets into my mind, an energetic loop translated into the words of “Just repeat what I did.” I shout out, “We’ve got this!” to the masses, all 15 of us, on the deck. We all cheered. The neighbors must’ve thought we were nuts, that is if they were awake because this was happening at 7am on a weekend morning.  Privately, that halfway mark said to me: “Get it out; get it allllll out; these guys are gonna be finished in a few minutes, Mol, so burn out and incinerate whatever angst you’ve thought into and remembered and punched the hell out of. Whatever fear, anger, guilt, sadness, shame… PTA? stir it up. Rowing club? call it up and get it out. Marriage? Punch it. Childhood? Go there, do it. Take it back. Your time with these people is limited….” Our teacher, Kartar, said, “I can take you there, show you the path, but energetically, you’ve got to stay there. You’ve got to get yourself there…” So that’s what I did.

It’s not there anymore. It’s just not.

I’d actually punched my way through those moments. And that, my friends, is powerful.

. . . .

Here’s the wild part: these yogis and teachers: they dress in all or mostly white; they wear the turbans; the men have these fantastic white beards that would make a perfect Santa (but they don’t do Santa) and they teach lessons on spirituality, love, peace, vibration, energy and healing dating back 3,000-5,000 years. Patchouli and sandalwood waft in their tread. It’s nice.

They are caucasian and funny; they tell jokes and they drive cars. Kartar swears every once in a while. I love that. Here’s this guy, he’s probably 6’2″; lean, kind and soft-hearted. He’s wildly intelligent and he can turn your mish-mash of thoughts or fears into opportunities for growth and promise.

They don’t arrive at the retreat on magic carpets or white stallions but they do drive hybrids. They don’t have cobras raising out of wicker baskets or wield magic spells. They are … like… y’know: normal. They eat using a fork; they excuse themselves to use the restroom. I don’t really know what I was expecting, but this is well, really cool.

I have to say, it’s the oddest thing for me.

They’re so freakin’ disappointingly normal, other than their humbling wisdom about metaphysics and sound and motion… the stuff they know and share, it’s mind-blowing. They use iPhones, iPods, Bose speaker systems, projectors and computers. They sell DVDs of their work and offer healing services: reiki, angel therapy, crystal healing therapy, a host of woo-woo stuff that is basically really odd to most of the western world, but that is totally normal to the eastern cultures.

It’s also completely depressing because it shows me in stark relief how very white-bread, totally pedestrian and safe my life has been: I’ve never been on an sojourn to India, or even Indiana for that matter. I hear me though: I can be kinder to myself; all things in good time.

It’s really quite an honor for me to be with these teachers. They’re patient, clever, subtle and loving. It’s like I’m in a sea of flowing organic white cotton scented with lemon grass oil. The kindnesses from these near-perfect strangers are sating.

What’s more: they also have next to no wrinkles. We’re talking: no. No obvious crows feet; no elevens between the eyebrows, maybe a couple horizontal lines from thinking so much about the universe and infinity and harmonic energy transfer and healing, but that’s all … y’know, cool stuff.

I started this post several days ago with the intention of uploading it that evening. It’s hard though, to stay on track, and for me to rationalize pulling myself away from all these fantastic people, most of whom I won’t likely see for several months if not ever again. It’s like a toss-up and a moment of truth: am I here for me? Or am I here for both of you, my followers? I have to use my time wisely; a similar notion comes to mind: when I’ve been to some rock concerts, I’ve been so moved to think that I need to record or film the moment for my memory. But I’ve seldom recalled the recording; the moment is emotional and metaphysical. Capturing it on an iPhone is meh, compared to the breeze on my skin or the sun on my arms which traps the moments on a cellular level. So I’m doing the right thing: I’m doing what I want; I’m communing with people, nature, energy and sharing and listening and laughing and all the rest and it’s been the absolute correct choice.

In a later post, I’ll tell you what our days were like there.

I’m back now. My first 24 hours at home have been largely uneventful and easy. This morning (8/11) was a little odd. I woke at 5:37am, but I need sleep, so I stayed in bed promising myself I’d do my meditation later, which I did. It was odd though because I was doing it alone. I wasn’t on that massive deck with that expansive mountain landscape calling and luring me to be with it; with those other beautiful voices of 15+ people joining me. I was in my home, on my office floor and I was winging it. I forgot a couple steps. But I did it and then I took Murphy, who slept on my side of the bed last night (something he hasn’t done in years) for a walk. Re-entry, which I’ll write about soon, will be … don’t brand it … will be what it is.

Thank you.

Missives from the Mat — 3: Departure #growth #yoga #retreat #mindfulness #family


I arrived at the airport on time to pick-up the two people who needed a ride to the retreat.

I had initially planned to take a shuttle myself, thus imposing the reality that submission was unavoidable and that I was in for the long haul. They needed someone with a big car. That someone was me.

Instead of seeing this as a way “out” of complete attunement to the program, I decided this was “destiny” telling me that I was committed; these people would need a ride back to the airport after all, and I would be the one to take them.

This retreat house is glorious. Let me back up — any place can be a retreat; even your own bath tub. It’s a simple confluence of the action, the spirit, and intention that make any place a retreat. Ok, it’s a giant log cabin. It has air conditioning, which is nice, given the fact that it’s also in Virginia’s Blue Ridge mountains.

This is my view from where I’m writing:


Some people are camping. I determined that roughing it for me was going to be 16 days without Cap’n Crunch.

Departure from home was mostly uneventful. The boys all huddled me and hugged me together for a bit. Thing 1 who is 15 was doing a great job of being mature and composed, that made me a little sad… Thing 2 was very emotional, which I had anticipated. He had a hard time keeping it together, which did me no favors and we both started crying a bit on each other. I had to stop myself from saying, “Don’t be sad, I’ll be back…” because I’d be a hypocrite. I was sad too. So I had to allow him his sadness. What I didn’t want though was for it to become a Barbra Streisand movie, like “Prince of Tides.”

When he and I got ourselves together, Thing 3 was standing arms akimbo in the doorway, “I’m not letting you go. You have to stay. I will teach you yoga.” Then I got on my knee and I hugged him and he lost it. So I lost it again. I told him I’d try to “Facetime” them as often as was reasonable and that I suspected the coverage at this retreat was spotty.

All of this happened before my husband got home to see me off. As I was packing up my car and throwing my purse straps over my shoulder, he pulled up. “I thought it was 2:45 when you were leaving.”

“No, I said it took 45 minutes to get to the airport, and that I had to be there by 3:00 and …” I trailed off. We were on the fringe of having one of our classic pre-trip departure fights. We’d actually not had one in years, ever since I figured out that the reason I got mad every time he left for a trip was to basically create distance between us so that my vulnerability was protected (lie) and that I’d have an easier time being alone. So we just looked at each other and my eyes teared up.

The whole time I looked into his beautiful blue eyes, I was growing sadder but more confident; he has this way of conveying to me strength without saying a word. It was like I could say, “I’m going to rock this, but I am sad about it…” I hugged him and said, “I’m going to miss you most of all.”

“You better!” he said.

We have a way of “signing off”; we’ve done it for years, it’s just sort of happened. We were patting each other on the back and we stopped at the same time and we said, “I love you,” and I walked to the car.

Thing 1 was not far behind. Just as I stepped into the car, he came in for one more landing and hugged me a long time and finally said, “I’ll miss you, mom.”

When I turned over the engine and put the car in the right direction, I waved to them all and I shouted, “We will all grow! We will all grow! This is good! I love you all!” I turned me head and didn’t look back. Didn’t check the side view or the rear view mirrors either.

So I rode to the airport by myself. (“Rode”; thats funny, but I’ll keep it. I am a rider and a driver on this journey.)

I was on my way. I WAS ON MY WAY!!

The weather on departure day was truly sublime: sunny, low humidity, high 70s, and a light breeze; like the breeze in a White Snake video. It was the kind of weather that is so atypical around here, the armpit of the eastern seaboard, that it automatically sets you in the frame of mind that surely something awful is about to happen.

Just kidding. But I think you know what I mean.

When I picked up the riders, we talked a lot; shared some parts of ourselves. We were anxious, we all admitted It. We had about a 90-minute ride and I wasn’t going to be silent the whole time. I needed to expel some of my nervous energy.

Our ride was uneventful. We arrived about 4:30 and thus began a journey that I can tell you already, after just 50 hours, is going to change my life.

I wish everyone I know could be here. I wish everyone with an emotional catch, a hitch, a fear, a doubt, a wonder, a moment of vulnerability (so that means all of us) could be here.

The Kundalini yoga is unlike anything, ANYTHING, I’ve ever experienced. It’s not a religion, it’s based totally on movement, breathing, energy and sound and vibration and consciousness and brings it to a cellular level. It’s awesome, heavy-duty brain stuff and it’s blowing my mind already. I’m in love.

I initially named this post “Arrival.” But then I realized it was more about my departure. Not only my departure from my home and family for the duration of this retreat, but God willing, my departure from my patterns of self-limiting thoughts, small-minded thinking, judgement against others, reactivity and fear.

I will write more soon, but I wanted to say hi to both of you and let you know I appreciate your comments on my previous post and that I am thinking of you all and holding nothing but light and love in my heart for you all.

Thank you.