Orlando

I am not exactly sure how to act like nothing happened today.

I am sitting here at my computer and I have 10 different things that I wanted to write about this week in regards to how I was doing with my 5 Month Money Challenge.  But when I try to think of a clever, thoughtful or poignant message…all that keeps coming up for me is “What the fuck is the point?”  It is so small, so meaningless, so absolutely unimportant in the wake of what has transpired in Orlando early this morning.  It doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t matter if I stayed on budget.  It doesn’t matter if I had a bad day and struggled to not indulge and have a Starbucks.

50 people lost their lives this morning in a SENSELESS ACT OF VIOLENCE.

50 families were told this morning that they had a loved one who DIED in a place where they felt SAFE.

50 hearts stopped beating because someone doesn’t like the LBGTQ community.

YOU HATE A GROUP OF PEOPLE SO YOU KILL THEM???

I just cannot wrap my head around it.  And I know that this is not the first (and more upsetting, won’t be the last) time a group has been brutally attacked like this.  But I sit in total frustration because I don’t know what to do.  I am tired of changing my social media profile to show solidarity.  I am tired of hashtags #prayingforanothercity/country/group.  I am tired of hearing about death and then being sad about it and then talking with other like-minded people in frustration.  I feel hopeless.  Helpless.

I teach from a place of love.  I try to live coming from a space of love. Love for all beings, bodies, religions, choices.  My mom has a beautiful saying “all paths lead to God” (or whatever/whomever you believe).  So I find it so difficult to try and understand where hate can be so vast that it is demonstrated in violent action.

And I don’t know what to do.

My Facebook feed is covered with people’s opinions about gun control and terrorism and theories and calls for action.  Petitions and vigils and fundraising and signups.  All out of a place of wanting to help, to make the world better.

But how do you teach love?

I am fortunate that the group of friends I hold dear (and even the general population in my geographical location) are like-minded folks.  I don’t have a broad representation of different views on my social media pages.  So, when something happens, most of the opinions coming through my feed are views that I hold in high regard and agree with.  So to speak out and say “We need to act out of love and not hate,” everyone I am close with (or even associated with) echoes that same message.

How do we reach those that don’t share those values?  How do we reach the people that view a group (or race or religion) with such hate that an act of violence is the only answer?  That murder is the only answer?  I want to scream.

I know this question is one that everyone asks – If we had the answer we would have world peace.  I just feel so heartbroken and so helpless that all I can do is keep trying to live in a manner that cultivates love.

I don’t have the answer and in all honesty, I feel defeated.

 

 

Taste All the Sweetness (Week Three Recap)

This one is gonna be short and sweet (and clearly a little late).

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I spent the last few days in Arizona, enjoying some time with my family.  All I can say is I am full on love.  And I am reminded that this is the reason I chose the lifestyle that I have.  One with enough flexibility that I can do things like this, and soak up all the love.

I spent the last several mornings having my 5 month old niece handed to me at 5am so I could have my turn at babysitting her.  From 5am until 9am it was me and her.  Snuggles and giggles.  And me in just sheer awe of this tiny little human that I happen to share some DNA with.  It was very clear to me all my life that I was not interested in having children, it wasn’t in my plan.  But I have all the love in the world for my niece and nephew.  They are amazing.

And all I can say is I stayed on budget, practiced taking care of my own bills when we went out and even had an inexpensive trip home (thank you National Free Rental Days!)

Since it is late on Tuesday night I can only leave you with this…taste as much as you can in life.  It is too short to pass the little things up.  Do anything you can to not make it about money.  My mom always says: “What would you do if it wasn’t about money?”  Don’t let these things in life, these experiences, be about money.

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”

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Letting Go (Week Two Recap)

Letting Go

I started writing this post at the beginning of the week as I was cleaning out my wallet and decided that I needed to drop some (plastic) weight.  So I canceled all of my credit cards.  Not the ones that I need.  I understand that with the work that I do, it is important to have credit and enough of it to make sure I can plan my travel properly.  But I did cancel the ones that are hindering my growth.

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When I was in college I got my first credit card.  I remember so vividly walking into New York and Co. and having $300 to spend on whatever I wanted.  And I didn’t have to pay a thing!  I just whipped out my shiny new card and purchased away.  And after that, a few more came.  The Limited and Express followed.  I was loving it.  Until my bills started coming.  How in the heck did I think I was going to pay credit card bills when I was a college student without any source of income??  So, I ignored those bills for a couple months and then finally fessed up to my mom about it.  The anxiety was terrible.  She swooped in like a loving momma and paid off all my bills and promptly closed the accounts.  And lord have mercy, did that fuck up my credit.  And it was down hill from there.  Multiple high interest loans followed, a couple of cars that went belly up, and a few credit cards with a 19% interest rate…I couldn’t seem to get out from under it.

I remember one time I had to rent a car for work.  I was with my colleague and I was confident that I would have no trouble using my card at the rental car center.  It wasn’t a debit card (if you have had to rent car with one of these you know the headache that comes with it) so I thought for sure everything would be smooth.  Well my card had a limit of $300 and when they tried to do a hold for the rental, the card declined and they would not rent to me.  I was mortified.  My partner was gracious and rented the car but I wanted to sink into the ground.  It is the same feeling when you give your credit card to the waiter and he/she comes back and you know what is coming…”I’m sorry ma’am…your card was declined.”  THE. WORST. EVER.

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With some hard work and some loving help, I have been able to shake the past debt off and move ahead.  And I was so excited to be able to get my first solid credit card a few years ago.  I was shocked.  I was diligent in paying it off every month and soon, my limit was raised.  And it was like a drug.  I got another and another.  And then, every time I was offered a card (Pier 1, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Victoria’s Secret, etc.) I accepted.  And soon I was swimming in credit.  Glorious credit.  Credit, that for so long, had eluded me.  And it was mine! All mine!  $75 eye cream from Nordstrom that would be delivered in 2 days?  Done!  $200 sunglasses that were trending on the Macy’s homepage? Yes!  A new set of dining room chairs from TJ Maxx?  Sold!  Whenever I was on the road or feeling a little down…why, my little friends were there to pick me up.

And then I realized, I couldn’t even keep track of them anymore.  They took up all the space in my wallet.  And in my life.  I was obsessed.  And they needed to go.

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So I am happy to say, that I have just closed the final card.  I paid off and closed over 10 accounts this week.  (Ugh, it makes me sick to even type that).  I am now the proud owner of a Southwest Chase Visa Card, a Delta American Express Card, an Amazon Card, and a Nordstrom Card.  (Neither the Amazon or the Nordstrom are a necessity but they both have zero balance and I am not ready to part with either of them…just yet).

And as the week progressed, I was feeling pretty good.  After letting go of all that credit,  I splurged on coffee a few days but that was about it.  I kept my wallet closed and I stayed out of the stores (and off the internet!)  And then, the weekend came.  Memorial Day weekend.  Which requires the purchasing of some beer.  And brunch.  And other such lovelies.  So, I did go over my budget for the week.  By $100.  But, while I did go out, I also took my nephew to get his hair cut ($40) and I had put gas in my car ($40) and a couple unexpected things that came up.

So here is the important thing…I refuse to beat myself up about it.  I had a WONDERFUL week and I spent some dollars.  I didn’t purchase any crap I didn’t need (I totally NEEDED the beer…have you been watching the Warriors v OKC series??) and I am moving on in life.  Working on doing better the next time.  A soft reminder to be gentle with myself.

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Always a process.

And so with the next week on the horizon (and another trip in a few days) I am working on that practice…to live consciously in all ways.  And if you are wondering what little trail is up next, I am headed to Tucson to see my sister, niece and momma.  We will see how that kind of travel goes on a budget!

Much love!

EGO (aka Week One Recap)

Week One Recap.

So at the beginning of the week I started a draft of this post and started listing all the things I was spending my money on (and all the things I wasn’t).  Today, I decided that was lame.  I mean, it is all at the bottom so if you want to look at how I penny pinched, feel free.  But I realized today, that is not the point.

The point is addressing all the shit that gets dredged up when one decides to make a change. It could be anything…it isn’t limited to starting a budget.  It can come up with a change in diet, lifestyle, relationships, etc.  Good news is we all get to go through the shit at some point.

So I decided to come up with a theme for each of my weekly posts.  Something that comes up while going through this process and makes me dig a little deeper.  This week, the theme is EGO.
EGO

WARNING: Profanity below.

God damn mutha fucking EGO!  You haunt me. You rule my world more than I would like.  And while I could sit here and curse you until the cows come home, I also have to recognize that you also have gotten me this far, and so, to be fair, you just need to be checked.  Let me explain:

I started out this week doing just fine.  Saving my little $17 for spin.  Skipping coffee out most days.  A meager but livable grocery outing.  On paper, it looks like I am just cruising along.  Until the weekend came.  And my man had three days off.  And we went furniture shopping.  And out for dinner.  And then hung out with friends.  And went to dinner again.  And then drinks.  And all the social, fabulous things we like to do that cost money.  Money that I didn’t even contemplate.  And you know what sucks more than not getting to go out because you don’t want to spend money?  Going out and not having money to spend.

Lé Sigh.

 

 

'Welcome monsieur et madame, may I take your coats, gloves and savings?'

It has always been super important to me to not appear cheap or frugal when it comes to going out.  I pride myself on being able to pay for my family and friends and I love to pick up the check.  I like leaving a nice healthy tip and I am not opposed to ordering another round.  So when we went out with a dear friend this weekend and my man picked up the first round and then she picked up the second round, I was feeling super uncomfortable when we called it a night after that.  I wanted to go for round three so I could make sure that I could pay my part – even if that meant putting on a credit card.  I needed it to be known that I wasn’t being cheap or getting a free dinner.  I am very grateful that I have a partner who is supporting me in this little experiment but it hurts my ego.  I don’t really like to accept help as I have gotten through life just fine depending on me.  Ego has taught me that I am enough.  That I don’t need help.  That no matter what, I can gut through it and get it done.  Ego doesn’t let me lean on others or accept help.  Ego has reared up before and because of that, I had accumulated unnecessary debt.

So this week, the lesson is on how to use the EGO in a positive way but to not let it control how I live my life.  And while I am typing this, I am still not sure how to do that.  For example (and feel free to chime in with your thoughts), if you are set to go out with friends, and you know you are trying to keep your outing lean, what do you do?

Do you make a plan?  Bring only the cash that you intend to spend on your dinner/drinks?

Cancel?  Don’t go at all?

Suggest something else?  Less costly?

Bring your credit card and figure it out later? *This would be my choice in the past.

Let your friends know what is going on?  That the traditional splitting of the bill isn’t going to work for you this time?  You just want to pay for yourself so you can make sure to plan your meal accordingly?

How do you take the mask off?

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It is so hard because food (or going out) is the social center of most of our lives.  It is how we connect and relate, how we build our relationships.  So how do with do this without ego and without spending outside of our means?

I found myself in quite a bit of a funk Sunday afternoon.  Ego was letting me feel sorry for myself and all I wanted to do was drink a bottle of wine and curl up under my covers.  But somehow I managed to pry myself off of the couch (where I was doing my taxes, no less) [BARF] and I grabbed my mat and went to a yoga class that a girlfriend of mine was teaching.  And lord almighty, I needed that.  I needed to move, and sweat, and let my ego take a break.  And it cleared my head a little.  Goes to show that moving the body and breathing will do a world of wonder for getting your ego into check.

 

Below is my journal of what I spent my dollars and cents on this week.  Like I said, nothing thrilling.  I managed to save some money which I will put back into my fund so that I have a little extra for the next time I need it.

 

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Week One Money Journal

Day 2:  Spin Class and a coffee with my man.  I know. I know.  I said that coffee was the first thing that needed to go.  But I rarely get to go to spin class with the man and it was a mini date so I CONSCIOUSLY spent $2.50 on a cup of joe.  He actually ended up treating me tho. 🙂 Along with my spin class – I had purchased 20 classes in bulk a couple of months ago when they were having a sale so technically it was already paid for but since I am going to be needing to purchase more classes at some point this summer…I’m gonna put the cost of that spin class in my savings.  So my tally so far:

May 17th

Spin Class: $17*

Coffee: $2.50

*Being added to Savings.

Made $50 in yoga class earnings!

 

May 18th

Spin Class: $17*

 

May 19th

Spin Class: $17*

Facial Wax: $70 + $15 tip ($85)

 

May 20th

I made $10 in a tip from a massage I needed to give for school.  So I treated my self to a cup of coffee! (3$)  Whoop Whoop!

 

May 21st

Massaged again at the clinic where my time is donated but I get to keep my tips. One cup of coffee for me and a $1 for the Vet with his puppy when I left.  There is always someone who may need it more than me.

 

May 22nd

Grocery shopping.  Let’s see how this goes.

$50. Not bad.  We had a bunch of core staples so I only had to get some protein and fruit and veggies.  The thing is.  I am really pretty frugal for the most part.  Monday thru Thursday is golden.  Then the weekend comes.

 

5 Month Money Challenge (Nooooooooooo!)

Can you see I am resisting this??

Given the nature of the work that I do, I make the majority of my money in a span of 5 months.  The wonderful thing about that is that it allows me some serious play time when that job is up.  The negative thing about that is I stop earning money which I need to fund my serious play time.

So, as I have just finished up an amazing 2 week excursion through Tulum with my momma, I have had a lovely reality check to what is left in my bank account upon my return.

So, upon the suggestion of my mom, I am embarking on a 5 MONTH MONEY CHALLENGE! Oh hurray.

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It isn’t that I am frivolous with my money.  I don’t purchase things that I don’t need.  I don’t own a fancy car, or expensive jewelry or luxury clothes…but I sure don’t blink when we go out to dinner and drop $200 (which is way more often then not).  I enjoy my daily cup of iced coffee at my favorite local shop on my way home from my spin class.  Never really thought about that short trip but it totals close to $30.  Every. Day.  ($3.50+tip coffee and $24 spin class).  I don’t even think about it.  And I think that is the point of this whole exercise.  I want to spend my money consciously.  I want to do everything in my life consciously.  It doesn’t mean I am not going to go to spin class, I think it is a value that I couldn’t put a price on, but I do think skipping on my coffee a few times a week and brewing my own at home, would be a healthy change.

One might wonder, Kim, why not get yourself a job?  Something to supplement your income in the winter?

Cuz I don’t want to work.  Not regularly anyhow.  It is really really REALLY important to me to have time and flexibility to do the things I love and hold dear to my heart.  I have a two year old nephew who I get to take to take to the beach and have sleepovers…I have a 4 month old niece that lives in Portland and I want to see her anytime I am free…I want to go see my best friend in Philly over 4th of July…I want to take a one week teacher training with one of my favorite instructors who happens to live in NYC…I want to be able to join my man on his days off and take a trip to scuba in Catalina.

I don’t ever want to say, “I can’t – I have to work.”  I work really hard in the winter to afford my freedom during the rest of the year.

So there seems to be a slight problem tho.  All those amazing things that I love to do…they cost hella money.  (well, most of them).  So I have to make a decision and choose what I need to give up in order to live that life.  And you all get to see me figure out just how I am going to do that.

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So here are my challenge guidelines:

1. I am paying myself an allowance of $250 $200 a week.*

*At first I thought, super easy…no problem…I’ll probably save money…  Then I remembered that my phone bill alone is $200 so that will go ahead and knock my weekly funds down to $200.

2. If I want/need to spend more than that, I have to earn it.*

*I recently finished up my schooling for massage therapy and I am accepting clients.  But only if I need money. Just kidding. But seriously, if I start hitting you up to get a massage, it probably means I am getting low on funds or saving up for a trip.

3. I am gonna share it. (my experience, not my money!)*

*I am going to let you all know, each week, how stupid hard this is.

As I write this I am thinking of all my little bills that are attached to my credit card that get deducted monthly…Spotifiy…Dropbox…etc.  Not that any of those are expensive on their own but adding them up is gonna be interesting.

Okay, that is enough for now.  Since today is Monday May 16th I consider this day one.  And I have been doing chores all day so fortunately, no expenses have occurred.  And so I am off. With $200 in my proverbial pocket.

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I am thinking of starting a GoFundMe account…

My Most Favorite Jams (and how I arrived there)

I have just rolled up my yoga mat after my first practice in my new yoga room at my home.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh.

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I haven’t been home for more than a week at a time since I moved to SoCal.  My life is filled with traveling and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  But.  Our home is also in a bit of transition. (Mostly because I made it that way).  When we arrived home from a trip to Europe a few weeks ago, my mom was visiting and we decided (as we can) to rearrange and paint the entire house.

It started off as just painting my yoga room.  But then it turned into moving the guest bedroom.  And if we were going to do that then it was time to switch the other room.  And we might as well paint all the rooms.  And I am not one for testing paint out or letting it dry and seeing it in the daytime and the night.

My mom and I are the kind of people that go to Home Depot, buy everything we need, pick out a color we like and then throw down a sheet on the floor (and that’s just sometimes) and in one fell swoop – start wailing on the walls.  In the end we only had to repaint one wall since my decision to cover it in “Peacock Tail” did not thrill my poor boyfriend.  (It was closer to Teal Tip-Toeing Towards Neon).  Here is the good news…it is just paint.  Easy to change/fix.

So, as you can imagine…with each project we started, it led to another thing that needed to be done.  And after a few weeks of having everything in limbo, my yoga room has finally reached completion.  With traveling and home renovations, I have not been on my own mat in more than a month.  So today (with just one piece left to be hung) I rolled out my mat and laid down all that wound up energy to unravel, breath by breath.  Below is the playlist that I have been excited to move to.

Hari Om (Tiruvannamalai)                  Janet Stone & DJ Drez

Gaia Nector                                                  Masood Ali Khan

Down on the Thread                              Random Rab

Madness                                                        Muse

Voice                                                               DJ Drez

Sweet Melody                                           Zap Mama

Forever Young                                          Alphaville

Set Adrift on Memory Bliss               P.M. Dawn

Destiny                                                         Zero 7

Say Yes                                                          Nathan Sherk

Dance Hall Days                                      Imperial Mammoth

Heart of Gold                                           Neil Young

Living On A Rainbow                          Angus & Julia Stone

Little Star                                                  Stina Nordenstam

Gayatri Mantra                                      Lisbeth Scott

 

*If you would like to follow me on Spotify you can find me here.

 

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The Shadow of the Transition

“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.”

Sylvia Plath The Bell Jar

Every year about this time, I dive into a little stupor of depression and anxiety.  The funny thing is, I know it’s coming.  For the first several years in this job I looked externally for the causes of this spiral down the rabbit hole.  Unhappy relationships, unfulfilling work, dissatisfaction with where I was living- those things were to blame.  The list of problems was always long and I found myself running.  Change.  Transition.  It is fucking hard.

In the last few years (with the help of a lot of therapy) I have been able to recognize that with the profession that I have chosen, there is a period of transition in the beginning of the season and at the end.  The beginning seems to be easier, but that could be because I am writing this at the end and the beginning just couldn’t have been as hard as this.

Spending 5-6 months trying to manage 4am wake up calls, first flight out, hotel rooms, rental cars, shuttles, different cities, workout schedule, aches, pains, ice bags, heat pads, dinners, lunches, whiskey, yoga, receipts, credit cards, checks, weather…the list is long.  And on top of all that, and most important,  did I actually do my job to the best of my ability?

With all of those things,  I still find myself thriving on the hectic-ness of the season.  While it is hard on the mind, body and spirit (not to mention the toll is takes on the personal relationships in my life); I enjoy the pace of schedule and I absolutely love what I get to do.

But then, it ends.  And I know it’s coming.  But all at once, it’s over.  No more flights, no more insane schedule.  And I find myself laying in my bed with all this time on my hands and I can’t even manage to do the laundry.  My life seems to have lost it’s purpose.  I have zero idea what to do with myself.  Time is infinite and looming and it feels oppressive.

During the season I dream of sleeping in and spending two hours in the yoga studio and getting outside and paddle boarding and going for bike rides and visiting my family and friends.  Writing and self-discovery.  Taking classes and diving into the life of casual and blissful exploration.

But I can’t get up.  And if I can get up, I certainly cannot make the damn bed.

It’s like I am mourning a death of a loved one.  Like a piece of my soul is missing. (I know that is a little dramatic).  I get over it; I emerge from the forest.   The fog lifts and I can breathe.  But for those couple of weeks after the season ends I find myself in a very dark place.  Questioning the meaning of life, the purpose of our existence.  What’s the point?

I try to prepare myself.  Allow myself the time to mourn and to not place expectations of great accomplishments right away.  To allow the space to grieve and process.  That any kind of change is hard and that the expectation of transitioning gracefully in a matter of days or weeks or even months is a unfair expectation to place on myself.  The guilt of “should’s and could’s” needs to be released.  That is it’s okay to not know what to do.  There is an embrace of the shadow that we have come to think of as a negative.  But what if we turn to this shadow self and embrace the opportunity to go deeper?  To take the journey down the rabbit hole as a chance to explore the depths of the soul.

Stag

And in the end, I remind myself that nothing is permanent.  The lows, the highs.  The darkness and the light.  Everything shifts.  Like the wave of the breath – the beginning, the middle and the end.  Always.  Finding grace within the lows and humility within the highs.  It will always change.

Facebook Is Stunting My Creative Abilities

Recently I took a class at Apple to figure out how to use iMovie.  I wanted to be more proficient in creating videos for both my basketball officiating as well as documenting my yoga journey.  It is has been helpful to see how I am embodying the teachings of Prana Vinyasa and so I wanted a lesson.

After an hour of training I was very excited to walk away with my first iMovie.  Problem.  Facebook won’t let you post with music and it is (way) too long for Instagram.  I tried to post on this blog but of course, it is too big a file. (What can I say, Prana Vinyasa moves sloooowwww.)  And, the song is my new absolute favorite jam.  Absolute.

So I am posting a link.  To a dropbox.  Many more steps.  Le sigh.  Damn the man.

Vasisthasana

If you’re interested in seeing Dancing Warrior 1008 as created by Shiva Rea, founder of Prana Vinyasa, then click here.

So(ma) Much Love

Yesterday afternoon I had the opportunity to spend three glorious hours in prayer and mantra led by Shiva Rea and alongside some of the Prana Vinyasa tribe.  Accompanying this beautiful Soma* Vinyasa was 4 Naga beings.  3 Ball Pythons and one Red-Tailed Boa Constrictor.  Just watching these amazing creatures move would have been enough inspiration to awaken the serpent (Kundalini) energy in anyone; but we each had the opportunity to sit with one of the snakes in meditation.

I sat back for a bit as I was uncertain of how I would innately react to having a large reptile placed on my body.  I wanted to make sure that I was truly present to accept the teachings of the Naga.  I moved through a few rounds of Soma Vinyasa and felt myself connect in with the lunar energy of the practice.  Once I was able to disconnect from the excitement and newness of seeing the snakes and be in the receptivity of the teachings of Naga energy, I was able to move into the readiness to connect physically with one of these great beings.

One of Shiva’s transmissions that has become essential in not only my mediation practice, but in my daily life, is that of ecstatic movement.  Sahaja, or spontaneous movement has liberated how I live in my body.  Starting at the base of the spine and, like a Naga or snake, begins to slowly undulate; uncoiling and moving up through space and slow, like honey, makes it way through the body by way of the spine.  Sahaja movement can happen in seated meditation, in asana, or standing in line at the grocery store. (Trust me, I have found myself in a long line, sub-consciously moving my body in a circular motion, to the rhythm of my breath)  What is so liberating about this practice is that you get to lose the ego for a little bit and drink in the nectar (Soma) of the Divine.  Shiva said yesterday, “You must slow the body and mind down to receive the benefits of the teachings.”  And so the Naga teach us.  To move with this slow, ecstatic movement.  Spontaneously dancing with the awakening of the coiled creativity that lies within each of us.  Allowing the energy to rise up to drink in the nectar, the conversation with consciousness.  Pure love.

Shiva Rea Naga Shakti

This is how I received the Naga transmission yesterday afternoon.  With eyes closed and sahaja pulsing through my body, one of the snakes was placed on my shoulders.  For a few minutes she moved around my neck, finding her way through my earrings (which I had to remove as she seemed a little too interested in winding herself in them – although they were snakes in her honor) and then finally settling in almost complete stillness.  It was as if she was meditating with me. She pulsed with me in this sahaja sway.  It was one of the most authentic transmissions of love I have ever experienced.  There was an element of honesty and pureness that was shared. No confusion, no layers of ego or emotion to peel back.  She was just there and open for the truest communication.

 

The encounter was brief but extremely powerful.  One that I will never forget and which has stirred a deeper desire to explore Naga energy as it has allowed a more intimate connection with a higher vibration .  So(ma) much love.

naga

*Soma is a Vedic ritual drink – the drinking in the nectar of the Divine through the the crown chakra or Sahasrara. This chakra is generally considered to be the state of pure consciousness, within which there is neither object nor subject. When the Kundalini energy rises to this point, it unites with the male Shiva energy, and a state of liberating samadhi (stillness of the mind) is attained. Kundalini is described as energy lying “coiled” at the base of the spine, represented as either a goddess or sleeping serpent waiting to be awakened. In modern commentaries, Kundalini has been called an unconscious or instinctive force.

*the photo is of Shiva Rea and a few of her of Naga friends.

Lost in Long Beach (or Hey Kim, Turn Your Fucking Cell Phone Off!)

Just a footnote:  The “Lost in Long Beach” title was my own.  The “Hey Kim, Turn Your Fucking Cell Phone Off!” was the Universe.

Moving to a new city is quite the adjustment.  New places.  New ways to get to these new places.  New highways and roads.  And my sense of direction is all off.  I mean, we live on the beach but for some reason that is south and not west??

So I have pretty much lived off my google maps these past 5 months.  Okay. Not pretty much.  I do.  Completely.  I don’t go anywhere unless I have figured out exactly which one of the 8 different highways I need to take to get there.

Out for a long day of games and an unplanned visit with a girlfriend, I didn’t realize until my phone died in Long Beach after dinner, that I forgot my car charger.  Fortunately, I had a whopping 4% battery left and I raced to my car to plug in directions home.  And I didn’t need full directions; just enough to get me out of LB and onto PCH (Pacific Coast Highway)  If I could do that, I just take that South (or East?!) and I would be home!

So I thought I had it down…just a quick left, and then a right and I would be one my way to my comfy couch.  But somehow I got turned around.  What I thought should have been my left ended up taking me through the Port of Long Beach and then onto the 110 North (San Pedro, headed to Carson)  (FYI, I had to google map my excursion when I got home just to figure out where the hell I ended up).

So I’m driving with no clear understanding of where I am, or in what direction I’m heading.  The only clue I had that I was going the wrong way was I was on the 110 North (opposite of where I should have been going)  Other problem: I thought the 110 ran East/West, so there you go.

Then a golden ray of hope!  I see a sign for Pacific Coast Highway (in LA though, they call it Pac Coast Hwy, not PCH as we Orange County folks refer to it)  I guess, anyway.  That’s what the sign said, I really have no idea if that’s what They or We call it.

So I get excited and hop on my yellow brick road.  But what direction to go?  Since PCH apparently runs East and West!  I need to go south you assholes!! Side note: This would never happen in Chicago.  A grid system will do wonders for a lost city dweller.

So I toss a coin.  I look left (towards PCH West, which is my first instinct) but that looks like it is sneakily headed with the 110 N.  So I head right, down PCH East and every cell in my body is screaming, “But we live west!! And south!!”  For 30 minutes I drive, with no recognition of streets or land marks.  I am near tears and I debate stopping to ask someone to borrow their car charger (No, not for directions.  I would never stop for directions).

So finally, I roll into familiar territory.  Damn near one block from where I had dinner with my girlfriend 1 hour and 30 minutes earlier.  I had made one gigantic loop through the north part of Long Beach.

As I settled into a zone, confident I could make it home; I began to reflect on the evening.

What in the hell did we do before cell phones!?

What was the reason that I wouldn’t stop and ask for directions!?

How long would I have driven around until I needed some serious help!?  Until my tank was empty? Until I ended up on the Grapevine or Santa Monica!?

And the ridiculous and constant urge to pick up the phone and call my mom to tell her how silly it was that I was lost!? Or ask my boyfriend for directions!? He would know how to get me out of here.

Oh wait, I have no juice.

Chopasana

What bothers me the most is that it took my cell phone dying to actually pay attention.

To look around.

To be observant.

To make conscious and thoughtful decisions.

And while this happened on a drive home and didn’t cost me much (time and a little anxiety) It made me wonder how much time I spend turning my brain off since I can just “google it” when I need to.  How much time do I look at my phone when someone is talking to me?  And even more, how many potential interactions am I stunting because I am looking down, disengaged in the life around me?  Is there a smile on a strangers face in the store that I missed, or is there someone that is needing that from me? When I have my phone I become so self-absorbed in something that is not the present, something that is not as important as what is happening RIGHT NOW.

Safely home and in my PJ’s, I am grateful for the reminder to turn the phone off and head out for a little adventure.  Stay connected.  So much love.

“The only true thing is what’s in front of you right now.” 
― Ramona Ausubel, No One is Here Except All of Us

Photo by Brian Crawford Photography