Monday, October 2, 2017

Moderation in Maine

I went to Maine a few weeks ago. It was so fun. I went there because my friend Amy, (who some people might remember from her blog Progressive Pioneer) flew me out to teach some Kundalini Yoga in her area.

The Progressive Ps

Amy's awesome husband is the branch president, and she felt like it would be a great thing to build the kundalini yoga community in their area so I came to help them do it. I taught a couple of classes at the church for members and anyone who wanted to come from the community. One was a kids class, for kids and parents, that was meant to give them tools for stress relief and handling life. It was super fun and inspired me to start Kunda-Kids and Their Parents--which I will officially announce later today. It's a simple way to add yoga and meditation to your life. 

An intro to Kundalini Yoga Class at the Rockland branch.

I am happy meditation for kids.

Kids and adults join for a community Kundalini yoga class for reducing stress and living a balanced life.
I also did a Fireside about meditation when I was there. The whole weekend was well attended and everyone in Maine was very open hearted and friendly and the landscapes were just showing off  their beauty like they had never heard of winter.

I loved the scenery everywhere. 

Hello scenic beauty

These usually grow in bushes. Here there are trees!

I love meditating everywhere. 

Amy's son Sam having a God moment. 

And the best unexpected bonus was that while I was there, Rockland Maine happened to be having the Edna St. Vincent Millay Poetry Festival. First annual. It was a big deal, and there were lots of events and the new Poet Laureate Tracy K Smith even came and spoke and read. And I got to meet her. Huge poet crush by the way. She is also a Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry. 

Tracy K Smith at the Edna St. Vincent Millay Poetry festival in Rockland Maine

She signed my book. And then I left it in Maine. Oh well. Amy will enjoy it. 

Amy, Tracy and I.

So basically I got to do two of my favorite things in the same weekend and I got to make new friends and deepen old friendships. 

Just a little sketch by Andrew Wyeth--the famous painter who is from Maine. I was so moved by his work. I had heard of him, but seeing work in real life is so different than looking at it in books.  

Even before I knew about the poetry fest, I could feel the poetry in Maine. It feels old, rich and deep with a history of artists. Its funny how some places just hold that vibration and it keeps attracting more of the same-- great artists and writers. Ojai is like that too. That's why I love it here. But I also love Maine. 

I woke up early to do sadhana on the beach and watch the sun rise. These beauties were already up.

I had never seen apple trees growing right on the beach before. 

I love graveyards.

Everything in Maine seemed quaint. Even a flannel and some rope. 

Maggie. She was my roommate in Maine. I love her. And I love the wallpaper. 

Sunflowers by the sea.
I did sadhana on a rock and watched the sun rise over hurricane island as a real hurricane was raging down this very coast. So surreal. It was so calm and still this morning. 

So here is what I learned from my trip to Maine. It actually started when I got home from Bali. When I got home from Bali I realized that very day that I need more creativity in my life. I worked on my novel and poetry a lot in Bali and I knew I had to keep it going now that I'm home. In my life I sometimes get really focused on one thing. For most of my life it was writing, but for the last some-odd years it was yoga and healing, because I needed them to save my life and make me sane. Now that I am sane, I have been feeling the need for balance. So when Maine happened this way, I felt like it was the universe telling me that I don't have to chose. I can have it all. Or have a good amount of both things I love. This is a good way to live. It's called moderation, which is the true definition of meekness. 

The world is all confused about what it means to be meek. In truth, it means to be moderate. Blessed are the moderate, for they shall inherit the earth. I felt like the people of Maine were a great example to me of moderation. They live close to the earth and in sync with her cycle and rhythms and they are all pretty moderate people--I didn't meet many extremes. Just good real humans.

And... I hinted at this in a newsletter a month ago, but since coming back from Bali, I have decided I want to finally get an MFA in writing. MFA means Master of Fine Arts-- which means graduate school. But graduate school in writing means I get to write a lot and be with other poets and writers--which for a writer is basically like a 2 year retreat. 

And so while I was in Maine I thought I would check if they have a low-residency program, and I found out it was ranked 4th in the country. So I applied! And they just called me today to tell me I was accepted to the Stonecoast MFA in poetry.  So.... it looks like I will be going back to Maine in January and July for the next two years. If I chose to go there. I am also applying to NYU Paris. Paris has so much allure, but I feel a stronger pull to Maine at the moment. 

This is going to bring some changes to my life, but mostly I anticipate them all good and trending toward greater balance. Like for one, I am getting some help around here. I hired a housewife! I love keeping house but I can't play housewife, provider, mom, and dad at once. So that will help me fit in the extra time for school. And hopefully allow me to be more of the kind of mom I want to be to my daughter without getting annoyed with her 10 times per day for not cleaning up her mess.  Wahe Guru. And I am a happier mom when I write every day and when I have a house of order. 

So that's all for now. I'll post more soon. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Reflections From Bali

I returned from my trip to the other side of the world a few weeks ago. I spent most of it in Bali, Indonesia -which is the island of 10,000 temples, and then I spent a day in Taiwan, where I visited one of my own beloved LDS temple. There's more to say about my trip than I could possibly hold your attention for, but below are some pictures and some highlights.

Basically, the theme was destiny alignment and Christ consciousness, and I am pretty sure everyone who came had an alignment happen. So I don't know why I'm surprised at how much of an alignment I received as well. I'll talk more about that another time I'm sure.

Meditating by the sea at sunrise. Love. 
Some of my favorite parts were everything that had do with water. I did two different water purification rituals/ceremonies, and I also spent a lot of time snorkeling in the North Bali Sea. I went 11 days early to explore and heal by myself and I experienced a lot of unexpected healing. I am so grateful. It found that it really does take a trip away from your family and your routine and in my case it had to be more than a week and I had to be totally alone-- to remember my true self. 

For the first two weeks I was there, I didn't want to come home and I knew I'd be back again next year and maybe every year. But by the last few days of my trip, after my retreat ended, I was ready to go. In fact, I felt like Bali kicked me out. But this is how these things go and I know this. In places like Bali and also Kauai and Ojai and other spiritual energy vortexes--they kick you out when it's time to go. But always in the right direction. I'm not sure if I'll do another retreat there in the future. I can't even think about that right now. Basically right now, I'm just going to process and enjoy this beautiful healing and alignment.

This is at the water temple. You have to wear or rent a sarong to go in and then you dunk yourself under 21 different fountains that represent different things and cleanse you on different levels. It was super powerful and I felt the purification and was very blissed out by the end. Loved this. 

Master reflexologist that I only know as "papa" who brutalized my feet and laughed at me when I cried, but it was so deeply satisfying and healing. I went back a few times and it didn't hurt by the 3rd time. By the way, feet are all about destiny and your path. 

Monkey jungle was kinda crazy. Especially when the critters jump on you and try to steal your food. Ack. Not as cute as Curious George. Get me out of here. 

Most of my first 10 days were all about food! Jet lag hits you in the stomach. So why no fill it with good food. There was so much to love as a vegetarian in Ubud.

Rented a scooter a couple days and drove the wrong way down one way streets because that's just what you do.... I had a scooter in college for a while so it was good memories. 

When I finally made it up north to the retreat center it was so welcome. I missed the ocean. Ubud is nowhere near the ocean and although it has a lot of yoga, it's kinda crazy there. Like New York City in an India and Hawaii had a baby sort of way. 

Kathryn also rented a scooter. And she had a crash. Ouch. 

Yogi Bhajan was photo bombing some of our retreat pics. This is us out with some local fisherman before the sun rose. Chasing dolphins. 

We found the dolphins.

In front of a temple in the village of Bondalem. Being silly.

The resort built me a gong stand out of bamboo! It was so great! A little big. I told them the dimensions in centimeters but I think they thought I was telling them inches, so they doubled it again. Monumental. 

Just horsemanning around.

We were there for Indonesia National Day. It was their independence day. So we went to a little villiage celebration where there was singing and traditional dances. 

Happy people. 

A mermaid!

Mother and daughter.
It's amazing what the local people do with flowers. They are part of their every day offerings as well as all kind of decorations. 

This is me teaching. The ocean is behind me. Not sure whether they were looking at me or it. 

Local fisherman's boat coming in or going out from fishing. 

We had a talent show. This is Dee pretending to be me. He was the MC.

Jules wrote a song for the talent show called Bali-lujeah. She changed the words to Hallelujeah. It was the most amazing thing I have ever heard. Hillarious too. 

Jenn is sleepy during the talent show.

Jen teaching a class while I just enjoyed. Yay.

Dinner on our final night at the retreat.

Shell. Good bye North Bali Sea.

After the retreat I headed back down sound and past the volcano and the lake in the background.  Very relaxed after a week of almost daily massages. 

The Water Priestess- Ida Resi Alit. A friend told me to visit her and do a ceremony. I am so glad I made it to this remote village to participate in this purification ceremony. It was really an honor. She is so beautiful and serene and truly a holy woman.

After the water priestess. 
Soaked and blissful after our purification ritual in Bangli.

In front of a magnolia field on the drive back down after the retreat. They use these flowers in all their offerings. 

I visited the beach in the south before I left Bali. This part of Bali is over rated after I had been spoiled in the north, but I was happy to touch the ocean one more time. 

This is in Taipei Taiwan at the Chang Kai Shek Memorial. I like arches. 

I almost melted into a puddle walking around Tiapei in the hottest month of the year. But I could still muster a victory pose. 
Also at the CKS memorial. 
I stopped in Taiwan for a long layover and went to the LDS temple. That picture is not worth showing you because by then I had melted.  But if you follow me on instagram you can find more of my journey.  @namjotikaur

Would love to see any of you at my next retreat.


Sat Nam.