Friday, December 31, 2010

Let go

Heart of flames bursting forth from 31-12-2008 bonfire in the garden
Tonight I will have my third annual end-of-year bonfire celebration. As always, we will engage in simple, enjoyable symbolic rituals to release the old and receive/embrace the new.

I needed to get wood for the fire. I was planning on driving around and picking up wood from the roadside, as I and my friend Vandana (who was spending Christmas with me) had successfully done last year. However, walking home yesterday from the bank, I noticed a large pile of dry logs and tree branches at the corner of my street. Perfect.
I told a friend about it and her response was "The Universe always provides." This simple phrase is very powerful and true. It struck me that this is the theme of this year's bonfire . . . and the theme of life.

Do not be afraid to let go of who and what is not for you. In this way, you will receive what is truly yours.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Easy living

This morning's rainbow, seen from kitchen steps overlooking back yard
Yesterday a friend was telling me that when he was small his grandmother only ever went to the grocery with a list of three things: sugar, flour, oil. Everything else was grown in the garden, along with chickens for meat and eggs. In those days the neighbours also had their kitchen gardens and the community would trade with each other.  e.g. One gives potatoes and cabbage and one gives excess eggs and tomatoes, etc.

He said his grandmother raised 8 children single-handedly (her husband had died)—they dressed well and got a good education. They had no electricity. She would press their clothes every morning with one of those oldtime irons heated by coals. In those days there was no stress about money and material possessions. What you had was what was necessary. And, I'm sure, the things people wanted were simple.

Why do we live in such excess today? 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sounds of now

Photo: Elspeth Duncan

7:43 a.m.

Birds twittering, whistling and squawking.
A church bell ringing in the distance.
The low murmur of a television voice.
The distant drone of cars on the road.
Rumble of a jet.
A laugh.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Remembering Christ Mas

We live in an abbreviated world. Txting . . . I mean, texting has diminished many words to a few letters. E.g. C u l8r (See you later). Tweeting has abbreviated potential paragraphs to 140 words. Similarly, the commercial hustle and bustle of this season of Christmas has been abbreviated into Xmas.  After all, who's going to waste valuable tweeting space and time to write out the whole word . . . C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S.

Many people say "Put the Christ back in Christmas." What they mean is, the "X" of Xmas says nothing of the Being after whom Christmas is named—i.e. Jesus Christ. Even though, historically, the 25th of December is not Christ's actual birthday, it is the date on which Christians celebrate His birth worldwide.

Looking around, I don't think Jesus Christ is the focus of Christmas to the general masses. The focus is shopping, gifts, eating, drinking and partying. 

Sometimes when the radio is on in the car, I hear a song I used to like,—e.g Boys of Summer" (Don Henley) or "Feel Like Making Love" (Bad Company) . . . only the version being played is a remake . . . a horrendous remake by one of these new bands that all sound the same. What used to be a musical classic is now blaring through the speakers, sounding cheap and shallow—three chords repeated over and over and a voice wailing in the background. What makes it worse is when someone who has never heard the original thinks that the remake is the original and says "Wow! I love that new song by J-Lo!"

Maybe, similarly, one day in the future, someone will be on a game show like Jeopardy and the question will be "Which historical figure did Christmas celebrate?" The clock will tick slowly and just before the "baaaaarp!" noise that indicates time is up, the person will slam their hand down and shout out "Santa Claus!!"

This Christmas, with all of the traffic and the frenzy of people shopping, the onslaught of advertising all around us, the stressful vibe of people "having" to buy gifts . . . I found myself thinking "I don't like Christmas. I cant wait for it to be over." I didn't mean this in a Scroogish way—just that I don't like the commercialism and craziness.

I'm not a "religious" person. Manmade, organised religion divides rather than unites us. It judges rather than loves us. And in terms of Jesus Christ, I think many Christians don't live up to His name and what He represented—Truth, Love, Forgiveness, Humility, a friend of the downtrodden and marginalised.

I don't naurally feel moved to honour Christ by going to church, because I have often found church to be hypocritical. But I do feel moved to recognise that Jesus was a great Soul who walked this earth and has brought peace and healing to many. I myself have had personal experiences in which Jesus played a major role. This had nothing to do with "manmade church"—it was just me and Jesus on a one-on-one basis. I can't put it into words, other than to say such moments are simple and gentle yet life-changing.

So, on this Christmas Eve, my favourite day of the season (I'm not too fond of Christmas day itself), I say to Jesus—Even if many don't know You or remember You, may we all still be touched and moved by Your Spirit. May the true gifts of love, forgiveness, healing, peace, reconciliation, rebirth find their way to each of us, amidst the glitter, bows and wrapping paper. May those who hide or suffer in dark holes be flushed out and illumined with LIGHT. May those who use Your name in ways that I imagine would not be pleasing to You (i.e. discrimination, judgment and personal financial gain) come to understand that we are all worthy of the greatest Love and that no one is superior.

Thank You for your example. You exist in a form that is beyond description, beyond manmade constructs and labels. May this unlimited power be realised by each of us reading this, regardless of religion, race, gender, age, sexual orientation, social status, police record—and may it ripple out to bless all whom we encounter henceforth.

So be it.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Protective Light

Video, music, chant: Tek Har Kaur
The Mangala Charn Mantra, chanted for protection, surrounds the magnetic field with protective light.

(I filmed these candles during sadhana this morning)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Rooftop Yoga

What a great way to start the morning and the week. A physiotherapist friend/fellow Kundalini yogini invited me to lead an introductory session for a few other therapists on the rooftop of Carlton Savannah Hotel.

I left home just before 5:00 a.m., driving in the direction of the massive, almost-full moon, and got to Port-of-Spain at 5:15.

I had never been inside the Carlton before, but from the little I saw as we made our way to the elevator, I was very impressed—simple, minimalist, tasteful, avant garde—a blend of Caribbean and European.

The rooftop experience was fantastic . . . cool (almost 'cold' at first) open air, stars and moonlight gradually becoming early-morning sun and blue skies, flying pairs of screaming parakeets, a gliding hawk . . . and a simple but energising intro yoga session.

Any day that starts like today did has to be a great one.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Give the Gift of Transformation

The ideal gift for a loved one who wants a positive new start and healthy commitment for 2011 . . . and beyond. 

At only $350TT, the Thou Art Yoga Passport entitles its holder to ten consecutive pre-paid Kundalini Yoga classes, starting Jan 2011 (East & POS). 

Perfect for all levels, including those who have never practised Yoga—but want to. Visit for details.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Early morning gift

I was awakened at 2:30 a.m. by a loud, consistent chewing sound right next to my ear. Realising that it was Jasper crouched next to my head, I flew out of bed and turned on the light to see what he had. It was a baby dove and he was busy consuming it—something he rarely does. He usually just brings the animals whole (either alive or dead) with not even a tooth mark on them. Very rarely is there even blood.

Considering the fact that the captured animals are gifts from cat to owner, this morning it was as though Jasper had brought me a box of chocolates and then proceeded to eat them himself.

I took the bird from him and wrapped it in a piece of paper so he would not get to it while I did yoga. Interestingly, the available piece of paper I reached for had a poem on it, which I had come up with as 2009 crossed into 2010.

My heart is open
I receive the Beloved
I embrace the Beloved
I am the Beloved
You are the Beloved
We are the Beloved.

Rest in peace, Dove.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Was that me?

One of my Criminology essays

Someone who is interested in Criminology just wrote and asked me if I have any notes I can lend her. It was quite a while ago that I was at Cambridge (doing a Masters in Criminology), so who knows where the notes are! 

But digging in an old box about half an hour ago revealed some essays . . . all neatly written by hand! How did I do that? Thousands of words, without a scratch or blotch, in neat lines, with handwriting that is quite unlike what it is now.

It's as though I was a whole different person back then. The style of writing, the content, the use of terms, the way I wrote pages upon pages on police, child delinquency, etc. It all seems worlds away. I wouldn't know how to begin approaching these essay topics now (listed below).

1. The Royal Commission on Criminal Procedure suggested these criteria for the law relating to police powers—fairness, openness and practicability. How far are these satisfied by the provisions of Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 relating to the search of persons?

2. How and why do parental child-rearing techniques influence the development of delinquency in children?

3. Does feminist research have to be "on, by and for" women?

That was then. This is now. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

For those who didn't/don't know . . .

This image is an illustration, for those who didn't/don't know what a CD calendar is. It is a calendar (comprised of loose cards—one image per month) in a CD case. The case folds out to form a stand for your desk.

The first batch and extras sold like hotcakes. Orders are already coming in for more to be printed. Please place your order now (accepting orders until Monday).

The new batch of calendars will be printed by Wed/Thurs and delivered.  See calendar order details here

Thank you.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sold out and a great ride

I sent out the ad for the heart calendar yesterday and it is now sold out. Granted there were only 50 (four of which I am keeping), but still, I think that's pretty good.

Yesterday evening I went riding with a friend and her cousin in Gran Couva, one of my favourite places in TT because of its vibrant greenery, fresh air, peaceful spirit, rolling hills.

We started off from her cousin's house at around 5:00-ish. The ride took us up and down hills, past homes with open doors, windows and no burglar proofing. I always notice when I am in areas with no burglar proofing. In a country where many live in houses that look like jails, windows without bars says a lot about the community's level of safety, values and togetherness.

It was a verdant ride and the late afternoon sun coming from the west was streaming through the bamboo and leaves to our right, reminding me of stained glass in the Church of Nature.

Whizzing down hills, it was great feeling my jersey puffing up in the breeze . . . and riding up hill, pumping our thighs, I thought of yoga and those times when holding a posture seems difficult, but you go through it anyway and come out on the other side. 

Keep up and you will be kept up (Yogi Bhajan)

Maybe a total of about five or six cars, driving slowly (i.e. not speeding as they do up north and in the west), passed us on the road. I felt like I was back in "the good old days" where everything was more laid back and simple. Cool breeze, freedom, relaxation. I noted people lounging in hammocks under their houses, sitting on their steps, enjoying the fresh country air, having drinks, talking. It was perfect.

My body is thanking me for the experience. I had one of the deepest sleeps I've had in ages and woke up feeling like a new person.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Give Love

Sample (2 pages & cover of calendar): 
Please click on the image to see details more clearly.

No more sitting on the fence, wondering at the last minute what gifts to buy. 
Ideal as a Christmas/New Year's gift:

12 of my natural heart images put together in a compact desktop CD calendar.
A reminder that Love is all around us—a reflection of who we are.

Only $70 each.
Special limited edition.

Please place your order(s) early, while stocks last.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Yesterday evening, as I sat on the sofa in the Moksha Yoga Studio lobby (waiting to go in for the 6:30 POS Kundalini Yoga class), I was reading the book in the above image. A little boy dressed in his capoeira whites came and squashed up next to me.

"You choose all dem book?" he asked me, pointing to the stack of books on the coffee table.

"They're for whoever wants to read them," I said.

He reached forward, took one and started flicking through it, looking at the pictures.

I asked him how long he had been doing capoeira.

"Is too many years for me to count. I born wid it."

I asked him his age. Nine.

We sat in silence, looking at our books . . . or rather, he was looking at mine, even though his was open on his lap. At one point, when the page turned to reveal a particularly pretzel-ish posture, he looked up at me and asked in all seriousness: "Dem ting does be possible?"