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Friday, April 29, 2011

Part 3: Death, Dying and Re-Birth (for T)

For T, Part 3: Where Am I Going?

When the time comes for a spirit and soul to move on, remember that all endings are also beginnings. Blow your mind open to the big BIG picture. Heaven and Hell are not places, they are states of consciousness. Trust in the process, use your intuition, and remember some of the most important things cannot be see with the mortal eye.

This person you have loved and had experiences with; they are just moving on. To return to the quote that begins this series, from one of my favorite Guru's, Yoda says, “ . . . mourn them not, miss them not.”

A very advanced practice, indeed.

I close with the important question Kriyanandaji poses in his books; “Traveler in time, this is not your final resting place; what is it that you seek?”

If you have read all three parts of this blog, thank you for your infinite patience. If you have questions or comments, email me at

Deepest Blessings, and Shanti,


Part 2: Death, Dying and Re-Birth (for T)

For T, Part 2: Why Am I Here?

Now, there are many things that are specific to this lovely blue and green planet. This is not a complete list. There is the law of energy – anything that exists must be fed in some way. Which relates to the law of reciprocity – you must give and you must receive; nothing can be sustained that only gives or only takes. There is the law of gravity (we should all be pretty clear on that). And there is the law you may not have been told about -- the law of karma; meaning whatsoever you do, say or think to or about another, returns to you. The classic “you reap what you sow.”

All these laws can, of course, be transcended; there are verified stories that refute these laws; tales of saints who do not eat; who defy the law of gravity and levitate (read Yoganandaji’s Autobiography of a Yogi); and people can and do transcend their karma. But none of these feats are easy, my friends.

And so after a few attempts at wrapping yourself in matter and coming here, you started to create karma; you loved, you were loved; you hurt, you were hurt; you killed, you created, and on and on. You created desires and thought forms that are seeking fulfillment. Remember back to the first part – thoughts are things! They are creations and they take form (prakrati). And as lifetimes pass, and you choose time after time to return here and fix those mistakes, to fulfill those dreams and desires – and instead, you create more issues, more drama – more karma. You return again, and again, and again.

If you do not believe in reincarnation, that is fine – but that is one thing I will challenge you on, because I do have specific memories of past lives. It was even a part of the Christian doctrine until the Church decided people were not so willing to do the right thing when they figured they had another chance at bat. Again, do your own research; decide what you believe. What does born again mean to you?

When we decide we are ready to return to this school for the soul, as Kriyanandaji calls it, we have to choose certain things that we’re going to deal with – because we have so many! We have to pick people around us who will help us to achieve our goals; and we also tend in reincarnate with souls/spirits that we have karma with. For example, fall deeply in love with someone? You separate without feeling that the love between you was completely fulfilled? You draw that spirit to you when you return. The same with strong hatred. Foster a deep, abiding anger towards someone? It’s like sending them an energetic rope. They’ll be back in your life, and next time they might be your child, or your mother; seriously; the circumstances could be quite different. But whatever it is between you that needs to be resolved, you will be given your opportunity.

Each time we return to this place; we create a type of contract with the Universe to come here. This is where the natal chart of astrology enters into the spiritual practice. It is a map of what we have chosen to tackle in this lifetime; our blessings, and our obstacles. Our stumbling blocks and stepping stones. It indicates the timing of events and the flow of energy.

This current time in history is known in Hinduism as “Kali Yuga” (the Dark Age). Most of us incarnating now are a rather ambitious lot; we are coming in with grand plans to tackle some heavy karma. And the chart will show us – there will be group karma (the group meaning culture, family – any group you identify with); there will be individual karma. There will be karma that manifests in your outer life; there will be karma that manifests only in your mind. There will be karma from past lives; karma from the present life; and some karma you will create that cannot be brought to you in this lifetime. That’s set aside for the next incarnation. You will choose when to resolve it, when circumstances permit.

Choose. Remember this always. You choose. Another law of the Earth plane. There is a portion of free-will involved in all situations. You make choices. Those choices either resolve karma, create karma, or some lovely mix of the two. You choose -- to stand a deliver; to shrink in horror; to blame; to ignore; to fight; to surrender; to apply your wisdom, or say “who cares?” You choose.

You even choose your parents; the child will rotate the mother’s spine for about three months before birth, so that their spirit can see if their karma is resonate with the mother’s karma. A person has the karma to die at 5 and the mother does not have the karma to lose a young child, that child will not be born to that mother. Look at every person in your life and accept the responsibility. You have drawn this person into your life for some purpose, for some reason. What are they trying to teach you?

Sometimes this concept, this responsibility, is terrifying. We look at our circumstances, and we say NO; no, truly I would not have desired this experience, to have been with these individuals. We look at the incredible lack and struggles of people around the world; the poverty, the pain, the needless suffering. And it is not okay to sit back and think “oh, well, that person has that karma, so let them be in agony . . . .” That thought form alone creates karma.

Instead, cultivate the important spiritual practice of PATIENCE. For yourself, and everyone; we are all on a grand adventure. Our job is to remember why we came. Anyone you encounter deserves your respect. Anyone who hinders your progress, resolve the energy that exists between you with wisdom and walk away. (Or in some cases, RUN).

.... completed in the next post ....

Part 1: Death, Dying and Re-Birth (for T)

“Death is a natural part of life.

Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not.

Attachment leads to jealousy. The shadow of greed that is.” -- Yoda

For T; part 1 of 3; Who Am I?

Death. Transitioning. Leaving the Body. Whatever you call it, we humans struggle. The unknown terrifies us. We read books, we talk to people who seem to know what happens – but when the illness comes, once the body drops, we retreat to fear and trepidation. What happens? Where do we go? Is there a soul storage place for “good” ones and “bad” ones? Who defines good and the bad? And what about the rest of us that are neither good nor bad, but just somewhere in between? Yogic philosophy has helped to evolve my understanding.

I am not telling you what to believe; I am not even telling you things that I know beyond a doubt. I am telling you what I have been taught by wise people that I trust; what makes sense in my mind in my life (so far); and what resonates with my own soul experience as a seeker.

There are six major schools of yogic thought, and the Kriya lineage flows from the Sankaya school. There is one Divine Creator; one God. We are all a part of that Divine Creator. In the same way that water is all WATER. Even though some of it might create an ocean, and some might be sweat, and some might be an ice cube in your soda (organic, all natural soda, right?). It’s all still water. Separate out that ice cube, and it looks so different. Return it to its source, and it effortlessly merges with it. Our spirits, they are like that.

Might be a good time to define the difference between spirit and soul. In Kriya Yoga, the spirit is the actual piece of divinity that is your essence; the soul is the storage place of memories, and karma.

On the Earth plane, there is duality; that divine portion of us, spirit (in Sanskrit, purushra) and the matter (Sanskrit, prakrati). Matter includes everything you can see, as well as thought forms, etc.; everything that is NOT spirit, is matter.

At some point, we, as spiritual beings, a portion of the spiritual whole, found a being more balanced than any of the others we had ever met; more balanced than ourselves. We asked this divine being, how did you come to being so balanced? In such a pure state of deep knowledge of yourself? And he/she told us, look, I made a creation; a mirror in which to come to know myself; this Universe. And we, being curious, asked if we could take form to come to know ourselves; to enmesh ourselves in matter to experience this creation. And we did. And as we did so, we became very attached to our earthly existence and the physical pleasures and sensations of this realm. The more attached we became, the more we continued to draw ourselves back here.

. . . . . continued in the next blog . . . .

Friday, April 22, 2011


Encountered some grumpy people this week? Yep, me, too.

Being a yogi, I look at it in terms of energy. I am sensitive to other people’s energies; if I am around an angry person, it makes me anxious, even if they are not angry with me. If someone is sad, my heart breaks for them. When someone driving lays on the horn, it makes my heart race. Some people are impervious to these types of encounters, but I am not.

The older I get the more capable of maintaining some separation between other people’s emotions and mine. It is a practice to detach from emotionality so that you can see things clearly, and offer assistance.

It is kinda like if a doctor saw you wounded and got so upset about it she couldn’t do what needed to be done to help you. Even if it is not a crisis situation, day-in-day-out interactions with difficult people sucks your personal prana (energy, chi, whatever you like to call it) supply dry.

One of your first go-to solutions should be water; water is magical, there is nothing else like it on the planet. Drinking water helps to remove impurities, whether they are physical or energetic; add a squeeze of fresh lemon to really move things out.

Frequent showers help; visualize negativity flowing off of you like dirt. Use the power of intention. When I shower I always say “I release back to the Universe the pain, the suffering and the fear that I’ve absorbed from my fellow beings and I neutralize that pain, that suffering and that fear.” Not everyone needs to go to that level, but because of the work I do, extra care is required.

Baths are great as well, but since you are soaking, it’s a good idea to add Epsom salts to the bath; they really draw out impurities and neutralize negative thought forms that may have become stuck in your energy field. Add a couple drops of essential oil, and you’ve got yourself a relaxing spa moment; just remember to use your intention again, don’t just sit there inspecting the grout.

Cover your chakras; I always think it is a little unfair that businessmen normally wear a silk tie that covers their throat chakra on down; they are energetically protected because silk insulates. For women, get on the Winter Silks website and get yourself a silk camisole or two. They are inexpensive (though they have to be hand washed, ugh), good to wear if you are going to be somewhere where there is a lot of stressed out people. They even sell silk sweaters and other garments. A silk scarf around the throat and chest area would work well.

Covering your heart or throat chakra with a stone or medallion is also a great idea and very protective. Some stones are more protective than others (ex: amethyst), so take a few minutes to ponder your choices (if you live near downtown Roanoke, Seeds of Light on the Market has some beautiful reasonably priced ones in the cases on the wall behind the cash register). Try it, you will be surprised how much it helps.

Wearing something around your wrist covers the small chakras there; it is one of the reasons we Kriya yogis wear malas on our wrists. Look back at drawings from ancient times; people often wore some type of bracelet or cuff on their wrists.

If you have an argument in your home or office, light a stick of sandalwood incense, or spray some rosewater around to dissipate the negative energy. Ever noticed there are certain stores or houses that are always for sale or for rent? No business can ever make a go there? It’s all about the negative energy. And intention! When I purify a space I usually say in my mind “I release from this space any and all negative energies and entities, and I bring in love and light.”

Finally, cultivate your self-awareness. Work on your ability to be self-contained, and how to breathe through difficult situations and personalities. Own your ability to protect yourself; to even just visualize yourself being wrapped in golden-white light, or whatever color you perceive as protective. Thoughts are things; use them wisely.



Thursday, April 21, 2011


Usually, I wear my hair pulled back into a ponytail; I prefer the no “ouch” covered hair bands with little grippies on them so it stays put. Not one to fiddle around with hair. Just want it out of my face when I practice and teach.

Last Summer my supply dwindled to one hair band. Some misplaced; some broke; I like to pretend my daughters commandeered the rest.

The thing is, when I had only one hairband, I was really good at keeping up with it. Made sure it was in the same place every night so I could put it on in the morning; if I pulled it out, I put it on my wrist. Very careful, because there wasn’t another one; I kept that one band for many, many months.

This month I purchased another pack of bands. And it is interesting how frivolous I have been with those new bands. Instead of going from the bathroom to the bedroom to find the band I wore last night, I’ve been just whipping out a new band. They are everyone; bedroom, bathroom, car, purse.

Who cares, you might say, about my losing hairbands? Well, it has started to remind me of waste in general; of taking things for granted. It makes me think of Japan, and the suffering people of Japan; and particularly, the problems with the nuclear power plants. The man-made problem of the power plants has the potential to be much worse than the horror caused by the earthquake and tsunami.

Why, I wonder, don’t we all have solar panels on our roofs? Why are we dependent upon an energy source we scarcely understand and can barely contain for our energy needs? We have 104 nuclear power plants in this country. I had no idea.

Instead of railing against them, I turn the gaze around on myself and realize, I am the reason that they build those plants. They build those plants to feed my lifestyle. The way of many lights and electronics and gizmos and gadgets.

Got up the other night at 2:30 am and came to the kitchen to get a glass of water. The glowing stove clock, microwave clock, printer button, computer modem, cd player, coffee maker; geez, I could have probably read a book in there. Maybe it is time to trim.

We have five clock radios in this house; that is unnecessary. The microwave, do we really “need” it? Could I maybe throw more clothes over the line instead of using the dryer?

The question is, will I use wisdom and change my lifestyle, or wait and be forced to change?



Sunday, April 10, 2011

Seven Springs Farm

I am a person with good intentions. A great starter, but not much of a finisher. My life has been littered with projects begun and abandoned.

This time of year, my good intentions turn to the garden. I love to dig in the dirt. My mother-in-law likes to say that I could put a stick in the ground and it would grow for me. In my secret heart of hearts, I cherish this idea.

The reality of my life right now is that I have neither the space, sun, soil or time for a proper vegetable garden. Herbs, oh yes; a few flowers, indeed. But a properly bountiful vegetable garden, the kind that keeps a family of five eating well for a season; that takes tending and nurturing; time and attention. Preparation, preparation, preparation.

And a load of back-breaking work.

Over the years, I have learned that organic vegetable gardening is not something you can do half way. So I plant a bunch of basil, a few tomatoes, and turn to a local cooperative farm to keep us in fresh, fabulous vegetables.

Polly, the farmer at Seven Springs Farm in Floyd, Virginia, has been gardening for . . . well, forever it seems. Eternally optimistic (a requirement for someone earning their living in such a manner), incredibly talented, she (along with help from her husband and a couple interns) somehow coaxes enough gorgeous produce from her carefully amended and tended soil each Summer to feed over 100 families. And not just in the warm months. The farm shares from Seven Springs span from May into December. Starting out with the freshest greens, garlic scapes and other delectables you will never find at the local grocer, and wrapping up the season with keeper veggies like squash, garlic and potatoes.

If you live in the Roanoke area, Blacksburg or Floyd, and you want a piece of this magic; to know who grows your food; to know that care is taken not to use genetically modified seeds; that your food has not been sprayed with chemical gunk; to have the opportunity to work a few hours at the farm in exchange for a portion of your food; NOW is the time to sign-up. You’ve only got a couple weeks left to grab a spot; for more check out

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Return from Retreat

Just returned from a beautiful three-day sound healing retreat at the Stillheart Institute. Gorgeous place in the redwood forests of California. The retreat was led by my sister in spirit, Camella Nair. Check out her site at

I have a few observations from my travels.

*Note to self: do not wear a long, full, flowy, hippy-skirt to the airport. Unless you seek to experience a full leg up-to-the-crotch pat down by a large woman wearing blue plastic gloves. Though, I guess it could have just been the karmic result of me observing the woman in front of me wearing a tight micro-mini corduroy skirt and thinking “who travels comfortably in something like that?”

*The Roanoke airport is dead as a doornail; except, when it isn’t. After years of flying out of here, I showed up less than an hour before my flight and had to stand in line in security forever. How many 6:00 am flights can there be? I made the flight; my luggage, however, did not.

*Is there anyone on the planet who fits comfortably in an airplane seat? Even with my sweater balled up to support my lumbar, the headrest hits me right at the top of the back of my head. Five hours of jalandhara bandha, anyone?

*When you go on retreat with yoga people, even if you don’t know a soul, you will leave with a bunch of new friends and a deep sense of community and connectedness.

*Tree hugging is underrated.

*Why when I travel do I take so many books? I slipped a couple into my luggage, had two in my purse, and then a pile that I threw in at the last minute. SEVEN books, including my dream journal. For four days. Guess I am an optimist.

*I need to remember: it is so hard to make the time for myself; to get away. To leave the family, spend the money, whatever. But it is an important part of keeping me centered, healthy, happy and on the path.

Wish me luck on re-entry . . . .


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