this moment of being

right now, in this moment, I wonder how much longer I can do this - this being my current every day life. I am tired. and I don't mean just physically - I mean in every way a human being, a soul, can be tired. when my menstrual cycle is almost ten days late I go and buy a pregnancy test. my husband says it's impossible - we don't even have sex (this is not because we are such strict devotees... we're just too tired). he says I'm just stressed. it's stress. I shrug it off - no, it's not stress... I don't feel stressed. I feel normal. tired and tense is normal. duh.
the test comes out negative. I get my period a day later. stress. right.
and then I want to cry. because this is my life. my life is two jobs. my life is hardly seeing my husband. my life is coming home to my daughter already in bed, half-asleep. my life is too tired to cook so just grab anything. my life is never chanting. my life is never think of Krsna. my life - this life - is not what it was supposed to be. but it is what I deserve, what I owe.
and I just wonder if I will make it to my last payment.


in honor of election day

"People are thinking that with the change of some politician something new will be and done and they will be happy [...] The leaders are spiritually blind: they do not know the ultimate goal of life. If people are blind and their leaders are also blind, what will be the result? If a blind man leads one hundred other blind men across the street, certainly there will be some accident. But if the leader can see, he can lead hundreds and thousands of men safely."

Srila Prabhupada, from The Quest for Enlightenment

oh, but please, Krsna, don't let McCain win.


I should have just concentrated on the holy name.

today I decided to take a sick day and stay home. I'm not actually sick (surprise), but rather needed a day to decompress and get a few things done around the house. I didn't actually accomplish everything, especially since I had no choice but to go to my evening job. it was a nice day off none-the-less.

I usually get up around 5:30am on a regular work day as I have to be out of the house by 7ish and walking into work no later then 7:30. today I slept until 6:45ish - not so late, but not so early either. once madhavi was out the door to school and my husband was gone for work, I sat down to chant a little bit of hare krishna. hey, why not?

it probably would have been nice if I had even attempted to think about or concentrate on the holy name/krishna while I was chanting, but instead I was thinking how much I really dislike going to work. my dream would be to wake up around 6 every morning, get madhavi and my husband off for the day, and then spend the rest of the day chanting, cleaning, cooking, and snuggling with my dog. I might consider doing some part-time counseling/teaching work as well - after all, I should pull some financial weight - but really, I just want to be a home-body. all of this working I do, all of this schooling - it just seems so pointless in the grand scheme of things...I love going to school, don't get me wrong - but I don't really ever want to do anything with it. I really just like to learn - not actually apply that learning to real life. I know, sad.



so simple

[...] And if you simply make this determined vow - "I shall not allow my tongue to taste anything not offered to Krsna and shall always engage my tongue in chanting Hare Krsna" - then all perfection is in your grasp. All perfection. Two simple things: don't eat anything not offered to Krsna, and always chant Hare Krsna. That's all.

Srila Prabhupada, from The Quest for Enlightenment


no room to breathe.

there is a pile of papers to be filed. bills to be sorted through. essays for grading. act iv of othello to be read. a carpet to be vacuumed. a floor to be swept. dusty shelves for wiping. dirty clothes for washing. project runway, antm, law and order, and countless episodes of oprah, dr. phil, and the dog whisperer to be watched. an entire thesis project to be written, proofread, and completed. empty cupboards and a refrigerator need stocking. a daughter, husband, dog, and deities that require attention. rounds to be chanted, always. things to remember, things to forget, things to just plain ignore.
not enough time in the day.
in this life.
no room to breathe.


The Quest for Enlightenment and a vow to not make vows.

For those of you non-Hare Krishna's out there, every year we have a month that is similar to the Catholic month of Lent. As you might be aware, Catholics observe Lent around Easter time and during that time choose to "give something up" in honor of Jesus' resurrection (actually, I don't know the real history behind Lent... this is just my speculation - but you get my drift). During our month, Karttika, we take vows (or vratas) in order to enhance our spiritual life. It's not necessarily always giving something up for us - sometimes it's doing something more. Like one year I gave up TV for an entire month - though I did allow myself to watch videos about Krishna (I watched a lot of animated Ramayana that month...). I think that same year I vowed to only wear devotional Indian clothing, with the exception of the uniform I had to wear to work. I remember I was still in college at the time and would go to class in a sari and tilaka. I also avoided seeing my parents for that whole month so I wouldn't freak them out. ha! those were the days...
anyway, I digress. so yesterday was the first day of Karttika, the most holy and auspicious month in the eastern/Indian calendar. it is said that whatever vow one makes, the benefit is multiplied a zillion times if it is completed during that month. so the vrata part is especially important. I don't much like making vows. I've broken too many and disappointed myself and my guru too much to want to pursue actually making any more. but I also understand the value of doing the austerity and forcing it for just a little bit of time. still, I was hesitant leading up to yesterday. I even told my husband I didn't think I would make a vow this year. I thought maybe my vow would be not to make any vows. he was a little taken aback by my lack of enthusiasm. "Not even something simple? Increased chanting?" No. not even that.
you see, I have so many responsibilities as it is right now. part of my problem is that I take on more than I should. then I get super stressed out trying to accomplish all of the things I need to accomplish. and when I start thinking of all of the little vows I could take just for the sake of taking a vow and making possible and more-than-likely-un-noticeable spiritual advancement, my mind starts to reel - I am, after all, an overachiever maniac. so I said, no - no vows this year.

and then Krishna decided to give me a message.

so, some background.

as you may know, I adjunct for Ocean County College teaching several English courses there. in the stairwells in some of the buildings you can find this huge cardboard boxes that are meant for text book donations - so that the needy can have used text books, I suppose. I always walk passed these boxes and wonder if anyone ever puts anything in them. they look all beat up and abused. I'm always too embarrassed to look for some reason - I don't know why. but I have a stack of used text books (sitting right next to me now, actually) that I have had no luck selling. I have kept meaning to bring the books with me to put in one of these boxes, but just never remember to do it.

and then... yesterday as I was walking out of my class I saw one of these boxes - just minding its own business. there was no one around, so I decided to go look inside. and this is what I saw immediately:

there was Sri Krishna Himself looking up at me. seriously people - what are the chances that I would look in the one box that had a prabhupada book in it? this was a sign for sure!

now who am I to interpret the message of God? I think there's lots of ways to pick this apart - but I think, as my husband told me, I should take this as Krishna giving me a small vrata to follow. there must be something in this book - this particular book - that I am meant to hear/know. so I'll keep it simple - just read a little bit every day. hopefully it will become obvious what Krishna wants me to know.

but seriously, how weird!?!?!

p.s. - I am doing other things to honor this special month, but I am purposely not calling them vows, just in case for some reason I cannot complete them everyday.


hang in there

I fell in love with both reading and writing in my formative years because of the excessive dysfunction around me. I devoured fiction because it brought me away from reality. I wrote because of the reality I could create. they were both ways to escape what was real.
what is real now is that those ways to escape sometimes become the things I want to escape. I don't often read or write for pleasure anymore. even the fiction I read is connected to work most of the time. sure, I'd love to read flannery o'connor for pleasure - but really I'm studying her because I have to teach her. and writing... well, this blog is the extent of my "creative" writing these days (and we all know how much I do that!).
what to do? not much, I suppose. just "hang in there" like the little kitten in the 80s kindergarten poster said. this too shall pass (not to use another cliche...) and perhaps some day soon, when the degree-seeking-ocd-student-maniac-two-jobs-no-time days are long gone, I will be able to read the long list of fiction titles and write a few poems. until then, I guess I'll just "hang in there".


little loca

a few days ago I decided to try to wear eye shadow. I know, it sounds kind of weird. I've been doing eye liner and mascara for over a year now and I decided to finally take the next step. but here's a little secret: I don't know anything about make-up. and honestly, if you've ever seen my skillz, you would know I don't have any skillz and that really it's no secret that I don't know what the heck I'm doing.
so anyway, in this world of technology I decided to google "how to put on eye shadow". from that I was directed to a youtube video - which I watched about 30 seconds of because it was so insanely stupid and boring. while it was running and I wasn't watching it I was perusing the related video links on the right side of the page. I saw a video about putting on eye liner and thought I would take a gander... and that's how I was introduced to the world of Little Loca.
Little Loca is the youtube personality of film maker Stevie Ryan...and she is freakin hysterical! I've been sitting here for a good hour mesmerized by her short film clips and video blogs. so if you're into what my husband would call tamo guna humor, then totally check her out. oh, have I mentioned that my husband, jayadeva dasa, has a blog now? you should check that out, too, while you're at it.


ph-log world.

are there such things as phlogs? photo blogs? I thought I would share part of my daily life via photos. so here are some images that give you a window into my daily work world: my office. enjoy.
crappy but new hp laptop; vangough for president; bamboo that is somehow still alive.

vangough and hello kitty, perfect together.
comfy slippers for when the heels become too much.

grading. grrr.
tazo zen green, frida kahlo, and my heart.
pensive posing.


getting back on the wagon

my friend devadeva of sabjimata jams keeps three active blogs. she writes almost every day. she's a mother, a jam maker, chef extraordanaire. point: she does have things to do other than writing. yet somehow, she still makes the time.
I think, really, I am just a bit lazy. I have always been that way about writing. this is pretty silly considering I have always identified myself first and foremost as a writer. but why dwell on it? why not just do it?

a few months ago I was in barnes and noble and I bought a copy of the magazine Yoga+. it is an attractive magazine - very nicely layed out, nice stock of paper, visually appealing, etc. I was especially drawn into an article about vastu...not because I am interested in vastu necessarily, but because the pictures were so beautiful. I would post them, except their website doesn't have the photos and I'm too lazy (ahem!) to go and take pictures of the pictures. the rooms were so serene and calming...and I felt that just from the pictures!
when I went back to work a few weeks ago I was greeted with a brand new laptop. this was exciting because I didn't have to use my slow dinosaur laptop any more, but it also meant I had to reload pictures for my screen-saver (yes, that was my first concern...). my old laptop had lots of different pictures of krishna that would flash and swirl about...but I thought maybe it was time for a change. so I went searching for serene interior decorating/architecture pictures. I wanted to be able to bring myself to another place - a happy, calm sanctuary.

and that's how I found Rang Decor. I love this blog. the author/decorator describes it as 'interior ideas predominately indian'. and it's just a cornucopia of goodies. exploring that blog brought me to a million other little sites with fabrics (drool!) and beautiful art. so please, do explore!
it also made me think of my favorite decorating in my own home. I really love this designer silk pillow I bought in delhi last year. I originally bought it for my daughter's room, but loved it so much that I decided to put it on my own bed. it goes so nicely, don't you think?

I think I'll go snuggle with it now.


summer nights

there aren't many things I like/enjoy about summer. my bodily constitution just isn't down with heat and sweat and mosquitos (who love me) and all of the other stuff that comes along with the season. I do, however, love cool summer nights. one of my favorite things is driving at night with my windows down while the cool breeze engulfs my being. it brings me back to the summer of '96 - the first summer I had a drivers license. I would drive around aimlessly, down the Bridge Ave Extension (Jersey Shore locals will know these directions...) to route 88, making my way towards the bridge - over to Point Plesant, down to the road that runs along the beach. I would start at what my friends and I would call the "jetty" and then drive my way down to the end of the Point boardwalk. I guess it's what some would call "cruising", but I just thought of it as a way to clear my head - breathing the salt air, getting in touch with my western astrological water sign. well, that was back when my parents paid for my gas and it was only .89 a gallon (um, yes, that's eight-nine cents! like as in, under one dollar!) now that I pay for my own gas and it's almost $4.00 a gallon, I don't do any of that aimless driving. I live farther from the beach these days, so my only summer night driving enjoyment happens when I am on my way home from somewhere late at night. I'll take that, I suppose.


my summer soundtrack

this is pretty mundane, but I always like to share when I find things I think are super. so I have had some great ladies as my soundtrack this summer. the first came from a random visit to my friend kjones' myspace. he had the video for "the con" by tegan and sara on his page and I was instantly in love. and while "the con" is an incredible album, I've actually spent most of the summer listening to "so jealous", an earlier album. this is one of my favorites...

more recently I've fallen in love with anna ternheim. I was in barnes and noble one night (how unusual!) and heard a song while shopping... I meandered into the music section and asked the associate what was playing... low and behold a little swedish delight.



I hope you haven't given up on me.

today I realized that writing on this blog is sometimes like going to the gym. once you've stopped going, it's hard to get back into the swing of things. the thought of going is even sometimes painful. but once you start going again you think to yourself, "why haven't I been coming here all along? it's not so bad after all!"

so that brings me here. it's really not so hard to just write, but for some reason my mind seems to think it takes so much energy. what have I been up to for the more than a month of my absence...? well, lots of sleeping in. lots of that. I've started going to regular yoga classes several times a week, which I truly and thoroughly enjoy. oh, and procrastinating - I've been doing lots and lots of that. I told myself that I was going to devote my summer to finishing all of my data collection for my thesis and as much of the paper as I possibly could so that it would be smooth sailing when I have to go back to work and school. yea, well, with the exception of completing three interviews, I haven't done much else. I still have to arrange several more interviews and start transcribing them for analysis. that's the hard part, really. and it's not even hard. it's just excessively time consuming. uggg!

on one of my recent trips to barnes and noble (a place of great relaxation for me...) I came across this book of little crocheted animals. I decided I wanted to re-learn how to crochet and make some of these little devils. they're so cute and I think it might be relaxing. but it also has the potential to be frustrating (since it will probably be hard) and even depressing (if I have to give up on it or have no time to do it). so we'll see.ok, enough for now. I don't want to spoil you too much my first time back.


let the fasting begin.

so I'm off once again on the ten day cleansing/fasting voyage. it's been quite a while since I've truly attempted to do the ten day master cleanse, and I think now the time is finally right. today I started and will continue on until july 10. then after that I will begin a second cleanse for 21 days in which I will refrain from gluten, any animal products (including dairy), caffeine, and sugar. this cleanse has been made popular via the demi-goddess we know as Oprah who featured Kathy Freston's book Quantum Wellness on her show a month or so ago. Oprah committed to doing the cleanse and even started a blog about it (though I have to be honest, I got very bored of her blog quite quickly). I'm thinking the Quantum Wellness cleanse might be a little tougher than the master cleanse. it's going to be challenging to be so focused on what I can and can't eat and trying to replace things I love, like cheese and pasta, with approved substitutes. I have faith I can do it, and I'm looking forward to how I'm going to feel on August 1.

the last time I attempted the cleanse for ten days was back in december - which was also why/when I started this blog. I thought a lot about whether or not to blog this experience and decided that while I won't avoid talking about it if it comes into my brain, I also don't want to focus on it. I want to try to spend this time creating more positive intentions for my life. I want to try to become more aware of myself, my life, my world. I have a few ideas of how I'm going to attempt this, but in the end I have faith that some insight will come naturally through the next 31 days of cleansing.


wisdom in a mug.

last thursday was my last official day at work for the school year. we had a department meeting in the morning to discuss next year's schedule and my boss misunderstood something I said and decided to dump his personal "stuff" all over me. that's really a long story, but the point of me bringing it up is that I went all emotional. even though I knew I didn't really do anything wrong, his reaction to me and what he said to me was like a slap in the face. it got my mind and ego going crazy - not outloud, but inside my head. I'm way too professional to go off on my boss, so I just let it all out inside... which lead to my emo rest of the day. I'm an ugly crier, even when I don't really cry - my eyes get all big and puffy and red, as well as around my mouth and nose. it's so not pretty.

anyway, in my distress I was thinking a lot about my options. I seriously considered just quitting. I thought I'd rather be homeless than work for such an ass or for a place that doesn't value what is best for it's students. then I weighed what that would mean in my life - the possibility of not finding another job, burning too many bridges, no health insurance/income, etc. so I started praying to krishna to please give me a sign of what I should do. then I started thinking about what that meant... a sign. it's not like god was going to start talking to me or anything, so how would I know?

ok - now a bit of more back story. I have this problem (ok, a lot of problems...) where sometimes I will see something in a store and really want it. but then I will talk myself out of buying it, thinking it is too expensive or I just don't need it, or whatever the case is. so a month or so ago I was in starbucks and they had these cute little handmade looking mugs. they were obviously meant for end of the school year gift giving as one said "inspire" and one said "grow". they were $9.99 each - which I find to be a bit steep for mugs. I thought to myself that even though I liked them, I shouldn't get them because what the heck do I need with two more mugs in my already packed kitchen cabinets? so I walked away from them... physically that is. then, as it sometimes happens with me, I couldn't stop thinking about these freakin' stupid mugs. but by the time I talked myself into getting them they were practically impossible to find! I must have went to five or six different starbucks just trying to find these mugs. as a last resort I tried the starbucks that is inside my local stop and shop, and low and behold there was the pink "inspire" mug - on clearance nonetheless! I was so excited... but the green "grow" mug was no where to be found. I looked all over that little kiosk and it simply wasn't there. oh well, I shrugged my shoulders and decided it must not have been in the fates for me to have both. c'est la vie.

some more time went by, and then it was last thursday. on my way home from my crap-ass day at work, I needed to stop at stop and shop to get some provisions for our trip to new vrindavan. as I walked past the starbucks kiosk I was looking downward....and there it was - pushed all the way towards the back of the shelf - all the way - my green "grow" mug. immediately I heard krishna talking to me through that mug... "grow".

but what does he mean, "grow"? how? in what way? quit my job and grow somewhere else? stay, grow, and transcend? oh, who knows. but what matters is that I knew in that instant that he was talking to me, answering my prayers. I may not always know what krishna is trying to tell me, but just knowing he is there is comforting enough.


and then it was really like vrindavan...

this past weekend I was fortunate enough to attend the second annual 24 hour kirtan at new vrindavan in west virginia. I had never been to nv before, and I have to admit (in a rather ashamed way) that I had a very (what's the word?) skewed vision in my head of what nv was going to be like. I know, I know - it's even weird to imagine that after being a "hare krishna" for more than ten years, I had never been to the most famous hk temple in north america. but let's face it - for the most part, nv isn't famous for many good reasons - those beyond the palace of gold. anyway - so I really had no idea what I was stepping into - I only had the vision I had conjured up based on scary and tweaked stories I had heard...monkey on a stick and holy cow swami not withstanding. I had also been talking to a friend a week before my trip and she mentioned how the lodge, where I was staying, wasn't really all that nice...and for someone like me - one who absolutely craves...no needs certain comforts for survival, I wasn't really looking forward to my accommodations either.

well, look who was a fool. yes, that would be me. now I really know why new vrindavan dham is so famous. it's so... so... well, just beautiful. both in appearance and spirit. it turns out that the lodge isn't so bad afterall. yes, I will admit, co-ed dormatory style - not having a private bathroom for your room - can be a little uncomfortable (I don't know if I will ever be able to erase the picture I now have seared into my head of a tall german brahmacari I know looking for a shower at 6am in a mini-skirt gumpsha (sp?)). but really, who was there to sleep? this was a 24 hour kirtan after all!

so we arrived on friday evening and had dinner at govinda's snack bar - yummy. and how cool is it that they have their own health food store? and this isn't just some skimpy little place.... they had cookie bars (oh double yum!) and the ever-coveted vegan marshmallows. oh, and the dosa hut! how cool! so anywho, we pretty much hung out for a bit... walked up to the palace, visited the goshal, and just relaxed.

at around 8:45 the next morning the festivities began. they started off the kirtan with a little auspicious mantra chanting and some coconut breaking. and then it started...wow, I can't even remember right now who started - or maybe I never knew, because there were so many people there that I couldn't really see.

and so it went on literally all day - chanting hare krishna. fast. slow. loud. and louder. devotees from alachua, acuyta gopi, ananta govinda, madhava, radhanatha swami, niranjana swami, sivarama swami.... the holy name just pouring out, so delicious.

and then it was really like vrindavan... I was taking a bit of a break... having a little bit of govinda's snack bar very veggie pizza when it happened. the lights flickered. once, twice... and then they were gone. just like in vrindavan, in an instant, it was gone. rain poured, wind blew, and it was a teeny tiny bit dark. I say teeny tiny because at that time it was still late evening...oh, maybe 7, 8pm. the only difference was that in new vrindavan, unlike the real vrindavan, there are no generators. nope, it was dark. and getting darker.

I kind of expected it to just kick right back on any minute... after a few hours it seemed evident that it wasn't going to. kisori and gopa headed out to wal-mart to get some flash lights, because really, it was pitch black in the lodge. unfortunately, the deities were supposed to go out on a swan boat ride and the kirtan was going to move from the temple room to the palace, but that never happened because of the rain. that was kind of sad. but kisori made a good point - maybe radha-vrindavancandra and company wanted the kirtan to stay. and it was sooo sweet in the dark. so sweet.

the next morning I got up around 7ish. no electricity still. which also meant no hot water. but it was ok...a small austerity I could handle - because I woke up to the beautiful singing of acuyta gopi practically right outside my window... and then it was karnamrita - so absolutely spectacular I could cry just thinking about it. and when I made it outside, wrapped in my cadar, it was so much like vraj. the mist hung in the air with that slight chill and if I closed my eyes, I was so there. from karnamrita it went to madhava prabhu... and then to the grand finale - radhanath swami, who proceeded to sing the vrindavan morning tune (you know, the one they sing for vibhavari sesa).

my only regret is that I didn't spend more time in the kirtan. I'm not so advanced that I can sit for 24 hours in bhajans. I was in and out, but still think I got something. when I first got there I told gopal (the amazing guy who runs the whole show) that I had come by myself (sans husband and daughter) because I wanted to try to absorb myself - to get a little taste. after everything was over I ran into gopal coming out of the temple and he said to me, "so, did you get anything?" and we both laughed a little and I said, "yes, a little something" and pinched my fingers, as if to measure, but they were still touching. I wouldn't say I really absorbed myself, but I tried to be there, in the moment of hearing the holy name as much as I could get myself to. this is a struggle for me... but I am still praying to krishna to not give up on me...


my husband.

today I thought I would post a few words of praise for my husband, one of the best step-dads ever. my daughter was a little over two years old when he and I got together. they hit it off immediately and have been bff ever since. they both have a ridiculously silly sense of humor and act like they're three (sorry, I'm just poking fun at him... ;) ). but really, what makes him a great step-dad and an incredible husband is how he takes care of her - she who is not even his flesh and blood. for a few years now he has gotten her ready for school every day - taken her there... some times picked her up. watched her while I was at work or at school. fed her. tolerated her. laughed with her. kissed boo-boos. played games with her. painted with her. taught her abstract krishna-conscious concepts, as well as the basics. all of this while working and going to school... oh and serving my lazy butt. I couldn't ask for a better man to take care of me and my daughter. Krishna has truly blessed me. I'm so lucky.


I really am avoiding you.

you know how I usually make some excuse about why I haven't been writing? and then I usually say it isn't personal, I'm not avoiding you? well, ok, it's still not personal, but I am avoiding you this time.

I've written a few blog entries in my head (remember I said I talk to you all of the time in my head?) and all of them have been so insanely depressing that I haven't been able to get myself to actually physically write them. trust me, I have had plenty of time to do so, which is how I know I'm just plain avoiding you.

I'm doing a lot of internal self-work these days. I've been reading two books, both of which I came across during my Oprah watching (yes, I do that regularly...I almost feel like apologizing, but come on, there are worse things I could be doing with my time (as well as better)). I'm working my way through Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth and Kathy Freston's Quantum Wellness. Both are very psuedo-spiritual, but super mode of goodness. I'm relating a lot to the ideas Tolle presents about the ego, and removing oneself from it - relating so well that it's really souring my life. it's a good thing, really - because I need it, but it's still super uncomfortable. it's making me realize how attached I am to stupid, stupid things - things, like clothes, and things like what you think about me. anyway, that's a whole other thing. I don't really want to get into it now because, honestly, Kathy Griffin's My Life on the D-List is about to come on and I want to watch it. Ok - see, usually I would have just said "Oh, because I'm tired" so you wouldn't think I'm such a loser that I'm going to stop writing to go watch tv - but, heck, that's what I'm going to do. and why am I so attached to what you may or may not (probably don't!) think?!?! oh, that evil little ego!

so, as you can see, I've got a lot going on in my busy little mind. but I'm trying to save you from the depressing, self loating crap. because really, that's all it is - crap.


miscellaneous stuff...promos, etc.

see, I told you I'm horrible at keeping promises... so it took me two days to get my self up and writing again. it has been kind of hectic lately though...

a few orders of business. first, my friend dhanya is dancing in new york this weekend at a place in soho. she's incredibly talented, and anyone who knows her will testify to the fact that she is one of the sweetest, kindest, and most caring devotees out there. anyway, if you're around tomorrow or sunday and need some entertainment, I suggest checking it out. here is the flyer they have going around, and you can also check out the Trinayan Collective site for info.

you probably either know or know of Satyaraj das - one of ISKCON's most prominent scholars and accomplished writers. he is putting out a new book called "The Yoga of Kirtan" that he is quite excited about. Satyaraj has always been very supportive of me and guided me many times in my spiritual life, so I thought the least I could do was give his new endeavor a plug. I haven't seen the book yet, but from what I've heard it's going to be incredible - something like over 500 pages of interviews with the top kirtaniya's of our time, plus a CD with some rare recordings. can't go wrong with that! Check out this link for an interview with Satyaraj Prabhu and ordering info.

while I'm at it... I might as well throw in a shout out to for my friend Devadeva dasi. You might know or know of her as well. she's the jam queen. I can tell you first hand how scrumptious her jams are. I've personally had the strawberry... and I'm thinking of checking into the rose petal jam she's been talking so much about... anywho - her company is Sabjimata Jams and Preserves, and what I appreciate the most is her dedication to quality and the human touch. her logo is "buy human made" - I think that says it all.

ok, I wanted to get some deep philosophy in, but I need to figure out what's for dinner. I'll go into my new blog name soon....I'd promise, but you already know how that goes...

oh...one more thing. madhavi graduated kindergarten today. I'm so, so proud of her accomplishments this year. here's a pic... around her neck is her special "citizenship" award.


I surrender...

...to the fact that I suck at making vows. so I thought it was time to change the name of the blog. why pretend that I will actually write every day when I've never been able to do that?

if it wasn't almost 10pm, I would completely explain my new choice. but it is almost 10pm and I just got home from school and I just can't right now. but I have lots of things I want to talk about... including promoting some friends new endeavours. so stayed tuned, I promise something tomorrow - promise! (ok, this is a promise I will keep... for real)


brown rice: an update

so apparently god loves me after all. I tried the saveur directions for cooking (which, incidentally, were almost the same to the ones devadeva posted) and my premier batch came out quite nicely. I have to say, it was a little more cooked than I would have liked - I think if I take it off the heat a few minutes earlier it will be perfect - but overall, I'm just glad I found something that works. yeay, whole grains! if you'd like to check out the directions, you can find them here.

I had a bunch of stuff in my head that I wanted to write about - but I'm kind of tired. I made a vow that I would walk three miles a day for a whole week - just to see if I could do it, and I've been doing really well so far. though I am afraid I might have to break it tomorrow because I don't think I will have the hour to spare - but I am meeting with my yoga "teacher" tomorrow, so I think an hour of yoga is a good substitute. anyway, my point was that I'm tuckered out from my walk tonight, so I'm off to bed.


srimati radharani

I called my husband from work today (he was home) to tell him about a job listing I found in the paper. he listened... or pretended...and then out of no where said, "honey, srimati radharani is manifesting!"
I knew he had decided to start painting the radha-krishna deities we purchased while in vraj a few months ago.
they are beautiful in 8 inch soap stone. the way we went about acquiring them is a whole story in and of itself - it's not all that interesting, so I'll move on...
anyway, when I came home and saw them I was taken aback. unpainted they were beautiful; now they are just exquisite. I don't think it's just because my husband is an exceptional artist - he is, no doubt - but I think also that radharani is blessing us with her mercy (oh, yes, krishna too).
I've been struggling with my chanting for a long time now... hmmm, the past 7 years? after my husband was done painting them for the night, he put them on the altar - not to be worshipped (they don't even have any clothes yet), but just for a place to rest until he can put them away. so I decided to go and chant before them. I can't claim it was the most attentive or pure or perfect round I've ever chanted, but I felt something while I was staring at her beautiful face. something that made chanting attractive, tasteful, even if just for a moment.

I was going to take a picture and post it. but I think I should wait. I don't think it would be right to put it up now, when they are not finished or dressed.

oh, and just so you don't think I'm too biased - krishna is also super beautiful. he has the most dreamy eyes I have ever seen. just wait until you see them.


rice karma: my husband says it's because god hates me.

help, people. no matter what I do, I cannot make brown rice. I know, this seems stupid, trival. but I just want to eat some whole grains, is that so much to ask??? seriously, I just have horrible rice karma. regular white basmati usually comes out ok - though even that sometimes doesn't work in my favor. but brown rice... oh, the tragedy of brown rice. I've tried everything. and I mean everything. I've followed the directions on the back of the bag to a tee. I've tried to vary the directions. I've tried different varieties - short grain, long grain, basmati, organic, conventional - all to no avail. I even bought a rice cooker, thinking I was just stove-top challenged. but no, it either burns, doesn't cook, or comes out like baby mush. does any one have any advice, words of wisdom? please help!!!


on attachment

my husband told me last night that I'm not detached enough. he didn't say this in a critical or fanatical-devotee way, but in a "hey, this is really what's going on with you" sort of way. it's true. here's how it goes - I've told you about how I've been really disappointed with the way life has been going. I really feel like no matter how hard I try, things never go either the way I want them to or the way I imagine would be best. so problem number one - I try to be the controller. then, when things don't work out, I get super disappointed - like uber-depressed and hateful - like greek-tragedy style cursing the fates. that leads me to negative thinking in future endeavors. for example (and this is how my husbands comment came to pass...) I applied for a job at this super-upper class private school. I was trying to get all of my stuff together - cover letter, resume, letters of rec - and I needed one of my references to update something, and then I wanted to print everything on really nice paper, blahblah, but time was ticking and by the time I got everything together it would have been tomorrow, so I thought, you know what, screw it, I'm just going to fax everything in as it is and just let Krishna take care of it. if it's going to happen, it's going to happen regardless of how I send it in. I made the endeavor to apply, and my stuff was good and presentable, so que cera. I explained all of this to my husband, and then I went on to say how I'm being detached - in the end it doesn't matter because I most likely won't even get an interview for the job, so who really cares? and that is when he laid it on me - no, this is not being detached, this is being negative. click - the lightbulb turns on. I need to stop being so negative and just be detached.
sounds so easy, right?
I let this idea sit with me for a little while. then we went out for a walk with our crazy little dog and I asked the inevitable question..."Ok, so how do I do it? How do I actually become detached?" my husband went into some explanation - but really, I don't know if I will be satisfied by any answer other than one that includes a very simple and systematic process (like, ok, to become detached from the results you need to go to the store and buy a "become detached" kit, follow the directions, and voila!). unfortunately it's not so easy. so I'm not sure what to do with it, or how to take it, but for now, just knowing the problem may be half the battle.


a simple moment

this evening while I was in between teaching I went to go get something to eat. I sat myself down at a table with a book (you know, so I didn't look like a loser eating by myself) and was situated in such a way that I had a view of two ladies in a booth. they had also just sat down with their salads. I was absently observing them - you know, when you're looking at something or someone, but not really intending to be looking - and all of a sudden they both bowed their heads and began to say a prayer. I couldn't hear what they were saying because they were across the room, but it was a simple but shocking sight. not shocking in a horrifying way, but more in an unusual and out of the ordinary way. do people really pray before they eat these days? as a devotee, I am supposed to do the same before I eat food blessed by Krishna - though I rarely say the prayer. it's such a simple thing, yet so thoughtful and purifying. I can also see this as a tool to be in the now - to be grateful for what I have been given in the moment. actually there are so many things like that in kc, and I so ungratefully neglect them. so selfish, so thoughtless.


the here and now

yesterday I went to a new yoga class. I've been taking yoga with a girl (a student) who isn't exactly formally trained but who is looking to get more experience. she's good and willing to come to my house and not get paid very much (it's a win/win situation). another student told me about this class in toms river that is only $5. you can't beat that, really. so after a while of procrastinating, I decided to finally check it out. it turns out that this lady has the same training (but more experience) as the girl who I have been working with. it's really laid back and low key, and there were only 5 other people there. the best part was that the place where she offers the class is situated right on the river...and when I say right on it, I mean, literally if I decided to jump out the window I would be swimming. so as I am doing my triangle and warrior poses I am looking right out onto the water. it was so relaxing and comforting. it was nice to be able to sink in to it - the relaxation that is.

life has been disappointing me lately. I don't like when the world does not move according to my desires. I am wanting. wishing. dreaming. and nothing is coming to fruition. I crave everything (almost) other than what I have. it is not a way to live. in fact, life is just passing me by as I look towards and try to plan my perfect future, which will most likely never come to reality. this has been one of my biggest struggles - being in the here and now. the interesting part of the idea of being in the here and now is that that concept is huge in the counseling world. it is my job as a counselor to help my client be in the here and now - to not dwell and live in the past or the what if's of the future. I often wonder how I can do this for my clients when I am so distant from the here and now myself. on a kc note, I can see how much I want to be the controller. how much I try. but what would my life be like if I just accepted what Krishna gives me? accepted that He is the controller, that all I have is my ability to react? it is so hard to depend on someone you barely know. and that's how I really feel - I barely know Him.


my moon phase

a few years back when I was in vrindavan (not this past time..probably about 7 years ago), I went to see several astrologers. some of whom where pretty bogus, some who seemed pretty good. one mystic seer in varsana predicted that I would soon marry and have a child within a few months (how that actually went down is a long story - but I was, in fact, pregnant soon after my return home). that same seer told me that my future husband's first name would start with a "j" sound... weird, huh?

anyway, I digress... a different astrologer told me that at that time I was in my moon phase and it would make me overly emotional. at the time, that explained a lot. I think by now I should be out of my moon phase. I can't remember what he said was coming next, but somehow the emotions are just as strong as ever. I can cry over the most ridiculous things. I well-up when Oprah crowns a Katrina victim "princess for the day". my eyes go watery when I watch a child (someone elses' child who I don't know, mind you) do well at madhavi's dance competition. when madhavi dances, the tears roll down. when I think about her future I get choked up. hell, a good tv make-over can send me into hysterics. it's kind of ridiculous at times. if I start talking about something really sad, or something that hits me emotionally, I can become visibily emotional - a blush, watery eyes... oh hell, some real tears.

when I really think about it, though, I think I would rather be a cry baby than a stoic. I think there's something to be said for sensitivity. I think it means I really feel things at a deep level, to my core. I think without it I would look at the world differently and wouldn't be able to see the poetry in life. so even though it is sometimes painful, I think, in the end, I wouldn't change a thing.

on a side note, in case you didn't already know, I recently took second in place in the Kean University/Academy of American Poets Poetry Prize. you can see my work here.


o/~she's a maniac, maniac on the floor....o/~

yes, this is my daughter dancing her little heart out at a competition a few weeks ago (and yes, I stole this picture from the photographers website where they were trying to sell a 4x6 for like $15). she's totally dedicated to her art form, and this is quite evident in her commitment on the stage. people often ask me where she gets it from. I usually just shrug my shoulders and smile. but really, only those who grew up with me would know, that really, this was me at her age. I have crazy memories of dancing on the ledge of my grandparents fireplace to "these dreams" by heart (um, ok, it was the 80's after all) or making a video to "locomotion" by kylie minogue in my living room... or then there was the time that mtv had a "make your own video" contest for madonna's true blue - oh, I was all over that! and then there was the ac/dc contest... ok, let's not talk about that one - but the point is this, it is amazing how much can be carried through genetically, karmically from parent to child. I just hope that my daughter has the courage to do what I did not - to follow her heart, her dreams. that she will not get sucked into societies expectations of her to be everything all at once.


done, crispy even.

so, stick a fork in me, people, I am so done. I'm ready to just roll over and call it a day. I am so tired - physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually - is there any other way to be tired? because if there is, then I am that too. this has been a very, very long semester. and sadly, I don't feel like I accomplished much, except maybe grown a few more grey hairs. I am so ready for my very late spring break to occur next week - although I will be spending my week reviewing attachment theory literature and responding to it, while fasting. yes, I'm going to do the cleanse again - a shortened version this time, mostly because I feel like it's time. it seems like the end of a semester is always a good time to cleanse - get rid of all of the craziness that has gone on inside of me over the past five months. five months - that's crazy! it doesn't seem like it has been that long, but indeed, time flies... whether you are having fun or not.

I must apologize for not writing as much as I said I would. I write every day in my head - this much you should know. unfortunately it doesn't usually make it here. but I am always talking to you in my mind. we have lots of very interesting and fun conversations, really. if only you could be a part of it all of the time.

it always gives me a good chuckle when someone admits to me that they read this blog. it's flattering, don't get me wrong. but sometimes it's amusing, for example, I was talking to a friend this past weekend (whose name I won't mention because I know she would be embarrassed) and she said something about me not going to Philly anymore, or something like that...and she said, "Oh, well, you know, I know because I read it on your blog." and then she kind of blushed and laughed and said, "well, I mean, I guess that's what it's for, right, to be read by people?" I laughed, too, because it is always weird to admit to reading someone else's thoughts and internal workings. but I assured her that I liked to hear that people read my blog, that it is comforting to know that I am not just talking to myself. I just hope that I am not too mundane and whiney for you all. I try not to be, really - but it's hard not to be myself (myself, who is quite mundane and whiney).

I'm sorry I don't have more for you though. I'm so tired, like I already said a million times. but soon, it will be all over, and we can do a collective sigh of relief when this too passes - as it shall.


'and miles to go before I sleep'

I crawl inside of you
so familiar
fetus like,
comfort and warmth
in your darkness
so deep,
hopeless -
I press my ear to the glass -
listen, think
'cicadas in april?'
you say,
it is too cold.'



with or at.

I try not to take myself so seriously most of the time. when others poke at me or make jokes at my expense, I try to laugh along. laugh with them, at me.

but most of the time, it just kind of sucks.



it is human nature to seek pleasure. that's what we do... move our worlds in such a way so that we can feel good, enjoy. pleasure isn't always pleasurable, though. I know, it sounds kind of weird, but it's so true. take addictions for example. we seek pleasure through something that might be sometimes painful. there is that whole modes of nature analogy (pain the beginning, pain the end), which I think is from bhagavad-gita, that helps to illustrate how the only happiness comes from the mode of goodness - which, when described comes down to serving Krishna purely.
so, I was thinking about this today and wondering why I always seek things that I think will make me happy, but in the end just make me miserable. I don't know why. I have yet to find anything - anything - that I truly feel satisfied with, even in Krishna-consciousness. all I have is faith. faith that one day everything I have heard will manifest - that one day I will be attracted to chanting Hare Krsna - that I will do it, attentively and with love. that I will stop wanting to be everything, and just want to be a lover of Sri Krishna (and by that I mean "one who loves" - not in the gross sense).
but until then, what to do? just feel like a loser, I guess.


my new obsession: anamalz

oh, I love these and am on a mission to collect them all...

check out their website: http://www.anamalz.com/

oh, and my ex-husband thinks it's perfectly acceptable for madhavi to have a bratz doll. wtf? I hate hypocrites. and I have no problem publicly announcing that.


sleep to dream

so remember how I said all I could think about was my thesis? well, I ended up dreaming about it last night - tosssing and turning. I have to say, though, that I feel like I got quite a bit accomplished today. I got a big chunk of my IRB application done (what I have to do to get my research approved by the state), got most of my ungraded papers graded, and sent out some resumes. I also fit in seeing one of my clients at work and even wrote up my progress notes.

but I was so super stressed out. all I could think about was some way of letting it out. in fact, all I could think about was whether I should go shop it out or eat myself silly. which would be the most pleasureable now and least painful later? I went for the shopping, but made my husband come with me so I wouldn't go too crazy. he's usually the voice of reason (though I am questioning the monkey dish towels he let me buy when we already have plethora of unused dish towels in the closet). I can't say I feel all that much better - but I got an email from my thesis advisor that said something like, "I'm impressed with the progress you have made." now, coming from him I'm not sure how to take that - but the way I choose to take it, it makes me feel better.

I'm just hoping that tonight will hold sweeter dreams.


because I said I would try harder...

I'm writing because I said I would, though I don't have much of interest to say.

I'm becoming more productive as Thursday looms closer. I didn't get to finish chapter one of my thesis project on Monday like I had wanted to. the three pages that I have done were extremely painful...I'm still working slowly, though, and getting little things accomplished.

I realized today that I don't have time to think about Krishna. that makes me so sad. I realized this as I was running on the treadmill thinking about my paper. in fact, that's all I think about, pretty much. that and all of the other things I have to get done, like grade papers, and write cover letters, and send out resumes, and prepare for classes, and review academic literature, and pay bills, and exercise, and and and... well just about everything except Krishna. my guru maharaj always says that we have to make time in our lives for Krishna. times in our day, like japa; times in the week, like programs; times in the month, like ekadasi; times in the year, like pilgrammage and festivals; and times in our lives, like vanaprast and sannyasa. my problem is that I keep thinking I'll make time, and it never quite comes. but death can come at any time... any time - and what will I do when I am not prepared? what will I do when it is too late?

my life is full of excuses, rationalization, and justifications. this is not humility or an attempt at being humble - this just is. and it's sad.


the ego is always hungry

a little background for my introduction: it is gaura purnima day. I am cooking palak panir for about 50 people for the evenings celebration. I'm on the phone with Kisori....(this is paraphrased a bit... but this is pretty much how it went)

Me: I hope this comes out ok...

Kisori: I'm sure it will.

Me: But I want people to think it's good. Is that bad?

Kisori: No, that's not bad. It's nice, you want to please Lord Caitanya.

Me: No, but I want people to think it's good. That's kind of bad.

Kisori: No, it's not. You want to please the devotees. That's good.

Me: Noooo, I want people to think it's good. Like I'm a good cook. I want people to tell me I'm a good cook. That's bad, right?

Kisori: Umm, well... hmmm...

How else could she have answered - of course it's bad! but at least I'm honest, right? the ego is always hungry... hungry for praise. I think mine, though, has an eating disorder.

Take for example my MA program. I already have a master's degree in education, so when I applied for the counseling program I had two choices: 1. I could go for the full 48 credit degree and take all of the classes necessary to get the paper at the end that declares I have an MA in counseling. OR 2. I could have gone for the counseling certificate, which would mean I didn't have to take the research seminar that is causing so much pain in my world now. but I wouldn't have been able to say, "Yes, well, I have two masters degrees..." WTF? why does it matter so much? who would even care? but no, the ego is so hungry. it is so hungry.

I realized long ago that I base my own worth on what I think other people think. After all, isn't that what it's about? it's not about what I think, or what you think, but what I think you think. deep. and even though I know this to my core, some how, I still can't help but function on this level. what's up with that?

I haven't been feeling very good about my self the past few weeks. I'm ready for spring to pick me up, but I think maybe I am too heavy.


this might make you uncomfortable or just plain offend you.

ok, now I have to admit, I've just been neglecting you. don't get mad. it's not personal. but really, I've been avoiding doing pretty much everything except the things I need to do to survive, like eating (oh plenty of that) and sleeping (never enough of that). I have sooooo much work to do it's disgusting. I've been on spring break from my grad studies and my part-time college teaching gig, but not from my regular work. it's felt good to be able to just come home and do nothing. I've been going to the gym - which I think has been giving me headaches (that's a whole other story). anyway, as you might have noticed in my last entry, I do have quite a bit of work to do for school. just because it's spring break doesn't mean I'm off the hook. I did decide to go with "attachment styles of second generation non-indian born hare krishnas". I think it will be interesting and a relatively simple data collection. but for some reason I'm SUPER avoiding doing any actual writing. I keep telling myself that on Monday (a day off of everything) I am going to spend however many hours necessary in the library writing my chapter one. oh, but then there are all the papers I have to grade for my occ classes - oh, and I have to prepare for my tuesday class.... we're moving into poetry. I probably need to vaccum or dust or give the dog a bath too. let's see how many more things I can come up with to do other than what I am supposed to do.
ok, I admit it, I am a notorious procrastinator. it's kind of the best way I work - i.e. leaving it until the last possible second and then producing my best work. a lot of people are like that. right?

on another note, krishna is changing things up once again. I was set on going to the Philadelphia temple from now on...but then madhavi got moved into a more advanced bharat natyam class, which just happens to meet on Sunday's from 4-5. the program in Philly starts at 5, so it would be impossible to make it there. so as it goes, against my desires, we will most likely be going to the edison temple now. it's not that the edison temple is bad, it's just not my mood. it's not really inspiring to me... but maybe I need to look at it differently. after all... it shouldn't be about me, right?

gaura purnima yesterday was nice. I got to spend it with my guru, which is always a plus. he did a program at the radha-damodar temple/yoga studio in manhattan. there weren't that many people there, which was nice too. when I got there there were just three or four people there and my one god brother who was supposed to be doing kirtan had to run out for something so my guru maharaj asked me to lead... now I've been neglecting everything pretty much (remember?) so I haven't been practicing my harmonium lately... but I did practice this one tune the past day or two, so I wasn't completely horrible. just kind of rusty. anyway, I digress - the program was nice. maharaj gave some nice gaura-katha and we had a nice feast. I have to say, I'm mad that I didn't bring my camera to take pictures of the deities there - They are sooooooooo beautiful! I absolutely love the mood of the whole place, but Their altar especially makes me think of vrindavan. it's hard to describe - but you should go there and see Them. really.

today on my ride home from another program, I was thinking about this blog. I was thinking about how I purposely named it every day just write with the intention of doing just that. I can't tell you how many years I have made the resolution to write something - anything - every day, just for the practice and sake of doing it. I've never kept that one. but I should. though I really shouldn't tell myself what I should do - they say that in counseling all the time - but really, I should do it. I need to do it. but there are so many things I need that I neglect. I do the exact opposite, in fact - I do all of the things that make my life uncomfortable in pursuance of that which will make me comfortable. when will I learn?

on that note, here comes the thing that might make you uncomfortable or just plain offend you...this is kind of my disclaimer - but really, this is funny as all heck, and so applicable to my existance right now... so I'm sorry if it makes you feel icky.



ok, so my anxiety level is at an all time high and I'm super desperate. here's the story...

this semester I am taking the first section of my two part thesis class... i.e. the class where I have to do academic research and complete a length master's level thesis (50ish pages). I need to suppose an issue and hypothesize about it.

my problem: I hate every topic I think of. or they're too complicated. or too annoying. or just boring. please help me!

today I came up with the brilliant idea of trying to do something related to devotees... like "attachment styles of second generation non-indian born hare krishna's".... or "second generation non-indian born hare krishna devotee's attitudes on marriage and divorce"...but I'm not sure exactly what I would be measuring, or the purpose of measuring it.

so anyone, with any ideas, please help!! keep in mind that I need to be able to access some kind of reliable academic literature and do some kind of study and analysis of data. and it needs to be approved by the state - i.e. cleared by the powers that be so they know I won't hurt or permanently traumatize any one. and it needs to not suck.

send me your thoughts, ideas, anything... but send them soon!


I know you must be thinking I don't love you any more...

but really, I've just been busy. well, that's all relative I suppose. I spent all of last week preparing for my comprehensive exams - aka three hours of brain vomitting information onto a page, by hand! when I woke up on sunday I was almost catatonic from the stress of the day before. so I've spent most of this week trying to become a real person again.
so there hasn't been much inspiriation or push for writing. but I'm feeling the pull now. so soon, soon I will birth some more.
hang tight, or tough as the new kids used to say...

okok, just a little something to tide you over: my husband somehow found this artist, whose work I am now madly in love with.

check her out: Kelly Vivanco


if oprah can have favorite things, why can't I?

I think it's always nice to share when one finds an invaluable product... here's my latest...

this stuff works miracles. I've been having some issues on the sides of my face and Dr. Burt's has really helped the situation, if you know what I mean. I've been really getting into Burt's Bee's stuff lately... maybe it's part of my move towards more natural, holistic living, I don't know, but I also like...

I personally have the "zesty red".

I've also found that I'm really in to beans right now. black beans. soup or with rice. lentil soup with sweet potatoes (oh yum!). I'm eating some homemade roasted red pepper hummus as we speak.

just thought I'd share.


bestest birthday ever.

in case you didn't know, today is my birthday. it started off super-good because it snowed and I didn't have to go to work at all! I stayed in bed until...hmmm...like almost 11am (sick right?), but I really needed the rest. I pretty much spent most of the rest of the day doing absolutely nothing. what better way to spend a birthday?
I had asked my husband to get me this very simple pendant of Srimati Radharani's feet from krishna.com about a month ago... of course he is a man, and totally forgot until I reminded him a few days ago. I suspected I wasn't getting my pendant. then he kind of acted like I wasn't going to get much of anything. I was just hoping it was going to be a nice surprise.

so when he came home from work he surprised me with a cute little ice cream cake made with my favorite type of ice cream. yum. then he told me to wait in the kitchen while he went to go get my present. as he was leaving the room he said, "don't cry this year, ok?" (that's a long story, but one year I cried because my birthday sucked so bad...) kind of making it seem like he completely forgot. so he brings in this little mushy package... I open it up and it's a pair of leprachaun socks. WTF?!?!!?!? I looked him straight in the eye and said, "Honey, you better go back into that room and get me my real present stat!" He started laughing, and noticing that I was about to start crying he brought me to my real presents....first madhavi got me this really cute india-looking frame from target. then I got a nice floral print that matches my bathroom. my husband picked out a nice pair of earrings and told me that yes, he had indeed forgotten about the Lotus Feet pendant, but it was on it's way (I knew it!). then he let me open my last gift... you know the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words"... well, here it is:

my husband painted this most amazing watercolor portrait of Srimati Radharani and the gopi's for me... a complete and beautiful surprise. I've been begging him for months to make me a Radha and the Gopi's painting, but he kept insisting that he didn't have the ability, it wasn't his bhava, etc.... but he did it for me, and it's soooooooo beautiful. I love it so much.

don't get me wrong, I'm not all about presents. I'm indulging a little bit here because my life has been so crazy with work and school lately that I hard get to think about anything else. I like the devotee idea of birthdays being about giving to others, but again, as always, I am still human and like to receive. and come on people, who wouldn't love to get that painting as a gift?!?

my husband also made this clay relief for one of the classes he's taking this semester, so I thought I'd throw this in as well.

when madhavi saw how much I loved my husband's painting, she spontaneously decided she wanted to make me a krishna painting too... so she grabbed a piece of poster board and created this very sdg-esque painting...

all-in-all 29 isn't treating me bad so far. I can't say I'm looking forward to next year, but that's life, right?


I. need. more.

a few days ago I was sitting at my computer, wasting time, when madhavi came running into my bedroom, laughing to herself. she handed me this picture and said, "here, look I drew a picture for you. this is you!" this is exactly how she gave it to me. you can see on the side is a caption which reads, "I need more!" when I asked her what this meant she laughed and shrugged her shoulders and said, "I don't know, I think you need more hair in this picture." when I inquired about the quesiton mark next to my brain, my mind, she didn't give me a straight answer. I didn't want to push her... I've learned that sometimes when I push for an answer it becomes forced and not honest. I've found that her first reactions are generally the authentic ones. the innocent child ones. I also asked her about the red in the corners of my eyes - my first instinct telling me that this must be her sensing my constant underlying stress and anger... but no, she said it was just the inside of my eyes (duh!).

how can my daughter, at six, know me so well? I am constantly needing more... more from myself, more from others, more from life, more from Sri Krishna. there is never enough. I am never satisfied.

and how can she see my confusion... my doubt, my insecurity.

she is such a mirror of me. she is every thing in me that I fight. every thing in my that I love. every thing in me that I turn from, hide from, deny. she is every thing I have ever wanted, and so much more.

if you ask madhavi who she is, part of her answer will inevitably include "an artist". I prayed for this when I was pregnant with her. I wanted a great artist, singer, and dancer. I bowed my head and with folded palms asked the all-benedicting Srimati Radharani to please make my child healthy and talented. indeed, She fulfills all desires.

tonight, on the eve of madhavi's sixth birthday, I am refelcting on who she is, who she will become. I know that she is truly a special soul; I only wish I could be more for her.



there's always so much I want to write, but just no time to do it. and when there is time, I'm just too tired to try.

so friday night, my husband and I went on a belated valentines day date in manhattan. a month or so ago I called my huband from work... the conversation went something like this:
me: "hi honey, guess what? I got you a valentines day present! want to know what it is?"
him: "sure, why not"
me: "I'm letting you take me to see ingrid michaelson in new york on february 15th!"
him: "um, thanks."

yea, that's pretty much how I operate. so on friday we drove into the city and had dinner at red bamboo... we feasted on lots of gluten. my husband joked that they should call it "carb bamboo" instead of red bamboo.
luckily, the place where ingrid was playing was within walking distance from the restaurant, so we took a leisurely (and cold) stroll around washington square park over to webster hall....where we proceeded to stand for about 6 hours straight. despite our numb limbs, we both had a really nice time. ingrid was awesome...she sang all of my favorites, as well as some brand new songs - one she had never played before. her encore included a cover of radiohead's "creep", which I really appreciated... that song is one of those ones that I feel like marked a certain period in my adolescent years.... after that she proceeded to do a bunch of tv show theme songs, which is always a good time. it was just lots of fun all around. here is a video someone took at the show of her radiohead cover...

on the ride home we were talking about what it would be like to move to vrindavan. I was saying how it would be really hard. my husband said he thought that he could do without most of his material attachments as long as he had music and art and some service. I don't know if I could do it, honestly. it's hard to think about because I don't have any steady service now, and I pretty much just exist in my crazy mundane, material life. could I live without my ingrid michaelson and law and order re-runs? I guess in reality I could... but I don't know, honestly, if the desire is there.

this is turning into blibblab because I'm really tired and unfocused.

madhavi lost another tooth today. her birthday is on thursday... she's going to be 6!!! it's crazy. she's practically an adult already. and I'm getting older too... another year closer...


rotten cabbage

yesterday I had my very first one-to-one counseling experience. like a real life one. up until yesterday I had just been practicing with fellow grad students in class and with friends. I'm doing my practicum work now and I have to complete a certain amount of hours for the class. so yesterday I met with my very first real client. while I can't talk specifically about the session, I can say how overwhelming it was for me. there were moments where I felt like I was in over my head. moments when I felt like I just wanted to tell the client what to do ("are you crazy? how could you do that?!?!"), but couldn't as it's not my place. but there were also moment where I felt really confident, like I was doing something that I was meant for... like maybe, there was a chance I could really help this person. maybe.

I also felt super drained after the hour and a half session. I can see how energy transfers from one being to another. if my priorities were straight, if I had more time, if I was more krishna conscious, I would probably spend some time after a session chanting, decompressing. alas, none of those things are true, unfortunately.
I've been really productive lately... not slacking in any way, shape, or form, yet somehow I still have a ton of stuff to do. for each counseling session I do I have to complete a set of progress notes... I'm already behind on those. I have three classes worth of papers to grade (app. 20 students per class... times 3... ok, that's about 60 papers that I need to read word for word and make constructive comments on...). I have my comprehensive exam in three weeks and need to prepare my first question for my study group on thursday night... oh, speaking of thursday, my outline for the first chapter of my huge thesis project is due.


I was sick over the weekend and didn't make it to the temple on sunday. I felt like I had to choose between getting better or going to see my friends and the dieties. I was sad to not go. I wanted to be there. but if I had gone... driven for three hours...I would have been exhausted on monday, and probably would have felt really crappy. so in one sense I am glad I decided to stay home.

I'm still tired, still overwhelmed, still stressed out. but things could be worse, right? I could be a one-armed, half blind leper eating rotten cabbage who didn't know anything about Krishna. that would be way worse... right? right???

today in the english II class I teach, we discussed raymond carver. he is the author of one of my favorite short stories, popular mechanics. I first read this story back in my undergrad days. my professor asked us to write a response to the piece and I did so through a poem. today I brought a copy of that poem to class and handed out it. I asked my students to comment on the value of the poem in relation to the story. I didn't tell them I wrote it. I guess that was kind of egotistical of me... I wanted to see if it did have any value. they all responded positively, pointing out how the minimalistic style matched the minimalism in the story. I eventually told them I wrote it... then of course they gave me the brown-nosing-it's-so-good-comments. I told them that it wasn't necessary... I wasn't looking for praise. ok, so I lied a little... is that such a crime? what can I say, I'm human.

picture so sweet
swiftly taken
grasped and grabbed
turmoil and torment
why is he leaving
sordid affair
or just an unhappy boredom
dark on the outside
dark on the inside too
she’s glad you’re leaving
glad you're leaving
picture so sweet
swiftly snatched
pulled and pushed
this way and that
both ways
the end
when crying picture
no more