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)