Ocean blues…

It has been nearly two weeks since I wrote last! The days are flying by, and we are at the home stretch of summer vacation. Since I wrote last, we spent a few days in Ogunquit, Maine. I grew up in south India, about a ten minute walk from the beach, and I took this for granted! Now, living in picturesque and mountainous New England, I don’t make enough visits to the ocean. This time when we went, a mere couple of hours of driving, I realized how much I had missed the beach. There is something that happens when you are around the ocean. A slow letting go of all the worries and anxieties you didn’t even know you carried, and in its place, a deep wisdom growing its roots within you. I slept so well, and woke up the next morning feeling alert and clearer than I had in days. Everything made sense and everything was perfect. Such is the magic of the ocean.

I would be remiss, if I did not admit to having a few less-than-graceful moments. Balancing the needs of your family, while still managing to get your own needs met, is an ever-shifting dance! We had a great breakfast the first day (Daalu, my husband’s favorite meal!), and of course, swimming in the beach (Anji’s favorite activity!), but it got too hot to go on the marginal way, which is what I really wanted. Anji was a bit at the receiving end of my disappointment, and at one point, I was losing it, and I told her, “why don’t we walk in silence until the end of the street, and by then, I will have it together”. She replied: “Mom, even if you are mad, I would rather you be social with me than silent!” She said it in such an earnest and kind and non-judging way, it cracked me up and lightened up my mood. Of course, I would love to be social with you my sweetheart!

We did make it to the marginal way the next day, bright and early, and Anji and I had an amazing time wandering through the little coves.

And she and Daalu enjoyed some quality time swimming in the ocean. We also made it to Cape Nubble Lighthouse, which was so scenic and beautiful!

My beloved friend joined us for the last day, and it was heart-filling! More beach and play time, and dinner at the lovely Rose Cove Patio, and shopping through the streets of downtown at night.

When we got back, I had a few days of ocean blues… I really missed seeing the ocean. The rhythm of the tide, the calm of the expanse of water, the sight of the kites diving into the water, seagulls looking for food, burst of blooms along the pathways, and so much room for everything to be. But then when I pause, I can see within me, the same deep, lasting peace. And a reminder that “You are not a drop in the ocean, you are an entire ocean in a drop.” (Rumi)

Namaste, S.

Creative magic…

Growing up, my sister and I did not have a lot of dolls. In total, we had two barbies. And the way we played with them was that we created this whole house for them using stools for rooms, and the basket in which we kept our clothes, as their bed. We made shoes for them from clay, and furniture for the rooms using blocks. Sometimes we played with cut-out dolls for whom we used to make paper clothes. My sister is five years younger than me, and I remember playing dolls with her until I was quite old actually – nearly 13.

I was reminiscing about those days, while cleaning up Anji’s doll house last night. I am usually taken aback by how lightly she treats her toys, and how messy the doll house looks (perhaps a window into her future house-keeping skills!? ) . But then, she has so many stuffies and Lotties! So of course she takes them lightly. Showing her a different reality from the one she has, without sounding like I am preaching, is a difficult balance, one that I am not always successful with. But last night, as I was sharing with her my own childhood memories, I could tell she was really listening to why it was important to me that she take care of her things.

And then today I did something I have not done in a long time – I played with Anji and her dolls. Mostly, I was an observer with occasionally supplying a dialogue or two. In the story she came up with, they went camping in the middle of the night – all the dolls woke each other up, and then they took their bikes to go camping and watch the stars. Listening to her playing was such a fun and delightful way to spend a hot afternoon!

I am reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘Big Magic’, and it resonates with me that we are all fundamentally creative, it is ingrained inside us, and each of us are creative in different ways. And thinking about growing up with my dolls last night reminded me that it too was an outlet for creative expression. Just like seeing the beautiful Rangoli designs growing up in India, or henna designs at street corners by artisans who could fill your whole arm within minutes. Creativity has so many expressions and there is something so fun and enjoyable about experimenting with the magic that draws us towards it – whether it be trying your hand at a new genre of writing or taking up drawing lessons or trying new recipes in the kitchen… Whether it is redecorating the interiors of our home or putting together a bouquet of flowers, creativity demonstrates itself in little and big ways.

And by doing the things we love, we are better people to be around! I definitely agree with Gilbert on that sentiment. I love meditation because it makes me really happy to set aside some time for myself and witness my thoughts. And I am happier when I engage with my practice in new ways. It is the same with doing henna on my hands (and neighbors’ hands and Anjali’s feet sometimes when she will let me…).

Creativity is something that takes our lives from the mundane to the sublime. So I leave you today with one of my favorites from Rumi:

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty

and frighened. Don’t open the door to the study

and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.

There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

Rumi (translated by Coleman Barks)

I would love to hear about how you kneel and kiss the ground…

Namaste, S.

Summer notes…

Summer is flying by! As a teacher, I very much appreciate having the time off from the busy hustle bustle of the school year to reset my joy button! This morning Anji and I wrote things that we have done this summer, and things that we still wanted to accomplish in what is remaining of our summer. It made me feel really good to think of how much we have done already! 

IN my list of things I feel glad about doing this summer for myself: getting my haircut really short, making time for yoga and dance, going to Kripalu, eating well, spending time with family and friends, reading books, doing henna and writing again! For Anji: pool and more pool!  Violin lessons, Ice cream often. Play dates with her friends, painting pottery pieces, math stem camp, making it to Canobie lake park, getting her ears pierced! 

So, here I want to talk about the last event: getting her ears pierced. It is definitely something I want to always remember! In keeping with Indian tradition, and my parents’ request, I did get Anji’s ears pierced when she was young, but it was not a very pleasant experience and her ears were starting to look red. So I decided that it should be her choice if she wanted her ears pierced or not and let it close in.

In the last year of turning eight, Anji has gone back and forth about getting her ears pierced. I could tell she wanted to, but she was also afraid of the pain. I let her lead the way. She asked her friends who had their ears pierced what the experience was like. As is typical for her, she loves a lot of information! It was a topic of conversation with anyone who had earrings, baby sitters and friends alike. And then finally, she said, this summer she would like to do it!

I found out a nice jewelry place locally that came highly recommended. We marked the day in our calendar: a Friday, known in Indian tradition as goddess day, and astrologically as Venus day. With Moon in taurus, what could be more auspicious? The night before, I made a note to myself to try and make this day as special as possible for Anji. It was a relaxed Friday morning. We finished our breakfasts in Anjis room, did some writing, and then got ready. We were just about to head out when Anji’s glasses broke! Mercury retrograde, delays inevitable. Keeping my calm, I glued the glasses back and we were finally on our way. 

Christie at the shop was amazing! Anji asked all her questions: what do you use (gun in this case), how long does it take, how much does it hurt etc. And finally she looked as ready as she could be. Believe it or now, the stool she sat on was purple! Before she knew it, it was done!! She was a bit surprised that it didn’t hurt very much. And she said that the best part was that they didn’t make a big deal of it. And the little studs she has on her ears look like little star lights. Just perfect!

As we wandered In the store after, I smiled as I read this quote:

“It always seems impossible until it is done!”. 

Namaste, S.

 Ps: leave me comments if you remember your ear piercing or anything you would like to add…!  🙂

Yogi in training…

It is my daughter Anjali’s eighth summer on this planet. She is growing and thriving and I am…well, I am rediscovering myself. I am less needed by my daughter, and freer to open up space within myself. I am also needed in a different way, and navigating the balance between boundaries and freedom. So, here I am. And here you are. Supporting me on this journey of love, creativity, transformation, discovery and ultimately freedom! Welcome if you are new to my writing, and welcome again if you are a beloved friend, and thank you!


My daughter Anjali and I spent this past weekend at Kripalu center for yoga, she in a yogi arts program and I chose a program called dance into joy! My husband had been away the past week and it seemed like a perfect thing to do together. She is old enough to appreciate and practice yoga on her own and I was excited to revisit an old beloved place of retreat. 

Here is a question for you to ponder: Can it be a retreat when you are with your child?

That question was a question I would investigate all weekend: how can I nourish myself while supporting my daughter in her own play and nourishment. It is in fact a question we as care-givers navigate a lot in our lives. Being in a structured environment allowed me to see my mind and how it struggled with this balance, more clearly.

For starters, in all of the effort in getting to Kripalu with Anjali, and getting her and me settled into the room, and getting her to the program, When I finally got to mine, I realized I had not even paused to contemplate what I was entering into! I think of myself as a naturally joyous person, but when I entered the room, I was certainly not feeling the euphoria that seemed to be emanating from my fellow participants and my teachers. I felt skepticism, and tiredness, a subtle judgment, and definitely not joy. Dancing that night was amazing. But also opened up a few sore spots within. 

Second, coming to your retreat is NOT the same as coming by yourself, meaning you can’t do all the things you would have done by yourself. In a moment of weakness, I forgot that too! (Tired brain, remember?). Massage is a weakness of mine, I love getting them, and Kripalu’s Ayurvedic massages is definitely one of my favorite kind! I scheduled a massage at one of the only available times, at 7.00 in the evening on Saturday. Anjali was not happy when she heard about this late Friday night. And it caused me a lot of angst in causing her discomfort. After she fell asleep, all of those inner critical voices joined together. How could I leave her alone in the room (no matter that it was on the same floor)? What if there is a fire alarm? Surely leaving my child alone can qualify as negligent parenting. My voices were insistent and relentless. It was past midnight when I finally fell asleep that night, too tired to struggle. Saturday morning I was ready to cancel my appointment, about to head out, when Anjali stopped me. She said, “Mom, don’t cancel. You love this. You should do it. I got this.” She truly did. She saved my day. That massage was not the best I have had: it was hard to completely let go of my worries, though I tried to surrender as best as I could and kept relaxing my body. When I got back, there was my baby, ready for bed, in her pajamas, reading. It was a priceless moment, I felt so moved, appreciative and so grateful! Transformed by my appreciation for her wondrous gift!

Sunday came upon us, gorgeous! My last session was when I discovered the euphoria. It was there. Just hidden underneath layers of comfort, habit and complacency. It emerged, beautiful, like a butterfly, transforming me from within. My kindred spirits in the workshop held the container for me while I went through this journey. I felt gratitude, exhilaration and generosity. That afternoon, I took Anjali to the lake, where my watery child swam with fishes and exuded exuberance! And we did the labyrinth one last time before saying good bye to Kripalu. Hope to return again next year!

Namaste, S.

My last session was when I discovered the euphoria. It was there. Just hidden underneath layers of comfort, habit and complacency. It emerged, beautiful, like a butterfly, transforming me from within.