Abiding in loving-kindness…

Abiding in loving-kindness or metta has this slow flowering quality of opening our hearts. It doesn’t ask for us to be perfect, but simply that we are willing to aspire and practice to be unconditionally loved and loving.

As many of you know, I am drawn deeply by the ecstasy, joy, truth, contradiction and union in Rumi’s poetry. I love reading Coleman Barks’ introduction in his many books of Rumi poetry, about the story of how Rumi and Shams met and how their friendship began, outside of time. When Shams disappeared, Rumi journeyed and looked for him everywhere, until one moment, one day, he realized that Shams was within him. And out of that union came so many of his songs and poems celebrated throughout the world. As Rumi says, “when living itself becomes the Friend, lovers disappear.”

When I attended my first metta retreat with Michele Mcdonald back in 2008, it was my first taste of this unconditional love and friendship. In metta, we concentrate on phrases/wishes of well-being for our benefactor; not with the aim of controlling their happiness or well-being, but to gently ease into and abide into our own heart’s capacity to love and wish others well, independent of their accomplishments or qualities. We start with the benefactor, because this is our ‘easy’ person, the person for whom wishing well comes easily to us. As we practice, our hearts expand in friendship and good will and then it becomes easier to extend those wishes to ourselves, neutral and more difficult people, in that order. Ultimately, our aspiration is to wish all beings on earth this same unconditional good will and friendship, as we would wish for our dearest ones.

Being a parent offers a beautiful doorway to practice this metta journey. When I sit in meditation and begin with metta for my daughter, Anjali, it is easy to wish her well. Her sweet face fills my consciousness and brings me immense joy. Not because of her accomplishments or certain qualities she possesses, but simply because of who she is. A radiant being of light and joy, for whom my wishes of friendship, health, safety and love flow easily and naturally. When I abide in the love I feel for her, and slowly turn it like a mirror towards myself, this magical alchemy occurs. I too am worthy of the same love that I extend to my child. Sometimes I find myself wondering who is the mother and who is the child.

Moon and clouds are the same. Mountain and valley are different. All are blessed; all are blessed. Is this one? Is this two?” – Wu-Men.

This abiding in unconditional love and friendship is the state from which we can then act in the world. Can we extend that same unconditional love to difficult people in our lives? This is certainly more challenging but as we keep coming back to the practice, our heart slowly opens and learns to relate in a new way to others. Extending this good will does not mean we condone others’ unskillful actions. But it allows us to respond from a place of wisdom and grace, simply because we acknowledge that we are all human, imperfect and worthy of love, friendship and respect.

I cannot say that I can love all human beings the way I love my daughter. If I did, I would be an enlightened being. Instead, I am very much imperfect, impatient with myself, insecure at times, trying too hard, demanding at times. But in loving her, I am discovering a far greater capacity for love and healing than I ever thought possible. Always remembering patience and diligence. And that, as Daniel Mead puts it beautifully in his poem, “A flower cannot be opened with a hammer.

May all beings abide in this friendship and metta,

With love, S.

ps: Please note that all Rumi references in this post are translations by Coleman Barks. If you would like a recommendation of his poetry, my favorite is his book ‘The Glance’.

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…!  🙂

Deep Purple Delight, a verse and more…

Last night, inspired by my teacher’s challenge, I was moved to write this short poem about Anjali:

Deep Purple Delight

In her purple-rimmed glasses,

and her deep lilac pullover,

She looks at me, her face shining pink:

Abounding in laughter,

bursting with delight,

Her whole being is alight with joy!

In that moment,

my breath catches, and my heart softens,

as I gaze in marvel at this radiant being of light!

Photo by SplitShire on Pexels.com

Imagine my surprise as I turned to today’s poem in my copy of ‘A Year with Rumi’ and saw the poem titled: ‘Who says words with my mouth’. It made me laugh. Here are a couple of lines from the end of the poem.

This poetry. I never know what I’m going to say.

I don’t plan it. When I’m outside the saying of it,

I get very quiet and rarely speak at all.

Rumi (translated by Coleman Barks)

How apropos! I had written the poem after my nightly-ish meditation.

So, there it is: this quiet that is always there within us, waiting. Before or after the words. Just waiting for us to sit and wait in return. That is the marvel of the practice of returning home. Watching the breath, listening to the sounds, witnessing the thoughts, cultivating the love. Do you feel it? This beckoning of the silence from which the words spring? We just show up over and over again.

So, I return to my deep purple delight. May yours be filled with light!

Namaste, S.

That is the marvel of the practice of returning home. Watching the breath, listening to the sounds, witnessing the thoughts, cultivating the love.

Sing your song…

I’ve wanting to write in my blog these past few weeks, but nothing materializes. Somehow I don’t have the words to describe all that I feel. When I try words, they seem cliched, trivial and I know my life experience is anything but that. So much has been happening, each day, each week, I can hardly keep up. I don’t mean externally – my life is a simple one for the most part – family, work and play. Internally, it is a different story. I have moments each day when everyone makes sense and I am magically alive. I spend several moments each day, lost in trance – of being elsewhere – not quite in the moment. I have come to recognize those moments with fondness – they allow me to soften. Making the turn and seeing a familiar face, or walking into a shop and seeing somebody I know, or simply walking sometimes. A lot of times, while driving. My judgments for wandering have diminished leaving a strange comaraderie for myself. This is me – imperfect. and my attention wanders. Lets return. and I do.

I have moments when I am caught in the anguish, of feeling that I am not enough. Frustration that I cannot be more, do more. And somehow, I notice, and they pass. The moments I feel most alive are when I am in nature, and when I stop and appreciate whatever is in front of me. It happens a lot when I am with my daughter – she forces me to pause. Its like she sees this beautiful being in me that makes me stop and figure out if I can catch a glimpse of this being in me too. Such love, a daughter brings. such joyful play and appreciation.

So, tonight, before I go to bed, I will be sneaking into my daughter’s room to watch her tonight. I hope you too have something that makes your heart smile.

I leave you with this…

Sing your song

life isn’t all that long
so take this moment
to sing your song

sing it wildly,
belt out loudly
let everyone hear

that heartful voice
inside of you
loud and clear

no one else can sing it
the way you do, not quite,
there is no other you

so take this moment,
pause for a minute
get ready and sing…!

With Love, S.

January: reflections…

How the life of a mother evolves…When I got into motherhood more than four years ago, I had no idea what I was getting into. Now four years into it, I’m learning what this is possibly about.

Patience. Enormous patience. Patience with oneself, patience with our partner, with our child, with others. Kindness. Kindness in those moments when we don’t know what is wrong, or what is happening. We don’t know why. Kindness and softening. That to me, appears to be a life-long learning. And the indescribable love and delight in life. Truly opening to what life has to offer – the not knowing, the mysteries and the day-to-day joys. When Anjali and I share our cuddles, I am complete and healed from every possible wound and hurt, internal and external. This embrace, loving, completely accepting is something I am always touched by. Sometimes if I am particularly overwhelmed, or my daughter is, we will do one-minute hugs. Just sit and hug for a complete minute with no agenda in mind. I love those moments!

Perhaps all children have this amazing capacity of appreciation and being present. I see when watching Anji’s buddies at school playing – how much fun kids have. We as adults are so much jaded. They seem so much more into adventure and lack of worrying about the future or self-critisicm about the past. When I am truly stressed, that is usually a sign that I need to be attentive and observe more and do less. It doesn’t take long for my daughter to inspire me. Perhaps it is the patience and presence she brings into her moment – whether she is beading, drawing or leaping joyously across our living room rug pretending to be a princess or on the beach. The innate capacity we all have to entertain, enliven and be happy is so inspiring to me. When I read books to her, or when I make up stories, which has been the new favorite thing, I feel connected to the flow of life. Present somehow. Wiser somehow. This is it. this is the joy I too felt when I was a child – of discovering something new, the thrill of learning something different, of figuring it out, of finding my own capacity to do something. And it all comes back. Maybe being a mother is at the end, about being a child all over again.

I don’t have all the words – perhaps I never will. Staying indoors, reflecting on this cold January afternoon seems to be right in expressing some of this…maybe more will come later… I would love to hear from others…

Peace and warmth to you,

Giving thanks…

Today I’m struck by how much love I have in my life. How much love I have had in my past and how much love there continues to be in my life. Surely if I were to believe in past lifetimes, this must be a special lifetime. When I pause to think of gratitude, I can only have a sense of marvel, of awe. Wow. This IS really my life. This is really the result of the choices I have made in life. We make choices at each juncture, each moment, on how we want to live our lives, what matters to us most, and what brings us most peace. Not every choice is an easy one, and many require great courage of heart.

Maybe that is why I have always had a hard time choosing a famous person as a role model. I find the ordinary person to be as much of a role model. My greatest role model is my husband who brings kindness and patience and steady presence into his life every single day. He is funny, fun, kind and positive, no matter how stressful his day. He always stops to give way to others, while driving. He always writes a thank you note for the server. He always greets me in the morning with such sweetness and love. He adores his daughter and has never raised his voice with her. And he has his share of stress for sure, like any of us. Like all of us.

My inspiration is also my daughter, my 4 year old, who is so profoundly wise and so tender and loving that my heart opens every day just a little bit more. Sometimes, it is hard to bear – like when we are having gelato and she wants to try mine but won’t let me feed her, so she spoons herself a bite from my spoon. How much she yearns for independence and how brave she is to be willing to try so many new things in life and never let things get her down. She is my angel, my darling and my shining star.

So many people have loved me with their hearts, and accepted me and embraced whom I am inside. Words cannot express how awesome that is. And I have allowed myself to receive this love – and I am only now beginning to realize what a gift that can be for others.

So, on thanksgiving weekend, here is giving thanks to all the people near and dear, family and friends, far away but not far from the heart. Thank you for being part of my life.

first snow…

Words fall like snow flakes

Gently on the ground

They melt away in presence

Leaving a shining essence…


Heart moves with a smile

Reflections on the wall

Is it me? Or you?

Impressions fall…

Like drops on the ocean

Do they leave a trace?


Drops, ocean, words, heart

See clearly what is lost

And what is found again

In these eyes looking within.


the practice of gratitude

In the beginning of this month, I set the intention to bring my yoga practice into focus, along with the practice of gratitude. This week, I have managed to make space for yoga everyday with the exception of wednesday. The space has been sometimes early in the morning, sometimes in the evening before the chaotic dinner time and tonight, after 7.00. The commitment to five poses has been liberating. I have felt good about extending my yoga practice when time permits, but I have not held it against myself to have a brief practice at times. Doing yoga more than just a couple of times has been so good for me. One, it has helped me sleep better. Two, I am able to be more mindful of my spine extending and able to sense more resilience in my body and mind. My mind has felt clearer at the end of the day, with less of the dullness I usually feel by the time my family duties are over. I’m energized by the possibility that doing yoga more frequently IS possible. 


Regarding gratitude, isn’t this an endless journey!? Just when I was noticing yesterday that I have been feeling less inclined to anger lately, today I was hit by it out of nowhere. Yes, it is true, I have felt less prone to strong emotional upheavals in recent months; partly because of better diet and movement and partly because I have enjoyed many activities with Anjali. Her growing up into her 4s, has meant less irrational tantrums for her, and more calm for me. And I have taken time to notice this for sure. But today, my familiar friend Anger threw me for a loop. I had dropped down my guard. I had not taken my pause in a busy morning. I was also nursing the beginning of a headache. And there He was. Waiting. Of course. And I had forgotten my beloved Rumi’s words: 

“Learn the alchemy true human beings know. The moment you accept what troubles you’ve been given, the door will open. Welcome difficulty as a familiar comrade. Joke with torment brought by the friend.”

There is no other way but through, and gratitude leads us through. I feel humbled by my own emotions and vulnerability. My body’s tiredness and limitations sometimes and the shortcoming in mY own capacity to respond with wisdom. I think this is essential to compassion. If I were perfect, I would be unable to understand and empathize with the imperfections of others. When I see through my own humanness, when I accept the troubles, then my heart softens. My daughter said to me, ‘mom you are not being kind to me.’ It tore my heart open in that moment. The situation doesn’t matter – that I carried her crying, through the playground before she had a chance to say goodbye to her teachers, even though she had had adequate warning and plenty of time to play. Yes, I was not being kind. I was busy in a battle with my ego, my anger. My stories. My heart wrestled in that moment with the truth of the words. I was crushed against the weight of my own judgment. Anjali forgave me soon. She moved on. We had a beautiful afternoon. But  I didn’t really move on, until now, until the breathing softened me, through the yoga.


We hold ourselves with such love when we hit these tender moments. That is what we learn through the practice, and that is the way through. May we appreciate these moments of waking up. May we have peace through this journey of life. This moment is like no other. May we welcome this full moon, this new day with open heart. 


With love,  S.