For my Sister Merle & My Villiage

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It does not take giant leapsof faith to go the extra mile. Sometimes it’s as simple as a smile. Or asking a stranger in an elevator, “How are you?” Sometimes it’s being that voice on the other end of the phone that helps soothe someone’s soul. Sometimes it’s just checking in on a neighbor. It’s as simple as holding someone’s hand or lending a patient ear. You can help transform someone by just being there.
 
Yes, it’s challenging at times to be there. It’s a commitment that will last as long as it takes a soul to heal, and a hurt soul needs different things at different times. However, the simple act of being there with someone, letting them “just be,” is often all it takes.
 
I started 2016 with new resolutions and high hopes. But that feeling was short-lived. You see, I fell in January and was badly injured. The accident was a shock to my body and my soul. Suddenly my life took an unexpected and chilling turn, and I felt like I was being coerced into trying to find a deeper understanding of what it means to be truly alive. To be more compassionate. To be more grateful. To be more humble. I was not able to participate in the world and perform simple day-to-day things. I learned that sometimes life takes you in a different direction and all you can do is be still. I became more appreciative of my life and my body. My faith was tested, as was my courage, which I had to muster on a daily basis.
 
As I continue to heal, I have realized who my true friends are. I am so deeply grateful for their support and grace in my life. It did not take leaps of faith for them to be there for me. They just showed up when I needed them. Others called me a ‘big baby’ and didn’t come to visit me once. If they had they would have truly seen my soul laid bare.
 
If you are going through a challenging time, don’t give up. I know that wretched feeling of anxiety and aloneness, when you feel like you have no one to lean on. Just know that you do. The people who are with you during those moments are looking out for you. I am so thankful for my little village that held me together when I didn’t have the courage to do it on my own. Especially, my sister Merle who quietly looked over me for six months.
 
You have the divine within you. Surrender, and when I say surrender, I mean give it all you’ve got and have faith. Your strength and courage will come from that source. Be patient. The sun always shines after a storm. You will find the strength to keep your resolutions and the courage to take new leaps of faith.
 
If you know someone who is hurting, go the extra mile and take a moment to show you care. You can make all the difference to someone in pain. You don’t have to be a movie star or a rich being to do extraordinary things.
 
The truly extraordinary exists in simplicity.
 
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Reflecting on 2015 — Making a shift to 2016

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I was recently reflecting with a friend on all that had transpired in 2015. I realized that major events, with their extreme highs and lows, mirrored my emotional state of mind during the year. I was often not in a place of grace during 2015 and, finding myself alone in all of it was very confusing.
 
While reflecting I was reminded that it is really easy to turn a blind eye to the world. It’s really easy to say, “I can’t deal with it.” But really, whether something happens here or in another part of the world, it all affects us in one way or another.
 
Here are a few of the events that had the most profound affect on me in 2015.
 
The tragedy of violence and racism

Ahmed Mohammed was arrested for his creativity. He is a brown-skinned, Muslim kid who made a clock for his engineering teacher. Would that have happened if he were Asian or Caucasian? There was the #IStandWithAhmed movement, but I also wonder what would have happened to Ahmed if President Obama hadn’t Tweeted about him and did not invite him to the White house.
 
Bear with me, I am on a little rampage.
 
Two days ago I read an article about Amrik Singh Bal, a Sikh who was violently beaten by two white males. It made me really sad. We live in the most prosperous and diverse country in the world. People, get educated. It’s not going to change. To be defined by a piece of cloth on your head is just IGNORANT. That cloth is part their heritage and they wear it proudly. These are people just like you, with families and jobs, who are trying to make a living and be happy.
 
Whether you are Christian, Hindu, Muslin or Buddhist, we are humans first. Where’s the humanity?
 
I find myself reflecting on Boko Haram, the Taliban and ISIS, and the heartbreaking events they caused, including the destruction of 3000-year-old statues in Iraq. Where’s the loyalty with the self, spirit and religion? Who raised these men to destroy the beauty and people of this amazing earth? How did they even begin to want to become who they are? When they get together and speak about day-to-day events, I wonder if they pray to God to give them strength to destroy? I know history and politics have long influenced this destruction. However, when they leave the earth, aren’t they leaving behind their kids to this world? When does it stop? Is there an end?
 
The film, “India’s Daughter” had a profound impact on me. It is an intense and controversial film that went viral. The film focuses on the rape cause of Jyoti Singh who was brutally beaten and raped in Delhi in 2012. And, oh yes, it was banned in India. Seriously, doesn’t India want to see her weakness? Don’t we want to shine some light on education?
 
The school girls who were kidnapped in Nigeria are finally free, thanks in large part to #BringBackOurGirls. I hate to think what they went through, for when they returned most of them were with child. I can’t imagine what their parents have been through. The girls are children, as old as my nieces. I saw “Beast of No Nation,” the film about an African boy soldier who was torn from his family. The movie stayed with me for a while, but reading about the Nigerian girls, and knowing that they had been forced into sexual slavery, haunts me still.
 
The most tragic event for me was seeing Syrians having to leave their homes and country. It was even more brutal as neighboring countries turned them away. Each Syrian refugee left home with a bag. Their things became this bag on their back. This should be a great awakening for us all; it is your mind that matters and not things. This life is so mysterious; it can all be taken away from us instantaneously.
 
Do you know that over 3.3 Syrians are children that are affected by this conflict? They are forced to quit school. They are at risk of illness, malnourishment, abuse and exploitation.
 

 
Peace for Paris.
 
To all the journalists who lost their lives in duty. R.I.P.
 
Peace to the beautiful people of Nepal and Chile who suffered catastrophic earthquakes.
 
Peace to all who suffered in natural disasters around the world. With so many natural disasters happening around the world, perhaps Mother Earth is asking us to wake up and care for her in a way we never have. After all, she shelters us with her infinite blessings.
 
On a lighter note …
 
I ‘heart’ Justin Trudeau
Watching Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcome the Syrian refugees into Canada was innovative. I know it’s easy for me to say this, for I don’t know the politics behind these kinds of decisions. All I see are homeless families being welcomed to a new home. I am looking forward to other North American countries receiving these families.
 
#LoveWins
Love wins and makes history in one of the biggest victories of the year. There were many who tried to stop it, like the bigoted Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, regardless of the Supreme Court ruling. She even lied and claimed to have had a private meeting with Pope Francis, in which he showed support of your bigotry. PISSOFF #KIMDAVIS for that did not happen.
 
Here is a little glimpse of what the rock-star Pope Francis DID do in 2015.
 

 
Trump’s fame fades
Trump’s 10-minutes of fame is over. Thank you, Arianna Huffington, who wrote, “Donald J. Trump’s campaign has become an ugly and dangerous force in American politics so we will no longer be covering his campaign in Huff Post Entertainment.”

 
Malala Yousafzai:  A force to be reckoned with.
She recently said, “It’s important that whatever politicians say, whatever the media say, they should be really, really careful about it. If your intention is to stop terrorism, do not try to blame the whole population of Muslims for it cannot stop terrorism. It will radicalize more terrorists.”
 
The Obama White House
I love all the quirky events hosted by the Obamas at the White House. From Thanksgiving to Halloween to Michelle Obama’s uninhibited appearances on television.
 
Water on Mars
OMG, they found water on Mars! What is the plan? Are we going to place an Adam and Eve and start a whole new civilization?
 
No more plastic bottles
San Francisco becomes the first city to ban the sale of plastic bottles. Progress is here! I am looking forward to seeing many more states follow in her footsteps.
 
Yoga and meditation
All through 2015, during the highs and lows, I had my yoga/mediation keeping me grounded. Not forgetting my amazing friends and family. Other moments were with saintly beings, one of them is the beautiful Amma. I like her brief embrace, but I love the one where she is talking with her Swamis and she forgets she is hugging you, or maybe she’s doing it purposely. Regardless, I am a child in the arms of my divine mother. Priceless…
 
Even more than my little private salvation, merging with “The Peace Movement” and the first “International Yoga Day” was AMAZING. People around the world were meditating on the streets for Peace.
 
As I reflect back on all that happened in 2015, I am reminded that the future is wide open. Anything is possible. Good is possible. Healing is possible. Love, above all, is possible.
 
All it takes is a gentle shift. And making a shift begins with you.
 
I wish you blessings and peace in 2016.

Your Mother Is Always With You…

 

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As mother’s day is here, I found it comforting reading the writings below. My divine mother passed away in 2009 and I wanted to believe she’s always with me. For when they’re not of this earth anymore, there are no words to express that feeling… Time heals and you go one without them, but there will never be a day you won’t think of her. There will be many self-talking days, “I should have done that and why didn’t I do it.” A lot of and subtle discoveries will arise. If your mom is here with you today, cherish the time you have with her. Make the time to see her. Travel around the world just to give her a hug on Mothers day or just for no reason…
 
A beautiful and blessed day to all Mother’s around the world and the single dads taking on both roles.

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Your mother is always with you…
She’s the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street.
She’s the smell of bleach in your freshly laundered socks.
She’s the cool hand on your brow when you’re not well.
Your mother lives inside your laughter.
She’s crystallized in every tear drop.
She’s the place you came from, your first home…
She’s the map you follow with every step that you take.
She’s your first love and your first heart break…
And nothing on earth can separate you.
Not time, Not space…
Not even death… will ever separate you from your mother…
You carry her inside of you…
– Author Unknown

Love and the Divine

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Last January I set out to challenge myself to write about the 13 Virtues of Benjamin Franklin. WOW! It has not been easy to follow in the footsteps of some extraordinary writers on the subject. I had an enormous amount of writer’s block and many setbacks. However, I was barely able to accomplish that task, and in doing so I had to follow my voice and not be afraid to express it.
 
This year I have a few challenges to live up to. The one that resonates for me is the divine: to deepen my spiritual practice and awareness within. I am hoping the phenomenal presence of the divine will evoke love in every possible way.
 
Expect to see many posts and quotes on love.
 
Here’s to a divine and blessed year filled with Peace, Laughter, Harmony and Love.

LOVE, LIFE AND SUMMER 2013 – Part 1

Summer solstice started with an amazing wedding then a funeral and another wedding. In between life, love, thoughts, work and moments…

Our dearest friend Tammi Jones tied the knot at last with her soul mate Micheal Tanaka. She’s a woman of simplicity and elegance that carried through on her wedding day. It’s always amazing catching up with friends and friends of friends and it’s  always exciting at the thought of meeting new life long friends, make my heart beat with gratitude and love.

 

This life can change instantaneously.  And how it did change for us. Our Friend, he’s my BFF, Alexandra childhood’s friend, Robert Williams he passed away. It turned my world upside down.  It’s not everyday that someone you knew dies.  He died in a way that my beautiful nephew did. Many memories and sadness of 2009 came rushing back to me. I thought I had gotten over the fact that you could continue to live your life in the moment. Turn a blind eye to everything that had happened and remind myself that we are strong.  But the reality is, it does not and no amount of yoga and meditation can prepare me for any moment in life. I always say it’s how you handle the situation that matters most. Who’s to say what is right and wrong in any given moment? We do what we can and even as an adult when you can’ t express yourself in words, the tears start to flow.

 

And let me tell you I cried thinking of my Geets and my beautiful mama. After three weeks, I really had to pull myself together for sadness can conquer your body and mind.

 

I am wondering how Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle or Thich Nhat Hanh, a few of my heroes have the discipline to be poised in times of turmoil.  Hopefully one day I will be like that…just saying, I have goals to chill out more.

 

I am thinking of another selfless woman especially, saint Amma.  I had the great opportunity to be in her presence for three days and receiving five divine hugs. I’m inspired by her dedication too empowering women and children.

 

I continue my work as a filmmaker working on wrapping up my film (Swaha: A Journey of Transformation) and TV Show. I Also, plan to continue creating and focusing on works that contribute to making the world a better place.  It’s not easy, but I am IN and closure is as important as knowing who you are.

 

I have to say; I feel the safest when I teach yoga and meditation. It’s deeply satisfying to watch a student shift right in front of my eyes.

 

As a woman, they say we are taking over and ruling the world.  Mom bloggers, activists, famous women, gurus are calling for change. Change to support and empower women.  Change to fight what I call evil. Traffickers who trade women and children for money and men who abuse the vulnerable, we can do without. I am chiming for change also, as they are calling it.  On my Women In Life, Facebook and Twitter pages and my blog. We must do what we can, for every little thing you do or say does affect the world and your communities.

 

Yes it’s another wedding and it’s in the Caribbean, the Calypso island Trinidad.  I am always excited but hesitant to go home.

 

Eager to be at the feet of my beloved Guru Professor HS Adesh for his 42 Annual camp for healing and inspiration. Tears of joy and a spiritual re-connection I cannot begin to express in words other than, LOVE at it’s core.

 

I am hesitant because of two reasons, one, it’s the summer and it’s crazy, humid and hot. Two, because of the sibling rivalry within our own family.  Shocking to say it does exist in this Hindu family.  I pray for the sake that we are growing old and for peace of mind.  The peace is also important to honor our great-grand-parents. They journeyed on a ship (Fatel Rozack) from India to the Trinidad in 1845, so their great grand children may have a better life. To my family – We do have a better life and if you are able to go to India and see the circumstances….just think, who’s to say their circumstances could have been ours!

 

Nevertheless, I always have the best time in Trinidad. It’s great seeing my Guru. I do love weddings, and family weddings are the best. You get to behave badly if you wish. Let me assure you that mean, I can have a couple more glasses of wine and it’s okay. As a family we have our issues, but we love each other like crazy…and we can pray or party all night long…all night…all night long! I can’t get that song out of my head.

 

As for love, love as much as you can and long as you can. And don’t be afraid to give love. It will come back to you endlessly…

 

With love’Ashaa