Karachi Yogini

Yoga for Life!

Trust. September 25, 2011

Filed under: poetry,spirituality,Uncategorized — yogini786 @ 3:09 am

I don’t know why these sentences are moving through my mind right now. I find that I am always struck with inspiration in the car, while being driven to or leaving home. Maybe that’s no accident.

So many stories are collecting. So many hearts are living in mine. And I can’t share with you anything except my story. Yet, in this moment, however you have come to stumble upon this random blog post written in a universe very different from yours, I give you the word and the feeling that makes it all possible.

Trust.

Trust whatever brought you here. Trust everyone comes in your life for a purpose. Trust that if you are brought face to face with your worst fears, not once but over and over again, that you are being renewed, redone, in ways that you cannot fathom, but you can only accept once you trust.

What do you do when darkness seems like it is the only thing you’ve ever known? What does it feel like when you stop for a moment to notice the emptiness that has been growing inside of you?

It’s never too late. We only live because we trust, yet we become selective about what we trust and who we trust. Make judgments, create illusion, when all is real is real when it is inside of you. If you trust then everything can be trusted.

Trust me.

Update: May 8, 2012

Leaving for India for a month long yoga teachers training.  This post seemed the best one to re-publish.  Can’t seem to write something new. Except feel this heart full of trust & gratitude.

Where I am going:http://www.sivananda.org/uttarkashi/

and the quote that started it all.

This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

– Rumi

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promises to be. September 22, 2011

It’s been a long time since I took a stretch and cried.  It happened all the time before.  the crazy nooks and corners that would release deeply held pain.

and that’s how Yoga started to change me, inside out.

this morning i got up slowly.  I am in the second day of my moon cycle.  its here early. and its full this time.  full of leftover days and emotions.  full of exhaustion.

why do things happen as they do?   I stopped asking that question over a year a go.  And today while I was in pigeon, the thought crossed my mind.  I am fulfilling my promise to you.  I am still loving you, even if you don’t love me.

And the tears just pierced through. I let them come.  I stayed with it.  What was this pain today?  What was its message?

Partly feeling sorry for myself.  Partly knowing that he also still loves me in his own way. Yet nothing is the way either of us ever thought it would be.  And yet, it’s still ok.

I protect the energy around my promises now.

At times I forget how easy it was once to promise.  To give myself freely.  But I know that I also didn’t take my promises as seriously.  And now i’m so much more careful.  what I promise I have to follow through.  The energetic bond of those words echo in my heart.

And these days the promises I made myself just a few months ago at the Summer Solstice are coming up.  The Autumn equinox is a day away and I know that this cycle within the cycle is coming to a completion.  And I’m feeling ready to set promises for myself again.

– Be good to me.

– Say no when it is too much.

– Prepare and plant my vegetable garden.  Plant the intention to grow my love for my mother, my father, and myself.  Plant the intention to grow everyday towards the purpose the Divine has set for my soul’s journey.

– Give and serve.

– Pray everyday.

– Run and make time for friends

– Make fewer plans.  Do less, be more.

As I open to autumn.  Transitioning from heat to cold.  Feeling the need to put on some protective layers for the oncoming days.   But resisting the temptation.  I want to experience everything as it is.  Without my defenses up.  Without being careful about everything.  With the truth that I am so imperfect, and will always be, and that’s what makes me lovable, that’s what makes me me.  so full of divine grace that it lets me run these sentences together.

Again I have tears in my eyes.  Seems like I welcome each new season with sadness, reflection and trust.  Fresh hot days await us in Karachi.  let’s shed our shame this season.  shine and be.   be what we are without apologies.  allow the peace of our own acceptance to allow us to accept others as they are.  I feel the urgency behind those words.  I feel the desire to compel and convince.  Yet, the best way, the only way maybe, is for me to just be.

opening to page 216 of The Sufi Book of Life:

“My brothers and sisters, if you can know your own life and understand it, you will find the ocean of divine knowledge within you.” – Sufi Bawa Muhaiyaddeen.

my favorite flower. champa.

 

To Karachi, my best friend September 19, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — yogini786 @ 9:58 am

I wrote this poem in 2008 and found myself looking for it last month because of how it resonates so strongly as Karachi has become engulfed in flames again in the last 2 months.  Reading #karachi on Twitter is like walking on coals of fire.  every piece of news sets in a new yet very familiar kind of pain.

For years the news on Pakistan was my connection, my “feed”, as I lived in different cities across North America.  For years, I thought that I would never move back to Karachi.  And now that I’m back, more than 2 years later it is starting to feel as if we are finally reaching the surface of the deepest bottom I can remember in my lifetime.

Yet I have an infinite amount of trust in life now and hope for the future that I didn’t have before. a lot more than most others in my city, and a lot less than many others too.   I know that whenever we reach the lowest point it is also the biggest opening for real change to come through.  so I always center in on that realization and focus on prayer.  I pray for Karachi, for all of us who live here, for all of us whose families live here, for all of those who are losing loved ones to this senseless violence I offer my heart full of peace and my warm embrace.  for now, at least, that is what makes most sense to me.

November 2008 (around when the Mumbai attacks happened)

How do I open the pages that I’ve kept in for so long?


Keeping Distance

On the streets, 


the corners


and the places
 of familiar,



Pain pulses 


like beats 
of my drumming heart.



I try to keep myself back,


Blinking wetness away

and brushing it aside.



I think:


                          Keep it at a distance,


Try to make it something removed,


As if no part of this grieving is mine.



* * *



but trauma has no boundary –


spaces of thousands of miles


and times 

of 

millions

of

minutes,



are crossed
in moments.


*             *           *



A knot of stone is stuck


In the left part of my heart.


I feel its oddly shaped contours,


Sense its pervasiveness.



Yet my trauma has no name


It has no place


It has only meaning


It is shared and it is distributed


It is mine and theirs,


But how can it just be?
*                  *                  * 


Where do we go from here?



My road doesn’t cross this road


Except in the sense of a past


this past that is my being


this past that is my person



It is my way of knowing that I am me


What I dream of, what I think of


*             *             *
What is it about trauma that inspires me so?


What is it about grief that makes me turn to these pages?


Am I hollow without recluse, 



Without shame,


Taking the chance to return to empty words


My Way of keeping distance?

I remember distinctly the feelings of hopelessness and despair as I used to open up the news on my computer every morning.  I remember vividly the nagging emptiness, not knowing how to help, not knowing when things would change, how they would, and the continuous fascination with how violence and trauma live and breathe in us.  Memories are powerful, and experiences of loss, challenge and violence are even more powerful.  Working with many survivors of trauma while living in Toronto, people who had suffered all kinds of atrocities, I was given my lifeline of hope in my personal despair about Pakistan. I would see their smile and wonder, how is it that they can still smile?  I would see their clothes, and wonder, how is it that they can still dress so nicely? I would listen to their words, and wonder, how is it that they can still believe? And now again as I search the eyes of my city, I wonder, how is that you survive, again and again?

Quietly I remember all those who taught me the amazing resilience and strength of the human spirit. Thank you. 

Be safe and be strong Karachi.

 

simple. September 17, 2011

Filed under: And the Journey begins...,spirituality,Uncategorized — yogini786 @ 10:36 am

“It isn’t what happens to us that causes us to suffer; it’s what we say to ourselves about what happens.” -Pema Chodron

Memories are funny.  as is the past. It somehow stays alive in our minds.  though everything may be different, sometimes it feels as if it is right here, next to you.

At first it was hard to talk about my past.  Then it became hard to dis-identify with it.  At one point I realized that I couldn’t begin my story always with pain.  That enough time had passed and I had in fact moved on to being new, fresh.

simple.  keep things simple.  I return over and over again to that.  learning lessons every moment I sometimes get tired of watching for meaning.  I get tired of trying to understand why everything is the way it is.

sand.sun.smile photo taken by Myra Chaudhri

Reading posts on the wonderful site, TinyBuddha.com, to fill my saturday morning (and procrastinate from working!) I am amazed how without “knowing” I knew how to survive. and i’m starting to suspect it was because for once, I was too tired to try to “know” everything, too confused to figure anything out or anyone out, too lost to have any road map planned out ahead of me.

And so without trying I felt the joy of a fried egg and home-made paratha on the weekend. or the sun’s bright rays on my face even on a so-called “winter” day in Karachi.  I loved friends whose words would show up in my email inbox, that they love me, think of me, even though I may not be ready to write or talk to them just yet.

and everyday now when i’m tempted to try too much, or work too hard, I’m reminded how those simple moments of joy let me live again.  let me live again to share, love, and be.

simple.

“Practice random beauty and senseless acts of love.” ~Unknown

 

blue jean baby September 12, 2011

Filed under: poetry,Uncategorized — yogini786 @ 11:57 pm

the blues

baby blue

baby i’m blue

blue in my eyes

as i look up to the sky

blue chakra in my throat

as i try to open up

what is blue?  colors are incredible.  when I was young I stubbornly stayed away from pink and preferred blue, the chosen color for boys, which is what I thought I was until the sudden shock of puberty descended upon me.

Then there was my favorite perfume at one point, called Blue jeans, and of course that most of my life after turning 13 i’ve spent interchanging blue jeans of all styles:  high waist-ed, strangely skinny, to really baggy, so tight that I can’t breathe (that was university), sexy ones with boots on top, in all shades of washed blue.

the blue on baby’s backs when they are born until they are toddlers.

blue eyed friends

blue-blooded friends!

black and blue from all the slipping and sliding on icy roads in montreal.

blue mascara

wanting blue emo hair

blue painted on my walls in 3rd year university

deep blue sea. – snatam kaur

so i will be experiencing i hope a whole different kind of blue, the reflection of the sky in the water, as I go explore the world living under the Arabian sea in my soon to happen scuba lessons.

why blue? shriya and I continue our second month of word/theme game.  she chose blue. I’m curious to know what she’ll write.  I’m just happy she reminded me of all the ways blue brings meaning into me.

Don’t stay stuck in blue, paint your blues, swirl them around, love them, talk to them, listen to them and become friends with them.  life is not black white or grey! its all shades of all colors moving and pulsing in all kinds of shapes and vibrations.

Loving your post Shri!! Thanks and sending you some of your favorite kind of blue to brighten up your day.

Thought Sketches – \”Blue\” – Shriya Malhotra

 

Raindrops during Savasana** September 7, 2011

Filed under: poetry,Uncategorized,Yoga In Karachi — yogini786 @ 10:41 am

Receiving raindrops on my face.

Life is thick

like these

monsoon clouds;

wistful, and full of

grace. 

**The final relaxation pose after a yoga practice, where you lie still, for many the hardest pose in yoga.

 

an unforgettable facebook conversation… September 2, 2011

Filed under: inspiring books,Islam/Sufism,poetry,spirituality,Uncategorized — yogini786 @ 11:35 am
Basic context:  A student from last year who I taught in university and I exchange frequent messages because of our common love for poetry and I guess esoteric teachings on philosophies of life and living.  Since yesterday we have exchanged MANY messages about meditation and our identity.  It’s been so fun and illuminating for me that I had to share it with all of you.  Thanks Fizza for helping me reflect and understand myself!
  • eid mubarak to you too! some reason i didn’t get your messages properly til just now. right now I feel like i need comfort. listening to the power of now. watching what is arising in me and allowing, accepting what is.

    you can get scuba diving cert from indus scuba school or another place called karachi something. I’m going to try and do it soon so i’m ready for the upcoming season.

    i have tried lots of types of meditation, some of the techniques are known as “zen” but I haven’t actually formally studied it. the meditations i tend to do are chakra based meditations, or just simple vipassana which is a buddhist meditation. very simple instructions just focus on your breathe and watch your thoughts. very hard to do:)

    reiki is very powerful. I’ve been feeling very different since I have been given the teachings. crystals are best for in person but you can also use them in distance. you can also charge a crystal with energy and leave it in a room, or give it to a person to continue the reiki once you’re done.
    hope you have a great eid!

  • i downloaded the sound version of power of now but i couldn’t follow it nor sit still and listen to it so i just deleted it and read the book. find reading so much better!

    Reiki is considering to be the best form of healing. healing of every kind. lots of people even use reiki help to treat mental disorders or diseases like cancer! have you ever used crystals before? i know you have been meditating for quiet sometime now but can you seriously control your thought? or even slow them down?

  • in every man’s heart,
    the leap of a mare

    each man has a bit of an ocean
    every lover has a bit of a beach
    on every beach
    there is longing
    and in the heart of every longing
    there is a rising tide

    every man has a thought
    years and centuries panting

    behind all the news and all the views
    always a burning word

    in every man dances a peacock
    in every man dances a thief
    every age comes dancing

    with swords floating down one’s throat

    every age, its own puzzle.
    – Hassan Dars

  • wow really nice. reiki is pretty incredible. as for meditation, and being able to control thoughts, i don’t think that is a practical goal like J krishnamurti says. but what i have been able to achieve is watching my thoughts, quieting my mind so that it is not my main source of information, and also being at peace even if things are not. through meditation i feel i am able to connect to a space beyond the mind like tolle talks about. it helps me practice presence and being. it helps me be. but again everyday is different. every meditation is part of the process. but the commitment, the practice is important. kind of like praying. the more you do it the better you get at it.

  • oh. well i hope you achieve whatever you want to through meditation. somehow ‘meditating’ sounds like hard work :o

  • hahah the mind i have when i don’t meditate is a lot harder to deal with 🙂:) have no goals in mind just know its the right the thing for me. and hope its for a lifetime. whenever one is ready I think life leads the way to whatever we need to be healthy and happy.

  • i guess yeh maybe it does. umm the mind you have without meditating is completely you. like all those are your thoughts regarding your life and everything in and around it. what if you somehow filter something from ur mind when meditating or block something important? wont that result in you not being so you

  • so i have only survived life in the last 2 years because i don’t identify with my thoughts. in meditating you don’t block thoughts. that would defeat the purpose. meditation is allowing yourself the time to watch whatever is happening, with acceptance and no judgement. its a journey inwards. and sometimes it is terribly painful, and other times exquisitely joyous. but the witness/observer in you becomes more present and so the joy or the pain become waves you watch and you accept wherever you are in the wave at the given moment. does that make sense? the “I” is also constantly changing, shifting, nothing is permanent and meditation teaches you that in a very personal way. One moment I may be sad, anxious, another happy and excited. Eventually you start to see that neither of those states are “you” or define “you”. They are just passing by.
    This is a really interesting discussion about meditation! I may just use it for my blog :) if you don’t mind being my muse!

  • but but we need to identify with our thoughts in order to accept them and accept us and our life. our thoughts arise from what we experience in our life. and thoughts are a very personal and important part of us. how can we not identify with them? at some point we have too! like in poetry a poet gives words to their feeling. their exact feelings. how is cool to not identify with ones own thoughts? yes meditation allows one to accept themselves and every moment but how is it okay if it doesnt allow you to find you. there has to be something that defines you as a person you. i mean you cnt say nothing defines you as everything is just something that passes by. that is a very scary thing to say!
  • oh i think i got what you are saying. you are saying that in a mind usually all thoughts are just jumping in together very randomly and at a fast pace giving us no time to process them but through meditation you can slow down the process of the thoughts jumping giving you time to understand and analyse each thought which is also why whatever feeling you feel is at a greater scale. if this is what you are saying then you are identifying with your thoughts in a cool organised manner.

  • hahah you’re great. so as you experience your mind, you experience your own truths. and everyone is going to have their own answers. one of the teachings that has resonated with me is to NOT identify with my thoughts. so I am not my thoughts, I am not my emotions. I am…that is all that one is. ofcourse this is a lot easier said than done because I do identify with many many things, but I think the better way to explain it is that my ego is attached to many many things which it believes “define” me.
  • so meditation, or just sitting with your thoughts, dont’ really need to formalize it, watching them as they come and go, allows you to detach from them, find patterns in them, and also of course there are thoughts that are important but those ones come from beyond your mind. they come from a deeper awareness we all have. call it consciousness, your soul, higher-self, God, doesn’t really matter. but that is the only source for creativity and transformation.
  • the other teaching, that is why I am so connected with Sufi thought, is that the heart is the doorway to enlightenment, path to liberation and path to God. We have to redirect our focus from our minds to our hearts (only cause we are out of balance). Ideally both should be in balance but when in doubt instead of going to our thoughts (which is what we and I usually do) we should practice to go with our heart.
  • so at times in meditation I also spend a lot of time just watching and feeling the energy in and around my heart. at the end of it all though the simplest thing is to just accept and trust. usually you’ll be guided to whatever you need to find that acceptance and trust in life.

  • Now you are saying you don’t identify with your emotions too? :o. It is not like that. You do identify with your emotions. emotions come from the heart. So how can you say that you listen to your heart but de attach yourself from your emotions and thoughts. And you are a poet. A person de attached from their emotions can’t be a poet! Your poetry displays emotions. Very good emotions! Plus people say to detach from thoughts and emotions if very painful, for a brief period of time. Not permanently! You can’t keep saying you are not your thoughts and emotions. Haven’t you heard something like, ‘we are our thoughts’. Both these things arise from our heart and consciousness too. There is a reason we cnt control them. I’m pretty sure that is the reason. Its like you are saying that if you feel happy or hurt you don’t let yourself feel that. And that is not okay.
    Or maybe I’m just not understanding you and your concept of meditation. :s. But whatever it is that you are saying is scary and I can’t stop thinking of what it is that you are trying to say!

  • oh i dont’ want to send you into a tailspin! I guess i’m sorting out this all for myself and there are no hard and fast rules. I agree with you that poets express their emotions and thoughts, that we all have them is not something i’m denying. it is important to allow yourself to whatever you are feeling in any given moment, never to repress it or distract yourself from it (which is VERY hard). but what i’m suggesting is that though we experience emotions of all kinds, though we think thoughts and those guide us and hurt us, that emotions and thoughts do not define us. do not define what we are. that we are greater and deeper than those. we are maybe grooves in the human and universe’s consciousness. I have no answer for what we are.
    I have also learned that we all swing between aversion and pleasure (buddhist philosophy). we crave pleasure (most of us) and avoid feeling “negative” things. this is because we live in a material world of opposites but internally we have the choice of freedom from these opposites. meditation is also witnessing this process more and more so we can have equanimity despite the suffering life gives us. i love this explanation that life is full of suffering, but there is true suffering and optional suffering (which arises from our unhealthy identification with certain emotions and thoughts).
    you will have to start considering what is my goal in life? what am i pursuing? when i first started to meditate my intention was to find peace from my negative thoughts and emotions. and truly through prayer, yoga and meditation I have been able to come so far on my journey. not just by shutting them off, because then they would just come back and be louder, but by watching them, accepting them, forgiving myself and others, and then truly letting them go.

    on a spiritual path, the goal is to liberate yourself, to evolve and progress, find your purpose on earth, and I believe most importantly, what you are here to GIVE rather than receive. our whole lives are set up so we can find our purpose. so in some ways as long you trust that everything that unfolds in life is meaningful, your purpose will become obvious. with the knowledge that as life evolves your purpose may too.

    at your age I was too immature to even consider the things that i’m writing to you. or to even have read the kind of stuff you have. There is no need to be attached to a mental position, you and I may see things very differently about what we are, which is great because in this exchange I’ve already learned so much! and have realized how much i love discussing this topic.

  • I feel very proud of myself right now cause I’m pretty sure I got 80 percent of what you are saying and finally it does make sense in my head! I thought you were saying you shut ur thoughts and emotions out completely. Plus whatever you do is working for you since 2 years so then for you that is the way or something like that. But this is a very complicated topic to understand!

  • i know i had no idea myself it was so hard to explain:) but i’m confident you’ll find your own path and it may look VERY different than mine.

THANK YOU FIZZA! I still have so much to learn I realize, and yet I can tell I am starting to get something at least. hope it helped you half as much as it helped me to have this conversation 🙂

perfect for how complicated my simple explanation has become!