Friday, 20 March 2015


Monday, 16 March 2015


Life is speeding up these days. I was about to say, 'more than I would like,' but stopped myself. I am learning not to divide and fragment my life into what I like and want and what I don't like and don't want. It cuts you up and tears your time. So, life is speeding up and I am letting it for there is much to be done before I leave for India on April 7. I have a reading at the museum of my new book, THE SINGING GURU, which hasn't even arrived in the US because of the dock workers strike (I don't care what I just said, I DON'T LIKE THIS!). The release date is tomorrow! Payson wanted to go to Sequoia National Park for his 70th birthday so we are going to be driving up there (7 to 8 hours) after the reading for five days; we return on the 28th, a day before his birthday, when his nephew and his son and our friend Libby are coming to stay with us to celebrate; and so much else I don't want to bore you with.

This is why I'm trying to get in as many posts as possible because I know I may not be able to post for a long time now. But you never know! Don't say won't or never or always. Life isn't like that!


Payson and I were walking on the cliffs above the Pacific Ocean (three blocks from our home) in the winding path through the sea lavender which is a brilliant purple now in this season, when we were stopped in our tracks by a California King snake, no longer than about 15 inches, that crossed the path slowly, looking at us, making eye contact. We just stood there, stunned and pleased by the encounter. We have thought about it for days, and Payson has even written a poem about it which I shall post shortly. The next day -- it being very warm here in Southern California, touching the nineties -- we went kayaking. I wore my new wetsuit which I love because it keeps me warm and allows me to be in the water without getting a chill and bronchitis. The sea was as calm as a lake. We rowed and floated about in the water for two hours, watching the dolphins, pelicans and sea lions. At once point an uncountable number of cormorants flew right above our heads their wings sounding like breath. On the way back the surf dumped us in the water and I was so pleased. After grounding the kayak we went back into the water and I had a great time, diving beneath the ways, getting my head wet. You are not in it till you are in it entirely.

It is connection with the vaster life of Nature (of which we are an inextricable part, though we forget it often and think of nature as something other than us) that constitutes life and living for me now. Amongst other things.

Payson just came downstairs as I was scribbling here and said the light is wonderful right now. I looked up through the window and there was an early morning pink and blue light flooding the garden. So we both went up to the deck and drank it in.


For the first time in my life I went to a professional weight loss program to lose ten pounds. I had finally had it with the bulge. In all those photos of ads by plastic surgeons, I looked like the before pictures.

Let me pause here and bemoan something before I carry on -- the culture we live in which is spreading like a wild fire across the globe. It is capitalism's curse that women, used again and again to sell products, have internalized the images that are projected over and over and over in all the media. It has been so internalized in us as to be ingrained. Okay, enough with the rant, for I am very much a part of this disease and suffer from it. I bemoan the time when girls could freely become women in all their capaciousness. I envy women who allow their bodies to do their own thing. But even as I write this I know that I am obsessed with my weight, that I cannot change this about myself, I cannot become the laughing Buddha, fat and enlightened.

so, back to the diet. The doctor said, oh, you are so tiny, what do you need to lose 10 lbs for? She couldn't see me beneath my clothes, the tyre above the waist whenever I wear jeans, which I haven't been wearing in the winter in which I bundle up. It is summer now and all those slim beauties on the beach put me to shame. She put me on a 1000 calorie a day diet, broke down the percentages of fat, carbs and protein, and I have been slogging away at it. Actually, it has been fun doing it for the last two or three days, going to the store to shop for food, making graphs and charts etc etc. It has been hard work educating myself but I enjoy the focus of a new project that affects my health. I suffer from GERD and losing weight, in addition to being a matter of vanity, is also a health concern.

Here is a photo of my bulge . . .

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Friday, 6 March 2015


A dark strand is woven in together with light in the fabric of our lives. I think it is the very warp. Good days alternate with rough, stormy ones and as much as we struggle to feel good all the time, it won't happen. We know this, and yet we struggle and sweat and worry and wonder why we don't sleep well, or wake up with no energy or desire to do anything, and doing nothing is not very helpful either. I have tried again and again to dig out the causes of these dark periods and though I come up with lists, none of these amount to the whole picture. The only solution it seems is unconditional acceptance of what is. This is what religions mean by 'the will of God.' Often, of course, acceptance doesn't work either. And then a wonderful word comes to the rescue: endurance: to carry through, to tolerate, to undergo, survive, to hold out, suffer patiently. Much to be said for that. The word ENDURANCE is related to the word 'durable,' that which lasts. The root of the word, deru is my all time favorite root: the word deodar, tree of the gods, celestial cedar which abounds in the jungles of our Indian home, comes from it. It is also the place where one waits, trustingly.


For the first time since I quit teaching I’ve been feeling retired, and it’s a wonderful feeling. What do I mean by it? A dream defined it for me last night. I am sitting outside a house with a water bottle and a book, and it’s time to go take an exam. The people in the house are concerned – it is a difficult exam and you haven’t studied for it! I smile and say to them, I don’t care. I have such a good life! In my mind I know I’m going to flunk it and that is perfectly okay with me!

I used to worry a bit about how to spend time when I have day in and day out to myself, without a project (but I always have one) that I am obsessing about and all entangled with. I simple adore this sprawl of objectless time, and I move from thing to thing in an easy and unstressed way, figuring out small steps to take – now I’m going to sit down at the desk and journal; there is always the book I am reading, THE HISTORY AND POWER OF WRITING; I will cook something, or eat something. Life feels so extraordinarily simple.

Want to record an evening P and I had a week ago after we had both been indoors the whole day. We though we’d walk into town on the cliffs, sit at Sea Grove for a bit, get the mail, and walk back. I hadn’t bathed or even brushed my teeth, so I did these, and wore my new magenta jeans I had bought at Macy’s because they fit me so well (by which I mean comfortable), was delighted to see it matched my magenta down jacket, put on some lipstick, eye liner, earrings, and off we went. On the way back my appetite surged and I said, let’s stop somewhere and eat. He didn’t want to, and certainly didn’t want to eat meat, which I craved, so we passed many restaurants and I was getting more and more annoyed with him till we talked into Zel’s. It was still happy hour, so we sat outside by the fire and ordered pork sliders, a hamburger and a glass of stout. The sky was a deep, glowing indigo Safire still edged at the horizon with a faint yellow and drinking our stout and splitting the hamburger I had the time of my life. How simple, how marvelously delightful!

Wednesday, 4 March 2015


Was going about my morning in a slow and sluggish way and then I thought, I’ll take the day off! And the thought and resolution infused me with joy! I went out in the garden, cleaned the bird feed trough and filled it and the hanger with bird feed. I had seen a dove clinging desperately to the all too small hanger in the rain (we’ve had it for two days, though California is still in a drought), and knew I had to refill it today. Part of my taking the day off will be gardening.

What does my day off look like? I do what I want to do and have no compulsion to work on any of my projects. Yesterday I dumped all the 6 parts of MALINI IN WHIRLWOOD together in one document and paginated it (such a pain, with very frequent goof ups on the part of the computer), and have given myself the whole month of March to putter with it and to putter. For the first time in months and months I went to the bead store in Solana Beach and bought myself some supplies: mainly two three strand clasps, and I’m making my first three strand necklace with rhodocrosite and rubies with gold filled 26 gauge wire. It’s beautiful, though my pieces lack finesse. Right now I’m stopping journaling in mid thought to do some yoga with P, who turns 70 this month.

We were going to sit and drink in the music room, P his coffee, me my chai, when I said, looking at the sunshine flooding the lower garden, let’s sit outside! I had wanted to go to the beach, but this felt perfect. Soon, after luxuriating in sunshine, watching the emerald and ruby hummers feeding from the orange blossoms and cape honeysuckle, we admired the arrangement of succulents on the shelves that Jorge built last year, we got into doing, trimming and shaping our bonsais. It was utter delight, and I felt again that vibration I have been feeling lately (alternating with a very dark night of the soul in the middle of each night) that places me right in the center of the harmony of existence, where no place in the entire universe is better than here, now. Everything felt so right, us, the doing, the beauty, the loveliness of the trees. I worked in the garden for two hours, cleaning and weeding, and then got tired and came in to feed the orchid I bought for P for Valentine’s, trim off the dying stalks, and then play a few games of backgammon to relax my back and then make myself that rare cup of coffee that I can only have and digest when the body clearly asks for it. And then I have to not think about calories and have it the way I love it: creamy and sweetened with honey. 


I hadn't realized that my posts for January and February were not posting on the blog. It just goes to show how important personal responsibility is. There is a wonderful story about this by Rumi, recreated in my Rumi Book, RUMI'S TALES FROM THE SILK ROAD. If you are based in India, the title of the book is PILGRIMAGE TO PARADISE. The story is called A DEAD ASS (pun intended). Lack of responsibility and personal oversight can lead to a dead ass, literally and metaphorically. If I can find my file for the mss, that will be my next post.