Today is my birthday. And that scary picture of me (and my boyfriend Harry, or Hari as I used to call him) is circa 1971 when I was a young hippie chick in high school. I killed too many brain cells back then to remember who took that picture.
And how often do you get an email from The Universe on your birthday?….
Hey!! Sama, there’s not been a single day in your life when you’ve been anything but magnificent. Give this to yourself.
Every day you move mountains, touch lives, and perform miracles.
Every day you’re a success, a hero, an example.
And every day you change the world for the better…
If any of you would like to get daily personalized messages from The Universe, you can sign up at The Adventurers Club – Thoughts Become Things. Yeah, yeah, I know…none of us need any more emails in our inbox, but it’s kind of neat to get a personalized message from the Universe!
I’ve been around the sun over 50 times now, and every year on my birthday I look back over my life. I can honestly say that I have no regrets, not even about the bad things I’ve experienced because I’ve learned lessons from it all. I don’t regret the drugs I took or hanging out with the people I hung out with, some good, some not so good, some wild and crazy, and others, just crazy. I moved out when I was 18 and never looked back, and for a while making it to age 21 was a little iffy.
Those of you who have read my very early postings know that I dabbled in yoga and meditation in my college days, when yoga was seen as the milieu of half-n@ked hippies sitting around chanting OM. My claim to fame is OMing with Buddhist and Beat Poet Allen Ginsberg at a hippie party, and no, none of us were half-n*ked, but I do remember some wacky tobacy and Ripple wine. On a quest for something more, I started reading the books of the Eastern wisdom traditions even earlier, when I was in high school.
Then my life detoured taking many twists and turns until I found the road sign again that pointed the way back to the Path. I believe there are no coincidences, and yoga brought me back home to myself, to the me that used to be, sans drugs and craziness this time. It is said that yoga connects or re-connects us to our True Self….I know it has in my case, and I’ve had a consistent practice for about 10 years now, and teaching for six. The rewards of yoga for me are so much more than physical — although the physical practice keeps me flexible and open and strong, the non-physical practice makes me whole. My meditation practice keeps me on an even keel, keeps me focused on the NOW, keeps me from becoming reactionary and held prisoner by my emotions or erratic thoughts. My spirituality feeds my soul.
A few years ago I had my birth chart done, and during our first meeting the astrologer told me that she has rarely seen a chart as powerful as mine because of the way certain planets line up. Pluto is very heavy in my chart, Pluto being the planet of death but also the planet of spirituality. She told me that according to my chart, the first months that I spend in India will be the most perfect times in my life to be there. She did my chart before I went on my first trip and she told me that “it will feel like you are going home.” She was right. Dead-on right. The waves of recognition that flooded over me the minute my foot hit Indian soil were too strong to be denied, and I had some deep emotional responses to certain areas in Tamil Nadu.
After my second trip to India I did my “astro travel” birthchart at Astro.com, and my Moon and Pluto (there’s that planet again!) lines intersect right through Tamil Nadu, in the exact spot where I travel. The crossing of Moon and Pluto means “there is a tremendous potential for transformation in this region…the path towards catharsis under Pluto’s guidance often leads through a valley of tears, but once you are through it, you will receive completely new insights. Mighty energies operate under this crossing. Repressed memories, past emotional hurts, and unprocessed fears come into consciousness to make you look at events of your past which you thought were long forgotten, as a result of which you experience cathartic releases…” Hmmmm….maybe that’s why I broke down in those Murugan temples…..
My astrologer has said that according to my chart I have not even begun to reach my potential, that my 50s will be a training ground for what will come after age 60, “taking it on the road”, as she calls it. All my yoga training and spiritual retreats are preparing me for what she calls an exponential explosion into the global realm, because the “Midwest is just too small for you. You came out of the womb looking to get out of the box…” A vedic astrologer told me, long before going to India was even a thought in my mind, that somewhere between 2008-2010 I would experience “divine grace.” I don’t know what that is exactly, but it sounds good.
I’ve always taken anything adepts have told me with a huge grain of salt, if things happen, they happen, I go with the flow. I traveled overseas — solo — for the first time in my life at the fabulous age of 51, and for whatever reason the planets lined up to take me to the heart of yoga. I returned six months later, once again a solo woman-of-a-certain-age traveler.
At an age when many people start thinking about retirement, I know in my bones that the best is yet to come for me. Many my age have health concerns, but I don’t concern myself with that. My arthritis is worse than some — I developed it in my 30s, and had shoulder surgery in my 40s. I had an ovarian cancer scare that required another surgery, and that’s when I created my mantra “I AM NOT THIS BODY, I AM NOT THIS BODY, I AM NOT THIS BODY”. It works for peace of mind and perspective, believe me. If I develop an incapacitating condition, I already know where I want to spend my last days, and it won’t be in an American hospital, I can assure you.
I regret nothing, and look forward to everything that will come my way, even the unpleasant things. I decided a long time ago not to dwell on the past or worry about the future. Life is a delicious ebb and flow and I want the entire banquet, not just a few nibbles at the buffet. Yoga cultivates many things, and one thing it cultivates is an attitude of gratitude. Thank you, Life, for being an excellent teacher.