True Grit! What is freedom? !tirG eurT

I had another amazing day today after what started lousily. But time and time again—as has been a recurring theme in and out of different yoga studios throughout Los Angeles over this seven-year period of being on the West Coast—I am nearing the conclusion that the business of expanding personal freedom is so far from a given and that to continue and thrive, it must be fought for every day, both outside and in. And it wouldn’t be so tasty if is was easy. In yoga as in many other sports necessitating endurance, this persistence is commonly referred to as ‘breaking through’ or having that ‘second (or third) wind’. Recently, in yoga classes, I have found myself in physically-demanding poses where the burning sensation in my thigh muscles or shoulders felt as if my flesh was burning so hot it would melt off of my body like hot plasma. This pain is what many teachers in one way or another have routinely suggested as a place where one come to terms with whole selves. It is in the middle of these postures where healthy relationships to our edge of limitations are confronted as well as the opportunity to enlarge or expand them. This is done by disassociating the negative stigma that we might attach to physical and/or mental pain while holding the poses. Furthermore, many teachers  suggest that if we worked on changing our attitudes during these postures towards acceptance of discomfort and pain we might start breathing fire! : ) Or just experience extreme joy.

I have come to take up this cause, of observing calm in the midst of chaos both in yoga as is in life. Any storm, no matter how big or threatening, will dissipate, “so breathe” the  teachers say. So, throughout my last few weeks here, I’ve put in concrete terms, that the high and lows happen no matter what, but how we handle ourselves in between is what really is at stake: The present moment, and it begs one to take a position, one that will constantly recur and will always invite a solution; are we the ones deciding or are we being decided for? I trust that in one of life’s greatest questions, it must be worth the pain of finding out.




I know my time has come. I see the ship and I am standing on the foggy port, bags packed, myself readied. The smell of salty and fishy water washes in my nostrils. I breathe it in becoming intoxicated by its wildness as well as by my mind moving in tandem with it. I am in admiration of having been delivered to bask in a deep brightness.

Others move about as if around me, it is a normal and normally-lovely day. I can feel uplift sprouting about as people mill about, as if their dreams and aspirations weren’t trapped and suffocated in only our individual shells but fluid, seeking, wandering and circulating among us all, and what we feel, which is resplendent! The sun has poked through. Amidst haziness, a patch of the ocean shimmers and light scatters about.

To which I feel free is yours as much as mine. Rejoice, for we have arrived in astute fashion from dank and bloodied repositories with vision blinded by betrayal of an epic magnitude. Whatever it was, you’re forgiven, but only because you have paid your dues, put in your toil and turned in your hours from when you were called upon. You were in safe-holding all along, while unbeknownst to you, your mettle was being evaluated and scrutinized. Did you think we’d let you down after all this?

You have fundamentally changed, and have been changed by the world, no longer to be relegated to trivial pursuits. You have been called upon for life’s ultimate journey which is, that it is yours and yours fully. Now take it and make us proud.


The smile on his face is one that bares semblance to reality, no longer easy and cheap, but fought for and wrested from compromised hands to have made his own and in his own form.



I have taken a liking/longing to my new parking lot, though it took me a little while to get used to it. I used to enjoy the transition of mobility between my house, the walk over to the lot and the 5 min. drive, usually through Skid Row to work. (San Pedro is way more cruise-able than the kitsch-pitsch Los Angeles St. (In Hindi, kitsch-pitsch is an expression of “rubbish”, which is exactly how Los Angeles St. is, in its total (mis)conception.)

The old lot was a few blocks away and it got me into a rhythm of you know, waking up, and at least getting some 3 blocks of sunshine/air on the walk to the car. I know it’s a small thing, but it actually made my transition from house to vehicle to work very full(filling).

However, when I realized what a shady operation the parking lot was, I had to – on principle – GTFO! I was sorry to leave this open-air spot because it’s spaciousness gave my mind a lot of room to stretch out and be in. It is always better when things flow.

The new lot looked totally shady, but was recommended by my building’s manager. I am realizing it is better to take people I know on their word of mouth these days. It strengthens an ever-strengthening social fabric. I should learn to trust people more. When I first arrived, the middle-aged (but not from the Middle Ages) blonde lady took one look at me and made an exception. Space is extremely strained Downtown. A good parking space is something to covet. The new lot was and is an unusual operation, but I didn’t know how entertaining and comical it would be! The lady has definite matron-hood over this joint! She runs the tightest ship. She keeps a golf cart around and cruises up and down floors! Lol! She has three younger, core workers who know if your car is being blocked, or where your keys are if you give them up (you give them up if you are going to be blocking someone). And, they are all incredibly sweet, honest and knowledgeable. They all look like they could be siblings. But I somehow don’t they actually are. That is just to say that there is a seriously familial vibe happening up in this biatch!

The building itself is like a funhouse from the 70’s. It reminds me of places like Fantastic Nathan’s (it was an indoor amusement park at Cinderella City Mall in Englewood, Colorado  full of mazes, inflatable castles, dank caves, glow in the dark rooms and much much more.) because of the awesomely trippy paint job. (But I think it won’t be that way for long)

You have to be SO careful because if you’re literally a couple inches off, you’ll wreck your car! That is because there are pillars every 10 feet to navigate through. And they’re painted an acidic forest green, while the walls are painted a bright turquoise and acidic blue! Hahaha!!! All of this though, is, of course become its charm. A super-narrow and super steep, spiraling ramp takes you up to the second and third floors. I run up and down this thing because it is superior to the rather straightforward stairwell. Both second and third floors are equally cramped and precarious to maneuver. But you know what? All of this dissipates because it is all managed well enough. When you are comfortable with people, everything changes and even tight spaces like this begin to feel….roomy. They are always moving cars, making more room and never losing their cool, though I imagine she definitely knows how to negotiate high-pressure situations.

In recent weeks, I became impressed by this Lego-like structure and the owners. A major overhaul/renovation overtook the outside lot and inside structure. little by little, workers appeared in teams. And just like that, my trips up to my car were highlighted by little improvements and additions. A resurfaced wall here and a newly-paved landing there. Next, they unfolded scaffolding throughout the building inside the structure and outside in the lot. Then, they mounted wire mesh screen throughout. Finally, over the course of just a day or two, resurfaced the whole thing in freshly-applied mortar. Awesome! I have a very primal response to this kind of activity. It reminds me of how they do things in India. It’s like when you lack modern equipment, you just go with other tried-and-true methods. Weirdly though, it feels like a home. Weirdly! To be a part of something where people are actually doing something good and doing good by others, is simply a loving environment. You go the extra miles when you love.