Every novel has a backstory arising from the author’s experience, imagination and research. Because there are several plot threads in Temple Dancer, there are at least three backstories. In this 3-part series, I'll review the backstory that led to the emergence of Saraswati as a character in an Indian village in 1938. Goddess Yellamma Reaching Out On the day I stood in C. S. Lakshmi’s office in Mumbai, looking at a calendar created by “Reaching Out,” a group of Indian feminists, my eyes locked on the eyes of a little girl who gazed into the camera. Rohini stood holding her mother’s hand. She was six. She had knotted hair. Her mother said that she was going to [...]
Dears Ones, do you know how hard it is to release your first published novel (Temple Dancer, September 8th!), especially in a pandemic? These days, I’m immersed in the hard part—promotion. What keeps my head above water is that I feel I’m fulfilling a promise I made 26 years ago. After a second sojourn in India, I received a gift from an eight-year-old girl, born in India in 1930—Saraswati’s voice. Saraswati became a temple dancer (devadasi), auspicious and then later disgraced. When I learned about the decimation of the devadasi culture, I knew I was given her story for a reason—it was meant to be shared. Birthing a Book It has taken me twenty-five years. Those years included writing books [...]
This unfamiliar pause in our ordinary lives has been a time of loss and also a time of birth--my daughter gave birth to a son, Shalom Raphael, three weeks ago, and I am about to deliver my first novel, Temple Dancer. I'll be live on Facebook for a reading and brief talk. I hope you'll join me here tomorrow, May 21 at 4pm PT, 7ET. Temple Dancer is now available for pre-order and will be officially released on September 8. Here is s bit about my journey... Before my first visit to Kripalu in 1989, I was a fiction writer suffering from depression. I wrote from a dark place of angst and from my deep curiosity about the “why” questions—the [...]
During the Pandemic, many conflicting emotions are arising for me, as I imagine they have for you. I am grateful to be well, to be living with my partner in peace and in love, and to be learning new technologies in order to offer free online webinars and practices during this time. I’m a slow learner, and I’m crawling like a baby up the learning curve, whining as I go! Throughout it all, there have been moments of sadness, as I hear about the mounting death toll and read the stories of individuals who have succumbed, or about others who have unwittingly spread the virus by hugging a relative at a funeral or praying in a church while on vacation. [...]
As fall gets underway and winter approaches, stress can increase. Between shorter days and darker weather, new school schedules, end-of-year deadlines, or holiday commitments, perceived pressures can mount, so be sure and make time for yourself. I designed this evidence-based LifeForce Yoga Nidra especially to elevate mood. Move through the traditional body sensing and breath awareness, to an exploration of the opposites of sensation and emotion. Then dive into a sustained period of ananda, which in Sanskrit means bliss. Enjoy this elevating nidra any time you'd like a boost in your mood, or when lethargy or depression is visiting. It's about 32 minutes long, and won't overstimulate you but leave you feeling a calm sense of peace and contentment. [...]
When you see me glowing with happiness under the full moon, please don’t assume that I feel this way all the time. Like anyone’s life, there are moments of happiness and moments of grief. In my case, depression and anxiety have been the default since early childhood. We don’t transform our essential nature, but we learn, through our yoga practice and through healthy healing relationships, that we are not alone in the way we feel, and that we are so much more than any particular feeling. Because I walk the Cliff Walk at sunrise often while I’m in Rhode Island, the great beauty of nature—the changing cloud formations, the bird song, the placid or crashing waves, the sun obscured or [...]
Thank you for your article, Mara Gordon (see link below)! Your piece hit home because it relates to so much of what I teach. It’s lovely to read how science is validating what those of us in LifeForce Yoga® (LFY) have long understood: finding and living our life’s mission is principal to vibrant wellbeing! In my LFY to Manage Your Mood workshops, we spend significant time shedding the layers of Unknowing that block us from understanding our true purpose. We practice visualizations of those who've said “yes!” to our dreams. Then we cultivate the ability to say yes to them ourselves. Sometimes, this involves understanding the family legacy stored in our DNA which could be a source of our self-limitations. [...]
Thirty-five years ago, I was drawn to the line of sea and sky. It seemed an intimate call to oblivion masked as eternity. Now, although my eyes still dwell on the horizon, it's a demarcation, not an invitation. The great wanting windy mama I was called to join in my darkest days has joined me.