From “When Nietzsche Wept”, by Irvin Yalom:

First will what is necessary. Then love what you will.
There’s a profound insight there that I’ve tried to live by, long before I read the quote. Life asks many things of us that we don’t want to do. Some of them are distractions, but some of them are necessary. It’s so easy to be full of resentment toward things that we feel are keeping us from our joy. Finding joy in what needs doing is magical. Learning to love the things that are necessary—like daily chores—is the secret of happiness.

On Children by Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Hat Tip: http://www.katsandogz.com/onchildren.html

Plum Village Songs

Plum Village songs have long been a source of joy and practice for Sarika and I. Here is one I particularly enjoy:

Breathing in, breathing out.

Breathing in, breathing out.

I am fresh as the dew.

I am solid as a mountain.

I am firm as the earth.

I am free.

Breathing in, breathing out.

I am water reflecting

What is real, what is true,

And I feel there is space

Deep inside of me.

I am free, I am free, I am free.

A Getaway before Baby – Beacon, NY

Sarika and I have been on somewhat of a scheduling “kick” — whatever we want, we schedule it in and make it happen.

Before our baby girl arrives, we wanted to take one last trip together. We decided this is not a trip for just the two of us, but the three of us, so throughout the trip we decided to take some video for our baby to be, and we figure we will share it with her one day.

Enter Beacon, NY:

We debated renting a car, but did not want the hassle, so a quick trip on MetroNorth Rail brought us to the lovely and historic town of Beacon.

Pro tip: Buy the ticket at the station and you can purchase discounted tickets to Dia: Beacon, the stunning art gallery built from in the former Nabisco-factory.

Day 1: Arrive in Beacon

We booked a room in this lady’s home on Airbnb.com – the Beacon Bamboo Forest – it was quaint, cozy and simple. By saving some money on room and travel, we feel comfortable enjoying ourselves a bit more for lunch and dinner.

We wander main street, enjoy looking into all the quaint stores and have a pastry at All You Knead. Next we go to Denning’s Point Distillery and I enjoy a bit of a tasting — I never thought I would be much for gins and whiskey, but these were actually very good.

We then enjoyed a little stop at More Good, a syrups, bitters and tea manufacturer in Beacon, NY. I have a feeling these folks may disrupt Coca Cola, and other major companies. They are pitching better tasting and healthier drinks to speciality restaurant chains, and grocery companies. At some point, the world will need to move onto a better tasting soda and after trying their drinks — I think that day is coming.

We continued down Main Street until we arrived at Gino’s Italian Ice and could simply not resist a cup of italian ice. I think it is the best treat — tasty, but not too heavy. We continued our walk until we arrived at the water fall, where we enjoyed the sound of the water and the heat of the sun.

For dinner, we went to Towne Crier for some dinner and live music from The Whispering Tree. We stuffed ourselves with a veggie burger, grilled cheese and black bean soup.

We came back to our Airbnb, popped in a DVD (Queen to Play) and enjoyed a nice foreign film. I have to admit, it was the first time — in a long time — that I had watched a DVD and I loved it. Each time Sarika and I watch something on Netflix, there is an option to back out, but not so much with a DVD…there is a joy in committing to a movie and enjoying it for its art — whether you like it or not.

Sarika and I fell asleep as we enjoyed seeing and feeling crazy baby kicks in Sarika’s belly.

Day 2: Dia: Beacon

The next day, we woke up and enjoyed a coffee, waffles and eggs at Homespun Foods. From there, we got ready and took a nice walk to the Dia: Beacon.

It is hard to describe the gallery, but it is a very unique experience — some of it is larger-than-life and some is so subtle. The joy of the gallery was the public tour, which is incredibly worth it.

Running away from a spider!

After Dia: Beacon, we walked back to Main Street. Sarika pushed through walking up-hill despite being 8 months pregnant. I was, as always, very impressed.

We enjoyed some tasty Mexican food at Tito Santana and recalled are gratitude for the day we had already enjoyed.

Tito Santana’s Tacos = Tasty.
normal Sarika shenanigans 

To end the evening, we went to Howard Cultural Center and enjoyed flamenco…

and, Sarika bought an origami nest with two doves….

she was so happy to have her little doves nest…

Beacon: Day 3:

On our way back to the train station, we enjoyed a quick stroll at the Long Dock Park before catching the express train back to NYC…

My foundation in love – my parents

My parents are the light of my life, the foundation of my existence – they’ve truly taught me how to live life to the fullest. Always following their hearts, no matter what others say. 
In 1991, my dad decided to take a big step – move the family from a ‘stable’, all-American dream lifestyle in Dallas to accepting a government job as geophysicist in Chennai, India – so that we could get an understanding of our heritage and learn to live a humble life and be close to our roots. He did this, even though everyone thought he was nuts. I was rebellious and angry at first. 
But those years in India were the best of my life. My classmates were loving and adorable, truly authentic, and I also got to see ancient Hindu traditions being honored through our school. I also really had so much fun – I got a Vespa (Sunny in India) when I was a mere 14 year old! I felt free, wild and fabulous riding that around town 🙂 And met my best friend, Nithya Swaminathan – we were simply inseparable for 5 years. 
In her 40s, my mom got exposure to the power of healing of naturopathy, and decided to commit her life to it. She became a top student in her class, filled with youngsters who at first made fun of her, but they grew in their respect and admiration for how deep her knowledge became in yoga, healing, food, biology. 
They are still very active – my dad is the lead activist for fighting corruption in the real estate market – a company that swindled thousands of elderly folks who put their life savings into buying apartments. 
And my mom now helps hundreds of people in getting healthy – even going on naturopathy retreats with them out to keep them motivated! 
I love them both so much – and am honored to be their daughter. And they’re coming to spend time with us for months in bringing our new baby into this world!
I always remember this quote by Thich Nhat Hanh:
If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people. To be born means that something which did not exist comes into existence. But the day we are “born” is not our beginning. It is a day of continuation. But that should not make us less happy when we celebrate our “Happy Continuation Day.” 
Since we are never born, how can we cease to be? This is what the Heart Sutra reveals to us. When we have tangible experience of non-birth and non-death, we know ourselves beyond duality. The meditation on “no separate self” is one way to pass through the gate of birth and death. 
Your hand proves that you have never been born and you will never die. The thread of life has never been interrupted from time without beginning until now. Previous generations, all the way back to single cell beings, are present in your hand at this moment. You can observe and experience this. Your hand is always available as a subject for meditation.”

–Thich Nhat Hanh, Present Moment, Wonderful Moment