Saturday, December 3, 2016

Journey to the "Right" Job...

Last night I was puttering around as if looking for reasons to stay up late. Why is it that I don’t want to go to bed at night and I don’t want to get up in the morning? I know I am not the only one who suffers with this question! I can’t complain of insomnia, really, because much of it is my own fault. Anyway, as I puttered I came across a few old journals and began to read one. It was from about 9 years ago when I knew I would be moving from L.A. to Bakersfield. I was going through a lot of angst about what it would mean for my marriage, my career (finding a job), for me, for every part of my life… and dumped it all right there on the page (more like 10 pages). I ended the last page of my purge with:

Show me the way. Please give me a clue. 
Please grace me with wisdom to pursue 
the divine way to best serve You.

Evidently I had dumped enough because when I turned the next page of my journal to the next day, I had turned a corner, and had begun writing down exactly what I wanted, defining my next job, and using the writing as a tool to get clarity. 
Then (back in July 2008) I began reading aloud what I had written every night before I went to bed, visualizing it, feeling it, and fine tuning along the way… changing words here and there, taking out what was no longer meaningful to me, and I got it honed, I got clear, and the ball got rolling.

Reading the entry again last night I thought, this is great! If I ever decide to change employment again, this would be a perfect template; much in the last 9 years has changed and I could just update parts here and there. I realized other folks might find this a helpful tool also. Let me add, that everything in this affirmation came to be. Sometimes you just need to point the universe in the right direction.

To help you along the way, if you so wish, I am sharing with you my pages-long affirmation in its entirety! This takes about 5 minutes to read. Fill in or change the blanks (or anything else) as you like, and read out loud every night before you go to bed:
My new job in Bakersfield will provide a healthy environment for my spiritual growth and professional advancement. It will employ my many skills and aptitudes and develop new areas. I will be respected and appreciated for who I am, the experience and knowledge I bring, and my proven successes in the workplace. It will be an administrator or management position. I will receive excellent benefits including but not limited to: matching retirement plan; starting with 2 weeks’ vacation/year, with one week allowed right away for when my daughter’s baby is born; annual bonus [I should have been more specific on this one], medical insurance; tuition reimbursement; long term disability insurance; and life insuranceI will have a nicely furnished, graceful office space with ample natural lighting, and the quality tools necessary to attain excellence [the natural lighting btw is the only part that didn’t manifest]. My starting pay will be over $___K a year. My office will be within a few miles of our home [Actually, this didn’t manifest either… it was 8 miles]. 
I will interact with successful, intelligent, conscious, heart-centered and solution-oriented individuals on a daily basis, in an environment of respectful communication. My contributions to the organization will be honored with the compensation and position I fully deserve. My new job is exactly perfect for what I need in order to complete my lessons here and to serve in the most effective way. I am already moving in exactly the perfect direction toward this position. I will be hired for this job by the end of September 2008  [I received job offer the last week of September!] and will start shortly thereafter [my starting day was the first Monday in October]. I am ready now. I am already transitioning to my new job in BakersfieldI will work no more than 40 hours a week, and will have ample time and energy to take and excel in 3 college courses at a time [straight A’s, btw]. 
I am confident and secure, in the lap and grace of Guru Ram Das, now and always. I am confident, resourceful, talented, intelligent, capable, and an outstanding human being. My new employer will recognize this and be delighted and confident in hiring me. I will exceed their expectations on a continued basis. I will love my new job and enjoy the people I work with and for. My new job will allow me the flexibility to work away from the office some times. My new job is already decided upon. It is exactly the perfect position, with the perfect people, responsibilities, compensation, and environment for me.The work I will do is purposeful, challenging, and fulfilling. I will enjoy mutual respect and appreciation with my coworkers as we contribute to the organization and enrich each other’s lives. 
There is a higher purpose for me in Bakersfield that I am now realizing. My new job will require a high level of intelligence, used in professional writing, coordination, planning, and execution of multiple projects, problem solving, decision making, and leadershipI am confident, capable, and ready now. Guru is with me whether I recognize this or not, always and forever. Guru’s Grace never stops. I am enveloped in Guru’s Grace and compassion, and always feel – even most subtly – His presence, guiding light, and protecting hand in my life.
I am ready for this next step.I have the wisdom and sight, by the Grace of Guru Ram Das and with the blessing of Siri Singh Sahib Ji, to recognize the best opportunities for me to complete all my lessons in this life; to live, love, prosper, serve, uplift others, and fulfill my destiny. I  am ready, in gratitude. I  am now being led to the perfect position for me. Those at this new organization are now being led to recognize me as well. Guru has a plan for me and it is unfolding now as I have just described. 
My new job in Bakersfield is a perfect fit for me in every possible way. I will be hired for this position by the end of September 2008 and start shortly thereafter.
The Universe is now aligning all of the elements necessary for this to occur and for me to have a smooth transition to my new job and new home in Bakersfield by the Grace of Guru Ram DasI  am fully grateful for all of the blessings and experiences of this life. Wahe Guru!

And there you have it!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

40 Winks in the Air

I had an early morning nonstop out of Raleigh Durham having had only a couple hours of sleep the night before. I thanked God once again for getting a random TSA PreCheck boarding pass. It was the end of the New Year’s weekend and even at 5 AM the terminal was already packed. Once I had glided through security, boarded, and nestled into my A6 window seat, I pulled down the window shade (though it was still a bit dark outside, I knew it would soon be bright and light), turned down the fan, fastened my seatbelt, rolled my winter jacket up into its hood to make a tidy pillow, wrapped my neck scarf over my head to shut out as much light as possible, propped my “pillow” between the wall and my sleepy head, closed my eyes, and prayed for a good 40 winks during the 4-plus hour flight to L.A. I would be heading straight  from LAX to my office in Bakersfield, 115 miles north and a 2 hour drive. I needed all the shut eye I could muster!

Being thus engaged, I was nearly oblivious to the two individuals who took the center and aisle seats next to me. The first was Aisle Seat, an African American gentleman. I imagined he was in the music business. 

My husband and I enjoy doing this sometimes when sitting at a restaurant, or any public place, spotting passersby for whatever reason, picking up on small details, and creating stories of their lives.  Maybe it’s from watching all the Bourne movies far too many times.

So, as I peeked through the mesh of my scarf and eyed him for a moment, this is what I saw… someone in the music business, probably not a musician but maybe a recording engineer or something like that. Maybe flying back to work in L.A. after visiting family in NC, as I was. He didn’t look at me, but perhaps that’s because he had already noted the turbaned woman covered in a coat with a scarf draped over her face leaning her head against the window, and come to some conclusions of his own.

While I continued to doze off, Center Seat came. Thank God he wasn’t too wide or too long legged, so there would be no negotiation of legroom. New blue jeans. White guy, Vibed as younger than Mr. Aisle Seat. As he bent over to wrestle with his belongings, trying to get a small duffel under the seat, I noted his buzz cut. For some reason that made me think of Vanilla Ice. But I ruled out rap artist because, as he seemed to be taking a rather long time with his carryon items, it became apparent he was not an experienced traveler, and, of course, someone in the music business would have been on a plane lots of times. That’s as far as his story got, as my true goal was to nod off, which I must have done not too long after take off.

About an hour and a half later I was surprised to hear the Captain over the loudspeaker announcing we’d be landing at LAX in 23 minutes. 23 minutes!? Praise be! I instantly calculated I must have gotten at least 3 hours sleep, which is pretty awesome for someone who never gets much sleep on a plane. I perked up and opened the window next to me to let in some sunshine. Sure enough, there was Southern California below me, the vastness of L.A. stretching in all directions. Far to the left was what I assumed was Long Beach Harbor, no, probably San Pedro. Mr. Center Seat immediately leaned over to look out the window, “Wow! I’ve never seen California before!” he exclaimed with a not quite North Carolinian accent. 

I pushed back against my seat so he could see better. “Really? Right over there is the Pacific Ocean!” I replied. 

“The Pacific Ocean! That is cool. You know, as a matter of fact,” said Mr. Center Seat, “this is my first time ever leaving Virginia! I’ve lived there my whole life until now.” He peered out the window like a kid looking in the window of a candy store.  Even his next remark, “Wow everything looks a lot browner than I thought it would,” did not diminish his enthusiasm.

I saw him in a different light, now that I was actually awake and we’d engaged in conversation for a moment or two. He reminded me of a little boy meeting Mickey Mouse at Disneyland. Innocent joy and wonderment. “What brings you out here?” I asked.

“I enlisted last month and I’m here to report for training,” he said with a grin. I congratulated him on his choice to serve and pointed out a few landmarks to him as we drew closer to landing. “That’s Catalina Island way out there, it’s about 26 miles across the sea. And there, that hill that’s closer in? That’s called the Palos Verdes peninsula.” I could see Torrance Beach all the way to Malaga Cove, where I used to hang out in the summer during my teen years. In a moment we were on the ground.

“I hope you have some free time before you have to report,” I said, “so you have a chance to enjoy the beach and see some of the sites.” 

“Oh, no,” he said, “A couple of my buddies came yesterday and they did that. But the bus is picking me up right here!” His face literally glowed. All I saw was innocence. He vibed like a really good kid. 

The story started forming as we pulled up to the gate… I’ll bet he played football in high school. No, no, more likely baseball. He seems too nice and rosy cheeked to be a brute out on the playing field. But, I could see him hitting a homer and running the bases with that same bright smile on his face.

Mr. Aisle Seat was already moving up the aisle, but Mr. Center Seat was once again wrangling with his duffel. He hadn’t said so, but I realized this was likely his first time on a plane. 

Then he pulled my carryon down from the overhead for me and placed it on his now empty seat. As I began to get up, he stepped back and let me exit before him. I thanked him and wished him well. I truly meant it. “Thank you M’am!” he said.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I should have said Yes to the Italian, No?

I like to think of myself as a writer, which would work if I actually wrote even somewhat regularly, which I don't. Also, just by the quality of that first sentence, I need more practice and have a ways to go. This is what we call free writing... stream of consciousness writing, where the "editor" isn't really turned on and is actually better completely turned off. I have a very strong internal editor who is very difficult to silence. While I write, I am simultaneously reading my words through the eyes of at least three or four other people who are judging and reading into every word. Needless to say, I don't get much done.

View from my exquisite room at the Atlantic Hotel
I actually started writing tonight because I thought I should say something about the Italian I met on Ft. Lauderdale Beach Blvd. last night. (I am in Florida attending some workshops on new software we are implementing at my office.)

First of all, he was extraordinarily Italian and in the best of ways. Probably about my age, handsome as could be, pleasantly overweight, and on a skateboard. I was walking from my hotel after a long day of travel, hungry, and intent on enjoying a bit of sunset on the beach and hopefully finding a nice spot to enjoy a lonely meal. Along the way, I started singing. No one was around (and I am shy about singing out loud in public unless it is a performance venue) and I was truly enjoying the air, the gorgeous crystaline blue ocean view, and simply feeling happy. The gentleman on the skateboard scooting by surprised me, and hearing my voice, he turned his head and smiled.

Then he stopped and within a few steps I met up with him. He asked if I was Indian, and I said no, but I am Sikh. Within a few moments we were laughing and talking about his college roommates who had been Punjabi Sikhs. He spoke better Punjabi than I did. His name was Gianni and what a natural charmer.

Italians appreciate good food, love, and natural beauty. I know this from Italians I have known and from books I have read (hello, Eat, Pray, Love). I haven't known a lot of Italians or read many books about Italians, but I feel confident in making that statement. I realized that he was hoping for some company for the evening. I felt flattered by his comments about my classic natural beauty that glowed from within. He also noted I did not have a wedding ring (and I wouldn't be surprised if this was one of the first things he noticed). I laughed and told him how both my husband and I had broken our ring fingers on separate occasions and had to cut off our rings. We'd never replaced them, and didn't feel the need to do so. We are so solid! Poor Gianni seemed a little disappointed, and said, "Oh, well I guess you probably don't drink either." I confirmed this. So we talked, shook hands, and parted ways, I walking one way, and he turned around and skateboarded the other.
Here is Gianni (not!). I should have said yes. It would have been fun to sit and talk.

I walked on and found a lovely Italian restaurant right across from the beach. The sun was sitting low in the sky which was already shutting its eyelids in shades of pink, orange and purple. I asked for a table where I could sit and enjoy the view and have a bite to eat. And I did. Some crusty warm bread dipped in luscious olive oil & garlic, salad with asparagus spears, goat cheese, baby greens, toasted pecans and a medley of other perfect ingredients, along with a virgin strawberry daiquiri for dessert. It was perfect; me, the sun, the sea, and a beautifully prepared simple meal. I felt complete and blessed.
Delicious. And the fork is not blue. I think it is reflecting the sky.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A brief history of favorite snacks and sandwiches

Peanut butter on  one side
Then add strawberry and swirl into peanut butter in a pretty design
Put sides together
Onion slice
3rd grade
Leftover spaghetti and meatballs
5th  grade
    Peanut butter on one side
    Top with Bologna
    Mustard on the other side
    Put together
7th grade
    Powdered sugar
    Cocoa powder
8th grade
    Jello, any flavor, straight out of the box
High school
    Anything that satisfied munchies
Age 18-20
Avocado sprinkled with Dr Jensens vegetable broth powder
Hav a Chips
    Whole wheat bread
    Alfalfa sprouts
    Dr. Jensens Vegetable broth powder sprinkled on
Lost decade
    Ciabatta roll sliced lengthwise and very lightly toasted
    Light smear of eggless mayo topped with
    Lighter smear of Harissa
    Arugula and/or romaine leaves
    Sliced ripe luscious tomato
    2 slices Yves Canadian bacon, seared (use iron skillet, olive oil spray, high heat)
    Other side of bread spread with ¼ avocado
    This is still my favorite sandwich
Early Fifties
    Chopped romaine lettuce
    Chopped ripe tomato
    Kalamata olives
    Sliced red onion
    Baked tofu, cut in squares or baked tempeh strips (with little braggs & cayenne)
or chevre broken up into salad
    Chopped celery heart
    Chopped other veggies (broccoli, green beans, jicama, carrots, steamed beets) in season
    Trader Joes Balsamic Vinaigrette, or olive oil & lemon juice
    Day old ciabatta torn/cut into pieces
Late Fifties
    Option 1 – blender breakfast – put in blender until smooth:
½ cup frozen mango/papaya/strawberries/pineapple
½ banana
3 leaves of black kale (de-stemmed) or a big handful of fresh spinach
½ cup orange juice
½ scoop Alive vanilla rice/pea protein powder
1 Tbsp. organic flaxseed oil
½ cup water

    Option 2 little fried snack
    8 slices tempeh (1/8” thick crosswise)
    Heat olive oil in small iron skillet
    When very hot, fry one side tempeh until browned
    Turn over. Get second side slightly browned, adding more oil as necessary
    Sprinkle with Braggs and cayenne
    Turn over one more time and let sizzle 15 seconds
    If imagining being on a diet, bake tempeh instead, 400 degrees on cookie sheet sprayed w/olive oil
    Should be browned and a little bit crispy
    Eat with ZING raw cultured vegetables (with beets)
    And San-J black sesame rice crackers

Saturday, May 29, 2010

yes this is what I'm thinking

After skating for years on good genes, good habits, and yogic lifestyle, gravity is finally taking its toll. My turban does help a bit to hold everything in place, but realistically I can only tie my turban so many times in a day. All those who dye their hair, get their faces pulled tight, and spend thousands clinging to whatever remnants of youthful appearance they can... Really, I am not that vain. It’s a battle I refuse to wage, and a process I can fully accept, this drooping, wrinkling, graying thing.... later on, when I am actually old. However, for now, no harm done putting a few things back where they belong. Don’t you think?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Day in the Bay

Thirteen. That’s the number school-free days of my Spring break. I thought it would be great for Gurujodha and me to get away for a weekend… a weekend entirely free of internet, research papers, textbooks, and hours in front of my computer screen. So I planned a short overnighter to Morro Bay. I’ve driven past Morro Bay on the 101 and 1 highways, and mainly remembered it for the huge domed rock jutting out of the water in the bay. I later learned that this “rock” is actually the remains of a volcanic plume from over 20 million years ago, and is one of nine such plumes (called the “Nine Sisters”) in the San Luis Obispo area. The word “Morro” actually has something to do with turbans! When Juan Cabrillo first spotted the rocky pillar in 1542, it reminded him of the turban worn by the Moors. He named the rock “El Moro.” But, that’s history.

So, back to my story… After a lot of internet searching I settled on a spot for us to stay, the Inn at Morro Bay. It was right next to a state park and bird reserve, and also was nestled on the bay, south of the rock. This seemed like it would be a quiet spot, and a good starting point for nature walks. That was really the extent of my planning.  We’d really just have a little over 24 hours anyway and I figured we’d just go with the flow, take a few walks, enjoy a few local eateries, and perhaps find some kind of entertainment. Gurujodha is a huge fan of jazz (I also very much enjoy). I’d hoped to surprise him with a live performance somewhere in town. There was something at a nightclub in San Luis Obispo (about 15 minutes away), but we are not quite up for the nightclub scene.

Anyway, we started off with a trip to the car wash, and left Bakersfield around 9:15 AM on Saturday for our 140 mile road trip, first heading north on the 5. Driving west on Hwy 46 it appeared as though someone had splashed vats of primary yellow, vivid orange, and lavender water colors all over the otherwise green rolling hills…  Fiddlenecks, California poppies, and lupine flashed their colors with utter lack of modesty, literally everywhere! By chance, our trip was during the few most spectacular wildflower spotting weeks of the year. Between my oohs and aahs I managed to take some photos through our already bug-spotted windshield.

Finally arriving at the Inn around noon, we got an early check in, which really just meant bringing our few pieces of luggage into our room (from the balcony we could see the bay). It was small, but clean, a very comfy King bed, and a recently renovated bathroom with a beautiful black slate floor, new pedestal sink, and slate tiled shower. The lush grounds are meticulously maintained with lovely gardens, flowers, towering eucalyptus trees, surrounding all the buildings. Across the street is the 18-hole championship Morro Bay golf course. Quiet. Peaceful.  Stunningly scenic. So far, so good!

Hungry, we drove back into town where we enjoyed a tasty Thai meal. Then we took a stroll, checking out a few great antique stores, chatting with the locals, and then headed down to the beach and the Embarcadero.

I had rather fancied the idea that we might go kayaking in the estuary that runs along much of the bay, created by waters from the Chorro and Los Osos Creeks and protected from ocean waves  by a long sand spit.

When we walked out to the end of the pier where we could really feel the ocean breeze (it was wind) and see kayakers out there struggling in the choppy water I agreed with my husband that it was probably more fun to watch, which we did for a few minutes.

Then we continued on our walk down the embarcadero to check out all the touristy shops there. I noted a restaurant called Ciao Bella Trattoria and for some reason this instantly brought to my mind a pasta dish I had once enjoyed in La Spezia, Italy, about 25 years ago, and I said to GK, “I’ll bet that this place has a great pasta dish with porcini mushrooms, just like I had at a seafood restaurant in Italy!” He laughed (and probably rolled his eyes), saying something like, “Oh yea, we’ll have to come here for dinner,” and we just kept walking, and stopped in a number of shops, the usual tourist stuff, bought a little pink T-shirt for Cassie… we got to the end of shops and turned around and visited shops on the other side of the street on our way back.

When we got to Ciao Bella, GK said, “Siri Ved, here’s your restaurant.” And I said, “Oh yea! I’ve gotta check the  menu!” And I ran inside while he waited, and can you believe it? Posted right there on the wall was their menu, and what was there? “Rigatoni al Tre Funghi,” rigatoni pasta with porcini, portabella, and crimini mushrooms in a pink sauce with truffles. I laughed and called out to GK, “Am I a food psychic or what!?” We decided then and there we would return later on for dinner.

After a lovely snooze in our hotel we headed back out around 6:30 PM and arrived at the restaurant. Jazz music wafted down the stairs as we climbed up to the trattoria. Can you believe? It was Toty Viola, an amazing jazz guitarist, doing a wine country tour, playing this one night only, at Ciao Bella. We were seated a few tables away, with an expansive view of the bay, at sunset, sipping Pellegrini with lime… was this romantic? So totally yes.

I already knew what I was ordering, Rigatoni al Tre Funghi and a primavera salad with goat cheese. GK got his usual angel hair pomodoro and an arugula salad with shaved Parmesan-asiago. Let me just say, my pasta was amazing! Perfectly cooked, the sauce simply luscious, with lots of porcinis, which give so much flavor. If this was take-out at home, I would have licked my pasta bowl. I don’t know if it tasted just like the dish in Italy. That was 25 years ago. But the memory of this one will far surpass the old. We sat for over two hours, enjoying our meal, the music, each other, the peacefulness of the sun sinking in the sea, boats passing by, the perfection of the time and place…

Gurujodha went over and talked to Toty for a few minutes (that’s how we found out who he was). I love how GK will go up and strike a conversation with anyone, from movie stars to salesclerks, and make a connection. We ended with some decaf and shared a piece of irresistible Italian cheese cake.

We left Ciao Bella close to 9 PM and walked some of our meal off, strolling the embarcadero again, and then came back to the Inn. I slept in till after 8:30 AM and woke just in time to join GK in a morning yoga set.

We loaded up our few things and headed to San Luis Obispo for breakfast at the Big Sky CafĂ©, a restaurant that offers amazing meals prepared with locally grown organic produce. I had “New Mexican” style posole with killer cornbread and scrambled tofu (it was tasty, but I don’t think they’ve ever been to New Mexico…. The sauce was all tomatoes – a big no no – and next to no red chile). Gurujodha ordered a tall stack of wholegrain pancakes with cranberries and orange zest and some roasted herbed potatoes… He saved this location on his iphone, and I on my GPS handheld. What a find! Then we explored downtown SLO for a half hour before we headed home, a return drive through the beautiful green, orange, yellow and purple hills that divide the Central Coast and Central Valley.

Tomorrow? Back to work and back to school.

Thank you God, for everything. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Just one of those days

When I write I always have an editor on in my head. The editor is the eyes and ears of everyone I know and I don't know who could possibly read it and judge me. I know it's ridiculous. But that's the deal. I've got issues. There are probably only about three people who ever read this anyway.

I believe that we as a species are generally ruled by our beliefs. Ha! We all have underlying beliefs, consciously or not. that affect everything we do, think, how we react. For instance, I have an underlying belief that I am completely unlovable, that it is literally impossible for anyone to love me. On top of that, I also have an underlying belief that all men are incapable of loving, not just me, but anybody. How's that for some issues? A perfect set up for misery.... not only am I unlovable, but even if I was, no man could ever love me, because all men suck at love. These beliefs have provided a whole bus load of opportunity for failed relationships and undermined happiness.

But these are beliefs. These are not what I know.  Because when I rise above my DNA and step outside of those beliefs and see a broader view, I know they are false and based somewhere in the long ago past on the the perceptions of a three-year-old who was trying to make sense out of her world. And, I do know love and I do know I am loved, and love definitely is. But, I am entirely too much in my head. This proves it.

Anyway, that's about as deep as I am going to get tonight!