I Celebrate Myself…

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Loving Hafiz… in Shades of Grey

Not sure if you understand the love I feel for Hafiz’s work. I came across another collection of his work at Borders again two days ago,  and read poems that I connected with immediately. Hafiz, the man whose spirit wondered for Love without labels, who appreciated the grey of what life has to offer and did not stay stuck in the black and the white of identity. I feel connected to him because if I were as  gifted as he, my words would communicate the same meaning—this appreciation for variety. One of my favorite quotes of his delves into not needing the label of religious identity, “I have learned so much from God That I can no longer call myself a Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew” he wrote… and yes, I get that. Although I am fasting for Ramadan and I identify with Islam in a tremendous way, I would be lying to myself if I did not say that I do not think that one religion supersedes another, or even the disbelief in one. If you believe in humanity, admire the wondrous splendor of this world and love with honesty and sincerity, that is God—there is not separation in my book, and from what I sense from Hafiz, he understood that.

Another Poem:

Would You Think It Odd?

             – Hafiz

Would you think it odd if Hafiz said,

“I am in love with every church
And mosque
And temple
And any kind of shrine

Because I know it is there
That the people say the different names
Of the One God”

Would you tell your friends
I was a bit strange if I admitted

I am indeed in love with every mind
And heart and body.

O I am sincerely
Plumb crazy
About your every thought and yearning
And limb

Because, my dear,
I know
That it is through these

That you search for him.


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Mind Exercise

It is a humid day in New York City today and I feel like my theme song this morning was K.D. Lang’s “Anywhere But Here.” I dragged myself out of bed, ironed my clothes, ate breakfast, got dressed all the while contemplating the beauty of not having the obligation of working or being on vacation. The thing about those thoughts is that for one to really cherish vacations or being off from work, one has to work and dread going there on days when you don’t want to….days like this. So, now I am at my desk, in my cubicle, and instead of typing up notes from a meeting I  facilitated, I am typing this blog entry on Word hoping to post this blog in a few minutes. This weekend went by so fast. I did nothing. I decided not to go to Salsa class on Saturday due to some strange pain in my arm/shoulder—this happened every time I would lift my arm. The pain is almost gone now. I ate not so nice things this past weekend. Actually it began right after my detox ended. I also began the melancholic mind exercise of asking myself, “when ever will I conquer this weight battle?” That wasn’t too good for my self-esteem. So, it is Monday—another four more days until the weekend again. I am here trying to draw myself into the present, to realize that the present is a gift and that being in the moment in the best mind exercise one can have.

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On This Sunday Afternoon

Today is one of those days where I just want to not do anything, but the reality is that I have to wash my hair, go to the grocery store, clean my room, power walk and cook…oh, and watch True Blood at nine. I just want to get those things accomplished without doing them…on this Sunday afternoon.

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Feeling Good

Since my return from Istanbul it has been interesting to watch my evolution. The first week it was surreal being back home, in Brooklyn, and having the desire to be some place else. I detoxed all of last week, essentially being vegan for a whole week and meditated and did yogic stretches throughout the week, just to ground myself again. I had a great time in Turkey and there was a subtle shift that occurred. Trying to live in the present moment, I am not sure how long this feeling or this shift will last, all I know is I came back with a sense of urgency of wanting to be good, to be truly good to me, my body, my mind and my spirit. I truly want to own Happiness now in a very non-egotistical way, I believe. I wrote in a journal everyday and I have yet to read through what I wrote, but it was interesting the way in which Turkey…Istanbul felt very familiar to me. I have always felt connected to something bigger than my own self, but my experience in Turkey made me live it in another way. This trip was the first time in my adult life where I traveled internationally…and that is a very different experience than that of being a child and traveling. I toured historic sites, hung out a local hang outs in Taksim ( the neighborhood where I stayed) and danced the night away at an awesome place called Cuba Bar.

It is so interesting the inspiration you get from places you travel. Who would have thought that I would revive my love for Afro-Spanish/Latino culture from a trip to Istanbul. Since I have been back I have mainly been listening to Afr0-Cuban/Peruvian/Brazilian music and I have become an active member of my NY Salsa Meetup ( I have been a “member” only in spirit for over a year now). So, I am in a good place…and  I fight the urge, every time it comes up, to wonder when will the bad times or feeling return. I am happy, truly, for the first time in a long time–I am feeling good. It feel a lot more organic. I working on knowing in every fiber of my being  that  I am worth this happiness.