Hello! Namasté. I’m back.
I took a break. From social media. From running around and spinning my wheels. From acting out on this strangely addictive desire to share all my triumphs and setbacks, joys and disappointments. Maybe you noticed? Maybe not. A lot is going on in our busy lives. And I got tired of it. So I stopped. Not completely, but mostly. Stopped looking at all your pictures and updates and opinions and requests for donations and memes. Did Donald Trump really become the Republican nominee? Hasn’t anyone seen Back to the Future II?
Perhaps that’s why I stopped. I’m just not willing to live the way most people live. Not anymore. So I stopped. And went to India. And discovered Kirtan. And had a little romance. And ate chapatis and jelabis and drank chai. And chanted sweet mantras at an orphanage. And bathed in the Ganges river. And danced the night away in Vrindaban — the holy birthplace of Krishna. And moved from LA to Santa Fe. And bought a house in the mountains. And decided to remodel the house. Like completely. And ran into problems. And worked through problems just to find more problems. And grace.
And here I am sitting in my favorite cafe, listening to "Hari Guna Gao" by Jai Uttal, sipping a lavender mint tea, and thinking of you. Yes — YOU! My friends and family. And people I’ve shared precious moments with. So much has shifted in my life. And now I’d like to share. Not from a place of bragging or complaining. Or from a place of wanting everyone to love or “like” me on Facebook. Not from a desire to teach or preach or soak up your time and attention.
Why do we share? I think it’s because one of the most primal needs we have is to be seen. And heard. And felt. And touched. There’s a reason we’re connected. It’s important to share our lives with one another. But not just the "good" stuff. We need to share the bad and the ugly too. Otherwise, it's not real or helpful or, dare I say - honest. We're here to support and inspire each other. To uplift and relate and encourage. To travel to that faraway mountain and fight the dragon and learn something about who we are and why we’re here, and to return home and share what we’ve learned. And what have I learned over the past six months?
To take risks.
To risk everything.
David Elliott, one of my most beloved teachers, always tells me, “Take risks. Be willing to ruffle some feathers.” What does that mean? What does it mean to truly risk something? To give up what you’ve spent years building? Would you be willing to do that? Even if it means losing everything and hurting people that you love?
The truth is we don’t really have anything. We think we do, and it appears that we do. But we don’t. Just look at the mortgage crisis or Syria or take a visit to a hospital, and you’ll see that whatever we think we have, could be lost in a moment. Within this last year, my family lost all three grandparents and both family dogs. Rupert, my parents’ standard poodle, loved me the most. When I’d go home to visit, he’d get so excited that he’d jump into the pool. I swear his barking literally said, “I ruv you.” But he got a brain tumor and now he’s gone. At least physically. And I miss him. And just to add more fuel to the pyre, recently I've dealt with my share of heartbreak in the dating realm. But that's life. Ups and downs. And as Ram Dass says, "It's all grist for the mill."
So if we don’t have anything, at least not in the way we think we do in our minds, then what do we have? We have this moment. Nothing else. And this moment is an opportunity to get real with ourselves, take a look at what we’re clinging to, and discover who we are. To discover why we’re here. And what we’re here to do.
Maybe you’ve found that. I hope so. I’ve met people who’ve found themselves. And I’ve met those who haven’t. The ones who’ve found themselves are few. But you will know them by the love they wear on their sleeves. By the kindness that emanates from their smile and the sweetness that rolls of their tongue. And by that hug that takes you home.
I was a lawyer with a good practice and a Land Rover and a slick new loft in Marina del Rey, and great clothes (that’s debatable!), and a fridge fully stocked with Whole Foods. And I was unhappy. Depressed. Bored. Slowly dying inside. And for years, I worked hard to keep it all together. But for what? To make my parents proud? To find the most beautiful LA woman? To buy a two million dollar house in the Palisades? Would that have made me happy? No.
And that’s what David Elliott was talking about when he said “take risks.” You can spend your whole life and all your energy and resources trying to Keep Up with the Kardashians, or you can realize, right now, that you don’t need it. And you don’t even want it. I met hundreds of people in India who barely survive on a dollar a day. Or less. But they sing songs of love and devotion and they smile with such joy and bliss that most westerners couldn’t even begin to fathom. Not with our Justin Bieber hairdos or our Justin Bieber problems.
They say happiness is an inside job. It is.
But if you want it, you’re going to have to risk everything.