Today is Christmas Day. In the past few weeks I have actually been thinking about Jesus a lot. I spent most of my life as removed from Christian culture as I could. Dating a culturally Christian man for 6 years brought Christmas into my awareness again and I relunctantly spent the holiday with his family but I never felt comfortable doing so. Over the years, I have studied and begun to revere such important spiritual figures and deities in many traditions such as Buddha, Shiva, Ganesh, Shakti, Native American Ceremony, and more. But Jesus has been left out of the picture.
I grew up in a very Jewish home, went to Jewish school and spent 10 years in Israel. As a child, I have been conditioned to view Jesus and Christianity as almost "un-spiritual" - centered around materialism, prejudice and anti-Jewish sentiment. I had been conditioned to experience my own identity as Jewish first and foremost and everything else secondary: woman, human, American...
In this season, with the potent Winter Solstice of 2012 upon us, and my father in Israel in the hospital, I began to feel the need to connect with a masculine form of God. For the first time in my life, this included Jesus. I am coming to terms with this particular manifestation of the divine - and the reality that it has a powerful effect on our planet.
Being in denial of Jesus was almost a way of denying millions of people's spiritual life. And I feel ready to acknowledge my blindness in this realm. I feel ready to acknowledge and celebrate the spiritual life of all of those who hold close to their hearts the manifestation of God in Jesus and all other deities. I pray that the image of Jesus be carried with respect and humility, that people who follow the Christian path utilize it as a way to enlighten their soul's work on this planet and bring love and peace into their communities and homes and hearts.
My dad is in the hospital in Israel. Everything I am doing in the last few days has been with an undercurrent of knowing that. He was taken for a check up and they kept him overnight to change the dosage of his medication. It's unclear how long they will keep him but the truth is that his condition is so challenging that being in the hospital is much easier on his wife and caretaker. At this point he needs help with everything from walking to getting dressed, to going to the bathroom, to eating. He still has consciousness but it is unclear how he perceives himself or the world around him. He seems to be aware that he has two daughters. When I call to talk with him he just asks me over and over if I can come be with him. I tell him I'd like to come but I need to finish my album first and that will take a few months.
I have been deeply contemplating the masculine force these past couple weeks. I have been charging ahead with powerful drive to expose myself and my music and there is a kind of masculine energy that is required in order to do that. And also feeling that so much of this is related to wanting to sing for my dad. That the father I have had in this lifetime draws out of me that creative passion and yearning for expression. My heart has always ached for closeness to him. And he has always been far away and elusive. Now he is even further. And I can not reach him - even if I do go visit. His spirit is slowly leaving his body.
So what is left for me to do? I have been meditating and praying to the Holy Father, the manifestation of the masculine in God. Feeling the presence of His compassion and care soothes my spirit. I have been drawn to women, mother earth and feminine divine energy very strongly over the course of my life. I am comfortable and secure when I am with women. So even approaching the Divine Father is scary for me. I have been disappointed and hurt by men throughout my life. I do not trust them. I'm not sure I even trust the masculine in God. But in this time of great uncertainty, losing my father, and without a consistent male figure in my life, I just need to turn to something beyond this physical world.
It helps. And with His presence, I forge ahead with my music. I keep my heart clear and consistent with finding my truest expression. What is really alive for me that I can share with the world. Blues, groove, baring my soul, living my truth, singing my sorrow, and connecting with good people.
It's done. This promo video I was waiting on as the final piece to really start to push my album funding out to the masses... I got the final edit in my mail box this morning and blasted everyone I know with a plea to go watch it.
I haven't been sleeping much. I stay up until about 2 am (it's almost that time!) posting stuff online. And I wake up naturally around 7 am and start going and going. I never thought I would have this kind of energy. It turns out when you LOVE what you're doing, sleep is less of an issue. I am collaborating with people that I have so much respect for - and who are all on this tip of really going after their passion and making it into a livelihood and a community. I am proud to be a part of what is happening here. It feels like there is this momentum right now that is raising us all up together.
Sādhanā is a discipline undertaken in the pursuit of a goal. In Indian spirituality it is an ego-transcending spiritual practice to deepen commitment and intention on the spiritual path and reap the benefits in a personal way. With certain attention, the sadhana can have benefits for the community as well.
Sangeet is the word for music. I am undertaking a Sangeet Sadhana this month. I have made a commitment to myself to play music during a yoga class everyday for my own spiritual benefit and for the enjoyment of the people in the class.
Playing music is a form of prayer. Just like the practice of asana is a prayer. We come to the mat as devotees, turning to something greater than ourselves. We come as students of our bodies and experience. We bring an open heart and mind and curiosity about ourselves from moment to moment. We open to exploring our imperfection and staying at the edge of our comfort zone.
This is the way I approach music. Playing music in the presence of people who are practicing yoga is the highest honor for me. My intention is for the sounds and words I create to offer a sacred space for yogis to turn inwards and reflect deeply on their moment by moment experience. The best way I know how to offer such a space is by creating that within myself. I come to each class with only a vague idea of what will unfold. I have a few songs and mantras to call upon but I let them shape shift with the energy of the class. I open to being as vulnerable as each student there. I join the practitioners in every way energetically without doing the asana.
My intention for this Month Long Musical Sadhana is to have an opportunity to continuously call upon myself to create sacred soundscapes. I will not be perfect. I will not be polished. I will push myself to the edge. I will do my best to connect with the flow of the teacher and the class. I will put my ego aside as much as possible and serve the higher goal that each student and I myself has come to yoga to realize.
We are all here for the purpose of discovering ourselves again and again. We are here to open our bodies, hearts and spirits to something much greater than us. We are here to move into a deeper awareness of the nature of reality.
I was looking back at my posts from this past year. I'm not sure who, if anyone read any of them. But the thing that struck me most was that I was trying. I was trying to write something perfect. And it felt dry. It felt too composed and thought out. And I left out ALL the details.
Well no more of that. I am here to expose myself full now. To announce my presence as an artist and human being walking on this here planet. Imperfections and all. So first of all, my experience of this planet right now is that it is absolutely mysterious and magical. I have been studying the art of making things happen - or as we call it here in the Bay Area "manifesting". I somehow found the courage and strength to launch this crowd funding campaign.
Because I have been looking around me for some time now at my friends and the people I respect most on this earth and I have thought to myself, "if they can do it, so can i."
It's been a mystery how each of my friends who are artists and yoga teachers make ends meet in this expensive culture. But I finally stopped worrying about it. I decided to quit my job and sublet my apartment for 4 months. I realized that the only way to be able to be fully engaged in doing what I love - is by engaging full time in doing what I love. And telling everyone I know that I am not compromising anymore. And all the people I most respect in the world have given me their full support. So now day by day I am living by trial and error.
Friends and family take me in with grace and ease. Sometimes I get to stay a week, sometimes a night. But I have never felt more loved, and held by my community. It's kind of like being a nun or something. Like a musical devotee that relies on the community for sustanence and support. And in turn, I am called upon to inspire, awaken, love and sing.
I wake up in the morning and ask myself, what will be most fulfilling to me in this moment. I am fed by my relationships with family and friends. So I make phone calls, write emails, brainstorm ways of connecting my music with more people. I am writing this blog to connect. Not to isolate. I practice singing, meditating and playing guitar in order to connect. Because I'm in love with life.
I am driven to create a sustainable community with people who are resonating with me. Artists, healers, lovers, musicians, fearless hearts that want to be a part of the new paradigm of living. Yes, we are sustained by music, by air, by love. Everything else falls into place. Thank you for your support of my unfolding. I am ever grateful.
Set my next album "Wild Heart" free by contributing and spreading the word about my campaign at www.yonat.com
My life is my art and my music. My body is my vehicle. The deeper the sensing, the deeper the meaning.