All posts by Sukhdev Kaur

Grief: accompanying others

If I have only one line to say when someone just recently lost a loved one, its hard to pick the best. I know that to me most of the things people said to me when I lost my daughter meant they were wordless so whatever came from their mouths wasn’t about the worlds, but about the empathy and about the inability to find the right words. I know that because I feel the same when I see someone who has just lost their dear ones.

What did I do to cope? I just let it all come in, welcomed all feelings and emotions and rage and sadness to take over, yet remaining myself. I did feel like they would tear me apart from inside, and I felt physical, mental, spiritual pain 24 hours. Yet I trusted that I couldn’t do otherwise, I couldn’t hide it nor push it away, and so the only way was to accept them and know that they would become a part of me. Life was never going to be the same. I had been stamped with a stamp on the forehead that I thought would never touch me. Yet I embraced it as I embraced life itself. Because this was a part of me now and for ever. 

So what do I say? Allow whatever comes through you to happen. Just allow yourself to feel all those feelings in a conscious and deep way. Theres no other way out. It made me weak forever, and in that weakness I realized my infinite strength. I did not succumb to those so that means I survived. And If I could survive the unsurvivable then that means that life does heal and there is nothing in the world that happens to those who are not ready. I saw this all as a blessing and was grateful for that pain, for that loss, for that falling apart. It felt as if my physical body was changing skin, my chest with a heavy emptiness, my heart physically broken. And in that void I realized God. And God chose me for this because I was strong inside and I could allow myself to be weak. And I breathed that all deeply in and out, not pushing it away by breathing shallowly or refusing to breath in, but by breathing in that pain deeper and deeper and deeper. That was the healing. And If I did it, then anyone can do it. Sinking sinking farther within with a conscious deep breath. Until the pain subsided and life went forth. ONLY at its due time. Without that pause, that lingering in the void, the feelings can trap us. Life will move again around other things – meaningless they might seem then – and joy will reign again, after the healing has happened. 

And what about what others say? mostly they will say the wrong things. Just empathize with them. Your heart is broken and that is why it is now bigger and full of kindness, and others cannot imagine that. And please remember that every person has their own way to grief and needs to be allowed to grief their own way. 

There was this one saying that really supported me all the way through:

“Let sorrowful longing dwell in your heart.
Never give up, never lose hope.
Allah says, “The broken ones are my beloved.”
Crush your heart. Be broken.
– Shaikh Abu Saeed Abil Kheir, aka Nobody, Son of Nobody.

In the pitch black darkness you can find a blinding light. It is not a light to be seen with the eyes, but it is the true light of the soul. 

Maybe this is my line. 

May we all find that light over and over again in all of our little or big darknesses, that is my prayer.

PS- mothers and family members around the world have started many different beautiful projects after the loss of a dear one. Check out Ben’s Bells, spreading kindness all over. 
And thanks to my dear sister Nirvair Kaur Khalsa from Tucson who told me that story and gifted me the beautiful book Tear Soup, which I highly recommend (and I keep some copies at home to gift in such cases)

– In service of the divine in all,
Sukhdev Kaur

 

On death and dying in life

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other—that man, that woman, that child is my brother or my sister.” – Mother Theresa

Sat nam dear family,
Last weekend in the Kundalini yoga teacher training level 1 I was sharing the teachings on death. A question came up for which I was not prepared and my answer was not very deep. Since then I want to elaborate more on my own experiences with death, and I take this opportunity to share it with all of you.

I die every day with every breath. Every night before going to bed, I prepare myself to die. I let go of every thing, every experience that happened in the day. I die when I allow these to take over: all my thoughts, all my praises, all my glory and my shame, all my errors and shortcomings, all my lessons to learn, all my attachments, all my ego, my greed, my anger and my desires. My limited self dies when I let go of these.

I died many times when as a young brave fearless woman committed many mistakes. I am forever thankful to my Guru for keeping me under his protection in these times. I died little deaths every day when I retreated from the world, either by disgust or by unconformity with this world, with the reality of how it is structured and the banality under which it runs. I die every moment I see injustice and all I can do is trust Guru takes care of it.

I grieve, oh I grieve for that comfort zone, for that ignorance which is sweet and does not question anything. I grief and remember how life was so easy being unconscious. When I wouldn’t challenge myself every day to become a better person. When I would just be a passive animal wandering in the earth without purpose nor connection to the me within me.

I died along with my precious daughter Vida, the moment she left her body as a newborn, far away from me. Oh how I wandered around those blue ethers, acquired a wisdom which is deeper than the deepest ocean. I wandered like a ghost around her memory, around my empty hands and empty womb, around those moments of bliss she brought me. I wandered and found God, Brahm himself, who told me I should come back and live again in this world, celebrate her memory and the futility of life itself, attaching myself a the feet of the Guru where all is forgiven. In every cell of mine, through deep deep pain, I was reshaped. Oh it hurt. Every single cell hurt more than death itself. Every single cell shook and vibrated with an unknown caliber to me. I was reborn into this life, back from where I was left, with a new mission, with a deeper connection to God.

And I forgot. I forgot all these times I died and my mind wandered away with my ego. I did not honour the beauty and the effort of all these beings who helped me die in my limited being so I could live in my limitless self! I was angry to anger itself for ripping me off my most profound experience within this lifetime.

So yes, I have died. I have died and keep on dying until I truly and infinitely die in my ego, die in my selfishness, die in this time and space. I die with every challenge and I am grateful for each one of these deaths. For when I truly go, I will already know the path and will not need to kill each of these inner monsters in those three seconds, when the film of life runs through my eyes.

Yes I die. I die every time I am grateful. I die when I let go of my limitations. I reform myself again and again and again every time I take on a challenge and turn it towards God, coming out victorious in my soul, in my heart and in my infinity.

For peace is found at the end of the path, not at the beginning. To begin with, we need to work, work, work, sweat from work so that we can liberate others with us, when the time comes.

Jinee Naam dhiaaiaa gae masakat ghaal, Naanak te mukh ujlee ketii chhuti naal. 

In humble gratitude to the divine in all,
Sukhdev Kaur

Those first three years…

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Being a mother is one of the greatest gifts I have ever come to experience. Life has a “before”, and an “after”, never ever will life be the same than after giving birth.

Building a strong foundation for my child is the most important thing in my life the first three years of his life (and beyond of course). Learning to listen to his cues, and being there for him to feel safe 24/7 is just one of the greatest sacrifices and blessings as a mother (my husband would also agree). It does mean that many opportunities in the professional life, in the ‘fun’ life, in the holiday life have to either be dropped or wait. I am very proud to say that I’m there for my child any time he needs me. This strong relationship and building of foundation starts with a strong and loving breastfeeding relationship. I can see already the wonderful results of breastfeeding my 2.2 yr old. Also, I know that the sacrifice I made of staying at home with him (and still for one more year at least) has helped me set the priorities in my life, and reassures me that I have indeed given 200% of me to him. I won’t regret any decision I made now, because I have had the opportunity to enjoy him to the max.
There are some mothers whose intuition points the same way. Yet leaving a job is not easy. Money wise and etc. so many fears, habits, comforts to confront. Yet I would say- trust your intuition and drop those fears. Money will come, and if you need to drop some other things, like belongings and such, it’s a big big energetic cleansing. After all, if you see the big picture, what are all those houses going to serve you after you leave this world? It’s the values, the goodness, the service you bring to others that will leave a living legacy of you. We spend so much time of our lives working our energies off to get the property so we are prisoners in our own homes full of loans. We miss the opportunity to spend those precious moments with our loved ones for a set of unbalanced priorities. Yes, having a roof and a place of your own is important, but never as important as to miss those moments with your children. Those first three years. It’s gold! It’s the most beautiful, pure diamonds, because those smiles, those jumps, those laughs, and those healing kisses will become their consciousness. That will stay forever with them. The house can be burnt or sold, but those healing kisses will resonate even then. When your time comes, you will depart in complete contentment and peace.

So yes, not all experiences in life will be beautiful. Most will be challenging. But when you build up your strength of heart, and your soul-intuition (intuition is very different than the voice of your ego-mind), you will live in the moment without judgement, in constant forgiveness and compassion, so that every challenge and accident will become the greatest learning and healing. And by the way, breastfeeding is one of the biggest healing opportunities we have as mothers- it is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to heal the destiny of our children, specially if they had a traumatic birth, and also to build that strong connection with their own infinite.

To finish this post, I want to share with you Yogi Bhajan’s Five Forgivenesses:

– forgive God that he separated you from himself and created you as a creature
– forgive your destiny that it is as it is
– forgive the distance and the environment which are always challenging and the cause and effect which are happening
– forgive your capacity, your ability, your duality and your divinity
– forgive yourself that you have to go through it. That is most important.

The cleaning lady from my kindergarten

Today I am sharing a personal childhood memory. I’m doing this because it is very vivid, since I have experienced the same through Theo and other children at the daycare center.

Lets go back to Mexico in the 1980s.
Kindergarten. A very beautiful blue building, two actually, surrounding a big playground which had two carrousels, animals you could climb, lots of slides, rings, even a pool. Dreamland. Lots of children who were very happy. And I remember the fence. That metal fence where mama would walk out and sit in the car for hours peeking if I was ok. I don’t remember much of inside of the buildings because I was probably very rarely there. I cried all the time. I didn’t want to go there. I wanted mami. I cried so much, teachers couldn’t take care of me while holding the group. So a very kind lady, the cleaning lady, would spend the mornings holding me and riding the carrousel. I remember her kindness, her compassion, and I don’t remember any of the other teachers, nor much other than that putter playground.
The kindergarten itself was very posh and on the edge of new technologies. That was on the early 80s. I do remember the English classroom. It was on the farther building, on the first floor. There were these big headphones hanging from the ceiling, ones over each chair, and children would put those and listen to (a tape?) the English lessons. It was scary to say the least. But it was high end technology.
Back to the playground. The carrousel. The kind cleaning lady. My sadness, I missed my mami. And she was heartbroken herself she left me there. And I was not a small child, I must have been 4 or 5 years old.
I must say though that my mother was the most caring and loving person I could have asked for. She never left us alone. She was practicing mostly attachment parenting without that term even existing back then. She left her professional life, her whole career behind to stay home with us kids. No blame or guilt intended here whatsoever.

Fast forward to 2013, and my feelings come alive when we are trying out a daycare center with Theo. I stayed with him all morning (we were there for two hours actually), and all this time a little boy, about 2.5 years old, was crying for his mommy. My heart went out to him. Of course, the care takers were in a hard situation, having to deal with him and at the same time take care of all children. And having parents around. The poor boy kept crying until we left, and we left early mostly because my nervous system was so tired from hearing that boy cry. We came home and I slept so deep rejuvenating sleep I needed to heal that inside me.
All te time I felt like reaching out for that boy. Of course he didn’t want that, he wanted mommy. (And I didn’t try, who knows who might feel I’m exceeding the boundaries by hugging a boy). He was clinging into one caretaker, but mostly she was urging him to play or ignoring his cries. And all the other children were looking at him now and then. It was pretty intense.
As a mother, maybe I am too sensitive. Because of how I am, probably influenced also by the fact that I lost my first child. I am extremely compassionate and in any situation I feel the impulse to reach out to those in need.
So I was holding myself today. It was, after all, not my issue. But I did reflect on the fact of how that whole situation is affecting the psyche of that child, the other children, the caretakers and all. It felt to me that that boy, same as me 30 years ago, was not ready to take that step. At the same time, my heart goes to the mother, who was probably in a situation that had to put her child there. And to the caretakers, in such a difficult task.
I do believe strongly that I can express all what I feel. I felt that child’s feelings being neglected, everybody pretending he was not in a deep state of grief. And I don’t want my child to learn such rudeness. Also a little more love from the caretakers could have changed the whole situation. Of a lot more love, which was what the boy needed. A group hug, having all the other children acknowledge what was going on instead of ignoring it, having all children sing to him so he could heal. I thought of making those suggestions but felt it was not my place, as I’m an observer. (Probably I should have). I feel we need a lot more kindness, understanding, reaching out to others in this world. Love, treating others as they are worth, as respected human beings, evermore when they are desperately crying it out for help. They communicate, but we ignore it. They learn that speaking out is useless. So they submit, learn to ignore their emotions, dig them down deep and keep them for themselves. And yes, at some point that child will give up his cries, and prove that we won the battle, but aren’t we the ones who must give up our ideas of how a child must behave? Of how much love or kindness he needs? Aren’t we te ones who are not understanding the signals, when he uses all his might to communicate as a complete human being worth of being listened to? Aren’t we the ones who should stop pretending to ignore and deal creatively and lovingly with every challenging situation?
Instead of telling him “don’t cry, mama will come” (and him waiting for mama for one second, and asking again- *small children don’t have the sense if time as adults do), showing him lovingly “yes, mama is not here, it is very sad, but we are all here for you!”. Maybe it doesn’t work and I’m just stupid, but trying it (for 100 times, not less) doesn’t hurt anyone. In fact it may teach the other children to reach out. And make the day lighter and brighter for everyone.

At the end I listened to my intuition (after all, I am teaching about intuition right!) and have had such a wonderful time together with Theo with no need of daycare or playrooms. At this age, what a child most needs is attention from the close circle (mother and father) and yes, occasionally a babysitter or another playmate who has a fully loaded battery. (That is, beside other kids of course)

Blessings and kindness to every soul,
Sukhdev Kaur

Hold the void

There is an indescribable beauty and sweetness to separation. Be it death, longing, a short departure, it is a very poetic realm of separation that lives and relives every time a situation like this happens. Numerologically speaking, this is the realm of number 2: tension, longing, missing, absence, abyss, black, blues, emotion, organic…
The most beautiful part of that longing is the re-union. It is a joy beyond joys, a fulfillment that impregnates the heart with an infinite love. For this to happen there needs to be a separation. There is no other way.
When we often say goodbye, when we come to visit to Canada or Mexico, My parents always say “in order to meet again, we must leave”. This is just as true as it gets.
That sweetness of leaving implies a void, a fear of using that emptiness inside: “how can I be empty? What will happen to me? How can I fill it as quick as possible?” This is the first reaction of the human. Yet the art of pressing that sweetness from the emptiness is to hold that space of void. To pause. To meditate and contemplate that sacredness, that tension, that separation.
Hold it.
It won’t kill you.
It will make you stronger.
Hold it.
Don’t rush.
Hold it.
Stay still.
Be.
You will receive the treasure hidden behind it all.
And only then a reunion will happen. And the heart will be fulfilled once more, with a nectar so sweet it will pour out from every single one of your pores. If you just stay still.

In gratitude,
Sukhdev Kaur

God is great (in other words, waheguru!)

Dear family,

I am amazed at the human heart. I’m just coming out of two very challenging days, full of stressful moments. This being a long story full of details, I will cut it short.
Two days ago I found myself in an awkward situation, where a training that I’m organizing was about to be cancelled 3 times. The reasons being different, I was concerned the most for the commitment I made all these participants on prices and resources. A big ugly misunderstanding came across, which demanded everybody to pay much more than what we had agreed with them. I could not consider calling and saying “hey, listen now you have to pay 80 eur more on accommodation for next week”. It was just a no question. I prayed for a solution. I considered all possible options, and would have been willing to pay that compensation from my own pocket. Fortunately (or unfortunately?) my pockets are almost empty, so I had to come up with a way to make it all work out well, for everyone, not only for me. I don’t like nasty people who leave you hanging or just quit at the moment it gets challenging, and I definitely didn’t want to be that person!
So I didn’t sleep, and I prayed, and I worried.. (this last thing didn’t help definitely!)
I followed Yogijis advice, and my heart, and wrote a very honest and respectful letter, just as I would like to receive from someone in the same situation. I empathized with all the players in the game. And I diplomatically and courageously wrote my heart out. What was new to me, breaking my usual (bad) habit, was that I specifically and clearly asked for what I wanted / needed. I tend to be one who postpones direct demands, which usually lead me nowhere or into an imbalance, having to give more than the other party (e.g I was willing to put 800 eur from my own money to just save the boat, let alone receiving any money for my work).
I stated my demand in a loving yet clear way.
And no answer came.
I got more scared.
I waited.
And prayed.
And ran around the house trying to become neutral.
So I went to Guru Sahib, and made an ardas (prayer).
I bowed, and took a hukam (a message to follow, I asked for something easy to understand for my poor head)
And just as I was reading it, Theo woke up.
I didn’t get to read the English translation, which my mind longed for guidance!
So I’m in bed, breastfeeding Theo back to sleep.
And continued reading the hukam in my phone (luckily before I ran out I looked at the page number).
And these parts stroke my bells:

“Serve the True Guru fearlessly, and your doubt shall be dispelled.

Do that work which the True Guru asks you to do.

Go to the Gate of Truth, and speak the Truth”

So in this situation, this meant to start calling everybody and tell the whole story, so they would decide whether or not to continue and put in some more money for their expenses. Wow, that sounded like a very nasty job, (to be done fearlessly!) but truth was on my side. So I took this command and bowed to it.
If that is what I’m supposed to do, then I’ll do it. Thank you.
Peace came into my being, a peace full of responsibility.
And I receive an email back from the venue.
By reading my letter they agreed to come down with their prices and meet us at a common ground, keeping their original prices. Wow!
I’m just amazed at the power of the human heart, by opening up and commiting to the end, I get this reward. I had lost hope, and kept my commitment. And I clearly stated my needs (thank you NVC!)
And I’m grateful for these people who sacrificed their earnings and time to come and meet us at common grounds.
Grateful for all the learning in this experience, may it stay with me in the future.
I make a pause, contemplate the beauty of the human soulful heart, and say:
God is great!
Blessings to each and every one.

Sukhdev Kaur
(from the bed still, Theo sleeping in my arms while I’m finishing this text on my phone)

Being very (selflessly) selfish

Sometimes I feel that extended breastfeeding, (by now we are 1.5 years and going strong) or even breastfeeding on demand, is a very selfish act. I get to have theo in my arms very often, it gives me a break, a pause in the day when I need to sit and just be (at the beginning this was really hard, sitting for so many hours), I don’t need to worry so much about that he eats so much, I don’t have to prepare any bottles, I get to be cuddled and caressed (he pulls at my hair all the time while breastfeeding), and and I get to reconnect. Those lovely eyes when he looks at me are killing. And the oxytocin of course! The rush in love hormones is priceless!
Well that compensates for the sleepless nights breastfeeding on and on (still waking many times to feed at night-I keep there as well an attitude of no hope). No sleep training in this house allowed, I want to be selfish, very selfish and feed him the breast, when he feels bad, sick, tired, hungry, overexcited, lost, happy and sleepy. All those times. I am very very selfish.
Part of this selfishness is not my fault. It was because my firstborn died and my cells have evperienced loss. They have come to know that what is one day, may not be the next. It is a cellular memory, I can’t do anything about it. So I’m selfish. and give the breast as if it was the last day I have.
Before we start judging we must accept that for every person, every situation, every relation, there is a destiny. And let’s accept that destiny without comparing. Tomorrow may be a whole different story.
So
Let’s be all very selflessly selfish.

A living prayer

I found an old post I feel the need to post it now.

This summer has been canceling after canceling one thing after the other… As if something big happening all around me was pulling me out.

It’s been an interesting journey to let go of plans and all hopes, to train myself to relax and just be. Although the mind wants to keep on driving, in reality there is no train to be running for.

So all this quitting and letting go of plans is something that needs to be done to create a vacuum, to go on with the circle of life. And to tell the truth, my mind doesn’t like to change plans or cancel commitments.
The best part is that the more goes away, the more I become centered. There has just been too much distraction to really just enjoy being at home, Being a mother.

So my intention and purpose in this life has been shifting. No more running after things, all I want is to become a living prayer. Like my mother. To elevate the vibration by just being (that doesn’t mean I don’t do anything anymore, it’s just the attitude), and to be on the moment where I am. To be, to be.

I am forever grateful to have such a wonderful mother. It was her constant prayer and devotion that has made me reach all that I have reached, that made me grow and serve. She is constantly vibrating light and love.

I can really see that the power of the mother’s prayer is a real thing and it trascends time and space, any shortcomings or temporary errors.

In gratitude, Sukhdev Kaur

Enhorabuena

Life in this world (specially with a toddler) is all about being present.
We just returned from a Family reuniting trip, and actually the whole theme I was dealing with during this journey was about staying me, staying true to my self, not getting caught up in my own mind games, relaxing my mind and just being. Today this quote from Yogiji fits perfect to close up the gained experience:

When in your life have you ever just sat down for one hour and said, “ I am going to be me, I am going to be me, I am going to be me, I’m going to be me. I’m not this. I am not that. I am me.”
When was the last time that you did your prathyahar, synchronizing yourself to zero in experience?
–© The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan, July 27, 1996

Prathyahar is the art of not feeding the senses with nonsense. It is the art of remaining zero, neutral although you are not removing yourself from the normal world. It is the art which we less practice in this world, yet the one we most need.

Blessings in light,
Sukhdev Kaur

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Departing

Dear family,
The time has arrived that departures and goodbyes approach. In our short visit to Canada, we must go back home to Estonia, and leave the family.
The heart is never ready to say goodbye. After being together with loved ones, an amalgamation occurs and we often forget about the blessing it is (we may go into everyday issues which are very unimportant). It takes time to prepare for the separation to happen, and it is painful. Any departure is a time to stop and reflect, breathe and let go. It is a small death, because something dies in us, that wholeness becomes a temporary void, which will eventually filled by life itself, in any of it’s many forms.
Life, as in it’s everyday amalgamated form, is an offering of light, a spectacle and an illusory play of balance. When the night comes, when the departures and farewells approach, we may perceive the subtlety and delicate balance of true life. It is hanging by a thread. It is very very delicate, and we notice it only in these moments of twilight and darkness.

There is a line in the Kirtan Sohila, the evening prayer of Sikh Dharma, which refers to god’s role as the destroyer of fear, this fear of separation, of being dissolved into divided parts and not belonging to the one:

kaisee aartee ho-ay. bhav khandnaa tayree aartee.
What a beautiful Aartee, lamp-lit worship service this is! O Destroyer of Fear, this is Your Ceremony of Light.

anhataa sabad vaajant bhayree. ||1|| rahaa-o.
The Unstruck Sound-current of the Shabad is the vibration of the temple drums.

The aartee, the true worship of lights and lamps, is the whole creation, not the ritual itself with which we often become entangled, nor the illusion of shine and bliss that comes from the light itself.

Let the abyss grow to swallow our fears and may god carry us across the world ocean in a graceful way.

Blessings to each and every soul part of this great maha atma.

In humble gratitude to the one.
Sukhdev Kaur