I wanted to wish you a happy day of love, and send you a red heart emoji. But the heart emoji is now replaced with one of a broken heart. As another case of gun violence unfolds into an epic tragedy, I sit here, surrounded by children’s art of hearts, with a baby on the boob and a child on my lap, my life is golden, swelling with love, and I cannot help the feelings of devastation, deep sadness, raging anger, and penetrative fear. This country is so fucked!

What a week! Valentines Day today, New Moon tomorrow, new Chinese year, and last night was one of my most favorite holidays – Maha Shivaratri (The Great Night Of Shiva). And now there’s also a tragedy added to the mix…

I have been moving with a very interesting tapestry of energies these days – contradicting, complimenting, layered mix of flavors and textures.

On the one hand, I am so deeply in love with my life. The presence of love is a a major thread that weaves my world together. Having a baby in my arms 24/7 softens my edge, and the laughs and the smiles and the ever growing affection between my kids makes my heart feel so open and expansive. I feel blessed.

On the other hand, I have NO TIME for anything! This baby doesn’t sleep, unless he’s on me or very close to me. I have been spending every evening trying to make the sleep thing happen from 7:30pm till I give up and go to sleep with him at some point after midnight. To say that I am not challenged by this, and that I surrender to it with grace and ease would be a lie. Sometimes I feel like I’m losing my mind. Forget doing yoga, or taking care of myself, or spending quality time with my beloved. I don’t even get to clean the kitchen or organize the house. I’m a slave. Yep! I’m this baby’s bitch.

That’s the not so empowering conversation that I have with myself. At least once a day. And it’s a valid one to have. Mama’s gotta vent. But you know what? It’s my choice to respond to him and show up for him in this way. There are alternatives, and I am well aware. But this is what feels right for me. This little guy was born two months early, and he spent the first few weeks of his life in the NICU. I feel his need for mama’s touch in the depth of my bones. So I respond. And I hold. And I nurse. And I sooth. This is my job right now. I am here for him. I am committed. This is now. Not forever. They’re only little for so little. And I am devoted to the making of a family and a home. The Mama Dharma is going strong.

I don’t practice very much asana or meditation these days, because, well, life took over my life. I barely have a second to throw my mat down. But the internal tool box, collected through all these years of practice, just call me home to myself. Especially on those long evenings, when all I want to do is practice, but there’s a baby attached to my body.

Not practicing has been my practice.

Yet there is also a current of restlessness that flows through me, as I am fired up, and filled to the brim with ideas, desires and dreams. The creative juices are flowing strong. It can be very frustrating to not be able to attend to my inspirations and fulfill my needs for artistic expression.

Life can feel really mundane… All that laundry and dishes and cooking and pick ups and drop offs and appointments… It’s easy to get caught in the net of reality, and wonder where the free spirit, artist, wild woman has gone. But then I just bring a hint of attention to the beauty… I mean it’s so fucking beautiful! And my universe explodes with sacred pow. It’s like the entire world is sparked with fairy dust and sparkling, twinkling lights. My children’s eyes are magic. And I’m a kitchen witch. With spells, and herbs, and healing potions. And it takes just a moment of connection with Andrew, when it’s just me and him, and enchantment floods my being. I just need one breath, and a split moment of awareness, and the sacred seduces the mundane into a dance of interconnectedness.

For me, it is all about integration and the commingling of life’s diversity of energies. It’s all about working with the different aspects and components that make the experience what it is. This is where I find gold. Because the land of experience is so rich and complex, and because we work with contradicting elements most of the time, we gotta dig deep. Learn how to integrate our darkest of shadows, rather than neglect it. learn how to sprinkle daily life with magic. Learn how to be in love with your family, feel grateful and burdened at the same time, and weep for the families who lost their dearest members today.

It’s complicated. It’s complex. Life will give us the entirety of what it means to be human. We can spend our time trying to transcend. Some traditions think that’s a good idea. Or we can spend our days and our nights putting it all together, cooking, digesting, stirring, and churning the entirety of our being.

Integrate.