by SS Shabad Kaur Khalsa, Evanston IL
2022 (First Quarter)
What Gorgeous Thing
by Mary Oliver
I do not know what gorgeous thing
the bluebird keeps saying,
his voice easing out of his throat,
beak, body into the pink air
of the early morning. I like it
whatever it is. Sometimes
it seems the only thing in the world
that is without dark thoughts.
Sometimes it seems the only thing
in the world that is without
questions that can’t and probably
never will be answered, the
only thing that is entirely content
with the pink, then clear white
morning and, gratefully, says so.
(from Blue Horses, Copyright 2014 by Penguin Press)
I love jazz. In my case, not big-band jazz, or the syrupy sounds of “smooth jazz” that often plays in elevators and customer-service telephone hold-lines. I become very relaxed hearing music in the “modal” jazz genre, originally played by artists like Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Modal jazz makes use of musical “modes” (types of scales), often modulating among them to accompany the chords instead of relying on one tonal center used across the piece.
I appreciate the harmony discovered there. This describes my vision for the Sikh Dharma Ministry. Considering the community fractures of the past couple of years, I’m not confident that a sense of true unity will be found quickly.
In threat physiology, one’s reaction is to fight, flee, or freeze. Some of the conversations and interactions that are happening lately in the Dharma are understandably eliciting a variety of these responses. All of our yogic and meditative experience is being called in at this time to regulate our emotions and soothe our nervous systems.
My hope and prayer is that, at the very least, we can hold the space for ourselves and each other, and not lose sight of the path of service. This is the core value that I prefer to personally focus on now, and everything else follows that. In order to do that, it requires us to stretch deeply, like in heart-opening asanas such as wheel pose or camel, past the point of comfort and…here we go…stretch back, open the heart and breathe deeply!
I encourage everyone to listen to others and suspend judgment, even for the length of a breath. Listen to hear, rather than waiting to speak. We’re family. We may need to agree to disagree sometimes. Let’s find ways to create new harmonic structures and heal. Cover the distance between us. That’s how we’ll make it as brothers and sisters of destiny.
About the Author
SS Shabad Kaur Khalsa is an ordained Sikh Dharma Ministers. She is an LCPC, LMFT, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT, a KRI Lead Teacher Trainer and co-founder of Spirit Rising Yoga and Spirit Rising Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to spread the teachings of Kundalini Yoga to all. She has taught Kundalini Yoga for over 30 years, and as a yoga therapist and psychotherapist, she integrates the teachings into treatment plans. Specialties include Humanology, prenatal yoga and conscious birth. She has transcribed, edited, and illustrated several 3HO books, including Flow of Eternal Power and The Mind. Shabad Kaur also organizes and leads the Annual Midwest Women’s Yoga Retreat.