Last night, around 9:30pm (LA time) when it was clear Trump would win, I sat in bed with my girls as they both cried. They are 14 and 12 and completely engaged in politics and the world. They were hurt, scared, confused. How could this happen? What will happen to women, immigrants, Muslims? Are we going to move? It took everything in me to assure them it will be ok. We have checks and balances in this country. I ended up just going to bed with them, and skipping the remaining results. This morning, we woke up to tears once again knowing this is our reality.
But we made a commitment, before getting ready for school, that we will not to engage in the hysteria. We are going to keep the tvs off. We are keeping our schedules today. We are not talking about moving. We are focusing on family, friends, school, work.
And as the reality of this new world settles (which truly affects the whole world), we will do our part to stand up. We will strive to be more compassionate and understanding, but also strong and bold about living every day with intent and purpose.
My name is Tara, and I am fourteen years old. Today, I ask of you a simple task: on Tuesday, November 8th (or before if you can), go out and vote for not only your country’s President, but arguably one of the most powerful people in the world.
I am not going to avoid saying this either. I honestly hope you vote for Hillary Clinton.
I cannot vote, but if you can, I urge you to take advantage of a constitutional right that our founding fathers gave us 200 years ago. Not voting is a direct translation of not caring who the next President of your country is, and it does not matter if your favored candidate did not win the primaries, or you strongly dislike Clinton, Trump, Gary Johnson, and Jill Stein. You have to picture who would be best sitting in the Oval Office next January, and you have to put their name on the ballot. It’s essential because that is the way our country works.
I am a girl living in Los Angeles. I am surrounded by people of all genders, religions, backgrounds, skin colors, and ideals. Depending on who you elect to the White House, some of those people or all of those people will be represented in our government. I know its hard – this election seems like a joke to many adults, and I know it is painstakingly hard not to laugh when my teachers discuss what a candidate said at the last debate or rallying speech, but its also important to realize that this election is not a joke. Its especially not a joke to the people whose jobs, homes, education, etc. are at stake depending on who takes the Oval.
Personally, I am worried about Tuesday. What will happen? Will my Muslim family friends be looked at differently when they walk down the streets, or be under “extreme vetting” merely because of the things they believe in? Will our world’s climate continue to worsen because it is looked at as a hoax created by another country? Will my fellow gender, the women of America, be allowed to make an extremely hard decision when they become pregnant or not? I’m really not sure. Continue reading →
I will be honest – at times I found the experiential exercises excruciatingly annoying. I have been meditating for 35 years, have attended conferences since my teens, and teach about intention and balance at conferences around the world! For me, returning to school at 45 was clear – my intent was to develop a lexicon of theories in spiritual psychology for my public speaking, and potentially future books and projects.
This endeavor was for my mind and my intellect, not my soul.
As we sat, day after day meditating, I found myself getting more irritable. Because, the world continued to happen…
Brexit, stirring fear and uncertainty
Terrorist attacks in Turkey, Bangladesh, Iraq, Saudi Arabia
Traveling from Los Angeles to Iowa, a group of 6th graders experienced the political process in a remarkable and personal way. The day of the Iowa Caucus, where the first votes for the next president of the United States will be cast, these kids were meeting candidates, interviewing political reporters and touring the site of this important event.
“As the next generation of voters, it’s important that we study the candidates, issues and process. Our classroom is on the front lines.” -Carlthorp Student
I followed their twitter feed throughout the Caucus, inspired and hopeful for the future. Here are their impressions and learnings in their own words… Continue reading →
Yesterday, when my daughters and I came home after school, I put on the live stream of Hillary Clinton testifying before the Benghazi hearings.
I’m not sure if they were 6, 7 or 8 hours into grilling Hillary Clinton yet, but at that particular moment, a Republican congressman was shouting at her. My girls watched, first with horror and then laughing – who is that man? (Actually, my 11 year old daughter asked “Who is that crazy man?”) As he continued to give his own theory on Hillary Clinton’s actions around Benghazi, my 8th grader, who has done mock trials in Elementary and Middle School, asked if that is how a hearing is supposed to go – are you supposed to make up someone else’s story? Or, are you supposed to ask questions, listen, and gather information, facts?
But it was Hillary’s demeanor – calm, collected, in control – that made the most dramatic impression on my daughters and me.
She listened. She reviewed her notes. She didn’t attack.
She smiled as a panel in front of her berated her with nonsensical questions. She acted like a seasoned world leader.
Here are a few life lessons that my girls and I talked about after the debate:Continue reading →
My parents tell a story about a debate around my birth.
They were newly married and had moved to the US for my father’s medical training. They had arrived in this country with $8, but through hard work and determination, were building a life together. They believed in the American dream.
The fact was that it was expensive to deliver me in the US, and it would be less expensive for my mother to fly back to India and have me there, surrounded by her parents and in-laws. My grandparents could then buy the ticket for her to return here with me.
Last night, my 13-year old daughter asked me what was the latest in Syria. In our family, we regularly talk about world events — whether it is the circus of the US pre-election cycle (during the first Republican debate, they gasped when Donald Trump reference Rosie O’donnell as a “fat pig, slob, dog”), the #BlackLivesMatter movement and the numerous incidents related to it, the situation in the Middle East, or the latest research on the importance of sleep (truly, I talk to my kids often about this as I want them to understand how important it is!)
I was telling the girls (Leela, my younger daughter is 11) about the refugee crisis in Europe, and how the image of the 3-year old little Syrian boy, Aylan Kurdi, who drowned while the boat his family was escaping on capsized, moved hearts in a way that shifted inaction, not just of governments, but of everyday people as well. The girls asked what image… So I pulled it up, warning them it was difficult to see. Tara hesitated a moment before looking, anticipating that perhaps indeed this was something she didn’t want to see. But, I watched as she looked with determination.Continue reading →
For these last two weeks of summer, I have been in major organizing mode.
School supplies and uniforms, after-school activities, work strategy and planning, setting up speaking engagements and travel (which means coordination with my husband and mom!), cleaning closets, organizing finances, logistics galore of managing work, home, and getting my kids where they need to be from now through February!
I was laughing this morning as I read a Facebook post by my friend, Dani Modisett, author of Take My Spouse Please, about how her 2-day trip to NYC required a thesis of detailed instructions for her sitter. It’s so true! The only way for me to function sanely, while trying to work and professionally/intellectually keep growing, is to be super-organized and plan ahead.
I’ll admit my meditation practice these last two weeks has been sporadic, but when I am meditating one word seems to be popping up over and over again:Continue reading →
When I left a screening of the movie, The Prophet, two weeks ago in Los Angeles, my first wish was that I had taken my daughters to watch it with me. I was inspired by the lyricism of the film, and as thoughtful as ever about the contemplations that the book had stimulated for me during my many readings.Continue reading →
At breakfast this morning, my family was reflecting on our summer. “The highlight of summer so far,” my elder daughter, Tara (13 years old), said, “was attending the World Games for the Special Olympics.”
My family is incredibly blessed, and our summer has included concerts, Broadway shows, world travel, lots of good food, relaxation, Disneyland and many other highlights. As my younger daughter, Leela (11 years old), nodded enthusiastically, I was moved by what an extraordinary statement they were making.
We attended the Opening Ceremony of the World Games for Special Olympics last weekend. The Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities that provides year-round training and competition for 4.4 Million athletes in 170 countries.
A few weeks ago while in Washington D.C. with my father, I attended a private dinner with Tim Shriver, the chairman of the Special Olympics. Tim was passionate and articulate about the event, as well as dispelling some of the assumptions even we had about people with intellectual disabilities. Tim is truly a humble champion for people with intellectual disabilities, and the Shriver family must be applauded for taking an event that his mother, Eunice Shriver, started over 40 years ago and making it into a global social movement that it is today. As written about in this NY Times piece, Special Olympics and The Burden of Happiness, there is a long way still to go. The World Games truly felt like a Utopian world, and the stark reality for many of these people is very different and one is reminded of the need to champion human rights for all. Continue reading →