Friday, January 30, 2009


Today I dropped off a few things at the bright, quiet, spacious, freezing cold (as in 62 degrees fahrenheit) new apartment.

The man in the unit below was in the process of moving out, via the front stairs.

The woman in the garden apartment was moving in, via the back stairs.

Tomorrow it is my turn.

Today, I'll finish packing.

Tonight, Kirby and I will have our final slumber in the small, noisy, overheated apartment I've called home for over 15 years.

Tomorrow, I'll leave the place that helped get me through graduate school, a journalism career, four yoga teacher trainings, five trips to India, a major depression and the death of both parents (not to mention the cat Fritzka).

Tomorrow, I'll move out of the place I've been fearful of leaving (you have to remember that before this I lived in an illegal basement firetrap with a ceiling so low I could not stand up in the bathroom).

Tomorrow, I'll give up the phone number I've had for 21 years.

Tomorrow, I'll move from tamas (inertia) to sattva (a state of harmony, balance, joy and intelligence).

At least that's the hope.

Not that we're attached to it or anything.



While packing I've been listening to the soundtrack for the upcoming Hindi movie Delhi-6, scored by Golden Globe-winning composer A.R. Rahman. It's absolutely wonderful, and you can hear it for free here. It's especially fitting since I'm moving to Chicago's Little India neighborhood. Thanks to Big B for the head's-up.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


The impending move has of course required getting rid of a lot of stuff.

I wanted these things to to go good homes, since they have served me well.

Many items were donated to the thrift store. I sold some books, clothing, record albums and CDs. A few things were given to friends and family.

But some items were not wanted by the people I know, and too big to bring to the thrift store.

Instead of leaving these things in the alley, I decided to post them on craigslist at low, low prices. I wanted to see if people would pay to take away my things. I also figured they'd treat them better if they had to pay for them - even if the fee was nominal. Plus, starting a freecycle account was far too complicated.

It worked.

Everything that was posted was sold.

Even the giant four-door brown metal file cabinet that weighs a thousand pounds.

Even the sofa-sleeper, with its two broken slats.

That, in fact, sold within the hour, and was picked up a short time later.

Plus the woman who bought it even knew how to repair it.

The key seems to be as honest as possible in the listing, to post pictures, use words like "fabulous" and "vintage" (which all of my items were) - and to lowball the price. (You must also remember to remove the post as soon as the item is sold).

It was win-win, all around. The people who bought things were kind and honest and decent, plus they showed up on time. It made one feel happy to be part of humanity.

Now, if I could only figure out to do with two-thirds of my rock collection......



The mother's beloved Schwinn Cadillac from the 1940s with the skip-chain was gifted to a women who works at a small Schwinn manufacturing plant in Wisco - whose eyes lit up when she heard it was hers. I suspect that the mother was just as delighted when she first saw it, too.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


On March 26-29, Sri Dharma Mitra will be teaching at the Yoga Journal Conference in Lake Geneva. This is a rare opportunity to practice with Dharma in the Chicago area, and there's a special discount if you sign up before this Saturday. If you're poor, and/or just want to see Dharma, do what I did - sign up for his all-day Friday intensive and get $20 off by using discount code GG 13. Learn more about the Friday intensive here.

For those of you out east, Dharma will be be leading a retreat at Kripalu in Massachusetts Feb 27 to March 1, called Shiva Namaskara: Yoga as a Divine Offering. Retreat details here. Also.... he's only be doing two 200-hour Life of a Yogi teacher trainings this year. Click here for more.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I was out of town, at a sattva-inducing women's purification retreat with the North Carolina School of Yoga.

We ate our fruit in silence. We did pranayama and meditated. We did kirtan. We did asana. We did karma yoga. We attended satsang. We rested. We walked on the beach. We slept on the floor. We had no contact with the outside world. We became calm and content.

And now, we are quietly packing for Saturday's Big Move.

Friday, January 16, 2009


It seemed like I'd gotten rid of so much stuff.

The early-1990s Fat City cycle is being restored by its new owner.

The mother's 1940s Schwinn Cadillac with the skip-chain found a home with a woman who makes new Schwinns in Wisconsin.

The yellow 1970s Schwinn Collegiate went to Play it Again Sports, in trade for a tuneup on the current ride.

The record collection is going to the college radio station.

The 47 books sold last week fetched $132.

Plus there were van- and car-loads of stuff brought to the thrift store (where they are getting to know me. As in, "Are you into film?").

Yet when the sister-in-law came to help pack yesterday (kindly taking the train in on the worst sub-zero day of the year)*, it became clear that I still have way. too. much. stuff.

It is horrifying.

The shedding must continue, after the move.

* * *

*It was so cold last night - 30 below zero? 40? - that the car's temperature needle would not move from below "C" until we'd sat there shivering for 20 minutes. When it finally moved past "C" we could turn on the heat and start scraping the inside of the windshield. But as soon as we scraped, the ice would reappear - and we wondered why we live here.

Photo snapped during a recent snowstorm at the Sheridan/Irving Park bus stop.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


It made me jump out my seat and clap with delight.

During his speech the Tamil composer thanked the one billion people of India, which made the heart swell and brought tears to the eyes.*

....and made the mind thankful to be moving house to Chicago's Little India neighborhood.

(Another highlight: Hindi movie superstar Shahrukh Khan appeared later as one of the presenters, along with Slumdog's Freida Pinto. Oh, and the film won best picture and screenplay, and Danny Boyle got best director. My other favorite moment was when Mickey Rourke thanked his dogs for getting him through the dark nights of the soul).


*The eyes were already teary from coming across photographs of the mother during her final days, not to mention photos of and letters from the past. Also for some reason it was incredibly difficult to have someone come over and look at the record collection, which is also being let go. It feels like part of me is dying. Or maybe it was already dead, and I didn't notice until now.

Friday, January 09, 2009

gabinete caligari

my place is a mess, i confess,
a paean to the past.

filled to the gills, it
spills til it won't close
it overflows with
prose from pros i can't
dispose, even tho i know
there's no point, keeping this shit
in my joint; can't stop cramming
the cabinet full of crap, wanting
to stop but not, wishing they'd
made me a map for living in a crib
w/ a cat and the past; this filled-up
flat has hid it / is time to choose to
move or at least to lose some of the
too much stuff, before i come undone

i get it from the 'rents of course
who came of age in that other Depression
(the one that did have an end; Brother can
you spare some time sometime?). it was a remorse
source for them, who remembered when
things were scarce, to be hoarded when they had it,
enjoyed for an instant and then squired away for
rainy days that never came.

the last past away last year, with
no idea how endeared i am to them
and their stupid stuff;
the reluctant keeper of a vast
amount of crap
from the passed.

(c) 2000 by c.k.


poem unearthed today while sorting through The Filecab From Hell.

PKB came over yesterday and helped me go through a lifetime of stuff the basement storeroom.

Evidence of every past hobby or passing interest was there; 16mm filmmaking, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, football, skateboarding, drawing, mountain biking, racquetball, Serious Writing, scrapbooking, independent cinema, bicycle collecting (in the form of the mother's tanklike 1940s Schwinn Cadillac), triathlons, camping, field hockey, photography, deejaying and yoga.

The last was the only interest that was not fleeting.

That and Serious Writing of course.

Monday, January 05, 2009


British pop historian Michael Wood's PBS miniseries “The Story of India" kicks off tonight at 9 on WTTW-Channel 11 (and on other public TV stations).

"This is not a documentary about the modern India of call centers and terrorist attacks and nuclear tensions," wrote Mike Hale in yesterday's New York Times. "The first two hours, which were available for review, don’t even take the story into the A.D. years. They finish with Ashoka, the bloodthirsty emperor who renounced violence before the end of his reign in 232 B.C. According to the press notes, the narrative will essentially end in 1947 with the partition of India and Pakistan, with a brief glance at India’s history since then.

"But Mr. Wood’s method is to teach history on location, with a maximum of travel and conversation — in the first two hours he and his cameras span thousands of miles, from Kerala in southern India to Calcutta, Delhi, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Iraq — and a minimum of explanatory graphics or talking heads other than his own. (He also doesn’t use recreations, though he has found an ingenious substitute: excerpts from Indian films like “Asoka” and “Lagaan.”)

"Contemporary India is constantly on screen, in images that are sometimes clich├ęd but often enough astonishing: the shots of a once-every-12-years festival in which a 60-foot statue of a Jain saint is anointed with showers of milk, saffron, turmeric, coins and flowers are otherworldly."

Read the rest of the review here.


Thanks to Catesey for the tip.

During a break between class #3 and class #4 yesterday, I came across this passage in Swami Saradananda's The Essence of the Gita:

"On the battlefield, Arjuna's mind was filled with attachment and fear. There was attachment to his kith and kin who had arrayed themselves to fight at Kurukshetra. And there was also fear after seeing on the opposing side fighters like Bhisma, Karna, Drona and Jayadratha. It was not easy to fight these men. Wonderful indeed is the power of ignorance! Even a great person like Arjuna was overpowered by a temporary fit of attachment and fear. This kind of attachment and fear come naturally to all."

Sunday, January 04, 2009


I have managed to sell a bike and procure some boxes and research movers and enlist the future aid of friends/family. I've also quit drinking green tea.

But not much else has been done on the moving front.

It is so daunting I've actually felt physically ill. Moving 30 blocks, and coming to terms with a lifetime of stuff, can be a bit paralyzing. Plus there has been no sun.

(More likely I caught something from students who come to class sick despite entreaties to the contrary).*

Last time I moved (in 1994) it was just five blocks, from a studio apartment to a one bedroom.

I had been at that address for seven years. Fortunately, I was dating a purger at the time and he helped me decide what to throw out.

This time, it's Mrs. Dreyfus who will get me into gear.

In the meantime I'm trying to plow through deadlines and mentally prepare for the inevitable.

Osho's reminder today is also a help:

The journey of one thousand miles is done by the simple step, one step. You cannot take two steps at one time. Step after step, just a single step can be stretched to ten thousand miles or to infinity.


*The way I understand it, when you fall ill you are contagious three days before symptoms occur, and three days after. If the latter is the case, please practice ahimsa (non-harming) and consider practicing at home rather than coming to class and "sweating it out" and infecting the other students (and teacher) in the process. Generally speaking, if you can't breathe through the nose, it's probably best to stay home.

Saturday, January 03, 2009


After 14 years in the same apartment, it looks like I'll be moving out at the end of the month.

The new place is in Little India - near the store with the juice bar and tender coconut water.

Dorian Black has vetted the new landlord, a cat-lover who seems like a decent fellow indeed.

Now, if I could only move from paralyzed mode to packing mode, and start doing some of the things the very organized Mrs. Dreyfus suggested I do.

Some Calm Breathing should help.....

Thursday, January 01, 2009


To my dearest students and friends,

1. Spend time Meditating. Meditation is unbroken concentration and the most effective type is self-reflection. Spend at least 15 minutes meditating every morning.

2. Get serious about your practice! One must get serious and simply attending class is not enough. Spend at least 15 minutes each morning doing Asana and focus on the main ones: Headstand, Shoulderstand, Plow, Fish and Cobra.

3. Drink lots of green juices and remember the first Yama [ethnical root], Ahimsa. As long as you are involved with violence, your meditation will go nowhere.

4. Understand the five subtle bodies or sheaths so that you can commence negating them at once.

5. How you begin something is of great significance. If you begin the New Year with a big mug of coffee, it sets the wrong tone for the entire year to come. Begin 2009 committed to the attainment of Self-Knowledge.

6. Outside of the three main texts, The Bhagavad Gita, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and Hatha Yoga Padipika [links at right], read and study Swami Sivananda’s Self-Knowledge as it contains all the answers.

7. Dedicate the fruit of all action and be nice to everyone.

OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.

Dharma - who rarely comes to Chicago - will be at the Yoga Journal Conference at the Grand Geneva Resort in Wisconsin March 26-29. This is a rare opportunity to study wtih a self-realized master. Details here.

He will also appear at the Kripalu Center February 27 through March 1 for an intensive called Shiva Namaskara: Yoga as a Divine Offering. Details here.

List posted with permission of the Dharma Mittra Yoga Center.