Live on video: talkin’ about The Buddha & the Bitch

Video talk on The Buddha & the Bitch

Greetings from Gurgaon, India! With two days to prep for this Facebook Live talk (sponsored by Indic Book Club and Indic Academy), Rashma and I did it.
Saturday 26 May over 400 viewers watched/listened to our first presentation and video book launch.

I am so proud that we’ve come this far! The Buddha & the Bitch has been five years in the making, starting with Google chats across the world. Well, I won’t attempt to share the story here because our book tells it all. Do know that there’s a trip to South India involved–Pondicherry, Mahabalipurma, Auroville, and more. Our sub-title describes it more: 2 Women 2 Worlds 1 Practice. That practice is writing, a passion we share.

I am visiting greater New Delhi from Cincinnati, Ohio to help promote the newly released book with the co-author Rashma N. Kalsie. NOTE: If you live in or near New Delhi, we will be at Habitat Centre 4 June 7pm along with Prof. Bharat Gupt moderating. Come hear us!


Now available on Amazon USA! …..

….. The Buddha & the Bitch.

Going to India to promote the book

Me with Kwan Yin & Kali before trip

I leave the day after tomorrow. I’ll join my co-author Rashma and she and her family are housing and feeding me. Rashma, being the self-defined bitch of our book The Buddha & the Bitch, is da boss and will lead me to bookstores in the New Delhi-Gurgaon area. We need to convince the bookstores to display our book, display our book more prominently, have us do a reading & signing, and more.

I will be posting our adventures in marketing. I am excited about visiting Hay House India and meeting our editor and the marketing guy. We’ll sign some books for their use in marketing. We’ll have pictures taken.

Watch for it. As I’ve been saying “I’ll be famous ….. in India!”

Update: Rashma tells me that Amazon US will have our ebook available soon. Meanwhile, Cincinnati area peeps–you can buy a copy at Women Writing for (a) Change or from the trunk of my car. I will be bringing more copies back in my checked luggage.

The Buddha & The Bitch!

A return to India!

I have karma with India for sure. But what is this every five years cycle about?

I am happily returning. It couldn’t be better: stay with my friend and writing sister Rashma Kalsie and her family (once again). Nothing like having your own personal tour guide. But this is a working vacation. Rashma, self-described bitch, I a reluctant Buddha, have a book to promote.

The Buddha & the Bitch: 2 Women, 2 Worlds, 1 Practice is soon to be available from Hay House Publishing (India). Rashma and I will visit bookstores in greater New Delhi and give talks and workshops. This book, you see, was my reason for the trip five years ago in 2013. We had a plan to create a book of the story of how we met along with two years of discussions about our different lives as women and, most importantly, women captivated by words, i.e., that special species known as women writers.

So I traveled to New Delhi Thanksgiving 2013, saw the Taj Mahal, honored the memory of Mohatma Gandhi, shopped for souvenirs, shared roads with cows and other creatures. After a week with her family, we took a plane to Chennai in South India. Pondicherry was where we began work on our book.

Now it has come to fruition. I owe it to Rashma; she is the assertive one who got Hay House to notice us. I swore her name should go first on the book.

As I sit here writing in Cincinnati, Ohio, I await a long distance delivery of a carton of 50 copies of the book. It might come today, certainly by the end of the week. I have orders already from my Thursday Morning writing class at Women Writing for (a) Change plus others via Facebook. Once we have all the details, I will have an ad via FB and also alert readers here on my blog.

I also plan to blog my trip to India with the adventures of two women promoting their book.

But back to this five year cycle to India: it began with the holiday of Holi in Varanasi. Two of us accompanied a professor who wanted to return. We paid her way and she was our Western guide. The Goddess temples drew me and the Mother protected us along the journey. But that’s another story.

If I return in another five years, I’ll be 73. I just don’t know. Already I must bring medication I didn’t require five years earlier. But I will no longer think–I won’t go back–since this obviously doesn’t work!

Jay Mata Di! Victory to the Mother! May she bless our book and all who read it.

When the goddess loses her head

I am sitting in front of a pocket-sized Kwan Yin statue. The goddess of compassion’s head broke off.
This has happened a few times in the past with other small Kwan Yins—always her and always her head. You could say, well, the head and neck are the most vulnerable point, where the point of resistance is less.
When this happened last time, I interpreted the symbolism to mean “off with her head,” “leave your head behind,” or “free your mind.” I believe this is a sign to Get Out of My Head.
First: don’t worry about online dating. I went to dinner with someone half a dozen times. We’re both busy, it’s true, yet there’s a lapse in communication. Is ‘it’ over? Will we (just) be friends? In my experience in the lesbian world, get to know someone well enough and you could end up friends not lovers.
As an Aquarius, my credo is to be both. I want a lover who will also be a friend. But I have a multitude of friends and close acquaintances I can turn to. Not sure if this one is “The One.” (Do I even believe in this anymore, anyway?)
My early zen training taught me “Don’t Know Mind.” So I remind myself to not worry; if it’s right, it will be.
So is Kwan Yin losing her head telling me to Forget my Head? Use it for necessary tasks like budgets and reading and analyzing. But not analyzing PEOPLE.
I vow to participate in only Conscious Analyzing from now on. When I catch myself hanging on tightly to my head, be gentle. Just BE.

Kwan Yin with her head off






What I wore to the rally

So there we were, T and I, walking up Maple Street headed to the Rally against White Supremacy. I was in Oxford, Ohio, the campus of Miami University, my alma mater. Dare I count the years? B.A. in English, graduated 1972. Could it really be 45 years?
Two young women crossed the sidewalk in front of us. One of them paused, then turned to me excitedly, “Is that an Obama t-shirt?” “Yes, Obama ’08. I’m old enough to have been there.” I was pleasantly surprised—amazed even—at the wholesome young student’s excitement. And at that moment I felt a strong intuition: I needed to write and blog about this.
My activist date and I continued walking until we found the Sun Dial, the rally’s meeting point.
There were a few hundred people, mostly students but some boomers like us. I’d found out about the rally from Facebook Events and also knew De’Vante, the co-organizer. We had met at the opening of one of Hillary Clinton’s campaign offices. He had confidently proclaimed from the stage: his goal was to be the first black—and gay—President. I admired his ambition.
A young woman asked if I would answer some questions about why I was here. Sure. She was working on a capstone project. I assume she selected me because I was a gray haired one. I told her I grew up in Hamilton, several miles east. Remembered my first knowledge of racism: African Americans lived on the east side, my white family on the west. My babysitter was a Cohen; I was shocked to discover some people disliked Jewish people, too. I knew early on that something was seriously wrong with Society; I realized what I learned in school was partly lies. My sister married a black guy and I came out lesbian. Our poor mother! At some point years later I told her she’d done something right—taught us to think for ourselves.
The speakers were outstanding. I wish I’d had a program so I knew who they were and what organizations they were associated with. One was an African American female reverend running for Cincinnati City Council. She was one of the most powerful. I appreciated her contrasting her decades earlier time at Miami with how things were now: racism still, unfortunately, but in 2017 people were standing up to it publicly. Even so, some Civil Rights Freedom Riders are memorialized at the former Western College side of campus. In 1964 hundreds of volunteers — many of them white college students — trained in Oxford before heading south to register black voters and set up freedom schools and community centers.
Three civil rights activists — Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman — were murdered in Mississippi soon after leaving Oxford. Their deaths stunned the nation and sparked a major federal investigation. It was code-named “MIBURN” for Mississippi Burning after their charred station wagon was found.

All these memories swirled through my head. It wasn’t until a speaker asked that we hold hands with one next to us that I totally returned to the present. It was the first time I’d held hands with my activist date. Then the March began.
I definitely got my 10,000 steps for the day though my broken Fitbit wasn’t on my wrist. I tried to keep track of what direction we were going so we could find our way back to the car.
T & I are both in our 60’s. Although we are both fairly active, her right knee was hurting and my left hip started acting up. After the halfway mark, we did have the sense to move to the edge of the marching crowd. It was hard to keep up with those younger marchers with long legs!
Near the end, we separated from the marchers when they turned from the street toward the rally area. As we walked across the green space a young woman asked us what the march was about. Evidently, all they could make out was KKK. We reassured her that the march was against the KKK. The chant went “No KKK, no Fascist USA, no Trump!”
We were pleasantly tired as we drove back to Cincinnati. Glad we had made a stand—and contribution to the cause—as elders now.

*** Thanks to Laurel for the writing prompt!