For much of my life, I prayed to be someone else. Several of my career paths sprouted because of the magnetism and expertise of musicians, dancers, actors, teachers— writers. I was oblivious to this pattern of behavior until Kundalini Yoga whispered to me, “I’ve been waiting for you.”

As soon as I started practicing, I felt the same about Kundalini. The kriyas, meditations and teachings healed my body (at the time any movement was a battle with pain), energized me and showed me inner peace was possible if I just got out of the way. Each class brought me into a state of euphoric confusion— “Why wasn’t the entire world practicing Kundalini? If the world embraced Kundalini Yoga, there would be no more hate.” I took as many classes as possible and found the teacher for me. HariPrakaash. From her heart-shaped face down to her gold painted toes, even when she shares her frustrations, she exudes love. And so, of course, I wanted to become a Kundalini Yoga teacher because if I did, I too, would exude love and all my students would fall in love with me and the practice, and oh, how wonderful the world would be!

Light me up—  I did not follow through. Couldn’t. My daily practice was already opening and balancing my chakras, diminishing my ego and expanding my heart. I realized tout de suite that my impulse to train as a teacher had nothing to do with teaching and everything to do with me wanting to, once again, escape from myself. A substantial turning point, which helped me fall deeper into writing.

Enter Amanda Gorman— On January 20, 2021, when I witnessed this youngest inaugural poet deliver her prayer for our country and the world and experienced how she embodied every single word that was born from her heart, my love for her was instantaneous. If Amanda Gorman came into my life prior to the dark night of my soul, I would’ve coveted her and done whatever I could to emulate her. Be her— rather than me.

Amanda Gorman

I’ve read her poem at least a dozen times since January 20th and only a few minutes ago, finished watching a replay of her delivery. Gobsmacked is an understatement. Whenever I think of The Hill We Climb, my body warms up, thoughts and words evaporate. All that remains is love.

Amanda Gorman is who she is— a golden ray of love and light— because she is fully herself. No reservations.

Light me up— Recognizing her completeness gave me permission to let go of, what I hope to be, the last dregs of my need to covet another person’s personality. Yeah, I know, I’m beyond late to the party of wholeness. But my learning curve is my learning curve, and I have a manuscript to validate it.

For there is always light,

If only we’re brave enough to see it

If only we’re brave enough to be it.

Thank you, Amanda Gorman.