Wednesday, March 29, 2006
The Celebrate Peace Tour visited a nursing home in Ottawa. We shared music and GuruGanesha Singh told jokes that made everyone laugh. We had a great time.
Residents of the nursing home singing with us.
Here I am with ladies of the nursing home.
Here is Atma Kaur and her boys. She made us a delicious meal upon our arrival into Ottawa.
We had a very powerful and transformational Kundalini Yoga workshop at the Ottawa Gurdwara. This Gurdwara has such a peaceful vibration. Here the class is meditating.
Here is a Sardar ji (respected man of the Sikh faith) who is enjoying the relaxation section of the Kundalini Yoga workshop at the Ottowa Gurdwara.
Here I am with a group of the youth who organized the Kundalini Yoga workshop at the Ottawa Gurdwara. Mukhande Kaur seen here with me wearing a turban and chuni was the one who contacted us first and was the leader who brought everything together. She is a wonderful and amazing young woman who is very inspirational to me!
Here we are with Pritampal Singh on violin at the Adi Shakti Yoga Center in Ottawa.
Clockwise: Siri Bandhu, Atma Kaur, Harimander Singh, GuruGanesha Singh, Krishan Prakash Singh, Karta Kaur, Snatam, and Atma's boys. Here we are at the Natural Choice Bed and Breakfast run by Siri Bandhu Kaur and Harimander Singh Khalsa. We had a wonderful and cozy time and highly recommend it to any travelers in search of a fun and blissful place to stay in Ottawa. Please see www.vegybnb.com for more information. And if you want the best breakfast ever ask Siri Bandhu for her special pancakes with sesame seeds! Yum.
Clockwise: Siri Bandhu, Atma Kaur, Harimander Singh, GuruGanesha Singh, Gabriel, Krishan Prakash Singh, Karta Kaur, Atma's boys.
I am grateful for all of the comments that people have been posting. Recently someone asked me to talk about my daily practise (Sadhana) which I would love to do because it has really helped me to stay strong and positive during this very blessed, but sometimes challenging tour.
I like to wake up in the morning and take a cold shower. It really gets my blood flowing and it is very good for the immune system. I then like to do a very powerful Kundalini Yoga set. Kundalini Yoga helps to release tension from the body,it maintain a strong nervous system, and it is totally energizing. I love to do my banis, which are sacred recitations from the Sikh faith; Jap ji, Jaap Sahib, Tav Prasad Swaya, Anand Sahib, Rehras and Kirtan Sohila. These banis help to really neutralize my mind and tune me into the flow of God. Often times if there is an issue that I am dealing with that is bothersome I will do a prayer about it before starting the banis, and then when I am finished with the banis my mind is totally clear and can find a solution or drop the issue as need be. I also do Nam Simran which is chanting of God's Name. I find that with this daily practise or Sadhana that things just flow much more easily. It takes time and intention, but I find that the universe starts working for me while I am meditating. Beautiful miracles just happen. But most importantly I hear the voice of God and tune into it every day. I first started doing Sadhana on my own when I was twelve years old. During this time in my life my parents had just gotten a divorce, so I did it to gain inner strength and peace. It really helped me and so I continued every day. I began to enjoy it as a teenager because my family did Sadhana every day with live music. That is when my love affair with Sadhana began. It continued especially with the Summer Solstice Sadhana in Espanol New Mexico where over 1,000 people gather every morning in the high desert as the sun is rising to chant God's Name. (see www.3HO.org for more information). When I moved to Eugene Oregon we worked on our daily practise and the community there really came together to create a beautiful Sadhana. Sadhana is one of my favorite things about going home to Eugene.
Speaking of home... I'll be heading home soon and look forward to being with my husband soon...Sopurkh Singh for all of those who haven't met him yet. He has an incredibly strong Sadhana. He has been a wonderful support for me on this tour, and has given me so much good advice. I am incredibly grateful to him. Pics of Sopurkh Singh coming soon...please stay tuned!!
May Peace Prevail on Earth.
Over and Out.
Friday, March 24, 2006
Here we are at Singh Sabha Gurdwara in New Jersey playing kirtan.
Here is the Sangat (community) at Singh Sabha Gurdwara.
Here we are getting ready for our concert in Titusville New Jersey. One of the keys on my harmonium had a terrible buzz. Here is a friend and helper, Nelson, who took out his tool chest and got to work.
Yay, the buzz is gone!!
Mahan Rishi Singh is a great chiropractor. Here he is taking care of Krishan Prakash.
Nirbhe Kaur and Karta in the kitchen. Nirbhe Kaur cooked the most wonderful food for us.
Krishan, Nirbhe Kaur, Mahan Rishi Singh, GuruGanesha Singh, Karta and the dog Brahma. This photo was taken outside of their ashram in Princeton Junction, New Jersey.
Krishan doing angel wings on me, Nirbhe Kaur, Mahan Rishi Singh, GuruGanesha Singh, me, the dog Brahma.
With the family...no angel wings this time.
A guy sees us at a gas station and stops to help Krishan change the wind shield wipers on Miracle. It feels like the hand of Guru Ram Das is with us always. We decided to give him a box of organic oatmeal cookies to say thank you.
Rockin out in the van on the way to Ottowa Canada. GuruGanesha is being sponsored by a Gingerale company. Just kidding!!
Rockin out in the van...you can see the whole crew.
As you can see from the photo gallery we have been having a great time. One of the memorable experiences that I'd like to share with you is the beautiful Celebrate Peace Concert in Titusville New Jersey. Mahan Rishi Singh and Nirbhe Kaur poured their hearts into organizing this. The hall was packed with people and we really sent some powerful healing prayers out to the world. We had the distinct honor of giving a $1,000 Peace Cereal Grant to an organization called START, Students Taking Action and Responbility Today. I apologize for not showing any pictures of this because my camera ran out of batteries. But, just imagine this. At the end of the concert just as everyone put their hands together to sing "May the Long time Sun Shine Upon You", we invited five teenagers from START to join us and sing with us. They were some of the most powerful and motivated teenagers that I have ever met. They are putting the $1,000 towards a day called SUMMIT UP. During this day they will hold a peace march and are putting together many activities and workshops for the local community to learn how to live peaceful lives. A big thank you to them for their work. As I said to them at the end of the concert, "This is only the beginning for you guys!"
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
GuruGanesha and Krishan with one of the students of the S811 school in the Bronx, New York.
GuruGanesha and Krishan get the whole room full of kids singing.
One of the students and teachers at the school.
Raphael takes the microphone to give GuruGanesha a break.
S 811 School
S-811 in the Bronx is a school that provides education and life skills training for kids with special needs so that they can make their way in the world. These kids are mentally or physically disabled in such a way that prevents them from going to regular schools. Kids are bussed in from all over Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Manhattan to come to this school because Federal funding is very limited and there are not many schools like this available in the area. We visited last year, and I was very touched by the love and light that poured from these kids. We were scheduled to visit them on Thursday, March 16th, but I got sick and wasn’t able to make it. Fortunately GuruGanesha and Krishan were able to go and had a great time. They shared with me some of the experiences.
GuruGanesha got the kids really chanting and singing with songs like “I am who I am that is that” (from Game of Chants by Guru Singh). The kids loved singing the words “I am, I am.” He did a rap version of “Happiness runs in a circular motion.” Many of the kids sang and clapped exuberantly with the music.
In GuruGanesha’s own words, “These children live in pure love and joy. People refer to them as mentally challenged. But they sang, chanted, danced, and responded to the music with total joy and exuberance, leading me to conclude that they are the only people on the planet who are not mentally challenged.”
In the words of Krishan, “They live with a lot more joy and happiness then most people do.”
One of the kids, Raphael, calls me “Grace”, because last year we gave each of the kids my album which is entitled “Grace.” At the end of the program Raphael took the microphone and said, “Even though Grace was sick, and we missed her very much, we are really happy that GuruGanesha and Krishan came.”
We are on the Celebrate Peace Tour... thank you for tuning in.
May Peace Prevail on Earth.
Over and Out.
Monday, March 20, 2006
Eric Wenzel of Global Peace Works receives a $1,000 Grant from Peace Cereals.
People chanting for peace.
Here I am...singing, singing, singing!
A beautiful photo of people praying for peace.
Here's Krishan Prakash doing his great harmonies while playing tabla.
Here is Karta Kaur. She is our sound engineer, store manager, and the most healthy eater I have ever met in my life. Our friend Mahan Rishi Singh called her a "sprouted angel"...I'd have to agree.
Kundalini Yoga East
New York, NY 10003
If you’ve ever heard the term “Mercury in Retrograde” I felt like we experienced it on our way to New York. Apparently there is a planetary alignment that occurs for about three weeks, three times a year. During this time there can be problems with things like communication and transportation. If you’re on tour this can be a challenge.
As we pulled out of the Kripalu Center in Lennox MA at 8 am in the morning on our way to the “Big Apple” everything seemed perfectly fine. I sat in the back seat munching on a nice juicy apple…hey what a coincidence! Just kidding…please don’t mind my Gemini sense of humor. That morning we were all in good spirits. But then the moment that changed our day occurred when Krishan noticed that a cop was trying to pull us over. We all quickly made sure we had our seat belts on, and I’d like to just say for the record because I know that my dearest friend and mother of 3HO Shakti Parwha Kaur would be happy to know that I had mine on! Anyway the cop came to our car and took a look at our driver Krishan and smiled. Fortunately he looked like a nice guy. Well he proceeded to inform us that we could not travel on the road we were on with a trailer, and wrote us a $150 ticket. He told us that we had to take another route and get off of this road as soon as possible. So, that made us very late for our journey to Kundalini Yoga East. On top of that by the time we made it to the “Big Apple” no garage in the vicinity of Kundalini Yoga East would take our trailer. Fortunately GuruGanesha decided to bribe one garage worker with a $20 bill, and he gladly took it. Apparently this is a common practice in New York. I feel like a country girl. Oh well.
With all of that craziness, I have to say that the concert at Kundalini Yoga East was one of the most peaceful experiences I have ever had. After five concerts, we really have come together musically. But, there was something about the challenges of getting their that really seemed to bring us all together.
That evening we had the honor of giving our first Peace Cereal Grant of $1,000 to an organization called “Global Peace Works”. This is an incredible organization that brings people of different faiths together to work on humanitarian projects. Their latest project was the building of a community center in the slums of New Delhi. They brought together Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Sikhs, and people of other faiths for this project. They all rolled up their sleeves and worked side by side to complete this very difficult task. The director of the organization, Eric Wenzel, was at our concert to receive the grant. I am very inspired by their work. The most powerful work that we can do on this planet is the work that brings us together in service. The fact that this organization is absolutely dedicated to this is inspiring beyond words. If you are interested in learning more about their work, or taking part in some of the projects please visit their website at: www.globalpeaceworks.org
A big thank you goes out to Peace Cereals for being so generous with their profits. For those of you who don’t know, 10% of the profits made from the sale of Peace Cereals go to organizations like Global Peace Works. In fact, we have the honor of giving four more grants on our March/April tour. That is pretty cool. It is my prayer that anyone reading this will be inspired to live their lives, and/or run their business like Peace Cereals has chosen to do. I truly believe that in giving we receive more.
And of course a big thank you to Sat Jiwan Singh and Sat Jiwan Kaur who are the directors of Kundalini Yoga East. We had a blissful time.
May Peace Prevail On Earth.
Over and Out.
Friday, March 17, 2006
Here's "Miracle" parked outside of Sanctuary Yoga. Loading and Unloading the van is about a two hour process.
As you can see from the picture we’ve got a big van with a UHAUL trailer. Thank God for that trailer... it’s really making it possible to carry everything in a slightly organized way. About five people from Sanctuary Yoga greeted us upon our arrival and everyone got to work setting everything up as quickly as possible. They don’t really get a lot of musical performers in Torrington… so everyone was really excited to have us. We were rushing around to get set up and they were really excited to have us. The combination made for a very energetic group of people! As it turned out we got set up with plenty of time to eat dinner… which was great.
The concert was a wonderful success. There were many people in the crowd who just seemed to really love to chant with us. At one point I just listened and enjoyed all of the harmonies coming from the audience. We really reached a magical point in the evening as we chanted “Hari”. That was when my heart really opened.
Thank you to all at Sanctuary Yoga and to our friend Brett and his wife who is expecting a child soon. We really enjoyed our time in Torrington.
In response to some of the comments on the blog...
Someone asked how long we were going to be on the Celebrate Peace Tour. That's kind of like asking "how long are you going to be alive?" To me this tour is a real mission of service. Perhaps there will be other people that will take it up, and perhaps the name will change. Perhaps even this tour has been already happening in some other format. Our purpose is to serve and uplift people through the healing power of the sacred chants and words of the Sikh faith. In the process people will come to know who we are. But, our main objective is to spread the light of peace as it was given by our Guru's through our sacred music. My personal example in this endeavor is my spiritual teacher Siri Singh Sahib ji, Yogi Bhajan, who brought me to the feet of my Guru. Yogi Bhajan constantly served people of all faiths, of all walks of life. He cared more about serving other people then he did for his own physical body. My good friend told me a story once about Yogi Bhajan that totally inspired me. Yogi Bhajan lay in a hospital bed after undergoing intense surgery. A couple of nurses came in to check on him. While checking on him one of the nurses mentioned to the other nurse that she needed to figure out how to get home that day...something had happened to her car. To their surprise Yogi Bhajan opened his eyes and said that he could ask his driver to take her home. This was his way. He served people no matter what. So, in our small way we are serving no matter what. Stay tuned to this blog and I will do my best to show you where we go and what we do. I pray that Sikhs and people of all faiths will be inspired in some way... to reach out to eachother and serve eachother...no matter what.
We are going to Europe in late May/Early June. We will be in the London area going to many Gurdwaras the weekend of May 25,26,27. Details of this tour will be on my website (www.snatamkaur.com) within the next three weeks. If you would like to get in touch with our sponsor please contact our tour manager: Akal Sahai Singh at: email@example.com.
We will be going to Latin America in 2007. I read the comment in Spanish as best I could. I would like to say thank you for such a beautiful message, and pray that by the time we make it to Latin America that we have at least a few songs in Spanish.
And for the comment about GuruGanesha playing guitar in the park... thank you for that beautiful story.
May Peace Prevail On Earth.
Over and Out.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
3634 NW Georgia Avenue
Here we are at Yoga House. From left to right: Krishan Prakash, Snatam, and GuruGanesha. You can see Washington DC right in back of us.
Here's GuruGanesha in the "Miracle" Van on the way to Connecticut
Our first 2006 Celebrate Peace concert started off in the capital of the United States, Washington DC. It felt good to be in the capital of the United States sending prayers of peace to our leaders.
We played at Yoga House on 3634 NW Georgia Avenue, just blocks away from where the Golden Temple Restaurant used to be. This is where GuruGanesha first experienced the healing mantra “Guru Guru Waheguru Guru Guru Ram Das Guru” about 30 years ago. He was very touched at the concert because one of the first people he ever met at the Golden Temple Restaurant, Bhagwant Singh, was sitting up in the front row. Back in the early 70’s GuruGanesha had come to DC to take Kundalini Yoga Teacher’s Training, and was dropped off at the restaurant at the back door and told that this was where teacher’s training was being held. He knocked on the back door of the restaurant and Bhagwant Singh, a tall man with a flashing white smile, opened the door.
GuruGanesha said, “I’m here for teacher’s training.” And Bhagwant Singh handed him a mop.
GuruGanesha said, “What’s this? I’m here for Teacher’s Training!”
Bhagwant Singh laughed heartily and said “This is Teacher’s Training!”
He was given the job of dish washer at the restaurant, and did nothing but wash dishes for eighteen hours a day. Needless to say he was disappointed and slightly depressed to be doing this job. But the thing that kept him alive was that every morning at Ahimsa Ashram everyone would gather and chant to Guru Ram Das, and GuruGanesha always had his guitar and would sing with so much love that some mornings he would even cry. One of his friends, the vegetable chopper, pulled him aside one day and said “Hey man, you sing with so much joy in the morning and then come to work looking very depressed. Why don’t you imagine that the sprayer at the dish washing station is your guitar, and just chant to Guru Ram Das.” GuruGanesha took this to heart and began chanting every day while doing dishes. Pretty soon he started feeling great, and actually enjoyed his job. After awhile everyone in the kitchen started to sing with him. The efficiency in the kitchen increased ten fold as everyone worked with so much joy and love. And pretty soon people started coming up to GuruGanesha wanting to do the dishwashing job. Ever since, GuruGanesha has been chanting this mantra and he has shared many stories with us along the way of how it has transformed his life miraculously.
Anyway, we were there just blocks away from where it all started for our dear band mate GuruGanesha, and it was a very magical evening. We rocked the “hallway” as Krishan put it. The room where we performed was a very long and narrow room… and the place was absolutely packed! It was pretty fun. One of the funny moments of the evening was that just before the concert the fire alarm went off at an ear piercing level. Something had set it off, but it wasn’t a fire. Krishan was in the bathroom at the time and when he opened the door to the bathroom to leave some people looked at him accusingly and said, “Were you smoking in there?” Krishan was shocked to be accused of something like that and denied it vehemently. But it still seemed like they didn’t believe him. So, while on stage I set the record straight and let everyone know that Krishan does not smoke.
Karta Kaur, our new sound engineer did a splendid job on the board for us. Being the first night and all was a lot of pressure. There are three things that you don’t want to mess with when it comes to GuruGanesha… his guitar, Kettle Chips (Sea Salt and Vinegar), and the sound system! Needless to say Karta did a great job. Phew!
Well, thanks to the Yoga House crew, and especially to Gurmukh Kaur. We had a great evening. And thanks to the entire Herndon crowd who made a showing.
We’re in the van… and on the road on our way to Connecticut.
May Peace Prevail on Earth.
Over and Out.