Guru Kaur's Blog
Friday, 12 October 2012
Right up there in the frieze of our culinary pantheon, taking centre stage if you please, sit Chocolate Digestives and her consort Cream of Tomato Soup. I doubt there's a kitchen cupboard up and down this land which doesn't have a little shrine of a packet of one and a tin of the other to prey on when things aren't as rosy as we'd wish. They definitely work some sort of magic, are a quick emergency fix to warm the spirits so don't knock it. They heal parts of you which, quite simply, nothing other than perhaps their handmaiden of hot crusty bread or warm buttered toast and her partner a steaming mug of coffee can get close to in answering your prayers for a soothing sign from on high that everything will be OK, won't it. Mothers feed tins of tomato soup to their children to get over school; teenagers venture out thinking that by turning on the gas under it, they've actually cooked for themselves; students drink it in mugs in the middle of the night to hand in essays smudged in it; and it's always so good to know that it's there on a chilly evening on returning on the late train from a show up in town.
But if you can get your act together just a little bit more than reaching for the tin-opener to keep your body and soul together then making your own Cream of Tomato Soup is just the ticket to open the door to inner delight and eternal happiness. Soon you'll be forgetting that distinctive Deity Branding and her 57 Varieties. You'll be the Domestic Goddess that they remember. What's more, apart that is from just how heavenly it tastes, is it's really easy to make, just don't tell anyone our secret, will you. And, you can get the next meal ready at the same time, something just as yummy, celestially inspired to keep all demons at bay.
Saturday, 22 September 2012
We're at the Autumn Equinox, the celebration of the sun inch by inch enjoying lying in bed later and later each morning and then sinking below the horizon ever earlier making evenings longer than ought really be legal. You just know you have to look at everything now in its warm light and chilled air with a little linger, just one more peak before it's all an etched memory, to see matured, rounded abundance still on show, to accept that very soon, maybe even tomorrow, it will be all change when the leaves will denude the trees to reveal their innermost sinewy and tactile limbs. This crossroads of wardrobes, when the outside brazenly parades in its lingerie while we unflatteringly bundle up in layer after interminably layer, marks just the time to capture that carefree hop, skip and a jump of the summer's holiday to kindle your fire on some dark nights ahead. Keep making chutney.
Sunday, 16 September 2012
A golden tint on the tree outside our bedroom caught my eye as I opened up the curtains this morning, but not from the dazzling early morning rising sun of last month. Now, the leaves are just starting, just, to turn over from their green prime and into their Autumnal glory and we know that soon they will make their way round the colour wheel, through red and bronze brown to non-existent. As we approach the Autumn Equinox next week heralding the drawing of the curtains in time for tea and socks instead of sandals, each moment of this late summer sunshine brings a treasure to remember, not only of those carefree, lazy, hazy days of summer and our salad days but of these all too brief days where we are still enjoying the fruits of the earth's summer labour and preparing for the wintry scenes ahead.
Wednesday, 22 February 2012
We're living in the middle of an epic, it's being written around us, only you may not know it because it's barely being reported in the British media. Following the tradition first laid out by Homer's double bill of the Iliad and Odyssey and just two millennia on since Vergil premièred his Aeneid, the allegorical blockbuster about the downfall of Rome, we have the Leveson Inquiry. This is our epic, the story of our civilisation which will doubtless be studied by phalanxes of undergraduates in centuries to come as the backdrop to the collapse of monetary currency, the infertility of nations, and the plague of super-bugs.
Tuesday, 24 January 2012
Turning points in our lives come from the people we meet, the places we visit and the books we read. It's an old aphorism, I know, but one which, for me, has just taken on a new dimension: you can now get it three-in-one. The Golden Temple: Reflections of the Past, by Parmjit Singh and Amandeep Madra, may be contained in a white, gold-embossed hard cover and sit elegantly on the coffee table, but the word book doesn't really spring to mind. This is an experience: a book to visit, a place to meet, and people to read, just like the Golden Temple itself.
Those privileged to get hold of one of the remaining limited first edition copies (most were pre-sold to fund its production) of this exquisite tome will probably treat it with similar reverence and respect perhaps to that given to the very first illuminated books over a thousand years ago.
Friday, 30 September 2011
London Buses, iconic in the blazing glory of their red livery and solid Empire-building shape, ply the streets of our capital like little red blood cells along its arterial routes bofore meandering out into its limbs. It often surprises me how they link quite unexpected parts of London together, making connections which defy the obvious, and yet have been chosen for how they best serve the whole community which is London. I grew up in Kennington getting the old fashioned double decker 159 or 3 up to the West End and still those numbers sing to me of journeys long gone, but never forgotten, to a world at the heart of the city.
Wednesday, 07 September 2011
Now that everyone's back from their hols, we can return to the thorny issue of the civil unrest in London and many other major UK cities this summer. Although pundits and politicians all took time out, either by returning to the capital from their holiday destinations or writing some pithy piece, to get us to contemplate the causes of all this rioting. Over the summer much of it was about failures in general in the system but now Parliamentary committees are meeting to draw up action plans so this doesn't just remain a cerebral exercise.
There are key themes which appear from the summer's discussions: we need values and an education system which nurtures respect, leadership, care and discipline instead of greed, me-me-me, and boredom. I agree.
However, I feel passionately that there is one area which is not being addressed: women and educating them to be women.
Of course we have equal rights, but we also have a right to learn the art, science and way of being a woman. These are not taught by the cadet force, competitive sports, nor domestic science.
Iain Duncan-Smith MP, Work and Pensions Secretary in the current Government highlighted five areas which need to be addressed. Behind each one a woman is the solution.
Monday, 22 August 2011
When we first created Be the Woman You were Born to Be as an online course and community I wasn't really sure how it would compare to the many live Be the Woman... workshops which I had led. Sure it would mean that women all over the world would be able to participate, in a way which worked for them, but would we be able to maintain the intimacy and respect? The answer has been a resounding yes.
There has though been one downside: you can start whenever you like. And I never anticipated that that could be an issue. What I've learned is that when I used to travel through a city to do a workshop, there was a now or never attitude which often tipped the balance into getting a woman to consider whether she could benefit by improving her emotional literacy as a woman. Now though the option remains of living on the never-never. Until it's too late.
That point was brought home to me this week when a woman who is going through a deep crisis asked me if she would benefit from Be the Woman... Of course, I replied, every woman needs to learn this stuff; I consider it the minimum requirement for any woman...
Well, what did you expect me to say? She expected me to say that she was different, her problem was special, hers only, no one else had ever gone through what she was going through. If only she could have removed her arrogance as enthusiastically as she had walked into this problem, she might just not be in the terrible dilemma she is in today.
It comes back to me again and again how little we as women are taught to be women and how much we are expected to know as women. The very seed for Be the Woman... was sown when I was sitting with an incredibly inspiring and powerful woman in her own right who told it to me straight as no one else had ever dared: "You have not scratched the surface of what you can achieve by being a Woman."
That advice, which only a woman can give to a woman, changed my whole perspective: I thought at the time that I was highly successful with all the external signs of that of a great husband, home and career. But she was right, I just didn't have a clue about the basics, and it took a lot to take that onboard. Until then I had not considered that being a woman, in and of itself, was an art, a science, and a way of being.
I'm telling you this now because here we are at the height of the summer holidays, lulled into that false sense of security that they go on forever. But life's not like that. Unless you decisively act to make your life better then it will go on just how it was. I'm still amazed how few women actually put sorting themselves out as such a low priority in their lives. Until it's too late...
Wednesday, 10 August 2011
Yesterday I was called as a witness to give evidence to the impeccably impartial Planning Inspector, appointed by the Secretary of State, to assess whether the plan for our local area, put forward by Southwark Council, was appropriate. The plan is for dense and high rise buildings on the last remaining undeveloped land round here. My vision is for the whole area to be turned into an Arboretum and Ecological Sanctuary.
As I sat in that room, all set up to be official, in Southwark Council's offices, I couldn't help but feel that we were fiddling while London burns. The plan we were discussing was totally retrospective, a throwback to the corporate self-aggrandisement of the 1980s. Looking around at the vacant and smug faces of the suits (male and female) I pondered if the greed in the room was so different to that looting which was going on in the High Streets and Shopping Centres of Southwark.
Sunday, 17 July 2011
Forget that the Golden Temple, Amritsar, Punjab is the most beautiful building beyond the imagination. Forget that it is considered the Heart Chakra of this planet, probably the only place in the world where there is constant recitation of sacred texts and the name of God on everyone's lips 24/7. Forget that this thread of daily, nightly, minute-by-minute devotion has been spun unbroken for centuries. Forget every photo you've ever seen of it in your local take-away. Forget all that.
From that moment when you first arrive at the whole Golden Temple Complex, leave your shoes in the 100% reliable filing system, wash your feet in prayer saturated water, and then walk through the thought-bleaching, nirvana (beyond colour) inducing, glaringly white marble and down the steps to bow, head down, everything begins to shift. Then the moment. Slowly...
Tuesday, 05 July 2011
Meditation in the Park 2011 was an extraordinary day, permeated full of such sweetness, warmth and pleasurable happiness which we often dare not to imagine is possible in our modern phrenetic world. And yet it happened. 2000 people came together in a South London park to enjoy life, to experience good food, green spaces and a clear mind.
To read the feedback and see the photographs please visit the Meditation in the Park web site.
Friday, 10 June 2011
Sewing and meditating are two of my favourite things, and here we're bringing the two together. I hope that you'll come along to Russia Dock Woodland on 26th June for Meditation in the Park and sit on one of these beautiful mats. I just love how the coffee sacks have come round the world as packaging and here we are stitiching them to some of the most beautiful English interiors fabric. Classy!
Sunday, 24 April 2011
"It's not very flattering, is it, as a portrait of your mother" said the man standing next to me as we both looked, somewhat dazed and confused, at Juan Gris' Portrait of Artist's Mother painted when he was at the height of his Cubist phase.
And yet, within that major Cubism retrospective of the early 1980s it is that painting which most got me thinking about the relationship between the artist and his subject, his subject and her beauty, the painter and his projections, the viewer and the work of art now hung on a gallery wall, framed and insured for millions and millions. "Your mother wouldn't like it if you painted her like that" he continued, with the sure knowledge only a husband can have.
Thursday, 03 March 2011
It's official: it's been the gloomiest winter on record here in London with washed out, opaque heavy skies hiding any hint that there is, really there is, a sun out there which shines even when we don't see it. It's a leap of faith I know to believe that it's there, but it is. The lacklustre heavens though do more than dampen out all the colour from our lives; they make everything look drab, not that the objects are washed out but the light begins to play tricks with us so we start to see the world through greyed out eyes. Either you fall into the trap of getting all depressed, or you rise up to find inspiration in the most unlikely places.
Monday, 14 February 2011
There's nothing new under the sun. No, really there isn't. Every drama that unfolds, be it in real life, on the silver screen, the boards, or on the box, in 3D, HD or in the flesh, it's all been done before. Whether it's tragedy you're after, comedy, soap operas, or even reality TV, pretty much everyone got there before you, most likely Shakespeare, that genius of the Play of Life. But even the Bard wasn't always the original and often had to doff his cap to those who were there at the very inception of modern day theatre a couple of millenia ahead of his game.
Thursday, 03 February 2011
Mention Madeleines, those yummy little lemony cakes, in intellectual company - you know the type who read good-for-you classics - and invariably the conversation turns to that exalted moment in Proust's magnum opus, In Search of Lost Time, when he discovers the key to his Universe when served a Lemony Cake (Fr: Madeleine):
Friday, 31 December 2010
Saturday, 10 July 2010