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1/Summer09: My Latest Adventure -- WHEE!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Here's the 2001 8-cylinder Dodge Ram 2500 Long Bed Cargo Van that I bought new, being readied for its *Last Hurrah* with me...the only pleasure trip it went on in the nearly 160,000 miles I drove it (all sweater project miles):

*My trusty Maxi-Rama cargo van*

Here's the story: I called my old friend Sam Tuesday to wish him happy birthday. As we talked, he mentioned that he had purchased the camper (he's a mechanic and does alot of buying and reselling of vehicles) and described it:

~ cabover 20' camper
~ camper part never used
~ 25 years old
~ one owner
~ total mileage 50,000 miles
~ new tires
~ mechanically impeccable condition
~ it gets up to 20 mpg. (4 cylinders)

I started *uhhhhhing* and *ahhhhhing,* reminding him that I've had a fantasy to get a camper for years. He had just put an ad in the paper and already had six responses, asking price $6500. He said, "I can see you cruising the highways in this. It's just your size Maha! I can absolutely envision you behind the wheel." And he started asking questions about my cargo van. My sweater project van has 149,250 miles on it and has a market value of less than $4000 (and gets about 11mpg, yikes), but I've maintained it in impeccable mechanical condition. It purrs!

*This is like the camper Sam has, but this one is probably 22'.*

So on Wednesday Sam phoned back -- HE WILL MAKE A STRAIGHT TRADE(!) for the cargo van, which he will use in his new business! We've known each other since 1986 on Kauai. He is a very dear friend and over the years I've helped him out in various ways. I guess this is payback.

The reason for Billings is that he is moving his 83-yr. old mother there from OR since his sister lives there. It will also become his permanent residence, although his plan is to become a mobile RV mechanic and Green technician (installing energy-saving and environmentally sustainable devices in the RV’s like solar panels and inverters, etc.) so that he can travel at will and make money along the way. He doesn't like OR winters (or MT winters for that matter!) so he plans to head to Arizona in the wintertime to take care of the RVs of all those "snowbirds."
OK! So here's my Travel Plan:

~ Leave Conway, Arkansas Sunday ior Billings, Montana.

~ About 6 hours later, arrive to Kansas City to hang out with Stephanie (SLASALLE!) and her partner and spend the first night of the journey!

~ Monday night with SFriend GINABUG, a prof at UN, Lincoln, NE

~ Arrive Billings, MT the afternoon of Wednesday from the 1,450 miles trip (about 24 hours -- four days for me driving alone)

~ Meet my old friend Sam there, who will have driven a mint condition 1984- cylinder Toyota Dolphin 20' from near Portland, Oregon

~ We'll hang out a few days, perhaps including taking the camper to Yellowstone/Jackson Hole, for him to explain everything to me

~ I'll drive the Dolphin (great name for my *new baby!*) to AR

~ Sam will drive the Maxi Rama (my name for the Dodge) to OR

~ Coming home I am going via Jackson Hole and Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons and Jackson, as well as many national forests which will make my return route different, catching Greeley, CO and then back country roads all the way to Kansas City to look in on Stephanie again!
So what do you think? There's still time for me to change my mind (yeah, right -- FAT CHANCE!)! WHEE!!!

Blessed be!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:



WOW, sounds like you've got your work /trip all planned out. Hope all goes well and as scheduled. Good luck with your new baby. Looking forward to seeing and hearing about your trip. Enjoy and have FUN.


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SANTANDERE 7/31/2009 8:19AM

    WOW, You are AMAZING... I admire your courage and sense of adventure.
You are definitely a free spirit. You know something Maja, I used to be like you! (Note to self, I MUST find MY spirit again.)

Espero que tengas un viaje muy espiritual, y que la pases muy bien. Mantente en contacto si puedes, o escribe en un "Diario" para que me cuentes tus experiencias.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

Bendiciones y muchos Carinos,

Comment edited on: 7/31/2009 8:22:58 AM

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LKOPACK 7/30/2009 10:02PM

    What a great adventure!!! It sounds like so much fun. Take care, be safe and enjoy. I can't wait to read about the road trip.

emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 7/30/2009 10:03:03 PM

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KUZINKEITH 7/30/2009 9:46PM


Since your itinerary is laid out for us all to see, don't be surprised if you hear a knock on your door some evening!
I hope to see pictures. I KNOW we'll be reading about your adventure and a new spiritual awakening.


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MAZZYR 7/30/2009 8:48PM

    Ohhhh my.... Maha, what an adventure!

Safe trip... drive carefully.


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    What a wonderful trip youre going to have! Oh, I really do wish I could come with you!

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ZORAHGAIL 7/30/2009 5:51PM

    Holy cow that's so awesome! Have some major F-U-N!

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BABYFACE26 7/30/2009 1:38PM

    Wow. You are the adventuress, aren't you? So this is just a pleasure trip, right? Have fun.


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DRAGONFLY7149 7/30/2009 1:37PM

    'Oh what a feeling!'...fabulous, fabulous, fabulous...
have a terrific journey there and back, wonderful conversation with the friends you meet along the way (those you know already and those you don't)...smiling from ear to ear for you and a tinge envious (my husband and I have this dream roaming around the continent for awhile in an RV of some variety during our 'golden' years). Keep the dreams alive, Maha, and safe travels!


emoticon emoticon

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STILLPOINT 7/29/2009 10:50PM

    OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Talk you out of it???? Not a chance, baby! It sounds like one of those serreptitious moments. You were meant to do this!!!


Have a ball!

Marie emoticon

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LYNNANN43 7/29/2009 10:41PM

    OMG! I'm so jealous!

You'd HAVE to bring it the the Sparkconvention in Sept!!!

You Go Girl!


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LADYIRIS313 7/29/2009 9:37PM

    two big thumbs up! You are going to have a blast.


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SLASALLE 7/29/2009 9:03PM

    OMG!! OMG!! OMG!! Our plan has finally come true. Maha is going to hang out with us for a night on her way (and maybe we can even talk her into the way back, and then we could see her new baby!!! I am SO DELIGHTED to get this chance to FINALLY meet up!!!

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CARLI_MAE 7/29/2009 7:57PM

    Go for it! emoticon

I think it could use some creative psychedelic painting, peace signs, flowers, and such all about and on the sides too!


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SLASALLE 7/29/2009 7:50PM

    You GO, girl!!!! Trust your gut and follow your dreams. Just wishing you were traveling via Kansas City!!!!!!?????? Need a break in the drive??????????????????????????????
????????????? Lots of love!

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NORLANA 7/29/2009 6:59PM

    No way! You put it out there and the UNIVERSE is going to make it happen! I am so EXCITED for you!!! WOOOOhOOOO- WOWIE- Zowie...

2010 ... you drive north, pick me up in the 'burgh and we go to Omega Insititue for some rockin retreat or some sort ... Whadaya say???

s**t!! This made my day and my face now hurts from smiling for you!!

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COSMIC_ENERGY 7/29/2009 6:18PM

    Holy Mac-a-rolli! You are Woman hear you roar. Sounds like the perfect adventure! Be safe-have fun.

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LOLAGEEK 7/29/2009 6:11PM

    Oh wow! What an adventure. I am glad you got to spend time with your friend and I hope the move for his mother went well.

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Do I LOOK like a ping pong ball...?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Like a ball batted back and forth, a human being is batted by two forces within.
-- Yogabindu Upanishad

How apt is that Yogic scripture in describing the reality of my daily life. I'm constantly called upon to make decisions between instant gratification and choices that truly serve me, between mediocre and masterful, between going with the status quo and looking deeply and choosing wisely.

Eknath Easwaran, one of my teachers for many years, with whom I gathered with many others each week in Petaluma, California, is an amazing wordsmith, using his enlightened mind/heart to communicate Truth succinctly and lucidly--

"As human beings we have a divided nature – partly physical, but essentially spiritual. We are constantly batted by two conflicting forces. One force is the fierce downward thrust of our past conditioning as separate, self-oriented, physical creatures. Yet built into our very nature is an inner drive that will not let us be satisfied with a life governed only by biological laws. Some inner evolutionary imperative is constantly exhorting us to grow, to reach for the highest that we can conceive."

May this be a day of aligning with the force that helps me to grow and continue "to reach for the highest" in every choice -- from food, to how I choreograph the day!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PEACEFULONE 7/30/2009 2:57PM

    As always thank you again for the food for the soul. Life is indeed about choices and trying to make them right while remembering we are all connected and still wanting what the ego wants. You are on the right track and I believe we are all doing the best that we can in each situation.

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BABYFACE26 7/30/2009 1:48PM

    Wow. What a read such profound and beautiful thoughts. Thank you.


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ABQUEST 7/27/2009 11:54PM

    Oh, me too, Maha! Many times I have to make those decisions..and I need to talk to that little girl who wants the instant gratification that my Higher Self knows, it won't do any good! Yes, may this be the day that you do choreograph the choice that will be for your highest good...Thank you for the beautiful post and reminder....from a Sparkfriend also tryig to align with the force of her highest good.

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    Oh, my dear this struck both of us.

I was barely on line yesterday. Didn't read the word for the day until I got to work this morning....and didn't read your blog til other friends pointed it out to me.

(You know my reaction...)

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COSMIC_ENERGY 7/27/2009 1:08PM

    Haha--check out my response on AT's blog! Here's to our highest and best-always.

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4DANCINGCATS 7/26/2009 3:09PM

    I totally get this. I get so lost in my physical stuff and then I will remember oh yea this isn't it. And I get it for awhile and then I will forget and then remember again. It's like having a case of spiritual alzheimers.
Jennifer emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CARLI_MAE 7/26/2009 12:50PM

    I hope that is just a bad translation of the Uphanishad ... hey -- it's got to be -- I doubt they even had ping pong balls when it was written! Ouch! Makes our existence seem even more painful than it really is, or is PERCEIVED ...

I am definitely with you with Easwaran's way of describing it. Nice blog for a beautiful Sunday morn!
:) Carli

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MAZZYR 7/26/2009 12:02PM

    I hear you. Well said by you AND Eknath Easwaran!


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HIGGINS999 7/26/2009 10:54AM

    I hope that you can make the choices that are best for you. One thing I like to remember is that the future is created in the present moment.

Good Luck!

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KUZINKEITH 7/26/2009 10:32AM

    That's a great description of the (near) constant inner battle that rages inside me too. I'm starting to believe on a deeper level that my overeating is my reaction to the "empty soul" feeling. I know from my battle with booze, that I can never fill that "hole in my soul" with anything from the outside. And yet I keep trying.
Last night I had a victory over myself and just said "no" to a snack.
I join you in the desire for an even better "dance" today.


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STILLPOINT 7/26/2009 10:25AM

    May THIS be the day, Maha! Reach for the highest you can conceive!

I have been having a similar struggle these past few days. Given an un-planned weekend, there are so many options. And - I find myself struggling between the most important and worthwhile spiritual practice and old ways of sleeping in and lazing about.
I need to remind myself that, in the end, nothing is more important than the spiritual path. I guess I need a little spiritual pick-me-up!

Wishing you a wonderful day - filled with all that truly 'fills' you.

Blessings, emoticon

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Use the Light

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I'm headed out of town for a few days. My friend Robert's mother, who is also dear to me, has had a severe stroke. Her life has always consisted of serving others. In recent years, because of many factors (not her health, though, which has always been excellent), she has not been able to be out-and-about, so this simple woman, a saint really, chose to become a Prayer Warrior. For many years she has devoted the first two early hours of the day to prayer for those in her immediate circle, and ever-expanding circle.

This seems an apt commentary to dedicate to her and her life of service. The commentary is for all of us though, really. Easwaran's words of wisdom tell us the truth so lucidly in our journey toward wellnesa of body, mind, and spirit.

Use the light.
Come home to your true nature.
Dont cause yourself injury:
This is known as seizing the truth.
- Lao Tzu

As human beings, we have been born with the capacity to make choices. No other creature has this capacity, and no human being can avoid this responsibility. Every day, whether we see it or not, we have a choice of two alternatives in what we do, say, and think.

These alternatives are: what is pleasant and what is beneficial. The first pleases us now. The second may be unpleasant at the beginning, as anyone who has begun a physical fitness program knows; but it will improve our health and contribute to our peace of mind.

Both choices promise satisfaction. One we get immediately, but it comes and goes; the other requires effort, but its benefits stay with us and often benefit those around us as well.
-- Eknath Easwaran

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BABYFACE26 7/30/2009 1:57PM

    May I make the right choices today. Thank u so much for this beautiful blog. Guess I'll have to subscribe to your blogs, now that I see what I've been missing! Safe journey, and may your presence bring peacefulness to your friend and his mother.

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MAZZYR 7/22/2009 10:20AM

    Oh Maha, you never fail to make me think. Thank you.

Have a safe trip and may peace be with you. The goodness of you comes through my computer and always warms my heart.


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CARLI_MAE 7/21/2009 6:24PM

    Have a safe trip and a peaceful visit. Do you ever look at the website ? There is a really great video on there by Jill Bolt Taylor ... here's the main page ... the video is in the upper right corner

Peace, blessings,

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    I choose the one that is longlasting benefit! May you be blessed with a safe trip and the opportunity to hug your dear friend.

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LOLAGEEK 7/21/2009 11:18AM

    Be well friend. I am sure you will be a source of comfort for your friend and his mother during this time. I wish them well too. We do make choices, and hopefully can be further inspired by your post to make good choices.

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SHEENADEE 7/21/2009 10:38AM

    Take care! Will add your friend to my prayers. I wish her well.

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SparkPeople Cincinnati Convention Anyone?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I'm giving serious thought to going to this one-day program on Saturday, September 26. I would drive up to Cincinnati on Friday (like 10+ hours of driving) and drive home Sunday and that's not at all daunting, since I'm a veteran driver after 11 years with the sweater co-op traversing the country. I live about an hour north of Little Rock, in Conway, Arkansas, off of I-40. If anyone wants to discuss carpooling, let me know! Here's the route -- I-40 East to Nashville; I-65 North to Louisville; I-71 North to Cincinnati.

The cost is $50.00 for registration prior to August 31, 2009. After August 31, 2009 the price goes up to $80.00. I joined the "Spark Your Life" Convention Cincinnati Team to keep up with all the developments.

Here's the convention agenda which I find quite appealing, both in terms of presenters and topics:
In prior years I've actually set up at the Greater Cincinnati Convention Center, where it's being held, and sold sweaters!

AND I just discovered that sisters Tracy ("T" or "Tee") and LynnAnn will be there, and Carolyn is THINKING of going. The three are Thanksgiving Community Team members.

So WHO ELSE might be going???

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NORLANA 7/29/2009 7:01PM

    I am seriously considering it. I need to be in Charlotte later that week to help my daughter move home to Pittsburgh. It would be so awesome to finally meet in person!

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WHATAGRL42 7/16/2009 4:02PM

    Hey M!

As you probably recall, I really enjoyed the San Diego convention. They've gotten a ton of feedback, both positive and constructive, and I'd imagine that the Cincinnati day will be even more fabulous.
Go for it!

Lisa emoticon

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    Sounds like tons of fun! Esp. the part about meeting other Sparkers! I say go for it!

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KUZINKEITH 7/15/2009 11:09PM

    I hope you find some folks to hook up with --- and take lots of pictures. I know you'll enjoy it ... you find a way to enjoy everything.

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SHEENADEE 7/15/2009 10:32PM

    I'll be there! Of course, I live in Cincinnati so it was a much easier decision for me to register. I wish you luck in finding carpoolers. That's a great idea!

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Yoga is SO Much More than Exercise....

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I am so aware of how the waxing and waning of the emotions affects every part of my life. For example -- if someone lets me down I become sad, then my energy flags, negativity can sneak in, I have less motivation for self-care, and the downward spiral continues, ad naseum.

The Bhagavad Gita (Easwaran's translation) speaks precisely to this dilemma and the importance of training the mind as the way out in Chapter 2:50:

"When consciousness is unified, all anxiety is left behind. There is no cause for worry, whether things go well or ill. Therefore, devote yourself to the disciplines of yoga, for yoga is skill in action."

My goal is to live life skillfully and in balance in spite of the rocky moments and difficult situations that come my way. That is the best way to care for myself on all levels -- body, mind, and spirit. Stevenson and Easwaran explain it beautifully:

Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened, but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm.
-- Robert Louis Stevenson

When the mind gets agitated, we do not see life as it truly is, as one. It is the constant agitation going on in our mind that deludes us into believing that you and I are separate.

The question we may well ask is, "If we are to have neither pleasure nor pain in life, are we not likely to become insensitive to the joy of life?" This doubt arises from a wrong assumption, that there is only pleasure and pain and nothing else. Always cutting things up into two classes -- everything must be either this or that -- is one of the fatal weaknesses of the intellect. Because of this dualistic trap, we find it difficult to understand that the rare person who is able to receive good fortune without getting excited, and bad fortune without getting depressed, lives in abiding joy.
-- Eknath Easwaran

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CONSTANCELG 7/14/2009 2:17PM

    I love yoga, but I have to say I love Qigong even more! meditation in movement.

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SUSANLUSAN 7/13/2009 6:16AM

    I especially liked that last one. Out with light switch on/off thinking. Be like a rheostat! No one said you couldn't enjoy the sadness or appreciate the pain.

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GENKI_WARRIOR 7/12/2009 5:07PM

    "yoga is skill in action" is living life; with fervor, and without reservation.

thanks for sharing! XD

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BILLALEX70 7/12/2009 4:57PM

    I've missed my last two yoga sessions due to vacation. I can tell you that I haven't slept as well and feel 'tight' everywhere. I'm just not dedicated enough to practicing at home.

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GBOOMER 7/12/2009 4:54PM

    Hey hey. Exercise is SO much more than exercise too!

On another note, strength training and cardio work has made my yoga better! Who woulda thunk it?


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KUZINKEITH 7/12/2009 2:50PM

    I've been enjoying your daily "status" reports. I'll check out the links you provided on yoga --- gracias mi amiga.
I've been feeling for some time now that I'm on the cusp of a new "jumping off point" ... change is in the wind. I don't know which way it will blow me, but I'm nearly ready for the adventure... or nearly ready to have the courage for the adventure.
BLAH BLAH BLAH ... I do go on....
I'm off for a hike in the trees.

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    I just love what you have shared here, Maha. Im going to borrow a few phrases to add to my blog today because they describe what is in my head. You have been so encouraging in your acknowledgement of my struggle to stay even. Today I was confronted several times with the wind of imbalance. I am doing fine and keep refusing to let any of these things paralyze me, even told hubby that this morning. I dont think he understands. I am insisting on breathing deeply of what I know to be truth and resting in doing what I know I must do to be well.

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VALERIEMAHA 7/12/2009 2:22PM

    My dear sangha brother Keith,

The ultimate and primary purpose of yoga is to unify the mind through meditation. If you're meditating, you're practicing yoga: Raja Yoga (the Royal Path of meditation)!


The first four limbs, the external practices, aid us in the the last four limbs, the inner work of meditation. And actually the fourth, pranayama, is said to be a bridge between the outer and inner work (body and mind).

More delineation of this classical practice is here, though be aware that the commentary offers a very traditional approach to ethics and one's "higher power" (scroll down to "The Eight Limbs, Ashtanga, of Raja Yoga"):
BR>FYI: Donna Farhi offers a much more dynamic commentary on Ashtanga Yoga:

You will notice that Asana (posture), the uber-popular yoga "exercise," is ONE of the first four limbs of Ashtanga Yoga.

You are an amazing teacher as well...bowing in gratitude for your acknowledgments and your own continual offerings of wisdom.

Your yoga sistah,

FYI -- the precepts I have been posting on my feed each day recently are the yamas and niyamas of Ashtanga Yoga. Today I'm working on tapas.

Comment edited on: 7/12/2009 3:56:57 PM

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KUZINKEITH 7/12/2009 1:47PM

    There is so much going on in each paragraph here Maha. Does your yoga help "unify your mind"? I've not tried yoga yet. What a wonderful experience it is when that happens for me during meditation - even though the moments are fleeting.

The Stevenson quote is grand in its simplicity ... it would be ideal to "take a licking and keep on ticking" so to speak.

I do tend to separate myself from many people (and events) instead of living as though we were all part of the whole. Avoiding black & white labels does not mean living in the gray zone ... it appears instead to let ALL the colors in.

Thanks for sharing your insights with us. You are a wonderful teacher.

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