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Food for thought....

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Eknath Easwaran says the important stuff so simply, yet with such depth. And what he is talking about not only has relevance on the spiritual journey, but certainly the journey toward body and mind wellness also:

When the heart grieves over what it has lost, the spirit rejoices over what it has found.
-- Sufi proverb

During the early stages of the spiritual journey, we can feel a certain deprivation when we have to keep saying no to the senses as they clamor for things that will only add to the burden of the journey later on. "Don't eat this. Don't drink that. Don't smoke this. Don't watch that." There is no rapture; there is no ecstasy; only "keep plugging along."

This discriminating restraint of the senses is not asceticism. Its purpose is not to subjugate the body. We need to train the senses to be faithful allies on our journey for two compelling reasons:

first, the body is our vehicle, and we need to keep it healthy, strong, and resilient so that it can carry us steadily and safely to the summit of consciousness;

second, training the senses strengthens the will day by day, enabling us gradually to gain control over the fierce passions that rage beneath the surface of consciousness.

Without a trained will it is not possible to move up out of the Valley of the Shadow of Death which is our physical world. Untrained, the will becomes self-will, our worst enemy; but trained, the will can become our most powerful ally.
-- Eknath Easwaran

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    If only we would learn to listen more to whatīs deep down inside and let our heartīs catch up with our spirits!

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CARLI_MAE 8/30/2009 3:23AM

    Oh dear ... my fierce passions don't just rage beneath the surface of my consciousness, they pour right out there ... just read the blog I just wrote ... what's more is I kind of like my variety of anger! emoticon
--That Crazy Italian

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SHERJACK 8/30/2009 12:24AM

  Well said

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7/Summer09: The Journey....

Saturday, August 22, 2009 is my Toyota Dolphin 20' camper in all her glory:

A kind soul took my picture at Yellowstone Falls mid-adventure:

Another sweet person captured me sitting by a rock sculpture I created at Colter Bay, Grand Tetons:

Ahhh, yesterday I paused for some tree-hugging during the *last hurrah* (for now!)...on the Yellow Rock Trail, a 3-mile hike at Devil's Den State Park, near Fayetteville, AR:

This has been a Journey of Awakening in many ways. It has shown me that there are many ways to find peace and balance in this chaotic world...and a prime one is to scoot off into nature to restore my inner resources and contact the stillness within.

I left with severe neck and shoulder discomfort and have returned feeling whole and well. If that's not a commentary, I'm at a serious loss for words!

I lost another 1.5 pounds without even thinking about it...I merely ate when I was hungry...ate simple, whole, nutritious foods...enjoyed my food rather than multi-tasking as I ate. I loved finding privately owned or co-op natural foods stores along the way -- the boutiful offerings of Open Harvest Natural Foods Cooperative in Lincoln, NE and Jackson Hole Organic Grocer come to mind.

I have a challening living situation and need to be FULLY PRESENT to behave with kindness while not giving up my personal power. This journey has given me new insights about parameters and ways to BE, while evaluating the workability of my digs.

I begin university classes in two days...this is an exciting new advenure in itself, pursuing a degree in Spanish to hopefully expand my employment options. I'm also looking seriously at a trip to Ecuador in December to further explore the possibilities that exist there for service and work.

All-in-all, I've come back refreshed and ready to move ahead, thrilled at the Labor Day holiday retreat with renowned Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh just ahead which will further arm me with the strength of the timeless Teachings.

Blessed be!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

4DANCINGCATS 8/29/2009 1:52AM

    Great pictures! You just inspire me to keep doing what I dream of or find a way to get there. Thich Nhat Hanh how fulfilling to see and hear him. I have been thinking of going back to the University to get a PhD.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LUCKY-13 8/26/2009 9:17PM

    Looks and sounds like you had a wonderful time! Good for you! I really miss traveling now, but when I was a kid and my dad was in the Marines (no brat here!) I really hated moving every nine months. Now, I've been in the same town for ... too many years! LOL I gotta get out of this place!!!

Glad you're back!

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Thanks for sharing your wonderful trip pics and stories.

Glad you are home and refreshed and ready to take on an new chapter.
CYA 'round the boards

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MISS_VIV 8/24/2009 5:16PM

    i AM so lucky to have you as a friend. One that shares the most beautiful pictures ..........You will be able to get away a lot more often now, with your little DOLPHIN. Keep a jacket and a can of soup and some tea handy and you have a trip set to GO. All the rest you can get when you get where you are going, OR NOT.


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GOODHEALTH4EVER 8/24/2009 4:38AM


emoticon emoticon L.

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LKOPACK 8/23/2009 10:07PM

    Hi Maha,
Thank you for taking the time to share all the beautiful pics taken during your road trip. You look happy, relaxed and obviously the trip was exactly what you needed. Great to hear you had such a fabulous time and still lost weight.
Welcome back,
Un abrazo,
Laura K.


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GBOOMER 8/23/2009 8:20PM

    Nice pics! So YOUR the one leaving all those rock statues around. I saw your work in Maine. Didn't know you'd been there. emoticon

I'll be taking a college class this semester too. Something I have to take to maintain my teaching certification. Good luck from one older student to another.

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ZORAHGAIL 8/23/2009 2:00PM

    So beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

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REBCCA 8/23/2009 10:39AM

    Love seeing you looking so happy and well!
Thanks for sharing. emoticon

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MAZZYR 8/23/2009 8:41AM

    I love the rock sculpture! It's an original... just like you!!!!

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    So nice to see pictures - thank you! Loved the posts as you traveled!

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LYNNANN43 8/22/2009 9:41PM

    emoticon SOOOOOOO much for sharing the pics!!!!!

btw... you look FABULOUS!


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CAROLYN4033 8/22/2009 8:53PM

    My dear Maha,

All I can say is I am so glad you are back safely and that you look like you had a wonderful time....smiles abound! Just to be able to explore and enjoy on your own time, fantastic! And how exciting to meet another sparkler "in the flesh". Simply marvelous darling, just marvelous......

Love, Carolyn

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SLASALLE 8/22/2009 7:25PM

    I'll be checking back for more pics. You DO look great and it was SO AWESOME to get to see you TWICE!!!!! I have got to make it to that area - the scenery is breathtaking, even in pictures!! xoxoxo

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WHATAGRL42 8/22/2009 6:47PM

    The trip looks like it was fabulous and restorative! Santosh and I drove from CA to IL this summer, and wanted to take HWY 90 back in order to go through Yellowstone-- but we didn't have time. Now, looking at your pictures, I wish we'd made the time!

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CARLI_MAE 8/22/2009 5:31PM

    Gorgeous pictures ... and you look great! I wish I looked that good braless ... mine have no "perkiness" left at all ... hate to see them when I lose the rest of this weight ... sigh!
Hope you're not drinking anything while you're reading this ... warning: coffee is hot!
Carli emoticon

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MAZZYR 8/22/2009 4:32PM

    Looking good... YOU and your new camper!!

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MISS_VIV 8/22/2009 4:29PM

    I have to believe that you are having a FANTASTIC JOURNEY. You are lookin' so good ............I am happy that someone took a picture and shared it with you.
Thanks a bunch

thoughts and prayers

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KUZINKEITH 8/22/2009 4:28PM

    Come pick me up ... let's start a new adventure! The camper looks good & you look GREAT!

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6/Summer09: Webster Lake State Park, KS

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

That's a great blue heron taking off in the distance.

This was a wonderful *find,* after asking in a country store, as I cruised through the back roads of sweet, but seemingly interminable Kansas.


And so

it has taken me

all of sixty (seven) years

to understand

that water is the finest drink,

and bread the most delicious food,

and that art is worthless

unless it plants

a measure of splendor in people's hearts.

~ Taha Muhammad Ali ~

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KUZINKEITH 8/19/2009 2:11PM

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us dear Maha.

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SLAYINGDRAGONS 8/19/2009 12:28PM

    I like Kansas! Thatīs where I was born, have tons of relatives, my parents grew up and they have scads of antiques! Enjoy it while you can!!!!

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CARLI_MAE 8/19/2009 10:48AM

    Oh No! Kansas? You mean you didn't travel south from Cheyenne along the Rockies of Colorado, the continental divide, New Mexico??? Did you at least find Dorothy and Aunty Emm? I like "Twigs" ... as usual, you post the best, most thought inspiring stuff!

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MISS_VIV 8/19/2009 10:05AM

    What an awesome trip you are on . The more you share the more wonderful it becomes. Kansas.. never been there, but just checked out this lake on google and it appears to be quite restful with plenty of wildlife to enjoy and photograph.

Hugs my friend
Stay well

Steady as you go

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5/Summer09: In lieu of...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

...the lively journal entry I just finished about yesterday's and today's adventures, speaking of placid to raging rivers, a herd of bison leisurely crossing the road, the Bridger-Teton National Forest, the National Museum of Wildlife Art and the trip between Jackson Hole and Rock Springs, among the myriad meanderings -- which sped away into cyber-space, never again to be seen -- I instead offer the extraordinary Wislawa Szymborska (BUT...scroll to the end of the poem for some visual treats):


As long as nothing can be known for sure
(no signals have been picked up yet),
as long as Earth is still unlike
the nearer and more distant planets,

as long as there's neither hide nor hair
of other grasses graced by other winds,
of other treetops bearing other crowns,
other animals as well-grounded as our own,

as long as only the local echo
has been known to speak in syllables,

as long as we still haven't heard word
of better or worse mozarts,
platos, edisons somewhere,

as long as our inhuman crimes
are still committed only between humans,

as long as our kindness
is still incomparable,
peerless even in its imperfection,

as long as our heads packed with illusions
still pass for the only heads so packed,

as long as the roofs of our mouths alone
still raise voices to high heavens--

let's act like very special guests of honor
at the district-firemen's ball
dance to the beat of the local oompah band,
and pretend that it's the ball
to end all balls.

I can't speak for others--
for me this is
misery and happiness enough:

just this sleepy backwater
where even the stars have time to burn
while winking at us

-- Wislawa Szymborska
(View with a Grain of Sand, translated by S. Baranczak and C. Cavanagh)

Speaking of "placid..."

" raging rivers:"

...and the scragglers from the bison herd:

...and me at the impressive entrance to the National Museum of Wildlife Art (
), having been drawn in by the architecture of the building:

...and after leaving Jackson Hole:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TEE803 8/17/2009 8:42PM

    That's awesome Maha...miss you here regularly:( But glad you having fun:)

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EARTHSEAME 8/17/2009 2:34PM



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VEEJAY3 8/17/2009 11:23AM

    Oh, thanks so much for starting my day off with beautiful, beautiful poetry.
That's lovely.

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SLASALLE 8/17/2009 11:22AM

    Safe journey until we meet again, my friend. What beautiful poetry to start my day with ... thanks for sharing!!!

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SLAYINGDRAGONS 8/17/2009 11:10AM

    Be safe, girlfriend, and keep on having fun!

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TERJEGOLD 8/17/2009 10:07AM

    That's wonderful!

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LADYIRISH317 8/17/2009 8:37AM

    Just beautiful!

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MISS_VIV 8/17/2009 12:23AM


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LYNNANN43 8/16/2009 11:47PM


It is wonderful!

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SOPHIEBBW 8/16/2009 11:43PM

    That's beautiful! Thank you!

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4/Summer09: Gaia in all her glory!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Love all that has been created by God, both the whole and every grain of sand. Love every leaf and every ray of light. Love the beasts and the birds, love the plants, love every separate fragment. If you love each separate fragment, you will understand the mystery of the whole resting in God.
-- Fyodor Dostoevsky

Oh my, I've been thoroughly zapped by the extraordinary wonders of nature as I move through Montana and Wyoming, including exploring Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks. I left Billings area on Monday in my little camper and stayed in a fancy RV place looking out onto the Yellowstone River Monday night, Tuesday night I stayed in a primitive campsite that was wonderful. Wednesday night I stayed at Yellowstone Lake in the Park and last night and tonight I'm at Colter Bay in the Grand Tetons. It has been unbelievably awe-inspiring.

This is why it's called YELLOWstone (and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone) -- isn't it magnificent:

Colter Bay:

I've been hiking all over the place -- e.g., today I went to Hidden Falls, a 5-mile hike and worth every step, though this shot (like all the others) doesn't do it justice:

Returning from the falls I unknowingly took a different trail and ended up at the south end of the lake and I had parked at the north end. Luckily a wonderful family from Kimball, MN gave me a ride to my rig. They have a 40-cow dairy farm and sell their milk to Organic Valley (yippee -- I'm so excited to have actually met one of the small farmers of the cooperative!!!). I've been riding my bicycle around Colter Bay as well, immensely enjoying the clear mountain air and the preserved beauty.

I'm sorta' playing it as it comes and I'm figuring each day out as it dawns. I'm trying to be present for all that comes. My route home has some fluidity and since I have some flexibility in my schedule, I'm finding great joy and anticipation in this journey. My little Dolphin is performing admirably and its 4-cylinder engine is forcing me to slow down!

That's a very small update among the myriad details of all that has happened since I embarked upon this amazing journey.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GENKI_WARRIOR 8/20/2009 11:21AM

    wow it seems you are having a grand time, and really soaking it in properly ;D ! i'm so happy for you : )

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MAZZYR 8/15/2009 9:46AM

    Stay safe, sweet Maha.

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DRAGONFLY7149 8/14/2009 11:55PM

    Ah, Maha...keep on 'truckin! Sending huge smiles your way!


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COSMIC_ENERGY 8/14/2009 11:50PM

    Hoping...Hope? You know a photographer named Hope?

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SLASALLE 8/14/2009 11:17PM

    Oh Maha, I so wish I was there with you to hike, bike and walk!!! I have never been to that part of the country before. I have focused more on international travel, thinking that I can do the national travel as I get older. Hence, I've been to Europe 4 times, but never seen the Grand Canyon!!!

I'm so glad to hear from you (and we received your lovely cards) and am still hoping that you can drop by again on your way home. If your journey takes you a different direction, I understand, but want you to know we'd love to see you again.


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LYNNANN43 8/14/2009 11:09PM

    OMG!!! Sounds like the best time EVER!

So glad you're enjoying every single moment! And an AWESOME amount of cardio too:)

Keep us posted on your journey.


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