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VALERIEMAHA's Recent Blog Entries

Can You Imagine?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What if imagination and art are not frosting at all, but the fountainhead of human experience?
-- Rollo May
(The Courage to Create)

Oh how poetry can speak to my soul! I'm going through a "Dark Night" and Mary Oliver's statement of the tree, "surely you can't imagine patience and happiness like that" speaks deeply to me. My journey to wellness is so intertwined with finding that place of patience and happiness within:


For example, what the trees do
not only in lightening storms
or the watery dark of a summer's night
or under the white nets of winter
but now, and now, and now - whenever
we're not looking. Surely you can't imagine
they don't dance, from the root up, wishing
to travel a little, not cramped so much as wanting
a better view, or more sun, or just as avidly
more shade - surely you can't imagine they just
stand there loving every
minute of it, the birds or the emptiness, the dark rings
of the years slowly and without a sound
thickening, and nothing different unless the wind,
and then only in its own mood, comes
to visit, surely you can't imagine
patience, and happiness, like that.

-- Mary Oliver
(Long Life)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LADYIRIS313 9/30/2009 9:29PM

    Luv luv luv Mary Oliver - Thank you for sharing this...and my artist friends would surely appreciate the not 'frosting' notion! I'll have to share.

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STILLPOINT 9/29/2009 4:18PM

    Mary Oliver's poetry is truly the fountainhead of human experience. It's good that she gives you solace on a dark night. Thank you for sharing Maha, it's beautiful and so are you.


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MISS_VIV 9/29/2009 3:05PM

    Peace and tranquility follow and lead you wherever you go. You are truly blessed.

Thank you for sharing.

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LYNNANN43 9/29/2009 11:45AM

    What a beautiful poem!



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NORLANA 9/29/2009 11:37AM

    This is a beautiful and soothing poem. Thank you for sharing.

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JNEUBS 9/29/2009 10:29AM

    I am continually amazed by how fortunate I am to have you in my life!

ChiTown Jeff
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SLAYINGDRAGONS 9/29/2009 10:28AM

    emoticonI have often wondered why they donīt uproot and dance around! Perhaps they do when I am not looking!

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SWIFTSEATURTLE 9/29/2009 10:18AM

    You and Gail introduced me to Mary Oliver. Sorry you're going through a dark night. emoticon

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KUZINKEITH 9/29/2009 10:00AM

    I can imagine it now, thanks to that lovely poem ... and would love to have even 10% of the patience of a tree.
Keep the great poetry coming, dear Maha.

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Change rooms in your mind....

Monday, September 28, 2009

Just back from the KY SparkProgram and here's what I have to say:


Leave the familiar for a while.
Let your senses and bodies stretch out

Like a welcomed season
Onto the meadows and shores and hills.

Open up to the Roof.
Make a new water-mark on your excitement
And love.

Like a blooming night flower,
Bestow your vital fragrance of happiness
And giving
Upon our intimate assembly.

Change rooms in your mind for a day.

All the hemispheres in existence
Lie beside an equator
In your heart.

Greet Yourself
In your thousand other forms
As you mount the hidden tide and travel
Back home.

All the hemispheres in heaven
Are sitting around a fire

While stitching themselves together
Into the Great Circle inside of

-- Hafiz
(The Subject Tonight is Love - versions of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPARKARINO 9/29/2009 10:48AM

    Your blog title 'change rooms in your mind' really hit me because yesterday while doing my few minutes of 'quiet sitting and breathing', for a moment -- just a moment -- I had a change in awareness and it was as if I had stepped into another room -- an amazing moment of clarity. The poem draws me toward more of those moments...Thank you for sharing it.

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GBOOMER 9/29/2009 6:20AM

    Nice poem! I usually don't "do" poetry, but this one attracted me.

Take care, Maha.

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DRAGONFLY7149 9/29/2009 2:21AM

    Overflowing with gratitude for this, Maha -- thank you, thank you, thank you!


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CJROMB 9/28/2009 10:30PM

    Beautiful. Thanx for sharing this. I needed this today, that's for sure.

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NORLANA 9/28/2009 10:17PM

    This is beautiful MAHA!

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KUZINKEITH 9/28/2009 9:26PM

    A thousand selves ... and a thousand homes ... may there be PEACE in each and every one.



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TEE803 9/28/2009 8:40PM

    Aw...this is great Maha!

And might I say it was FABULOUS meeting you in person? You are even more awesome in person than you are online!

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ZORAHGAIL 9/28/2009 8:09PM

    Love it!

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    I love the picture and the poem.

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DOKEYOKEY 9/28/2009 7:05PM

    Thank you, Maha!


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LUCY419 9/28/2009 6:34PM

    This is exactly what i need... think outside the box.. to get close to the inner self, in touch with potential for true happiness and inner peace! Your Blog is very enlightening, Thank you ! Hugs... lucy

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CARLI_MAE 9/28/2009 5:46PM

    What a cool site! I know I'm a bit dense at times, but is this what the Spark Convention inspired in you, or was it the road trip there and back? I know you do get off on those road trips! :)

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DEUSMACHINA 9/28/2009 5:35PM


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PEACEFULONE 9/28/2009 5:27PM


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MISS_VIV 9/28/2009 5:27PM

    absolutely beautiful.


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JNEUBS 9/28/2009 4:59PM

    Both insightful and blissful!

Thanks for sharing!

May you enjoy happiness and the root of happiness!

ChiTown Jeff emoticon emoticon

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TENAJ99 9/28/2009 4:58PM

  I like it.

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A Macrobiotic Approach to Good Health

Thursday, September 24, 2009

This is such a thoughtful and thought-provoking article, so worth reflecting upon...I decided to leave it for myself and others here who may want to consider it further, as I turn my computer off and prepare to depart for the two-day road trip to the SparkConvention. Loves me those road trips!


A Macrobiotic Approach to Good Health
by Delia Quigley

So often the meaning of good health is equated with lack of sickness. According to Macrobiotic principles, health encompasses a much broader scope of qualities and is not just about avoiding disease. Spiritual wellness requires that we know our Self on a deeper level of consciousness, mental health is knowing our purpose in life and the joy we bring to living that purpose, physical health is intimately entwined with our relationship to the earth, the way we grow our food, how we honor the environment and treat all life and living creatures.

The modern technologies we created were meant to provide us with more time to relax, be with loved ones, take care of ourselves and reduce stress. Instead, those technologies have only placed more burden on our shoulders. We now need more time to work longer hours to earn less money to grab time to relax for a few minutes each day. It is easy to get out of touch with our body, feeding it quick meals without slowing down and chewing each mouthful. It is not until there is pain, fever or exhaustion do some people see a doctor and receive medical care. But what if there was a way to assess your health by observing certain conditions that would alert you to any changes?

In The Book of Macrobiotics, The Universal Way of Health and Happiness, founder and author Michio Kushi outlines 7 conditions for optimal health, which I have condensed for your perusal:

1. Lack of Fatigue: Health means we should be able to adapt to whatever the day brings us without feeling overly fatigued. After a long day of work, it is natural to feel tired, but recovery should require a short rest or good nights sleep. We should be physically and mentally alert and prepared to respond to ever changing events with energy and a spirit of adventure.

2. Good Appetite: Appetite here means for food, sex, activity, knowledge, work, experience, health, freedom and happiness. The bigger the appetite, the richer the life. Lack of appetite slows progress and reduces our enjoyment for life. The caution here is moderation, as over-satisfaction reduces appetite and eventually slows down our life activity.

3. Good Sleep: Sleep should be deep and restful. This happens after a day of energetic physical and mental activity. Cloudy or fragmented dreams or nightmares, are all a sign of physical and mental unrest. When the mind and body are healthy, dreams can be interpreted as corresponding to real circumstances and are respected as insight into our lives.

4. Good Memory: Memory is the mother of our judgment. Without memory of what we have experienced, we have no judgment or ability to evaluate life's changing circumstances. Good memory is essential to a meaningful life.

5. Lack of Anger: Anger shows limitation, lack of patience and an inability to make an effort to understand. In one Asian translation of its written characters anger means an "acute sickness of the liver". Good health shows a willingness to accept circumstances with a smile, to make friends of an enemy, and resolve difficult moments in peaceful ways.

6. Be Joyous and Alert: Life calls on us to be active and alert to our surroundings and respond to each moment with joy and good humor. A joy filled life inspires those around us and is the natural result of good health.

7. Have Endless Appreciation: We are healthy when we experience appreciation for the order of the universe and for all phenomena manifesting within this universe. We receive life's bounty with endless gratitude, and we respond by giving with generosity.

Delia Quigley is the Director of StillPoint Schoolhouse, where she teaches a holistic lifestyle designed to achieve optimal health and well being, based on her 28 years of study, experience and practice. She is the creator of the Body Rejuvenation Cleanse, Cooking the Basics videos and classes, and Broken Bodies Yoga. Delia's credentials include holistic nutritional counselor, natural foods chef, yoga instructor, energy therapist and public speaker.

Quigley is the author of seven books on health and nutrition, including:The Body Rejuvenation Cleanse, The Complete Idiots Guide to Detoxing Your Body, The Everything SuperFoods Book, and Empowering Your Life With Meditation, available on To view her website go to:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NORLANA 9/27/2009 10:17AM

    Thank you Maha for this very insightful and inspirational blog and for yet another "lead" for me to explore in my journey. I will check out her info.

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GOODHEALTH4EVER 9/25/2009 7:07PM



emoticon emoticon L.

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4DANCINGCATS 9/24/2009 9:51PM

    Very helpful and insightful.
thank you
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WILDFLOWER- 9/24/2009 3:15PM

    Thank you for sharing such an insightful article & webpage. It's much appreciated.

Be Peaceful. Shine On. emoticon

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BIKE82X 9/24/2009 1:46PM

    Thank you for sharing that. There are many good thoughts in the article.


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THECITYMOUSE 9/24/2009 10:21AM

    I love that you shared this with us...awesome, non tedious, thought provoking read.


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MAZZYR 9/24/2009 10:12AM


Have a safe trip, dear Maha.


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PEACEFULONE 9/24/2009 10:00AM


Excellent information and more at the website!

Enjoy your trip and please keep us informed of the activities at the convention.

Peace and blessings always, Elaine

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JNEUBS 9/24/2009 9:41AM

    Thanks Maha! Once again inspirational!

Safe travels!

Peace from within to you!

ChiTown Jeff
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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REBCCA 9/24/2009 9:40AM

    Thanks for posting this Maha,
Wonderful to have it for easy reference! emoticon
Great information!

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Quiz: What Is Your Peace Quotient?

Monday, September 21, 2009

By Cait Johnson, author of Earth,Water, Fire, and Air (SkyLight Paths, 2003).

We are often urged to practice peace with every step. But how closely do our behaviors match up to this ideal?

Here's a fun quiz to give you an idea of where you fit in on the spectrum of peace. You may want to share it with your friends and co-workers! Take the Peace Quotient Quiz here to see how well you practice peace in your daily life:

Which of the following is CLOSEST to the response you would usually have to the following situations?

1. When someone tailgates me, I usually:
a. Mouth obscenities at them or flip them the bird.
b. Slow down to really, really aggravate them.
c. Pull over so they can pass me.

2. When a salesperson is really snippy to me, I usually:
a. Snarl at them or make rude remarks to them.
b. Report them to their supervisor.
c. Make an effort to be especially friendly, since they must be having a bad day.

3. When a serious misunderstanding crops up between me and a friend, I usually:
a. Yell at the person or write them a nasty note.
b. Talk behind the person's back to our other friends, to make sure everyone is on my side.
c. Suggest a meeting so we can talk the problem through.

4. A loved one is very upset with me for something I did. I usually:
a. Remind him or her of the obnoxious things she or he has done in the past. The best defense is a good offense!
b. Get back at them by giving them the cold shoulder and punishing them with silence.
c. Empathize with them for feeling upset.

5. After an especially grueling day at work, I usually:
a. Take it out on those nearest and dearest to me. I can be a real bear!
b. Pour myself a stiff drink or flip on the television.
c. Take a brisk walk, meditate, or take a soothing bath to wind down and de-stress.

6. In my group of friends or relatives, I am usually:
a. The cause of conflicts, or at least at the center of them.
b. The one who keeps conflicts going by talking about people behind their backs.
c. The person others come to for advice on resolving conflicts.

7. The following most clearly sums up my attitude to life in general:
a. Nuke 'em. Or, sue the bastards.
b. Trust no one. Everyone is out for themselves.
c. We're all in this together, so we may as well do our best to get along.


If you answered mostly "a," you tend to be a bit belligerent and pugnacious. You might benefit from an anger management course! And have you had your blood pressure checked lately?

If you answered mostly "b," you are more passive-aggressive. You usually avoid direct confrontation, but you're not exactly promoting peace, either. You might want to get some assertiveness training so you can be more direct without being aggressive.

If you answered mostly "c," congratulations! You are doing your best to being peace and understanding to your little corner of the world.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NORLANA 9/22/2009 6:06AM

    Thank you Maha for this wonderful awareness nudge! I am getting there slowly but surely and appreciate this coming on my radar at this time.

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CARLI_MAE 9/21/2009 6:35PM

    My answer to all of them was D - other! I know it says "closest" but all c's wouldn't be all that close. Definitely outside the box, as usual. btw, I think their definition of passive-aggressive is more what is commonly thought by people, but I believe in psych terms, it actually refers to a personality disorder where people do or say things in such a way as to try to make others feel as they do (typically miserable).

Carli Quite Contrary Maery emoticon

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DEUSMACHINA 9/21/2009 5:58PM

    That's bizarre! I scored mostly 'c' but I never would have classified myself as a 'peaceful' person. I don't provoke people, don't gossip, or support unpleasant or rude behaviour, but I'm far from floating on a lovely white cloud, unfortunately! I'm impatient both with stupid behaviour, and myself. I can have a short fuse sometimes, especially with 'labour-saving devices' that cock-up and make the task harder. So I think maybe I need to copy-and-paste some parts of my life to other parts.....

Thanks Maha!


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WILDFLOWER- 9/21/2009 4:40PM

    Very cool blog!!! Thank you for sharing this - I really enjoyed it.

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LOLAGEEK 9/21/2009 2:24PM

    I generally do C except for the salesperson being snippy... in that case I choose not to support that business at that time. I can usually go elsewhere or really not need the product. I generally shop local, small businesses so often I am dealing with owners or people invested in the business. If they are being rude they don't need my money... that is my attitude. I vote on things I believe in with my dollar.

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MORGANLAFEE 9/21/2009 12:29PM

    I don't usually do any of them. I ignore what happens a do nothing. I don't think it's because I'm more peaceful seeking though. I just can't stand dissension.

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KUZINKEITH 9/21/2009 12:21PM

    Scary test.
As I look over my past actions, I can see how I've responded in all 3 ways (and a few others). My actions/reactions are usually based on the mood I'm in at the time. The goal would be to stay in a mood that would allow me to make the peaceful choice ALL the time, or even MOST of the time.
If I take the time to meditate early in the day, and make the effort to be rid of my resentments, I have a much better chance of being in a Peaceful mood.
Thanks for the reminder ...

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SLASALLE 9/21/2009 11:50AM

    Very interesting little test. What's REALLY fun is to think about how I was 10 years ago, and how I am now - definitely different, which I think is a really good thing. I've gotten much calmer as I grow a bit older (and hopefully, wiser).

You around tonight? Would love to have a catch-up chat since I'll be out of the loop for the next week with a houseful of company and TWO shows! Let me know.

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Acceptance is the key to peace!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

OMG! If ONLY I could truly integrate and LIVE this I would be at my goal weight and living each day with joy, presence and mindfulness:
By Susan Corso, Ode Magazine

Acceptance is the key to change, and the key to peace.

"On the other side of acceptance is where peace exists, where the solutions are," says Ariane de Bonvoisin, author of The First 30 Days: Your Guide to Making Any Change Easier, quoted in the August 2009 Guideposts.

In 27 years of counseling, I have found that what Ms. De Bonvoisin says is always true. Always. No exceptions.

Do you believe me?

The opposite of acceptance is resistance, and strangely, resistance is what magnetizes to us exactly what we don't want. In facing whatever we don't want, and accepting it as it is, we are then able to reach peace around whatever the 'it' is.

Try this scenario: You really dislike your current job. Really dislike it. You want to quit, but for various reasons, you can't. Rather than continue to resist the job, begin to find things you can appreciate (and therefore accept) about it. I've seen it work over and over again. When acceptance comes, change can happen.

Think of the thing you most resist in your current life. It could be a relationship, a task, an assignment, anything. Notice your own resistance to it. Begin to switch your resistance to appreciation, and you will find yourself living into acceptance of what is. Once you accept what is, it's pretty easy to change it.

One of the things that never ceases to amaze me is that we actually resist peace on this planet. We make peace a when/then possibility. When I lose 15 pounds, then I'll be at peace. Why not be at peace with the 15 pounds, and let them melt away?

When there's a Republican/Democrat in the White House, then I'll be at peace. Why?

When I'm out of debt, then I'll be at peace. Why? Why wait to be at peace? What do you get from waiting, from postponing peace? I don't think we get any benefit from it.

Like the gift of the present moment, peace can only exist in this momen--now. And then the next now. Delaying it doesn't help anyone.

Try acceptance if you want peace.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOMMADOT630 9/20/2009 2:45PM

    Maha, Thank you for your words of wisdom and truth. May you continue to grow and share all that you are taught.

Momma Dot

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ZORAHGAIL 9/20/2009 2:27PM

    So totally needed this today. Thank you!

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NORLANA 9/20/2009 2:03PM

    Thank you love ... timing perfect as usual :) New acceptance and ceremony this morning sending off my "stuff" to the Universe. Thank you as always for being a shining light in my life.


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GENKI_WARRIOR 9/20/2009 1:40PM

    (after this and your recent karma blog):
accept where you are (good and bad etc etc etc), and the scales are emptied--everything becomes balanced.

Comment edited on: 9/20/2009 1:43:13 PM

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    We do have so much to learn - and that is life, isnīt it?! I know it is a rare thing to be in tune with others in such a way that we no longer disagree, and that is part of living. I do find, in my own experience, that when I am at total peace, I have no need for the divine. I never want to have that lack of need and when I am unsettled, as some may say, lacking peace, is when I need my saviour the most and I can see that I really was not made for here and now, and, yes, for something beyond that.

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KUZINKEITH 9/20/2009 12:47PM

This is a universal truth that is understood but seldom applied by many of us --- I decided a long time ago to "question" just about everything.

In The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous it says:

"And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I some person, place, thing, or situation - some fact of my life - unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment."

Great philosophy, but very hard to do for this dude.

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MAZZYR 9/20/2009 12:16PM

    Oh Maha, I really needed to hear this.

I have been struggling with the challenge of releasing weight. For today, at this moment... acceptance is the key.


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MUMMYLICIOUS 9/20/2009 11:38AM

    Thanks for posting this ... it is SO true!

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HILFROMTEXAS 9/20/2009 10:57AM

    Just what I needed to read today--so much energy is wasted struggling. I have found when I let go and pray for the best for that person, place or thing-amazing things happen! Keep sharing these truths! Have a blessed day!

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STILLPOINT 9/20/2009 10:42AM

    Lovely Blog Maha! Thank you. So true. Acceptance, Contentment with what we have - Santosha! This is key.

So, let's accept ourselves with where we are at today - not perfect, not the perfect weight, not always joyful and peaceful - but doing our best at where we're at!


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JNEUBS 9/20/2009 10:24AM

    Wow, what an appropriate blog topic!

Acceptance! Do you understand this to mean accepting the world at this moment in time for being the "Way It Is"?

ChiTown Jeff emoticon emoticon

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TEXASFILLY 9/20/2009 9:56AM

    Thank you for a simple yet true message!

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