50,000-59,999 SparkPoints
VALERIEMAHA's Recent Blog Entries

What's YOUR name???

Thursday, November 05, 2009

We often *name* ourselves "slacker," "loser," "anxious," "isolated," "not up to the task," "lonely," "lazy"...but what about the myriad OTHER names...?

THANK YOU Carli-Mae! She reminded me of Jim Croce's great "I Got A Name" song, perfect in its own unique lyrical elegance!


Each of us has a name
given by the divine
and given by our parents

Each of us has a name
given by our stature and our smile
and given by what we wear

Each of us has a name
given by the mountains
and given by our walls

Each of us has a name
given by the stars
and given by our neighbors

Each of us has a name
given by our sins
and given by our longing

Each of us has a name
given by our enemies
and given by our love

Each of us has a name
given by our celebrations
and given by our work

Each of us has a name
given by the seasons
and given by our blindness

Each of us has a name
given by the sea
and given by
our death.

~ Zelda ~

(Trans. by Marcia Lee Falk in Beloved on the Earth,
ed. by J. Perman, D. Cooper, M. Hart, and P. Mittlefehldt)


Zelda Schneersohn Mishkovsky (June 20, 1914-April 30, 1984), widely known as Zelda, was an Israeli poet. She was born in Chernigoff, Ukraine and the family settled in Jerusalem in 1926.

Penai (Free Time), Zelda's first collection of poetry, was published in 1967. With its emotive and contemplative images drawn from the world of Jewish mysticism, Hasidism, and Russian fairy tales, this collection established her reputation in the literary world.

Her poems, highly spiritual but at same time very direct, colorful, and precise, touched the hearts of religious and secular alike. Zelda's poetry is imbued with deep faith, free of the doubt and irony that sometimes permeates the work of other modern Hebrew poets. Her poems reflect her abiding faith - for example in "When I said the blessing over the Shabbat candles."

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I wonder what ALL of MY names are!

Report Inappropriate Comment
GOODHEALTH4EVER 11/7/2009 4:47AM


Report Inappropriate Comment
RANA!! 11/6/2009 7:59PM

    What a great blog. I wonder what I will call myself today?!

Report Inappropriate Comment
STRAWBERRY*MOON 11/6/2009 12:54PM

    A friend from eons ago with whom I've lost touch was a wonderful poet. Her first booklet was called "Name Yourself Feast." Thanks for sharing this poem and for bringing back a special memory.

Report Inappropriate Comment
PEACEFULONE 11/6/2009 6:09AM

    Wonderful poem-it brings to mind these quotes:

"Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose." Gertrude Stein
"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." William Shakespeare
"The world will tell you who you are until you tell the world" unknown
"I yam what I yam and tha's all I yam." Popeye

emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/6/2009 6:11:11 AM

Report Inappropriate Comment
AMBUDMAN 11/6/2009 12:50AM

    Nice blog.

Report Inappropriate Comment
LAPORTE2006 11/5/2009 6:29PM

    When we tag people, we are judging them. We are all multidimentional. We are not flat LOL. Have a great evening.

Report Inappropriate Comment
BBAHONORS 11/5/2009 1:56PM

    I like it!

Report Inappropriate Comment
CARLI_MAE 11/5/2009 1:50PM

    No where near as exquisite or mind stirring as this, but as soon as I saw the title this morning I thought of this:

Report Inappropriate Comment
ALICIA214 11/5/2009 1:36PM


Something to take to heart, it is very heart stirring Thank you. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
MERIMARY 11/5/2009 1:27PM

    Every beautiful. Thank you.

Report Inappropriate Comment

We live our lives in widening circles....

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one
but I give myself to it.

I circle around the sacred, around the primordial tower.
I've been circling for thousands of years
and I still don't know: am I a falcon,
a storm, or a great song?

~ Ranier Maria Rilke ~

(Rilke’s Book of Hours:Love Poems to God, translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy)

What a WONDERFUL addition...Azimat's contribution of Matthew Scott's choral piece using Rilke's text:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GOODHEALTH4EVER 11/7/2009 4:58AM




Report Inappropriate Comment
PEACEFULONE 11/5/2009 1:09AM

    A beautiful poem and I loved it with the vocal music. Thank you so much.

Comment edited on: 11/5/2009 10:58:41 AM

Report Inappropriate Comment
COLIBRI930 11/4/2009 10:19PM

    I think I am a falcon (though my profile photo looks like a hummingbird)! Great poem. very inspiring.

Report Inappropriate Comment
FRANCESCANAZ 11/4/2009 5:03PM

    I think you are a little of each...

Report Inappropriate Comment
CARLI_MAE 11/4/2009 12:05PM

    YOU most certainly do! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
LIVNFITNHAPPY 11/4/2009 11:27AM

    Thank you for sharing!
The title of your Blog brought to mind the image of a drop of water falling into and merging with a larger body of water. The
rings that spread across the face of the water seem representative of the ever broadening course my life is taking and
the connections that are made as other rings cross my own.

Report Inappropriate Comment
STRAWBERRY*MOON 11/4/2009 10:23AM

    Thanks for posting this poem; I love Rilke!

Report Inappropriate Comment
CORPUSANNIE 11/4/2009 9:01AM

    I loved this poem and have received much inspiration reading Rilke.
Plan to check out the gift giving program;it seems like something I"d like to
participate in.
Spending today getting rid of a fever and mild cough (nothing serious) and thinking of my good Spark friends and widening circles. emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
AZIMAT 11/4/2009 8:36AM

    Colorado State University Chamber Choir singing the words of this poem, music composed by Matthew Scott:


I pray that we would live in widening circles (except for the hips), as well as deepening and heighten-ing.

Report Inappropriate Comment
GIANTPANDA 11/4/2009 8:12AM

    A beautiful poem! For some reason, Spider Rock in Canyon de Chelly (AZ) came to mind, a sacred place where the eagles soar.

Report Inappropriate Comment
ANNROBERTS54 11/4/2009 7:57AM

    I also think I am a great song. Something akin to a whale's song, deep and longing

Report Inappropriate Comment

    I think I am a great song! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
GBOOMER 11/4/2009 7:49AM

    "am I a falcon, a storm, or a great song?"

I like this.


Report Inappropriate Comment

Giving for our health's sake!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

At last Friday's weekly gathering in the women's maximum security prison where I volunteer, we introduced this gift-giving program, telling about the founder and explaining how the program works. At the end of the evening, we told the women to sign up as they left if they wanted to participate in the program, that we would enter their information online and track it for them. Their response was enthusiastic and infectious. I was so touched by this idea that I also signed up to particpate in this practice, derived from an African ritual given to Cami Walker by Mbali Creazzo, a South African Medicine Woman, that has profound contemporary ramifications.

I see this as affecting my body-mind-spirit health in a very significant way and I look forward to the ways it will impact my life!

~~~~~~~~~CAMI WALKER~~~~~~~~~ is a global giving movement with several thousand members in 38 countries. The collective mission at 29 Gifts is to revive the giving spirit in the world. Change lives—and change the world—one gift at a time.

The founder, Cami Walker, saw her life change as she embraced and reflected on the naturally reciprocal process of giving and receiving. By Day 29, not only had Cami’s health and happiness improved, but she had created a worldwide giving movement. Here's a video by Cami that explains the project (just click on the video, "Welcome to the 29-Day Giving Challenge"):

Sign up and then give away 29 gifts in 29 days. Your 29 Gifts can be anything given to anyone... money, food, old sweaters, smiles, your time, kind words or thoughts. You can start your own personal 29-Day Giving Challenge at any time—there’s no official begin or end date. To complete the challenge, submit a story, post a piece of your original artwork, create a short film or write a song. Tell us about your favorite gives and the impact it made on your life to focus on giving.

To sign up for the Challenge:


1. Be mindful. The Challenge is intended to be a sacred ritual—it is your opportunity to cultivate a mindful practice of stepping outside your own story for a few seconds each day by serving others.

2. Don’t quit. If you have a day that you feel unmotivated to give, it’s ok. Just go for the simple give. Call a friend and give some kind words. Write someone a nice note. Or exchange smiles with a stranger. Every give doesn't need to be monumental. You might even notice that the “simple gives” feel more powerful than the grand gestures.

3. Don't worry if you don't do it perfectly. If you forget your give one day, be gentle with yourself. This ritual is about progress, not perfection. Sit down and quietly reflect on your day. Review the entire day mindfully and find the times you unconsciously gave so you can bring it into your consciousness. Don’t forget that there is never a day that you don't give. There are only days that you don't acknowledge and remember you did.

4. Be receptive and have fun. Enjoy your 29 days. And remember to stay open to receiving. Giving can't happen without the receptors of our gifts.

Blessed be!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GINABUG 11/5/2009 9:46AM

    I have not read the article yet but just the idea of this makes me smile! Perhaps a private "giving journal" that also includes the gifts you have received (gratitudes) on a daily or semi-daily basis!

You are such an inspiration -- such a gift! My gratitude today is for YOU!

Comment edited on: 11/5/2009 9:49:37 AM

Report Inappropriate Comment
GINABUG 11/5/2009 9:45AM

    Thanks, Maha! I will!

Report Inappropriate Comment
JNEUBS 11/5/2009 7:04AM

    Thanks Maha!

You are a gift!

ChiTown Jeff

emoticon emoticon emoticon
Peace, Love, Compassion, Laughter & Hope!

Report Inappropriate Comment
LINDA25427 11/3/2009 5:24PM

    Sounds good !!! Giving is apart of living !!! emoticon God Bless !!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
LAPORTE2006 11/3/2009 5:04PM

    The thing about giving is you have to give it without expecting anything back.
I have heard others complain about giving and never getting anything back. I have done the same thing until thinking about it....I expected a thank you from someone who was very proud. I never got it. I learned later that it was very hard for him to accept help. so when you give, do it from the heart.

Report Inappropriate Comment
FRANCESCANAZ 11/3/2009 5:00PM

    What a blessing you are to those women in the prison and also to us Spark People! Thank you Maha.

Report Inappropriate Comment
CARLI_MAE 11/3/2009 12:14PM

    "Something we were withholding made us weak, until we found it was ourselves."
- Robert Frost

Amazing, timeless, universal principle ... yet society so often finds ways of twisting it somehow. From the popularity of yoga in the late 60's/early 70's with the message of going within and quieting the senses ... I remember hearing people saying "I need my space!" in the most self-centered, contradictory sense. On the other end of the spectrum, how often we fall into the inability to ask for help, accept and receive in a graceful manner. The key is giving unconditionally, as is illustrated in your blog, then being mindful of how it comes back to us, and rather than trying to hold it to ourselves, surrendering it to its etherial source, eh?

Blessings, Peace,

Report Inappropriate Comment
PEACEFULONE 11/3/2009 10:22AM

    This is Wonderful! Maha, you are one of the most giving in your support and sharing! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Report Inappropriate Comment
LOLAGEEK 11/3/2009 9:40AM

    I love this Maha.

Report Inappropriate Comment

Mary Oliver got me AGAIN!!!

Monday, November 02, 2009

There's no way I can resist sharing this amazing *ode to life* -- it grabbed me this morning and took me out of my mundane reality, transporting me to the river, where I nestled in beside Mary and was awed by the simple exquisite pleasure of simply being ALIVE! All of the daily exigencies pale beside it.

"Just what IS a computer?"


I have not really, not yet, talked with otter
about his life.

He has so many teeth, he has trouble
with vowels.

Wherefore our understanding
is all body expression

he swims like the sleekest fish,
he dives and exhales and lifts a trail of bubbles.
Little by little he trusts my eyes
and my curious body sitting on the shore.

Sometimes he comes close.
I admire his whiskers
and his dark fur which I would rather die than wear.

He has no words, still what he tells about his life
is clear.
He does not own a computer.
He imagines the river will last forever.
He does not envy the dry house I live in.
He does not wonder who or what it is that I worship.
He wonders, morning after morning, that the river
is so cold and fresh and alive, and still
I don't jump in.

~ Mary Oliver ~

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GINABUG 11/6/2009 9:32PM

    I LOVE this poem! Mary Oliver is so good at getting you with that last line...where you just say, ohhhhhhhhh! Thanks for sharing!

Report Inappropriate Comment
GINABUG 11/6/2009 9:32PM

    I LOVE this poem! Mary Oliver is so good at getting you with that last line...where you just say, ohhhhhhhhh! Thanks for sharing!

Report Inappropriate Comment
GINABUG 11/6/2009 9:30PM

    I LOVE this poem! Mary Oliver is so good at getting you with that last line...where you just say, ohhhhhhhhh! Thanks for sharing!

Report Inappropriate Comment
GINABUG 11/6/2009 9:29PM

    I LOVE this poem! Mary Oliver is so good at getting you with that last line...where you just say, ohhhhhhhhh! Thanks for sharing!

Report Inappropriate Comment
GINABUG 11/6/2009 9:29PM

    I LOVE this poem! Mary Oliver is so good at getting you with that last line...where you just say, ohhhhhhhhh! Thanks for sharing!

Report Inappropriate Comment
FLORIDASUN 11/3/2009 8:07AM

    Hi Maha...we have a little family of otters that swim in the water area that accumulates behind our house backing up to 27 acres of wetlands...when I see the family..I will think of you..and Mary Oliver..and they get those vowels out just Otter talk..I hear them chattering all the time...bliss! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
DRAGONFLY7149 11/3/2009 2:40AM

    As always, Mary Oliver says it like no other! Thanks, Maha


(Oh, and yes I did get to bed earlier than I usually do, but then again the clocks went back on Saturday night...and my computer shut down, but that's another story -- up and running now, but it's late so I'm going to try for another *early* night)

Report Inappropriate Comment

    beautiful picture, wonderful blog.

Report Inappropriate Comment
CARLI_MAE 11/2/2009 12:42PM

    w@t w00d w33 d00 w!t n0 vwlz??? 0 my, p00 w!ttw 0tt3w! b^t ! b3 gw@d h3 b3 h@ppy ... ahhhhh ...

CAREWREN would love this ... she is an Oliver fan also. But still we don't jump in (to LIFE, not the water, I think is what Mary was thinking) who said "most men lead lives of quiet desperation" ??? Alexander Pope? Who, who???? Gud gweef now i zownd lik an owl ... hoot ...
Don'wurry, Steph awredy don tol'me i am "nutz",

Batty, I mean C@wl!M@3 :=)

Report Inappropriate Comment
STRAWBERRY*MOON 11/2/2009 12:28PM

    Peacefulness and simplicity; it doesn't get much better than that.

Report Inappropriate Comment
STLRZGRRL 11/2/2009 10:19AM

    "...He has so many teeth, he has trouble
with vowels."

I LOVE this...

This is the beautiful thingy stuff of branches that WCW was always on about... at least I think it wam him... it might have been my Lit. professor...

Report Inappropriate Comment
FRANCESCANAZ 11/2/2009 10:16AM

    Lovely little otter, lovely message.

Report Inappropriate Comment
LADYIRISH317 11/2/2009 10:07AM

    Beautiful! Did you take that picture?

Report Inappropriate Comment
LAPORTE2006 11/2/2009 9:22AM

    Beautiful words of simplistic life. I think the more materialistic we become, we don't see the beauty of simplicity.
Life is all around us, yet sometimes we don't take the time to see it.
I love the picture. It says a thousand words, as they say.
Have a great day and share in life.

Report Inappropriate Comment
JNEUBS 11/2/2009 9:19AM

    Feeln great Maha!

Love Mary Oliver!

ChiTown Jeff
emoticon emoticon emoticon
Peace, Love, Compassion, Laughter & Hope!

Report Inappropriate Comment

Changing the habits of a lifetime....

Sunday, November 01, 2009

It is indeed an interesting paradox -- to be truly spontaneous takes training and sustained effort.

The effort to change a lifetime of habitual, unhealthy eating, of taking time daily for sitting practice, of using the moments of each day wisely does require "sustained effort." Sometimes I wonder if I am equal to the task for these, and other difficult challenges.

But I look at other momentous tasks I have completed through the years and know that yes, I can do it because yes, I am worth it. Thanks to Sri Easwaran for this potent reminder.

The loathsome mask has fallen, the man remains
Sceptreless, free, uncircumscribed, but man
Equal, unclassed, tribeless, and nationless,
Exempt from awe, worship, degree, the king
Over himself.
-- Percy Bysshe Shelley

None of us wants to be artificial. We all want to be natural and spontaneous. But true spontaneity is not simply doing what we feel like doing and not doing what we don't feel like doing. That is simply reacting as we have been conditioned to react. It is really no more spontaneous than a rubber ball which bounces when we drop it on the sidewalk.

We are being truly spontaneous when we can change the habits of a lifetime. We are being truly spontaneous when we are able to drop our pet project and work for the welfare of those around us without a ripple of protest in the mind. We are being truly spontaneous when we can respond calmly, constructively, and compassionately to a difficult situation. The secret of spontaneity is training. We cannot just decide to be spontaneous overnight; but we can all make these marvelous transformations in our lives if we are prepared to put in the sustained effort they require.
-- Sri Eknath Easwaran

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FLORIDASUN 11/2/2009 7:55AM

    Maha..I always love your wisdom, you sharing, you wit and your are always my "MAHA MOMENT" hugs! Bobbi

Report Inappropriate Comment
CARLI_MAE 11/1/2009 1:26PM

    Aye me ... I have often questioned when work is really work, and if it ever really need be "work;" and when effort is really effort, and if it ever really need be "effort" ... but now I realize I've never really thought through the real meaning of spontaneity! Looks like I'll be back for at least several more lifetimes ... che sera, sera, I guess. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
BABYFACE26 11/1/2009 12:01PM

    Well said. Amen to that. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
DOKEYOKEY 11/1/2009 11:42AM

    Love this. Reminds me, also, of the benefits of practicing yoga (which I don't do regularly, either!): A fit, strong, flexible body has many options and can be spontaneous. A rigid, weak body may choose in the moment, but has many fewer options.

I think the same is true for our minds -- it takes practice to build strength and flexibility that will allow for true freedom.

Thanks, Maha!

Report Inappropriate Comment
LAPORTE2006 11/1/2009 9:28AM

    Beautiful words as always. I had a similar thought for this mornings blog LOL.
Must say this only reinforces it. Thanks. Have a great day and in this time of thanks, roll out the memories and relish life.

Report Inappropriate Comment
AHEALTHIERME9 11/1/2009 9:14AM

    What a BEAUTIFUL blog!!!

Oh, my dear, YOU have inspired me this morning! Well said; well articulated!

Well, now, I'm just going to have to visit your SparkPage!!!


Report Inappropriate Comment

First Page  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 Last Page