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VALERIEMAHA's Recent Blog Entries

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Be prepared to bump into wonder!!!

Monday, November 09, 2009

It's so easy for me to bow my head and feel cheated, feel like a loser, feel like I've only got half a life.

"WHAT'S THAT ABOUT?" I ask myself.'s a habit, developed over recent years of seeing the glass half empty...and even further back, in the devlopmental years and beyond, of indulging in negative affirmations. Uh huh. But LOOK AT ME --

~ though I wobble on the path, I have indeed made AMAZING strides toward wellness, teaching myself to eat in a whole, organic way that supports wellness and carrying around over seventy pounds less of dead weight on this compliant body
~ though my life in these later years may have challenges and difficulties that require clear seeing and creative problem-solving, I have myriad resources to assist me in that important work
~ though I have not managed to attain a consistent daily sitting practice, any efforts toward PRESENCE and MINDFULNESS will be, and has been, rewarded with greater consciousness
~ though I have a nay-sayer in my life who constantly reminds me of my shorcomings, I have the tools to sweep the path of these psychic obstacles and prepare for WONDER

So, better said --

~ I am living witness to the benefits of healthy living. I took control. I'm DOING IT.
~ I have wonderful friends, new and old, who love and support and guide me on this intrepid journey
~ I know the importance of continuing in spite of failures, because my ongoing success is built upon these holes on the path that I tumble into and climb out of
~ I choose joy over sorrow, both being ever-present

James Boughton is an ever-present Joy Guru, ALWAYS bringing a smile and making me want to get up and move, and reminding me of the goodness in this topsy-turvy journey we call life.

Not dawdling
not doubting
intrepid all the way
walk toward clarity
with sharp eye
With sharpened sword
clearcut the path
to the lucent surprise
of enlightenment
At every crossroad
be prepared to bump into wonder

~ James Broughton ~

(Little Sermons of the Big Joy)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

COTEL1 11/17/2009 9:57AM

    That was awesome. Thank You emoticon

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HAPPY-DESTINY 11/14/2009 12:20AM


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EMBBEAR 11/10/2009 12:06PM

    Wow! You are such beautiful writer! (I would know I'm a writing tutor) what a wonderful blog of good affirmations! I'm sorry to hear you have a negative nancy in your life, I think we all do at one point or another. After moving I made sure to keep my encounters with people of that mindset very short! You are doing so well for yourself, keep it up!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JNEUBS 11/10/2009 10:35AM

    So are amazing Maha!

May Maha enjoy happiness and the root of happiness!

May Maha be free of suffering and the root of suffering!

May Maha not be separated from the great happiness devoid of suffering!

May Maha dwell in the great equanimity free from passion, aggression, and prejudice!


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

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MENT2BE 11/9/2009 11:01PM

    LOVED IT ALL!!! Bless you for making our day!!

emoticon emoticon

In Wonder,

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CORPUSANNIE 11/9/2009 9:49PM

    Oh, I think I found a blog to build a dream on tonight.
Thank you, wonderful friend to so many of us. You are a blessing.

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COLIBRI930 11/9/2009 9:37PM

    Very refreshing, thanks!

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MACGIRRL 11/9/2009 9:18PM

    What a delightful gift of affirmation and motivation and celebration this Monday evening! With gratitude, I'll carry this "reframing" mindset with me on Tuesday as I head into the battlefield of the "office". emoticon
emoticon, Lynne

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RIPPEDPAUL1 11/9/2009 8:51PM

    Good blog post, I'm glad I stopped to look.

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AZIMAT 11/9/2009 8:27PM

    Beautiful blog, my friend, a wonderful honest account of your journey. Your willingness to bare your soul is such a gift to so many of us. Thank you.

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STRAWBERRY*MOON 11/9/2009 8:07PM

    Wise words, indeed, ones I need to be reminded of frequently. Many thanks, as always, Maha.

Something else I try to remember: Seeking perfection is the enemy of
finding your true life.

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FRANCESCANAZ 11/9/2009 6:08PM

    Thanks for being such a Spark friend to so many! You never fail to cheer me up and keep my feet on the ground with your intelligent blogs. Paz, Francesca

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CARLI_MAE 11/9/2009 1:06PM

    Ah, yes, you and Vicki ... "what's that about?" ... I think you know what it's about ... the real challenge is rising above it and shaking it all off, so to speak. More difficult for some (many women, especially, it seems) than others. The really cool thing is watching others, like I was telling TAZ, unfold into their real selves ... one of the unexpected, but totally delightful things I've witnessed in this community. Who'd a thought, huh?

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LAPORTE2006 11/9/2009 10:07AM

    Life is full of surprises and wonder. You never know what is around the bend. You have to open your eyes to see the wonder that surrounds us. I think too many times I have gone into a day with my eyes shut. Every new day, I try to open them and see what I was missing. Most of my life, I spent hiding...from myself..from others and from life. As I grew older, I learned not to hide. So lets all see that half full glass and appreciate who we are. Just be.

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SLAYINGDRAGONS 11/9/2009 10:05AM

    Aw something we have in common AND WE are changing it!! Making that voice stop and rephrase is a great practice. You have been an encouragement to ME reinforcing the action - the proactive choice, sista!!! We are amazing, aren´t we?!!!
emoticonfor the link to Eva Cassidy´s version of my fave song - lovely and relaxing, actually, maybe, dreamy! emoticon

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SLASALLE 11/9/2009 8:54AM

    I agree with Gboomer 150%, my friend. I have missed reading your blogs and it is a pleasure and honor to start my week reading thie one. Let's BOTH make it a week of the glass half full ...

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LISANANCY 11/9/2009 8:52AM

    I have to give myself a real talking to today! Where do these negative thoughts come from? No, not anymore. We are really worth it. emoticon

Thanks for your time to share with us.

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JUDY4652 11/9/2009 8:42AM

    You have done really well! Keep up the good work!

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GBOOMER 11/9/2009 8:33AM

    You could have been writing about my own struggles.

James Broughton is good, but I like your voice even more.


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Voted Popular Blog Post: View All Popular Posts

Sometimes in my tears I drown...but I never let it get me down....

Friday, November 06, 2009 says musician Matisyahu, the personification of harmony. He is a Hasidic Jewish musician from New York City known for blending traditional Jewish themes with reggae, rock, and hip-hop sounds.

He pushes musical boundaries by incorporating a variety of genres to create unique sounds with deep messages that aim to unite and uplift. Matisyahu once said, "All of my songs are the teachings that inspire me. I want my music to have meaning, to be able to touch people and make them think."

Chasidism teaches that music is 'the quill of the soul.' Music taps into a very deep place and speaks to us in a way that regular words can't." Listen to one of his latest songs 'One Day', which he created as an anthem for hope and a source of inspiration for people struggling to open their hearts and stay positive.

Don't miss this soul-touching, heart-opening moment!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EOSTAR_45 11/12/2009 9:45AM

    Music--the quill of the soul. Wow, I love it!

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STRAWBERRY*MOON 11/9/2009 7:58PM

    Wise words, indeed, and one I seem to need to hear frequently. As always, many thanks, Maha.

I'll add one thing I also believe: perfection is the enemy of life.

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SUNNY332 11/9/2009 6:38AM

    I loved it and it touched my heart. Thanks so much for sharing it and introducing me to this artist.

I am passing it on.

Hugs, Sunny

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MACGIRRL 11/8/2009 9:22PM

    What a reminder of how much I "used" to listen to Matisyahu on WXPN.. that was my introduction to his gift.. and I loved his essence and values even more when I listened to an in studio interview... THANK YOU for dusting off my cobwebs and reintroducing! emoticon and gratitude for the intro to Karma Tube! Beaming Gratitude. :)
Namaste' emoticon

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CORPUSANNIE 11/7/2009 1:20PM

    I'm glad you posted this..thought of you when I heard it on KarmaTube and sent it to my DD Laura
Blissful music, so sure and hopeful
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RIPPEDPAUL1 11/7/2009 8:59AM

    Thanks for sharing, I am going to forward the link to several of my friends

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FRANCESCANAZ 11/7/2009 6:50AM

    Great share mi amiga! Keep them coming, please!

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GOODHEALTH4EVER 11/7/2009 4:36AM

    i've heard him before...thanks for helping me remember his music:)

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LAPORTE2006 11/6/2009 4:46PM

    I wish that I could hear it but have no sound right now. I have always said that music has a way of touching your heart and soul. There are certain beats that get us moving in our seats and eventually jumping up and dancing. I love to listen to Celtic woman. Actually I love all kinds of music except the kind that screams and you can't tell what they are singing. emoticon

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CARLI_MAE 11/6/2009 12:43PM

    Very nice, really cool video effects ... love it.

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EMBBEAR 11/6/2009 12:00PM

    I love Matisyahu! I used to bike to work listening to him everyday and it was a very spiritually uplifting moment. His music does things I can't explain it's a feeling like singing in a church, it's a connection felt through music. Thanks for sharing!


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GBOOMER 11/6/2009 11:29AM

    Thanks for introducing me to this song. I've decided to learn it. Sometimes I lead a song or two at Jewish events. This one would be perfect.

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SVLCEK 11/6/2009 9:42AM

    This guy is great! Thank you for sharing.

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JNEUBS 11/6/2009 9:41AM

    This song never fails to put a smile on my face, expand my heart and give me chills throughout my body!


Whole family loves daughters have seen them live many times!

Got this email earlier as I'm subscribed! Love it!


May Maha enjoy happiness and the root of happiness!

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

Comment edited on: 11/6/2009 9:44:54 AM

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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!

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GOODHEALTH4EVER 11/7/2009 4:47AM


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RANA!! 11/6/2009 7:59PM

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

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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.

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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

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

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AMBUDMAN 11/6/2009 12:50AM

    Nice blog.

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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.

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BBAHONORS 11/5/2009 1:56PM

    I like it!

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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:

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ALICIA214 11/5/2009 1:36PM


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

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MERIMARY 11/5/2009 1:27PM

    Every beautiful. Thank you.

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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




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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

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COLIBRI930 11/4/2009 10:19PM

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

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FRANCESCANAZ 11/4/2009 5:03PM

    I think you are a little of each...

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CARLI_MAE 11/4/2009 12:05PM

    YOU most certainly do! emoticon

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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.

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STRAWBERRY*MOON 11/4/2009 10:23AM

    Thanks for posting this poem; I love Rilke!

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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

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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.

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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.

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ANNROBERTS54 11/4/2009 7:57AM

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

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    I think I am a great song! emoticon

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GBOOMER 11/4/2009 7:49AM

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

I like this.


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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

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GINABUG 11/5/2009 9:45AM

    Thanks, Maha! I will!

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JNEUBS 11/5/2009 7:04AM

    Thanks Maha!

You are a gift!

ChiTown Jeff

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

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LINDA25427 11/3/2009 5:24PM

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

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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.

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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.

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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,

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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!

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LOLAGEEK 11/3/2009 9:40AM

    I love this Maha.

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