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Om my God how I love David Whyte!!!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Our faces would fall away
until we, growing younger toward death
every day, would gather all our flaws in celebration

to merge with them perfectly,
impossibly, wedded to our essence,
full of silence from the carver's hands.


In monastery darkness
by the light of one flashlight
the old shrine room waits in silence

While above the door
we see the terrible figure,
fierce eyes demanding, "Will you step through?"

And the old monk leads us,
bent back nudging blackness
prayer beads in the hand that beckons.

We light the butter lamps
and bow, eyes blinking in the
pungent smoke, look up without a word,

see faces in meditation,
a hundred faces carved above,
eye lines wrinkled in the hand held light.

Such love in solid wood!
Taken from the hillsides and carved in silence
they have the vibrant stillness of those who made them.

Engulfed by the past
they have been neglected, but through
smoke and darkness they are like the flowers

we have seen growing
through the dust of eroded slopes,
then slowly opening faces turned toward the mountain.

Carved in devotion
their eyes have softened through age
and their mouths curve through delight of the carvers hand.

If only our own faces
would allow the invisible carver's hand
to bring the deep grain of love to the surface.

If only we knew
as the carver knew, how the flaws
in the wood led his searching chisel to the very core,

we would smile, too
and not need faces immobilized
by fear and the weight of things undone.

When we fight with our failing
we ignore the entrance to the shrine itself
and wrestle with the guardian, fierce figure on the side of good.

And as we fight
our eyes are hooded with grief
and our mouths are dry with pain.

If only we could give ourselves
to the blows of the carvers hands,
the lines in our faces would be the trace lines of rivers

feeding the sea
where voices meet, praising the features
of the mountain and the cloud and the sky.

Our faces would fall away
until we, growing younger toward death
every day, would gather all our flaws in celebration

to merge with them perfectly,
impossibly, wedded to our essence,
full of silence from the carver's hands.

~ David Whyte ~
(Where Many Rivers Meet)

David Whyte LIVE! Do watch it, he's beautiful inside-and-out:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FRACTALMYTH 12/12/2009 11:31AM

    That was amazing :D Thank you!

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LUCKY-13 12/11/2009 1:46AM

    Wow! He really paints a picture with his words. Awesome! Thanks for sharing, and thanks also for visiting my page and leaving such thoughtful feedback. I really appreciate your support!

Oh!!! And congrats on getting through the semester! That's great!


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LYNNANN43 12/9/2009 11:59AM

    Thank you Maha, once again for sharing.


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FRANCESCANAZ 12/9/2009 11:27AM

    Hermosa , como siempre.

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AZIMAT 12/9/2009 11:23AM

    Thank you so much. Lovely, just lovely.

It reminds me of meditating in the ancient Buddhist monasteries of Ladakh, India in the Himalayas.

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SUCHAHOOT 12/9/2009 9:29AM

    Oh my goodness. I have chills and they are not from the cold morning. Thank you for taking the time to post this.

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LISANANCY 12/9/2009 9:17AM

    You must really be a gentle heart to love such works. Thank you for sharing. emoticon

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More reflection to support a meditation practice

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Given the struggle that presents itself prior to many *sittings* I am always looking any little tidbits of wisdom Teachings that encourage me to stay set on the Path of meditation. This morning's Thought for the Day from Sri Easwaran spoke directly to my soul and I pass it on, hoping it will resonate with you as well.

Lotus in pond at Magnolia Village,
Batesville, MS, a spiritual center
in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh

O God! make me busy with Thee, that they may not make me busy with them.
-- Rabia

(A continuing woodpecker story) Our red-turbaned chap had checked out possible areas for working, he settled down at what looked like a solid, unyielding spot and started pecking away rhythmically. He didn't just give a peck or two and then fly off in search of a worm, not to return for half an hour. He went on pecking systematically, with sustained enthusiasm, until he was done. I was amazed at his dexterity. When he had finished, he left such a large hole that if he had gone on, I have no doubt the entire tree would have fallen.

That is the kind of work required to transform personality. For a long time, all we are doing in meditation is pecking away at what we want to change in ourselves. At best it is tedious; often it is downright painful. The problem is that we identify ourselves with the accumulation of habits and opinions, likes and dislikes, which we have developed over the years. We think this is who we are, and are not prepared to let it die.
-- Sri Eknath Easwaran

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAZZYR 12/12/2009 1:12PM

    I'm pecking away... at my own pace... like I have all the time in the world! But I must say I'm enjoying it... most days.

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MACGIRRL 12/8/2009 10:30PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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RMACBURN 12/7/2009 7:21PM

    Very interesting, thank you for sharing.

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LAPORTE2006 12/6/2009 7:52PM

    Sometimes we peck away too much. We analyze and reanalyze instead of just bein. That is interesting carli. May we all be and experience and connect within each other in time.

Comment edited on: 12/6/2009 7:53:34 PM

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STRAWBERRY*MOON 12/6/2009 4:46PM

    I'm a peckin' away. Thanks, Maha!

Carli Mae, I never thought about why woodpeckers pecked. I love knowing new facts. The world overflows with so many wondrous things.

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DRAGONFLY7149 12/6/2009 4:00PM

    Ah, patience, practice, progress, balance...I shall remember this as I watch our resident woodpecker (resident on our property, I mean) go about its busy day!


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FRACTALMYTH 12/6/2009 3:54PM

    O God! make me busy with Thee, that they may not make me busy with them.
-- Rabia


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CARLI_MAE 12/6/2009 2:42PM

    Well, now that I subscribe to all this stuff, what comments am I going to leave here on your blog?
I do have an earthly and scientifically based one on the woodpecker series, that came to me when I read them. Did you know that the reason woodpeckers do what they do in trees is how they survive? This is because they feed particularly on specific insects that invade trees. By doing so, they not only nourish themselves, but allow trees that otherwise would eventually succumb to insect blight to continue to survive. In fact, if you happen to have a tree and notice an excessive number of woodpecker holes in it, chances are the tree is badly diseased and in need of cutting down. How 'bout that?

Another notation from yours truly,
The perpetual "walking encyclopaedia" (as some folks tease me)

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NORLANA 12/6/2009 2:42PM

    "we identify ourselves with the accumulation of habits and opinions, likes and dislikes, which we have developed over the years. We think this is who we are, and are not prepared to let it die."

Thank you, dear Maha :)

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LIZARDG7 12/6/2009 2:07PM

    Don't you just love his "Thoughts For The Day?" Lizzie emoticon

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The Mystery

Friday, December 04, 2009

Sorry to all those practical souls out there that think this is a weight-loss site. Pardon me, but to this little tropical rainbow-hues-scaled Piscean fishie swimming around in the cosmic ocean-of-delight, this *place* is more about healing the soul IN ORDER TO get the *temple* in order. (Really mixing the metaphors here, pero no importa.)

And so, I share offerings -- like the amazing revelations of Denise Levertov -- for me and all you other soul wanderers out there with me in the mists. 'Cause all begins...and it all ends...with the Mystery.

Dear Elaine, PeacefulOne, this is dedicated to you this morning:

Primary Wonder

Days pass when I forget the mystery.
Problems insoluble and problems offering
their own ignored solutions
jostle for my attention, they crowd its antechamber
along with a host of diversions, my courtiers, wearing
their colored clothes; cap and bells.
And then
once more the quiet mystery
is present to me, the throng's clamor
recedes: the mystery
that there is anything, anything at all,
let alone cosmos, joy, memory, everything,
rather than void: and that, O Source,
Creator, Hallowed One, You still,
hour by hour sustain it.

-- Denise Levertov, Selected Poems
Biographical information:

Om Shanthi, Shanthi, Shanthi!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STRAWBERRY*MOON 12/4/2009 1:22PM

    Thank you, Maha.

Over the years, Robert has had a major influence on me learning not to try to figure out the universe--even my little part of it. He asks me what would happen if I just accepted it all--good and bad--without intellectualizing, and each day I get closer and closer to letting this marvelous mystery simply be--around me and in me.

Peace and blessings,


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LAPORTE2006 12/4/2009 12:32PM

    The mystery is our magic. we live with it daily but sometimes lose sight. thanks for the reminder. hugs and positive vibes. Pam

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PEACEFULONE 12/4/2009 12:24PM

    Dearest Maha, Thank you so much for bringing my focus back to the Mystery! This blog brought tears to my eyes and balm to my heart! You are a truly remarkable soul and I am so blessed to have you in my universe. There are no words to thank you enough for all the help you have been today and many, many days in the past. I bow to your spirit. In peace and love, Elaine
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PEDAL-PUSHER 12/4/2009 12:04PM

    It DOES start with the sou. I think we need to love our own inner self before we can truely move forward and love others or receive love from others.

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FRACTALMYTH 12/4/2009 11:57AM

    Mind and body - it is all one, inseparable being. Thanks for sharing!!!

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CARLI_MAE 12/4/2009 10:46AM

    Boy you are such a fish! Better watch out you don't grow fins and a tail ... hahaha ... wouldn't it be something if I started appearing to you as the 2 of me? emoticon Ma, non importa -- ti voglio bene nondimeno!

As you see I am in my silly place and the temp filling where the dentist wanted to do a root canal is distracting me from the mystery. (I told him no root canal ... either the patch works or the tooth gets pulled).

Azimat says everbody's talking about me again ... ora, che a gía fatto?

Ciao, cara bellisima pesche :=)
Mille bacci

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NORLANA 12/4/2009 9:17AM

    "And then
once more the quiet mystery
is present to me"

love you!

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LISANANCY 12/4/2009 8:25AM

    Oh, how I agree. I am learning that I need to heal myself first. I didn't know this was the turn my life would take when I first started Spark. I guess I should just sit back and enjoy the ride. You are a beautiful soul. emoticon

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BECOMINGONE 12/4/2009 8:22AM

    Living in the mystery ... that's where weight loss starts. No amount of willpower can substitute over the long haul. We can lose pounds by willpower but not maintain the loss without the mystery. :-)



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Meditation anyone???

Thursday, December 03, 2009

I made a pact with myself during the Soul Writing Retreat to return to a daily meditation practice, aware as I am of the myriad benefits. Friends Michelle (StrawberryMoon) and Gail (DragonFly) have also been encouraging each other in an informal *meditation practice challenge* for daily consistency. The discipline required for such an undertaking girds us for all of the other requirements of conscious self-care. With the Thought for the Day this morning, Sri Easwaran spoke deeply to me about the efficacy of these efforts. Perhaps his words will ring true for you as well.

Meditation anyone?

Most people live, whether physically, intellectually or morally, in a very restricted circle of their potential being. They make use of a very small portion of their possible consciousness, and of their soul's resources in general, much like a man who, out of his whole bodily organism, should get into a habit of using and moving only his little finger.
-- William James

We think we are very limited creatures, very small, good for maybe only fifteen minutes of love or patience before we have to crack. Instead of identifying with our deepest Self, we are identifying with some biochemical-mental organism.

But when you calm the mind in meditation every morning, you will see how far you can stretch your patience and your love during the day. You will see for yourself how comfortable you feel with everybody, how secure you feel wherever you go. You will find that you have a quiet sense of being equal to difficult situations.

These discoveries give a hint of the heights to which a human being can rise. Once we see this for ourselves, we will catch the exhilaration of the mystics when they say that because the Source is our real Self, there is no limit to our capacities.
-- Eknath Easwaran

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUCHAHOOT 12/9/2009 9:34AM

    Mornin' Maha,
This is great. I was a regular for a long time & remember how much more smoothly my days went. I've been telling myslef it's time to begin again. I"m also trying to encourage my sister to begin. I'll pass this along to her. Thank you!

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HOKU-ALOHI 12/3/2009 8:23PM

  Thank you Maha for this beautiful blog. The minute I started to read, I felt an inner shift in my being as it breathed in a deep breath of renewal. Thank you for bringing me back to full consciousness to reconnect through meditation.
~ Maya ~

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DOKEYOKEY 12/3/2009 8:01PM

    How fortuitous! I was inspired by Strawberry Moon (Michelle) noting that she was on a streak of 9 days of meditation and have decided that I am going to commit to a daily practice, too. Thanks for posting!

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CORPUSANNIE 12/3/2009 7:06PM

    emoticon It always seems your love goes farther when you remember to
meditate each day emoticon

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VALERIEMAHA 12/3/2009 4:11PM

    Easy meditation practice idea:

Sit with your spine straight (not leaning against a chair) and your feet flat on the floor, not crossed. If you're sitting on the floor in a cross-legged position elevate your butt with a pillow so it's nicely raised and your knees rest on the floor. You can cup your hands inside one another or rest your palms on your knees.

Softly close you eyes and focus on your breathing. Don't change your breathing in any way; just notice it. As you breathe in say to yourself "in," as you breathe out say "out." Each time your mind wanders, simply bring it back to the breath and continue focusing on the "in" and the "out." Nothing more. Nothing less. Just that much.

Start with 5 min. for a week, then go to 10 min. After a month at 10 min., you can increase it to 20 min. That's it!

It's about quieting and coming to have more control of the *monkey* mind! Consistency is important for progress, and sitting at the same time each day helps to establish a habit.

Comment edited on: 12/3/2009 6:46:07 PM

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JUS911 12/3/2009 3:24PM

    Good post! I have always had trouble meditating, but I really want to keep trying. I hope that with time and consistent practice it will come easier to me. Everything you say about the affects of meditation in your post is so true, which gives me even more motivation to keep practicing.

Good luck and thanks for the posting!

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YOGINIWRITER 12/3/2009 2:31PM

    Beautiful. I was dragging along this morning--avoiding my practice. This post inspired me to get with it. Meditation has been an oasis for the past few months. But, this past week feels like I am carrying bricks in my pockets. Once I am sitting I am at home--but getting myself to sit is an up hill climb. I am hoping this shifts soon. I know its part of the practice--sitting no matter the emotions attached--but I am missing the motivation. Thank you for passing some around.

Comment edited on: 12/3/2009 2:32:43 PM

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LYNNANN43 12/3/2009 2:19PM

    Thanks Maha!

I'm going to start doing some yoga in the morning again & then some meditation afterwards:D

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NORLANA 12/3/2009 1:51PM

    I'm with Tee! Can you show us the way (as usual) LOL

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STRAWBERRY*MOON 12/3/2009 12:55PM

    Thanks for the reinforcement, Maha. Such gems of meaning. Wasn't it Thich Nhat Hanh who said words to the effect that he had a busy day before him so he must meditate twice as long?

Happy sitting, everyone!

Comment edited on: 12/3/2009 12:56:39 PM

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SARANGEREL 12/3/2009 11:14AM

    Thank you for posting this! I have been reminding myself for a while that I need to get back into regular meditation. I wish you well in your journey!

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BECOMINGONE 12/3/2009 7:16AM

    Count me in!

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TEE803 12/3/2009 7:12AM

    Thanks Maha! Once again, very insightful...This may sound dumb, but I never learned to meditate. My mind is always all over the place! I know a lot of people in recovery meditate. Maybe it's time I did some googling and jump on the meditation wagon! I would LOVE to be zen throughout my day!


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St. Francis and the Sow

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

"Everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing...."

My buddies know I'm in the midst of a finals week SparkFast. Notice how I "fast" -- a little munch here, a taste there. (Yep, D for Discipline is my middle name, lol.)

It''s just that this poem is so damned beautiful and poignant. And I had a particularly brutal encounter with my housemate this morning...and then I came to my computer, and in opening today's poetry offering, it smashed right into my soul and begged to be shared with my community, my tribe here.

"Sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness...." And it is, today's love offering to all of you...and to me:

St. Francis and the Sow

The bud
stands for all things,
even those things that don't flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
as St. Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of
the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking
and blowing beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

~ Galway Kinnell ~

(Mortal Acts, Mortal Words)

Galway Kinnell (born February 1, 1927 in Providence, Rhode Island) is one of the most influential American poets of the latter half of the 20th century. An admitted follower of Walt Whitman, Kinnell rejects the idea of seeking fulfillment by escaping into the imaginary world. His best-loved and most anthologized poems, such as "St. Francis and the Sow" and "After Making Love We Hear Footsteps," stand as testaments to the significant possibilities for transcendent realization that can be induced by meticulous excavation of the physical universe.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NEWMOMOVER40 12/3/2009 2:17AM

    I love Galway Kinnel's poetry. Thank you so much for sharing this one. Tingly!
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HOKU-ALOHI 12/3/2009 1:00AM

Leia tus palabras
Yo sonriendo
emoticon emoticon
Por abrazos que me da
Yo durmiendo
emoticon emoticon emoticon
Llegado noche
Despues el amanecer
Yo despertando
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CARLI_MAE 12/3/2009 12:18AM

    Today must be one of those days for "encounters" ... mine was one of the WTF? realm of the absurd, but it came after I'd already seen and long forgotten about this panhala offering. All I can think regarding the fortunately brief thing was ... "oh, just another one of life's tragedies calling me for no other apparent reason but to tempt me into his own state of hostility & I'm having none of it today." No doubt he went looking for someone else on whom to unload.

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FRACTALMYTH 12/2/2009 10:46PM

    OHH Yes. Thank you for reminding me of that one. It's beautiful! Years ago it inspired me to write a response...

Brother Tree Frog ~
no saintly caress needed
to remind you of your innate glory.
Clad in emerald splendour
you squat in plump contentment,
a closer relationship with
Sister Mosquito.

(http://fracta - second poem down = 'Treefrog' for the photo that goes with it.)

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STRAWBERRY*MOON 12/2/2009 12:06PM

    Wise words, indeed. I know I frequently have to re-learn that with which I thought I was finished, but in revisiting a subject I find my experience changes, because I have changed--and so this old/new lesson enriches my life in a fresh way. How wonderful it is that, if I'm lucky and open, I will learning and changing for the rest of my life. After that, who knows! :-)

Hope your day improves!

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RAYLINSTEPHENS 12/2/2009 11:59AM

    emoticon thanks!

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SLASALLE 12/2/2009 11:28AM

    Ah Maha, my friend. I hope your day changes paths ... make it so. Again, thanks for sharing such lovely poetry!!

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DOKEYOKEY 12/2/2009 10:36AM

    How lovely -- and how sad that we should need re-teaching. But perhaps there is some beauty in that -- we are always being called to remember what is good and wonderful.


P.S. I must brag a little bit that Mr. Kinnell lives up the road from me a ways -- and that he was our state poet in Vermont from 1989 to 1993. Thank you for calling my attention to him in a more real way!

P.P.S. I hope that the house-mate situation eases.

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BECOMINGONE 12/2/2009 9:10AM

    A wonderful poem.

I'm home today studying for a test that I have to take before midnight tonight but if you would like to stop by for a few minutes ... I'll be here ...

St. Francis apologized to his body for mistreating it as he lay dying. Don't remember his exact words but it was moving ... so much to learn from the saint.

Thinking about you ...


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NORLANA 12/2/2009 9:10AM

    And we are thankful that you took the time out of your studying to post this ... very poignant, indeed. I hope your day gets better :)

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FRANCESCANAZ 12/2/2009 9:05AM

    Thanks again mi amiga for sharing this beautiful piece of writing. Can you also post "After Making Love we Hear Footsteps" ?? Would love to read that as well. Have a great diciembre. emoticon

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LISANANCY 12/2/2009 8:40AM

    How do you always find something to touch our hearts? Oh, yes, I know, it's your own gentle heart. Thank you for helping me to stay grounded in love. emoticon

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