Thursday, May 13, 2010
Canadian Rockies, Banff National Park
Let yourself be silently drawn
by the strange pull of what you really love.
It will not lead you astray.
~ Rumi ~
(Essential Rumi, versions by Coleman Barks)
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Sue (PENNYAN45), wintering in Arizona, but knowing my love of all things Mary Oliver, came upon and sent me the following amazing information just in time to fit it into my plans:
"On May 18, 2010 Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver brings her poetry, essays and chronicles of the natural world to The Walton Center of Fayetteville, AR. With her lyrical connection to nature, Oliver has firmly established herself in the highest realm of American poets. She is renowned for her evocative and precise imagery, which brings nature into clear focus, transforming the everyday world into a place of magic and discovery. This one-hour poetry reading will be followed by a Q&A session with the audience and a book signing after the show."
I will be traveling in the Magical Mystery Mobile up to NW Arkansas to hear Oliver, one of the most celebrated and widely honored poets in the U.S, a most auspicious beginning for the Magical Mystery Tour on May 18, which will continue through mid-August, as the Mystery unfolds!
The Magical Mystery Mobile, my 1984 Toyota Dolphin; many RVs have a car in-tow. As you can see, I have my trusty Trek Navigator in-tow!
Meandering over the *blue highways* -- the back-roads, colored blue on road maps -- I will next make my way to central Virginia to the Satchidananda Ashram, popularly known as Yogaville.
Sri Swami Satchidananda has been my teacher since 1982. While living on Kauai, I hosted him in 1987 -- hundreds came to hear him speak on the island. We're standing on the North Shore, at Secret Beach.
While at the ashram, I plan to attend Heart as Wide as the World Kirtan Retreat with Krishna Das, May 28-31.
Krishna Das, singing and playing the harmonium
After a foray over to Virginia Beach on Chesapeake Bay for a few days, I will get back on the *blue highways* -- next stop "Unknown" (and that's NOT the name of a back roads hamlet!).
Where will the journey lead me? I plan to go up the Atlantic Seaboard. Into Canada? I plan to visit Niagara Falls. West? South? To more solitude? New friends? Old friends? Surprises I would never have imagined?
Maybe it (I) will save my life:
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice --
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do --
determined to save
the only life you could save.
~ Mary Oliver ~
Monday, May 10, 2010
...that's all (it was important for me to read this...and share it).
E.g., thoughts like...NO! I'm removing segments from it that I had quoted here, because each time I read it something else jumps out at me, grabs me, and speaks deeply to me. How can I say what another needs to hear...REALLY, deeply hear?
Begin again to the summoning birds
to the sight of light at the window,
begin to the roar of morning traffic
all along Pembroke Road.
Every beginning is a promise
born in light and dying in dark
determination and exaltation of springtime
flowering the way to work.
Begin to the pageant of queuing girls
the arrogant loneliness of swans in the canal
bridges linking the past and future
old friends passing though with us still.
Begin to the loneliness that cannot end
since it perhaps is what makes us begin,
begin to wonder at unknown faces
at crying birds in the sudden rain
at branches stark in the willing sunlight
at seagulls foraging for bread
at couples sharing a sunny secret
alone together while making good.
Though we live in a world that dreams of ending
that always seems about to give in
something that will not acknowledge conclusion
insists that we forever begin.
~ Brendan Kennelly ~
(Do Not Go Gentle)
Brendan Kennelly, born in 1936, is a popular Irish poet and novelist. He was Professor of Modern Literature at Trinity College Dublin until 2005. He is now retired and occasionally tours the USA as university lecturer.
Kennelly’s poetry can be scabrous, down-to-earth and colloquial. He avoids intellectual pretension and literary posturing, and his attitude to poetic language could be summed up in the title of one of his epic poems, “Poetry my Arse”. Another long (400 page) epic poem, “The Book of Judas”, published in 1991, topped the Irish bestseller list.
Saturday, May 08, 2010
The first person to fight for an official Mother's Day celebration in the United States was Julia Ward Howe. Howe was born in New York City on May 27, 1819. Her family was well respected and wealthy. She was a published poet and abolitionist. She and her husband, Samuel Gridley Howe, co-published the anti-slavery newspaper The Commonwealth. She was active in the peace movement and the women's suffrage movement. In 1870 she penned the Mother's Day Proclamation. In 1872 the Mothers' Peace Day Observance on the second Sunday in June was held and the meetings continued for several years. Her idea was widely accepted, but she was never able to get the day recognized as an official holiday. The Mothers' Peace Day was the beginning of the Mothers' Day holiday in the United States now celebrated in May.
The modern commercialized celebration of gifts, flowers and candy bears little resemblance to Howe's original idea. Here is the Proclamation that explains, in her own powerful words, the goals of the original Mother's Day in the United States...
MOTHER'S DAY PROCLAMATION OF1870
Mother's Peace Day
Arise then...women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
"We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."
From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe out dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace...
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God -
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.
Blessed be all mothers and all whose nurturing presence has touched our lives. May peace prevail and may it begin with me,
Friday, May 07, 2010
WHEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Finals are over and because I would have had six contiguous hours of exams for the three classes yesterday, I was able to move one exam over to today. I took it alone and when I returned to his office at the end of the two hours with the exam, the professor (of my linguistics class) asked if I'd like to end the agony right away and know what my grade is. Of course I vigorously shook my head YES and left while he graded it and determined my overall course grade. Check it out...I managed to barely slide into an A (91.5%)
Ok, Ok...so is THIS how I want to be remembered...as "a good student"...or as "someone obsessed with 'the grade'"...or....It's clear that I'm definitely in the "unwinding" phase now that spring semester has ended, like Sandra said about herself yesterday. The 15 units I have completed are large on my mind. But it's also definitely not WHO I am...or HOW I want to be remembered.
Let me share a few miscellaneous photos that will help to paint a more accurate picture for you of what IS important to me....
Sharon is the director of the university's language lab. She is also a yoga practitioner and we met many years ago at the Iyengar yoga studio (where she now teaches!). Over the years of attending yoga together we talked about my Ecuador project and my Spanish proficiency in a variety of contexts and I asked her lots questions about the Spanish program. She also invited me to use a software program at the lab to further hone my Spanish facility while I was still directing the Ecuador project. Her KINDNESS to me found me on-campus using the software, then taking the school's Spanish proficiency test...then deciding to actually jump into the program. Since beginning last fall, Sharon's assistance and counsel have been generous and extremely helpful.
Daryl is a graduate student and took the linguistics class with me. He willingly spent time with me going over concepts and information and sharing materials, and his KINDNESS was a big help to this rookie non-traditional student. He will be continuing his Latin American History studies at the University of New Mexico this fall and I will miss him. I love how many of the students seem to take me at face value now that I'm feeling more comfortable this second semester and how, in many ways, they are beginning to treat me as a peer.
These are my friends Fritzie and Janice. Fritzie graciously AND lovingly opened her beautiful home for a gathering of friends for my birthday celebration...her KINDNESS touches my heart. And that's really just the tip of the iceberg of her compassion toward me and others, e.g., her assistance to a mutual friend from Guatemala in his time of need has truly been "over the top".
Here's another photo of my dear friend Janice. We were housemates for over two years...and we're very close. Janice went with me to visit my friend John who had emergency abdominal surgery. She immediately sprang into action and brushed all the tangles out of his hair and shaved him (neither had been done for days). That unique genre of KINDNESS is "typical Janice."
You all know Sandra, my wonderful friend and bike-riding pal (and Sparker), a kindred spirit who has also returned to school, pursuing a graduate degree in social work. She has "been there" for me in so many ways (I still remember with gratitude her invite last Thanksgiving Day for dinner, knowing I was alone). Her KINDNESS in helping me at a moment's notice with details about writing one of my papers and access to online research made all the difference in completing a hopefully well-done and interesting project.
"Your friend is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving." (Kahlil Gibran) My friends are my family, since I have no nuclear family and I, for all intents and purposes, live alone. Their KINDNESS and support and love nourishes and sustains me.
And, as I said in my status, I am SO deeply "thankful for the support and love -- and KINDNESS -- of SparkFriends, expressed in so many ways!" This community of kindred spirits enlivens and nurtures me in countless ways. I have met some...and hope to meet yet more this summer!!! You have made me smile when I've been down and made me laugh during the high times. I bow in gratitude to each one of you...truly.
So here's where we finally arrive at the subject of my blog..."what consitutes a life worthy to be remembered?" Watching this week's KarmaTube offering confirmed for me that, like Amy, KINDNESS is a supremely important value to me -- given and received.
Amy Krouse Rosenthal's film is lovely and spoke deeply to me. Click here to watch: www.karmatube.org/videos.php?id=1931
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