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5/Summer10: Krishna Das and the Ashram

Friday, June 11, 2010

I spent two weeks at the Satchidananda Ashram in central Virginia. It was glorious in every way. The time there began with a kirtan retreat with Krishna Das, and what a beginning that was! I was either sobbing or singing or laughing, all from joy.

This is Sivananda Hall, where all meals are eaten and many programs take place as well. This is only one of several buildings on the 100's of acres. It is a wonderful environment, which supports the practices.

I'm hanging out in Sivananda Hall, prior to a meal.

Saturday dinner. Krishna Das is in the dark tee shirt. Notice the photos of saints up high on the wall...Paramahansa Yogananda is quite apparent.

Krishna Das gave me a few pointers on harmonium playing and mechanics.

The beginning of a lovely trail to LOTUS (Light of Truth Universal Shrine), a temple to all the world's religions, known and unkown

The LOTUS trail

LOTUS in the distance.

My very old and dear friend, Swami Divyananda, arrived at the ashram while I was there. WHAT A SURPRISE! She was my first introduction to Integral Yoga, while directing the San Francisco Institute when I knocked at the door in 1981.

Swami Divyananda and another wonderful friend, Swami Dayananda.

The entrance to the home of Swami Tyagananda, a noted artist who took sannyas (monk) vows many years ago. What follows are several photos of his amazing varieties of artistic work. All the landschaping is his as well. He is in an orange tee shirt with gray sweats. He's in his late 80's and has several pieces in-process. He always appears for morning, noon, and evening meditation...very consistent in the practice. The library in his house is impressive. He is a prolific reader.

LOTUS and the LOTUS Lake from his second floor balcony.

What a laundry room! There are colorful discs on walls all over the house...all with designs on both sides of the disc.

Satya Greenstone chatting with Swami Tyagananda

Yesterday was my first day at Land's End State Park, Virginia Beach, on Chesapeake Bay. What a sunset

Set up in my lovely camp site, with computer at-hand!

To be continued!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EMRANA 2/20/2011 3:36PM

  Ohhhhh.....thank you for my mini-trip home today. Yogaville is my spiritual home, and one day, my physical one as well. My soul is tingling with kirtan energy from Sivananda Hall.

And what an honor to meet Krishna Das!

~ OM Shanti ~ emoticon

Comment edited on: 2/20/2011 3:36:58 PM

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NORLANA 6/24/2010 6:26AM

    So glad you will be getting to go back. Do you know you're smile is soooo broad when you are in this environment??? Here's me smiling back at you :) xoxo

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FRANCESCANAZ 6/14/2010 9:07PM

    You really are having quite an adventure mi amiga! I can feel the happiness and peace you are experiencing through your blogs. Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your world through the lovely pictures and thoughts.
Ommmm... Francesca

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    How beautiful!

Thank you very much for sharing your pictures and your journey with us.

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MISS_VIV 6/14/2010 10:27AM

    Wonderful thoughts as you continue your Magical Mystery Tour. The tale unfolds.


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JUST_TRI_IT 6/13/2010 9:58AM

    Looks like a magical spot with special people!

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LOPEYP 6/13/2010 6:29AM

    Wow. Seems interesting and looks lovely.

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_VALEO_ 6/13/2010 2:44AM

    What a beautiful and inspiring place!

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SAGE150 6/12/2010 10:25PM

    The gardens look beautiful and peaceful. I have to say I much prefer your art-filled laundry room to the blasé one in my apartment building. :)

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PENNYAN45 6/12/2010 9:16PM

    Thanks for the peek into your world!! It looks like you are having a wonderful time - filled with special people from your past. The photos are beautiful.

What a magical trip!


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KALIGIRL 6/12/2010 4:42PM

    Fabulous pictures - thanks for sharing.
Sounds like a wonderful time - tears of joy!

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BRIGHTSPARK7 6/12/2010 1:42PM

    What a wonderful journey, blessed by so many marvelous companions. And beauty in so many forms. Thanks for sharing, Mahalakshmi!

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CASSIES 6/12/2010 12:22PM

    Oooooooooooooooo! Thank you for these photos and description...what a treat to read. Enjoy the rest of your time.

Comment edited on: 6/12/2010 12:23:42 PM

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AZIMAT 6/12/2010 11:46AM

    Thanks for the update! And for bringing us all along on your trip.

You are a living example of "life is what you make it".

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MAZZYR 6/12/2010 11:03AM

    Oh Maha, thank you for sharing your journey.

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KALATHIA 6/12/2010 9:19AM

    Loved it! I've always wondered what a retreat like this would be like and now you've given me a little insight. Thank you.


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CRISPINI 6/12/2010 9:04AM

    Wow, what an interesting blog. Thanks for posting, I enjoyed reading it!

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BUNNYCATS 6/12/2010 8:57AM

    Wow!!! Thanks for sharing!

Namaste emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NORLANA 6/12/2010 8:50AM

    Thanks for sharing the adventure! Beautiful pictures :)

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BECOMINGONE 6/12/2010 6:56AM

    Hey Maha,
So good to hear about your visit to the ashram. Sounds like two weeks of bliss. The campground on the Chesapeake looks yummy. And tomorrow you meet up with Jude. I hope these past two weeks foretell the remainder of your journey.


PS All is well here. Marilyn says "hi"

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GOANNA2 6/12/2010 6:26AM

    Thank you so much for sharing and I am glad you are having such a wonderful journey
Namaste emoticon

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BAGGYPANTS5 6/12/2010 2:53AM

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. You seem to be having a great time. Keep posting!
All good wishes

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DARKTHOR 6/12/2010 1:24AM

    I think I can feel some of the peaceful energy coming through. Thank you for sharing and making sure my eyes are open to the beauty around me.

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COSMIC_ENERGY 6/11/2010 10:49PM

    Loverly! Yogaville is so serene and reenergizing. Looking forward to basking in some of that energy wafting from you tomorrow! I'm a beach girl myself. Does the State Park have access? See you soon with my coffee in tow!

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LYNNANN43 6/11/2010 10:29PM

    Thanks for much for sharing, MAHA! What an absolutely beautiful experience you've had so far on your journey:-) I can't wait for more!


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SLASALLE 6/11/2010 10:11PM

    How wonderful to see these lovely photos. Safe travels, my dear friend. Let us hear from you when you can ... xoxoxo

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CMRAND54 6/11/2010 9:53PM

    What an interesting place! I live in Virginia, but I've never heard of it. Thank you for sharing.

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GENKI_WARRIOR 6/11/2010 9:37PM

    i'm so glad you're having such a fulfilling adventure! thanks for sharing it with us : )

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GRYFFINSONG 6/11/2010 9:27PM

    How wonderful! I'm so happy for you, that you were able to be in such a special and beautiful place, with so many new and old friends.


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STLRZGRRL 6/11/2010 9:26PM

    SO cool to let us go with!!!!


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KAT573 6/11/2010 8:57PM

    OH so neat; can't wait to see more.

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4/Summer10: I CHOOSE gratitude on the journey!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday of Memorial Weekend 2010

I'm deeply inspired by my dear SparkFriend JerseyGirl who, while living a nightmare, CHOOSES to not immerse herself in it. I have so much to be thankful for on this beautiful day. I CHOOSE to be grateful for it ALL, beginning with ~~

the "office" from where I'm writing you! I'm sitting at a picnic table at Lake Reidsville, North Carolina, (north of Greensboro off of US 29N, Business) a city campground off the beaten path that I was "directed" to just as I've been directed to each place I've spent the night since Monday.

Wednesday night I stayed at a lovely site in Murphy, NC just leaving Cherokee National Forest. Tuesday night I camped at Davy Crockett State Park in TN. Monday night I enjoyed the fabulous Village Creek State Park in Wynne, AR. As I said...I was "led" to each place, and each setting was PERFECT for my emotional and spiritual needs of the moment!

I have little time for sitting, because I want to hightail it to the ashram to get myself settled before the program with Krishna Das begins this evening, but here are a few random thoughts and sharings:

As I played some beautiful Hawaiian music on the road and thought about the chanting retreat ahead, thoughts of my dear friend Patti Valentine came to mind. In a way she's responsible for me being here. When I visited her last year on Kauai, she gave me a CD/DVD album of Krishna Das...and the rest, as they say, is history. She also gave me the HI music I've been playing on the trip.

Here we are at her little home, all dressed up ready to go see Deepak Chopra, who was on Kauai while I was visiting her!

Someone else who figures large in this adventure is my friend Juan Guererro, who is an expert camper technician and went through all the systems and got me up-and-running for this summer's touring.

Here is young handsome Juan, busy at-work on Kurma, taking a phone break.

I have been getting some exercise, as well as eating healthy. Here are a couple meals I've prepared in my camper and enjoyed this week with all-organic ingredients:

This was a tomato stew, with new potatoes, carrots, braised red onions, wilted arugula, and feta sprinkled on top.

This was a huge salad with baby romaine, kalamata olives, feta, a chopped hard boiled egg, cuke, avocado, plum tomatoes. The dressing was ginger-based with some low fat sour cream!

I LOVE the quote SparkFriend DarkThor shared in a comment he made on my last blog:

"When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something's suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful. ~Barbara Bloom"

That SO expresses the way I want to feel about my unfolding life. Thank you ALL for your wonderful, life-affirming responses to my blogs. I FEEL your presence with me as I wend my way to parts known and unknown.

Blessed be!

Hari Kurmavatara, the officially christened name of my little camper (Kurma is the turtle incarnation of Vishnu, for those who know anything of the Hindu pantheon of deities!).

ACT II, Summer 2010 solo road trip, began with the (1) May 11, 2010 blog and ends with (28) on August 14, 2010. Each of ACT II's travel blogs is numbered and includes "Summer10" in the title.

ACT I began with (1) July 29, 2009 and concluded with (7) August 22, 2009, numbered, with "Summer09" in the title...providing a chronicle of sorts for myself and any who are curious!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TEENY_BIKINI 6/11/2010 2:32PM

    What a wonderful blog. I love the photos.


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DDOORN 6/4/2010 6:28PM

    Our paths skimmed fairly close by as you were in NC we scooted through VA / NC on our way to visit my son & his fiancée in GA.

Thx for sharing / updating your journey with us!


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GENKI_WARRIOR 6/4/2010 12:36PM

    lol i always tell people that "it adds character" when they're focusing on things they're labeling "imperfections."
continue to be safe, healthy, and have fun on your journey!

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    How did I miss this blog? Thank you for sharing it, posting pictures and keeping us updated. I know your friends along this journey are anxiously awaiting the day you drop in...and the rest of us, too distant in the physical sense are holding down the fort so to speak, awaiting your lovely posts.

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KALIGIRL 5/30/2010 10:02PM

    Your adventures sound wonderfully fulfilling for body and soul. So glad you checked in and hope the rest of your trip is safe and spiritual!

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DARKTHOR 5/30/2010 6:35PM

    I love, love, love your office! And the stew and salad look delicious and have made me hungry. We're about to go shopping, so I need to look for some delicious salad makings. My wife already does a great job with stews and soups, so I am probably already set here.

Hearing of your journey just makes me feel happy and warm. Thank you so much for sharing it with me, us, we would be poorer for not knowing of it. Feel the wind moving over you, the sun recharging your cells, the moon and stars pulling at your soul, nature surrounding you, embracing you and know you are a part of it all. Be at peace.

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SLASALLE 5/29/2010 11:10PM

    What is it Leonard Cohen says about the cracks ... they're what lets the light in, I believe.

So happy to hear your journey is going well ... wishing you peace, joy, contentment and all that you are searching for ...

Isn't it always so "right" when we just let things unfold and follow where we're led.

With love from Kansas City,

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BECOMINGONE 5/29/2010 7:51AM

    Dearest Maha,

I am so happy that you can take this challenging journey and take the time to reassess your life. I think all of us need to do that now and then. We both have many cracks to be filled with gold ... may we focus on the journey and relish the lessons of the gold-filled cracks.

Peace be with you, my friend.


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CMRAND54 5/28/2010 10:05PM

    Your trip sounds wonderful. Thank you for sharing, with pictures, even! I can almost taste that food.

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COSMIC_ENERGY 5/28/2010 7:11PM

    I can virtually feel your presence nearing the VA border!!

Sending you my phone # again dear one--weird as I know I programmed yours too--no can find either!! emoticon

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BRIGHTSPARK7 5/28/2010 5:05PM

    Great to hear from you, Mahalakshmi. Thank you for sharing the photos, too, glimpses into the journey. You are much loved. Re "Hari Kurmavatara," the way of the turtle is mine, too. Not just slow and steady, but also the willingness to retreat into myself, the shell is my sense of being at home wherever I am, to make progress on the journey.
Enjoy the kirtan with Krishna Das!
With love and gently enfolding you in hugs,

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WALKINGANNIE 5/28/2010 3:59PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

Friends, food, freedom.....

Thanks for giving us glimpses of your life Maha.


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ORBITSANGEL 5/28/2010 12:39PM

  The trip sounds so relaxing and the picture of where you are writing is beautiful....have a wonderfully, peaceful time.

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STLRZGRRL 5/28/2010 12:35PM

    NO, NO! *I* want the corner office with a view!!!


R>Dee-lish lookin' spa cuisine there, Maha... and I am on it... Imma fillin' up all the cracks in mah haid with GOLD...

where did I put the gold? Hm. Let me look...

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JERSEYGIRL1950 5/28/2010 12:19PM

    Love you my friend and thank've bless me in many ways emoticon

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DENI_ZEN 5/28/2010 12:15PM

    Ahhh, you're living my dream, Valerie! Thank you for this window on your travels :) I'm deriving vicarious delight from your blog! - Sandi (whose family used to go camping when she was a kid :)

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GOANNA2 5/28/2010 10:46AM

    emoticon emoticon
I want an office like yours too!

Have a great journey and keep us posted.

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EARTHSEAME 5/28/2010 10:42AM

    Blessings on you, your journey, and Kurmavatara!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 5/28/2010 10:43:33 AM

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FRAN-SOLEIL 5/28/2010 10:11AM

    I love your office! Your adventure sounds like a wonderful and enriching experience. Enjoy!

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EMBBEAR 5/28/2010 9:29AM

    Sounds truly magical! Thank you for choosing to share it with everyone!

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REBCCA 5/28/2010 9:11AM

    Thank you for this update, I thoroughly enjoy following your adventure! Happy trails! emoticon

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FRANCESCANAZ 5/28/2010 8:50AM

    It is so beautiful to open your blogs and read. I feel like I am there with you mi amiga. What a wonderful adventure for all of us! Thank you for sharing and I do love that quote from Barbara Bloom that DarkThor sent. It reminds me of all the little scars on my body and how each one came to be. I hope we meet soon. Vaya con amor, Francesca

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MISS_VIV 5/28/2010 8:37AM

    I would choose your 'office' over mine in a heartbeat. The openness and floor plan are a perfect workplace for this journey. Thoughts and blessings with you. Enjoy your retreat knowing that we love you. emoticon

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3/Summer10: Oh I've been in the woods...

Monday, May 24, 2010

...all right -- a week at the wondrous Devil's Den State Park, NW Arkansas,

...made all the more miraculous because of beginning this odyssey at the feet of my *shero* Mary Oliver, at a reading in Fayetteville, which is near Devil's Den State Park. After the reading, I bought three of her poetry collections -- one for me and two to share with friends -- and stood in line to get her signature on them. Oh yes, I even had a brief exchange with her, nervous as a school girl!

I began my solo road trip in great style: wandering in wonder through the water falls, the sand stone formations, the meadows and lakes, the hug-able trees in full regalia, the "backwater woods" (see below).

I left the park yesterday and I've made a two-hour detour on my trip to Virginia to spend the night at home to retrieve my pillow(!), my passport (in case I want to cross into Canada) AND to go by the computer shop to see if the hard drive problem can be remedied on my laptop. Otherwise I won't have a computer on the trip....

I MISS ALL OF YOU and send BIG BUNCHES of emoticonall around.

UPDATE: Harddrive changed under warranty -- YAY! And from that scary 150 lbs. I got up to at the end of the semester, the scale smiled at me this morning with a minus six lbs. after that wondrous week in nature commencing Maha's Magical Mystery Tour!!!

Blessed be!


Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

~ Mary Oliver ~
(American Primitive -- the collection for which she won the Pulitzer Prize)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DARKTHOR 5/25/2010 4:58PM

    I am so pleased for you and the journey you are getting to enjoy. You are richer for all of the places you get to share and they are richer for having you there to share in them.

I hope that your computer can be saved and the days to come are as wonderful as those that have passed.

-- When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something's suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful. ~Barbara Bloom

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MAEVE77 5/25/2010 4:56PM

    Great news about the weight loss - congrats! emoticon

As always, I love to hear about being on the road - you are my inspiration!

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KALIGIRL 5/25/2010 1:04PM

    emoticon on your weight!
We shall see what the goddess has in store, but we will be with you in spirit if not on line.
Safe travels.

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COSMIC_ENERGY 5/24/2010 10:35PM

    Enjoy theJourney!!!

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REBCCA 5/24/2010 8:43PM

    Lovely to have good news of your adventure. I think of you with wishes for your continued thriving happiness.

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CMRAND54 5/24/2010 8:24PM

    Wonderful poem. I'm so glad you checked in to share with us. My thoughts go with you.

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PENNYAN45 5/24/2010 8:01PM

    I am so glad you were able to check in and give us an update.
I hope you are able to have internet access on your trip; then we could get regular updates from you!

Thank you for sharing the beautiful Mary Oliver poem.

Enjoy your travels.

I'll be thinking of you.

emoticon emoticon

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GOANNA2 5/24/2010 5:52PM

    Good luck on getting the computer fixed.
I feel as though I am travelling along with you.

Mary,s poem was wonderful.
Thank you. emoticon emoticon

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BRIGHTSPARK7 5/24/2010 3:01PM

    Lovely to hear of your going through the woods. And thank you for sharing a sliver of Mary Oliver with us. Must have been wonderful to see and hear her in person. I do hope the computer problem is fixable -- and that we can stay in touch throughout your journey. I'm delighted to hear of the six pounds peeling off. Wooooo hooooooo! Do take this time to revel in your physical wellbeing, and take care of it, too, my dear.

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WALKINGANNIE 5/24/2010 2:09PM

    Love the poem, Maha.

Wishing you peace wherever you lay your head on that special pillow and safe and interesting travels.


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SLASALLE 5/24/2010 12:25PM

    Waving at your in cyberspace and wishing you continued safe journeys and amazing miracles of nature ... xoxoxo

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MAZZYR 5/24/2010 10:55AM

    Stay safe.

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DENI_ZEN 5/24/2010 8:14AM

    Good morning and bon voyage, Valerie! You're following your bliss and getting the world's more satisfying nourishment, nature, along the way. I can think of nothing more enjoyable!

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STLRZGRRL 5/24/2010 8:03AM


Godspeed, Woman, wherever the wind blows you!

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MISS_VIV 5/24/2010 8:01AM

    Don't leave home without the pillow. I know how often I have done that. I love the poem and with or without pictures I can paint lovely pictures in my mind of the wonders you are enjoying. Hope you can get the hard drive remedied and continue your magical mystery tour. Will be watching for continued posting by beloved Sandra of the events to follow.

emoticon emoticon

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JUGE300000 5/24/2010 7:33AM


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GINABUG 5/24/2010 7:20AM

    Hello dear Maha! I'm back from my travels and now you are gone! The Universe is conspiring against us! Must be too powerful for us to be together, eh? Glad you are enjoying your trip. I hope to post a bit in a Blog about my trip sometime soon! Blessings and love to you, dear Maha! Miss you!

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NORLANA 5/24/2010 7:00AM

    Beautiful poem to start my day! Thank you! Keep in touch if you pass this way :) Mwah!!

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BECOMINGONE 5/24/2010 6:54AM

    Good morning!

Wonderful to see you on Spark. I seriously hope you get your hard drive fixed so that you can commune in cyberspace on this trip. Looking forward to breakfast. Love the poem. So timely.


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PUDLECRAZY 5/24/2010 6:53AM

    Thank you for posting the poem - what a delightful way to start my day! Isn't Devil's Den a lovely spot? I went there about 10 years ago. Funny you didn't post pictures, although it was for a different reason. I have this wonderful memory of coming across an armadillo in one of the 'canyons' in the park. The armadillo was going about its business, snuffling among the leaves, and I was following it with my camera waddling low to the ground taking pictures of it. There was one shot I was particularly happy to get. I was only about 2 feet from it and it turned and looked over its shoulder at me, with this great expression of unconcern.

I finished my roll of film and was excited about getting it developed to see how my photos turned out. Opened the guessed it, no film in the camera!!! I'm glad, really, because I think the images are more firmly engraved in my mind and it made a different story. I am also glad for digital cameras though. emoticon

When do you get to VA and are you passing through Ohio?


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2/Summer10: That wonderful dance You promised....

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

This poem came in my InBox today. It's for I depart this hear another extraordinary poet tonight, Mary Oliver...and then continue wending my way east to the Satchidananda Ashram...and beyond.

Who told Joe (purveyor of beautiful poetry by subscription at end) that I was leaving this morning?

Hafiz was a Sufi poet (1350-1390). When he speaks of the "Beloved" or the "Friend," he means the divine/God/Goddess and he often addresses himself within his pieces.
"Awake, my dear.
Be kind to your sleeping heart.
Take it out into the vast fields of Light
And let it breathe."

Awake awhile.

It does not have to be
Right now.

One step upon the Sky's soft skirt
Would be enough.

Awake awhile.
Just one True moment of Love
Will last for days.

Rest all your elaborate plans and tactics
For Knowing Him,
For they are all just frozen spring buds
So far from Summer's Divine Gold.

Awake, my dear.
Be kind to your sleeping heart.
Take it out into the vast fields of Light
And let it breathe.

Give me back my wings.
Lift me,
Lift me nearer."

Say to the sun and moon,
Say to our dear Friend,

"I will take You up now, Beloved,
On that wonderful dance You promised."

~ Hafiz ~
(I Heard God Laughing - Renderings of Hafiz -- Daniel Ladinsky)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NORLANA 5/24/2010 7:04AM

    Thank you! Follow your bliss :)

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CMRAND54 5/23/2010 9:57PM

    Lovely poem. I hope you are enjoying your journey.

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PENNYAN45 5/21/2010 11:19PM

    Enjoy your 'wonderful dance' around the country! Keep dropping in along the way if you can - and let us know what you are up to.

Hope to see you soon.


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PUDLECRAZY 5/19/2010 6:02AM

    Beautiful poem, thank you for sharing it... very good for me this morning. Have a safe and wonderful trip. I hope you can keep us posted along the way.

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JERSEYGIRL1950 5/19/2010 5:27AM

    This is so beautiful you always speak to my heart and thank you have awoken the muse in me again and loving it..may all the angels and spirit guides lead you on your journey, Hugs

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BRIGHTSPARK7 5/18/2010 1:54PM

    Wishing you Godspeed and happy travels, dear Mahalakshmi.

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WALKINGANNIE 5/18/2010 1:21PM

    Wishing you a truly "wonderful Dance" on your adventures Maha. This is a fitting poem to set you on your way.

Wishing you an enriching journey.


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KALIGIRL 5/18/2010 1:08PM

    Wonderful – may we all “Awake awhile”
Safe journeys!

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STLRZGRRL 5/18/2010 12:11PM


Very. good. advice.

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SLASALLE 5/18/2010 12:06PM

    It was ME, Maha, that told Joe you were leaving this morning!!!! :-) Just kidding. BUT all kidding aside, wishing you amazing travels and a safe journey, my dear friend.

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STILLPOINT 5/18/2010 8:53AM

    Peace emanates from these words of beauty. Thank you.
What is in store at the ashram for you? Pure moments of bliss, joy, and love I pray.

Namaste Dear,

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JESPAH 5/18/2010 8:24AM

    Sweet. Have a great trip.

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_VALEO_ 5/18/2010 8:21AM

    Beautiful. Have a safe trip!

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DENI_ZEN 5/18/2010 8:05AM

    Lovely poem, Valerie! Have a wonderful trip to the ashram!

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MISS_VIV 5/18/2010 7:59AM

    ABSOLUTELY for YOU...........Travel safe, god speed.
Keep it between the lines . Have fun, be free and know that our thoughts are with you.

LOVE emoticon

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SUCHAHOOT 5/18/2010 7:47AM

    Just for YOU!!

Happy trails!!!

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Don't Panic -- Eat Organic!

Friday, May 14, 2010

I really appreciate Organic Consumers Association, a watch dog organization that provides great information and lobbies for change in this most important area -- the food we eat! Here's a summary from the article in their latest e-newsletter that just arrived to my Inbox today. I provided the link to the full article at the end of this blog.

This kind of information is sobering, but important to know about and consider acting upon. I don't take any medicine...*clean* food is my medicine.

The President's Cancer Panel says that the "risk of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated," that "nearly 80,000 chemicals [are] on the market in the United States, many of which are ... understudied and largely unregulated," and that "the public remains unaware ... that children are far more vulnerable to environmental toxins and radiation than adults."

The panel says "evidence suggests that some environmental agents may initiate or promote cancer by disrupting normal immune and endocrine system functions. The burgeoning number and complexity of known or suspected environmental carcinogens compel us to act to protect public health, even though we may lack irrefutable proof of harm."

Check out these examples selected from the recommendations:

* Parents and child care providers should choose foods, house and garden products, play spaces, toys, medicines, and medical tests that will minimize children's exposure to toxins. Ideally, both mothers and fathers should avoid exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals.
* It is preferable to use filtered tap water instead of commercially bottled water.
* Exposure to pesticides can be decreased by choosing ... food grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers [translation: organics] and washing conventionally grown produce to remove residues.
* Exposure to antibiotics, growth hormones, and toxic run-off from livestock feedlots can be minimized by eating free-range meat [translation: don't eat feedlot meat].

-- Marion Nestle, professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University, and the author of Food Politics, Safe Food, What to Eat, reporting in the Atlantic, May 12, 2010, on a new report from the President's Cancer Panel.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FLORIDASUN 6/28/2010 10:17AM

    Thanks dear one...I just bookmarked the website...I put it in my folder marked "Health" that folder is growing by the day! emoticon

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_VALEO_ 5/18/2010 8:24AM

    I've been buying organic food and local food for 20 years ago... when it was not even "trendy." People thought I was a "lunatic" or a "snob" ... now mentalities are changing... slowly...

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MEDDYPEDDY 5/17/2010 11:17PM

    I have to admit that I don´t go for the organic to save myself or my child, it´s too much an overwhelming task. I do it to save the planet which is much more comprehensible...

Oh, and I have already had my cancer so I´m statistically safe emoticon

Comment edited on: 5/17/2010 11:18:24 PM

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DENI_ZEN 5/17/2010 11:13PM

    What a terrific blog entry, Valerie! I can't say I buy organic all the time, but just this year I've really hit the farmers' market. The difference in flavor has been enough to knock my proverbial socks off! As for water, I just use a Brita filter on our tap water. I don't drink the bottled variety unless I really have to. Those #1 plastic bottles so often get shipped to China for recycling, which is just screwy - we waste all that energy getting our recyclables over there when we could do it right here! - Sandi

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KALIGIRL 5/16/2010 9:25PM

    emoticon and have a safe trip!

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SLASALLE 5/16/2010 5:21PM

    As always, Maha, great information. As you know, I've been moving more and more organic all the time. I started by using the "dirty dozen" and "clean 15" lists, which helped with the food budget as we gradually make our way through the maze of trying to eat healthier and cleaner!

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WALKINGANNIE 5/15/2010 2:59PM

    Wise words as ever Maha.

Thank you.

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CMRAND54 5/15/2010 7:46AM

    I totally agree that we need to teach about good foods in schools and communities. I was thinking of areas in the inner city where there are no plots for growing food, and there aren't even many good grocery stores. Some people seem to have no option but to buy fast foods and packaged foods because better choices aren't available. I can at least get organic foods at the Whole Foods 2 miles from my house.

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FRANCESCANAZ 5/15/2010 7:10AM

    Amen ! I need to work on developing a Spanish lesson on this topic for my high school classes in September. The education on clean eating is step numero uno! Gracias amigas, Francesca

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OMTIGGER 5/15/2010 6:40AM

    This is great information for everyone to have... thank you for sharing! There are so many reasons to choose organic food whenever possible... health, taste, feel. Thank you for passing this info along!

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BAGGYPANTS5 5/15/2010 3:30AM

    It's not only food. I've long been suspicious of the highly coloured plastic toys we give to children these days. Who knows what they're chewing and sucking? And what about plastic in the microwave? Those ready meals? I'm also suspicious of tap water in this country, especially at the weekend when it often has a strange taste. In the west we generally have enough to eat these days, but at what cost?
Good blog, Maha.

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GOANNA2 5/15/2010 12:54AM

    Thanks for that!

I am only now starting to appreciate my Greek roots
as we grew everything and everything was eaten it its

I am still trying to eat the way I did when I was growing up.

have fun on this great journey of yours.

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GREENCAT1 5/14/2010 11:23PM

    Everyone needs this information. We also choose food as our "medicine". We buy in bulk from a co-op, garden, barter, and cut corners elsewhere. I am grateful to have this choice. Thanks for the great blog Maha!

Cathy emoticon

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PUDDLE_JUMPER 5/14/2010 11:22PM

    I have become able to eat whole foods as opposed to the poor diet I used to have generally speaking but I have not yet converted to organic. I do try to limit chemicals in my diet yet at the same time I am not that aware when it comes to the whole spectrum of organic shopping and have physical limitations so raising my own food will not happen at this time. Buying and feeding myself organic definitely will be a goal of mine over time though. I realize it is much better not only for me but for the local economies and the carbon footprint and protecting the Earth. Though, I see it happening one step at a time. Thank you for raising my awareness to this important issue and health concern.

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BODYNSOIL1 5/14/2010 11:15PM

    This is so true, we are working hard to be as organic and green as we can. Recently we were told that vanilla extract has antifreeze in it and that it was approved for that use by the FDA.. I guess because in small amount it won't make you sick according to the government.. scary.

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DDOORN 5/14/2010 11:13PM

    "*clean* food is my medicine."
...LOVE IT! I strive for that as well!

Thx for these reminders of the importance of "clean" foods!


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VALERIEMAHA 5/14/2010 9:51PM

    As I said to CMRAND54, I feel very fortunate that I can make the choice to eat organic. I I live very simply. Clean food is my major splurge...on my fixed-income social security (my only source of income).

We need to emphasize and teach organic gardening in the schools and in the community...with community plots for those who have no land. We need to reprioritize what's important to us. And we need to make it easier and more cost-effective for everyone to eat clean...and teach knowledge of whole foods and how to cook with them.

We live in a nation that relies on packaged, canned and frozen processed foods. No wonder we're so sick and the medical complex is growing so.

It's so sad to me....

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WATERMELLEN 5/14/2010 9:30PM

    Clean healthy food is so important: but not always inexpensive. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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STLRZGRRL 5/14/2010 9:13PM

    Access, CM, is ex-ACT-ly the issue... so many people can't get within 50 miles of fresh food... plus the crummy food that IS available... marketed to high heaven so people think they want it and can't live without it and it consists of the same 5 ingredients plus food color and artificial flavoring that are the most highly processed, pesticide sprayed and otherwise mangled beyond recognition things...


AND quit spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico (AND ANYWHERE ELSE)...


Also, Trade Ben Roethlisberger... Wait. That's a different blog...

HUGS to YOU, Maha!!!!

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CMRAND54 5/14/2010 8:00PM

    Locally grown, organic food is definitely the best way to go if you have the option. My concern is that for a lot of people there really is no option but a local chain grocery store or Walmart and what can be bought with a limited budget.

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GRYFFINSONG 5/14/2010 7:56PM

    Good information, thanks for sharing it!


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