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19/Summer10: Unconditional love

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I have been graced and deeply blessed with the unconditional love of SparkFriends who have opened up their homes and hearts to me...first Rebecca; then in 2009 Stephanie and Gina; bringing in 2010, Kathy and Vivian.

And now this summer:

Tracey, who welcomed me into her home and life in an incredibly loving and expansive way. Amazing.

And SUSANNAH31, where I'm currently enjoying the beauty of the Jersey Shore, her generous hospitality and the sweet communion of women friends, who would seemingly have known each other for many moons.

Sue and the others have accepted me and opened themselves to me without asking for anything in return. In EACH case I feel like we've known each other for years. The level of connection is deep and strong...and I feel the bonds of sisterhood growing. Stephanie gave me The Elegant Gathering of White Snows, a novel that talks beautifully about sisterhood...and I've been telling all my close women friends to read it.

Locust Lake State Park, PA, where pennyAn came to meet me


At Lew's recommendation, Sue and I went to Jim Thorpe, a fascinating PA town. This beautiful stone church was awe-inspiring.

Sue and I were both struck by its beauty

Today Sue and I spent time on the beach walking and exploring the birds at the preserve next to the beach.
At the end of this picture-perfect summer day and with near-overwhelming feelings of gratitude and grace, I can think of no more fitting tribute than this Mary Oliver piece, "lifting me...into the world's unspeakable kindness":



black, slick,
galloping in the pitch
of the waves, in the pearly

fields of the sea,
they leap toward us,
they rise, sparkling, and vanish, and rise sparkling,
they breathe little clouds of mist, they lift perpetual smile,

they slap their tails on the waves, grandmothers and grandfathers
enjoying the old jokes,
they circle around us,
they swim with us -


a hundred white-sided dolphins
on a summer day,
each one, as God himself
could not appear more acceptable

a hundred times,
in a body blue and black threading through
the sea foam,
and lifting himself up from the opened

tents of the waves on his fishtail,
to look
with the moon of his eye
into my heart,


and find there
pure, sudden, steep, sharp, painful
that falls -

I don't know - either
unbearable tons
or the pale, bearable hand
of salvation

on my neck,
lifting me
from the boat's plain plank seat
into the world's


unspeakable kindness.
It is my sixty-third summer on earth
and, for a moment, I have almost vanished
into the body of the dolphin,

into the moon-eye of God,
into the white fan that lies at the bottom of the sea
with everything
that ever was, or ever will be,

supple, wild, rising on flank or fishtail -
singing or whistling or breathing damply through blowhole
at top of head. Then, in our little boat, the dolphins suddenly gone,
we sailed on through the brisk, cheerful day.

~ Mary Oliver ~
(What Do We Know?)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHANTISHANTI 7/15/2010 9:35PM

    I just love following you on your adventure... and I just adore Mary Oliver. Be safe!

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FRANCESCANAZ 7/13/2010 4:41PM

    Oh hizo llorar. Tus palabras lindas, la foto de Pennyan hermosa y el poema linda. Hace pronto...Francesca emoticon

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SLASALLE 7/13/2010 3:11PM

    My dear friend, Maha!! So glad to hear ALL of this and happy that you're having a wonderful journey with so many dear friends met along the way ... I know how that happens!!! :-)

I'm also delighted to be able to share something with you (An Elegant Gathering of White Snows) as you have shared so very much with me, far too much to list here.

Keep up the wonderful journey ...


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LEWISH11 7/13/2010 11:05AM

    I'm glad you enjoyed NEPA

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GREENCAT1 7/13/2010 11:00AM

    Again dear friend, I thank you for sharing your journey! The pics are beautiful. I look forward to more of your blogs!

Cathy emoticon

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WALKINGANNIE 7/12/2010 5:56PM

    I really enjoyed this blog and especially the photos of PennyAn, who looks lovely. It's great that you are spending time together.

The dolphins brought back very happy memories of summer days in the Western Isles of Scotland, where dolphins sometimes play in the wake behind the ferry that we travel on.

Happy memories!

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DARKTHOR 7/12/2010 4:49PM

    They have asked for something in return. Your happiness, your companionship. Of course, you give those freely, so it is hardly a 'cost'.

I'm so thrilled about your wonderful journey and the friends you've gotten to share it with.

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EARTHSEAME 7/12/2010 10:54AM

    I enjoyed catching up on your blogs and seeing all the pix - thank you for sharing!

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GOANNA2 7/12/2010 9:43AM

    Love the poem and your what a wonderful trip!

I agree that it has been a beautiful journey for us all of us at Spark.


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MAZZYR 7/12/2010 5:48AM


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ABQUEST 7/12/2010 1:49AM

    Thank you for sharing and spreading the love!

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DENI_ZEN 7/11/2010 10:22PM

    What a beautiful Mary Oliver poem! And PennyAn looks terrific, doesn't she? Very joyful! I'm so glad this has turned out to be a rich and fulfilling trip for you, Maha! And thanks for taking us along for the ride! - Sandi emoticon

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COSMIC_ENERGY 7/11/2010 10:01PM

    WOW--what wonderful places and people! Enjoy-we are blessed to travel with you!

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CARRAND 7/11/2010 9:06PM

    Wonderful blog. Wonderful poetry. Thank you so much for sharing.

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JULIETEXAS 7/11/2010 8:23PM

    Amazing, thanks for sharing!

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BUNNYCATS 7/11/2010 8:11PM

    Lovely poem!!! Beautiful pictures. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MISS_VIV 7/11/2010 7:38PM

    I am so thankful to be counted among your sisters. I enjoy your blogs and know that you will have these memories living in your soul forever. Enjoy all that you have as you continue your Magical Mystery Tour. Keep that little 'Dolphin' running smoothly and it will get you back home safely.

Know that you are loved.


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PENNYAN45 7/11/2010 7:28PM

    What a treat it is to be your friend in 'life' as well as your Spark Friend!

Thanks for this memorable adventure that you and I have shared together.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KAT573 7/11/2010 7:12PM

    a wondermost blog! thank you for sharing your journeys and joinings with us!

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GENKI_WARRIOR 7/11/2010 7:06PM

    where would we be without friends?
beautiful pictures, maha--thanks for sharing : )

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18/Summer10: Just the facts, m'am....

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Rear view: Harmony * Coexist * Yogaville

Packin' up, gettin' ready to leave this lovely little home

This final leg of the trip is around 3000 miles (including Montreal, which I may eliminate, reducing the total by around 300 miles), which will mean that the total mileage for Maha's Magical Mystery Tour 2010 will be over 6000!!!

By *sticking to my guns* and not driving more than four hours or about 200 miles per day (yep that's right; I'm using 45mph as my gage), I need about two weeks for the actual journey.

I have a total of five weeks available before fall semester begins. That means I have three weeks for enjoying the sights and visiting friends...and lots of bicycling.

I like that!

Oh yeah...and Thursday SUSANNAH31 and I are camping at Locust Lake State Park, PA, LEWISH11's park!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SLASALLE 7/13/2010 3:14PM

    Now how did I miss this blog??? The bumper sticker - classic! As you know, it's also on Beth's car. (Lynn, if you read this, I'll see if I can locate one for you).

Hope to catch up with you soon!


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GINABUG 7/10/2010 10:18AM

    Safe journey, my dear friend!

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MAEVE77 7/7/2010 6:47PM

    Thinking of you, Maha! Have a great trip.... emoticon

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GOANNA2 7/7/2010 4:39PM

    What a great time you are having.
Relaxing and I am so envious, but I
feel like I have travelled with you.

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MAZZYR 7/7/2010 11:59AM

    Enjoy, stay safe.

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KALIGIRL 7/7/2010 8:16AM

    Sounds like a wonderful, relaxing plan - be safe.

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STLRZGRRL 7/7/2010 6:48AM

    Sooo. yer comin' thru Mooville, yes?

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BECOMINGONE 7/7/2010 6:48AM

    Hope you are back in time for the birthday celebration August 15! Not to be selfish or anything ... it wouldn't be the same without its founding mother.


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PENNYAN45 7/6/2010 11:04PM

    See you soon, my friend!


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LYNNANN43 7/6/2010 9:39PM

    I love your updates of your Magical Mystery Tour!

And BTW... i really would like one of those Coexist bumper stickers:D


P.S. was so relaxed in the final relaxation pose in yoga class that I was thisclose to falling asleep this evening. LOL

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COSMIC_ENERGY 7/6/2010 9:25PM

    Woop Woop Woop--Look out Canadians--Hey she comes!

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FRANCESCANAZ 7/6/2010 8:49PM

    I haven't been to Montreal since they began requiring passports or an enhanced NY liscence to cross the border last spring. I don't have either. I actually prefer Burlington, VT across the lake although the botanical gardens & Old Montreal are nice. Hope to see you soon. emoticon

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MISS_VIV 7/6/2010 8:40PM

    Enjoy every minute of this magical trip. Take your time and savor the beauty that is there. Montreal could be a special trip all it's own at another time.
You are such a wise woman.

God Speed
Blessed be

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CARRAND 7/6/2010 8:27PM

    You sure are having a good trip this summer. I'm jealous of your freedom. Enjoy!

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17/Summer10: Go North Woman!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Gazing up on a straight line while standing at LOTUS (Light of Truth Universal Shrine) you first see Chidambaram (shown in my last blog --
), then continuing up that visual line, at the very top of the hill is Kailash, where the amazing brass image of Shiva Nataraj is housed. This architectural format follows the classical Vastu Shastra system of design.

A close-up of he 6' Shiva Nataraj (dancing Shiva)

Shiva Nataraj can be seen inside of Kailash

Looking down at the top of Chidambaram and then below that at LOTUS, from the Kailash vantage point

Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,

what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.

In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.

And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~
(In Praise of Mortality, translated and edited by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy)

My second stay this summer at my spiritual home is drawing to a close. Ahhhhhhhhh. Continuing the breathing that makes more space around me, moving on to strange new darkness, to new crossroads, and the constant of the loneliness of the are my travel plans as they are currently unfolding.

1. I LEAVE THE ASHRAM (AGAIN) BRIGHT-AND-EARLY THURSDAY MORNING JULY 8, spending the first night at Pennsylvania's Locust Lake State Park, a pajama party with PENNYAN! SFriend Lew is the park director, so we'd better get some extra special treatment, huh!

2. Friday I head NE, crossing the Hudson River to the HR Valley and Mt. Kisco to visit dear old friends from Ecuador, about an hr. N of NYC, leaving by the morning of July 14, heading to the Sufi retreat.

3. N to New Lebanon in the Berkshires, which sits right next to MA, for a silent retreat with Pir Zia Inayat Khan, head of the Sufi Order on July 15-18, hoping to rendezvous with Azimat there!!!

4. Continue N to visit SFriend Francesca at Lake Champlain in the Adirondacks, which sits next to VT...and go kayaking -- WHEE!!! While there we hope to rendezvous with Kathleen (OkeyDokey) in Burlington, VT. There's a wonderful bike path there, and Francesca are both taking our Trek's on the ferry!

5. Perhaps N to Montreal, never having been there -- perhaps I'll take a class at the Integral Yoga Center!

6. Or else directly to Alexandria Bay in the 1000 Islands Region of the St. Lawrence Seaway. I've been advised there's a MUST DO 4-hr. boat tour of the islands whle I'm there.

7. S into the Fingerlakes area in the Catskills, beginning with Ithaca and Cornell University and then W, camping and bicycling my way through them

8. W to Niagara Falls, especially to the Canadian side. There's another MUST DO boat ride, the Maid of the Mist.

9. SW through OH to Yellow Springs and Antioch College, hoping to visit SFriends there

10. SW to my "stompin' grounds" Conway (central AR) to get ready for the fall semester! Gotta' be there by around August 13.

There's always "the best laid plans" aspect of the travel process but, in any case, these are my present intentions.

And now I'm going to immerse myself in this amazing day!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AZIMAT 7/8/2010 2:33PM

    Oooh, you are awesome!

Can't wait, can't wait.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PUDLECRAZY 7/6/2010 9:46PM


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GIANTPANDA 7/6/2010 9:32PM

    Amazing post!

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FRANCESCANAZ 7/6/2010 8:55PM

    Yes, kayaking on lake Champlain, & perhaps a ride on our Treks in Vermont? emoticon

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KALIGIRL 7/6/2010 1:53PM

    Love the idea of 'expanding'
Fabulous pictures and sounds like a wonderful end to your trip.
Be safe.

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DRAGONFLY7149 7/6/2010 1:13AM

    Oh shucks...not heading towards the west coast...maybe next summer? But, I do extend a 'welcome to Canada' to you and hope you enjoy -- Montreal is an amazing city and wish I could connect you with our eldest somewhere along the St. Lawrence seaway or the Great Lakes...but my 'sailor' is hard to keep track of and after they ran aground the other night their schedule is up in the air. So glad you're having a great journey...take care and be well!

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DENI_ZEN 7/5/2010 11:14PM

    There is nothing more rewarding, I feel, than travel by car! I'm so glad you have this opportunity to do plenty of just that. I feel like I'm a character from John Steinbeck's "Travels with Charley," and it's as if I were just along for the ride :) I would imagine New York holds an abundance of natural beauty, too. Enjoy your travels! - Sandi emoticon

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    Alan and I took some of those same roads a few years back...The night we spent on the Canadian side of Niagara...absolutely gorgeous! And the finger lakes...hard to believe they share the state with Manhattan! Blessings, my friend, as you forge on. And give my love to the sparkers whose friendship we share!

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GOANNA2 7/5/2010 5:31PM

    Love the sonnet too.
I am so enjoying your wisdom and journey.

Makes me rethink my life and I thank you.
Namaste. emoticon

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BRIGHTSPARK7 7/5/2010 3:14PM

    LOVE the sonnet, Mahalakshmi.
And you.


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    Oh if we were in the states right now, IŽd be in your path and we would meet!

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WALKINGANNIE 7/5/2010 1:59PM

    Thanks as ever for sharing your adventure in words and pictures, Maha. I enjoy following your travels.

I hadn't come across the SONNETS TO ORPHEUS, PART TWO, XXIX before but the words meant a great deal to me today. I will keep the poem to re-read as it reinforces the joy of my return from the brink of death to my new Sparklife. I have been feeling a bit anxious about going back into hospital next week for more surgery and these words have boosted my confidence.

In gratitude,


emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SLASALLE 7/5/2010 1:01PM

    Beautiful friend - Looks like things are taking shape for you ... at least for now. :-)

As always, thanks for sharing your journey with us ... life is so interesting to me in so many ways, and your journey is one small piece of it all.

With love,
xoxoxo from KC

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COSMIC_ENERGY 7/5/2010 10:26AM

    You are an amazing woman! Brave, adventuresome, living true to your nature. Can't wait to see each new installment and proud to be part of this summer trek!

You do have your passport with you right? Just looked up "going to Canada" for my daughter and realized you now need a passport or ppcard

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PEACEFULONE 7/5/2010 9:56AM

    It is in the "loneliness of the road" on this journey of life that we find our true selves. Of all the people I know you are one of the most found and yet you continue to expand.

I am so glad you will be continuing your journey through one of the most beautiful areas of the country. But surely a difficult choice to leave the beauty and friendship of the ashram.

Thank you for your marvelous blogs Maha. May your days continue to be filled with beauty, adventure and enjoyment and bring you safely home.

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LYNNANN43 7/5/2010 8:44AM

    I'm so grateful to travel vicariously through you, MAHA!

I feel much more centered now, and am SO looking forward to our further journeys!


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BECOMINGONE 7/5/2010 8:41AM

    Ambitious ... you will be singing "on the road again" a lot. Hope you have a wonderful journey!


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GREENCAT1 7/5/2010 8:23AM

    Your trip sounds wonderful! I love Lake Champlain, though I always see it from the VT side. We are hoping to go to VT and ME before the summer is over! Enjoy your trip. I am enjoying your daily updates and photos. Thanks for sharing!

Cathy emoticon

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HEALTHY4ME 7/5/2010 8:10AM

    OH fantastic!!! you will have a great time enjoying the scenery and all the friends and activites. I am wishing you were closer to me as you cross into Canada. LOL perhaps I can lure you nearer there is a group of monks of some order that live in the Cape Breton highlands of Nova Scotia. I don't know a lot about them other than that have a vow of silence at least for some part. My friend was goign to go there for while. No matters I know you will enjoy it all.
Have a super time and safe travels!


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FRANCESCANAZ 7/5/2010 7:37AM

    emoticonLake Champlain, The Adirondacks...that's me! Do you like to kayak? Have a blessed day mi amiga. emoticon

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STLRZGRRL 7/5/2010 7:29AM

    Holy Moley!

Maha, by the end of this summer I think you will have gone everywhere there is to go!!

You are an astonishment, my dear best most wonderful friend...

Travel safe plz... and did you get the DVD, yet?

*crosses fingers and hopes so*...

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16/Summer10: A guest arrives at the ashram

Thursday, July 01, 2010

A perfect lotus flower from the garden of Conway friend Siaw Khian (Buddhist, originally from Malaysia), who also photographed it.


"The lotus is considered to he a very holy and divine flower. Not just because of its beauty, hut also because of its qualities. A lotus flower grows in very shallow water, usually in a muddy area. Though it comes out of the mud and mire, it rises as a beautiful flower that lives in the water without being affected by it. The lotus flower is always given as an example for one who wants to live spiritually in the world. It is said, 'Live like a lotus in the water.' The lotus leaf is right in the water, hut it's never moistened by the water When you pick it up, it's completely dry. It never gets wet. If you throw a little water over it, the water will roll off and scatter around like pearls.

"A person should live like the lotus, being in the world but not affected by it. You should always express your natural beauty, though you may grow in a dirty place. Nothing from outside should affect you.

"The lotus is a symbol of love and devotion also. If you ever see the Goddesses Lakshmi or Saraswati you would see that they're standing on a lotus. Wherever Lord Buddha placed his foot, a lotus appeared to hold it. The feet of a holy person are called the 'lotus feet.'

"The lotus flower turns its head towards the sun always. That means it always turns towards the light; it receives the light constantly. So you can say it's an ever-enlightened flower.

"Om Shanthi, Shanthi, Shanthi"
-- Sri Swami Satchidananda

Catching a quick shot of an amazing sunset night-before-last as we left Chidambaram Temple, after cleaning there

Yesterday a beloved swami, Sri Maruthachalam, a dear friend of Swami Satchidananda from the same area of southern India, was hosted for lunch at Yaeko's home. She is the 86-year old artist-mother of Swami Dayananda (who invited me to be here for these festivities). I am staying on Yaeko's property.

62-yr. old Dayananda(who looks 32-yr. old!!!) is ALWAYS on the move. Such a beautiful soul and such and inspiration to me!

The "tip of the iceburg" of Yaeko's work

86-yr. old Yaeko and her friend Turtle, as the Native American ashram member is known.

Yaeko garlanding the arriving guest, Swami Maruthachalam, head of the Perur Temple in Coimbuture, south India.

Swami Maruthachalam

The *hostesses-with-the-mostestesses* and the swami

There were 35 guests for lunch, and four of us completed all the preparations, and cleaned up. Of course we also partook in the delicious meal!

This morning Swami Maruthachalam will perform a puja (worship service) at Chidambaram above the LOTUS temple here at the ashram, where he performed ceremonies in 2002 after Swami Satchidananda left the body.

I will soon have to decide whether to continue here at the ashram through Guru Poonima (a celebration of the guru) or to travel to upstate New York to attend a silent retreat with Pir Zia Inayat Khan, a revered teacher and the head of Sufi Order International.

I attended a retreat many moons ago in California with his father, Pir Vilayat, who was then head of the Order. Darshan (being in the presence) with spiritual masters carries a very special blessing, and I would ALSO be blessed with the presence of AZIMAT(!!!), a long-time student who will be attending.

Also, if I went north I MIGHT have the opportunity to meet other wonderful friends and SparkPeople such as PennyAn, and Francesca and Azimat! Not to mention the possibility of seeing Niagara Falls!

Hmmmm...decisions! DECISIONS!!! What say ye, oh wise and perceptive SparkFriends???

Better to "cool my heels" and remain in my spiritual home, soaking up the practices and preparing to return to school in the continue the summer odyssey, traveling new paths, meeting new adventures head-on, and having the great honor of encountering Pir Zia?


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STLRZGRRL 7/5/2010 7:37AM

    It seems I am late to this party but I will ring in even though you have listened to these wonderful people's wise advice... whatever you do is the right thing... and Ithaca IS a beautiful place in the summer!

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BRIGHTSPARK7 7/3/2010 11:18PM

    My heart says it's very beautiful to be at your spiritual home for Guru Purnima, though it's a couple of weeks away. I can also understand the attraction for the Sufi retreat. Satsang either way.
Love the photo glimpses into your adventure.
Hugs 'n love,

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BECOMINGONE 7/3/2010 6:36AM

    Ahhh... that is a question only you can answer. It is one of those delightful questions that has no right answer -- only a decision. Either way you will be blessed -- I have no doubt. How I envy your summer journey but how I appreciate it vicariously through your blogs.


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FRANCESCANAZ 7/2/2010 9:13AM

    Hoe beautiful it is there & how beautiful the people also. You have a difficult decision to make. Meditate on it.. emoticon Paz, francesca

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KALIGIRL 7/2/2010 8:11AM

    I wonder which is the path least traveled?
You will have marvelous adventures either way, some more spiritual and some more emotional.
emoticon for sharing the photos and info about the lotus. I look upon my water lilies and feel the same - not quite as exquisite, but color seeking the sun.

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COSMIC_ENERGY 7/2/2010 12:25AM

    I agee with everyone--Ok--I think you should go North. You've had 2 lovely stays there and I think you'd like to see more! I love N. Falls! Where ever you go--there you are.

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KRISKECK 7/1/2010 8:52PM

    Thank you for such a beautiful blog and the lvoely lotus... what a wonderful choice you have! I am sure whatever decision you make will be the right one for you.

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DENI_ZEN 7/1/2010 8:33PM

    What a delicious dilemma you've got :) Thank you for sharing your experiences at the ashram, too - the lotus is strikingly beautiful. - Sandi

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GOANNA2 7/1/2010 6:25PM

    Thanks for sharing.
Namaste emoticon

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WENDYSPARKS 7/1/2010 5:36PM

    Very nice pictures! I love the lotus flower! I also love oriental lilies. hugs, wendy emoticon emoticon

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BUNNYCATS 7/1/2010 5:34PM

    The finger lake region is beautiful in the Summer. Penn Yan is on Keuka Lake. I'm from Ithaca, NY on Cayuga Lake, just a couple of lakes over. There are many beautiful waterfalls and gorges near Penn Yan. Watkins Glen State Park is beautiful is very close.
"Within two miles, the glen's stream descends 400 feet past 200-foot cliffs, generating 19 waterfalls along its course. The gorge path winds over and under waterfalls and through the spray of Cavern Cascade."
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WALKINGANNIE 7/1/2010 4:22PM

    Thanks for sharing the people and places that are enriching your life Maha. I hope that your next choice is enriching too, whatever you decide.


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MISS_VIV 7/1/2010 4:08PM

    I am sure you already have your answer and you have already made up your mind. The road you travel will be blessed with many wonders, no matter which road you take. When you need to say the answer out loud, it will be there for you and I feel it will be the right choice. Neither choice would be wrong, as there is never any wrong road.

Blessed be.
Much love

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REBCCA 7/1/2010 3:23PM

    What a beautiful blog and lotus message. Thank you for the pictures that bring it in even more clearly.

It clearly sounds to me like you are ready to travel north. How lovely to have both options. Niagra Falls is amazing.

Happy Trails! emoticon

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MAZZYR 7/1/2010 1:04PM

    Oh Maha, I love reading and seeing the pictures of all the interesting people and places you are visiting. I even enjoyed the pictures of cooking with kale!

BTW, Pearl received the gift of hope from a doctor at Sloan Kettering. Our family is so grateful.

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SLASALLE 7/1/2010 12:47PM

    Sit with it and breathe into both possibilities until you have to make a decision ... the choice will happen. VERY TRUE - neither is right or wrong AND BOTH are good options.


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PUDLECRAZY 7/1/2010 11:07AM

    Your heart will know. Being still, listening, you will know what is right. And there is no wrong choice. Just a choice.

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GENKI_WARRIOR 7/1/2010 10:23AM

    i think either choice would continue the odyssey ;D

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GREENCAT1 7/1/2010 10:07AM

    Thank you for sharing the details of your journey! I long to be there with you! Enjoy!

Cathy emoticon

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PENNYAN45 7/1/2010 9:40AM

    I say travel north too! LOL!

Thanks for the inspiring information about the lotus flower.

Your photos bring us along into your experiences - thanks for that too.

I hope you continue to have an enjoyable and fulfilling time - whichever route you take.


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LYNNANN43 7/1/2010 8:55AM

    Neither of those 2 choices could possibly be wrong, my favorite lotus flower:D


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HEALTHY4ME 7/1/2010 8:47AM

    I say travel... I have been admiring your spirit and ability to do this on your own. I wish I had an inkling of it!!! Me I live in Fear of so much and an now only learning how to be calmer and face some of that fear.
Go, travel, meet up with other like souls and meet some new and interesting sparkers. and hey The falls are fantastic lol now that is the Canadian side HA Been on both but the Canadian more so and hey I am Canadian and have to push it being Canada Day and all. LOL
HUGS and I am sure you will enjoy no matter what you chose.

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JESPAH 7/1/2010 8:19AM

    Upstate New York can be rather lovely. Mr. J and I took our first, very brief, honeymoon in Port Jervis (there's an old railroad station there) back in '92.

Of course the falls, etc. is farther North.

May you ever be a lotus flower.

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15/Summer10: Life without rehearsal!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

OK, so I'm back at the ashram, I had a luxurious night's sleep in this lovely well-appointed little house that I've been gifted with "as long as I wish to be here", I'm sipping my second cup of coffee, enjoying wi-fi(!), enjoying the welcoming bird symphony, looking out the window at my Kurmavatara...and beyond to this wooded beauty that surrounds the ashram and wondering....

One of my favorite poets, Wislawa Szymborska, has captured my anxiety about the "no rewind," "life is what happens while you're waiting for life to happen" nature of this incarnation. I do see the sense in the concept of reincarnation and many masters say that having a human birth is a rare and precious gift. The obvious response to that is to live each moment mindfully, treating each day as a gift, not wasting a moment of this gift.

It's a reflection that has come to me frequently during the long hours of my solitude on this summer journey...and in this life in general. Back here at the ashram, where the inner work is BOLD AND HIGHLIGHTED, I consider long-and-hard once again, as Mary Oliver says, "what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?":


Life While-You-Wait.
Performance without rehearsal.
Body without alterations.
Head without premeditation.

I know nothing of the role I play.
I only know it's mine. I can't exchange it.

I have to guess on the spot
just what this play's all about.

Ill-prepared for the privilege of living,
I can barely keep up with the pace that the action demands.
I improvise, although I loathe improvisation.
I trip at every step over my own ignorance.
I can't conceal my hayseed manners.
My instincts are for happy histrionics.
Stage fright makes excuses for me, which humiliate me more.
Extenuating circumstances strike me as cruel.

Words and impulses you can't take back,
stars you'll never get counted,
your character like a raincoat you button on the run ?
the pitiful results of all this unexpectedness.

If only I could just rehearse one Wednesday in advance,
or repeat a single Thursday that has passed!
But here comes Friday with a script I haven't seen.
Is it fair, I ask
(my voice a little hoarse,
since I couldn't even clear my throat offstage).

You'd be wrong to think that it's just a slapdash quiz
taken in makeshift accommodations. Oh no.
I'm standing on the set and I see how strong it is.
The props are surprisingly precise.
The machine rotating the stage has been around even longer.
The farthest galaxies have been turned on.
Oh no, there's no question, this must be the premiere.
And whatever I do
will become forever what I've done.

~ Wislawa Szymborska ~
(Poems New and Collected 1957-1997,
trans. S. Baranczak and C. Cavanagh)

LOTUS = Light of Truth Universal Shrine at Satchidananda Ashram...just down the road, a favorite place for noon meditation.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DENI_ZEN 6/30/2010 7:35PM

    What a peaceful little place to be staying! I'm loving these travels of yours as much as I enjoyed reading John Steinbeck's "Travels with Charley" when I was a kid :) The Shrine is beautiful, too! - Sandi emoticon

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BRIGHTSPARK7 6/29/2010 8:27PM

    Lovely. "The inner work is BOLD and HIGHLIGHTED." Sending thoughts of peace for your inner adventure.

It has been a quiet, introspective day here in California. I deliberately didn't go out on any errands today, secluding myself within myself. Lovely to read that it is not a rehearsal.

Pranams to you dear Mahalakshmi!

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WATERMELLEN 6/29/2010 8:16PM

    Inspiring blog -- this journey you're on is simultaneously inner/outer. Thanks for bringing us along!

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ABQUEST 6/29/2010 6:42PM

    Enjoyed your beautiful blog entry...! Love you Maha!!!

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MAEVE77 6/29/2010 5:41PM

    Hi Maha! Looks like you are having a great time at the ashram and on your travels. I'm envious! I checked out the ashram website and was really impressed. What a wonderful place. emoticon

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WALKINGANNIE 6/29/2010 3:46PM

    I was certainly "Ill-prepared for the privilege of living" - but I'm getting there with inspiration from people like you.


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COSMIC_ENERGY 6/29/2010 1:48PM

    Beauty all around you - coming from you - within you - reflected back to you.

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GREENCAT1 6/29/2010 1:29PM


Cathy emoticon

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KALIGIRL 6/29/2010 1:27PM

    Wonderful setting!
Thank you for reminding us to LIVE our lives.

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FLORIDASUN 6/29/2010 10:28AM

    What a lovely, lovely peaceful abode...perfect for you! Be blessed!

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FRANCESCANAZ 6/29/2010 10:14AM

    Hermosa1 I am sorry not to see you here in the Adirondacks, but you are exactly where you should be. Hermosa!

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GINABUG 6/29/2010 9:13AM

    Maha, Maha, Maha!

Just back from Milwaukee where I heard wonderful people talk about life and leadership and love and service! I had your voice on my answering machine and thought -- "Oh, so that is what they all sound like!"

Missing you...and catching up from my travels. Many travelers will be staying at my home this weekend, but will do my best to catch up with you (and Stephanie) soon!

Love and light, dear friend! The journey is so delicious and YOU are at the feast!


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PUDLECRAZY 6/29/2010 9:11AM


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STLRZGRRL 6/29/2010 8:06AM

    ... whatever I do
will become forever what I've done.

Unless... of course... I decide to change it.

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NORLANA 6/29/2010 7:54AM

    ... and THIS I find just as I'm about to ceremoneously end my account this morning .... heheheh. You arrive ALWAYS just at the right moment :) And, you left me a link at the bottom so I too could read the great poems. When I do, I will think of you and our wonderful connection.

Much love. What a cute little place to rest and restore. It IS possible to stay there "as long as you want" and I hope that you do - even beyond this little retreat.

What WILL you do with your one wild and precious life? You have inspired me to ask the same. :)


Be well!


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BECOMINGONE 6/29/2010 7:36AM

    Love the poem. Sent it to Renee -- even though she does not wait for life. I'm so glad you are taking this journey. I hope it brings you the joy you seek.


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SWDOTB2 6/29/2010 7:24AM


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ALEXANDRA64 6/29/2010 7:21AM

    Interesting... I don't know that I would want a rehearsal, lol. Life is such a rocky road that I'd rather address it as it comes then know ahead what will happen. I have always found the strength to face things as they happen but I don't ever have the strength to face possibilities if you know what I mean so I try to keep my focus on today specifically and not look toward the future or have expectations or even regrets of the past. Life is about the moment. It took a long time to learn that though...

There are no ashrams around my neck of the woods so lucky you for finding one you could be at. Be at peace...

emoticon emoticon

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