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21/Summer10: FRESH

Monday, July 19, 2010

I just spoke to dear lovely Francesca (FRANCESCANAZ); we'll meet about 5:00pm; I'm back at the state park after an 11-mile bike ride and decided to use some battery power to write a brief blog before I have lunch and begin the journey north.


Me'n Azimat, nighttime

Being with Azimat (another SparkFriend), and meeting her husband, at the retreat was wonderful beyond what I could have imagined. I am deeply indebted to her for telling me of this Teaching, to the universe for arranging my trip making it workable to attend, and to the Sufi Order for gifting me with a partial scholarship, which made it financially feasible. The two teachers, Pir Zia, head of the Sufi Order International, and Aziza Scott, Director of Esoteric Studies, were unbounded in their wisdom and the generous sharing of it.


The mountain top where the programs were held.

Pir Zia is a soul of high consciousness, a noble man who moves and acts with grace and beauty. Being in his presence (darshan) was a deep blessing. Though my notes are paltry, since I was mostly too taken by his words to write, here is just the smallest sampling of a few thoughts that touched me deeply (paraphrasing): "Every opening, every flickering of desire for Truth IS the goal of the whole creation...sentient beings and otherwise. When you look for God, God is in the look in your eyes. The One we seek is seeking us. Every movement toward the One is another hidden disclosure. In the span from eternal to mundane is the paradox of all that is magic and splendorous in life.

"The vertical dimension of the heart is the medium of communion with the Divine Source. Its horizontal dimension is the medium of communion with all other manifest beings. Do not close the heart from being wounded, from pain. It shouldn't be avoided in a dual universe.

"It is our sacred task to be present for it ALL, to bear witness to it all. Pain is not to be disowned. Pain denied or repressed morphs into suffering.

"When I hold another in my heart (prayer) the person is uplifted by the holiness of my thoughts toward the other. We are the channels through which Divine remembrance flows through creation...divine grace pouring out to the world.

"Interbeing is our state, from the smallest particle to the largest galaxy. We are all made from the same *stuff.* In showing compassion toward all other sentient beings we are acknowledging this interbeing."

I came upon a huge red-tailed hawk hopping along the ground at Beaver Pond in Harriman State Park the day before arriving to The Abode. It was no more that eight feet from me! I was shocked and delighted by this incident, a first in my life, and just stood there as it moved toward a puddle in the path where I was, drank from it and then just remained there in its elegant magnificent plumage looking at me. Pir Zia would say that this "was a moment of mutual seeing, each of us having been impacted by the presence of the other." Indeed, my life was changed by the communion with this creature. It eventually flew away, its enormous wingspan awing me, its red tail glimmering in the sunlight.

After the retreat at The Abode over the weekend and the night at Hearthstone Point State Park at Lake George in the Adirondacks, this piece by the incomparable poet Naomi Shihab Nye so very perfectly describes my state of heart and mind.

Fresh

To move
Cleanly.
Needing to be
Nowhere else.
Wanting nothing
From any store.
To lift something
You already had
And set it down in
A new place.
Awakened eye
Seeing freshly.
What does that do to
The old blood moving through
Its channels?

~ Naomi Shihab Nye ~
(You & Yours)
www.panhala.net/Archive /Index.html

With failing battery power I won't even attempt any photos at the moment. Perhaps there will be time at Francesca's.

Among other things Francesca and I will take our Treks on the ferry across Lake Champlain to meet DokeyOkey (Kathleen) in Burlington, VT for bicycling fun and dining together. Also ahead is 1000 Islands in the St. Lawrence Seaway region, Ithaca leading into the Finger Lakes region, Niagara Falls, including the Canadian side, Yellow Springs, including Antioch College and hopefully Spark friends! I need to be home for fall semester and birthday celebrations by mid-August.

BLESSED BE!
Maha

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SLAYINGDRAGONS 1/4/2014 3:29PM

    Oh wow - quite the traveler you are! You are going to pass through where we stay when we furlough and I am not there! Oh well, perhaps one day we'll get a real hug from one another! My daughter was married at the atrium in the woodlands of Glen Helen at Yellow Springs, OH. Is that where you heading? A beautiful area. Traveling at this time of the year must be challenging. Take care!

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FLORIDASUN 8/12/2010 10:38AM

    I SO relate to your beautiful blog. Especially "pain is not to be disowned" to deny it leads to suffering. As you know I'm still processing and experiencing the pain of loss over our beautiful Josh...and I also loved the part about the Red Tailed Hawk within your same blog...every time I stumble across a feather from a bird...I KNOW that it is Josh's little message to me that all is well in his world and to hang tight...feel the pain, learn from it, share the lesson, and move forward. You my darling Maha always have lessons of wisdom that I learn from and I truly love you for being such a wonderful teacher! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PUDLECRAZY 7/30/2010 7:52AM

    I love Harrriman State Park. We used to go swimming and canoeing there when I was growing up. My brother's back yard IS Harriman Park. I'll post a picture on my page.

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KALIGIRL 7/21/2010 12:49PM

    Blessed indeed.
"When you look for God, God is in the look in your eyes."
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DOKEYOKEY 7/21/2010 11:07AM

    Maha -- I am so grateful to you for taking the time to write! I have been thinking about the quest for happiness that we all seem to be on -- so many books these days on how to be happy! And yet, I am accumulating experiences and wisdom from insightful people (you among them!) who point out that presence, awareness and participation in "what is" is really our quest.

(Of course that doesn't tell me whether I should take this job or not, but at least I know what the big picture is. :) )

Blessings.
Kathleen


P.S. Okay -- here's something a little odd. I was going to write a P.S. telling you that I had also recently had birds "showing" themselves to me in ways that I took as symbolic. I won't go into it here, but I looked up the meaning of the "Red Tailed Hawk" for you and one of its functions is visionary who illuminates the big picture. I promise I wrote the words above in parentheses before looking at the website. Check it out: http://wolfs_moon.tripod.com/RedHaw
kTotem.html

Comment edited on: 7/21/2010 11:13:24 AM

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SLASALLE 7/21/2010 10:25AM

    You have done it again, dear Maha. Thanks so much for sharing your journeys ...

xoxoxo
Stephanie

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KRISKECK 7/20/2010 10:37PM

    Oh this was so beautiful! Wonderful to read what you are learning from your teachers and sharing with all of us! And wonderful also to read about your travels, thank you for sharing them... I am home after 9 days on the road, one of which was spent at Niagara Falls, such amazing power! Enjoy and happy travels! -- Kristin

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REBCCA 7/20/2010 9:20PM

    emoticonThis is so powerful, hopeful and encouraging. I am thrilled that Hawk came to you, the medicine of Hawk is bringing messages and reminders on being aware. Red Tailed Hawk Affirmation Card: I am healed and empowered through my visions. My life moves forward.

I loved every work you wrote and this part especially awakened a recollection, that I hadn't even noticed I had forgotten.
"To lift something
You already had
And set it down in
A new place."
So wonderful to have news so expansive as this!
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MAZZYR 7/20/2010 9:44AM

    Oh Maha, thank you for sharing your notes and experience from the retreat and your trip. I'm so happy you are enjoying your adventure.
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SUCHAHOOT 7/20/2010 8:07AM

    Can I just "ditto" Sandra??

I am so happy you are having such an uplifting journey this summer!!

ENJOY!!
ENJOY!!<
BR>ENJOY!!

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STLRZGRRL 7/20/2010 7:31AM

    emoticon

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COSMIC_ENERGY 7/19/2010 10:37PM

    emoticon No Red Tailed Hawk emoticon. They are beautiful creatures. One carried off a Siamese cat out of my friend's yard. Enjoy the next beautiful leg of the journey.

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CARRAND 7/19/2010 8:44PM

    Lovely, lovely blog. I particularly enjoyed the poetry. Thank you for sharing.

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BRIGHTSPARK7 7/19/2010 8:39PM

    Red tailed hawks are among my favorite companions, here in Silicon Valley. Frequently see them but always with 'fresh' eyes, their nobility and wildness remind me of the wildness of my soul. So glad you had such a wonderful encounter with this presence.
Thank you for sharing Pir's words.
And the poem is a blessing, too.
xx
Usha.

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PENNYAN45 7/19/2010 7:26PM

    You are accumulating experiences with nature's beauty and mystery on this trip.

How thrilling to share that space and moment with the hawk!

May you continue on 'seeing freshly' with your 'awakened eye.'

And enjoy your Spark friends!


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PEACEFULONE 7/19/2010 6:00PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Many, many thank yous Dear Maha for sharing your awesome journey and especially for the notes of wisdom with so much food for meditation.

Peace and blessings and happy trails!



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BECOMINGONE 7/19/2010 5:47PM

    Pain unacknowledged leads to suffering. Ah yes! And mutual seeing ... so powerful, yet so rare. So much of what we see are our own projections onto others -- not the other. I look forward to your return ... in the meantime, enjoy the journey!

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EARTHSEAME 7/19/2010 3:23PM

    emoticon The lovely images and feelings created by the words you wrote and shared are more than enough beauty.

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SLASALLE 7/19/2010 2:41PM

    Aren't those moments of "mutual seeing" just simply astonishing ... ?

The stuff on pain ... WOW!! I'm going to have to give this some thought.

As always, your sharing is amazing, my friend!!!

Carry on ...

With love,
Stephanie

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KAT573 7/19/2010 2:02PM

    I especially agree with Pir's observations about pain, which too often we avoid in its full legitimacy, choosing, instead, to embrace something far less legitimate to cultivate and suffer over, in the misled attempt to avoid the original and clean source......this, to me, is the origin of sin and its spawn. Keep on keeping on! emoticon

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20/Summer10: I have become the best and worst

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

This morning I woke up to the sound of rain on the camper roof. It was raining when I went to bed early last night also. PennyAn and I couldn't seem to get to bed early (too much to do and talk about!), so last night I took advantage of my alone time to do that!

I drive on to the Berkshires, to Abode of the Message Mountain Conference Center for a silent retreat with Pir Zia:
www.findthedivine.com/retreatcenter/
adobe/home.html

which I've been looking forward to since Azimat sent me a link about it a few weeks ago. I'm SO excited that I'll meet her and DH today, both on the Sufi path for many years, a path that m heart deeply resonates with.

I did a retreat with Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan many moons ago in San Francisco. He was then head of the Sufi Order International:


Now that Pir Vilayat has left the body, his son, Pir Zia Inayat Khan, has taken on the mantle of leadership. I will have the auspicious opportunity of being in retreat with Pir Zia:


The poem below from Panhala spoke deeply to me in my meditative time this morning. I am increasingly aware of the briefness of this life and of the few years that I have left during this sojourn.

The trip has been the occasion of much time of inner reflection.
I am communing more deeply with nature. When my "heart stutters with pain and hope," I am learning to"bend forward over it like a (wo)man at a small campfire." This retreat is coming at an important time and I look forward to the inner journey it will encourage.

The journey continues....



OLD MAN, OLD MAN (aka OLD WOMAN, OLD WOMAN)

Young men, not knowing what to remember,
Come to this hiding place of the moons and years,
To this Old Man. Old Man, they say, where should we go?
Where did you find what you remember? Was it perched in a tree?
Did it hover deep in the white water? Was it covered over
With dead stalks in the grass? Will we taste it
If our mouths have long lain empty?
Will we feel it between our eyes if we face the wind
All night, and turn the color of earth?
If we lie down in the rain, can we remember sunlight?

He answers, I have become the best and worst I dreamed.
When I move my feet, the ground moves under them.
When I lie down, I fit the earth too well.
Stones long underwater will burst in the fire, but stones
Long in the sun and under the dry night
Will ring when you strike them. Or break in two.
There were always many places to beg for answers:
Now the places themselves have come in close to be told.
I have called even my voice in close to whisper with it:
Every secret is as near as your fingers.
If your heart stutters with pain and hope,
Bend forward over it like a man at a small campfire.

~ David Wagoner ~
(Traveling Light)
www.panhala.net/Archive/Old_Man_Old_
Man.html

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WALKINGANNIE 7/18/2010 2:52PM

    Everyone who reads your blogs has opportunities to be enriched by what you share so generously. The ripples of your experience are spreading far.

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SLASALLE 7/16/2010 11:30AM

    I am happy to hear that all things are going well ... and you are doing well. I actually thought about calling you last night, but now it appears it didn't happen for a reason ... you were using your alone time for better purposes!

xoxoxo
Stephani
e

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SHANTISHANTI 7/15/2010 9:30PM

    May you find what you need to find at the Abode, Maha. I am with you in spirit. What an amazing journey you are on this summer. I don't know how much time you will be spending in Lebanon, but there is a wonderful ashram where I did my yoga teacher training in Stockbridge, MA. It is called Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. A bit commercialized but lovely grounds, wonderful teachers, great vegetarian cuisine. If you have a chance, it's worth the trip, about 20 minutes from Lebanon, NY. emoticon

Comment edited on: 7/15/2010 9:43:20 PM

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EARTHSEAME 7/14/2010 3:15PM

    emoticon

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DENI_ZEN 7/14/2010 12:36PM

    Another real treat! Ahhhhhh...so much to enjoy there! - Sandi emoticon

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LYNNANN43 7/14/2010 10:27AM

    I feel like I'm with you when you write:-)

What an amazing, reflective time you're having!

Have fun with Azimat & DH today!!!

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Namaste

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MAZZYR 7/14/2010 10:06AM

    emoticon
I'm following your journey. How very interesting. I would love to hear about your experiences at the retreat. Travel safe, dear Maha.


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COSMIC_ENERGY 7/14/2010 9:46AM

    Know this will be a time of great reflection and renewal for you before the return trip and new school year. emoticon

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PENNYAN45 7/14/2010 8:27AM

    May this retreat offer you all the time and space you want for bending forward and listening to your heart for its truths.

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FRANCESCANAZ 7/14/2010 7:51AM

    Disfrutes tu tiempo en New Lebanon mi amiga. Te vere pronto.


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Comment edited on: 7/14/2010 7:52:25 AM

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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

Sue

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.
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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":



ONE HUNDRED WHITE-SIDED DOLPHINS ON A SUMMER DAY

1.

Fat,
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 -

2.

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,

3.

and find there
pure, sudden, steep, sharp, painful
gratitude
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

4.

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?)
www.panhala.net/Archive/Index.html

  
  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 Maha..me 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 ...

xoxoxo
Stephanie
<
BR>

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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

    emoticon

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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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Hugs

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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.

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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!

Stephanie

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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.

Sandra

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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

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Namaste

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 -- www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=3388345
), 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
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SONNETS TO ORPHEUS, PART TWO, XXIX

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)
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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 road...here are my travel plans as they are currently unfolding.

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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!

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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.

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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!!!

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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!

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

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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.

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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

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

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

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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!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AZIMAT 7/8/2010 2:33PM

    Oooh, you are awesome!


Can't wait, can't wait.
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PUDLECRAZY 7/6/2010 9:46PM

    Woohooo!!!!

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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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ATRANSFORMATION 7/5/2010 8:02PM

    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!
xxoo

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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
Anna

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BRIGHTSPARK7 7/5/2010 3:14PM

    LOVE the sonnet, Mahalakshmi.
And you.

Hugs,
Usha.

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SLAYINGDRAGONS 7/5/2010 2:41PM

    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,

Annie

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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
Stephanie

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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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Namaste

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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!

Sandra

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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!

HUGS
Cindy

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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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