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Hope...a constant companion

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

I've been lax and low-energy since returning from the visit home, with a sadness outlining my days and interrupting my flow. This poem was delivered directly to my heart this morning. I sat with it and pondered it, considering the ways that hope can encourage and assist and spur me on. I so needed this:


It hovers in dark corners
before the lights are turned on,
it shakes sleep from its eyes
and drops from mushroom gills,
it explodes in the starry heads
of dandelions turned sages,
it sticks to the wings of green angels
that sail from the tops of maples.

It sprouts in each occluded eye
of the many-eyed potato,
it lives in each earthworm segment
surviving cruelty,
it is the motion that runs the tail of a dog,
it is the mouth that inflates the lungs
of the child that has just been born.

It is the singular gift
we cannot destroy in ourselves,
the argument that refutes death,
the genius that invents the future,
all we know of God.

It is the serum which makes us swear
not to betray one another;
it is in this poem, trying to speak.

~ Lisel Mueller ~
(Alive Together: New and Selected Poems)

Lisel Mueller was born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1924. Among her several books of poetry are Alive Together: New & Selected Poems, 1996, which won the Pulitzer Prize, and The Need to Hold Still, 1980, which received the National Book Award.

She has also published several volumes of translation, most recently Circe's Mountain by Marie Luise Kaschnitz. 1990. Her honors include the Carl Sandburg Award and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. She lives in Lake Forest, Illinois.

Her poems are extremely accessible, yet intricate and layered. While at times whimsical and possessing a sly humor, there is an underlying sadness in much of her work.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I came across a Bible verse some time ago that clinched for me from whence comes my hope. And, yes, it is God-given by His Spirit. The Apostle Paul said that "...we...rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character, hope..." (Romans 5:3-5). In my own experience, hope has not come first - I "got it" after all the other.

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MAZZYR 11/3/2010 5:34AM


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KALIGIRL 11/2/2010 9:46PM

    Sorry to hear you're feeling down, but sometimes it's difficult to stay grounded in this season of change.
Here's to your renewed sense of hope!

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PENNYAN45 11/2/2010 9:14PM

    I am glad that you found this poet who speaks to you during this sad time. And thanks for sharing her with us too.

And may that "thing with feathers" perch in your soul and sing the tune that brings you to a lighter and brighter place soon.

Love and hugs,


Comment edited on: 11/2/2010 9:15:15 PM

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CARRAND 11/2/2010 8:42PM

    Wonderful poem. You share such lovely poems and I appreciate them all.

Here is another poem on hope, from Emily Dickinson:

Hope is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops – at all—

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—

I’ve heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of Me.

Emily Dickinson

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WALKINGANNIE 11/2/2010 5:50PM

    I'm very sorry that you've been sad my friend and grateful that you have shared these therapeutic words.

Life is full of light and shade. You will find happiness again to balance this rather melancholy period - as surely as day follows night.

Thank you for introducing me to another poet whose work is new to me.

emoticon emoticon

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MOOKBALL 11/2/2010 4:48PM

    How audacious!

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GOANNA2 11/2/2010 11:44AM

    Thank you for the lovely poem and for being such a good friend.
emoticon emoticon

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ABURRIS2 11/2/2010 11:24AM

    Time, yes, for much reflection, to let what has you awash not only settle but also percolate. May you find a balance of joy, my friend! ~ann

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SLASALLE 11/2/2010 11:18AM

    As always, another amazing piece of poetry introduced by our wonderful Maha!

Just a gentle reminder, my friend. You went through the same thing after returning home from your summer adventures. Then you had your San Francisco trip to look foward to.

Now you've had your San Francisco trip, and you're down again. So ... hmmm ... do you have another trip coming up to look forward to??? Methinks you do!!!

With love,

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DDOORN 11/2/2010 9:03AM

    It can be a tad anti-climatic after having SUCH an inspirational journey throughout your summer to settle back into the usual day-to-day routine. I often feel that way after I've made a major accomplishment also...sort of like: "what's next?"

But that usually turns into a period of incubation where I begin to plan and *make it HAPPEN!*

Then I get moving again!

Perhaps this may be the current rhythm to your emotions...?


.this poem made me think of Antonio Carlos Jobim's lyrics to The Waters of March:



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DOKEYOKEY 11/2/2010 8:53AM

    Thank you, Maha, for your courage in sharing your struggles. And thank you for this poem that is giving a little lift to my own heart.


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Thursday, October 28, 2010

My returns from voyages of discovery tend to send me on further inward journeying. I will try to blog about Ani Pema Chodron soon, but today will be a "time out" as I continue the "adjust, adapt, accomodate" process that my teacher, Swami Satchidananda says is a constant in our lives.

This piece that came to me this morning, by Rainer Maria Rilke, captures so much of what I'm feeling right now that I decided to quickly share it before "signing off." With the election ahead and so much turmoil and chaos around us in the world, the need to surrender "to earth's intelligence" is everywhere apparent.

The image reminds me of Bolinas, a coastal village just north of San Francisco, where I walked on the bluffs this visit (the same bluffs where ashes of my brother and my best male friend are scattered).

II, 16

How surely gravity's law,
strong as an ocean current,
takes hold of even the strongest thing
and pulls it toward the heart of the world.

Each thing -
each stone, blossom, child -
is held in place.
Only we, in our arrogance,
push out beyond what we belong to
for some empty freedom.

If we surrendered
to earth's intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.

Instead we entangle ourselves
in knots of our own making
and struggle, lonely and confused.

So, like children, we begin again
to learn from the things,
because they are in God's heart;
they have never left him.

This is what the things can teach us:
to fall,
patiently to trust our heaviness.
Even a bird has to do that
before he can fly.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~
(Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy)

Rilke, 1900

Rainer Maria Rilke (4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926) was a Bohemian–Austrian poet and art critic. He is considered one of the most significant poets in the German language. His haunting images focus on the difficulty of communion with the ineffable in an age of disbelief, solitude, and profound anxiety: themes that tend to position him as a transitional figure between the traditional and the modernist poets.

He wrote in both verse and a highly lyrical prose. Among English-language readers, his best-known work is the Duino Elegies; his two most famous prose works are the Letters to a Young Poet and the semi-autobiographical The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. He also wrote more than 400 poems in French, dedicated to his homeland of choice, the canton of Valais in Switzerland.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOOKBALL 11/1/2010 5:37PM

    Thank you for Rilke's thoughts.

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THE_SILVER_OWL 11/1/2010 12:56PM

    You kind spirit always seems to bring us such lovely words to ponder over. Thank you!


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REBCCA 10/31/2010 1:48PM

    This somehow boosted my courage to face the upcoming Winter.
Trips to Bolinas come back in happy memory.
Thank you Dear Maha! emoticon

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SUCHAHOOT 10/31/2010 12:05AM

    Hi MAHA.

That poem is very beautiful. Thank you for taking the time to share it with us. I keep visiting your blogs through my friend feed and therefore losing my sub to your blogs!!

I'm glad you are home and finding your center again after more journeys of self-discovery. I really look forwar to hearing about this most recent one. Pema Chodron has helped me through a lot! What a treat.


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MISS_VIV 10/29/2010 9:14PM

    "adjust, adapt, accomodate"... something that takes me quite a bit of time after an extended stay at ocean's side. I spent a quiet day, gathering thoughts and trying to let it all sink in. The pull of the ocean holds me in it's spell. I really don't want to change it. emoticon

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CARRAND 10/28/2010 9:13PM

    Love the poetry. So glad you shared.

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SLASALLE 10/28/2010 5:29PM

    Interesting (and I like)!!! The funny part? Kathryn Lorenzen (Beth's collaborator/friend of 30 years) is coming out with her second CD in the next month - ALL LYRICS by Beth Scalet. Why does this relate, you ask? One of the songs (that I am SO DELIGHTED is finally being recorded) is called "Gravity." It's much more about friendship than spirituality, but the ties are similar ...

Kathryn has such a schooled, controlled voice (but TOTALLY lovely) and Beth is so wild and free with hers ... they're very different, but Beth is very much a writer and Kathryn is much more of a composer.

I'll have to share the song with you when it becomes available!!

So glad you're back.


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RAYLINSTEPHENS 10/28/2010 5:21PM

    When I read Gravity - I just naturally thought of all my saggy skin emoticon

I couldn't have thought further from your blog's content!


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KALIGIRL 10/28/2010 1:15PM

    "knots of our own making" - so true, yet we never seem to learn...

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GOANNA2 10/28/2010 10:07AM

    Love your spirit Maha.

Thanks for the enlightment. emoticon emoticon

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FRANCESCANAZ 10/28/2010 9:07AM

    Claro, mi primer pensamiento fue mis "thighs" cuando lei "Gravity" emoticon Pero no importa mi piel, lo que es importante es la inteligencia de la Tierra! emoticon

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Smile at Fear

Thursday, October 14, 2010

If we want there to be peace in the world, we have to be brave enough to soften what is rigid in our hearts, to find the soft spot and stay with it. We have to have that kind of courage and take that kind of responsibility. That's the true practice of peace.
-- Pema Chodron, from Practicing Peace in Times of War

I just HAD to share some information about the Teaching I'll be attending in San Francisco:

The venerable teacher: (various menu items are interesting...especially the video at the Gampo Abbey menu item, narrated by Pema Chodron) and her biography:

Gampo Abbey, Nova Scotia, which she directs:

NUMBER ONE on my "bucket list" is to go to Gampo Abbey for a six-month retreat, an "opportunity to make full use of my precious human let go of habitual patterns and be free...and to become part of bringing peace to a troubled world." I hope I'll be ready for such a life-changing experience before this life is over!

Ani Pema's books on

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ROBINSNEWNEST 10/25/2010 11:19AM

    Oh, my gosh, I just checked out the site! What a wonderful experience! I wish I had found this earlier to do the long distance learning via computer. Thank you for sharing this, Maha. Please post more...

love to you --

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PUDLECRAZY 10/20/2010 5:16PM

    You have Pema Chodron as your teacher? How wonderful! I wish I could join you. I am looking forward to hearing about your time with her.


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SLIMMERJESSE 10/20/2010 11:13AM

    Have a wonderful adventure, Maha. Best wishes.

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PEACEFULONE 10/18/2010 10:18PM

    Dear Maha, Another inspirational blog. Pema Chodron is such an amazing lady. Vaya con Dios. Looking forward to hearing about your SF experience. Peace always, Elaine emoticon

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GOANNA2 10/17/2010 5:06PM

    The retreat sounds wonderful. You can do anything
and I so admire your loving spirit.

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FRANCESCANAZ 10/16/2010 3:21PM

    Muchas gracias por compartir mi amiga. That reminds me, the students enjoyed your music DVD mucho! I'll put it in the mail this week. Paz, Francesca emoticon

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KALIGIRL 10/15/2010 12:40PM

    Wonderful bucket list item and can't wait to hear about your experiences.
I like the idea of 'softening' to bring peace. Rings true.

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DDOORN 10/15/2010 7:14AM

    Such a wise, wise person...! You are doing SO many things that seem to be on your "bucket list" these days and I'm SO excited for this opportunity you are jumping for! Go for it! :-)


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PENNYAN45 10/15/2010 5:14AM

    My wishes to you are for a spiritual experience this coming weekend that leaves you feeling renewed and inspired.

Love and hugs,


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CARRAND 10/14/2010 9:37PM

    Peace be with you.

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WATERMELLEN 10/14/2010 8:11PM

    Have read one of her books -- must agree, she is fascinating and her "retreat" in Nova Scotia looks most appealing!

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WALKINGANNIE 10/14/2010 3:24PM

    Looking at Pema Chodron's kindly face brings a sense of peace.

Enjoy your ime in San Fransisco.

emoticon emoticon

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TIPPINGPOINT 10/14/2010 3:12PM

    Have a great weekend.
On Friday I will be doing some gardening for my eldest daughter and will make a point of making it a meditative day breathing fresh air and doing simple work.
I feel inspired. Its what I need right now.
Best Wishes emoticon

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SUGARSMOM2 10/14/2010 12:58PM

  you can and will do anything you want to do . you have a great heart . smile the world loves you . enjoy the world and what it has to offer . great job great joy . emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SLASALLE 10/14/2010 11:30AM

    I know that you will gain a great deal from attending these teachings, my friend, because you go with an open and loving heart. Enjoy ... and soak it all in.


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A Psalm to Life....

Thursday, October 14, 2010

This wonderful poem of Longfellow's, a strong affirmation to life, arrived this morning, as I prepare to depart for San Francisco (airport tomorrow morning at 6:00am) to attend a teaching of the venerable Pema Chodron and then have several days with dear friends in the Bay Area, heading back to AR Oct 25. There will be a PJ party at Sandra's tonight (c'mon...the more the merrier!) to begin this wonderful adventure! She has graciously offered to drop me at the airport at that ungodly hour...AND pick me up as well!

Me'n my dear friend Sandra5898 in the primroses

"To act, that each tomorrow find us farther than today," and yes, "time is fleeting," we all know that we should "trust no Future, howe'er pleasant...all these thoughts from the poem, among others, reminded me of the ever-present recollections of this summer's I travel now again, this time airbound. Here are three random glimpses of the sublime summer, still a fresh part of my REAL ongoing celebration of life--

Yellow Springs, OH was big enough to contain me'n WildHoneyPie1 (AND PudleCrazy!)...just barely

My home for three months is hiding out in southern IN

With our Treks on a ferry on Lake Champlain, FrancescaNaz and I are heading to Burlington, VT to meet DokeyOkey for a biking adventure

As we all bounce between the dualities of life...the joy and the sadness, laughter and tears, heat and cold (you get the picture), the underlying vibration of Longfellow's words carry us forward through it all. I offer today's gift from Panhala to us all, as my "hasta luego."

People of Chile celebrating the rescue of the 33 miners!


Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!--
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each tomorrow
Find us farther than today.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,-- act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ~
(Voices of the Night)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FRANCESCANAZ 10/16/2010 3:19PM

    Te amo mi amiga. emoticon

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PENNYAN45 10/15/2010 5:19AM

    You are surely leaving your "footprints on the sands of time" with all that you give in your life.

Have a good time in San Francisco.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CARRAND 10/14/2010 9:51PM

    I always love your blogs. Thanks for sharing the poetry!

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AZIMAT 10/14/2010 11:23AM

    Oh, you are such a little vagabond. Safe travel wishes to you from yours truly and Salik!

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SLASALLE 10/14/2010 11:06AM

    Thanks for making my day (again)! Have an AWESOME time in San Francisco!!!


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DENI_ZEN 10/14/2010 10:54AM

    What a joyful and joy-filled blog entry, Maha! Thanks for bringing a Sparkle to our morning :) It was soggy here, but not anymore! - Sandi emoticon

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ABURRIS2 10/14/2010 10:36AM

    Beautiful and sweet. Thanks for sharing some of your motivation and gratitude. Inspiring!
May Peace go with you on this next adventure.
You sure get around!


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SHERYLDS 10/14/2010 10:06AM

    Wishing you a wonderful trip loaded with fond memories

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MISS_VIV 10/14/2010 9:23AM

    Ah the poetry of life. Thanks for posting.
May your trip be joyous and rewarding. I'll wave as you fly over and know that you will have a great time in the City.

Much love
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FLORIDASUN 10/14/2010 9:13AM

    Love your blog today as I ALWAYS do...peace be with you during your travels, have fun, laugh hard and memories make! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KALIGIRL 10/14/2010 8:55AM

    "Let us, then, be up and doing"

emoticonMaha, for another reminder to live this glorious life.

Safe and mystical travels!
emoticon emoticon

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DOR2BFIT 10/14/2010 8:31AM

    'Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,-- act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!'

Who knew Longfellow was a Buddhist?
Love the poem! Have a great time in SF, and enjoy Pema Chodron.

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DDOORN 10/14/2010 7:36AM

    "Life is real! Life is earnest!"

Yes, yes, YES! Did my own variation of this ode in my Butternut Valley blog...a little tongue in "cheek"!


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LYNNANN43 10/14/2010 7:30AM

    This is a GORGEOUS poem, MAHA!

It should be the SparkPeople Creed!!!

emoticon for sharing it as you get ready for your next journey. Have a wonderful trip!


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Thailand's Children of the Trains

Friday, October 08, 2010

While we affluent overweight Americans -- as well as those of us from other industrialized nations -- try to resist heaping another portion of dinner on our plates or buying an ice cream cone, street children in Thailand beg for money to buy food to survive. This week's KarmaTube offering about the children of the trains puts things in perspective....

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FRANCESCANAZ 10/28/2010 9:16AM

    Que bonitos son estos ninos. Que triste es su vida. Gracias otra vez por compartir.

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DOR2BFIT 10/26/2010 8:25AM

    That was a beautiful video. It's amazing how upbeat everyone in that film was, even with the incredible difficulties they have endured. emoticon

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PEACEFULONE 10/18/2010 11:11PM

    Every child should have a childhood! Thank you for sharing this inspiring story. Sadly there are children living in the streets all over the world. Awareness helps spur us to action. Bless you Maha. Elaine

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TX_3XDAD 10/12/2010 9:42AM

    What's almost equally amazing is how many AMERICANS are in similar straights. I talked with the food pantry folks in my town, and they've had weeks where they didn't have enough nutritious food to give to needy families.

I think there should be an option in every restaurant, before the bill is presented, for people to donate what they'd otherwise spend on dessert to feed the hungry. Everywhere.

Just saying.

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NANABABY5 10/12/2010 9:22AM

    Definitely puts many things into perspective. Thank-you for sharing this video and blog .

Only a transparent sincerity in man and among nations can usher in a transformed world.......


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SLASALLE 10/11/2010 4:41PM

    As always, my huge struggle and constant conundrum is how to spread myself between so many worthy causes ... it's so overwhelming at times. Then there's the issue of how much of my time and money should be spread around the U.S. versus other countries (such as my dear sweet boy, Roberto in Chile).

I totally understand your propensity toward a heavy heart with the universe's predicaments ...


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DDOORN 10/9/2010 3:48AM

    We are so blessed, yet some cursed at the same time...for so many to be so oblivious to the preciousness of life and all that sustains life.

Thx for the reminder...this gives one pause, to breathe and savor our lives!

And remember to pay it forward!


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CARRAND 10/8/2010 7:56PM

    Something to think about. Many of us are so blessed in this country.

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GOANNA2 10/8/2010 7:18PM

    Thank you Maha...
Puts thins in perspective
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SHERYLDS 10/8/2010 7:17PM

    we are getting to the point where we don't have to go overseas to see poverty. there are plenty of people in this country that are getting desperate.

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WALKINGANNIE 10/8/2010 3:59PM

    A very sobering blog Maha.


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KALIGIRL 10/8/2010 12:32PM

    emoticonfor sharing the video.
It's heartening to see the Library Train and know that a few of the children are receiving attention.

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DENI_ZEN 10/8/2010 9:50AM

    It surely does! Thanks for a sad, yet heartening, window on these children's lives, Maha. - Sandi emoticon

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