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Happy Groundhog Day!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Groundhog Day

Celebrate this unlikely oracle,
this ball of fat and fur,
whom we so mysteriously endow
with the power to predict spring.
Let's hear it for the improbable heroes who,
frightened at their own shadows,
nonetheless unwittingly work miracles.
Why shouldn't we believe
this peculiar rodent holds power
over sun and seasons in his stubby paw?
Who says that God is all grandeur and glory?

Unnoticed in the earth, worms
are busily, brainlessly, tilling the soil.
Field mice, all unthinking, have scattered
seeds that will take root and grow.
Grape hyacinths, against all reason,
have been holding up green shoots beneath the snow.
How do you think spring arrives?
There is nothing quieter, nothing
more secret, miraculous, mundane.
Do you want to play your part
in bringing it to birth? Nothing simpler.
Find a spot not too far from the ground
and wait.

~ Lynn Ungar ~
(Blessing the Bread)


Punxsutawney Phil emerged just after dawn on Groundhog Day to make his 125th annual weather forecast in front of a smaller-than-usual crowd who braved muddy, icy conditions to hear his handlers reveal that he had not seen his shadow.

Including Wednesday's forecast, Phil has seen his shadow 98 times and hasn't seen it just 16 times since 1887. There are no records for the remaining years, though the group has never failed to issue a forecast.

The celebration took place on Gobbler's Knob, a tiny hill in Punxsutawney, a borough of about 6,100 residents some 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

The celebration is rooted in a German superstition that says if a hibernating animal casts a shadow on Feb. 2, the Christian holiday of Candlemas, winter will last another six weeks. If no shadow was seen, legend said spring would come early.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNNY332 2/4/2011 8:00AM

    Sadness will not come with an early spring,
I will be so happy that I could sing.

Our drive home was good yesterday,
No troubles for us on the highways.

Son and neighbor also plowed our drive,
They should get more than a high five.

We were so happy to be home in the afternoon,
Now we are settled, we'll not go again until June.

Take care my Friend and thanks for sharing your prose,
Phil did us good - an early spring & an end to the snows.

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PEACEFULONE 2/3/2011 1:17AM

    Lovely poem and thoughts of spring. Let's hope Spring happens slowly or there will be flooding when all this snow melts. We have a resident ground hog, but we have only seen him when he is feasting on fallen mulberries or apples. There is joy in making room for nature. Thanks for sharing!

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VEEJAY3 2/2/2011 7:36PM

    Hyacinths ... hyacinths ... my brain is trying to call up something from the depths at the sound of that word ...

"If, of thy mortal goods, thou art bereft,
And from thy slender store two loaves
alone to thee are left,
Sell one & from the dole,
Buy Hyacinths to feed the soul"
- Muslihuddin Sadi,
13th Century Persian Poet

A poem in exchange for a poem, and the world is once again in balance.

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SLASALLE 2/2/2011 7:05PM

    After all the shoveling today (long story, more in my gratitude post), I'm definitely smiling at the thought of an early spring. However, I got a GREAT workout in and I DO enjoy how beautiful the snow is, as long as I don't have to drive in it.

Hope you enjoyed your classes!!!


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    I miss the groundhogs! I lived in Penn for 10 years and loved seeing them! We don't have any here in Miss.

Great blog! Bring on that early Spring!!

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TELERIE 2/2/2011 5:47PM

    Phil is cute, but his predictions are clearly not working where I live. We're lucky to get an early spring in April!

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CLAYKEEPER 2/2/2011 3:55PM

    He's so cute ! Hooray for an early spring ... now we just need to convince the winter gods ! Have a lovely week .....

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GOANNA2 2/2/2011 3:34PM

    Wow, everyone will be happy with an early Spring no doubt.
Groundhog looks so cute. The poem was lovely, emoticon

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DDOORN 2/2/2011 11:24AM

    C'mon SPRING! :-)


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2BMYOWN 2/2/2011 11:10AM

    Loved the poem! I think groundhoggy Phil is on drugs.....LMAO

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SUNNY332 2/2/2011 9:12AM

    Phil did not see his shadow which means an early spring. I, for one, will be ready. How about you.

Loved the prose today.


We are still stranded in Kansas but hope the roads are clear enough to travel tomorrow. I am ready to get home.

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    Have I told you yet today that I love you!

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JESPAH 2/2/2011 9:03AM

    Lovely, but I think ole Phil's prognosticating powers are off this year. An early Spring???

Sadly, I fear, Phil may be slipping....

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ROX525 2/2/2011 7:49AM

    Groundhog day and we are at a standstill outside with a thick sheet of ice everywhere. Hopefully ice isn't covering his hole. Have a great day!

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WATERMELLEN 2/2/2011 6:59AM

    This is so delightful!! Poem and image!!

Love groundhogs all summer in the clover on the golf course (the groundskeeper, not so much). And love to think about an intrepid one poking his nose out of the ground . . . certainly not happening yesterday or today in our neck of the woods!! Cold cold cold, blowy and blizzardy . . . stay tucked up tight, groundhogs!!

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DAISY443 2/2/2011 6:24AM

    Great thought! Thanks so much for sharing. I hope the furry little beast is a true harbinger of spring. I'm more than ready!

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DDBRENNE 2/2/2011 6:15AM

  Great Poem thanks! Groundhogs are cute, and of course magical.

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I needed this reminder today....

Friday, January 28, 2011

Horsehead Nebula

("found poetry")

The most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience
is the sensation of the mystical.
It is the sower of all true science.
He to whom this emotion is a stranger,
who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe,
is as good as dead.
To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists,
manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty,
which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms --
this knowledge, this feeling,
is at the center of true religion.

~ Albert Einstein ~
(The Merging of Spirit and Science, cited in
All Things Give God Glory, ed. by S. Rena)

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Dreams are real as long as they last. Can we say more of life?
-- Henry Havelock Ellis

When we wake up from a dream into waking consciousness, we do not pass from unreality to reality; we pass from a lower level of reality to a higher level. And, the mystics of all religions say, there is a higher level still, compared with which this waking life of ours is as insubstantial as a dream.

Yet until we do wake up, nothing sounds more absurd than the assertion that we are dreaming, and nothing seems more solid than this world of the senses. Why should this be so? If original goodness is our real nature, why are we unable to see it? The answer is simple: because we see life not as it is but as we are. We see "through a glass darkly," through the distorting lenses of the mind -- all the layers of feeling, habit, instinct, and memory that cover the pure core of goodness deep within.
-- Eknath Easwaran

Easwaran's exceptional book, entitled ORIGINAL GOODNESS:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 2/2/2011 7:01AM

    . . .the sensation of the mystical: essential! Thanks for reminding me. I'll be looking out for it!! Noticing gratefully when it appears!

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SUNNY332 2/1/2011 3:44PM

    Definitely some food for thought. We are stranded in Kansas but hope to be able to travel on Thursday.

Thanks for a great post.


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JESPAH 2/1/2011 7:05AM

    Sweet and something to think about. Thank you.

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DARKTHOR 1/31/2011 10:17AM

    Thanks for making me contemplate today, a wonderful way to spend time.

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VEEJAY3 1/30/2011 11:22AM

    Thank you my dear! I've already passed these two beautiful thoughts on to others (with attribution). See the ripples you created?

You're beautiful.

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JLWOF1 1/29/2011 11:43AM

    Your blogs are always great food for thought! Thanks for sharing!

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    I dreamed I was a butterfly. Or am I a butterfly dreaming I am a rather groggy and sluggish human?

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GOANNA2 1/29/2011 6:13AM

    I love the Einstein poetry as well.
Great blog as always Maha.
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SLASALLE 1/28/2011 5:08PM

    So I have to ask you this question, my dear Maha. When you sit down to write a blog, do you get concerned about writing it? I ask because it truly seems that each and every blog you do is better and better. You never seem to run out of incredible material that you use and then expand upon in a very real, thoughtful and meaningful way. You are just amazing.

Thank you, Maha!

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ROBINSNEWNEST 1/28/2011 3:17PM

    Ahhh...yes emoticon reality is really in the spirit...
As always, you share the very concept I need to consider...
emoticon emoticon

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PENNYAN45 1/28/2011 2:14PM

    I especially loved the words of Einstein. Thanks for presenting them to us.

May we always find something in our world to spark our feelings of wonder and awe!

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CLAYKEEPER 1/28/2011 1:34PM

    It is easy... look into your own soul, all goodness is right there ! Embrace it ! annette emoticon

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KALIGIRL 1/28/2011 1:13PM

    Here's to remembering our original goodness emoticon

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    I always love your blogs! I think I need to go read Original Goodness!

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2WHEELEDSHARON 1/28/2011 10:50AM

    Today is all about checking into the realities I haven't been connecting with. Thanks, Maha!

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PEACEFULONE 1/28/2011 10:18AM

    Beautiful blog. Love the Hubble deep space photo, so ethereal and it compliments the quotes so well. Is life a dream? It ends and another reality takes its' place. Perhaps it is a little like the picture of a person in a picture of a person in a picture... Have a wonderful day dear Maha and thank you very much for this food for thought.

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    Oh my, guess I need to wake up, move from unreality to reality - maybe by the 2nd cuppa!

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CARRAND 1/28/2011 9:10AM

    Wonderful! I love the Albert Einstein! Poetry indeed.

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DAISY443 1/28/2011 8:50AM

    I had to go back and reread this after I saw that Einstein was the author! I needed this reminder today, too!

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Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning

Monday, January 24, 2011

Some say we choose to be here, we choose our parents, we choose our lives....I don't know, but what I DO know is that life is not easy and at times it almost seems unsurmountable.

Many friends are struggling right now...five come to mind -- one whose partner is dealing with a serious cancer diagnosis, one whose new beloved is entangled in a difficult closure of a painful marriage, one who is facing chilling existential fears and closures of chapters of life, one whose children are both dealing with serious life-altering challenges, and one who feels very alone and vulnerable as she struggles with health and hearth -- and this is just the tip of the iceburg of what I see day-in and day-out.

Don't get me wrong -- there is plenty of beauty to bathe in and friends to help lighten the burden. But the beauty is always edged with the sorrow of so many, in my own "backyard" and around the world.

I struggle with my own problems and sadnesses, and a heavy heart that I continually work on lightening in many ways...spiritual practices and retreats, joyful encounters with friends, service to others, university, travel, etc. Sometimes it helps and other times the heaviness threatens to bury me in its folds.

The friend whose birthday I celebrated this morning is my former partner in whose cabin I live (in the back). He is deeply wounded and it has, in the last years begun to surface as progressive emotional crippling and paralysis. It's heart-breaking for me to see this bright star dimming and diminishing. Though any kind of normal relationship is not possible, I try to "be here" for him to help with the mundane aspects of daily life. But it is not an easy environment to be joyful in. It requires constant presence, detachment, and mindfulness...qualities I'm a novice at using well and consistently.

So this poem by the contemporary saint, brilliant sage, and creative force John O'Donohue, is dedicated to my five friends. You know who you are...and you know that with all my heart I support you and love you and encourage you as much as I can.

As they say..."This one's for you!"


In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life's desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

~ John O'Donohue ~
(To Bless the Space Between Us)


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NETINETI 2/4/2011 10:50PM

    John O'Donohue, such a ray of shiny beauty, gone from this earth and yet still here.

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STILLPOINT 2/1/2011 8:53PM

    Blessings your dear friends, and to you as you no doubt, graciously deal with your former partner and the issues you are faced with.

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GOANNA2 1/27/2011 5:44PM

    Hello Maha.
You are such a loving, caring person and your friends are lucky to have you in their lives.

Thank you for the support.
Anna emoticon

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DMPRIDER 1/27/2011 1:22AM

    Wow, what a beautiful blog and poem. I am struggling with some transitions myself right now. Thank you for sharing this.

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EOSTAR_45 1/26/2011 3:01PM

    What a poem! Absolutely love it. I printed the copy at Panhala to hang by my desk so I can read it every so often. It is a wonderful gift to the friends facing challenges, struggles and crossroads.


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MAEVE77 1/25/2011 2:16PM

    Maha, I love the poem. I have sent it to a friend who is in the middle of a life transition. I think it describes perfectly what we feel at such times.

Blessings and Namaste,

Mary Pat

Check out this neat eco-tourism ranch in Costa Rica: "Rancho Margot" emoticon

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JLWOF1 1/25/2011 9:08AM

    Your blogs are always so beautiful, caring and touching! May you and your friends find comfort and peace.

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COSMIC_ENERGY 1/25/2011 7:12AM

"Beautiful Woman Award! you're beautiful inside and out"
YOu are so beautiful to me - a great friend and so supportive. You have done so much with your life and I adimire you greatly.

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JESPAH 1/25/2011 6:29AM

    Oh to be able to write like that.

Off to unfurl.

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    You are absolutely amazing. a beautiful spirit and a beautiful woman

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KALIGIRL 1/24/2011 9:53PM

    My heart goes out to you and your friends.
May you all find some peace.

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DARKTHOR 1/24/2011 9:43PM

    I hope that your friend has a good birthday and that all of your friends who are struggling find what they need, when they need it. Whatever it is, the kernel of it almost certainly already resides within them already.

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COLIBRI930 1/24/2011 8:51PM

    Very nice! I love Panhala. I've beeen too busy recently to read my poem of the day, so I missed that one.

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WATERMELLEN 1/24/2011 8:21PM

    Great poem, great blog - it is a privilege to read both. Thank you!!

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    Thank You Maha

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GOANNA2 1/24/2011 6:30PM

    I agree with ABURRIS2 - you are a beautiful soul.
God bless you always for being so caring.
You bring joy to me when I visit your page.
The poem is wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

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WALKINGANNIE 1/24/2011 4:47PM

    What a profound, compassionate and touching blog from someone who consistently shows us how to be a friend.

I'm sorry that you and your dear friends are facing such overwhelming challenges. Sometimes people have a lot to bear and there are no easy words or answers but the poem that you have shared offers some balm for the soul.

I hope that you can find strength and comfort from your spiritual practices and the nurturing vibes that are circling the globe from people who care about you.

Sending love to you and those you love.

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CLAYKEEPER 1/24/2011 4:43PM

    aaaah, a 'breath' of light... just what I needed. One of the most amazing things about life that I know is this : when you must rest, the universe always picks up your burden for the exact amount of time you require.

emoticon annette

Comment edited on: 1/24/2011 4:43:48 PM

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ROBINSNEWNEST 1/24/2011 2:32PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
thank you for who you are... for helping me "trust the promise of this opening..."

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CONTENTANDFIT 1/24/2011 2:07PM

    Thank you for sharing that lovely poem.

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SUNNY332 1/24/2011 1:37PM

    New Beginnings are often times followed by sad endings. What a beautiful blog and what a lovely thing for you to do for you friends.

One of the great theologies of "Grace" is - the influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them.

I would say, without a doubt, your efforts fall under this theology. I am most proud to call you Friend.


Comment edited on: 1/24/2011 1:38:13 PM

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DDOORN 1/24/2011 12:31PM

    Love the last verse...that is the challenge for all of us, isn't it?


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DAISY443 1/24/2011 11:43AM

    We live our imperfect lives in an imperfect world. Occasionally, a poem, a song or a person makes life a little easier. I wish for more beautiful song, poems and people in our world.

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SLASALLE 1/24/2011 11:41AM

    As always, just beautiful. Hope the celebration goes well today!! Was the cake appreciated?

Of note:

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.


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FRANCESCANAZ 1/24/2011 11:40AM

    You are such a good and loyal friend. I'm glad I can call you one of mine. Te amo amiga. emoticon

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ABURRIS2 1/24/2011 11:39AM

    You are a beautiful soul, my friend.
Blessings on your heart. ~A

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"...fighting all his life, he never raised a hand!"

Friday, January 21, 2011

Some things just have to be preamble.
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My favorite docu-source for important videos is KarmaTube as many of my friends know. In today's weekly mailing, not only did they make an important statement about the great Martin Luther King Jr., but they also introduced me to a fabulous new artist, Aliza Hava.

Here is the lovely Aliza...

Here is her story & website... &

...and her work on a Middle-East Peace Initiative...

THAT'S what I'm talkin'bout!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WHATAGRL42 1/23/2011 10:29PM

    Every year, I have the privilege of educating Kindergartners of the history and the man behind the MLK holiday. There are a number of wonderful children's books written about his life as a child and his work as an adult. Each year, at least one five year old child is moved to tears by Martin Luther King Jr.'s story. It is my sincere hope that this youngest generation will be equally moved to keep His dream alive.

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WATERMELLEN 1/23/2011 5:36PM

    I am keenly awaiting the completion of the MLK Memorial in Washington: it is a truly inspired design, 10 years in the funding/building process since SF firm Roma won the design competition in 2000 -- and it's scheduled to open this summer.

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ROBINSNEWNEST 1/22/2011 9:58PM

    emoticon emoticon

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KALIGIRL 1/22/2011 12:13PM

    emoticon for reminding us of a hero and introducing us to a new artist.

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JESPAH 1/22/2011 8:20AM

    Amazing what words can do.

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CONTENTANDFIT 1/21/2011 9:59PM

    Thanks for the link. I subscribed so now who knows what interesting things will come along thanks to your post.

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CLAYKEEPER 1/21/2011 6:00PM

    Please keep inspiring me ! annette

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EOSTAR_45 1/21/2011 5:32PM

    Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed listening her tribute to King and his real message. Did you see the story earlier this week about the Pentagon saying that Dr. King would have endorsed the War in Afghanistan? Amazing how his message of peace and opposition to the triple threat of poverty, racism and militarism is sometimes co-opted and distorted.

as usual, thought provoking blog.

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WALKINGANNIE 1/21/2011 4:22PM

    A wonderful blog from a wonderful woman.


I happened to be in Palo Alto and travelling to San Fransisco on Martin Luther King Day a few years ago. It is an experience that I will never forget. The sheer volume of good-natured people was amazing.

Loved Aliza Hava.

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SUNNY332 1/21/2011 3:35PM

    Great post - took me back to a time of hope and promise. Dr. Martin Luther's ideas did not die with him. They are in every one of us who continue to hold on to a Hope of a better world. God gives me that HOPE today.

God Bless you my friend.

BTW - loved the new artist and loved the song.


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SLASALLE 1/21/2011 3:07PM

    Looks like his hand is raised in this picture!!! :-) (just giving you a hard time, my friend).

Here you go again ... always finding amazing artists who are new to me, from you!! Thanks!

Keep warm ... get that cardio in, even if you have to walk in place ... xoxoxo

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JUSTDUCKY1405 1/21/2011 1:09PM

    I have not been able to stop listening to this song! And I shared it on facebook, and going to share it with my sparkteams too! Thanks so much for sharing maha!


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DDOORN 1/21/2011 12:41PM

    Great tribute to a great man...!

Thx for sharing...put it out there on my Twitter & Digg! :-)


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    Great blopg!

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7-Week Personal Challenge DONE!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Yesterday completed the personal challenge that I began on November 28. Though I only dropped 1/2 pound this week, I lost seven pounds overall, which puts me half-way to goal, and I'm happy that I'm again practicing better habits that will sustain optimal wellness.

My weight had begun creeping up uncontrollably -- er, I guess more accurately it was ME, eating uncontrollably and NOT moving -- and I was at 145 (I had seen the RED FLAG of *150 lbs.* over prior weeks, but -- small miracle -- the scale had decided to hover at 5 lbs. below that). Thank the goddess, something in me yelled "Enough!" and I rebbed up the focus and motivation to begin showing "the right stuff, thanks to all the resources of SparkPeople!

*Chris Downie, founder of SparkPeople, is not only brilliant, but SO accessible. Thank you Chris for the powerful network of resources and friends that is SparkPeople!*

There are layers of the same angst ("why bother?", "why does it even matter?") and self-deprecation ("I'm not worth it", "I can't do it") that have plagued me for years. So for me, the spiritual practices are just as important as the behavior modifications. Maintaining a meditation practice, a gratitude practice,


and a focus on service and some fun are essential to my mental health. My home situation is *dicey* and frequently results in anxiety, which messes with my sense of well-being. But the practices and focus prevail in helping me through the difficult periods.

*Yoga asanas are nourishing on many levels.*

Under the fun focus I began the spring semester at university last week with seven units, two academically challenging Spanish classes and voice class. I'm not taking piano this semester, but the professor of last semester's class agreed to work with me informally if I find time to work on some pieces. And unfortunately the time for choir conflicts with one of my Spanish classes. I'm happy to be back in the *stream* of my Spanish major and I have the greatest admiration for the professor of my classes (the same for both classes luckily), as well as finding the course content fascinating.

*Spring 2010, the back right building is World Languages.*

The major ongoing challenge for me is to live a life of balance in all aspects, which means keeping current with classes in order to maintain the healthy practices in the area of eating and exercise that I've reignited, including most importantly, continuing to track food and exercise.

I continue to have curiosity about the shape of my life in these latter years of my has taken on so many different shapes and textures up to now. My 69th birthday is coming up next month. It's mind-blowing to think that this will be the last year of my sixth decade on the planet this round! I feel vibrant and capable, though I am clearly aware of the deterioration of this mortal temple!

*Camille, the friend who started the prison project I volunteer for, during last year's celebration*

My upcoming trip to Ecuador at the end of this semester will be fun, interesting, and a joyful *homecoming* of sorts. I am looking at the possibility of living there at least part-time and I'm exploring this idea during the trip.

*Playing with my goddaughter Amrita outside the house in northern Ecuador*

As I finish the last blog of this challenge, I want to share an email I just received from Terri, a dear friend who lives in northern California, which underlines my feeling about the importance of friends as an essential component of a joyful life, so necessary for optimal wellness (SEIZE JOY is my mantra for 2011 --

"I just finished taking an evening class at Stanford. The last lecture
was on the mind-body connection -- the relationship between stress and disease. The speaker (head of psychiatry at Stanford) said among other things, that one of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman whereas for a woman, one of the best things she could do for her health was to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends. At first everyone laughed, but he was serious.

"Women connect with each other differently and provide support systems that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life experiences. Physically this quality 'girlfriend time' helps us to create more serotonin -- a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can create a general feeling of well being. Women share feelings whereas men often form relationships around activities. They rarely sit down with a buddy and talk about how they feel about certain things or how their personal lives are going. Jobs? Yes. Sports? Yes. Cars? Yes. Fishing, hunting, golf? Yes. But their feelings? Rarely.

"Women do it all of the time. We share from our souls, and evidently that is very good for our health. He said that spending time with a friend is just as important to our general health as jogging or working out at a gym. There's a tendency to think that when we are 'exercising' we are doing something good for our bodies, but when we are hanging out with friends, we are wasting our time and should be more productively engaged-not true. In fact, he said that failure to create and maintain quality personal relationships with other humans is as dangerous to our physical health as smoking!"

YES! to The Sisterhood, to loving self-care, and to FUN!!!

*Sister-Friends! Silver-haired Diana is a wedding minister on Maui and the other four dear hearts live in the San Francisco Bay Area.*

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AZIMAT 1/28/2011 1:05PM

    Thanks for your constancy in sharing. You are a blessing!!!

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    Wonderful reading about you and how you think and view the world. Are we really in the later years of our lives? Each day when I learn something new or make a new friend is like youthfulness revisited. And congrats on completing your challenge. More challenges to come.

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BO42SOX 1/21/2011 8:41PM

    what a beautiful blog! emoticon emoticon

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L*I*T*A* 1/21/2011 5:49PM

    emoticon emoticon

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KAT7457 1/21/2011 4:55PM

    great blog and you are amazing. thanks for sharing.

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VXWALL1942 1/21/2011 2:14PM

    What a wonderful blog. Anxious to proceed in the path you have found. Hace lo que quiera - ahorra y manana tambien.


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    Great Blog! WTG on the weight loss!

Just like anything else in life that is important - we need to keep vigilant - we need to keep working at it.

You are doing great! Love the pictures - such a beautiful skirt!!

Love you,

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WKLYTTON 1/21/2011 1:58PM

    absolutely amazing post !!! Good job !

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KNITTABLES 1/21/2011 1:47PM

    What a great blog, thanks for sharing.

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SPARKLINGHOPE 1/21/2011 1:42PM

    I admire your essence and spark! Great blog!! Congrats on reaching your goal!!! :-)

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GIVEUP30 1/21/2011 12:56PM

    emoticonblog you are doing such a wonder thing God Bless

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MEWIEGELE 1/21/2011 12:51PM

    *applause* Love the form on that yoga pose- triangle pose I believe. Thanks for sharing!

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ARCHIMEDESII 1/21/2011 12:29PM

    What a fabulous blog !! While you may be halfway to your goal, you've made absolutely amazing progress !!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MOOKBALL 1/21/2011 11:52AM

    Que bueno!

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TEENY_BIKINI 1/21/2011 9:58AM

    Your pictures are simply stunning and you are stunning as well.

I LOVE that blue dress.

You are just an amazing example of grace, beauty and womanhood.

You are amazing. Just keep being you - it is delightful.


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DARKTHOR 1/19/2011 9:14PM

    Wonderful job getting control back from... well, from yourself! I am glad to hear that you are heading in a positive, fulfilling direction again. I'm glad to say that I am too! Let's make this a great year.

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MAEVE77 1/18/2011 4:25PM

    Maha, you are truly an inspiration to me. Congratulations on meeting your goal and for continuing to grow in mind and spirit. The trip to Ecuador and plan to live there part time sounds amazing.
Love and Blessings to you. emoticon emoticon

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JLWOF1 1/18/2011 3:50AM

    I loved your blog. Congrats on finishing your personal challenge and on your weight loss. I loved what you shared about women needing friendship. I lag in that area. After reading that, I need to make more of an effort! You're an awesome woman! Have a great semester!

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DDOORN 1/17/2011 4:26PM

    Women are certainly the stronger sex for all their sharing, relating, tending to their feelings...!

I think secretly (or maybe not so secretly...!) most men are HIGHLY envious of this and deeply feel the absence of this most important side to life and living.

Congrats on your re-Sparking 'Maha!


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    What an amazing blog!!! One of the best I've ever read! You are a remarkable woman!!!!!

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KAKIPOPUP 1/17/2011 8:49AM

    you are an inspiration - as you are about to enter your 8th decade - thank you for this blog - emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FRANCESCANAZ 1/17/2011 7:54AM

    Felicidades mi amiga! Que bueno estaras en Ecuador para ver tu otra familia linda! Estoy alegre. muy, muy alegre. Besos, Francesca

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FRACTALMYTH 1/17/2011 12:58AM

    WOOOHOOOO ! Yay for a successful (and ongoing) challenge :)

On a girly note... I love your blue skirt :D

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PENNYAN45 1/16/2011 9:47PM

    What a delight to read this blog!

First of all, your success with your recently completed challenge is inspiring. Congratulations on changing your momentum to the desired direction.

Also, I am very happy that your Spanish instruction this semester is so fulfilling for you, and that you are feeling on track again with your program.

And, I am not one bit surprised to hear that academia is recognizing the importance of women friends. I've always known that my good friends were crucial for my emotional health -- why not my physical health as well? I have been a big believer -- for a long time!!

Finally - how exciting that you will be returning to Ecuador after this semester ends. Wouldn't it be wonderful for you if that other home of yours became a place for you to live for part of the year.

Wishing it all for you!



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SLASALLE 1/16/2011 8:57PM

    You continue to amaze and inspire me, my dear friend. I'm so happy that your Spanish classes are good ones this semester. We'll talk soon. It is quite an honor to be your friend!!


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GOANNA2 1/16/2011 6:36PM

    emoticonAnother achievement.
You are an awesome lady Maha and thanks
for sharing the email about women's friendship.

Have fun this semester and I will definetely go next year. emoticon

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GETDONE 1/16/2011 6:16PM

    Congrats on your personal challenge achievement.
I have moved many times in my life and have missed out on the girlfriend gift. My sweet cousin who I admired and love dearly has passed.
So now I am like a child meeting many folks and finding laughter and things to ponder.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and successes as well as your lessons in life.

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SUNNY332 1/16/2011 4:45PM

    I loved seeing the photos. Congrats on having your personal challenge behind you. You did good. How is school?

Again - thanks for sharing. Do have a GREAT week. BTW - our soldier boy finally made it to Hawaii and spent yesterday at Wikki Beach. Bless his heart, it took him two days to get out of Atlanta. Oh well, sleet and snow are behind him for a while.

Take care. Sunny

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WALKINGANNIE 1/16/2011 3:11PM

    This blog was a real pleasure to experience Maha - and inspiring as usual. You often manage to appeal to a mixture of senses and to make connections with your words and images.

Big congratulations on meeting your personal challenge with such style.

Sister-friends are great!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 1/16/2011 2:09PM

    Congratulations to you on sticking with your challenge: you have such an interesting and rich life!!

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CARRAND 1/16/2011 2:02PM

    Wonderful blog, and so interesting the information about the importance of girl friends. I don't have a lot of girl friends, never have, and I miss that. Mostly I'm just too busy. Fortunately my husband can talk about more than sports and politics, and I have a warm and wonderful sister. I'm retiring next year and will have time for a lot of things. I'm hoping it's not too late for some girlfriends.

You are a real inspiration to me.

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MAZZYR 1/16/2011 1:51PM

    Oh Maha, congratulations on your achievement. And, thank you for sharing this lovely blog.

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    I always *knew* there was something healthy going on when my "sister-friend" and I get together! We always feel better after hanging out. I will be sure to share the Stanford info with her. :)

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 1/16/2011 1:18PM

    Awesome...You will be starting your 7th decade in excellent health!

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CLAYKEEPER 1/16/2011 12:40PM

    Congratulations ! Another goal achieved..... How blessed are we to be truly alive and welcoming new insights, information and health to our years ? I love the quotes about 'sisterhood'. You really are an inspiration !....

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GENKI_WARRIOR 1/16/2011 12:01PM

    I didn't know about this challenge (hmm--sounds like we need some nurturing girl-time)! Well, CONGRATS on all your dedication paying off.
As for your semester--have fun :D

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DAISY443 1/16/2011 11:59AM

    I found the comments about women friends to be particularly true. The caveat here is to find the women who feel the same way and can have that special relationship. I also find interesting that there are some men who can relate to women in that way. In my lifetime, I believe (outside of relatives) I have found ten to fifteen women and three to four men with whom I can interact in the healthy way described in your blog. That is not to say that casual friendship is not a good thing, but it is on an entirely different level.
Once again, you have given me a new perspective to ponder on (I refuse to say "upon which to ponder")!
Congratulations on the successful completion of your personal challenge!

Comment edited on: 1/16/2011 12:00:55 PM

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ABURRIS2 1/16/2011 11:43AM


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FLORIDASUN 1/16/2011 11:41AM

    How insightful...this information... although I've known deep down in my soul.. the truth about our girlfriends and their health value to our physcial well being all along.

Don't you think that's part of the reason we are so passionate about our sparking?

All of the healthy segments on nutrition are wonderfully helpful...but if you ask me..and I know you would.. if we were sipping a cup of green tea across from each's the connection of woman to woman spirit that fills us a way that food alone...never will!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

You my darling Maha are an inspiration from above...I truly adore you! emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/16/2011 11:43:00 AM

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