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Speaking of spaciousness....

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I had an out-of-control day yesterday. Cabin fever brought on dysfunctional behavior: non-stop eating and NO exercise. I decided to take a bath last night to psychically release some of the emotional toxins that were eating away at me. I was reading Pema Chodron while I soaked in the hot steamy water with lavender salts. Besides speaking to my situation, the reading was SO attuned to yesterday's blog on spaciousness and I'm really happy to share it as an addendum to "To the spaces in between."

(Chapter 87)

"Understanding how our emotions have the power to run us around in circles helps us discover how we increase our pain, how we increase our confusion, how we cause harm to ourselves. Because we have basic goodness, basic wisdom, basic intelligence, we can stop harming ourselves and harming others.

"Because of mindfulness, we see things when they arise. Because of our understanding, we don't buy into the chain reaction that makes things grow from minute to expansive -- we leave things minute. They don't keep expanding into World War III or domestic violence (or self-violence).

"It all comes through learning to pause for just a moment and not doing the same thing again and again out of impulse. Simply to pause instead of immediately filling up the space transforms us. By waiting, we begin to connect with fundamental restlessness as well as fundamental spaciousness.

"The result is that we cease to cause harm. We begin to know ourselves thoroughly and to respect ourselves and others. Anything can come up, anything can walk into our house. We can find a dinosaur sitting on our living room couch, and we don't freak out. We have been thoroughly processed by coming to know ourselves with honest, gentle mindfulness."

-- from COMFORTABLE WITH UNCERTAINTY: 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PUDLECRAZY 2/24/2011 9:12PM

    Pima always brings me back to center.

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SIRIRADHA 2/21/2011 2:57PM

    I did the very same thing you did, except for the reading, yesterday! I was thinking, this morning, that the next time I feel myself slipping into a killer binge it might be a good time to do some chanting.

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MARCHMAID 2/19/2011 9:35AM

    Pause. Yes.

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JESPAH 2/18/2011 8:13AM

    Pay attention and calm down -- two things that so many of us forget to do, so often.

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DOR2BFIT 2/15/2011 7:53AM

    So very true. A great reminder to pay attention.

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EOSTAR_45 2/13/2011 8:28PM

    Wow! "Understanding how emotions have the power to run us around in circles..." Did I so need to hear this this week feeling as I was! It's crazy how one hopeless thought begets another and another and another ad nauseum.

We must pause, be aware, break that vicious cycle. And do it again and again as often as necessary--May we remember that.


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FRACTALMYTH 2/12/2011 2:13PM

    I've been reading the Kabat-Zinn's book "Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting" - with much the same advice... it is so hard to pause and SEE when you are in the thick of it, to interrupt the pre-programmed train of responses that railroad you and everyone around you into a hurtling mess... I am drawing comfort from this quote (from above mentioned book) "The one thing we know we can always do, even in moments of darkness and despair that show us we don't know anything, is to begin again, fresh, right in that moment." And again, and again, and againandagainandagain. But it's not how often you fall, it's whether you keep on getting up and coming back for more right? As for the nutrition tracker... you betcha you should! Mindfulness here we come!

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VEEJAY3 2/12/2011 11:35AM

    Oh my, petal! I am copying this to my desktop so I can refer to it often. How many times do I let myself get caught up in the circular (and so painful!) brain loop??? I breathe and tell myself "THIS moment? THIS particular second? All is perfectly well here. Just string these particular seconds together instead of projecting." But Pema Chodron puts it much more poetically.

I'm so grateful you bring these precious things to my attention.

You're a treasure. Beyond measure.

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OMELYN 2/11/2011 9:45AM

    Hi Maha,
Came upon you through Ramona. Lovely, important thoughts.

Thank you for sharing, and so well.

A lavendar bath sounds so good right about now.


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SUNNY332 2/11/2011 9:41AM

    This Moment is a gift just as today is and staying focused in the moment allows me to enjoy the gift. If I am busy in yesterday or worried about what may come tomorrow, I am missing out on the gift of today.

Do have a very Blessed Day.

Hugs, Sunny

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_RAMONA 2/11/2011 4:00AM

    "Because of mindfulness, we see things when they arise. Because of our understanding, we don't buy into the chain reaction that makes things grow from minute to expansive -- we leave things minute." "Simply to pause instead of immediately filling up the space transforms us. By waiting, we begin to connect with fundamental restlessness as well as fundamental spaciousness." AMEN.

People keep asking me how I'm managing to get through 'this' (brain injury, flood, illness) without going a little crazy. This is how. I'm learning to let things be minute until they aren't... and I'm finding that the expansiveness of my JOY is proportionate to my ability to keep challenges minute. And it's amazng how satiating joy is to all conditions.

Thanks for another wonder-FULL moment, Maha.

{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}

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    Sigh. Days like that leave me marveling. We can do the same stuff over and over again (or eat the same stuff over and over again) and where is the pause when we need it? Sometimes no reason, no consciousness, no faith can stop the madness. Nothing but grace to find the pause.


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CARRAND 2/10/2011 9:07PM

    You are always interesting!

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WATERMELLEN 2/10/2011 8:20PM

    You found the perfect way to pause: good for you!

And: just look at the wisdom and compassion in that face . . .

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COLIBRI930 2/10/2011 8:11PM

    Very nice! Thank you. I'm a fan of Pema Chodron. This piece perfectly described what I needed to hear this week in particular.

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ZORAHGAIL 2/10/2011 7:55PM


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JLWOF1 2/10/2011 7:34PM

    I learn something new from you every day! Thank you so much!

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ABURRIS2 2/10/2011 7:07PM

    A timely message for me. Thank you. Plus, I LOVE her face. Gets me every time. Thanks for that too!

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CLAYKEEPER 2/10/2011 6:03PM

    What a deceptively simple statement..."Do no harm"....


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DDOORN 2/10/2011 4:46PM

    More wisdom...many thx, 'Maha...I'm sure you'll be bouncing back in no time from your tough day yesterday...!


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GOANNA2 2/10/2011 4:45PM

    I aghree with Shae777 about the book being a must read.
thank you for the great blog once again Maha.
Namaste emoticon

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DAISY443 2/10/2011 3:21PM

    I was mindful of your blogs while doing yoga today and was able to put the fact that Daisy dog was licking my fingers, running in circles around me and bringing a toy for me to throw apart from the peacefulness I was feeling from the yoga! Sometime it is really hard, though!

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    I am going to buy this book! Thank yoU!

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SHAE777 2/10/2011 2:57PM

  Love this! Thanks for sharing! That book definitely sounds like a must-read...

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To the spaces in between....

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Spiritual teachers speak of the "gap" during meditation practice, the place between the in-breath and the out-breath, as the point at which no-thought can move us toward deep stillness and take us further on the journey toward At-ONE-ment. This pristine piece speaks so eloquently of that important juncture and, you know me, I just HAD to share it...

And OF COURSE the balance that can begin on the cushion, that is created by "fuel, and absence of the fuel together, that make fire possible" as Don's and Annette's comments indicate, guide us in every other part of living it out as well!

And once again, bowing in gratitude to Joe Riley, who selects and sends on these exquisite works each weekday via my Panhala subscription.


What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs
packed in too tight
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water would.

So building fires
requires attention
to the spaces in between,
as much as to the wood.

When we are able to build
open spaces
in the same way
we have learned
to pile on the logs,
then we can come to see how
it is fuel, and absence of the fuel
together, that make fire possible.

We only need to lay a log
lightly from time to time.
A fire
simply because the space is there,
with openings
in which the flame
that knows just how it wants to burn
can find its way.

~ Judy Brown ~
(Leading from Within, ed. by Sam M. Intrator and Megan Scribner)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ROBINSNEWNEST 2/13/2011 7:32PM

    Thank you for paying attention (being at-one) with the spaces in between... for sharing insights... for the spark in you...


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JESPAH 2/13/2011 9:28AM

    I have a web design book called "White Space is not your enemy" and I love the design idea that there is a real value to just being quiet or just white or black and not having a message in some places, as an offset to where you do have messages and buttons and the like.

And that, I think, works here as well. The gap is a part of the whole thing. That space is vital.

As they say on the MBTA, mind the gap. :)

Row a lil less, love.

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FRECKS96 2/10/2011 6:02PM

    Thank You!!

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CARRAND 2/9/2011 9:45PM

    That's a wonderful thought.

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KAKIPOPUP 2/9/2011 6:47PM

    Kahlil Gibran had a piece about spaces in your is essential because without it we could not discern form -

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WATERMELLEN 2/9/2011 5:28PM

    Spaces: yup!! Absolutely necessary pretty much in all things!!

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VEEJAY3 2/9/2011 5:16PM

    Well, Maha, you will never believe this ... what am I saying? Of COURSE you will believe this.

I just sent you a goodie BEFORE I read this blog. Go check it out. We are riding some cosmic extrasensory communication train, woman. Our wavelengths are wavin' to each other.

Seriously. I can't stop laughing.

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CINDYC53 2/9/2011 5:07PM

    Really lovely & meaningful. Thank you, always, for sharing!
emoticon emoticon

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GOANNA2 2/9/2011 4:23PM

    emoticon emoticon

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_RAMONA 2/9/2011 2:59PM

    So MANY things running through my head...

...when the student is ready, the teacher will come.

...cry out in all sincerity, and the universe will answer.

Well, okay, only a couple I can actually articulate (I'm beginning to recognise the 'noise' in my head as 'no-thought' and my atonement in the past year is now moving steadily into a place of at-ONE-ment... I know my fifth decade on earth will be lived in that place of "fuel, and absence of the fuel together, that make fire possible").

Maha, you are a blessing to me, right now, in ways I could not have even anticipated. You ARE, for me, the embodiment of "how very important it is to sometimes just get out of the way, and allow life to give you more than you would think to ask for."

How will I ever thank you?

Namaste (bowing deeply with unfettered gratitude).
{{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}

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GREENCAT1 2/9/2011 12:32PM

    Beautiful - ahhhh!

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SLASALLE 2/9/2011 11:54AM

    Being somebody who LOVES to play in the fireplace and while not doing it daily, also enjoys meditation, I totally get this concept.

This piece speaking eloquently on this topic is most definitely right!!!

As always, thanks for sharing.

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JUSTBIRDY 2/9/2011 11:28AM


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    oooh my goodness I adore this!

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SUNNY332 2/9/2011 10:37AM

    What a great link - loved it and also signed up for updates.

This poem and the music were just what I needed this morning on this very cold day in Missouri.

Take care and do have a wonderful Wednesday.


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DOR2BFIT 2/9/2011 10:17AM

    I like this- I believe in this space as a teacher too- when I'm asking open ended questions, it's important to leave room for a bit of space for processing. emoticon emoticon

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DAISY443 2/9/2011 10:04AM

    Now, you've done it! I also subscribed, so I have read this wonderful poem, but had not made the connection to yoga. When I do my yoga, I will feel connected to this analogy.

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CLAYKEEPER 2/9/2011 10:02AM

    I love this... you can get into quite a lovely meditation with focus on 'space'... isn't it how we create music ? art ? Thank you for the reminder !
.... in peace, annette

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DDOORN 2/9/2011 9:53AM

    What a wonderful way to describe the balance we're all striving for...! Talk about cultivating, savoring our SPARK! :-)


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Oh how I needed this this morning!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011


As long as nothing can be known for sure
(no signals have been picked up yet),
as long as Earth is still unlike
the nearer and more distant planets,

as long as there's neither hide nor hair
of other grasses graced by other winds,
of other treetops bearing other crowns,
other animals as well-grounded as our own,

as long as only the local echo
has been known to speak in syllables,

as long as we still haven't heard word
of better or worse mozarts,
platos, edisons somewhere,

as long as our inhuman crimes
are still committed only between humans,

as long as our kindness
is still incomparable,
peerless even in its imperfection,

as long as our heads packed with illusions
still pass for the only heads so packed,

as long as the roofs of our mouths alone
still raise voices to high heavens--

let's act like very special guests of honor
at the district-firemen's ball
dance to the beat of the local oompah band,
and pretend that it's the ball
to end all balls.

I can't speak for others--
for me this is
misery and happiness enough:

just this sleepy backwater
where even the stars have time to burn
while winking at us

~ Wislawa Szymborska ~
(View with a Grain of Sand, translated by S. Baranczak and C. Cavanagh)

Wislawa Szymborska was born in 1923 in Bnin, a small town in Western Poland. Her family moved to Krakow in 1931 where she has lived and worked ever since.

Szymborska studied Polish literature and sociology at Jagellonian University from 1945 until 1948. While attending the university, she became involved in Krakow's literary scene and first met and was influenced by Czeslaw Milosz. Szymborska is the author of more than fifteen books of poetry. She is also the author of Nonrequired Reading (Harcourt, 2002), a collection of prose pieces.

While the Polish history from World War II through Stalinism clearly informs her poetry, Szymborska is also a deeply personal poet who explores the large truths that exist in ordinary, everyday things. "Of course, life crosses politics," Szymborska has said "but my poems are strictly not political. They are more about people and life."

In 1996, Szymborska won the Nobel Prize. Her other awards include the Polish Pen Club prize, an Honorary Doctorate from Adam Mickiewicz University, the Herder Prize and The Goethe Prize.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SLASALLE 2/8/2011 11:37PM

    Where do you ALWAYS manage to find this great stuff???? You're amazing ...


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_RAMONA 2/8/2011 11:22PM

    I liked this a lot, and I LOVE the site. THANK YOU! Your gifts were a balm to my day today!

{{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}

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DMPRIDER 2/8/2011 9:20PM

    Beautiful poem. Thanks for sharing.

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MARCHMAID 2/8/2011 9:10PM

    Never heard of her and am grateful for the introduction. Lovely poem.

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CARRAND 2/8/2011 8:41PM


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GOANNA2 2/8/2011 4:45PM

    Thank you for sharing.
You are a great life teacher Maha. emoticon

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    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LYNNANN43 2/8/2011 1:24PM

    You always help to fill my soul, MAHA!

Thank you. emoticon

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VEEJAY3 2/8/2011 11:21AM

    Beautiful. But you'd already sent me to poetry today, when I read RAMONA's blog. Of course I followed the link she included, and found my own "perfect" poem for my day: "The Cricket and The Rose" by mary oliver.

A great big hug to you, you FFF! (Some people have BFFs ... we have FFFs.)

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MISS_VIV 2/8/2011 10:59AM

    Another bright spot which means so much to me.
You never fail to enlighten us. emoticon

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    oh how i love this.

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PEACEFULONE 2/8/2011 10:50AM

    Thank you Maha for sharing this balm for my soul.

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CLAYKEEPER 2/8/2011 9:50AM

    Gosh darn it ... I was in the middle of a pity party... now I have to pull my head out and get on with the beauty of life...


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JLWOF1 2/8/2011 9:37AM

    I'm enjoying my poetry lessons. Thank you so much for sharing.

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ONECOOKIETWO 2/8/2011 9:33AM

    I love Szymborska!!!
What a lyrical voice.

She is in good company (see Czeslaw Milosz, another lyrical Polish poet who also won a Nobel).

Comment edited on: 2/8/2011 9:33:27 AM

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SUNNY332 2/8/2011 9:03AM

    I loved this...

let's act like very special guests of honor
at the district-firemen's ball
dance to the beat of the local oompah band,
and pretend that it's the ball
to end all balls.

I am going to dance today!

Hugs, Sunny

First though, I am out of the house and headed to the clinic for some lab work.
Blessings to you today.

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MEGA_MILES 2/8/2011 8:54AM

    Thanks for sharing. I really enjoy Szymborska's poetry. Now I need to go find one of her books in my stacks.


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DOR2BFIT 2/8/2011 8:54AM

    Beautiful! emoticon

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DDOORN 2/8/2011 8:43AM

    I'm ready to be making my life the "ball to end all balls!" :-)

Thx as always for your shares...breathes of fresh air...!


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DAISY443 2/8/2011 8:35AM

    You brighten my life and expand my horizons (which lately seem to be limited to my living room-lol). You have no idea how much you mean to me. emoticon

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Kitty and Trek Photos

Sunday, February 06, 2011

I thought I'd share a few photos of me on the Trek since I'm always referring to it, though it's not easy...since obviously *I* can't take them. So yesterday, I got Robert, my housemate, to take a couple and randomly asked students on campus as well. I bought the Trek Navigator in 1998 and it continues to give me great joy and excellent performance.

I've also spoken of Kitty Rama, a PetSmart-rescued cat (had all the necessary shots and med exams, etc.) selected by Robert. We picked her up just before I left for three months on "Maha's Magical Mystery Tour" in May 2010. I swear Kitty Rama is a balm better than medicine to dear Robert's soul.

From the looks of the woods, I believe this was taken in August just after I got back from my adventure. She's on my little Honda Civic.

Another summer photo of a svelte Kitty.

Summertime. Robert is saying, "Hurry up, Kitty has had enough of this. She says it's chow time!" She has Robert VERY well trained.

Taken day-before yesterday. NOW look at Queen Of The World As She Knows It in her winter furs!!! She likes to sit on my printer. My desk is just to the right, and I look out those windows as I *talk* to you all! That's where dozens of birds gather to eat the bird seed I throw out...and THAT'S why Kitty Rama likes to sit there! And you can see the sweet Toyota Dolphin, hibernating for the winter.

Another angle.

Yesterday, close to 40 degrees, as I was readying to take off on my 11-mile spin on the Trek. (No sun today though...gray, gray, and more gray!)

The circle near the Snow Performing Arts Building on campus where I take classes for the music minor.

I was getting warm -- minus the cap and gloves here, and later I also shed the down vest. The university library is behind me.

Here's another shot of Robert. I drove him to visit his ill mother and we stopped in Timbo (you won't find it on a map) at the Dairy Bar, where we both had milkshakes on a hot September day.

A different era, 1989, with Robert (and Swami Satchidananda)


Praise the light of late November,
the thin sunlight that goes deep in the bones.
Praise the crows chattering in the oak trees;
though they are clothed in night, they do not
despair. Praise what little there's left:
the small boats of milkweed pods, husks, hulls,
shells, the architecture of trees. Praise the meadow
of dried weeds: yarrow, goldenrod, chicory,
the remains of summer. Praise the blue sky
that hasn't cracked yet. Praise the sun slipping down
behind the beechnuts, praise the quilt of leaves
that covers the grass: Scarlet Oak, Sweet Gum,
Sugar Maple. Though darkness gathers, praise our crazy
fallen world; it's all we have, and it's never enough.

~ Barbara Crooker ~
(Abalone Moon, Summer 2004)

Or paraphrasing the ending:

Though darkness gathers, praise our crazy
fallen lives; they're all we have, and they are enough.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EMRANA 2/20/2011 11:42AM

  Another Swamiji photo! I am loving your page!

Kitty Rama is adorable. I love that she was rescued and now lives an adored life. I have two rescue babies too.

You live a wonderful life. emoticon

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    Enjoyed visiting a little of YOUR world, MAHA. emoticon

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WOLFKITTY 2/8/2011 3:30AM

    BEAUTIFUL kitty cat!!! Awww.. .And I love the peek into your life. Lovely blog!


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PEACEFULONE 2/8/2011 1:17AM

    What a beautiful woods you live in! There must be wildlife to watch in addition to the birds. Kitty Rama is precious. Thank you for sharing. emoticon emoticon

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SIRIRADHA 2/7/2011 5:08PM

    Kitty Rama is looking quite sleek and beautiful! I'm so glad you posted this; it makes me feel like I know you a little better.

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FRACTALMYTH 2/7/2011 2:01PM

    HUGS and more HUGS - love your windows!

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SLASALLE 2/7/2011 1:26PM

    I'm loving this. Now I can see part of YOUR world. Love all of the pictures and you look GREAT on the Trek. I think you have an AWESOME view out your window too, my dear friend. Of course, Kitty Rama is adorable.


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JUSTBIRDY 2/7/2011 12:01PM

    Cute kitty!

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PENNYAN45 2/7/2011 11:02AM

    Thanks for the visit to your corner of the world. It was fun to look through your windows and meet Robert and your kitty. You look like a real pro on your Trek.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JESPAH 2/7/2011 9:55AM

    First off, the recent pic, and the pic of you from years back do not look significantly different.

Second -- Kitty Rama is a definite looker. A model -- they always know where the cameras are.

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DAISY443 2/7/2011 9:19AM

    Thanks for inviting me over! I really like your pictures and, as always, your words. Kitty Rama is beautiful!
Amazingly, my campground has wifi and, although we are still making preparations, we will soon be camping *in*. Silly as this is, my soul needed some silliness!

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GOANNA2 2/7/2011 8:35AM

    Thanks for sharing Maha.
Love Kitty and the poem... emoticon

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JLWOF1 2/7/2011 7:22AM

    Very nice photos! Love the kitty! Thanks for sharing!

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DARKTHOR 2/7/2011 4:11AM

    Thanks for the glimpses of your part of the world.

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GBOOMER 2/7/2011 4:05AM

    There's the Trekster! Nice pics of everything!


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DDOORN 2/7/2011 1:12AM

    Thx for sharing such terrific pics! We've got four kitties...could never be without a cat! You're braver than I...cycling @ 40 degrees! Just can't wrap my brain around bundling up and me that's an oxymoron...just SO dissonant! I want to cycle in shorts and a T...anything more is a compromise I'm loathe to!


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    oh how fun!

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    Well Maha it is so much fun to glimpse your off line life. Though of course since I live in NE and thus am unable to live and let live I am going to chide you about not wearing your helmet. Naughty girl.

Love your kitty kat. Yes I am certain that she is good medicine for your housemate and for you too. Just seeing her pict is good medicine. She has such a pretty face. And color. DH lobbies from time to time for a kitty. I figure one will find us when the time comes. Our last kitty lived past 20 and survived 4 doggies, and three of those lived to 16. She ruled the household.

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COSMIC_ENERGY 2/6/2011 8:00PM

    Awww....Sweet Kitty. I've seen your Trek if that what you brought this summer on the road trip. Nice to see a bit of Maha's inner circle.

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SUNNY332 2/6/2011 6:38PM

    What an absolutely beautiful cat. I enjoyed meeting Kitty and seeing your photos.


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EOSTAR_45 2/6/2011 6:37PM

    Kitty has grown up and fluffy too! What a cutie. I love cats.

You and the Trek are looking fierce and ready to conquer the trails and/ or campus walkways :-) Aren't campuses beautiful?

Thanks for the photoblog.

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CARRAND 2/6/2011 6:14PM

    Your kitty looks a lot like my kitty named Anya. Anya is a very sweet cat, but she throws up when she's nervous, and unfortunately she is nervous a lot. My other kitty, named Lydia, is afraid of nothing.

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ONEKIDSMOM 2/6/2011 6:13PM

    Kitty is gorgeous, by the way. Thanks for sharing.

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DAISY443 2/6/2011 5:26PM

    I have never been know to follow the rules, so I am posting anyway! The pictures are wonderful. You are wonderful! The Trek is wonderful. My bad! Hugs!

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Monster Monsanto's Genetically Engineered Alfalfa

Friday, February 04, 2011

Maria Rodale is one of my sheros, an exceptional role model and leader. I love her book _Organic Manifesto_. Scroll down on this link to check out the synopsis and biographical information that will give you some fascinating insights about the book and her:

She wrote this preamble to the following letter posted in her Huffington Post column on February 1, 2011, "Straight to the Source:"

Every once in a while an issue comes along that is so shockingly wrong, that people seem to spontaneously unite in opposition. This is one of those times. I am very honored to post this letter, written by some of the most informed, passionate, and good-hearted people I know. Please, do what you can to fight against the GMO contamination of our bodies and our environment by demanding organic. Thank you.
--Maria Rodale, CEO & Chair, Rodale, Inc.

We stand united in opposition to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) decision to once again allow unlimited, nationwide commercial planting of Monsanto's genetically engineered (GE) Roundup Ready alfalfa, despite the many risks to organic and conventional farmers.

Last spring more than 200,000 people submitted comments to the USDA highly critical of the substance and conclusions of its draft EIS on GE Alfalfa. Instead of responding to these comments and concerns, including expert comments from farmers, scientists, academics, conservationists, and food safety and consumer advocates, the USDA has chosen instead to listen to a handful of agricultural biotechnology companies.

USDA's decision to allow unlimited, nationwide commercial planting of
Monsanto's GE Roundup Ready alfalfa without any restrictions flies in the face of the interests of conventional and organic farmers, preservation of the environment, and consumer choice. USDA has become a rogue agency in its regulation of biotech crops and its decision to appease the few companies who seek to benefit from this technology comes despite increasing evidence that GE alfalfa will threaten the rights of American farmers and consumers, as well as damage the environment.

The Center for Food Safety will be suing on this decision.

In the coming months, we will be seeing USDA proposals to allow unrestricted plantings of GE sugar beets, and GE corn and soy crops designed to resist toxic pesticides, such as 2-4D and Dicamba, highly toxic pesticides that pose a serious threat to our health and the environment. To win these critical and difficult battles, the entire organic community, and our allies in the conventional food and farming community, will have to work together.

Now is the time to unite in action. We need to work together to restore sanity to our food system, stop the deregulation of GE crops and join together against the forces that are seeking to silence hundreds of thousands of Americans.

As we move forward, we are united in opposing genetically engineered organisms in food production and believe that pressure to stop the proliferation of this contaminating technology must be focused on the White House and Congress. The companies responsible for this situation are the biotech companies whose GE technology causes genetic drift and environmental hazards that are not contained as the deregulation of genetically engineered alfalfa goes forward. The organic community stands together with consumer, farmer, environmental and business interests to ensure practices that are protective of health and the environment.

We urge you to join us today.


Joan Boykin, The Organic Center
Christine Bushway, Organic Trade Association
Jay Feldman, Beyond Pesticides
Michael Funk, United Natural Foods Inc (UNFI)
Elizabeth Henderson, NOFA Interstate Council
Gary Hirshberg, Stonyfield Farm
Liana Hoodes, National Organic Coalition
Kristina Hubbard, Organic Seed Alliance
Faye Jones, Midwest Organic Sustainable Education Service
Robby Kenner, Robert Kenner Films
Andrew Kimbrell, Center for Food Safety
Russell Libby, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners (MOFGA)
Ed Maltby, Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (NODPA)
Robyn O'Brien, Allergy Kids
Keith Olcott, Equal Exchange
Michael Pollan, Author
Maria Rodale, Rodale Inc.
Eric Schlosser, Author
Robynn Schrader, National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA)
Corinne Shindelar, INFRA
George Siemon, Organic Valley
Michael Sligh, Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI)
Megan Westgate, Non-GMO Project
Maureen Wilmot, Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF)
Enid Wonnacott, Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT)




CHECK IT OUT -- Even fitness guru Jillian Michaels loves Rodale's work: "Maria’s pedigree gives her the authority and credibility to educate Americans on this important subject matter. The information in _Organic Manifesto_ will empower you not only to save your own life and the lives of your family but also to do your part in saving the world. If you read one book this year, please make this one it!" -- Jillian Michaels

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MZZCHIEF 2/9/2011 6:22PM

    O this can't be a coincidence... I just got done watching a hulu on this.

Here's the addy. The video is about an hour and a half long.
I really liked the part at the 26 minute part, and animation of how recumbant DNA is created and inserted in corn cells.

Truly frightening!
Here's the site, its the first blog FOOD>
off to read about molasses cake...
: )

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WOLFKITTY 2/6/2011 5:12PM

    Wow, oh my gosh.
Thanks for the info.


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CINDYC53 2/6/2011 1:26PM

    Thank you so much for putting this together!! I reposted it to my FB page. I'll write those letters! I've also been very concerned about this subject - having been enlightened by "Food Inc." Love your blogs!!

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    Thank you for posting this we need to stop this kind of thing from happening its killing us!!I only do Organic planting and always have, my sister used chemicals on her yard and gardens and ended up almost dead with cancer!!I say we unite against this stuff!!

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VEGGIE_POWERED 2/6/2011 8:36AM

    Thanks for posting this - I contacted the President and plan to let my other "elected" representatives know how I feel about this as well. The article and its contents were also pushed out to every social media channel I use. If we all do a little, we can all do a lot. Take down Monsanto - bring the rain!!!

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COLIBRI930 2/5/2011 8:36AM

    Excellent! I am so glad you are putting the word out about the GM alfalfa and the evils of Monsanto. This is a battle that my democrat, republican and libertarian friends are all united on. As more and more people become aware of what's going on, resistance will grow.

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PEACEFULONE 2/5/2011 2:37AM

    I support this action 100%! I will write Senators and the President as well as the Sec. of Agriculture. GMO foods are a disaster for the environment and farmers, and most pesticides are also. They are engineering seeds that require the companion pesticide and that have to be purchased every year. The seeds won't reproduce and can't be saved over like the original seeds could. The farmer is caught in a never ending debt cycle to Monsanto. I support the organic farmers and buy their produce when available.

"The Future of Food" is an excellent video that talks about the evils of Monsanto, GMOs and corporate farming.

Thank you for your support of the honey bees via my blog as well!

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VEEJAY3 2/5/2011 1:04AM

    I felt like I was in bizarro world this past summer ... drove from Denver through Kansas then South to Dallas to send my son to college ... and all thru Kansas -- the bread basket of America -- there were HUGE billboards smack in the middle of crop fields:

As if it were something to BRAG about.

My stomach turns.

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NETINETI 2/4/2011 10:43PM

    I started to watch "Food, Inc." twice. Both times I started to cry within the first few minutes. I have so much admiration for the ecofood warriors who are on the front lines in the war against Monsanto and their ilk.
Consciously yours,

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SUNNY332 2/4/2011 7:53PM

    We plant a huge garden - several families involved and I definitely am pro organic gardens. I ordered the book and can't wait to read it.

My Mother died of Leukemia which doctors are convienced came from the pesticides she and dad used in their gardens. I was not too convienced of this until the past few years when I learn more about those pesticides.

I plant plants around and in my garden that aide in the pest control and just know I can do more.

I can't wait. I am knee deep into garden books/catalogs right now anyway. It is the time of year I plan our spring plantings. While January/Feburary/March might be a bad time of the year, I love it! This year, we are expanding the garden.

Thanks so much.

Hugs, Sunny

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DOR2BFIT 2/4/2011 7:41PM

    I said it before, and I say it again- Monsanto is despicable. I have heard many people speak about being ruined by Monsanto because their genetically engineered crops contaminated their property, and then Monsanto turns around and makes them pay for 'stealing' it. They MUST be stopped. They make my blood boil!

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CLAYKEEPER 2/4/2011 7:31PM

    Thank you... reposted to my Facebook page...

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JUSTBIRDY 2/4/2011 5:15PM


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SLASALLE 2/4/2011 5:14PM

    Maha - As always, you are ahead of me on this one. While I have signed petitions to President Obama and others, I am lagging behind on educating myself beyond the most basic of concepts. Your posting helps me there ... and is appreciated.

I do find it interesting that representatives from some of the companies that were criticized in the recent article I forwarded to you are included as signing on here (for example, Stonyfield Farms, if I remember correctly from scanning the earlier article).

By the way, because Michelle Obama has become such an advocate of healthy eating, I am considering writing to her directly and separately. I'm sure she has an in with the big guy!! LOL



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GOANNA2 2/4/2011 4:29PM

    Wow, what an eye opener.
I would love to grow my own vegetables now.
You are right to put this out and people need
to get behind the fight to stop this insanity.

You are amazing. Thank you for posting this blog.

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TAMI1691 2/4/2011 4:25PM

    heirloom vegetables still have the best flavour.
Grow your own if you can. support heritage varieties which have been saved by sensible people for thousands of years.

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_RAMONA 2/4/2011 3:50PM

    I DETEST what Monsanto is doing, and I just can't understand HOW they got a toehold in the first place... they make NO sense whatsoever!!!

I live 50 miles from Percy Schmieser (the guy in Cananda who legally took on Monsanto and their genetically engineered (GE) Roundup Ready Canola) and I still cannot believe that people just don't get how bad this is for everyone. And how can anyone justify owning the patent to SEED??!!!

Monsanto and food should never be in the same sentence.

YOU are and amazing woman, Maha, and I am glad to have finally crossed paths! Thanks for all you do!

{{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}

Comment edited on: 2/4/2011 3:57:12 PM

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ERIN4771 2/4/2011 3:43PM

    i really wish that company would just go under all ready!!! seriously, how are not more people enraged by all the info that is out there on them?? thanks for posting this!!!

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DDOORN 2/4/2011 3:38PM

    Thx so much for this very important Head's Up 'Maha!


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    What an amazign blog!! This is one of the reasons that I love you!! I'm copying this and posting to my own blog, I hope you do not mind. This topic is near and dear to my heart.

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