VALERIEMAHA   50,526
SparkPoints
50,000-59,999 SparkPoints
 
 
VALERIEMAHA's Recent Blog Entries

Ecuador: A Day-in-the-Life, #2

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Well, this has been a most interesting time here in the province of Imbabura, northern Ecuador in the foothills of the Andes...the first time I have experienced a "staycation." Instead of adventuring all over Ecuador and South America visiting new places, I have been enjoying simply being "in family" (at the home of Adelaida, German, and Amrita) with all that implies -- the warmth, love, mutual support, challenges, and difficulties of family.

In my remaining month, we may yet make a trip over to the Pacific Coast of Ecuador (Esmeraldas, Same, Mompiche) or into a nearby rainforest region (Intag, known for its coffee and for unique womens' cooperatives doing wonderful work), OR to San Agustin. Colombia -- all areas which are lovely and familiar to me from prior years of travel there.

I have not during this summer had any "revelations from on-high," any firm answers to what is next, or clear insights to light my way into the next chapter. Some known quantities are that I can complete the BA in Spanish in the next two semesters, finishing in May. And an interesting project-level job using my Spanish skills may be available to me upon my return to AR, and/or the option of substitute teaching, to help resolve my $ deficiency.

Back to "A Day-in-the-Life," I thought reporting some of the daily experiences here in Otavalo, in Cotacachi, and out in the country between the two towns where we live, via photos would be enjoyable for my friends here-and-there, so here they are --

My 13-year old god son (I was made "madrina" for his baptism), Santiago, recently completed confirmation in the Catholic Church. He has a "madrina" for this as well. Here are some photos of that event:


Approaching La Iglesia El Jordan


God mother Alexandra (who traveled from her home in France to be with Santiago) with Santiago after the confirmation


Alexandra's friend Sophie (who traveled with her), Santiago's mother Rosa, Alexandra, Santiago's sister-in-law, and Santiago, holding his new nephew.


At the altar in El Jordan

emoticon

We made humitas last week at Fanny's house in Cotacachi. What a process, beginning with a type of mature corn, choclo maduro, 1) we peeled it off the cob, 2) ground the kernals, 3) made a mixture of the ground corn with eggs, cheese, oil, baking powder, water, 4) filled saved corn husks with the mixture, and 5) steamed them over a wood fire...very labor-intensive and VERY delicious! (In terms of cuisine, both Ecuador and Colombia are what I would call "corn cultures," using different types of it in many different dishes.) A favorite Colombian dish is arepas, a type of pancake formed from just the ground corn and cooked in a little oil as one would a pancake. We had them at home yesterday (German and Adelaida are originally from Colombia) with huevos pericos (scrambled eggs with tomatoes and onions). Back to the humitas, here are some photos:


Some of the friends who came together -- dear Adelaida, god daughter Amrita barely visible, Fanny the hostess-with-the-mostest, Micaela (we're going to her high school graduation "bash" this Saturday)


Sandra, Micaela's mom and an old friend, having fun sporting make-believe earrings of hot peppers


A fuzzy photo of the discarded corncobs and husks


The corn kernals removed from the cobs, ready to be ground


Grinding the corn


Adding the ingredients to the corn mixture in the kitchen


Amrita, Fanny and Micaela busy filling the husks


A tray of humitas ready to steam


Watching Fanny placing humitas in the pot to steam


The pot over the fire with the humitas steaming. We sat outside the barn to peel the corn, and get it ready for steaming, then went into the kitchen to eat


Humitas wouldn't be complete without good coffee! Fanny making cafe destilado with a simple devise for making great coffee bien cargado (it's an oval cloth sewn at the top around a wire, with the ground coffee placed in the cloth and the hot water poured through it)


Some of us in the kitchen at the table enjoying the fruit of our labors


A humita, the red color on top of it being aji (red pepper sauce)

emoticon

And finally, a few photos "at home" and other miscellany --


On a walk with Adelaida and Amrita on a lovely day


Amrita with her sweet little kitty, Tigre


The path from the road leading to the porch, which goes around the entire house


Their rambling rustic wood-and-brick home; my bedroom is on the second floor behind the colorful Tibetan prayer flags


A view of the kitchen through the brick arch


Frontroom in foreground with fireplace, kitchen in background


Plantanos verdes (green cooking bananas) hanging in the kitchen


In the yard with Adelaida and Sandra's parents, visiting from Quito


More visitors, Colombian friends, on a several thousand mile trip through South America

emoticon


Mother and daughter (Amrita and Adelaida) walking to the school on graduation day


German, Amrita's dad, arriving to the Baha'i School on graduation day


Adelaida, Amrita's mom, who taught at the school


Adelaida and Lucia, another teacher who Adelaida had great respect and admiration for


Amrita returning to her seat after receiving special recognition from her teacher for being the best student in the sixth grade


German climbing the 50-year old beautiful avocado tree (at Fanny's house) to harvest fruit from it


Sandra left "holding the bag" (to put the harvested avos in)


A lovely sillouette of Adelaida, also up in the avo tree harvesting the fruit


Amrita, with an avo to add to the bag

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GENKI_WARRIOR 7/29/2011 9:32AM

    Avocados, humitas, red sauce--'nuff said!
(I--reluctantly--returned to Conway day before yesterday; today's Friday); spoke to the hermit : )
I miss Colorado and fresh produce.

Report Inappropriate Comment
FLORIDASUN 7/28/2011 9:36PM

    Such an amazing adventure you live my darling Maha! I see the beauty in the simplicity of living without surplus of the unnecessary.

You have dear friends and I know that they love you as much as we all do.

I'm humbled by your open heart and sharing nature. I feel certain that you will receive the ephiany that you yearn for and that you will be right where you are supposed to be in happiness, health and most of all love!

Life is a journey isn't it...and WHAT a journey you...darling one have had and the joy is the BEST is yet to come!

Hug, hug...kiss, kiss! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 7/28/2011 9:38:01 PM

Report Inappropriate Comment
RIDMYCOCOON 7/28/2011 4:42PM

    How true and honest this scene appears. I am touched by it's gentle and intimate view. Thank you very very much. I send great love to you and your family/friends.

Report Inappropriate Comment
HIPPICHICK1 7/27/2011 12:33PM

    What a great journey! You have taken me with you by writing this blog and I appreciate it very much!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
EMRANA 7/25/2011 9:31PM

  Such a magnificent collection of photos and experiences! Sounds like a beautiful time in a beautiful place. Thank you so much for sharing this with us, Maha.

emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
EOSTAR_45 7/25/2011 11:27AM

    WOW! Thoroughly enjoyed it all!!
emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
MISS_VIV 7/24/2011 8:16PM

    I am so delighted to see your blog . . . I always enjoy hearing of your escapades and adventures. Talk with you soon.
Stay safe
Stay well


BIG HUGS
Vivian

Report Inappropriate Comment
FRACTALMYTH 7/24/2011 4:20PM

    Amazing :D what a wonderful insight into your journey :D Enjoy the remainder of your stay - as I know you will - and return home safely too!

Report Inappropriate Comment
SLAYINGDRAGONS 7/23/2011 4:05PM

    So good to see some of your pics and hear of this experience with dear friends! I think sometimes the enlightening comes as we go! Hugs from across the mountains!

Report Inappropriate Comment
REBCCA 7/23/2011 3:05PM

    I thank you for this wonderful blog. I thoroughly enjoyed it all! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
SLIMCHANCE5 7/23/2011 1:14PM

    Thanks for sharing your travels with us- at least we can "be there" through your writings and photos!

Report Inappropriate Comment
WANT2CHNG17 7/23/2011 12:55PM

    Oh Maha, thank you for this wonderful peek into another culture...another world. How interesting!! What an experience! I'm so glad that you are enjoying your summer - Ecuador is beautiful!! Thanks for sharing!


Report Inappropriate Comment
MAZZYR 7/23/2011 8:47AM

    Oh Maha, what a wonderful blog! Thank you for sharing these beautiful pictures and your experiences.
emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
BECOMINGONE 7/22/2011 7:21PM

    Dear one, how wonderful to feel your presence. Can't wait to see you on your return and hear about your summer in person.

Sandra

Report Inappropriate Comment
FRANCESCANAZ 7/22/2011 7:10PM

    What a wonderful blog. Thanks for sharing amiga. emoticonFrancesca

Report Inappropriate Comment
PEACEFULONE 7/22/2011 1:29PM

    Fabulous to read of your time in S.A. Continued blessings to you as you continue to bless so many others.
emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
KALIGIRL 7/22/2011 12:16PM

    Sounds like your options are open.
emoticonfor sharing the fabulous photos and wonderful experiences!

Report Inappropriate Comment
2BMYOWN 7/22/2011 12:13PM

    Well, this was just plain wonderful, thank you for sharing this, Maha, we miss you but I'm glad you're having such a wonderful time!!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
ONEKIDSMOM 7/22/2011 11:29AM

    Loved seeing this slice of life and celebration... thanks for sharing it.

Report Inappropriate Comment
GINABUG 7/22/2011 10:21AM

    Maha -- Thanks so much for sharing these precious bits of daily life in Ecuador. I know that daily life anywhere would be much richer with your presence! These pictures make me yearn for more travel, more understanding of how people live and make their lives around the world, and remind me that I need to get back to studying my Spanish so I can more fully experience the cultures when I do go.

Thanks for taking the precious time to share these beautiful photos! I miss you and wish you the most wonderful time while there. I imagine it will be hard to return to the U.S. in some ways after living there so so long. But, we will be much richer for having you back!

Blessings to you!

Gina emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
JESPAH 7/22/2011 8:49AM

    I look at Santiago (that name means Saint James, yes?) and I think -- it's the Bar Mitvzah boy! He looks so responsible. So does Amrita at her graduation. It just feels like the world will be all right, entrusted to their hands.

Report Inappropriate Comment
AZIMAT 7/22/2011 7:16AM

    You are a dear to stay in touch. Thank you. if a picture is worth thousand words this was a wonderfully long blog. And fascinating thanks for sharing your life with ts so generously.
xoxo

Report Inappropriate Comment
ATRANSFORMATION 7/22/2011 3:29AM

    Alan and I were talking about you today! I mentioned how it had been so long, and that it would be another month or so before we could chat once again...musta known I was missing you. We would have been in Peru today, had we gone as planned, and I thank you for bringing South America to me!

And thank you for sharing these wonderful pics, and the details of your everyday life ther. I feel like I know the family well...and how Amrita has GROWN!

I pray continued blessings and safe travels in your life. Can't wait to hear all about your journey.
emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
CELLISTA1 7/22/2011 1:08AM

    How wonderful! Makes me want to pick up & go!

Report Inappropriate Comment
BRIGHTSPARK7 7/22/2011 12:45AM

    That avocado tree looks amazing, Mahalakshmi! And you sound happy. Thank you for so many glimpses into your current life. I love the Tibetan flags outside your room. You spread love wherever you go.
And it sounds like a vision for the future is coming into focus, too.
Sending you blessings and hugs,
Usha.

Report Inappropriate Comment
COSMIC_ENERGY 7/22/2011 12:09AM

    Life is an adventure and I love being privvy to yours! Thanks you.

Report Inappropriate Comment
CARRAND 7/21/2011 10:32PM

    Fascinating.

Report Inappropriate Comment
CAROLISCIOUS 7/21/2011 10:03PM

    Life is so different there. Thanks for sharing.

Report Inappropriate Comment
PUDLECRAZY 7/21/2011 10:00PM

    Wow, fabulous photos! It looks like you are having a lovely time and that the people you are spending it with are so happy to have you there.

When do you come back?

Report Inappropriate Comment
COLIBRI930 7/21/2011 9:34PM

    Que bonita comida! El maz me perece rico. Gracias por poner las fotos desde tu viaje a Ecuador en tu blog. Chau.


Report Inappropriate Comment
PENNYAN45 7/21/2011 8:01PM

    Thanks for the look inside your life with this family in Ecuador.
It looks as if you are having a wonderful time.
We can't wait for you to be back home again.


emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
GIANTPANDA 7/21/2011 6:55PM

    Wow! This awesome! I was in Ecuador a very long time ago, and now I know that my husband and I have to go back to visit very wonderful photos and a beautiful journey!

Report Inappropriate Comment
DAISY443 7/21/2011 6:51PM

    I cannot find the words....

Report Inappropriate Comment
DOR2BFIT 7/21/2011 6:37PM

    Looks like a wonderful time and a loving family. Loved seeing all of the photos! Take care.
Love, Dorothy emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
GIRANIMAL 7/21/2011 5:54PM

    Lovely photos and stories -- thanks so much for sharing!

It sounds like you're having a perfect time. (And why wouldn't you be, since all is as it should be?) emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
MARTY728 7/21/2011 3:26PM

    Thank you for sharing. This is wonderful!

Report Inappropriate Comment
CLAYKEEPER 7/21/2011 2:33PM

    MAHA... what a wonderful experience. You are surrounded by loving friends, soak it all up ! There is so much joy in your photos...

Report Inappropriate Comment
GIRLINBRAZIL 7/21/2011 2:33PM

    Glad to see how you are doing! That's just how I make my coffee over here in Brazil!

Michele

Report Inappropriate Comment
DDOORN 7/21/2011 2:27PM

    Wonderful to hear from you Maha!

Looks like you are making many lovely connections during your journey and creating fertile ground for those "revelations"!

Till then, cheers to life with more aj!

Don

Report Inappropriate Comment
DAISY443 7/21/2011 1:33PM

    Maha, so glad to hear from you. I hope that for you that this experience will be its own "revelations from on-high" and your journey from this point on will reveal itself to you as time goes on. Lovely pictures of a lovely family! Happy travels!

Report Inappropriate Comment
SLASALLE 7/21/2011 1:05PM

    The summer is not over yet, dear Maha. Keep your "open mind" to see what happens. I always enjoy your pictures and you sharing your journeys. Thank you so much.

xoxoxo
Stephanie

Report Inappropriate Comment


Inti Raymi, Celebration of Summer in the Foothills of the Andes, #1

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Greetings to all my SparkFriends far-and-near!

My arrival to "mi otra casa" has filled me with many amazing thoughts and soul-considerations. I have two months left in this investigation of the spirit, with the intention of seeing everything with "new eyes" like the beginner's mind that Suzuki Roshi speaks of in "Zen Mind Beginner's Mind." The thing that makes this trip challenging is that I wasn't able to leave my monkey-mind behind and thus the lessons continue unabated! But in many ways I have the feeling of coming home, of a comfort and rhythm of life that is fortifying and life-affirming.

Internet access is not easy here, not to mention creating a blog, but I've been thinking since arriving of sharing the traditional Incan celebration of Inti Raymi, the arrival of summer, here in Ecuador. The celebration is very strong in all of the Andean countries, especially Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.

My 11-year old god daughter Amrita attends a wonderful private school, founded by the Baha'i faith, that teaches exquisite values along with "book learning." The rest of this blog will consist of photos from the school's celebration of Inti Raymi, an amazing event including a parade throughout central Otavalo with music and dancing and great joy.


This sculpture of the indigenous Otavalan Indians dancing greets you as you enter Otavalo


This is the motto of the Bahai school -- "Consider children as precious gems of inestimable value. Only education can uncover these treasures and allow humanity to benefit from them."

The following are photos as the students, from kindergarten through high school prepare for the parade through Otavalo










Me Cristina, originally from the Pacific coast of Ecuador, and her darling son, Manu


The blonde, Valerie, is young Baha'i woman from Alaska doing a year of service, teaching English in the school



Now the parade:




The musicians gather as the parade begins




A friend, Rocio, who teaches primary grades at the school; she was finishing her certification in the university when I was last here


Adelaida, who teaches in the high school, in the circle dance


My god daughter Amrita, in traditional indigeous costume


Another photo of Amrita, who at 11 years old is taller than her parents!



Unfortunately I didn't "score" a photo of German, my friend and Amrita's father. I will though to share!

Sending love and LIGHT from Ecuador!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GIANTPANDA 8/29/2011 4:30PM

    Wonderful photos from a beautiful day! Thank you!

Report Inappropriate Comment
GOANNA2 7/23/2011 12:50PM

    Dearest Maha,
It is aways such a joy to read your blogs.
Thank you so much for sharing.
Lots of love
Anna emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
FRACTALMYTH 7/18/2011 11:49PM

    Awesome :D

Report Inappropriate Comment
COSMIC_ENERGY 7/16/2011 4:12PM

    Hope the adventure has been good to you. From this I'd say yes.

Report Inappropriate Comment
FRANCESCANAZ 7/1/2011 1:27PM

    Hermosa! Bless & be blessed mi amiga. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
SWDOTB2 6/29/2011 8:21AM

    Sending you love...

Report Inappropriate Comment
CARLI_MAE 6/25/2011 5:41PM

    Ciao, bella!

Reading your previous blog, "The Guest House" (you have no idea how much I needed to hear that one again), and now this one ... I have these hints that we are each experiencing similar challenges. Altho even with "monkey brain" tagging along, you seem to be faring far better than I in maintaining the peace ...

From the pictures, it seems it is not as warm there as I imagined???

AT is back from Russia ... I asked her a very important question ... "So could you see Sarah Palin's house from the Kremlin?" LOL

Hugs,

Report Inappropriate Comment
QUEENOTHEFOREST 6/25/2011 7:20AM

    This is superb. I am happy to see you back in your element. Buena cosa.

Report Inappropriate Comment
GOANNA2 6/24/2011 3:17PM

    Hellofrom Greece Maha.Thank you for sharing. I will try to poat some photos of my village.
Enjoy your time there.
Lots of love
Anna emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
PENNYAN45 6/24/2011 12:38AM

    It is good to hear from you - and to learn of the culture you are visiting.
Thanks for the photos.
Keep enjoying yourself and taking good care of yourself.

Report Inappropriate Comment
SLASALLE 6/23/2011 3:37PM

    I know how much time it takes to share these pictures - thank you, my dear. I LOVE seeing Ecuador through your eyes!!!

xoxoxo

Report Inappropriate Comment
FLORIDASUN 6/23/2011 7:59AM

    Ahhhh my darling Maha...thank you for going the extra mile to post these pics and share your journey. You will never know how helpful it is to me to see these beautiful pics as I explore what our own future will be. Will we stay in the States and continue to struggle...I don't know. We are at an age now where life should be easier. I'm hoping we will get over to Panama to visit our friends who have lived there now for almost four years. And you my dear friend have put a bug in my bonnet about Ecuador...it just looks so peaceful!

Stay happy, stay relaxed and most of all know that you are loved greatly! emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
KATRINAKAT23 6/22/2011 8:30PM

  Thank you for sharing your life experiences. I love the pics and commentary.

I hope you write again soon.

Report Inappropriate Comment
GIRLINBRAZIL 6/22/2011 5:32PM

    Beautiful photos. So glad to hear about how your trip is going. It's a traditional folk festival time here in Brazil this week, St. John's.

Take care!

Michele

Report Inappropriate Comment
GIRANIMAL 6/22/2011 5:32PM

    Beautiful! I mean it as the highest compliment when I say it consoles me to hear that even YOU struggle with leaving your monkey-mind behind!

Thanks so much for sharing. Please do continue to do so whenever you're able. Light and love! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
HIPPICHICK1 6/22/2011 5:00PM

    Lovely photos! Beautiful people! What a way to ring in mid-summer!

Report Inappropriate Comment
MISS_VIV 6/22/2011 3:40PM

    Such a beautiful way to spend some of my time this afternoon... Loving every minute of your pictures and email with music.

Take care my friend. Kick your monkey to the curb, and enjoy the summer.



Report Inappropriate Comment
FRANCESCANAZ 6/22/2011 2:36PM

    Great to read your blog and see all las caras bonitas. I was thinking of you last night in my Yoga class...I know I was supposed to concentrating on my breathing and shut off my monkey mind, but I was pensando en ti... emoticonFrancesca

Report Inappropriate Comment
COSMIC_ENERGY 6/22/2011 2:23PM

    Wonderful and I echo STLRZGRRL - lovely to see it through your eyes! Give your monkey some bananas and send it on its way! Enjoying a summer of leisure and beach time is coming soon!

Report Inappropriate Comment
SLAYINGDRAGONS 6/22/2011 2:20PM

    Enjoyed your photos so much. emoticonHave a wonderful time and keep that monkey-mind at bay!

Report Inappropriate Comment
AZIMAT 6/22/2011 2:16PM

    Lovely, lovely, just like you!

Report Inappropriate Comment
KALIGIRL 6/22/2011 12:30PM

    Wonderful photos - love the school motto!

"If I had influence with the good fairy, I would ask that her gift to each child be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life."

Rachel Carson (1907-1964); marine biologist and conservationist


Report Inappropriate Comment
MAZZYR 6/22/2011 11:02AM

    Oh Maha, thank you for sharing your adventures. Your pictures are beautiful and your blog is so interesting.

Happy trails.

Xoxo,
Mazzy

Report Inappropriate Comment
KRISKECK 6/22/2011 10:07AM

    So lovely, thank you! Lifted my monkey-mind up out of the whirlpool!

Report Inappropriate Comment
PEACEFULONE 6/22/2011 8:41AM

    Wonderful to hear and see a little of your trip. May your spirit be soothed and refreshed as you soak up the beauty of your surroundings dear Maha. Thank you for sharing.
emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
JESPAH 6/22/2011 8:01AM

    Everyone in your photos is sooooo beautiful.

Report Inappropriate Comment
SUNNY332 6/22/2011 7:56AM

    Thank you, my friend, for taking us on the journey with you through your photos. I enjoyed the trip and I pray this time is everything you want it to be.

Hugs, Sunny

Report Inappropriate Comment
VEEJAY3 6/22/2011 12:16AM

    Happy Summer Solstice!!!
emoticon
Thanks for sharing your amazing travels, Maha!


Report Inappropriate Comment
BRIGHTSPARK7 6/21/2011 11:57PM

    Happy Solstice, dear Mahalakshmi. Thank you for these glimpses into your life in Ecuador. The love you feel for this place and its people is palpable and comes through loud and clear in your blog. Glad to see you in the photos too.
Hugs,
Usha.

Report Inappropriate Comment
JUSTBIRDY 6/21/2011 10:02PM

    thank you for the update

Report Inappropriate Comment
OUTDOORSDC 6/21/2011 9:56PM

    Gorgeous children. I'm so happy you have your travels, Maha.

Report Inappropriate Comment
COLIBRI930 6/21/2011 9:53PM

    Fotos muy bonitas! Muchas gracias por compartirlas.

Report Inappropriate Comment
TEENY_BIKINI 6/21/2011 9:52PM

    What an amazing blog! With amazing pictures.

Thank you.

Enjoy your otra casa. Hugs.

Report Inappropriate Comment
EMRANA 6/21/2011 9:51PM

  Love and Light coming back at you from western Canada. OM Shanti.

emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
STLRZGRRL 6/21/2011 9:16PM

    SO COOL to see through your eyes, my Maha!!!!

Thankyou thankyou thankyou!!!!
emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
GIANTPANDA 6/21/2011 9:08PM

    So wonderful. I haven't been there in more than 20 years. Your photos show me it is time to go back!

Report Inappropriate Comment
CARRAND 6/21/2011 8:06PM

    Wonderful pictures. Thank you.

Report Inappropriate Comment
WATERMELLEN 6/21/2011 7:51PM

    This is such a treat, Maha -- gorgeous pictures, and a glimpse of a wonderful culture. Thank you!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
SLASALLE 6/21/2011 5:52PM

    Thank you so much, my dear, for the time and effort required to share these amazing pictures with us. I'm so glad you're enjoying your celebration there. Amrita has certainly grown!!!

xoxoxo
Stephanie

Report Inappropriate Comment
DAISY443 6/21/2011 5:25PM

    See the smile on my face? Your wonderful pictures put it there. Thank you! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
DARKTHOR 6/21/2011 5:01PM

    The school's motto is one that every person should hold dear in their heart.

Thank you so much for sharing, I feel my day is richer for having shared in the things your eyes have seen.

Report Inappropriate Comment
FRECKS96 6/21/2011 4:53PM

    Lovely!! Thank you for sharing. I am so happy that it made it there safely and are already enjoying your time. I'm looking forward to seeing more when you have the chance.

Take care!

Report Inappropriate Comment
WANT2CHNG17 6/21/2011 4:42PM

    Oh Maha - thank you for sharing! What a beautiful blog/pictures/celebration/people!! I LOVE the motto of the school.

Thank you for letting us share in the wonder!
emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
MISS_VIV 6/21/2011 4:39PM

    my precious sister - I am so trilled to share the celebration of summer with you and your friends.. (many miles apart but feeling much closer) How wonderful to hear from you.

Sweet thoughts for you and all that you love there. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
DOR2BFIT 6/21/2011 4:37PM

    Received, with delight! emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
DDOORN 6/21/2011 4:13PM

    Such wonderful pictures...! I SO appreciate being able to "travel" through your eyes and experiences as I highly doubt I'll ever have the occasion to set foot in South America!

Although I don't know much about Baha'i I've appreciated some of their philosophy as expressed through some of the songs of Seals & Crofts, as I know they followed this faith.

How great it is to hear from you!

Don

Report Inappropriate Comment


Leaving behind the things that do not matter

Friday, June 03, 2011

Good morning,

I began this blog this morning because Piglet's Song arrived in my Inbox from Joe Riley and I had an immediate urge to share it. SparkPeople is more than a wellness site for me. It is the source of true and important friends, and I come here for the give-and-take of this unique brand of friendship. But as I started to post the poem, I felt an inner urging to do some journaling around the context of sharing Piglet. I believe I am an incarnation of Piglet, a little person with a big heart. Right now my heart is broken because of circumstances of my life. But I have developed many resources for living with stress and anxiety (no pills though) over the years, and I'm digging deep into the reservoir to help me through this period.

For instance, I was up this morning at 6:30am and left the house about 7:30am for a forty five-minute bike ride to a friend's house and back, in order to clear my mind and enjoy the beauty of the day before the heat and humidity becomes insufferable. It's going to be another hot day in the mid-south, with a high of 95 degrees (101 heat index)...a good time to head to "la tierra de la primavera eterna," the land of the eternal springtime.

I'm seriously counting down now for my departure for Ecuador, Wednesday morning at 6:30am. Today I've gathered my two pieces of luggage which will be checked, as well as my carry-on in the front room to organize, finalize and weigh (checked pieces 50 lbs. max, carry-on, 40 lbs. max). This season of my life, and especially the last few months, has been trying on many levels. I'm aware that I must NOT have expectations for what this journey will offer me, though it's important to have an open heart, ready to accept and enjoy whatever the universe sends my way.

This is just another chapter in my varied and eventful life, one that has taken me to sojourns from Los Angeles to San Francisco, Hawaii, the Mediterranean, Paris, Mexico, and South America, and additional travel through North Africa and much of Europe. From social work to staff and organization development in my first 25 career years, I began working for myself and found that, amazingly enough, I had a penchant for developing ideas that could translate to a living income during the last 20 years of work. These years finished with the master knitters' cooperative in Ecuador that ran from 1997-2008. I have owned houses and Jaguars, lived decadently and stoically, been a Bible-thumping Christian (for a minute), a progressive Protestant, a Unitarian, and now a humble seeker on the Eastern mystical path. I now strive for balance within a simple life of owning little and continuously striving to throw off the physical and spiritual shackles that slow me down on the Path of Self-realization.

I'm very fortunate to number many of you among my friends and truly do not take our unique friendship for granted. I hope you have a joyful and prosperous summer. If circumstances allow, I will try to occasionally send blogs and photos from South America. Using internet cafes for online service definitely limites my options though.

Please enjoy a magical lavender rose, multiplying for each one of you!
Maha


www.graphicshunt.com/images/winnie_a
nd_piglet-3868.htm


PIGLET'S SONG

Let's find a Way today,
that can take us to tomorrow.
We'll follow that Way,
A Way like flowing water.

Let's leave behind,
the things that do not matter.
And we'll turn our lives,
to a more important chapter.

Let's take the time and try to find,
what real life has to offer.
And maybe then we'll find again,
what we had long forgotten.
Like a friend, true 'til the end,
it will help us onward.

The sun is high, the road is wide,
and it starts where we are standing.
No one knows how far it goes,
for the road is never-ending.

It goes away,
beyond what we have thought of.
It flows away,
Away like flowing water.

~ Benjamin Hoff ~
(The Te of Piglet)
www.panhala.net/Archive/Piglets_Song
.html


Ten years after his 1982 work The Tao of Pooh, Benjamin Hoff was pressed to write a follow up of his Western inquiry into Taoism. He did this by writing The Te of Piglet, published in 1992. It is still in print, with a paperback edition issued by Penguin USA in 1993.

Hoff explicitly states in the introduction that this second book is not a sequel to his first book, but rather a companion. The book is based around two topics, the concept of Te, the Chinese word meaning 'power' or 'virtue', and Piglet of the Winnie the Pooh books.

In his first book, he brought out the essential tenets and perspectives of Taoism, in terms accessible to Westerners. In his second book, he elucidates the Taoist concept of 'Virtue -- of the small'; though, he also uses it as an opportunity to elaborate on his introduction to Taoism. It is written with many embedded stories from the A. A. Milne Winnie the Pooh books, both for entertainment and because they serve as tools for explaining Taoism.

In The Te of Piglet, Piglet is shown to possess great power-- a common interpretation of the word Te, which more commonly means Virtue-- not only because he is small, but also because he has a great heart or, to use a Taoist term, Tz'u.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Te_of_Pigl
et

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BEATRICEBUNNY 6/16/2011 10:06AM

    Wow. I feel more serene just reading your post. Thank you so much for sharing.

Report Inappropriate Comment
RHONDA_11 6/15/2011 10:38PM

    You sound like an amazing person. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
JUSTBIRDY 6/15/2011 10:38PM

    keep enjoying your journey!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
TEENY_BIKINI 6/15/2011 10:35PM

    You are beautiful.

emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
RIDMYCOCOON 6/13/2011 5:11PM

    Happy Trails to you. You seem like a real solid person. I would love to have you as a friend and have done so. I hope that when you return to this spot you wish to make me one too. I would love to hear what you are doing next.

Take Care emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
FLORIDASUN 6/13/2011 12:19PM

    Aha...my darling little Piglet..I love that and I love the history that you shared about it! You always amaze and delight me in your wise and wonderful 'Piglet' ways!

I want you to experience all of the joy, beauty, friendship, and love that Ecuador has to offer...and remember most of all....it is ...

You...looking back at yourself..amen! emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/13/2011 12:20:33 PM

Report Inappropriate Comment
VEEJAY3 6/10/2011 11:24AM

    From the Book of Blessings: Blessing of Pilgrims:

Loving and gracious God, you always show mercy to those who love you,
and you are never far away from those who seek you.
Remain with your servants as they travel far from home,
and guide their way by the light of your Word.
Shelter them with your protection by day, give them the light of your grace by night,
and as their companion on their journey, bring them to their destination in safety.
May they see your face in everyone they meet,
and know the depth of your love on every road they walk.
At the end of their journey, may they return to us once again
with renewed faith and hearts full of joy.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Report Inappropriate Comment
WATERMELLEN 6/9/2011 7:51AM

    What a blog: so proudly and courageously vulnerable, a stance of heroic casuistry!!

We matter, and you do not leave us behind.

Report Inappropriate Comment
DARKTHOR 6/7/2011 10:36AM

    Loved Piglet's Song. You so often make me think and feel and look inside myself and want to be a better person. I couldn't ask for much more than that, could I?

Have a wonderful, fantastic, meaningful trip. Savor the moments as best you can and know that you bring Light to every place you go.

Nick Drake - From The Morning
http://www.youtube.com/w
atch?v=Q2JjJPDz3EE

A day once dawned, and it was beautiful
A day once dawned from the ground
Then the night she fell
And the air was beautiful
The night she fell all around

So look see the days
The endless coloured ways
Go play the game that you learnt
From the morning

And now we rise
And we are everywhere
And now we rise from the ground
And see, she flies
And she is everywhere
And see, she flies all around

So look see the sights
The endless summer nights
And go play the game that you learnt
From the morning

Report Inappropriate Comment
DMPRIDER 6/6/2011 8:47PM

    Thank you as always. I so enjoy reading your blogs and I will miss you while you are gone. Safe travels to you. Have a wonderful journey.

Report Inappropriate Comment
BRIGHTSPARK7 6/5/2011 11:51PM

    I love the Benjamin Hoff books, too. And piglet is precious. Your big heart is a gift to me and many others. You make a real difference just by showing up in your own unique way. May your difficulties be eased, dear friend.
Hugs,
Usha

Report Inappropriate Comment
2BMYOWN 6/5/2011 5:15PM

    What a neat blog.....in all of those voluminous works you are always citing, and all of the voluminous reading I have done since I was a little kid, I have never read 3/4 of the things you quote from. I'm a li'l sad about that, now! LOL Guess i was too busy reading other stuff that I thought was worthwhile but which, in the end, really only ended up being opinion and fluff.....**siigh** Have a great time in Ecuador, two days and a wake-up....

Report Inappropriate Comment
FRACTALMYTH 6/5/2011 11:45AM

    I'm singing Carly Simon...

"It's not as if I want to rule the world
Or even the forest
Or even one tree
I suppose I could be happy
If I could be helpful
With just a little bit of noticing me

If I wasn't so small
I could be like Tigger
Figure out ways to help
some of those in need
Indeed I could volunteer
As the friend that you would want right near
More like Rabbit and Pooh and Eeyore

I'd be useful and helpful
The one you would call
Can I walk around my shadow
Once before it disappears into the sun
Run circles around the bees
Bring the heffalump to his knees
Catch the pollen before the sneeze
I'd be needed and useful
More each passing day

I may be small
But in the biggest, helpfulest way"

http://youtu.be/yAbc5KvicfA

Have a lovely holiday, dearheart.

Report Inappropriate Comment
BOOBERRY 6/5/2011 11:43AM

    Nice blog, Have a wonderful safe trip and enjoy the summer emoticon,Brenda

Report Inappropriate Comment
PENNYAN45 6/5/2011 1:00AM

    May this summer trip replenish your spirit, and help to mend your broken heart.
May you enjoy the company of old friends and make new friends too.
May it point you toward a future of promise and opportunity.
And may you return feeling refreshed, renewed, and revitalized.

emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
MYTIME001 6/5/2011 12:04AM

    HI, I just joined this thanksgiving team, which seems pretty cool. I hope you have a wonderful trip. I look forward to hearing more from you. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
PEACEFULONE 6/4/2011 3:13PM

    emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
JESPAH 6/4/2011 8:43AM

    Lovely. Well, of course Piglet wouldn't be a successor, but a companion. I mean, isn't he?

My father always gave us the Dumbo feather. You know, believe in it, e. g. in yourself, and you can fly.

You can fly (with the correct weight luggage, of course).

If you try Judaism, you may need to set Piglet aside (Kosher rules and all). May I interest you in a lovely Daisy Duck? ;)

I'll - we'll - miss you.

Report Inappropriate Comment
EGR2BEME 6/4/2011 6:43AM

    Thank you so much for sharing this! Have a safe and wonderful trip...enjoy the journey!

Report Inappropriate Comment
INSPIREBYNATURE 6/3/2011 10:11PM

    awww this is cute! adore you!

Report Inappropriate Comment
CARRAND 6/3/2011 9:04PM

    Have a wonderful trip, and keep in touch.

Report Inappropriate Comment
SUNNY332 6/3/2011 8:53PM

    What a great post. We will look forward to photos and blogs when you can post.

Do have an awesome trip and know we will be thinking about you.

Hugs, Sunny

Report Inappropriate Comment
OUTDOORSDC 6/3/2011 6:25PM

    A beautiful send off...and so fitting. Journey well and keep your eyes wide open for what comes your way. Just in case it's so simple, but profound, that you almost miss it.

Report Inappropriate Comment
EMRANA 6/3/2011 6:20PM

  Have a safe and magical trip, my lovely friend! I won't even say I'll miss you, because whenever I think of you, I'll know that you're having a wonderful time in Ecuador! I wouldn't want to speed that up for a moment!

Enjoy your time, and remember we love you.

emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
GOANNA2 6/3/2011 5:52PM

    Have a safe trip Maha and I wish you peace
and for your heart to be able to start healing.
I love the poem. I must try and find the book.

Gee, you are allowed a lot of weight on the
plane. I am only allowed 20 kg checked and 7
for the cabin baggage... Not fair. I don't know
what to take first. I leave on the 15th.
Will be looking forward to your blogs and
hearing from you as I love your wisdom.
Namaste dear Maha. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
CLAYKEEPER 6/3/2011 4:41PM

    Maha... "Life is too important to be taken seriously " ! Have a wonderful journey ! Namaste, my friend.... annette

Report Inappropriate Comment
WANT2CHNG17 6/3/2011 3:54PM

    Dear Maha, safe travels to you. I pray that your trip is all that you hope it to be, and that your heart mends bit by bit. I will be thinking of you and praying for you - what an exciting adventure!
Take care of yourself - looking forward to your updates!


Report Inappropriate Comment
SLASALLE 6/3/2011 1:17PM

    I, too, wish you a safe journey, while taking care of yourself along the way!! Your presence in this community will be sorely missed, although I have no doubt we'll get bits and pieces along the way (to which I'm looking forward).

Much love ...

Stephanie

Report Inappropriate Comment
MISS_VIV 6/3/2011 11:26AM

    What a perfect day for a perfect blog.
My continued thoughts and blessings for a safe journey. My prayers are that you are able to accomplish all that you desire in the place that you love so much.

Angels watch over you.



Report Inappropriate Comment
KRISKECK 6/3/2011 11:26AM

    Happy travels to you, dear friend! And hoping that you will find healing in your travels for your broken heart and feel joy and peace again...much love,
Kristin

Report Inappropriate Comment
DAISY443 6/3/2011 11:16AM

    Safe travels, my sweet Spark friend! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
DDOORN 6/3/2011 11:15AM

    I'm excited for the prospects of your journey, but so sorry to hear of your broken heart. I've no doubt, however that wonderful days of your heart filled with songs of joy await!

Take gentle care of yourself...

Don

Report Inappropriate Comment
DEBRA0818 6/3/2011 11:15AM

    Good journey and continued healing
emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
FRANCESCANAZ 6/3/2011 11:10AM

    Te amo mi amiga. I have both of those books by Hoff sitting on my granddaughter's bookcase. I believe it is time to dust them off and re-read them. I hope your summer is prosperous & joyful as well and I will be looking forward to your blogs whenever they become available.
emoticon Francesca Y familia

Report Inappropriate Comment


For all those who have served....

Saturday, May 28, 2011

My purveyor of fine poetry, Joe Riley, Panhala.net, sent this, and he says it so well, I won't try to improve upon it:


"For nearly ten years now, the United States has been at war in one form or another. Hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens have served with honor despite the hardships, and thousands have made the ultimate sacrifice. All around us are those who have served who carry scars in the heart as well as the body. No matter what our individual political views, let us honor all who have served and pray for the day when they will have to sacrifice no more."


From a cemetery near Omaha Beach, Normandy, France

I THINK CONTINUALLY OF THOSE

I think continually of those who were truly great.
Who, from the womb, remembered the soul's history
Through corridors of light where the hours are suns,
Endless and singing. Whose lovely ambition
Was that their lips, still touched with fire,
Should tell of the spirit clothed from head to foot in song.
And who hoarded from the spring branches
The desires falling across their bodies like blossoms.

What is precious is never to forget
The delight of the blood drawn from ancient springs
Breaking through rocks in worlds before our earth;
Never to deny its pleasure in the simple morning light,
Nor its grave evening demand for love;
Never to allow gradually the traffic to smother
With noise and fog the flowering of the spirit.

Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields
See how these names are fêted by the waving grass,
And by the streamers of white cloud,
And whispers of wind in the listening sky;
The names of those who in their lives fought for life,
Who wore at their hearts the fire's center.
Born of the sun, they traveled a short while towards the sun,
And left the vivid air signed with their honor.

~ Stephen Spender ~
www.panhala.net/For_Memorial_Day.htm
l


The music is acoustic guitar, "The Gift of Life" by Bruce BecVar:
www.panhala.net/The_Gift_of_Life.wma

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MYRTLEBEACHWINS 6/1/2011 6:25AM

    AMEN, You said it so very nice.

Comment edited on: 6/1/2011 6:25:36 AM

Report Inappropriate Comment
DDOORN 5/31/2011 11:52AM

    Honor the Troops:

Bring 'em HOME!

Don

Report Inappropriate Comment
KALIGIRL 5/29/2011 11:20AM

    "let us honor all who have served and pray for the day when they will have to sacrifice no more."
Can't say it any better.
emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
GIRLINBRAZIL 5/29/2011 8:10AM

    Love acoustic guitar music! Going to check out your link right now! Great post.

Here's one for you: http://youtu.be/m130iH0w0mo


Take care,

Michele


Report Inappropriate Comment
GOANNA2 5/29/2011 4:38AM

    I love you Maha as you always know
how to make us smile and remember.
Thanks again for posting. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
MARTY728 5/28/2011 11:18PM

    emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
BLUEBIRDSFLY 5/28/2011 11:14PM

    Absolutely beautiful. Thank you Maha. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
INSPIREBYNATURE 5/28/2011 11:03PM

    thank you for this! memorial day is a very special day...everyday should be memorial day!

Report Inappropriate Comment
BELOVE2013 5/28/2011 10:54PM

    Thank you for posting such a beautiful entry.

Report Inappropriate Comment
CARRAND 5/28/2011 8:49PM

    Wonderful. Thank you.

Report Inappropriate Comment
DAISY443 5/28/2011 2:30PM

    As always, thank you!

Report Inappropriate Comment
XINIXINIX 5/28/2011 11:33AM

    emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
JESPAH 5/28/2011 11:09AM

    Perfect.

Report Inappropriate Comment
SUNNY332 5/28/2011 11:01AM

    Beautiful - absolutely beautiful.

For all those who served and paid the ultimate price - we will be forever indebted to you.

Thank you so much for a great post.

Sunny

The book is on the way to the post office.

Do enjoy - it's a great one....

Report Inappropriate Comment
WATERMELLEN 5/28/2011 10:44AM

    That Stephen Spender is so thrilling; we can love the warriors, if not (sometimes) the wars . . . and we do.

Canada celebrates Remembrance Day in November and it's touching how the recognition of our soldiers' sacrifices has intensified during the recent period in which Canada has moved out of a primarily peace keeping role into more active combat. Not everyone agrees with this government direction, but there is huge respect and appreciation for the armed forces who carry it out.

Report Inappropriate Comment
VALERIEMAHA 5/28/2011 10:35AM

    Thanks Stephanie...yes, EVERYBODY...including my dear former husband/partner Robert, a Viet Nam vet whose deep psychological and physical unhealed wounds mean that his life will never be whole.....


Comment edited on: 5/28/2011 10:05:35 PM

Report Inappropriate Comment
SLASALLE 5/28/2011 10:26AM

    Well said and I understand why you didn't think you could improve upon it!!

It's so sad, the people I've been close to who have wounded hearts directly related to their service (you know this one only too well yourself).

A good friend of mine (the one we visited on Crete when she was stationed there), retired a few years ago with 20 years of Navy service. I had to ask her the difference between Memorial Day and Veteran's Day, because believe it or not, I did not know!!

So here's to EVERYBODY who has served for us to keep our freedoms, despite the fact that Memorial Day is for those who served and lost their lives! I've given total witness to those who served and are technically alive, but in reality, their spirits were totally dead due to their physical and psychological wounds!


Report Inappropriate Comment


NEVER GIVE UP!

Friday, May 27, 2011



Click here:

www.karmatube.org/videos.php?id=2123



The Greek word for encouragement is "paraklesis." It literally means "to be called to one's side." Stand by someone today.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SINGAGAIN 5/30/2011 1:19PM

    Wow, that was beautiful. I'm crying. Thanks for sharing it.
emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
SLAYINGDRAGONS 5/30/2011 8:35AM

    emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
BLUEBIRDSFLY 5/28/2011 11:25PM

    Maha, you share the most wonderful gifts with us. Thank you.








>







t

Report Inappropriate Comment
EOSTAR_45 5/28/2011 2:21PM

    Awesome video. emoticon Very touching.

Report Inappropriate Comment
_VALEO_ 5/28/2011 12:16PM

    Wow, I was not prepared for that... and it brought me to tears.

Love the "Have you" father's T-shirt. They have each other no matter the hurdles.

Report Inappropriate Comment
RUSSELLORAMA 5/28/2011 12:12PM

    I remember watching that when it happened and just bawling like a baby. As long as we can keep moving, we can succeed.

Report Inappropriate Comment
KRISKECK 5/28/2011 8:50AM

    Thank you -- you always have the most wonderful things to share!

Report Inappropriate Comment
INSPIREBYNATURE 5/28/2011 1:32AM

    beautiful. makes me cry!

Report Inappropriate Comment
2BMYOWN 5/27/2011 10:08PM

    Absolutely wonderful, thank you for posting this, Maha, this was stupendous.....

Report Inappropriate Comment
GOANNA2 5/27/2011 6:14PM

    I had tears in my eyes. Very moved by it.
You know how to move and inspire us.
Have a beautiful weekend. emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
BRIGHTSPARK7 5/27/2011 3:37PM

    Brought me to tears, dear Mahalakshmi. And thank you for the beautiful flowers poem from Mary Oliver. How lovely for you to immerse yourself in a new book of her's. The spirit blooms in reading her divine imagination. You are in good company with Mary Oliver at your side. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
CARRAND 5/27/2011 2:50PM

    I remember seeing this when it happened.

Report Inappropriate Comment
CLAYKEEPER 5/27/2011 11:16AM

    We have the capacity for SO much love ! Thank you for sharing this post !
annette emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
FYRCOP 5/27/2011 10:52AM

    This is a great link! I remember this race and I applauded from the comforts of my home as I watched the whole event unfold!

This is inspiration to the nth. degree!

Great post. Thanks for sharing this link. I forgot about this race until I clicked on the link. Then it all came back to watching it that day.

Dennis.

Stay focused, keep moving and walk, walk, walk!

Report Inappropriate Comment
MISS_VIV 5/27/2011 10:48AM

    aH.........now I am in tears - thank you - again.

Report Inappropriate Comment


First Page  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 Last Page