Sunday, September 04, 2011
I'm in the white tee with my smiling yoga sistahs!
I am a smiler, always have been, prolly always will be. It's part-and-parcel of the fabric of who I am. I will never forget what Thich Nhat Hanh says about it, because it has informed my behavior and made me more convinced than ever about the value of a genuine smile: "A smile can be the source of your joy, or your joy can be the source of your smile." (I have also posited that another's smile can be the source of my joy, or their joy can be the source of my smile.) So it's especially heartening to hear and read this information on the efficacy of smiling!
Thay smiling at the "mindfulness bell"
Ron Gutman talks on TED about the power of smiling (7 minutes)
Smile, smile, smile!
From an article by Gutman on DailyGood: News That Inspires --
"Recently I made an interesting discovery while running-- a simple act that made a dramatic difference and helped carry me through the most challenging segments of long distance runs: smiling. This inspired me to embark on a journey that took me through neuroscience, anthropology, sociality and psychology to uncover the untapped powers of the smile.
"I started my exploratory journey in California, with an intriguing UC Berkeley 30-year longitudinal study that examined the smiles of students in an old yearbook, and measured their well-being and success throughout their lives. By measuring the smiles in the photographs the researchers were able to predict: how fulfilling and long lasting their marriages would be, how highly they would score on standardized tests of well-being and general happiness, and how inspiring they would be to others. The widest smilers consistently ranked highest in all of the above."
Purdy amazing, eh!
To finish the article: www.dailygood.org/more.php?n=4507
"I will never understand all the good that a simple smile can accomplish."
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
I was just talking to a good friend this morning who is frustrated and sad and feeling alienated from self and family. Afterwards I began reflecting on how we can find that place of quietness within in spite of what's whirling outside of us. And one of my important teachers and heroes, Joseph Campbell, immediately came to mind. I read and reread a text of his that I have posted here at home. It is so powerful and full of guidance that I decided to share it with my special SparkFriends. Read and be inspired!
The divine manifestation is ubiquitous,
Only our eyes are not open to it.
Awe is what moves us forward.
Live from your own center.
The divine lives within you.
The separateness apparent in the world is secondary.
Beyond the world of opposites is an unseen,
but experienced, unity and identity in us all.
Today the planet is the only proper "in group."
Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world.
We cannot cure the world of sorrows,
but we can choose to live in joy.
You must return with the bliss and integrate it.
The return is seeing the radiance is everywhere.
The world is a match for us.
We are a match for the world.
The spirit is the bouquet of nature.
Sanctify the place you are in.
Follow your bliss....
More from Campbell:
When you follow your bliss
doors will open
where you would not have thought there would be doors;
and where there wouldn't be a door for anyone else.
The way to find out about happiness
is to keep your mind on those moments
when you feel most happy,
when you are really happy--
not excited, not just thrilled,
but deeply happy.
This requires a little bit of self-analysis.
What is it that makes you happy?
Stay with it, no matter what people tell you.
This is what is called following your bliss.
If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are -- if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.
Joseph John Campbell (March 26, 1904 - October 30, 1987) was an American mythologist, writer and lecturer, best known for his work in comparative mythology and comparative religion. His work is vast, covering many aspects of the human experience. His philosophy is often summarized by his phrase: "Follow your bliss."
l (I highly recommend that you read the entire Wikipedia article, an excellent biographical summary of this erudite and charismatic everyman.)
I *met* Joe Campbell in 1989, when a special friend gave me the six-hour, The Power of Myth, set for Christmas (check it out below this paragraph). I was living at a yoga ashram at the time, and I would invite friends over for popcorn and one of the videos. We went on-and-on afterwards, talking about each one of them at-length. Great gift! Great memories! I have watched the programs countless times by now, and learn new things EVERY single time I watch them. I later had the privilege of seeing him do one of his multi-media presentations at the Palace of the Legion of Honor (a fine arts museum) in San Francisco. I now own more tapes, several of his books, the official biography (Joseph Campbell: A Fire in the Mind, by Stephen and Robin Larsen), and his Mythos tapes, narrated by Susan Sarandon.
This DVD has six one-hour interviews
and some great special features
(and I see it's available for $28.85).
Amazon.com Editorial Review:
"Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth is essential viewing for anyone old enough to appreciate its vital teachings. One of the greatest interviews ever recorded, this six-part, six-hour encounter between teacher- mythologist Campbell and student-journalist Bill Moyers (recorded in the two years preceding Campbell's death in 1988) covers a galaxy of topics related to Campbell's central themes: Mythology is humanity's universal method of seeking the transcendental, and "follow your bliss" is the timeless formula for spiritual satisfaction. Campbell himself is the embodiment of these themes, an erudite scholar and quintessential storyteller, recalling a wide spectrum of myths from throughout history (Japanese, Native American, Egyptian, Mayan, and many more) to illustrate humankind's eternal quest to grasp the mysteries of creation. Historical artifacts and illustrations bring these timeless stories to life."
More of his work:
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Sister love -- Maha, Noreen, Trace (with dear Pickles)
Withdraw into yourself and look.
And if you do not find yourself beautiful yet,
act as does the creator of a statue that is to be made beautiful:
he cuts away here, he smooths there, he makes this line lighter,
this other purer, until a lovely face has grown from his work.
So do you also: cut away all that is excessive, straighten all that is crooked,
bring light to all that is overcast, labor to make all one glow or beauty
and never cease chiseling your statue,
until there shall shine out on you from it the godlike splendor of virtue,
until you see the perfect goodness
surely established in the stainless shrine.
His metaphysical writings have inspired centuries of metaphysicians and mystics.
Georgia O'Keefe, a well-chiseled statue indeed!
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
One never knows what a day will bring...and in my final weeks in South America what surfaced was a spur-of-the-moment idea among my family here and I to head to Colombia for my "last hurrah!"
Please enjoy my humble attempt to share this amazing experience with you. As usual, the blog will be replete with images and few words (a good balance I think). First two photos before leaving Ecuador:
A common scene...wife braiding husband's hair (Otavalan Indians)
German, Adelaida and I all dressed up, at the high school graduation party of a friend
We four went by bus from Otavalo, Ecuador to Pasto, Colombia where we spent the night July 30. The next morning we continued to the village of San Agustin via Mocoa, a city in the deparamento (like a state) of Putumayo, an exquisite land of lush landscape, rivers, waterfalls, thick with the clouds of rainforests. These photos don't even BEGIN to capture the beauty and grandeur!!!!!!
See the tiny church through the window of the "buseta" (mini-van masquerading as a bus)?
Corn, a most important crop!
"We came from Mother Earth and from Her we live. We are all her guardians."
Photos in the village of Sibundoy, where we ate lunch --
And the journey through the Colombian rainforest continues --
German and I enjoying the moment during a stop to fix the transmission!
One of the three mountain passes we crossed!!!
"SLOW -- NARROW ROAD"
"DANGER -- ROCK SLIDES" It's hard to describe this road/path cut into the side of the mountain with streams crossing it, hairpin curves, flooding which causes mud and rock slides, room for only one vechice often, etc.
Santiago, our able driver
Adelaida on the water-covered road with a lovely leaf
Oops! Luckily one of the passengers noticed that a suitcase fell off the roof rack....
Sunday night, July 31, upon our arrival to San Agustin, Adelaida had glorious dreams of water in all forms.
Here we are at "EL BATAN," a heritage house about 200 years old, with a museum inside where we stayed during our visit in San Agustin. The owner, a family friend of German and Adelaida, has owned this exquisite property for almost 30 years --
Samples of "batanes"displayed on the property, formed from rock, and used to grind nuts, seeds, coffee, grains, you-name-it!
More photos of El Batan, "la finca" (the farm) --
Dining room, that we never used. We either hung out and ate in the kitchen or outdoors in the glorious gardens
Adelaida is upstairs in the main house, spinning yarn. Mary, the owner, is a master spinner, weaver (note the looms in the photo, and knitter and has many heirloom pieces
Mary, the owner, is always on the move, maintaining and improving the property
A patio between buildings...the stairs go to the lovely upstairs room where Amrita and I slept
Photos of the great kitchen follow --
Amrita enjoying a cup of homemade soy milk
Since Mary's intention is to preserve the integrity of the original finca, the kitchen has a dirt floor and cuyes (guinea pigs) to keep the floor clean (they are also considered a delicacy in native cuisine)!
Adelaida, peeking over the side of the hammock
Fidelio, Mary's faithful helper, can be seen in the background
The orchid is Colombia's national flower. Mary has many varieties and this one especially appealed to me
Exquisite window detail
One of the many animal members of El Batan family
Heading to another friend's small finca
Coffee, an important crop in Huila, San Agustin's departamento
Getting closer to David's finca
We're arrived! David is an American from Oregon who loves Colombia and has lived here for many years. He recently bought this finca, where he lives with Marta, his Colombian wife
Lunch prep -- yucca (a potato-like tuber) and chachafrutos (like a huge bean), both delicious...yucca can be found in specialty grocers but chachafruto is unknown in the USA
Harvesting oranges on David's property
Que lujo -an electric orange juice extractor...now to enjoy the fruits of our labor!
After lots of activity, an afternoon siesta
Back to life...Amrita and I in a guadua grove on David's property. Guadua is a type of bamboo used to make beautiful furniture and houses
These exquisite orchids welcomed us at the entrance of David's finca
Images and reflections on the road back to El Batan
Fidelio pounding off the coffee shells preparing to roast the beans
Skipping ahead several steps, Adelaida (an expert in the process) roasted the beans over the wood fire
Ahhhhhh...nothing like cafe colombiano! (Can you smell it???!!!)
Below are a few scenes in San Agustin, a very interesting village, with great archeological treasures associated with it (it is a United Nations World Heritage site)
Adelaida chatting with a young traveler from Chile. I bought one of the wonderful bracelets this "artesana" makes from recycled material
On another day Adelaida, Amrita and I visited an amazing woman in her finca. Margarita has worked in TV, theater, journalism and now as an artesana, making wonderful jewelry and other items from seeds, nuts and other things from nature and adding macrame or woven wire to her exquisite creations. She is married to an Italian man and travels there for several months each year. I have an offer to stay in her finca during her absence next year --
Our final week in Colombia is at Adelaida's family home. We left German and Amrita behind and spent the day getting from San Agustin to Cali, a major city of Colombia, departmento Valle. A very few photos of Adelaida's family and the environs of Cali follow --
Sadly, Colombia continues to be associated with guerilla activity. Truly I have had no sense of fear or stress at all here. These are young professional military men, who were on the bus with us for a ways. Their role is to maintain the peace in the jungle regions
Adelaida's brother William. We were celebrating his 44th birthday with him. He teaches Spanish literature in a Cali high school and would love to visit the USA (oh, and he's single and quite handsome as you can see!)
Adelaida's mom, back and center, brother Luis (50 yo) ton the right, William and Adelaida, left . Valentina manages the home with three bachelor sons and Luis is an electronics technician with an internet locale in the front of the house and also offers computer maintenance and repair.
With 42-year old Norbey, placing flowers on the grave of Valentina's mother
Adelaida's dear friend Frances, whose 18-year old son Daniel spent a week with us in Ecuador. He is out to explore South America and is currently on the coast of Ecuador working with some friends of Adelaida and German
The neighborhood where Adelaida's family lives
San Antonio, a Cali neighborhood Adelaida lived in while attending university --
Overlook of Cali from la Loma de San Antonio
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