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VALERIEMAHA's Recent Blog Entries

Say Something Nice!

Friday, September 09, 2011

I REALLY needed this today -- nothing profound or earth-shaking, just...NICE!

A few folks at Improv Everywhere constructed a custom wooden lectern with a megaphone holster and an attached sign that read: "Say Something Nice." The lectern was placed in public spaces around New York and then left alone. What would happen when passerbys were given the opportunity to amplify their voices to "say something nice"?

Watch and find out:



Brought to us by:
"...a collection of inspiring videos accompanied by simple actions every viewer can take. We invite you to get involved."

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GOANNA2 9/14/2011 12:18PM


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2BMYOWN 9/14/2011 3:27AM

    Don't you just love people? I absolutely adore stuff like this.......thanx for sharing this, Maha! It was downright fun!

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    so wonderful!

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KALIGIRL 9/13/2011 10:08AM

    Very awesome!

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SOULFISH80 9/12/2011 11:25AM

    This made me so happy I shed a little tear, then shared it on facebook, thanks so much.

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    Good stuff

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    Great motivation!

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FLORIDASUN 9/10/2011 4:20PM

    LOVE this...what an inspiration you are my darling friend..always upward and onward! Love you! emoticon

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2WHEELEDSHARON 9/10/2011 11:31AM

    Ok, I'm setting one up in front of the shelter:)

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JESPAH 9/10/2011 11:17AM

    Oh how cool! :)

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SUNNY332 9/10/2011 9:19AM

    I have a plaque on my back porch that say "Kindness Matters" and I am a true believer that no matter what is going on, we can still be nice.

Great post today!

Huggers, Sunny emoticon

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GOANNA2 9/10/2011 1:51AM

    Lovely, thanks for sharing Maha.

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DOR2BFIT 9/9/2011 11:41PM

    Love this! Shared it on facebook too! emoticon

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DDOORN 9/9/2011 10:37PM

    Thx for sharing the smiles...! Duly forwarded to many! :-)


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WATERMELLEN 9/9/2011 9:12PM

    Very fun!

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RIDMYCOCOON 9/9/2011 7:37PM

    Fantastic!!! emoticon

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PUDLECRAZY 9/9/2011 3:36PM


I love the music link you sent, as well

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HELLAS2 9/9/2011 1:23PM

    great idea

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DENISEUTAH 9/9/2011 12:22PM

    you made me smile!

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KELLEEH 9/9/2011 12:09PM

    This was cool. Thanks for sharing.

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MISS_VIV 9/9/2011 11:57AM

    I needed it today . . . . so I shared it on Facebook right away.
So glad to see it again this morning.
You are a dear for introducing me to KARMA TUBE


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The Hidden Power of Smiling

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:

"I will never understand all the good that a simple smile can accomplish."

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

2BMYOWN 9/14/2011 3:23AM

    What an absolutely neato blog!!!! I've never heard that, how could I have missed this??? LOL I gotta go check out your links now, dang it.....but I'm smiling while I do it!

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ERINMARIE424 9/9/2011 8:15PM

    emoticon emoticon

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GIANTPANDA 9/7/2011 8:57PM

    Thank you for reminding me about an important lesson--smiling even when the going gets tough. When I was at a Zen meditation workshop, I was constantly told to put a small smile on my face. And people who meditate smile with their whole bodies, especially their eyes.

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    oh this is supremely amazing!!!!! emoticon

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    My favorite face and used very often on my own face!

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PEACEFULONE 9/6/2011 9:25AM

    Great blog! I always have loved the expression, "If you meet someone without a smile, give them one of yours." And years ago I read this advice, "As you age it is inevitable, you will get wrinkles, let them be smile lines and not frowns."

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DAISY443 9/5/2011 6:26PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JUSTBIRDY 9/5/2011 4:31PM


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HIPPICHICK1 9/5/2011 12:45PM

    I'm a smiley gal too.
Thanks for all the links. The TED talk was great!

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DDOORN 9/5/2011 12:01PM

    Another "smiler" here too...powerful medicine there! :-)


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KELLEEH 9/5/2011 11:08AM

    The yearbook study sounds fascinating!

Thanks for the inspiration!

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DONNABRIGHT 9/5/2011 10:29AM

    Awesome blog - thanks for sharing!

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DR1939 9/5/2011 9:33AM

    When I was in grade school I walked to my piano lessons. To entertain myself I tried to see how many people I could get to return my smile. I learned then that a smile was an important thing to own. emoticon

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SUNNY332 9/5/2011 8:56AM

    You are never fully dressed without a smile...

My Mother used to say that as I was leaving the house. I still think about it when I see someone else smiling.

Take care and thanks for a great post.

Keep smiling...


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JESPAH 9/5/2011 7:26AM

    They (helfino who they actually are) say that even if you're feelin' down, smiling can lift you up. Very true - the power of biological/social suggestion, I suppose.

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MAZZYR 9/5/2011 7:23AM

    So true. Smiling is part of who I am. And it feels so good.

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SOULFISH80 9/4/2011 11:17PM

    Thanks, sometimes I forget this simple truth.

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WATERMELLEN 9/4/2011 9:39PM

    Agreed! And . . . because smiling in and of itself makes us feel happier, I've read that people who've had Botox and lose their ability to smile naturally (their whole face, including eyes . . .) actually experience less happiness.

Not worth it! I'm sticking with my wrinkles: I've earned every one of them!!

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PUDLECRAZY 9/4/2011 8:49PM

    Thich Nhat Hanh and Mother Theresa, whose smiles and souls can/could illuminate the entire world. Amazing spiritual leaders, both. And you, my dear Maha, can also illuminate and radiate into the world your smile and your spirit.

Lovely blog.

Comment edited on: 9/4/2011 8:49:50 PM

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JUSTDUCKY1405 9/4/2011 7:56PM


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MISS_VIV 9/4/2011 7:50PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Follow your bliss

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."
(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).
s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1314721251&sr=1-1 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:

, etc.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SOULFISH80 9/4/2011 11:22PM

    I have a few of his videos saved on netflix and haven't viewed them yet, now I will make it a priority. Thank you.

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KAKIPOPUP 9/4/2011 3:59PM

    emoticon back - so glad to see you again -

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2BMYOWN 9/2/2011 10:45PM

    LOTS to be said for following your bliss. I think it all comes down to that old saying, that you can never control what happens to you at any given time, but you CAN control how you choose to react to it. If you keep your own bliss alive in the midst of all the chaos, I'd say you've arrived! LOL

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RIDMYCOCOON 9/2/2011 11:22AM

    I will be digging into this. I am going to the library today to return some books. I will pick one of these up at once. I am so glad I read this before I left.

Thank You Thank You emoticon

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EOSTAR_45 8/31/2011 4:35PM

    Thanks! I so enjoyed this. I am checking with my local library to see if they have any of his works.

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    I love the words: "We cannot cure the world of sorrows,
but we can choose to live in joy" and "...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 real world is full of sorrows, yet we can find joy in the midst of it! And because I am not you or anyone else, MY doors are there just for Mwa!
emoticonGreat reminders!

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DDOORN 8/31/2011 12:28PM

    A most timely share...had lost my way for a few days, but am re-grouping and Campbell's words are so helpful to remind me of what I already know, but life has a way of knocking our self-knowledge out of commission deer in the headlights!

Whew, good to be finding my way again!


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DARKTHOR 8/31/2011 11:13AM

    Thank you for this. I've added some of his videos to my Netflix cue, so I'll be checking them out in the future.

True beauty lies within us all. The more attuned we become with it, the more it shines through our eyes, our mouths and our very selves for others to be inspired to find their own inner beauty.

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JESPAH 8/31/2011 9:17AM


Didja know there's a song (it's an instrumental) called Follow Your Bliss? By, of all people, the B52s (as in, the folks who sang Rock Lobster and Love Shack).

Here 'tis, with some lovely nature photos:

By the way, I think one of the more important words in that three-word phrase is "YOUR". No one else's bliss. Just your own.

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SUNNY332 8/31/2011 8:49AM

    What is the meaning of life? To be happy and useful.

- Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

When I worked in Psychiatry, We often had groups on what makes someone really happy. Gyatso hit it on the nail here. Being useful helps us to lead full lives and be happy. Hope your friend reaches outside of herself to someone else who needs a hand up. Helping someone else always comes full circle. We can not help others without helping ourselves.

Be Blessed my friend! I am glad you are back!


Comment edited on: 8/31/2011 8:50:28 AM

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KALIGIRL 8/31/2011 8:39AM

    Here's to living from our center and remembering the divine within each of us.

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GENKI_WARRIOR 8/31/2011 3:05AM

    Thanks Maha xox

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SCHENPOSSIBLE 8/30/2011 11:27PM

    This really spoke to me. Oh you have no idea how bad I needed this tonight. Thanks for sharing this inspiring piece of work

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WATERMELLEN 8/30/2011 8:10PM

    Well of course I wanted to know more: and this is jam packed with wisdom and resources, thank you!!

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KELLEEH 8/30/2011 7:54PM

    Thanks for the info! I have read and enjoyed several of Joseph Campbell's books, but I do not have the DVD. Sounds great.

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SLASALLE 8/30/2011 5:12PM

    Maha is back!!! Thank you, my friend. So good to read your blogs again!!! xoxoxo

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PUDLECRAZY 8/30/2011 5:05PM

    Sigh, another lovely blog from Maha!

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DAISY443 8/30/2011 2:51PM

    "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 explains something I have sometimes felt but could not understand. Thank you for sharing!

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LYNNANN43 8/30/2011 2:50PM

    Thanks for sharing, Maha! How beautiful. emoticon

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EMRANA 8/30/2011 1:03PM

  Lovely. I'd heard the first but not the second two, and they make my heart happy, knowing that I am moving closer to our ashram. OM Shanti.

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MENT2BE 8/30/2011 12:12PM

    Thanks for this BEAUTIFUL reminder!!!

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CATS_MEOW_0911 8/30/2011 12:11PM

    What a beautiful excerpt...I will have to read more of his writing. I especially love:

"What is it that makes you happy?
Stay with it, no matter what people tell you.
This is what is called following your bliss."

Thank you for sharing. Hope you don't mind me sharing your blog.

Comment edited on: 8/30/2011 12:13:52 PM

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GIANTPANDA 8/30/2011 12:09PM

    Thanks for posting this. What Joseph Campbell said about bliss is so moving and inspiring, especially when one hears the interview.

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Am I beautiful yet?

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.

~ Plotinus
204–270 CE
His metaphysical writings have inspired centuries of metaphysicians and mystics.

Georgia O'Keefe, a well-chiseled statue indeed!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

2BMYOWN 9/2/2011 10:40PM

    What an awesome blog, Maha, thanx for posting this! Sometimes we forget that REAL beauty has nothing at all to do with 'looks'.....

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GIANTPANDA 8/29/2011 4:26PM

    Thank you for this beautiful blog! It reminds me of the Navajo saying, "Walk in beauty." I saw a special recently where a teacher required all her music students to sing about seeing all the beauty inside themselves--even when others didn't. Truly inspiring!

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RIDMYCOCOON 8/29/2011 11:42AM

    Thank you for this. emoticon

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    Yes you are beautiful.

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SUNNY332 8/26/2011 6:18PM

    From one beautiful person to another. We must stick together!

“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.” Ashley Smith

Sunny emoticon

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GIRLINBRAZIL 8/26/2011 6:19AM

    Lovely post! Thanks for the reminder to keep on working at it!

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FLORIDASUN 8/25/2011 11:44AM

    Yes...yes...yes...your beauty is the fresh sparkling skies, like the babbling brook vistas...yes, yes, yes...your heart is like a pure red rose, and your knowledge is like a forest my darling Maha are one of the MOSTEST beautiful friends I've ever been blessed to know!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

okay...and now you owe me a quarter! emoticon

no...seriously you know I mean this from the bottom of me heart! emoticon

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VEEJAY3 8/24/2011 8:01PM

    Hi Maha!!!!!

I've been on a journey without every leaving Colorado (my daughter got married August 12). You've traveled far for your journey ... and here we are, both back at the same time.

Both beautiful!!!!

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SLASALLE 8/24/2011 5:33PM

    You were beautiful long ago ...

I LOVE Georgia O'Keefe. Last fall on our trip to New Mexico, we had the pleasure to tour a small museum with lots of her work.


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GIRANIMAL 8/24/2011 3:55PM

    Perfectly lovely, oh-so-helpful reminder. Thanks, beautiful! emoticon

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    Glowing beauty you are! And I am chiseling away at mine - refining!

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KELLEEH 8/24/2011 11:47AM

    Wonderful! Thanks for sharing this!

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HIPPICHICK1 8/24/2011 10:28AM

    emoticon emoticon

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DDOORN 8/24/2011 8:56AM

    Beautiful reminder...just came across this one too: "You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection."
--- Buddha

Great to hear from you, Maha!


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JESPAH 8/24/2011 8:45AM

    Ah hell - whatcha gotta say re beauty is (IMHO) -

been there, done that. ;)

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KALIGIRL 8/24/2011 8:29AM

    Here's to shining from the inside out!

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WATERMELLEN 8/24/2011 7:38AM

    Beautiful to have you back and blogging!! Plotinus still so fresh and new . . .

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PUDLECRAZY 8/24/2011 7:31AM

    You, my dear, are beautiful through and through!

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CRISPINI 8/24/2011 7:12AM

    Lovely! You and the quote!

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DAISY443 8/24/2011 4:08AM

    You are one of the truly beautiful people in every sense of the word! emoticon

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GOANNA2 8/24/2011 1:03AM

    emoticonYou are a gem.
Thanks for posting. emoticon

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JMARIES51 8/24/2011 12:44AM

    You are beyond beautiful. Happy to see you back at Spark.

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JUSTDUCKY1405 8/24/2011 12:08AM

    Thanks for sharing... I never thought of it quite like that. Makes perfect sense.

P.S. Great pic.

Comment edited on: 8/24/2011 12:09:11 AM

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MISS_VIV 8/24/2011 12:02AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Glorious Colombia...the adventure continues! #3

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!!!!!!

Coffee crop

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!!!


"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 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 --

Main house

Lovely Margarita

Her studio

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

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    great pics! what an amazing journey!

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GIRLINBRAZIL 9/3/2011 7:48AM

    What incredible photos! I want to go!

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GIANTPANDA 8/29/2011 4:29PM

    Wonderful photos and blog! It reminds me of a trip long ago to Peru and Ecuador, as well as another to Mexico.

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DARKTHOR 8/24/2011 8:37PM

    I forgot to mention... I grew up on yucca and just love the stuff. I wish it were more common in America, but it can certainly be found in stores that cater to hispanics.

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JMARIES51 8/24/2011 12:46AM

    Thank you for sharing your journey and pictures. I feel as if I was there.

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DARKTHOR 8/23/2011 8:53PM

    "We came from Mother Earth and from Her we live. We are all her guardians."


I am so happy for you, I feel richer just for having seen your pictures, I can hardly imagine how wealthy (in the way that counts) you must feel after having lived so much and shared so much. Thank you for sharing with us.

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MOOKBALL 8/16/2011 10:36PM

    Oh to be back in Colombia...thank you for sharing these photos of Pasto, Huila and Valle. I know you are having a wonderful time.

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PELESJEWEL 8/13/2011 11:45PM

    Maha, thank you for sharing the beauty of your journey! Wow, I am in awe of the orchids!

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2BMYOWN 8/12/2011 12:36PM

    Culture shock is the understatement of the year, Maha....I don't know HOW you could even bear to come back here, after being in such a wondrous place. Have a safe trip, sparky bud, and thank you for sharing so many of your adventures with us, the pics are absolutely beautiful.

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DOR2BFIT 8/12/2011 11:20AM

    Wonderful blog- the way of life seems so generous and open. I'm in love with that simple dining room that no one goes in! The scenery is so lush and beautiful. emoticon

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SUNNY332 8/12/2011 11:19AM

    Loved going on this journey with you - viewing the photos and reading each description. How wonderful! I enjoy the trip.
I know you are just having an absolutely wonderful time.

Hugs, Sunny

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KRISKECK 8/12/2011 5:16AM

    I always love your pics and your stories - thank you!

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SLASALLE 8/11/2011 9:37PM

    Ooooooo my goodness ... I just love traveling vicariously through the eyes and minds of dear friends ... xoxoxo

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CAROLISCIOUS 8/11/2011 6:12PM

    Thanks for sharing your journey!

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JESPAH 8/11/2011 8:42AM

    It continues to give me joy to see your travelogues. The people are SO beautiful.

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DAISY443 8/11/2011 3:21AM

    Incredible, thanks so much for sharing your joy!

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GOANNA2 8/11/2011 2:31AM

    As always, I enjoyed the journey with you.
Many thanks Maha. It is a beautiful indeed
and you are so blessed.

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PEACEFULONE 8/10/2011 11:48PM

    Beautiful! What great fun for us to share in your trip! Thanks so much!

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COLIBRI930 8/10/2011 10:29PM

    Splendid! Enjoyed the photos. Grounding and hopeful in seeing people who live closely to the earth and take care of pachamama.

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WATERMELLEN 8/10/2011 10:21PM

    What a treat to read this blog today. Thanks for all the glorious photos: almost feel like we got to go with you!!

Colombia. Coffee. My kind of place, clearly!! (The flowers, too: gorgeous!!)

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OUTDOORSDC 8/10/2011 9:08PM

    Completely connected to the earth. That's what these pictures felt like. Glad you had a good time, but even more glad that you're back. xoxo

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Thank you for sharing....Safe travels on your trip home!

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FRANCESCANAZ 8/10/2011 7:50PM

    Muchismas gracias amiga. Puedes visitar a mis clases y dar una presentacion a los alumnos????
Te amo, Francesca

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KATRINAKAT23 8/10/2011 7:43PM

  Beautiful pics!! Beautiful country and people that is for sure.

Thank you for sharing these.

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PUDLECRAZY 8/10/2011 6:35PM

    Wow - fabulous photos! What stunning beauty! You will certainly miss this when you come home.

Thank you so much for taking time to share all of these wonderful photos.



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MAZZYR 8/10/2011 6:25PM

    Oh Maha, thank you for sharing your trip with these beautiful photos. The orchids take my breath away. Lucky you for yet another travel adventure.

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COSMIC_ENERGY 8/10/2011 6:24PM

    No comment can do this justice. What a blessed adventure you are on! Life. Yes, a culture shock it will be. But you will have so much of that beautiful laid back energy from this trip to carry you through it.

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EMRANA 8/10/2011 6:18PM

  Wow!! I could go on and on about how awesome those photos are! I'll just say that if I were you, I'd already be making plans to go back to Margarita's finca next year! emoticon

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PENNYAN45 8/10/2011 6:14PM

    Thanks for taking us along on that trip with the beautiful vistas. Thanks also for taking us inside your friends' homes and sharing some of their lives with us. What a treasure!
I can't wait to hear and see more about your adventures this summer.

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IAM1WEVRY1 8/10/2011 6:06PM

    Thank you for sharing! hugs...

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GENKI_WARRIOR 8/10/2011 5:05PM

    AWESOME photos!! As always, thanks for sharing!
"We came from Mother Earth and from Her we live. We are all her guardians." = my new motto ;D

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CLAYKEEPER 8/10/2011 3:52PM

    Stay safe, my friend. Your adventure looks wonderful, many lovely memories made with gifts of love.... annette

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LKOPACK 8/10/2011 1:55PM

    What a fantastic trip and pictures. I was wondering if you made the trip this summer. Have fun and safe return. Look forward to seeing the pictures from the remainder of your adventure.

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MISS_VIV 8/10/2011 12:55PM

    O.M.G. What a journey.
How amazing to be able to do all that you are doing in a place so far away.

You are so blessed.


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DDOORN 8/10/2011 12:47PM

    How amazing it must be to immerse oneself into another culture the way that you've been doing...! It's hard for me to imagine ever being able to do something like that!


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KALIGIRL 8/10/2011 12:40PM

    Scary curves! Fabulous pictures - looking forward to the sequel.

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CATS_MEOW_0911 8/10/2011 12:04PM

    Looks amazing! Can't wait to see more...

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