Wednesday, September 14, 2011
The exquisite wisdom of one of my teachers, Mary Oliver, takes my breath away:
The kingfisher rises out of the black wave
like a blue flower, in his beak
he carries a silver leaf. I think this is
the prettiest world -- so long as you don't mind
a little dying, how could there be a day in your whole life
that doesn't have its splash of happiness?
There are more fish than there are leaves
on a thousand trees, and anyway the kingfisher
wasn't born to think about it, or anything else.
When the wave snaps shut over his blue head, the water
remains water--hunger is the only story
he has ever heard in his life that he could believe.
I don't say he's right. Neither
do I say he's wrong. Religiously he swallows the silver leaf
with its broken red river, and with a rough and easy cry
I couldn't rouse out of my thoughtful body
if my life depended on it, he swings back
over the bright sea to do the same thing, to do it
(as I long to do something, anything) perfectly.
~ Mary Oliver ~
(House of Light)
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!
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