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Happy birthday to me!

Monday, February 23, 2009

I awakened on this quiet late winter morning, beginning this day sitting and doing some pranayama. I promised myself yesterday that I would be gentle and kind to myself today as my special offering to me.

Two special gifts I'm offering myself today are ~~

~ Speak with the Research Department of the AR Legislative Council about allocating a portion of the lottery bill revenue (100% designated for education) to prisoner education

~ Begin the advanced Spanish program at the university language lab

I'm deeply grateful for so much -- the gifts of spiritual teachers who point the way, vibrant health, friends (cyber and 3-D all over the world) to share the journey, MORE than enough resources to live comfortably and then some, numerous options on how to live it out, second language skill which gives me the opportunity to communite with over 4 million Spanish-speaking souls on the planet, the joy of service...and SO MUCH MORE.

I often find myself sad and anxious, surveying the local and global world about me with all the violence, chaos, greed and suffering and so I especially appreciate the reminder of friend Cynthia's birthday poem (which I have posted on my computer desk!), penned by e e cummings:

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

Blessed be!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MADDY_AVENA 2/28/2009 2:18PM

    (Belated) Blessed Birthday, beautiful Creature! I'm so glad you're on the planet! *Mwah*!! May this new year of your life bring you joy, good health, success and the fulfillment of the dreams that you are ready to receive.

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MADANNIE71 2/24/2009 9:32AM

    To you, a lovely birthday and an extra special thanks for sharing ee cummings happysong. Hope you have a special week.

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ANGELBELIEVER 2/24/2009 12:48AM

    Happy Birthday to a beautiful lady. Thank you for sharing that beautiful poem. May all your dreams come true.

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NORLANA 2/23/2009 11:38PM

    Oh happy, happy, day!! Thank you for being an inspiration to me every day :)

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COSMIC_ENERGY 2/23/2009 7:49PM

    Sending you buckets of pure white love to wrap yourself in like a blanket.

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KARBIE18 2/23/2009 7:02PM

    Hope you are having a wonderful birthday. Those sound like wonderful gifts, and I love the poem! Thanks for sharing.


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VAL503 2/23/2009 2:58PM

    Dearest Maha,
Birthday blessings to you, my friend! I hope you deeply feel that joy and spark today, and that you truly realize what a gift you are to this earth. You are an inspiration to me :-)

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...improbably beautiful & afraid of nothing....

Friday, February 20, 2009

Starlings in Winter

Chunky and noisy,
but with stars in their black feathers,
they spring from the telephone wire
and instantly

they are acrobats
in the freezing wind.
And now, in the theater of air,
they swing over buildings,

dipping and rising;
they float like one stippled star
that opens,
becomes for a moment fragmented,

then closes again;
and you watch
and you try
but you simply cant imagine

how they do it
with no articulated instruction, no pause,
only the silent confirmation
that they are this notable thing,

this wheel of many parts, that can rise and spin
over and over again,
full of gorgeous life.

Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,
even in the leafless winter,
even in the ashy city.
I am thinking now
of grief, and of getting past it;

I feel my boots
trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart
pumping hard. I want

to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbably beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.

~ Mary Oliver ~
(Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANGELBELIEVER 2/21/2009 1:15AM

    Dear Valerie, How beautiful. I love watching and listening to the birds sing their joyous song. I love waking up to the birds and their chirping and singing. It starts my day off so full of joy. Thank you for reminding me how special the birds are in our lives and how beautifully made they are. Truly the creation of a Higher Power whom I choose to call God. emoticon

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VAL503 2/20/2009 8:24PM

    I just got back from a walk in the forest, and all the birds were chirping and the trees were budding out. To come in and read this just makes me smile on the inside and the outside!
As always, thanks for your delightful additions.

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MADANNIE71 2/20/2009 7:09PM

    What a beautiful description and metaphor. I have to remember to breathe when I read it, because it takes my breath away.

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ABURRIS1 2/20/2009 1:06PM

    Thanks for sharing one of my favorites! The last two stanzas make my heart flutter every time. You made my day. Peace to you ~ann

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Though words fail me, poetry embraces....

Monday, February 16, 2009

It's clear I'm at one of the MANY crossroads in my life of traversing the planet for almost 67 years. It's scary and confusing and difficult...and joyful and mysterious and exciting. So many things are in the balance, including my future in Ecuador. My dear friend and kindred spirit Annie is visiting and we are in dialogue about these "passages" in our lives. I recall my friend Patti in Kauai saying, "Just invite!" and I think that this *inviting* in a way stamps out the fear and opens my heart to welcome whatever comes.

An intrepid traveler, poet and mystic, Irishman John O'Donohue has expressed my heart's desire. I invite you to sit with this wisdom. May it herald the arrival of the NEW for us all!

It's All Love,
Maha ~~


In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life's desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

-- John O'Donohue
(To Bless the Space Between Us)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VAL503 2/19/2009 12:08AM

    Dearest Maha,
I have been away for many moons, and just wanted to thank you for posting such a beautiful and perfect piece. I am going to print it out and hang it on my bathroom mirror for a while. It brought tears to my eyes, and I feel a sense of hope that perhaps one day I will figure out this life and this monkey mind of mine!
Blessings to you, and courage on your path. I admire you so much!

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LKOPACK 2/18/2009 9:18PM

    Hi Valerie,
I just wanted to tell you it is a beautiful poem that speaks to many souls that are willing to be still and listen. I hope you are well and that your heart finds what you are seeking. Laura K.

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ANGELBELIEVER 2/18/2009 1:33AM

    Valerie, How beautiful. I love the idea of awakening my spirit to adventure. Thank you once again for your inspirational blog. emoticon

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COSMIC_ENERGY 2/16/2009 9:46AM


I love it and may lift it to post as a note on my facebook! It speaks to being open to whatever's next. I was coaching someone recently and she decided to start allowing the feeling of "allowing" that something she wanted could happen. You are a true inspiration.

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Poetry that speaks to my dilemma...and my soul!

Monday, February 02, 2009

David Whyte is a comrade and kindred spirit on the path to consciousness and SOMETIMES he speaks directly to my heart.

I had some openings during my month on Maui and Kauai...that my increased feelings of lack of self-worth can be remedied and require my concerted and compassionate commitment and action NOW. Part of the continuing downward spiral that I have experienced is because I have continued wallowing in things as they are instead of proactively and intelligently moving away from what's not working and experimenting with new ways of being in the world.

Here I share how Whyte spoke to me deeply in this regard:


if you move carefully
through the forest

like the ones
in the old stories

who could cross
a shimmering bed of dry leaves
without a sound,

you come
to a place
whose only task

is to trouble you
with tiny
but frightening requests

conceived out of nowhere
but in this place
beginning to lead everywhere.

Requests to stop what
you are doing right now,

to stop what you
are becoming
while you do it,

that can make
or unmake
a life,

that have patiently
waited for you,

that have no right
to go away.

-- David Whyte
(Everything is Waiting for You)

Here are some things that I've come up with so far:

~ I'm becoming more deeply involved in serving incarcerated women
~ I'm beginning language lab to hone my second language skills
~ I'm going to call a retired priest/social worker friend to make a date to sit and talk about "ways out"
~ I'm going to make sure I have an active unclassified grad student status for the next semester at the local public university (tuition-free for 60 and older)
~ I'm going to get back on my bicycle, back in yoga class and sign up for Curves
~ I'm going to speak to the owner of the local mom-pop health food store about the possibility of working one day per week

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VAL503 2/19/2009 12:13AM

I have been on a downward spiral as well, and just wanted to let you know that your words have lifted my spirit. I realize that it is the struggling itself that allows me to sink deeper in my despair, and I thank you for your mindful, searching posts.
I am starting my yoga practice again as well, and I will sit in meditation with gratitude for friends like you.

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DRAGONFLY7149 2/8/2009 2:11AM

    The journey continues, Maha. Thank you for sharing this poem. I have also enjoyed David Whyte's poetry and prose, and your post reminds me it has been some time since I last referenced or came across his work. I know how difficult it can be to make the choices we need to make in order to move forward -- or beyond. It's true that 'everything is waiting'; you are a treasured member of this community and, as Ashley states, many will be here for you.

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MADANNIE71 2/4/2009 1:29PM

    Wow, your time was well spent. I love the poem (you have excellent taste in poetry--it always opens my heart) and am so proud of you for laying out a plan. I also admire your energy and willingness to work on so many fronts. And I, as well as all the many friends you have at SP, have your back and will be here for you as you move ahead.

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    Welcome "home", my friend.

What a glorious month you had, and what a wonderful, realistic plan you have laid out.

Ah, life...

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ANGELBELIEVER 2/3/2009 12:15AM

    You have a lot of goals and good plans to do what you want to do. I found your post to be very insightful,as always. Thank you!

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COSMIC_ENERGY 2/2/2009 9:32PM

    I tell those ugly requests--Talk to the hand--you are nothing! emoticon
I beckon those questions that lead me higher along the way. The paths are many-the truth is ONE.

Great to see you my friend If you have time please check out my blog and let me know what you think. www.stirringthespiritwithin.blogspo emoticon

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The last enemy!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

It's all about priorities! And it's so easy for me to get "off track" in this world of constant distraction, distortion, delusion, delerium, daring, ad infinitum....

The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
- I Corinthians

Most of us find the death of another person or creature deeply unsettling, yet after a time we manage to submerge our feelings and carry on. For someone deeply sensitive to the transitory nature of life, however, an encounter with death can leave scars that last a lifetime. As a teenager Saint Augustine witnessed the untimely death of a bosom friend, and suddenly a trapdoor opened into deeper awareness. He was devastated. I thought death suddenly capable of devouring all men, because he had taken this loved one.

The word anxiety is a weak term for expressing this continuing uneasiness, this unsettled sense of being out of place and running out of time. Generally we can only ascribe it to external events, if we succeed in linking it to anything at all. But what is actually happening is that a wisp of memory is rising, whispering to us from deep within that nothing external in life is secure, nothing physical ever lasts.

No matter how hard we may try, in the long run none of us can escape the devastating fact of death. Yet an encounter with death, as in the case of Augustine, can leave us changed decidedly for the better. It can prompt us forward on the long search for something secure in life, something death cannot reach.
-- Eknath Easwaran

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KELLEHER27 1/4/2009 10:03PM

    I've acknowledged such anxiety the last week visiting my 90 year old father and watching him become more frail. Likewise, I met with a dear friend's mother. We both shared a hug which communicated how much we missed my friend and her daughter who passed away from cancer... Perhaps when one is willing to feel the feelings one can get through it.

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ZESTYLADY 12/29/2008 9:33AM

    Profound thoughts on this early morning. Touched a cord. Thanks.

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