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VALERIEMAHA's Recent Blog Entries live with my eyes open....

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I had it in mind to blog again when I have the last of the photos from my sojourn on the west coast, but this...THIS transcendent Oliver needs to be shared with my SparkFriends. I hope it bathes your soul in shimmering light as it did mine.


Some black ducks
were shrugged up
on the shore.
It was snowing

hard, from the east,
and the sea
was in disorder.
Then some sanderlings,

five inches long
with beaks like wire,
flew in,
snowflakes on their backs,

and settled
in a row
behind the ducks --
whose backs were also

covered with snow --
so close
they were all but touching,
they were all but under

the roof of the duck's tails,
so the wind, pretty much,
blew over them.
They stayed that way, motionless,

for maybe an hour,
then the sanderlings,
each a handful of feathers,
shifted, and were blown away

out over the water
which was still raging.
But, somehow,
they came back

and again the ducks,
like a feathered hedge,
let them
crouch there, and live.

If someone you didn't know
told you this,
as I am telling you this,
would you believe it?

Belief isn't always easy.
But this much I have learned --
if not enough else --
to live with my eyes open.

I know what everyone wants
is a miracle.
This wasn't a miracle.
Unless, of course, kindness --

as now and again
some rare person has suggested --
is a miracle.
As surely it is.

~ Mary Oliver --such an amazing link!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

2BMYOWN 1/31/2012 11:32PM

    I need to read Mary Oliver....she seems to 'speak' my language, and I have never heard of her prior to reading your blogs....thanks for posting this!

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SHANTISHANTI 1/27/2012 12:26PM

    I found Mary Oliver's work in 2005 when I was at my yoga teacher training at her sooooooo much. Thanks Maha. Namaste, Mary Ann

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WATERMELLEN 1/21/2012 7:52PM

    Kindness IS a miracle: and so too, this beautifully crafted poem. Thank you!!

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DOR2BFIT 1/21/2012 7:40PM

    Beautiful. Yes I believe it. emoticon

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FRACTALMYTH 1/21/2012 4:53PM


I find myself remembering one of my favourite poems from long ago - Marianne Moore's "Poetry"... perhaps because here, Oliver has beautifully fulfilled Moore's true purpose of poetry as "a place for the genuine"...

Dear sister of the soul, don't you just love imaginary gardens with real toads in them?

Comment edited on: 1/21/2012 4:56:50 PM

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JESPAH 1/21/2012 11:49AM

    Sweet and wonderful, as ever.

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RIDMYCOCOON 1/19/2012 10:01PM


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JUST_BREATHE08 1/19/2012 7:40PM

    emoticonAbsolutely Beautiful...Thank you so much for sharing!!

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2WHEELEDSHARON 1/19/2012 1:29PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KALIGIRL 1/19/2012 8:51AM

    Wonderful - how she manages to make us understand everyday miracles may be a miracle in itself...
Namaste emoticon

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PEACEFULONE 1/19/2012 1:51AM

    Again my soul is touched. Again I thank you dear Maha.

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DMPRIDER 1/18/2012 11:45PM

    As always, thank you for sharing!

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_RAMONA 1/18/2012 9:43PM

    Ah... Maha... this is sublime!

"let them crouch there and live."
"This wasn't a miracle. Unless, of course, kindness..."
"But this much I have learned... to live with my eyes open."

Such lessons for my life... I have such a strongly ingrained and narrowly defined sense of 'justice' ...which I've come to rue... it gets in the way of letting others 'crouch and live' gets in the way of grace and breathing freely.

...And kindness I see as more and more a miracle in my life... at least it feels so... and I feel miraculous in the receiving. Nothing feels to me more human and at once divine, these days, as kindness.

With my eyes open I am trying to live. Is it having turned 50? I only now see how closed my eyes have been.

THANK YOU, for sharing dear friend!

{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}}

P.S. I LOVE the site... I visit often... I learn many lessons...

"Your love should never be offered to the mouth of a stranger,
Only to someone
Who has the valor and daring
To cut pieces of their soul off with a knife
Then weave them into a blanket
To protect you."

Comment edited on: 1/18/2012 10:09:55 PM

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DXWALKER1 1/18/2012 9:28PM

    Words for the soul. Thank you for posting.

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COSMIC_ENERGY 1/18/2012 9:26PM

    Lovely Maha, lovely!

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SUNNY332 1/18/2012 7:04PM

    You know I love Mary Oliver and this one was beautiful.

Hope you are having a GREAT week.


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1HAPPYWOMAN 1/18/2012 6:55PM

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HIPPICHICK1 1/18/2012 5:59PM


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FRANCESCANAZ 1/18/2012 5:37PM

    Muchas Gracias Maha. That was your birthday gift to me today emoticon

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DDOORN 1/18/2012 4:25PM

    Such a smile and sigh this brings from me...lovely blog site too...must return on a slower-paced day. Thank you so much for sharing, 'Maha!


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PENNYAN45 1/18/2012 3:06PM

    Thanks for again sharing beautiful images and words from Mary Oliver. Kindness is a miracle.

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GIANTPANDA 1/18/2012 2:52PM

    Mary Oliver is one of my favorite poets. Thank you for sharing the beautiful photo and poem! emoticon emoticon

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MISS_VIV 1/18/2012 2:21PM

    And yet another piece from Mary Oliver resonates with me today.. sent by my fantastic friend Maha...


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SLASALLE 1/18/2012 2:15PM

    Stunning thoughts, but that is always the case with Oliver, don't you think? I've not seen this one before, so many thanks!! I DEFINITELY believe kindness is a miracle!!!

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DAISY443 1/18/2012 2:14PM

    "As surely it is" Thanks for sharing this beautiful thought!

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    Oh how I love Mary Oliver. beautiful...thank you so much!

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In Memory of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Psalms 15

Lord, who can be trusted with power,
and who may act in your place?
Those with a passion for justice,
who speak the truth from their hearts;
who have let go of selfish interests
and grown beyond their own lives;
who see the wretched as their family
and the poor as their flesh and blood.
They alone are impartial
and worthy of the people's trust.
Their compassion lights up the whole earth,
and their kindness endures forever.

(A Book of Psalms, translations by Stephen Mitchell)

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

My dear friend Don Doorn shared these amazing links with me. Please take time for them...they're all worth it --

In His Own Words:

Gifted NYT Op/Ed writer Paul Krugman:

Washington Post Op/Ed:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

2BMYOWN 1/31/2012 11:39PM

    I love Martin Luther King......I keep a picture of him in my bible because to me, he epitomizes what God is really all about. I don't understand why this world is such that the brightest lights always seem to fall victim to the darkness. I suppose there has to be a reason for it all, but I'm not smart enough to know what it might be. We are a species that certainly seems hellbent on destroying whatever is good and loving and all-encompassing. It's plain tragic. But I echo whoever said they were glad that a national holiday was devoted to this soul....

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SLASALLE 1/19/2012 8:12PM

    Truly, an incredible and very rare man. I spent a bit of time on Monday thinking about how right it was to declare a holiday in honor of this visionary. If only the entire world could see him as such.

Thank you, as always, for your enlightening blogs!!!


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KALIGIRL 1/17/2012 9:04AM

    An amazing man emoticon

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FRANCESCANAZ 1/17/2012 8:41AM

    Amen Hermana!

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GOANNA2 1/17/2012 1:15AM

    Thank you dear Maha. emoticon

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1HAPPYWOMAN 1/16/2012 11:49PM

    Thank you, Maha. emoticon

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SUNNY332 1/16/2012 6:48PM

    Love it....
Off to check out the Links.

Our Soldier was in charge of the Martin Luther Memorial today on his Army Post. He called to say it went well. Wish I could have been there.

Huggers, Sunny

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PUDLECRAZY 1/16/2012 6:26PM

    Amen. And I love the photograph. Two men who made important and lasting impacts on the world.

Neither King's, nor Gandhi's work is done. We should not be complacent.

Comment edited on: 1/16/2012 6:26:28 PM

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SMILEYBEE 1/16/2012 5:35PM

    From my DIL today, "Quantifying my feelings about Dr. King is difficult, as I can't fully express my deep gratitude for the work he did to make my family possible ... I think about this often but today as I focus on his work I feel overwhelmed by emotions of gratitude for a man who was taken too soon. Your dream is my family's reality and I thank you."

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    Love this! MLK was awesome!

Comment edited on: 1/16/2012 7:17:29 PM

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IPA-RAY 1/16/2012 11:19AM


We could use another leader and visonary like him. His dream remains a dream but his influence has helped bring about many changes.

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HIPPICHICK1 1/16/2012 11:10AM

    Thanks for this. As a Canadian I don't know much about MLK other than he was a great visionary and was sadly assassinated so again, emoticon.

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BECOMINGONE 1/16/2012 11:05AM

    Thanks, Maha. Love the translated Psalm. Appreciated the links ,,,

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XQUIZITE1 1/16/2012 10:26AM

    Thanks for sharing this!

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TEENY_BIKINI 1/16/2012 9:56AM


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JESPAH 1/16/2012 9:29AM

    Screw spreading the Spark. Spread the compassion instead, and the Spark will follow.

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DDOORN 1/16/2012 9:14AM

    King's legacies, wisdom and lessons are so greatly undiscovered and underappreciated by far, far too many.

Thx for re-sharing, 'Maha!


More great thoughts on King:

Comment edited on: 1/16/2012 9:36:39 AM

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DAISY443 1/16/2012 9:13AM


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COSMIC_ENERGY 1/16/2012 8:38AM

    Support and surround ourselves with these compassionate people. Be that compassionate person! emoticon

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The truth about trees....

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Do you think of them as decoration?

Think again.

Here are maples, flashing.
And here are the oaks, holding on all winter
to their dry leaves.
And here are the pines, that will never fail,
until death, the instruction to be green.
And here are the willows, the first
to pronounce a new year.

May I invite you to revise your thoughts about them?
Oh, Lord, how we are all for invention and
But I think
it would do us good if we would think about
these brothers and sisters, quietly and deeply.

The trees, the trees, just holding on
to the old, holy ways.

-- Mary Oliver, from Evidence

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

2BMYOWN 1/31/2012 11:45PM

    The a child, I used to sit down in the grass and just listen to the sound the wind made as it blew thru a grove of pines in the field behind our house. I'll never forget that....I watched a movie once called Phenomenon, with John Travolta...and the one scene that stays with me was what a comfort he derived from watching the trees swaying in the winds, and listening to them, closing his eyes and just hearing them...because that is exactly what I used to do. There's really nothing quite like it....I can't even picture a world without trees.

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SLASALLE 1/18/2012 2:17PM

    I'm WAY behind in my reading of blogs, obviously!!! Another wonderful Oliver poem. Being a tree hugger from long ago, I KNOW better than trees being decoration!!

Tomorrow, I will want to read your blog on MLK!!!


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CRYSTALJEM 12/28/2011 5:26PM

    Wonderful! Trees are one of my best companions. I love the picture, such grandeur! Have a great day. Namaste my friend.

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TEENY_BIKINI 12/19/2011 12:12PM

    So beautiful. Gosh, I just love trees.


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PENNYAN45 12/2/2011 9:04PM

    Trees are one of my passions. I live among them - and I love them in every season.

And what a beautiful poem. Another beautiful, poignant poem from Mary Oliver.

Thanks so much for posting it.



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HIPPICHICK1 12/1/2011 2:26PM

    I think of trees as a gift that allows me to breathe.
Hey that rhymes!!
I love your blogs.

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FLORIDASUN 11/30/2011 7:53PM

    Sooo beautiful as always...and SO always! emoticon

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CITYZOZO 11/30/2011 5:43PM

    love it!

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RIDMYCOCOON 11/29/2011 4:25PM

    I look upon them as family. emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/29/2011 4:26:47 PM

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ME_HERE_NOW 11/29/2011 12:44PM

    i have always had an affinity for trees, and now i dress them up in yarn, teehee :)

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2WHEELEDSHARON 11/29/2011 7:06AM


I agree, trees are decorated enough as they are. The picture reminds me of the view from my hammock!

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KELLEEH 11/28/2011 7:52PM


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GOANNA2 11/28/2011 9:56AM

    I love the trees and Mary Oliver and
also you dear Maha who always inspires us. emoticon

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DOKEYOKEY 11/28/2011 9:55AM

    I love trees and feel grateful to live in a place where they are so abundant. And of course, I love Mary Oliver for writing such a wonderful poem that reminds us to be still. And I love you for posting such wonderful reminders with such steadfastness!


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PEACEFULONE 11/28/2011 9:49AM

    Ah yes trees are wonderful. Besides being beautiful they give shade, oxygen and sometimes even fruits and nuts. Other favorites are the Banyan trees and all varieties of palm trees. We have added trees to every yard where we have lived. I am and always will be a tree hugger! Thank you Maha for sharing this!
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JESPAH 11/28/2011 9:36AM

    They're chippie* houses.

*Chipmunks, as opposed to loose women. Although I suppose earthy loose women who didn't mind outdoor plumbing could live in 'em as well.

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KALIGIRL 11/28/2011 8:28AM

    Here's to the holy ways!

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ON2VICTORY 11/28/2011 8:13AM

    love it! :)

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I adore Mary Oliver....and you!

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DDOORN 11/28/2011 12:16AM

    We have some old and sadly unhealthy maples both in our front and back yard. They are so huge and have seen so many years standing guard over and protecting our home...such vital members of our family!


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FRANCESCANAZ 11/27/2011 8:08PM

    I'll never get over losing the giant weeping willow in our yard during Irene emoticon We'll plant more trees, but you can never replace an old, old tree.

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SUNNY332 11/27/2011 7:29PM

    I love trees and every year, we plant 3 - one for each of our sons. This past year we planted 3 new weeping willows down by our pond. Next Spring, I would like to plant 3 maples, a red, a silver, and a bigtooth or maybe 3 pinoaks.
Any way, I do love trees, I love the poem, and I am a big fan of Mary Oliver.

Take care and Hugs, Sunny

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CARRAND 11/27/2011 7:09PM

    I love trees and I love the poem. I have tree images all over my house, and loads of trees in my yard.

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WATERMELLEN 11/27/2011 6:50PM

    Trees: love them. Love to be in their presence. Mourn the loss of the sound of wind in leaves now until May . . . but the sound of wind in pine trees is some consolation! And the new leaf buds I can already see on the red maple branches outside my bedroom window.

Thank you, Maha!

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DOR2BFIT 11/27/2011 6:29PM

    I do so love trees! emoticon

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DAISY443 11/27/2011 6:24PM

    Mary Oliver speaks to my heart. Maha speaks to my heart.

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BLUEBIRDSFLY 11/27/2011 6:19PM

    It would do us good to think about these brothers and is the first time I have ever seen the recognition of trees as part of our family. And they are our family as our very existence is deeply interwoven with theirs. I have always loved trees. I love to look up through their leaves and see the sunlight dancing. I love to see their sculpted forms each exquisitively unique in the winter. I love the rustling of their leaves that sound like soft whispers in the spring and the fall. There are so many reasons to love trees. I love them dearly and happily call them family. Thank you, Maha for posting this blog. emoticon

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End of Year Challenge

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Morning view from the window at my computer

It stormed heavily last night, with an amazing light show thrown in to add to the drama of pounding rain and strong wind. This morning the sun is blazing on the earth and in my soul, the nip in the air is pleasant and I am "holding out my thanks" (see the Merwin poem at the end).

I've somehow dredged up the space within my psyche to work on myself in a special way between now and December 31, 2011. This blog of Coach Nicole's, 8 Amazing Goals You Can Achieve in the Next 8 Weeks, was just the shot-in-the-arm I needed:

From the goals Nicole listed I have selected these to assist and hold me accountable for the challenge:

~~ track food and exercise (I've been relatively consistent in tracking exercise, but I've resisted tracking food -- hmmmmm, could that have *anything* to do with the 10+ pounds weight gain since my mid-August return from South America???)

~~ exercise 10 minutes every day (instead of fretting about how to add daily aerobic exercise to my life, especially during winter, I'm committing to Just.This.Much -- by walking, a DVD, going to the fitness center, hopping on my bicycle when the weather permits, or *whatever!*)

My trusty wheeled steed is my first choice for aerobic activity. Friend and inspiration DDOORN included this image in a recent blog...and I loved it!

~~ master a new fitness challenge -- 100 push-ups by New Year's Eve is my aspiration; I'm also adding sit-ups to my every-other day strength training regime

~~ aiming to keep SAD at bay by chasing the sun, being jolly (fake it 'til I make it when necessary), practicing turning negatives into positives, etc.


November 12, 2011
Not only did I get witnessed, but some wanted to join me, so...WE CREATED A TEAM! This will help us rally together to Make This Happen...for real!

Lightening Up As the Days Grow Darker:


A couple more morning photos:

The sun will soon warm up my beloved Dolphin

Can you see that the screened porch door is open, welcoming you to visit any ol' time?

I read this wonderful poem as the first rays of the morning sun lit up the day and I think it started the inner process,the inner storm having also blown away, that resulted in being able to offer this gift to myself:


In the morning as the storm begins to blow away
the clear sky appears for a moment and it seems to me
that there has been something simpler than I could ever
simpler than I could have begun to find words for
not patient not even waiting no more hidden
than the air itself that became part of me for a while
with every breath and remained with me unnoticed
something that was here unnamed unknown in the days
and the nights not separate from them
not separate from them as they came and were gone
it must have been here neither early nor late then
by what name can I address it now holding out my thanks
~ W.S. Merwin ~

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUST_BREATHE08 1/19/2012 7:43PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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XINIXINIX 12/24/2011 3:07AM

    You are SO rockin' the light - thanks for keeping the Spark going!


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DARKTHOR 11/22/2011 10:46AM

    I may be starting late, but I too would like to end the year right. I'm going to start working on that today. Thanks for passing the spark on.

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FLORIDASUN 11/20/2011 5:06PM

    What a darling you are for sharing Coach Nicole's blog. We sometimes ignore the obvious here on Spark. I'm sending you loving rays of Florida know if I could bottle the stuff I'd send you a case EVERY week! I'm still fighting the 'good fight (see my blog) on the save our home' front. I'll never, ever, EVER give up on fighting for what is fair and right and I might just surprise the world and myself mostly...if we win!

My theme song...."only she who attempts the absurd can achieve the impossible!"C. Moses

...thank heavens there are still STRONG SMART women (if I DO say so me~self!) such as us who walk this earth and fight for justice when justice seems to have fallen away.. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/20/2011 5:09:54 PM

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DOKEYOKEY 11/16/2011 12:09PM

    Thanks for sharing Coach Nicole's blog...I have never looked at her before!

Big hugs.


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GENKI_WARRIOR 11/13/2011 4:05PM

    You're beautiful.
...and I have to re-vamp my fitness goals, now *lovehugs.

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ABURRIS2 11/11/2011 11:54AM

    I am in.

~ track food and exercise
~10 min/day rotating ST and 10 min/day walking
~weekly Feldenkrais class plus its morning loosening routine
~"chase the sun" by chasing Beauty: see, touch, create, read or photograph it

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SLAYINGDRAGONS 11/10/2011 4:35PM

    You encouraged me today and I am on my way to read that Coach Nicole blog! emoticon

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ME_HERE_NOW 11/10/2011 4:34PM

    gonna read the nicole blog, everyone is talking about it! :) love your view and your place, i really really want a lil place in the woods someday myself! i know you can kick out the rest of year, enjoy reaching your goals :)

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ABURRIS2 11/10/2011 2:07PM

    Um, my seven weeks in a boot with a broken foot brought another seven pounds with it, so this kind of thing is appropriate...just been lacking the motivation thing. I'll give it a try, though my list may differ a bit. I'll let you know. Thank you for the invitation/challenge!

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CRYSTALJEM 11/10/2011 11:45AM

    What great goals. I'm sure you'll achieve them. I just love your place. Watch out, I'm visualizing myself coming through that door right now for a cup of tea.... Maybe we could set a date and time and at least share a virtual tea while really drinking our own tea at home...... hmmmm.... :)

P.S. I just love your place! That's the kind of surroundings that makes my heart sing and my soul at peace. Thanks for sharing.

Comment edited on: 11/10/2011 11:46:44 AM

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INSPIREBYNATURE 11/10/2011 10:24AM

    Can I please come live with you?

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FRANCESCANAZ 11/10/2011 7:45AM

    You have another witness amiga. I'll check out that blog...
Your view is awesome! I'd love to take Zeus down through the trees there! emoticon

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CAROLISCIOUS 11/9/2011 10:11PM

    I'm in...I've already challenged myself to keep my food tracking and exercise streaks going through the end of the year. Sticking with the ST will be my fitness challenge... work on that positive attitude...

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WATERMELLEN 11/9/2011 10:00PM

    So glad that storm is blowing away now . . . holding out my thanks with yours for you and for me.

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COSMIC_ENERGY 11/9/2011 9:17PM

    Rah! Go Maha! You can do it!I am committed to myself too--Turning my SAD light on in the mornings, eating clean and drinking more water.

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    Yay for you! A little fitness focus is a very good thing on a fitness site. HaHa! I am cheering for you.

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PENNYAN45 11/9/2011 7:27PM

    I stand witness to your enthusiasm and willingness to take some steps back on track.
(That's just what I've done too, as I reset my ticker for the next 15 pounds.)

I wish you a glowing success!!

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GOANNA2 11/9/2011 4:04PM

    emoticon emoticon
Thanks for the lovely poem
and good luck with your goals... emoticon

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JESPAH 11/9/2011 3:20PM

    I'm in for the attempt to stave off SAD. :)

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RIDMYCOCOON 11/9/2011 3:12PM

    I will check it out! Until then Amen, Sistah. I am a witness! Looks and sounds lovely emoticon

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HIPPICHICK1 11/9/2011 2:48PM

    Thanks for the link - going to check it out now.
And thanks for the lovely poem too.
Good Luck with the challenge!
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PUDLECRAZY 11/9/2011 2:44PM

    I wish I COULD drop in for a visit, and when I am in your area, count on it - I will!

I battle SAD every year. Fortunately, so far, November has been relatively sunny, but the time change plunges us into darkness too early in the evening for my taste. Rain is settling in for the duration of the week, tomorrow is the anniversary of Dad's death, and I am trying to keep up a positive relationship with myself and my days. I certainly empathize!

The photos of the sun beaming through the golden and orange leaves are beautiful. May November treat you kindly.


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DAISY443 11/9/2011 2:40PM

    I will witness but can't join except in thought! Go, Maha!

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DOKEYOKEY 11/9/2011 2:18PM

    Hi, there Maha! Yes, like Nonie and Don, you can consider yourself both witnessed and joined! I'm going to make friends with them both and I'll see you here!

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DDOORN 11/9/2011 1:44PM

    Hmm...I can be such a SLUG when it comes to naming a specific, measurable goal to challenge myself. My usual mentality is to just do "the best that I can." But lately I realize that isn't cutting it! I'm still WAY lagging behind my goal of daily nutrition tracking...even though I just KNOW that is the *ticket* to greater control of the pounds. I'm pretty good at tracking workouts and seldom does a day pass without at least SOME cardio.

So yep, joining you on the food tracking!!

Physical challenges like X number of sit ups or push ups...? Well I prefer to keep pushing the envelop at the fitness center and do things like periodically up the weights I'm using for ST or extending my distance traveled on the stationary bike within a half hour.

Still haven't been able to scrape together the $$$ to tackle one of my "bucket list" wishes to own cross country skiing gear and get my cross country skiing legs 'neath me.

BUT am working on another "bucket list" item...a physical challenge of a totally different nature. Will be blogging about that soon.


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NONIE_C 11/9/2011 12:41PM

Considered yourself both witnessed and *joined* in this end of year challenge. I'm going to go read the NN article now, and I'm going to join you in an 8 week challenge - YAY!!!

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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Embrace the core sadness of life without toppling headlong into it, or assuming it will define your days. The real trick is to let life, with all its ordinary missteps and regrets, be consistently more mysterious and alluring than its end.
-- Gail Caldwell, from Let's Take the Long Way Home: a memoir of friendship

Thank you dear SparkFriends for noticing my gloom and showering me with your loving thoughts. I continue to struggle. I'm oddly resistant to using the resources I've learned over the years of spiritual practices -- of being kind to myself -- though I WILL slosh through this. Please, please excuse my dearth of SparkParticipation.

This morning I completed preparation of a bountiful vegetarian stew, as well as sauteing a big skillet of kale and turnip greens in olive oil with onion and garlic. I also cut up a late-harvest watermelon a friend grave me from her garden. I have lots of salad fixins' in the frig as well. So I'm set with wonderful "medicine" for the body. I struggle with consistency in aerobic exercise which I still have to figure out, but have managed to continue my strength training streak.

I have also been remiss in feeding the mind via meditation, which I will slide back into easefully and gradually.

As for food for the spirit, Billy Collins lights up my "November heart" with the days growing darker.

Tahquamenon Falls, Lake Superior


After three days of steady rain -
over two inches said the radio -
I follow the example of monks
who write by a window, sunlight on the page.

Five times this morning,
I loaded a wheelbarrow with wood
and steered it down the hill to the house,
and later I will cut down the dead garden

with clippers and haul the soft pulp
to a grave in the woods,
but now there is only
my sunny page which is like a poem

I am covering with another poem
and the dog asleep on the tiles,
her head in her paws,
her hind legs played out like a frog.

How foolish it is to long for childhood,
to want to run in circles in the yard again,
arms outstretched,
pretending to be an airplane.

How senseless to dread whatever lies before us
when, night and day, the boats,
strong as horses in the wind,
come and go,

bringing in the tiny infants
and carrying away the bodies of the dead.

~ Billy Collins ~

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FLORIDASUN 11/13/2011 6:51PM

    Hello my darling Maha! I've missed you so in my flurry of activity here in SW FL during the busiest time of the year. Know that the pendulum always swings back up after it completes the cycle of it's low...hugs to you..we care for each other always! emoticon emoticon emoticonYou are a precious human...know that you are loved muchly! emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/13/2011 6:52:33 PM

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GOANNA2 11/9/2011 4:03PM

    emoticon emoticonBless you Maha!

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RIDMYCOCOON 11/7/2011 12:23PM

    emoticon I think it impossible to eat watermelon and cry at the same time.

For a moment, I hope that when you are eating yours that your inner child is giggling and feeling silly.

Sending you fuzzbuckets!

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TKADEEPBREATH 11/5/2011 9:44PM

    You have introduced me to a new author. I will look up more of his work for more "delicious" words.

Bless you my friend . . . as always, Jan

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VEEJAY3 11/5/2011 3:27PM

    I adore Billy Collins. (And you, too, dear!)

Some of my favorites of his: Some Questions About Angels ... Three Wishes ... The Lanyard ... gosh. If I could only read one poet, it would be him. (apologies to your dearest Mary Oliver. And of course to Rumi.)

Matters of the spirit have seasons of their own, I think. Perhaps this is your fall ... where you begin storing up energy to last you through a time of stillness. Or not! Only time will tell. But I trust in your wisdom to know exactly how to treat yourself thru this. Looks like you have plenty of love surrounding you here!!

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FRANCESCANAZ 11/2/2011 6:51PM

    How i would love to have you here again mi amiga. Anytime...te amo mucho. Be blessed. emoticon

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HIPPICHICK1 11/2/2011 6:06PM

    I haven't been of much support and I apologize. I've been off in my own little world creating pottery for 'tis the season.
Sending buckets of good vibes your way!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SLASALLE 11/2/2011 4:35PM

    Thinking of you, my dear friend. We've both been so very busy! Know that I join you in a strength training streak. This week will be 5 weeks of full body strength training twice weekly. I hope to increase that to 3x, with a weekend at home session that is only core and upper body.

So sorry that you're struggling ... sometimes we just have to let ourselves move through it as best we can. As we both know, this too shall pass ... as does everything (both good and bad) eventually.

Sending you love, light and warmth ...


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KALIGIRL 11/2/2011 9:07AM

    Sorry you are suffering a sadness of spirit. It never ceases to amaze me how my mind 'screams' what's right, but my body and soul refuse to listen. Maybe that's my problem... I need to train my mind to gently influence the rest of my being?

Namaste my friend - sending warm and soothing thoughts your way.

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DDOORN 11/1/2011 10:47PM

    Even at your spiritual nadir I never cease to be amazed and more aware than I was before reading your posts, 'Maha. So spiritually challenged am I...! Thank you for allowing us to enter your world with you as much as you do!

And as you can see by such an outpouring from our SparkFamily we are all just SO with you through thick & thin!


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COSMIC_ENERGY 11/1/2011 9:33PM

    Wrapping you in everlasting arms of Love, full of pure white energy. Sometimes we just have to sit in the stew and marinate awhile before coming out on the other side.

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CARRAND 11/1/2011 8:01PM

    I love the Billy Collins poem. Thank you for sharing. Keep up the strength training and hang in there.

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WATERMELLEN 11/1/2011 7:55PM

    Hang in there . . . and I'm hanging in there with ya, for sure. At our age and stage we've been through tough times before, and although we may not like it while we're slogging through it, we KNOW that we'll get to the other side of it. Eventually. Just not fast enough. But eventually.

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PUDLECRAZY 11/1/2011 6:22PM

    I am so sorry that your life's path continues to churn on in a way that is sad and frustrating for you. I wish there was a way I could lift up your spirits. I know from experience, that there are times that it is so hard to follow the spiritual teaching and practices than most of the time support and nurture us.

November is always the month where I struggle most with living in the moment and cherishing each day. It is the month where I have suffered some of my deepest and most devastating losses. I mention this because these are the times when it is most challenging to applying the lessons of spiritual practice to our own lives.

Your stew sounds delicious... I wish I could join you for dinner and bring some blackberry cobbler.

Sending love to you.


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SUNNY332 11/1/2011 5:34PM

    "I like spring, but it is too young. I like summer, but it is too proud. So I like best of all autumn, because its tone is mellower, its colours are richer, and it is tinged with a little sorrow. Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor the power of summer, but of the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitations of life and its content."
- Lin Yutang

Medication and Journaling are a great way to get back in touch with yourself and the desires of your heart. You are on you own path but sharing it with us. We will be here walking this journey with you, my friend.

Hugs, Sunny

BTW - the book arrived today. The wrapping was torn and it looks to have had a little bit of water damage but other than this, it's story is in tack and waiting for me to read it. Thank you so much!

Comment edited on: 11/1/2011 5:35:18 PM

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BELOVE2013 11/1/2011 2:39PM

    You are a consistent source of encouragent to me and never cease to lift me up. For that, I'm grateful. Thank YOU for being such a great person.

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1HAPPYWOMAN 11/1/2011 2:36PM

    It sounds like you are in an emotional autumn, dropping your summer foliage and stripping down to bare branches for the winter....I've been there! We probably all have, in our own way. I guess our inner fires need time to burn low for a while; they can't burn bright and fierce all the time....

This time of year, I find it very helpful to burn some candles, make a hot drink, curl up with a cozy afghan, phone someone I really love -- do everything I can to warm my heart. I hope your heart is warm and cozy. I'm sending you much love.

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JESPAH 11/1/2011 1:51PM

    That reminds me a tad of the old song, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

So November is gloomy, and the seas are stormy. It's true. The leaves and color disappear and any beauty that comes from snow is not here yet.

But it has one awesome, kick-bun difference from all the other months. And the other months are SOOOO jealous.

'Cause November ends with Thanks. :)

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    You are nothing short of amazing.

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DEBRA0818 11/1/2011 11:07AM

    Spiritual practices are easiest when things are good but most difficult for me when things are difficult. Over the years I've discovered that it is easy for me to approach God with gratitude but very hard to to tell Him I am sad, angry, depressed, frustrated, etc. It is as if I feel ashamed of my negative feelings, like they shouldn't exist! Sometimes I think they are a commentary on how good I am at "getting it," sometimes I don't feel I deserve to feel them since I live in the midst of abundance, but all this just pulls me further away from the Divine Light that sees all of me and loves. I hope that your struggles land you smack in the middle of God's warm embrace.


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EMRANA 11/1/2011 10:53AM

  It's funny how we sometimes stray from our spiritual practices when they are the best remedy. I have done the same thing ~ then when I do put on kirtan or do asana or meditate, I say, why didn't I do that days ago? It's not often that it happens, but when it does, depression can be a very powerful force.

I prescribe one full listening of Krishna Das' Heart Full of Soul. emoticon

Sounds like you have a perfect kitchen full of yummies!


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NVDONNA 11/1/2011 10:44AM

    Sorry you are struggling, my friend. Your stew sounds delightful, and you are set with veggies and watermelon, yum! Keep up the ST, and know that is also provides a cardio effect. Meditate when the feeling is right. You got this! You are a strong, beautiful, powerful woman, and don't forget it! xoxo

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