Thursday, March 22, 2012
Blogging is not looming in my Spark reality these days...actually, to turn it around, Spark reality is not looming in my mind these days.
Life is getting in my way in a BIG WAY. I'm not navigating it as well as I'd like. But I'll get through this patch (or not, as Horace reminds me), just like I've gotten through all the others. Using strength of will to better care for my body through this is the ideal that always lurks, even when I don't attain it. The resources are there, the knowledge is there, all I need is the strength of will to access them.
This is a difficult time in the history of this country and the world. And I am also grieving the serious challenges a dear friend is facing as I write this...it tears at my heart.
Horace knew all of this, and here is what he admonished to Leucon and to me:
Ode I. 11
Leucon, no one's allowed to know his fate,
Not you, not me: don't ask, don't hunt for answers
In tea leaves or palms. Be patient with whatever comes.
This could be our last winter, it could be many
More, pounding the Tuscan Sea on these rocks:
Do what you must, be wise, cut your vines
And forget about hope. Time goes running, even
As we talk. Take the present, the future's no one's affair.
(The Essential Horace, edited and translated by Burton Raffel) www.panhala.net/Archive/Ode_I_11.htm
Saturday, March 03, 2012
My dear friend and SparkBuddy, SANDRA5898, hosted a wonderful coming-together of women to celebrate this rite of passage.
Sandra's invite said: "Maha is turning 70 and she wants you to help mark this milestone in community with others of her dear friends. We will come together to celebrate her life until now and her re-commitment to a long and vital life ahead. We will celebrate Sunday, February 19, starting at 5:00 pm. It will be a potluck. In recognition of Maha, please bring vegetarian offerings. No presents please only your presence and your gift of wisdom. In terms of wisdom, please share with this community of friends a poem, a funny or poignant story, some piece of wisdom for Maha's years ahead, a blessing, a photo or whatever the spirit compels. We will meet at my small, but cozy home. I have lots of floor pillows."
The wondrous song, "She Who Hears the Cries of the World," from _She Carries Me_ by Jennifer Berezan, edgeofwonder.com/ , greeted each friend as they entered. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. I have already gifted it to two dear friends. From the words was extracted the meal offering which we all invoked:
Hail Mother full of grace, power is with thee
Blessed are you, Queen of the universe
and blessed is all of creation
Holy Mother, maker of all things
Be with us now and always
Vivian, aka MISS_VIV, offered the special birthday blessing of introducing me to the music of Jennifer Berezan by sending me two of her CDs.
Goddess only knows what I was saying with such conviction!
Sandra at the cupboard, Jody finishing the salad...ALL from her garden except for the organic strawberries sliced on top!
Fritzie's grand entrance, having driven 4 hrs. to be with us
Six foot tall Judy and Leslie look on as Fritzie dishes up the tasty Vietnamese spring rolls she brought. Later, Judy played a recording of her sister and my beloved friend, Janice, playing the guitar and singing one of her original compositions (a favorite of mine)...what a surprise! The presence of Janice, who lives on Vashon Island, WA, through the gift of her music
This mystical image is of Janice with her guitar, playing at my 68th birthday party at Fritzie's home...and somehow seems just right!
Leslie is obviously saying something very profound (she did a ritual for the occasion later on) as Camille looks on and a partial profile of Johnye
Robin, aka GENKIWARRIOR, and Jody
Sandra is swept away by a segment of Leslie's ritual
Pamela is offering some vision of truth as Johnye, who later shared some of her amazing haiku, smiles beside her
Marilyn, seated, and Bailey. Marilyn read the children's book, _On the Day You Were Born_, by Debra Frasier, an exquisite prose-poem volume, beautifully illustrated, that she read repeatedly to each of her children, including Bailey, when they were young
All eyes on Sharon, while Jean takes it all in
Marilyn making a point
Sharon is delighted and Pamela is reflective listening to Leslie read Rumi
Sandra got a delicious carrot cake from Silvek's European Bakery
On the day of my birth, Feb 23, six of us, including Melissa who had missed the earlier festivities, gathered for dinner at Zaza Fine Salads + Wood Oven Pizza Co. and to go hear Rev. Jesse Jackson, who was wonderful
Melissa with Jody, who scrunched up her face saying, "I'm not ready yet!"
Me and dear friend Robin
Not ANOTHER photo, Sandra!
My friend Jean, though blind, a woman of great vision
Though it needed flash, you can see how Sandra's face is slimming with her weight-loss success! Jean's licking her fingers and I'm chowing down on a slice of pizza
I created a birthday card/gift for each of my friends, which included this poem I wrote for them on Feb 15. It is shaped (when centered -- I tried to do it manually to no avail) like an exclamation point, adding further emphasis to the love I wished to share:
THE IDEA OF FRIENDS
The awe of "Ah!" voiced in unison while watching an exquisite sunset
Dancing like no one is watching as we are shooing the blues away
Whooshing through mud puddles, bikes on a country road
Enjoying good home-brewed cappuccinos on the porch
Moving from misunderstanding to mutual healing
Belly laughs at the movies and sharing treats
Simultaneously thinking the same thought
that the other says -- a thought-dream.
To unite so as to form one mass --
coalescence, community of two
or three. Or even more.
It's joy personified.
That's the idea!
Feb 15, 2012
Monday, February 13, 2012
World-renowned musicians Baaba Maal and Toumani Diabate at the music school opening in Kirina, Mali (Habib Koite was also there)
My good friend CRYSTALJEM posted a poignant blog today, "The Best 5 Minute Cry Ever"...and I know just what she means because for no apparent reason my eyes well up with tears every time I watch the latest video from one of my favorite organizations, Playing for Change. And today was no exception -- playingforchange.org/news/detail/the
I love music with every fiber of my being...and in the first years of Playing for Change I remember talk of the dream of starting music schools in Africa. And I deeply resonated with the idea of change...and peace...through music! And now OMG -- LOOK! It has become a reality! This is SO exciting. And Mark Johnson, Playing for Change Co-Founder, the white fellow you see in the above video, is obviously SO happy.
Roger Ridley, Santa Monica, CA
This awe-inspiring cover by Roger Ridley, et al, of Ben E. King's "Stand By Me" was my introduction to Playing for Change those many moons ago and this was the song that "transformed Playing For Change from a small group of individuals into a global movement for peace and understanding."
Isn't this what feeling the love is REALLY all about? Happy Valentine's Day Kirina, Mali!
Mark Johnson with a young friend, is a Grammy-winning producer/engineer and award-winning film director whose visionary concept a decade ago became the driving force behind Playing for Change. His work was recently spotlighted in a profile on the PBS series "Bill Moyers Journal," he has also been a keynote speaker at the United Nations, TED Global, and the University of Michigan Martin Luther King Day Celebration, as well as the Million Dollar Round Table.
I just noticed this winning opportunity to help spread PFC's love with a click of the mouse -- give the Valentine's Day gift that keeps on giving!
More on the $50,000 grant we can vote on for PFC:
Friday, February 10, 2012
Compassionate action starts with seeing yourself when you start to make yourself right and when you start to make yourself wrong. At that point you could just contemplate the fact that there is a larger alternative to either of those, a more tender, shaky kind of place where you could live. --Pema Chodron
Upon waking this morning with the joy of Kitty Rama at my feet, I first completed the pleasant ritual of preparing a cup of delicious coffee. Next, with coffee in-hand, I came to see what had arrived in my InBox. Pema Chodron's words first greeted me via www.gratefulness.org
Then I went on to revel in lovely goodies and notes from exquisite SparkFriends. Finally I opened this morning's Panhala offering, an amazing poem by Wendell Berry.
Today offers me a blank slate (well, not really if ya' wanna' get technical, but kind of...) and I'm determined to move ahead step by "grounded-and-balanced" step, holding myself accountable for how I use the precious moments. It has been a rough week. Wednesday saw profound interpersonal difficulties, which brought on extreme behaviors like binging, when I stopped tracking that day. Yesterday was difficult, but I did track food. I haven't been exercising this week, but that is changing today, with strength training at the very least. These small steps are the tiniest tip of the iceberg of loving self-care. But I will persist.
"I can no other answer make but thanks, And thanks, and ever thanks," dear friends for our connectedness through it all. We're in this struggle together, seeking the worthy goal of wellness of body, mind, and spirit. Could we be on a better journey together?
Though at first reading, Berry's poem seemed somber, repeated readings of it moved me to a place of joy and near ecstasy, as well as deep insights about the week's challenges:
THE WISH TO BE GENEROUS
All that I serve will die, all my delights,
the flesh kindled from my flesh, garden and field,
the silent lilies standing in the woods,
the woods, the hill, the whole earth, all
will burn in man's evil, or dwindle
in its own age. Let the world bring on me
the sleep of darkness without stars, so I may know
my little light taken from me into the seed
of the beginning and the end, so I may bow
to mystery, and take my stand on the earth
like a tree in a field, passing without haste
or regret toward what will be, my life
a patient willing descent into the grass.
~ Wendell Berry ~
(The Collected Poems, 1957-1982)
I would be terribly remiss if I didn't lead any who don't know of Wendell Berry, truly a great treasure, to him...
...an American man of letters, academic, cultural and economic critic, and farmer; a prolific author of novels, short stories, poems, and essays; an elected member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers and a recipient of The National Humanities Medal:
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