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The Summer Solstice

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Click and read; you'll be glad you did:

Where I live in the central time zone of the USA, summer solstice begins today at 6:09pm. I decided to share information about the solstice and some favorite pieces that speak of summer, beginning with the extraordinary "comic" above from the gifted Grant Snider of Incidental Comics.

As a major celestial event, the Summer Solstice results in the longest day and the shortest night of the year. The Northern Hemisphere celebrates in June, but the people on the Southern half of the earth have their longest summer day in December.


Awed by the great power of the sun, civilizations have for centuries celebrated the first day of summer otherwise known as the Summer Solstice, Midsummer (see Shakespeare), St. John's Day, or the Wiccan Litha.

The Celts & Slavs celebrated the first day of summer with dancing & bonfires to help increase the sun's energy. The Chinese marked the day by honoring Li, the Chinese Goddess of Light.

Perhaps the most enduring modern ties with Summer Solstice were the Druids' celebration of the day as the "wedding of Heaven and Earth", resulting in the present day belief of a "lucky" wedding in June.

Today, the day is still celebrated around the world - most notably in England at Stonehenge and Avebury, where thousands gather to welcome the sunrise on the Summer Solstice.

Pagan spirit gatherings or festivals are also common in June, when groups assemble to light a sacred fire, and stay up all night to welcome the dawn.


* Pagans called the Midsummer moon the "Honey Moon" for the mead made from fermented honey that was part of wedding ceremonies performed at the Summer Solstice.

* Ancient Pagans celebrated Midsummer with bonfires, when couples would leap through the flames, believing their crops would grow as high as the couples were able to jump.

* Midsummer was thought to be a time of magic, when evil spirits were said to appear. To thwart them, Pagans often wore protective garlands of herbs and flowers. One of the most powerful of them was a plant called 'chase-devil', which is known today as St. John's Wort and still used by modern herbalists as a mood stabilizer.
Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don't they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.
--Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine
Green was the silence, wet was the light,
the month of June trembled like a butterfly.
--Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets


Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean--
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down--
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

--Mary Oliver, from The Truro Bear and Other Adventures: Poems and Essays
And what would the Solstice be without music (and Paul Winter!)? Thank you, Don:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CRYSTALJEM 7/9/2012 9:59AM

    A most outstanding blog and great links. Thank you. The summer solstice is one of my most favourite times of year.

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 6/25/2012 11:00PM

    Thank you for this great post. I love Oliver's work.

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NVDONNA 6/23/2012 11:47PM

    Thanks for sharing! Happy summer!!!

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GIRANIMAL 6/21/2012 11:50AM

    Hope the solstice held magical celebration for you, dear Maha!

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WILDHONEYPIE1 6/21/2012 10:37AM

    Happy Belated Solstice Maha! emoticon

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EARTHSEAME 6/21/2012 9:32AM

    Oh, yes, it's a magical day! emoticon

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JESPAH 6/21/2012 7:09AM

    Happy Solstice!

I celebrated by going to a large gathering place and watching a bunch of dudes in carmine hose shmack the bejeezus out of spherical horsehide with large ash sticks.

We won, 15 - 5.

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CATS_MEOW_0911 6/21/2012 12:48AM

    Happy Solstice, Maha!

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JUST_BREATHE08 6/20/2012 11:52PM

    emoticon Thank you for sharing. Happy Solstice!! Today is also my 20th Wedding Anniversary.

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BEARGODDESS 6/20/2012 9:46PM

    Lovely! Happy Solstice!

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2WHEELEDSHARON 6/20/2012 9:20PM

    I'm glad you're back. I missed you!

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ME_HERE_NOW 6/20/2012 8:11PM

    yay solstice! all of my buddies are at a big bonfire/gathering celebrating, i am working and getting my stuff together for moving - glad to miss the heat, but not the celebration - loving this long day of sunshine tho :)

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DDOORN 6/20/2012 3:40PM

    And yet another favorite summer ritual from Paul Winter:


Already passed (6/16), but love his idea of celebrating both the summer and winter solstices with a musical tribute!


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DAISY443 6/20/2012 2:48PM

    Celebrate the season!

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SLASALLE 6/20/2012 2:48PM

    Big breath of fresh summer air .... aaaaaaahh ... I'm hoping for some yoga on the deck tonight under the moon at my place!!!

You've done it again, just like last time, and the time before that!!!


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NONIE_C 6/20/2012 2:37PM


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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 6/20/2012 2:31PM

    Thank you so much! I love Mary Oliver and your entire post was a great pleasure to read.

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Wendell Berry: A National Hero

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

This body+This country+This planet=Healthy Parts ♥ Healthy Whole

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Mount Evans Wilderness, Rocky Mountains, Colorado


Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.

And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.

When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won't compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.

Listen to carrion -- put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.

Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.

As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn't go.

Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

-- Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry is the author of more than 40 books of poetry, fiction, and essays.

Born in 1934, Wendell Berry is the first of four children of John Marshall Berry, a lawyer and tobacco farmer, and Virginia Erdman Berry. The families of both parents have farmed in Kentucky’s Henry County for at least five generations. Berry earned a B.A. and M.A. in English at the University of Kentucky.

In 1958, pursuing his love of writing, he attended Stanford University’s creative writing program as a Wallace Stegner Fellow, studying under Stegner in a seminar that included Edward Abbey, Larry McMurtry, Robert Stone, Ernest Gaines, Tillie Olsen, and Ken Kesey.

In 1965, Berry purchased a farm in Lane's Landing, Kentucky, near his parents’ birthplaces and began growing corn and small grains on what eventually became a 125-acre homestead. Berry has farmed, resided, and written at Lane's Landing up to the present day.

He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the National Humanities Medal, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, the Vachel Lindsay Prize from Poetry, a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, a National Institute of Arts and Letters award for writing, the Emily Clark Balch Prize from The Virginia Quarterly Review, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Jean Stein Award, a Lannan Foundation Award for Non-Fiction, Membership in the Fellowship of Southern Writers, the Ingersoll Foundation's T. S. Eliot Award, the John Hay Award, the Lyndhurst Prize, and the Aitken-Taylor Award for Poetry from The Sewanee Review.

This year the National Endowment for the Humanities selected him as its 2012 Jefferson Lecturer, the highest honor the federal government confers for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities.

The following is a message from Wendell Berry:

"The most alarming sign of the state of our society now is that our leaders have the courage to sacrifice the lives of young people in war but have not the courage to tell us that we must be less greedy and wasteful."

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GOANNA2 6/19/2012 8:41AM

    emoticonThank you! emoticon

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FLORIDASUN 6/19/2012 8:06AM

    I have one question...would a TRUE intellectual with a SOUL such as Wendell Berry ever run for public office? say...even when they are so sorely needed.. emoticonI didn't think so...intellectual and soul don't quite match up for the resume emoticonnot in this crazy upside down world! emoticontoday's politicians all rate intellectual and money as hitting the sweet spot. When will this EVER change..probably when we do. emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/19/2012 8:07:22 AM

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 6/9/2012 11:24PM

    Thank you for posting this. I have loved and admired Berry for a long time.

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CRYSTALJEM 6/8/2012 12:01PM

    Loved the quote!

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    Awesome quote!

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SLASALLE 6/7/2012 5:31PM

    My favorite part is "practice resurrection," but the entire poem is pretty awesome!!

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KALIGIRL 6/7/2012 8:26AM

    Here's to women!

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JUST_BREATHE08 6/7/2012 12:05AM

    Thank you MAHA for a Great blog once again. I live in Kentucky, too. Berry is an Awesome man! I loved his message.

Comment edited on: 6/7/2012 12:09:12 AM

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MARYHOLMAN 6/6/2012 2:56PM

    wish I had the time to read all that.


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DDOORN 6/6/2012 12:31PM

    So many wonderful passages here all swept together...!

Thank you so much for sharing the inspiration the Berry is!


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DAISY443 6/6/2012 11:48AM

    Very like "the road less travelled", one of my favorites! You brighten my days while you make my mind search!

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JESPAH 6/6/2012 9:54AM

    Be like the fox! :)

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WILDHONEYPIE1 6/6/2012 9:46AM

    Thank you for the goosebumps Maha! I love the way you broaden my world with every post. emoticon

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DOR2BFIT 6/6/2012 9:32AM


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FARRAH511 6/6/2012 9:12AM


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2WHEELEDSHARON 6/6/2012 9:10AM

    Oh how I have missed you! The women love these contributions of yours to our group:)

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What did you do Saturday night?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

This is what I did:

(Select Krishna Das at Yogaville.)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CATS_MEOW_0911 6/2/2012 2:57PM

    Very cool!

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GOANNA2 6/2/2012 9:42AM

    Thank you for sharing. emoticon

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SLASALLE 5/29/2012 2:38PM

    So happy that you are getting all that you wanted from this retreat!!!!

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EARTHSEAME 5/28/2012 9:34AM


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KALIGIRL 5/28/2012 7:47AM


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SUE_2U 5/27/2012 2:56PM

    That is wonderful!

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SCOOTER4263 5/27/2012 1:47PM


(And I went to bed at 8:00, as usual. :| )

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DDOORN 5/27/2012 11:21AM

    What a wonderful community and music for celebrating yourselves!!


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JESPAH 5/27/2012 10:43AM

    Slept - long story - but it was good. :)

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JUST_BREATHE08 5/27/2012 10:36AM

    emoticonMAHA...Thank you for sharing! emoticon

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K-PO110 5/27/2012 10:29AM


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Loving greetings from "Graceland"...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

...a.k.a. -- the Satchidananda Ashram in Buckingham, VA!

********INTEGRAL YOGA YANTRA********

"Truth is one, paths are many."

Sometimes external images are used in meditation to symbolize or express certain Divine ideas and qualities. When mantras (sound formulas used in meditation) or Divine ideas are meditated upon, certain images are brought out. A yantra is a visual expression of a mantra and it represents the Divine in the form of a geometrical figure.

The Integral Yoga yantra symbolizes the entire creation. Each part of the yantra corresponds to a different aspect of the cosmos. The bindhu, the dot in the very center of the yantra, represents the first physical expression, the very core of the cosmos. It is that dot which then expresses kalaa. Kalaa means the different aspects or, literally, the different rays of the cosmic manifestations.

The outer petals represent the major faiths, the lesser known faiths, and even unknown faiths -- all of which have evolved from the same source, Cosmic Consciousness. Thus, all faiths are founded on the same essential truths.

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BIG emoticon to all my SparkFriends!

I continue at the ashram. ( )
I just finished administering two weeks of programs here for my friend and I now have a short in-between period before attending the Memorial weekend Krishna Das Kirtan Retreat, which I'm SO looking forward to. In the moment I'm trying to catch up on the many details of life. Both cell phone and internet reception are spotty, which makes catch-up challenging, but this morning I have an internet signal and I thought it would be lovely to share some Teachings in the few moments I can devote to saying "Hello!" -- first from Pema Chodron, then Mary Oliver. and last-but-not least, my teacher Swami Satchidananda.
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So how do we celebrate impermanence, suffering, and egolessness in our everyday lives? When impermanence presents itself in our lives, we can recognize it as impermanence. We don't have to look for opportunities to do this.

When your pen runs out of ink in the middle of writing an important letter, recognize it as impermanence, part of the whole cycle of life. When someone's born, recognize it as impermanence. When someone dies, recognize it as impermanence. When your car gets stolen, recognize it as impermanence. When you fall in love, recognize it as impermanence, and let that intensify the preciousness. When a relationship ends, recognize it as impermanence.

There are countless examples of impermanence in our lives every day, from the moment we wake up until we fall asleep and even while we're dreaming, all the time. This is a twenty-four hour a-day practice. Recognize impermanence as impermanence.

-- Pema Chodron


Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is
nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

-- Mary Oliver

From the book Beyond Words:

People often ask me, "What religion are you? You talk about the Bible, Koran, Torah. Are you a Hindu?" I say, I am not a Catholic, a Buddhist, or a Hindu, but an Undo. My religion is Undoism. We have done enough damage (from religious dogma). We have to stop doing any more and simply undo the damage we have already done.

Peace and joy is our goal. Whatever we do, we are doing it for that. Not everyone believes in God. But the real God, the absolute God, the cosmic God who is being searched for by one and all, is that peace and joy. Everyone wants that.

If anybody asks me, "What is your philosophy or God?" I say, "Peace is my God." If they ask, "Where is He?" I reply, "He is in me and He is everywhere. He is all-peaceful; He is all serenity. He is to be felt and experienced within oneself.

-- Swami Satchidananda

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FLORIDASUN 6/19/2012 7:57AM

    I LOVE the idea of impermanence it makes us treasure every fleeting movement for the miracle it is! I'm SO enjoying Jane Roberts "Seth speaks" I read her books many years ago and loved them. I also purchased her book "The Nature of Personal Reality" ahhh how I love to learn eternally and forever..that's our purpose. I've learned THIS much for are a leader among Spark..and I'm SO very blessed to have you in our cosmos!


Enjoy your nurture time...what a blessing to experience! emoticon

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2BMYOWN 6/4/2012 9:12PM

    I love it......

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AZIMAT 5/25/2012 3:38PM

    OOOOOH Krshna Das. Lucky girl!

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MEDDYPEDDY 5/25/2012 1:24AM

    "undoism" is a bautiful word - I will think of a swedish translation...

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MISS_VIV 5/24/2012 10:08PM

    Thank you so much for taking a moment and sharing the wisdom of these lovely people. It is much appreciated.. and well received by me personally.
Much love

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DOKEYOKEY 5/24/2012 8:03PM

Thank you for your wonderful persistence in sharing the news of the universe with us.


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SUE_2U 5/24/2012 2:39PM

    I love this... the Oliver poem and the concept of Undoism! I cherish that myself! Thank you for the inspiration today! emoticon and Peace to you, and many blessings and thanks for you just being you.

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JESPAH 5/24/2012 11:31AM

    Undoism. Kewl.

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KALIGIRL 5/24/2012 8:43AM

    Peace, peace, peace be with you and all @ the Satchidananda Ashram in Buckingham, VA. Thank you for shining some light into my world today.


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2WHEELEDSHARON 5/23/2012 11:08PM

    I'm happily disengaging my brain tonight (what's new?!) as I read this so I can truly absorb it on a deeper level. Thank you, I needed that. emoticon

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DDOORN 5/23/2012 10:28PM

    Wonderful to hear from you 'Maha!

Thx for taking time apart from what must be such entrancing surroundings to share more pearls of heart & soul with us!


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BREESABRINA 5/23/2012 8:06PM

    I'm so glad you're enjoying your time! I'm sorry I haven't been in touch - my life has been a total mess and I havent' been at work since last Tuesday. Won't be going back until next Tuesday. It' s not that I didn't want to get together, but I've had medication issues and a breakdown...again, so sorry.


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JUST_BREATHE08 5/23/2012 5:36PM

    Awesome Blog...Absolutely Beautiful!! emoticon emoticon


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WILDHONEYPIE1 5/23/2012 3:55PM

    emoticon Thank you Maha.

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EARTHSEAME 5/23/2012 2:36PM

    Just lovely! You shared so many beautifully wise words that I needed to hear. Thank you.

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DAISY443 5/23/2012 1:36PM

    Thank you! 'Nough said!

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    Your blog hit the spot. Thanks.

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    So beautiful. SO pure. So peaceful.

Namaste Valerie

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FERRET_76 5/23/2012 10:34AM

    Thank you Thank you Thank you... I felt so much comfort in your words this morning!! It's wonderful how you express the right sentiments and a time when I felt a bit lost. I wish you a blessed day and continued success at achieving good health.



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Goin' to "Graceland!"

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Look out world -- Maha and Jnani take off on a 1000 mile road trip tomorrow!

Finals completed? CHECK (last one at 3:15pm today!).

Research papers handed in? CHECK.

Car serviced? CHECK.

Car washed and vacuumed? CHECK (after my last final today).

Hair cut? Tomorrow 9:30am.

Tires checked and rotated? Tomorrow 10:30am.

Whole Foods shop? Tomorrow around noon. Whole, healthy road food!

Ice chest in car? CHECK.

Pick up Jnani at Little Rock airport? Tomorrow 1:30pm.

Packing done? NO -- DO IT NOW!

One major piece that I had *hoped* to complete but that has fallen through the cracks is the final evaluative write-up for the Hispanic entrepreneur training project. I manged to schedule in and get the interviews themselves completed last week . But the write-up simply isn't going to get done before I take off. Luckily I have until August to finish the work. I'm taking my laptop with me and plan to at least get a rough draft completed by next week though!

Travelin' music for Jnani's 6:00am departure from San Francisco tomorrow:

This is for me'n Jnani, Queens of the Road:

We're going THROUGH Memphis, on our way to another Graceland!

The *other* Graceland:

Bright blessings to all of you beloved friends,

For those who don't know this, I'll be administering these two programs for Jnani:

I will drive back first-ish of June. But first this:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GOANNA2 6/2/2012 9:38AM

    So excited for you. What a wonderful trip. Have a great time. I am so envious. emoticon emoticon

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BOOBERRY 5/19/2012 1:17PM

    Have a great time : )

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SUE_2U 5/13/2012 6:58PM

    Wow! Have a fantastic journey! Sounds like a wonderful time!

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GIRLINBRAZIL 5/5/2012 2:11PM

    Sounds like great music for a great trip. Hope it goes wonderfully!

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DRAGONCHILDE 5/4/2012 8:11PM

    My father in law took us to Graceland two year ago, and it's really amazing. If you can afford the VIP package, it's totally worth it; you get to see more, and the lines are shorter. ;)

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CAROLISCIOUS 5/3/2012 7:07PM

    Have fun! Went to Elvisland 2 weeks was awesome!

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FRANCESCANAZ 5/3/2012 6:55PM

    Grasss don't grow under your feet does it mi amiga? Not taking the camper? Have a blast. Love you.... emoticon

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KALIGIRL 5/3/2012 8:49AM

    Have a GRAND time!

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    still bummed that you're not coming to mooville but it sounds like you have an awesome road trip planned and I can't wait to see the pictures. Have a great time!

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BREESABRINA 5/2/2012 6:46PM

    I'm SO excited! You get to spend that whole month in our beautiful spiritual home, and I finally get to meet you!


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CRYSTALJEM 5/2/2012 12:18PM

    Have a blast! PP&M brought more a tear to my eye, especially when I read the comments from the vets who were left their families for Nam while this song played.

Thanks for the musical memories - they really took me back! Graceland is one of my all time favourite albums.

The programs sound fantastic!

You know, I just keep finding similarities and synchronicity around you. Hugs! Gonna miss you! CJ

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SLASALLE 5/2/2012 11:58AM

    Enjoy, my friend. Soak it all in and find your inner peace!!! Safe journeys ...

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DMPRIDER 5/2/2012 10:43AM

    Have a wonderful journey!

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GODZYFAN 5/2/2012 9:21AM

    I've been to Graceland 3 times! (Which makes me an Elvis nut? lol) Hope you had a great time!

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JESPAH 5/2/2012 9:09AM

    W00t! Let us know if you spot an overweight dude with a black pompadour, in a sparkly white jumpsuit. If ya do, maybe spread the Spark to him? I mean, he may have other issues, but SP could help him deal with that aspect of his overall health. ;)

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    Great Adventures to you!

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PUDLECRAZY 5/2/2012 5:06AM

    Woohoo! Sounds like fun! Not taking your camper?

The programs at Yogaville look wonderful.

Comment edited on: 5/2/2012 5:08:56 AM

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DAISY443 5/2/2012 4:57AM

    Safe travels!!

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CORNERKICK 5/2/2012 1:06AM

  Wow...Good luck!

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2BMYOWN 5/2/2012 12:12AM

    ENJOY, be safe, and pics......we want pics.....LOL

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JUST_BREATHE08 5/1/2012 11:20PM

    emoticonMAHA. Enjoy!!!

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2WHEELEDSHARON 5/1/2012 10:43PM

    You so deserve all of it an' more! I mean moreW!

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LYNNANN43 5/1/2012 9:47PM

    emoticon Safe journeys, MAHA!!!

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TIMOTHYNOHE 5/1/2012 9:40PM

    We're goin' to Graceland, Graceland, Memphis Tennessee
We're goin' to Graceland
Poor boys and pilgrims with familes
And we are going to Graceland.

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DDOORN 5/1/2012 8:56PM

    Peter Yarrow sings "Leaving" as a tribute to Mary at his concerts...such a tender rendition, brings a lump in the throat and tears to the eyes.

Graceland...absolutely one of my top 10 favorite, "desert island" albums...! Almost EVERY tune just AMPS and REVS me up!

I can tell you are OH so ready for such AWESOME travels and company!


ng forward to hear all about it! :-)


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CARRAND 5/1/2012 8:39PM

    Sounds like a plan. Good luck on your journey.

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