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What is laughter?

Monday, December 03, 2012

Without laughter, life would be unbearable, huh! It's the grease in the joints of the vehicle that carries us through it all -- the good, the bad, and the ugly! Joy Riley posts this wonderful image and Hafiz each year and I know I have also shared it in past years, but it's always worth an encore, for the profound Teaching it offers us:


What is laughter? What is laughter?
It is God waking up! O it is God waking up!
It is the sun poking its sweet head out
From behind a cloud
You have been carrying too long,
Veiling your eyes and heart.

It is Light breaking ground for a great Structure
That is your Real body - called Truth.

It is happiness applauding itself and then taking flight
To embrace everyone and everything in this world.

Laughter is the polestar
Held in the sky by our Beloved,
Who eternally says,

"Yes, dear ones, come this way,
Come this way towards Me and Love!

Come with your tender mouths moving
And your beautiful tongues conducting songs
And with your movements - your magic movements
Of hands and feet and glands and cells - Dancing!

Know that to God's Eye,
All movement is a Wondrous Language,
And Music - such exquisite, wild Music!"

O what is laughter, Hafiz?
What is this precious love and laughter
Budding in our hearts?

It is the glorious sound
Of a soul waking up!

~ Hafiz ~
(I Heard God Laughing - Renderings of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky)

Oh, and on another emoticon, I posted the blog "TODAY" on November 1. Follow-up on it: It seems I could NOT do it (lighten up by 10 pounds). I entered December @147 lbs., the same numbers I carried into November. Sooooooo, I've gotta' remember...


and truly if I...

...the rest will follow.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUST_BREATHE08 12/22/2012 10:53PM

    emoticon emoticon Wonderful blog. Loved the music. emoticon

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TEENY_BIKINI 12/8/2012 10:42PM

    Couldn't agree more!


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ME_HERE_NOW 12/7/2012 7:34PM

    attitude is everything, and i need to change mine, thanks for the reminder!

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SOULFISH80 12/5/2012 2:47PM

    What a bright, happy blog, thanks!!!

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JESPAH 12/4/2012 5:37PM

    A song for this blog!!

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FARRAH511 12/4/2012 10:04AM


- Farrah

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CORNERKICK 12/4/2012 3:09AM


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XNANNY 12/3/2012 9:07PM

    emoticon emoticon

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CRYSTALJEM 12/3/2012 8:50PM

    Wonderful. Thank you.

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CARRAND 12/3/2012 8:21PM

    Lovely blog. Thank you.

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SLASALLE 12/3/2012 6:00PM

    I've always been the "serious" one. It has only been in the Beth years that I have learned (with her help) to laugh a lot more than ever before. In that learning, I discovered the true benefits!

As always, thanks for the reminder!

With love,

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RIDMYCOCOON 12/3/2012 2:48PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DDOORN 12/3/2012 12:44PM

    Thx for sharing such wonderful thoughts & reminders to take a deep breath...and LAUGH! :-)


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HIPPICHICK1 12/3/2012 10:16AM

    Sweet sweet sweet!
emoticon emoticon

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2WHEELEDSHARON 12/3/2012 10:03AM

    Thanks for the encore, it's a great one. emoticon emoticon

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GOANNA2 12/3/2012 9:54AM

    Laughter is essential in our lives. Thanks for sharing
Maha. You always know when to bring something
beautiful into our lives. You are awesome. I hope
you are having a wonderful week full of laughter.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Wash Our Spirits Clean

Monday, November 26, 2012

Dear Joe Riley, amazing purveyor of magnificent poetry to my Inbox each week, said this with this posting, "With so much emphasis on shopping rather than thankfulness I was reminded of this song. I don't mean it as a sermon or condemnation, just a reminder that there is more to life than buying stuff. I invite you to listen:"

Wash Your Spirit Clean
Sung in Cherokee and English
(PLEASE NOTE: the file streams on Internet Explorer,
but not on most other browsers)

Hi Nv Ga La Ja Da Nv To
Ha Da Hv Si Ni Ja Du Li Sgai
Di Ja Yo Hi Ki La Hi Go Wa Ta
Hi Nv Ga La Ja Da Nv To
Hi Nv Ga La Ja Da Nv To
hos da hi ta da na de ja du
hi es go hi ge ja de le hi
Hi Nv Ga La Ja Da Nv To

Give away the things you don't need
Let it all go and you'll soon see
And you'll wash your spirit clean
Wash your spirit clean

Go and pray upon a mountain
Go and pray beside the ocean
And you'll wash your spirit clean
Wash Your spirit clean

Be grateful for the struggle
Be thankful for the lessons
And you'll wash your spirit clean

Hi Nv Ga La Ja Da Nv To
Ha Da Hv Si Ni Ja Du Li Sgai
Di Ja Yo Hi Ki La Hi Go Wa Ta
Hi Nv Ga La Ja Da Nv To
Hi Nv Ga La Ja Da Nv To
hos da hi ta da na de ja du
hi es go hi ge ja de le hi
Hi Nv Ga La Ja Da Nv To

~ Walela ~
(from the CD of the same name,
which is the Cherokee word for hummingbird)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUST_BREATHE08 11/28/2012 11:59PM

    emoticon Maha...Thank you so much!!

This would also be great to use for meditation. It is so peaceful.

Comment edited on: 11/29/2012 12:05:26 AM

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SOULFISH80 11/28/2012 2:06PM

    Beautiful way to balance out the neverending pull upon our attention to buy beyond our means this season. Go into the mountain, clean your soul, and then come back and see if what your world needs is more stuff?! Thanks Maha, always a dip in the wonderous waters of the spirit when I come by your page.

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WATERMELLEN 11/27/2012 8:26PM

    Black Friday has even migrated north of the border (and we celebrated Thanksgiving weeks ago in early October).

I was really stunned by the videos of people at Walmart etc.

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APPYMORGAN 11/27/2012 3:32PM

    Thank you for sharing this, it is beautiful. I too am choosing to avoid shopping for anything unnecessary. A little washing of my spirit will do me good this year.

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DDOORN 11/27/2012 1:17PM

    Wonderful thoughts...! Wish I had this as my anthem for Buy Nothing Day, the antidote to Black Friday!

Wanting to entirely pull the plug from the whole commercialism of this holiday season. As I said elsewhere: queuing up with the masses never was my forte! :-)


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GOANNA2 11/27/2012 6:18AM

    Thank you for sharing. You know what to say
at the right time. emoticon emoticon

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PEACEFULONE 11/27/2012 12:47AM

    The perfect message for this time of year. Thank you dear Maha for your sharing!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CORPUSANNIE 11/27/2012 12:39AM

    emoticon emoticon

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2WHEELEDSHARON 11/26/2012 10:18PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LOPEYP 11/26/2012 7:34PM

    Wouldn't it be nice if we could give away things that we don't need as gifts and it wouldn't be thought of as "regifting"?
Thanks for sharing.

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JACKIE542 11/26/2012 10:10AM

    emoticon emoticon

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DAISY443 11/26/2012 8:51AM

    Lest we forget, you have given us a wonderful reminder!

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GINABUG 11/26/2012 8:45AM

    Ah! Walela -- one of my favs. I had the privilege of seeing them live in Michigan several years ago at an outdoor stage. What a blessing. Thanks for sharing this and reminding me not only to "wash my spirit clean" daily, but also to revisit the blessings of my past in music, poem, and thoughtful memories.

Blessings and joy to you, dear Maha!

GinaBug emoticon

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HIPPICHICK1 11/26/2012 8:37AM

    emoticon emoticon

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SEAWILLOW 11/26/2012 8:25AM

    Thanks for sharing!

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SUSANNAH31 11/26/2012 7:57AM

    There sure is MUCH more to life than just "buying stuff."
Thanks for that important reminder during this marathon buying season.

"Be grateful for the struggle
Be thankful for the lessons"

I'm grateful for a friend with such a good message.


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DIANE7786 11/26/2012 7:40AM

    Great music for start of a fresh day. Thanks for sharing.

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GENKI_WARRIOR 11/26/2012 7:17AM

    Sounds like a tune for a good cleaning out day! ;D

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LIFETIMER54 11/26/2012 7:11AM

  Thank you emoticon

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JGRAY76 11/26/2012 7:09AM

    Less is more, thanks for the reminder.

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The Medicine of Poetry

Monday, November 05, 2012

This morning's principal article from by Kim Rosen speaks so beautifully to the healing power of poetry that I'm sharing the full text here for the nourishment and enjoyment of any who venture by needing or desiring its message:

"I never could connect with poetry," Jan said. "I'm a math teacher!" She was sitting on my living room couch surrounded by piles of poetry books. On the coffee table was a stack of cards, each with a different poem on it. Even some of the art on the wall had hand-calligraphed verses among the colors.

In spite of my current passion for the power of poetry, I could totally relate to Jan's words. For many years, I was actually afraid of poetry. I felt as though it was the secret language of an elitist club that I had not been invited to join. Though I loved poetry as a child, the harsh and overly analytical way it was taught in my high school had intimidated me. Suddenly my magical world of words and feeling had turned into "iambic pentameters," "dactylic tetrameters," "rhyme schemes" and "lineation." I decided then that poetry was not for me after all.

Jan's glance fell on a stack of Mary Oliver's books, and tears came to her eyes. "A few years ago, when I started teaching at my current job, the first friend I made was Rita, an English teacher and a poet. I confessed to her my inability to understand poetry. With a knowing look in her eye, she said, "Don't worry, I'll take care of that!"

"A few months later," Jan continued, "Rita presented me with a beautifully decorated box for my 46th birthday. Inside were dozens of envelopes, each holding a handwritten poem. And there was an instruction sheet: Each morning, as soon as you wake, take one of these envelopes to a quiet place with a window onto nature, or a beautiful plant, or a candle. Sit comfortably and read the poem aloud to yourself, preferably more than once.

That was a dark time in Jan's life: for more than a year, she had been struggling with a chronic illness. Her unlimited energy seemed to have drained away, leaving her perpetually pale and tired. Once she loved to ride her mountain bike every day on the trails near her house; now she could barely make it home from teaching to collapse into bed. Though she had turned to doctors, therapists, and alternative health practitioners, no one seemed to be able to provide her with answers or relief.

"I figured I might as well follow Rita's advice," Jan told me with a shrug. "Nothing else seemed to be helping."

The morning after her birthday she awoke with the same relentless exhaustion in her chest. Where would she find the energy to face this day? As she dragged herself out of bed, she saw the box of poems on the bedside table. Reluctantly she pulled the first poem out of its envelope and sat by the window. She felt a bit silly reading out loud with no one but her cat within earshot, but she followed Rita's directions.

It was a poem called "The Summer Day" by Mary Oliver. Much of the first stanza was about a grass"pale forearms" was lovely, but Jan didn't see what it had to do with her. A few lines later, though, she caught her breath. "I don't know exactly what a prayer is," she heard her own voice say. Suddenly she was awake, listening. The next lines of the poem spoke directly to her -- addressing a conversation that ran constantly below the surface of her life, but which she had never spoken out loud: How do I pray when I am not religious? How did my life become so meaningless? What do I hold sacred anyway? The final lines left her heart pounding: "Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?"

Every morning after that, without fail, the poem of the day connected her with herself in a way she'd never experienced. Rita had chosen the exact poems that would unlock Jan's heart. Often Jan was brought to tears by a phrase from Mary Oliver, or Naomi Shihab Nye, or Hafiz. "You will love again the stranger who was yourself," Derek Walcott assured her. Or, "The hurt you embrace / becomes joy," Rumi would advise. With the opening of each envelope, Jan fell deeper in love with poetry.

I found myself nodding as she spoke. I, too, had inadvertently rediscovered the healing power of poetry during a difficult passage in my life. In 1994 I was in the midst of a suicidal depression. At the time I was a therapist and teacher of self-transformation, but none of the spiritual or psychological wisdom I'd learned could touch the place within me that felt so broken.

When I'm depressed, I clean. The darker the struggle, the cleaner my house. One day I was scrubbing under a radiator and found an unmarked cassette tape covered with cat hair and dust. I wiped it off, put it in the player, and started in on the dishes. A man's voice speaking poetry filled my house. These were poems unlike any I had encountered in high school or college; they were what I now call "poems of the inner life." Many were the same as those Jan found in her friend's hand-hewn treasure box. The sound of the speaker's voice and the words of the poems reached into a place inside me that had felt utterly untouchable. I put down my sponge and wept.

A bit of sleuthing revealed that the tape had fallen out of a client's purse. She told me the speaker was David Whyte, a poet who recites by heart to inspire creativity and insight in groups in all manner of settings, from boardrooms to monasteries.

I began to take poems into my life -- not simply reading them and turning the page, but developing rich relationships with the ones I loved most. I learned many by heart, I carried some with me in my purse, I taped some to my computer screen and refrigerator. I rarely left the house without a poem in my pocket. I printed some of my favorites on small cards and used them like a divination deck. They became my "angel cards," my therapy, my medicine, my prayers.

Those poems not only infused me with their wisdom, but they actually brought vibrancy to my body. How, you might ask, can a poem have a physical effect? As the poet Emily Dickinson says, "If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head has been taken off, I know that is poetry!" Like a shaman's drum or a Sanskrit chant, the rhythm of a poem entrains your heartbeat, the phrasing changes your breathing, and the sounds resonate within the crystalline structures in your bones and fascia. Many years later I came to understand this as the poem's "shamanic anatomy": current scientific research shows that your brainwaves, breathing and pulse literally change when you give voice to a poem, opening your mind beyond ordinary thinking. The physical elements of the poem literally create the biochemical circumstances for healing and insight.

I became fascinated with poetry, not primarily as a literary art, but instead as a powerful healing medicine to unlock the richness of the inner life.

Then, in the fall of 2008, poetry rescued me in a way I never expected. In October, I invested all my savings in a small, local fund. Two months later, a friend who was also an investor in the fund left me a message: "Bernard Madoff was arrested today. The fund was a fraud. We've lost everything."

I stood there, not breathing, clutching the phone as the automated voice repeated "To replay this message, press one." I was paralyzed with shock.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, I heard these words in my mind:

"Before you know what kindness really is

you must lose things."

I shook my head in disbelief. It was a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye called "Kindness." Though I'd heard it before, I had never really been drawn to it. And I certainly didn't know it was in my memory! Nevertheless, the next lines unfurled in my mind like a karaoke crib sheet:

"Feel the future dissolve in a moment

like salt in a weakened broth."

Of course there were suddenly a thousand things I needed to do -- contact my lawyer and my accountant, figure out how I was going to pay the bills I'd accrued when I thought I had money, not to mention pay for rent, food, health insurance -- but all I could think of was Googling "Kindness"!

I needed help, and this poem was the only voice speaking to me. So I found it on the web, printed it out, and sat down on the floor to read aloud.

"What you held in your hand,

what you counted and carefully saved,

all this must go . . ."

It felt like the poem had been written for me personally, for this exact moment. It was like having the perfect helper arrive on the scene at the instant of an accident.

"Kindness" became my prayer. I read it before going to bed, and at breakfast every morning. It reminded me that this was not a tragedy, but a path to compassion, and I was not walking alone. Eventually I knew the poem by heart and could speak it aloud to myself, and to other people who were grateful to hear its wisdom.

I've never been a religious person, but after that experience I think I understand why Muslims pray to Allah five times a day or Orthodox Jews face East and wrap the Tefillin. Even now, I reach for "Kindness" several times a week to carry me into the heart of what really matters to me.

I invite you to explore the healing power of poetry, too. Here are a few ideas about how to make this powerful art your ally:

1. Fall in love with a poem. I realize this might be quite a challenge for those who, like me, have turned away from poetry, or never connected with it in the first place. So here are some hints on finding a poem to befriend. Perhaps you and I are similar, and the poems I love will also speak to you. In the back of my book Saved by a Poem: The Transformative Power of Words there is a list of 50 of my favorite poems. There are also several wonderful anthologies listed in the resource section. Perhaps you heard a poem that touched you at a wedding or a funeral. Hunt it down. has a "Poetry Tool" that will help you find poems on any theme. gathers ancient and modern spiritual poetry from all over the world.

2. Read your poem aloud. I cannot overemphasize the importance of giving voice to poetry, whether or not anyone is listening. A poem is made of more than words on a page: it is breath, sound, rhythm. Most poems offer their full magic only when wedded with a human voice.

3. Once you begin to find the poems you love, keep a journal of them in the order they came into your life.

4. Write your favorite lines on cards. Use these "poem cards" as an inspirational tool: read one each evening as a prayer before sleeping, or use them as a divination deck when you face a difficult question in your life.

5. Hold a poetry salon at your home. Invite everyone to bring a favorite poem to read aloud and a favorite edible delicacy to share.

Poetry is a doorway to passion, peace, and wholeness that is right in our midst. It is free and available to everyone all the time. I invite you to step over the threshold of a poem into the wonder of your own self.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Here is a wonderful interview by Kim Rosen, "The Incomparable Naomi Shihab Nye on Kindness:"

And for any who wish to read "Kindness" without Googling it:

(for my daughter....)

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.

Naomi Shihab Nye
(Words From Under the Words: Selected Poems)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

APPYMORGAN 11/27/2012 3:43PM

    I am so inspired, and I thank you for sharing this.

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BILLB000 11/26/2012 9:24PM

    This essay is very powerful. Thank you for this blog. I am grateful I happened on it. I am going to read it again.....

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RIDMYCOCOON 11/7/2012 2:46PM

    emoticon Medicine gooooood. emoticon

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FARRAH511 11/7/2012 12:55PM



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GOANNA2 11/7/2012 12:40AM

    Beautiful Maha. emoticon emoticon
I must try poetry myself. The only poetry I have been reading
has been what you have been posting. Now, after reading this
beautiful blog of yours, I think I will try making my own box of
poetry. I so need this beauty in my life.

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JUST_BREATHE08 11/5/2012 11:23PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon I love Poetry Books!! emoticon

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 11/5/2012 7:54PM

    Thank you! I have always loved poetry. Perhaps because my parents read to me so much when I was young or perhaps I never had a really dampening teacher. It is always so alive and vivid for me that even what might be called a "difficult" poem almost always offers something.

What a lovely post!

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WATERMELLEN 11/5/2012 7:53PM

    What a great article.

Yes, that's what poetry is for . . . and kindness really is what matters most.

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CARRAND 11/5/2012 6:33PM

    What a wonderful blog.

I've loved poetry since I was a child. My mother used to read it aloud to us, and she had a beautiful reading voice. I remember very clearly when I was about 12 years old my mother read aloud the poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" to me and my sisters and brother. That is still one of my favorite poems. It seems like an odd choice for young kids, but it obviously made an impression on me.

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FRANCESCANAZ 11/5/2012 2:30PM

    Thanks again for sharing amiga. emoticon

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SCOOTER4263 11/5/2012 12:49PM

    That was beautiful, Maha. Just beautiful.

I, too, felt unequal to the challenge of poetry until one day, nearly 40 years ago, an old beau recited to me:

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. --Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreath├Ęd horn.

I became an instant Wordsworth fan, then moved on to Coleridge and it just went from there. I pick up these little, worn, leather-bound books at library and yard sales for next to nothing and wonder if the people know the non-monetary value of what they're tossing out.

I love the idea of a poetry salon. Just may do that over the holiday season.

Comment edited on: 11/5/2012 12:51:04 PM

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CRYSTALJEM 11/5/2012 11:40AM

    Thank you for sharing. It was on my reading list for this morning and it is just what I needed. The author makes many wonderful points, but one that really struck me is how the education system has managed to turn vast scores of people off of poetry when their original intent was to introduce people to it. I think this is something we really need to look at and find ways to turn people on to it instead. My kids are going through similar things - they can't stand poetry after having analyzed poetry in school. I have to keep reminding them that often the songs they are singing are really only poetry set to music - to which they usually respond, "but it's good stuff".

I love the Kindness Poem, and all the others. Thank you for really re-introducing me to something I had let fall away. Since becoming friends with you I have come to absolutely love poetry again - and in new ways too.

I really liked the poetry box idea too. And I agree that reading aloud gives power to words. I used a similar idea last year with inspirational quotes for my dd when she was going through some major anxiety. Each day she opened her box and picked a quote to use as her "guidance" for the day. It was very helpful. Think I'll have to start adding some poetry to it. I'm thinking I might have some Christmas gift ideas too!

Comment edited on: 11/5/2012 11:43:09 AM

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JESPAH 11/5/2012 11:19AM

    Next step (stop?) is writing your own.

I personally find free verse daunting; I like imposed structure. I write Shakespearean sonnets and haikus. But I write them about wacky things. The sonnets are usually about Star Trek and the haikus about software development. Hey, you write what you know.

E. g.

Software life cycle
turn it around and then
do it all again

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HIPPICHICK1 11/5/2012 10:20AM


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DDOORN 11/5/2012 10:01AM

    Beautiful poem, wonderful article on infusing our lives with such rich wisdom as poetry offers! The truth of "Kindness" resonates, yet I struggle so with the letting go & losing things...!

Thank you, 'Maha


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NEPTUNE1939 11/5/2012 9:50AM


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Thursday, November 01, 2012

Logan Pass at Sunset, Glacier National Park, Montana


The ordinary miracles begin. Somewhere
a signal arrives: "Now," and the rays
come down. A tomorrow has come. Open
your hands, lift them: morning rings
all the doorbells; porches are cells for prayer.
Religion has touched your throat. Not the same now,
you could close your eyes and go on full of light.

And it is already begun, the chord
that will shiver glass, the song full of time
bending above us. Outside, a sign:
a bird intervenes; the wings tell the air,
"Be warm." No one is out there, but a giant
has passed through town, widening streets, touching
the ground, shouldering away the stars.

~ William Stafford ~
Web version:

And isn't that just a splendid gathering-of-words, together creating an image that is well-described by the Glacier Park photo, such beauty, such promise, such now-ness. Can you tell I just LOVE William Stafford's way of expressing the world and consciousness?

For starters I feel a subtle connection based upon his involvement with the Church of the Brethren, in which my grandfather was a minister. Stafford, born in 1914, declared himself a conscientious objector during WWII. As a registered pacifist, he performed alternative service from 1942 to 1946 in the Civilian Public Service camps operated by the Brethren Service Commission of the Church of the Brethren, which consisted of forestry and soil conservation work. And he did this service in Arkansas, my current place of residence, in California, my native state, and in Illinois, the state where my soul mate was born. And then in 1955, he taught for one academic year at Manchester College in Indiana, a college affiliated with the Church of the Brethren where he had received training during his time in Civilian Public Service.

But even more to the point, his way of being and manner of expression speak to me deeply. Reading the beautiful memoir, *Early Morning: Remembering My Father, William Stafford* written by his son, Kim Stafford, also a poet and essayist, filled out my appreciation and understanding of this man, so my opposite -- timid and reclusive -- who said, "I keep following this sort of hidden river of my life, you know, whatever the topic or impulse which comes, I follow it along trustingly. And I don't have any sense of its coming to a kind of crescendo, or of its petering out either. It is just going steadily along."
He kept a daily journal for 50 years, and composed nearly 22,000 poems, of which roughly 3,000 were published. In 2008, the Stafford family gave William Stafford's papers, including the 20,000 pages of his daily writing, to the Special Collections Department at Lewis and Clark College.

The morning of the day in 1993 that he died of a heart attack he had written a poem containing the lines, "'You don't have to / prove anything,' my mother said. 'Just be ready / for what God sends'"

And I read once again...

The ordinary miracles begin. Somewhere
a signal arrives: "Now," and the rays
come down. A tomorrow has come. Open
your hands, lift them: morning rings
all the doorbells; porches are cells for prayer.
Religion has touched your throat. Not the same now,
you could close your eyes and go on full of light.

...and continue into the day, more inspired, more ready, thanks to William Stafford, hero incarnate.

YES! I can. GREAT Graphic by my Aussie friend, Jenny (SUNPANTHER)!

RABBIT! RABBIT: Happy November!

I have an overriding feeling of quiet delight this morning -- for no apparent reason and, of course, for myriad reasons. I'm reading Eknath Easwaran's *Love Never Faileth* and about St. Francis, he says that "always, shining through even the most poignant or downright harrowing episodes, there is that joy -- exceeding joy -- just barely subdued." Wouldn't that be a lovely place to live, huh? In spite of all the topsy-turvy world dishes out, to move through in a state of gratitude and liveliness.
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I continue to struggle with "the poundage" but TODAY I HAVE A CLEAR AND ACHIEVABLE GOAL FOR NOVEMBER. I'm hovering between 147-148 these days. By December 1, I intend to be hovering between 139-140. That is SO doable, and I so want to honor this vessel that has carried me through so much for over 70 years, this temple that gives so much, gifting it a lighter journey.

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SOULFISH80 11/3/2012 8:50PM

    "always, shining through even the most poignant or downright harrowing episodes, there is that joy -- exceeding joy -- just barely subdued."

Beautiful. Your sharing always manages to delight my soul. Thanks for another wonderful blog, reminding me of all the many joys there are in being alive.

Gorgeous Glacier pic also, I've wanted to go there for awhile now. Breathtaking.

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JESPAH 11/3/2012 11:28AM

    Ordinary miracles - what an awesome phrase that is right there.

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JUST_BREATHE08 11/2/2012 10:37PM

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FARRAH511 11/2/2012 9:03AM

    emoticon emoticon

- Farrah

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CARRAND 11/1/2012 9:17PM

    "Morning rings all the doorbells" I love that image.

Thanks again for sharing.

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WATERMELLEN 11/1/2012 8:00PM

    "Quiet delight" is a glorious state of mind: thanks for sharing it with us, and its sources . . . with the intro to William Stafford AND that great photo.

"You don't have to prove anything": well, what a relief THAT would be!! And equally a relief is the notion that life need not build to a crescendo OR peter out . . . . that going along, trustingly, is enough. Yes it is.

I really appreciate your wisdom MAHA.

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CORPUSANNIE 11/1/2012 6:18PM

    A lovely blog. Thank you for posting it and for putting forth all that loving energy that is Maha.
peace and bless you
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SCOOTER4263 11/1/2012 3:19PM

    I've been blessed to have felt, for an instant here and there, the joy that St. Francis lived. I don't know how it comes, and I don't know why it goes so quickly.

William Stafford! What a body of work! I didn't know his son had written a memoir. I must hunt up a copy.

You can remove the pounds from your temple if you decide to do so. You have all the power in the world in your hands.

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TEENY_BIKINI 11/1/2012 2:04PM


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CRYSTALJEM 11/1/2012 1:07PM

    Thank you. I really really enjoyed this. Enjoy your challenge, I am certain you will succeed. Namaste.

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LOPEYP 11/1/2012 12:14PM

    Yes, you can!

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SLASALLE 11/1/2012 11:26AM

    It's so very good to see you feeling so great. You CAN do anything you set your mind to, my dear!! As always, your shared positive words and attitude are contagious ... much appreciation from me.

Keep on having a great day!!!

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TWINSFITBY40 11/1/2012 11:21AM

    YES YOU CAN!!!MAHA! Good luck on your poundage goals. Glad to hear you are feeling good. Have a great month, Maria emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SAVOY1 11/1/2012 11:15AM

    I enjoyed this post and your comments so so very much - thank you emoticon

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DDOORN 11/1/2012 10:18AM

    What wonderful focus and energy you are celebrating TODAY! :-)


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MISS_VIV 11/1/2012 10:15AM

    Yes, yes, yes you can.
Thank you for your encouraging words of wisdom and those of others you share. I am thinking I CAN, I CAN, I CAN as I begin my birth month feeling physical, emotionally drained AND knowing I can change it. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon


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REBCCA 11/1/2012 10:04AM

"The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes." William James
Keep your very winning attitude Maha

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Why I Wake Early

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who make the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety --

best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light --
good morning, good morning, good morning.

Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.

-- Mary Oliver, Why I Wake Early, 2004

Need I say more? Actually there's nothing more to be said.

But for those who ever hunger for more --

In the very earliest time
When both people and animals lived on earth
A person could become an animal if he wanted to
and an animal could become a human being.
Sometimes they were people
and sometimes animals
and there was no difference.
All spoke the same language
That was the time when words were like magic.
The human mind had mysterious powers.
A word spoken by chance might have strange consequences.
It would suddenly come alive
and what people wanted to happen could happen--
all you had to do was say it.
Nobody could explain this:
That's the way it was.

-- Nalungiaq, Inuit woman interviewed by ethnologist Knud Rasmussen in the early twentieth century...introducing an astute and soul-touching article, Lessons in the Old Language, by Matthew C. Bronson:

Matthew C. Bronson, Ph.D. is an educational linguist with a doctorate in educational research, with a specialization in language, literacy, and culture from U.C. Davis, and an A.B. and M.A. in linguistics from U.C. Berkeley. He serves as associate professor in the School of Consciousness and Transformation and Director of Academic Assessment at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco and as a teacher-educator in the School of Education at U.C. Davis. His recent publications include a co-edited volume, _So What? Now What? The Anthropology of Consciousness Responds to a World in Crisis_.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

XNANNY 11/7/2012 8:28PM

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TEENY_BIKINI 11/4/2012 5:36PM

    Sounds lovely...


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FRANCESCANAZ 10/31/2012 4:56PM

    Muchas gracias amiga mia!

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WATERMELLEN 10/31/2012 4:20PM

    Just exactly why I get up early myself, thank you Mary Oliver and MAHA. (And I'd love to choose to be a golden retriever for a day or so . . . )

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DDOORN 10/31/2012 11:29AM

    Love those "Mary Oliver" mornings when they happen...yes!
AND love the thoughts of interconnectedness offered by Bronson.

Thx for the very cool shares!


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PEACEFULONE 10/31/2012 7:50AM

    Love it! Thanks for sharing! I agree with all the other comments. You are the best and your blogs are inspiring and totally wonderful!
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SOULFISH80 10/30/2012 7:38PM

    "Long ago, people and animals and spirits and plants all communicated in the same way. Then something happened."

I really wish I knew what happened, and how to change it back!

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JUST_BREATHE08 10/30/2012 2:20PM

    Thank you Maha. Great blog...I loved it & I love you, too, my friend!! emoticon

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SAVOY1 10/30/2012 10:47AM

    Very Nice! Mornings are the BEST!!

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FARRAH511 10/29/2012 9:08AM


- Farrah

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DOKEYOKEY 10/29/2012 8:57AM

    Maha, The longer I know you the more I admire you for seeking and finding the wonder and wonderfulness in life.
Thank you!!

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DAISY443 10/29/2012 7:54AM

    My mind said Inuit, before I got to the credits! Thanks for sharing!

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GOANNA2 10/29/2012 4:24AM

    Thank you so much - you always find something that
touches the soul Maha. God bless you. I am also a morning
person and love taking everything in. emoticon emoticon

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GREENGENES 10/28/2012 10:54PM

    Awesome. I was not much of a morning person in my younger days and I feel that I sure missed out on a lot of things.

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CARRAND 10/28/2012 8:27PM

    Wonderful poem. I love it! Thank you for all you share.

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SUNNY332 10/28/2012 5:47PM

    emoticon Loved it - especially the Mary Oliver Poem.

Have a GREAT week.


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