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You have not grown old, and it is not too late....

Friday, March 20, 2009

Old? What IS "old?" Is it the aging of the eternal spirit...but how could THAT be? The gradual falling away of this encasement for the spirit is but a shedding to allow new life. Thank you Rainer Mari Rilke for saying it so well....


You see, I want a lot.
Perhaps I want everything:
the darkness that comes with every infinite fall
and the shivering blaze of every step up.

So many live on and want nothing
and are raised to the rank of prince
by the slippery ease of their light judgments.

But what you love to see are faces
that so work and feel thirst....

You have not grown old, and it is not too late
to dive into your increasing depths
where life calmly gives out its own secret.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~
(Selected Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke, trans. by Robert Bly)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LKOPACK 3/24/2009 10:31AM

    I love the poem. Old/or age is a state of mind and my soul says it will be forever young and will not budge. Thanks for the beautiful poem to asure my spirit it is correct. Laura K.

Comment edited on: 3/24/2009 10:32:34 AM

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ANGELBELIEVER 3/22/2009 11:38PM

    Love it. My body wears out, but my Spirit lives on forever. I am grateful for that...To know I will have eternal life is wonderful!

Comment edited on: 3/23/2009 3:47:34 PM

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COSMIC_ENERGY 3/20/2009 10:45PM

    When "wanting"--how much is enough? So true-the potent present s all we have. Soak it up--roll in it--Enjoy

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DISCIPLEAD33 3/20/2009 1:43PM

    So well stated! Justifies my ongoing effort to defeat ageism in my own body, by my own efforts. Thanks for sharing this wonderful poem.

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KATHYLM51 3/20/2009 1:06PM

    OLD.......what is that man made term?
We know that there is only "now" an eternal life that just "exists"...."is"....."I am".....that is the beginning and end. I sometimes smile at our creation of calendar, time, watches, clocks, to try to contain what we cannot....eternal now.

ps you are a beautiful spirit that will last forever.

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GBOOMER 3/20/2009 10:39AM

    What an inspiring poem! Now I want to look up the book, see if I can find it in the library. Thank you, Maha.

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My meltdown....

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I left the Health and Fitness Center Saturday in tears, having decided to NOT attend the 9:00am weight training class I had arrived for. I won't go into the morbid details, but the demons of feeling defeated by my mortality, my age, my body's ostensible limitations and the limitations my mind imposed upon me all reared their ugly heads and jeered at me, all at once, filling my mind with negative, self-defeating thoughts. Saturday was a downward spiral, a day of reckoning.

I'm happy to say that in the ensuing days I have recovered from it in a healthy manner, and developed a plan to combat that feeling of overwhelm, of not being enough, of being *over the hill!*

So here's my strategy: 1) Besides vinyasa yoga three times each week (a very demanding class), 2) I am going to begin aquatics aerobics, and 3) continue doing the Kathy Smith strength training DVD. 4) I'm also going to increase my bicycle use again!

AFter this major meltdown Saturday I've been reflecting about the WHOLE reality of life and death straight-on. In the book Multiple Reflections, Swami Venkatesananda says, "Remember GOD and remember DEATH both together. Then you are established in the CONSTANT and your are able to participate in the CHANGING. Then you are able to live your CHANGING life but realise the ETERNAL here and now. That is Truth."

And the Buddha says in the Dhammapada: "Around the bones is built a house, plastered with flesh and blood, in which dwell pride and pretence, old age and death. Even the chariot of a king loses its glitter in the course of time; so too the body loses its health and strength. But goodness does not grow old with the passage of time. A person who does not learn from life grows old like an ox: the body grows, but not the wisdom."

As Jude so wisely advocates, I will honor my spirit and my body by giving them what they long for: Love and acceptance. I strive for an optimal state of wellness, while nourishing the spirit through meditation, peaceful and easeful ways of being in the world, and staying tuned into the ETERNAL here and now: May it be so!

Om Shanthi,

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NORLANA 3/19/2009 8:28PM

    Thank you for being an inspiration to me today :) Your insights and sharing enlighten all of us and remind us of the preciousness that is here now. Be well, my friend and enjoy each and every moment as it unfolds.

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KATHYLM51 3/18/2009 5:13PM

    I hear you and feel it....and know it...I have spent the last 2 days at the bedside of my dear cousin who is trying to die or trying to live ...who knows ...he is trapped in the painful struggle between life and death, we didn't think he would last beyond Monday and he still breathes today, I am in the "I hate death" mindset today.....yes a bit of an overall funk which I personally get in when I am residing in the "flesh" of life. My peace lies in looking through the eyes of the spirit and as you can hear I haven't been doing that. So I feel like a cloud passing over you but by talking out loud to you I have reminded myself to exist where the only "life" that is real exists and that's in the Spirit.....welcome home Kathy. : = )

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VAL503 3/18/2009 12:43PM

    Sending big hugs your way!!! I too, suffer from bouts of not loving and accepting myself.. It is a conundrum, as you are so loving and accepting of others. Your light shines far and wide in this world.. here's hoping you let it shine inward as well :-)
Love to you, my dear friend!

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HAPPY-DESTINY 3/18/2009 6:46AM

    If each step we take are likened to a stone and each bead of sweat were likened to mortar. Then soon steps and sweat become a castle!

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COSMIC_ENERGY 3/17/2009 9:20PM

    Honor your spirit, honor your body, give them what they long for. Love and acceptance.

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LIZARDG7 3/17/2009 5:07PM

    Thanks for your blog. I had the exact same experience when I first started exercising and passed a mirror on the way in. WOW! Was that a crushing experience. My demons were working overtime and all the other women looked young, fit and beautiful. which wasn't true. Then my daughter said if I worked out like them, I might look like them. DAH I've never looked back. Sometimes it takes feeling overwhelmed to start the trek back uphill. Stick with it. I wish you luck. Lizzie emoticon

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ANGELBELIEVER 3/17/2009 3:30PM

    I am so sorry you had that experience. I am glad to see that you are meeting those feelings head o n and will pursue your healthy lifestyle. I can remember having similar feelings when I went to my first class years and years ago and it was a women's facility! I was about 28, I think. All the people there were very goof looking and only a few of us were overweight. I was challenged because of my asthma. I finally left the class and stayed with the circuit on the machines. I felt so alone. I neve felt like I fit in there at all.

I wish you the best in your new classes. I'm sure you will do well.

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GBOOMER 3/17/2009 3:18PM

    I understand because I've left exercise classes before. Funnily, the class I left was a yoga class. I can tell you are very good at yoga.

Personally, I don't think it is a failing on anyone's fault. Classes are not, in my opinion, the best way to go about exercise. The teachers do not have enough attention to adequately meet everyone's needs. For me, anyway, there is also the constant pull to try to "keep up" with everyone and not honor MY body.

I'm sorry you felt bad. Please allow me to offer the perspective from my end of the room. You are obviously, to anyone who follows your page and blog, a very powerful person who does so many wonderful things to take care of your body, your loved ones and your world. Any bad feelings you have are simply an illusion. I hope your sun shines again really soon. And, don't give up on the strength training. It is sooooo good for our aging bodies.

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MAZZYR 3/17/2009 1:33PM

    Oh Maha, I hear you... loud and clear.

My body has not been cooperating with my desire to be fit. My mind is young and it surprises me each time I'm willing to exercise and my body cries in pain. OH WELL, I say to myself... accept it and move on.

I recently had a conversation about death with a dear friend and shared the discomfort of my thoughts. She simply said "don't think about it." LOL, that's exactly what I have done about those thoughts most of my life. "Don't think about it" and instead focus on the present moment. I remind myself that all I can be sure of is NOW... this very moment.

Maha, replace those tears with smiles (as I know you have), and remember that you have company. Please share your "plan." Mine is making small changes and pushing myself "gently" each day.


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The Core

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Yesterday I attended a Pilates class, a form of exercise known for working with the core -- the solar plexus. As I conditioned the body's core, I reflected on the more esoteric meanings of working with *the Core:*

In Yogic Cosmology the third energy center, located in the solar plexus, is known as the Manipura Chakra -- identified with the Fire Element, Ego identity, oriented to self-definition. This chakra is known as the power chakra. It rules our personal power, will, and autonomy, as well as our metabolism. When healthy, this chakra brings us energy, effectiveness, spontaneity, and non-dominating power. WOW!

It's so relevant that I look at this because I am dealing with these very issues at a very basic level right now --

~ make sure the metabolism, the "fire" of digestion, ignites, allowing nourishing food to properly digest, assimilate and fuel this organism so that my spirit is fueled. Certain yoga asanas and pilates directly impact this "fire" of the solar plexus.

~ domination of will -- so that conscious healthy eating becomes an everyday habit in spite of emotional ups-and-downs and so that meditation becomes as second-nature as conscious eating. Yesterday I decided to take a "fast" from recreational computer use, a statement of who's the boss here.

~ personal power -- to disengage and co-exist in a personally happy, healthy manner with my wounded, ill housemate, who I believe has PTSD with bipolar disorder. This is a delicate balancing act and a situation requiring continuous awareness to be sure my core needs are being honored and my spirit exudes joy.

~ self-definition and autonomy -- to fuel joy and fend off anger and hostility; to effectively determine my future without engaging in co-dependent behavior based upon the fluxuating behavior of my housemate.

I just completed an update on my SparkPage which I'm placing here because of the realization that BODY-MIND-SPIRIT is served best by the Core values of "energy, effectiveness, spontaneity, and non-dominating power:"

As of March 1, I qualified through Medicare to join a regional well-equipped fitness center with a great pool and many classes of all types (various aerobic, strength training, yoga, pilates, core strengthening, etc.). So far I have been taking classes...I will begin expanding my exploration soon.

With my housemate's approval, I just remodeled the kitchen I share to make it a more user-friendly environment. I am $375 poorer, but I have been creating tasty meals with whole, organic foods for about two weeks now. YAY!

Both the university and the fitness center are less than 5 miles from my place of residence, an easy ride on my trusty Trek, and further motivation to make use of my bicycle in yet another circumstance of life.

I have also decided to complete a second undergraduate degree, in Spanish, since I can attend any AR state university under a seniors "tuition waiver" program. This decision feels right for various reasons -- it will eliminate my sense of social isolation, it will challenge me intellectually, it may even result in some interesting income-making possibilities, and it gives me a sense of mundane purpose for a time-limited period (it should be over before I get bored!).

I am working with my level of computer use and how it can be a "cop out" when there are other, more pressing things on my plate. It is one of the ways I compensate for the challenging living situation I'm dealing with with as well as my sense of social isolation. Staring at the monitor too much zaps my motivation for other tasks. I have declared a "fast" from recreational computer use for a period of time as one means to free up real time and psychic space for these myriad tasks. It's tricky, because limited use is beneficial and I'm so good at sabotaging myself. But I'm *on it* daily -- assessing my behavior -- celebrating my successes and pondering my failures. I'm experimenting with creative ways to become more pro-active in finding healthy, joyful solutions to my dilemmas.

I have been struggling with consistency my sitting practice and decided to use Lent as a tool to set an intention of 40 days of daily meditation practice. I'm participating loosely with the Awakening Team in this 40-Day Challenge.

I want to be fully present for all that the Divine has to offer me in the continuing adventure, in the subtle and not-so-subtle twists and turns of my anything-but-*normal* daily life. Enhanced BODY-MIND-SPIRIT health will help attune me to that "still small voice" within that is signaling the way to the next signpost on the Path.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KUZINKEITH 3/17/2009 10:42AM

    AHHH - to be fully present --- that's quite a goal. I too have fallen slack on my meditation time, I've rarely been consistent with it. I try to convince myself that spending time on spark is meditation-like ----- Denial is a strange place to reside!
Best wishes on your new "intentions" and the road that lies ahead.

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VAL503 3/12/2009 11:32AM

    Ah, Maha..
Your powerful intuitions and intentions are joining!
Such wonderful experiences are coming your way.
Wishing you joy, light and peace on your continuing journey.

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DRAGONFLY7149 3/12/2009 1:03AM

    Powerful intentions, Maha, and I'm so happy for you finding circumstances that enable action. I can so relate to much of what you speak of! Yesterday I came upon a site in my own online meanderings that offers a challenge (in the Sufi tradition) with Remembrance and Jewel exercises you may find of interest and perhaps helpful.<

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COSMIC_ENERGY 3/11/2009 9:11PM

    Blessings abound in your journey Maha! I will feel you in the wind!

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

SONNETS TO ORPHEUS: II, 12 (stanza 1)

Desire change. Be enthusiastic for that flame
in which a thing escapes your grasp
while it makes a glorious display of transformation.
That designing Spirit, the master mind of all things on earth
loves nothing so much in the sweeping movement of the dance
as the turning point.
-- Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Br. David Steindl-Rast

Wanted to get this poem posted before losing it. I'll comment it on it later...right now, I'm going to lay this body down, hoping to fight that bug that's trying hard to invade this organism!

To be continued!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VAL503 3/5/2009 10:14PM

Hope you are feeling better!
I made soup today, and would give you some if we were in closer proximity (minus the chicken, of course!).
Sending healing thoughts your way..

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COSMIC_ENERGY 3/5/2009 6:57PM

    Lots of pure white light coming your way--feel better soon.

Comment edited on: 3/5/2009 6:57:28 PM

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You will come to see that all evolves us.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Light that shines through Jalaluddin Rumi's words is absolutely astounding to me.

"(Your hands) will come to find they hold everything you want." The Divine offers me this gift. I have only to accept.

"(Your hands) would no longer lift anything to your mouth that might wound...." Oh my, yet another reminder of the importance of the control of the palate.

"The power that made the universe will enter your sinew" tells me of the power available to me if I just BELIEVE.

"Exuberant is goes mad with the blessings." I'm speechless with the image and reality of this.

"The torture's rack of the past and the future" indeed!

"Forget any sounds or touch you know that did not help you dance. " What a perfect philosophy and Way of Life!!!

Thank you for gracing our souls with the truth that it's ALL Love:


If you put your hands on this oar with me,
they will never harm another, and they will come to find
they hold everything you want.

If you put your hands on this oar with me, they would no longer
lift anything to your
mouth that might wound your precious land –
that sacred earth that is your body.

If you put your soul against this oar with me,
the power that made the universe will enter your sinew
from a source not outside your limbs, but from a holy realm
that lives in us.

Exuberant is existence, time a husk.
When the moment cracks open, ecstasy leaps out and devours space;
love goes mad with the blessings, like my words give.

Why lay yourself on the torturer’s rack of the past and the future?
The mind that tries to shape tomorrow beyond its capacities
will find no rest.

Be kind to yourself, dear – to our innocent follies.
Forget any sounds or touch you knew that did not help you dance.
You will come to see that all evolves us.

-- Rumi
(Love Poems From God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West by Daniel Ladinsky)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LKOPACK 2/26/2009 1:33PM

    I love reading the poems you post. Laura K.

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COSMIC_ENERGY 2/24/2009 10:38PM

    Great stuff--Evolving!

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KATHYLM51 2/24/2009 8:52PM

    thank you for sharing that Maha, much truth and peace here. k

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ANGELBELIEVER 2/24/2009 3:45PM

    Beautiful, as always. Hope you ad a great birthday.

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