50,000-59,999 SparkPoints
VALERIEMAHA's Recent Blog Entries

Fall Song, Mary Oliver

Monday, September 30, 2013

Fall Song

Another year gone, leaving everywhere
its rich spiced residues: vines, leaves,

the uneaten fruits crumbling damply
in the shadows, unmattering back

from the particular island
of this summer, this NOW, that now is nowhere

except underfoot, moldering
in that black subterranean castle

of unobservable mysteries - roots and sealed seeds
and the wanderings of water. This

I try to remember when time's measure
painfully chafes, for instance when autumn

flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing
to stay - how everything lives, shifting

from one bright vision to another, forever
in these momentary pastures.

~ Mary Oliver ~
(from American Primitive)

via Joe Riley at

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUST_BREATHE08 10/1/2013 6:40PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
HIPPICHICK1 10/1/2013 1:15PM

    I walk in the woods almost every day and her description describes those walks and those things that I think.
emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
SLAYINGDRAGONS 10/1/2013 10:23AM

    Such a beautiful thought-provoking poem. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
KALIGIRL 10/1/2013 9:26AM

    Wonderful emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
JESPAH 10/1/2013 8:44AM

    I will go to the woods again ....

Although I have to go through some urban stuff first.

Report Inappropriate Comment
SUBMOM2 10/1/2013 1:52AM


Report Inappropriate Comment
MTRACHEL 9/30/2013 10:20PM

    Perfect for today. Thank you !

Report Inappropriate Comment
GOANNA2 9/30/2013 8:01PM

    Love your Mary Oliver poems.
Have a great October. Hope you are keeping well.

Report Inappropriate Comment
SNOWYOGA 9/30/2013 7:33PM

    This is really nice emoticon Thank you!

Comment edited on: 9/30/2013 7:33:30 PM

Report Inappropriate Comment
ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 9/30/2013 6:38PM

    Just lovely!
Thank you!

Report Inappropriate Comment
AUSTRALIA55 9/30/2013 5:50PM


Report Inappropriate Comment
SLASALLE 9/30/2013 5:08PM

    She's back ... and with a favorite author/fall reminder, no less!!!! Welcome home, Maha!


Report Inappropriate Comment
CRYSTALJEM 9/30/2013 5:01PM

    :) This poem made me smile and sigh - it's exactly how I'm feeling. Off for a walk in the wind through the woods. Loving autumn. Thanks for the poem.

Report Inappropriate Comment
DDOORN 9/30/2013 5:00PM

    Another Oliver gem...autumn seems to mark time more than the other seasons, with such a mix of emotions!

Curious about your new profile image...traveling...?


Report Inappropriate Comment
WATERMELLEN 9/30/2013 4:53PM

    Walking in the woods yesterday, I was so conscious of the sound of wind in leaves, which we will enjoy for about a month more: and then not at all until late May when the foliage is back to full leaf again.

The colours are gorgeous and I do love the winter too but . . . "longing to stay" is an emotion we do feel most keenly in the autumn. What a lovely poem, thank you!!

Report Inappropriate Comment

Summer's end

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Blazing summer days: no force could bring them back.
Clouds suddenly rising off the river, lovely, so lovely,

ducks leave a bridge's shadow, paddling into fine rain,
and butterflies flutter out, frolicking in field breezes.

The willow won't survive nights and days much longer,
and waterlilies will only open two or three more times.

If the changing sights of a single year haunt your eye,
why wonder that a palace lake is ash among the kalpas?

-- Lu Yu

"Light Rain" from Mountain Home: The wilderness poetry of ancient China, translated by David Hinton

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

With summer's end comes finally the six-day retreat "Healing Yourself Is Healing the World."

I leave Sunday, Sept 22, with three girl friends (one of whom is Robin, GENKI_WARRIOR!) for Magnolia Grove Monastery, Mississippi, in retreat with renowned Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. We are going there in my little camper, Kurma (Turtle) Avatara, a 1984 Toyota Dolphin. Two of us will sleep in the camper and two in a tent. We will return Sept 29.

Thay, as Thich Nhat Hanh is affectionately known

Peace is present right here and now, in ourselves and in everything we do and see. Every breath we take, every step we take, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. The question is whether or not we are in touch with it. We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment.
-- Thich Nhat Hanh

Calligraphy by Thay

In other news, I will be participating in the Conway Fall Cycling Classic the day before we leave for the retreat. Unlike my biker dude friend Don, I will only be cycling 32 miles. No comparing though...I'm out there doing SOMETHING.

I have also managed to lose 17 pounds over the summer, every pound a struggle. I have six more to go to reach the desired 130 lbs. and I'm hopeful! And continues to be an important source of lively and supportive friends and tools which profoundly assist the process.

It is also my last semester in obtaining a BA in Spanish Literature at a local university, with a heavy schedule of papers and oral presentations between now and semester's end in December, scary but do-able, I think.

At the end of the Fall semester in December, with the beginning of winter, I am affirming a thought-dream of a road trip in my camper to California, arriving in time for a New Year's Retreat in Santa Barbara and then to visit Thay's Practice Center, Deer Park Monastery, in Escondido. My plan is to then (for an undetermined period of time) visit beloveds in the San Francisco Bay Area, dear friend Kathy north of Sacramento (Vivian too!), and then sell the camper there (a temporary antidote to my financial woes) before boarding a flight San Francisco-Quito, Ecuador. We'll see how it all shakes out!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUST_BREATHE08 9/28/2013 11:08PM

    Amazing blog, Maha. Thank you for sharing!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
_VALEO_ 9/27/2013 6:11PM

    So many events are happening in your life right now. It is amazing how vibrant you are. And determined to achieve to your goals!

Today, I thought of this untranslatable, but so beautiful word: serendipity.
I wish you that for the rest of the year... whether you decide to settle down in Ecuador for a while or permanently. Just listen to the signs.

As you should be in the middle of your meditation retreat... I will tiptoe out of your blog.


Report Inappropriate Comment
FRECKS96 9/26/2013 12:55PM

    Just seeing your name pop up in my feed made me smile. I hope you have a lovely ride and a safe journey. Blessings to you, dear Maha!

Report Inappropriate Comment
DDOORN 9/25/2013 9:32AM

    This must be your ride...?


Can't wait to hear all about it!

LOVE the quote by *Thay*...except when he says "We need *only* to be awake"...makes it sound so easy...! :-)


Report Inappropriate Comment
JESPAH 9/20/2013 8:45AM

    Great to read this! :)

Report Inappropriate Comment
SUSANNAH31 9/19/2013 11:02AM


How wonderful that your life is rich with energetic activity, goals soon to be realized, celebrations with friends, and promising adventures for tomorrow.

That little camper was a great traveling companion for you. I often think about the summer we spent time in it together -- and then went on to stay at the beach.

I wish you the best as the months go by and you shed what's past and soar on to new adventures (all, of course, after you finish those required papers that will be due LOL).

We will always be friends.



Report Inappropriate Comment
MTRACHEL 9/18/2013 11:40PM

    It means so much to me that you will be in retreat with Thay! This is the first time in 10 years that I will miss his North American retreats. It's inspired me to read more and sit more. Last night at my local Sangha, we read the poem "Call Me By My True Names" which is why I posted part of it..thanks for finding the story and link.
Peace is the Breathing,
Happiness is the walking.
I'll be thinking of you all next week!

Report Inappropriate Comment
SLASALLE 9/18/2013 7:57PM

    You are amazing and inspiring in many ways, dear one. I hope your upcoming trip and retreat is all that you are wanting to experience. As for the rest, I'm with you ... visualize it and see what happens.

Much love,

Report Inappropriate Comment
ABURRIS2 9/18/2013 1:05PM

What wonderful plans! Life is rich.
Wouldn't it be lovely to connect while you are close by?

Report Inappropriate Comment
GENKI_WARRIOR 9/18/2013 11:55AM

    Looking forward to our time with Thay! I'm so very excited about sharing this golden opportunity of blossoming forth with such dear sisters!

May you have a safe and wonderous journey to Cali! I think I'll go with you! ;) ;)


Report Inappropriate Comment
BUNNYCATS 9/18/2013 11:07AM

    Thanks for sharing your magical journey with us! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

As I Walk with Beauty

As I walk, as I walk

The universe is walking with me

In beauty it walks before me

In beauty it walks behind me

In beauty it walks below me

In beauty it walks above me

Beauty is on every side

As I walk, I walk with Beauty.

Traditional Navajo Prayer

Report Inappropriate Comment
HIPPICHICK1 9/18/2013 10:13AM

    You're going to a six-day meditation retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh?!

Wow! emoticon on the 17 lbs lost over this summer! That is incredible!

Your trip west sounds amazing and then on to Ecuador. Nice!!

Report Inappropriate Comment

    Amazing life, amazing plans and goals! Inspiring. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
KALIGIRL 9/18/2013 8:54AM

    emoticon journey my friend.
emoticon for sharing and serving as a mentor.

Report Inappropriate Comment
BILLB000 9/18/2013 12:18AM

    You have some amazing plans, Maha. And to attend a retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh. How wonderful. You have accomplished much this year. Most of which is to inspire the rest of us.

Report Inappropriate Comment
WATERMELLEN 9/17/2013 10:17PM

    What wonderful plans you have for this fall season!! Challenging, satisfying, and adventuresome!

Report Inappropriate Comment
SNOWYOGA 9/17/2013 9:15PM

    I like your blog! Thank you emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
ME_HERE_NOW 9/17/2013 8:42PM

    oh and the road trip, and the races & fun - you take my breath away!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
ME_HERE_NOW 9/17/2013 8:42PM

    you are always off on an awesome adventure, i love it! congrats on making so much progress while enjoying life's up & downs, and kicking but in school - you are my hero!! xoxo!

Report Inappropriate Comment
FRANCESCANAZ 9/17/2013 6:59PM

    Oh no you are selling the Dolphin??? I'll buy it! Hope your semester ends wonderfully and your trip is beyond perfect. Te amo!

Report Inappropriate Comment
GIRANIMAL 9/17/2013 5:34PM

    Maha! You're going on a retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh?! So dreamy! I hope it's magical. emoticon

emoticon showing those pounds who's boss! Amazing. So proud of you!

Report Inappropriate Comment
SUBMOM2 9/17/2013 3:58PM

    Good for you, Maha! Your plans inspire me!

Report Inappropriate Comment
GOANNA2 9/17/2013 12:43PM

    Congratulations on the weight loss and on
getting your BA. Did I tell you I finally started
my BA (History) this Semester? I will take a lot
longer than you to finish mine though.
Good luck on the bike ride and the road trip to
California. It will be sad to sell the van I'm sure.
Do you plan on living in Ecuador for a while?
God bless you and thank you for the wonderful
poetry. Have fun on the retreat. I'm envious.
Love and blessings dear Maha. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
2WHEELEDSHARON 9/17/2013 12:38PM

    Have so many sublime, adventurous moments! Thank you for sharing your journeys.
Way to keep at the Spark loss!

Report Inappropriate Comment
CRYSTALJEM 9/17/2013 12:35PM

    Congrats on the weight loss! Had my physical and dr informed me my
Weight has been 122 for the last 5 years. He triple checked. lol. I know I fluctuated in the last 2 but apparently September is my maintaining month.

The retreat sounds wonderful. But you're selling your van? What about the road trips? Looking at upgrading maybe? emoticon

Regardless, I hope all your plans work out just as you've envisioned. CJ

Report Inappropriate Comment
SIMPLELIFE4REAL 9/17/2013 12:34PM

    Thank you for sharing the poem and quotes. You have wonderful plans to look forward to, may they all come true and more!

Report Inappropriate Comment
CARRAND 9/17/2013 12:24PM


Report Inappropriate Comment
MISS_VIV 9/17/2013 12:14PM

    emoticon Wishing you great success on your forthcoming ride and blessed peace and joy for your retreat. Putting forward pleasant thoughts and prayers for safe journey. Special prayers for your thought-dream of your California trip. Looking forward to some meaninful time with you and Kathy while you are in the area. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
RIDMYCOCOON 9/17/2013 12:06PM

    emoticon I hope your thought dream comes to fruition. Congrats on the tough pounds. I am sure you will reach your goal. Your retreats sound lovely. Enjoy! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment

The good news and the bad news....

Monday, July 01, 2013

Yeah, let's meet there to talk about this --

I have good news and not-so-good news: After embarking upon a conscious program (once again) of portion control, watching the types of foods consumed, tracking food, and exercising to begin getting rid of the 15 pounds that have crept up on me from about two years of careless eating, the good news is that I have maintained a month-long streak of daily exercise.

The not-so-good news is that after the first of June official weekly weigh-in that showed a decrease to 142 pounds, the scale popped back up to 145-ish and has been hovering there ALL MONTH, today included. Nor are my clothes even ONE SPECK looser. And I do NOT want to change the weight ticker back up to 145 -- NO! The major point I'm making here is that in 30 days I didn't drop an ounce! That just doesn't happen when I'm focused on losing...I've always lost an average of one, up to two, pound(s) per week, which should result in me being a minimum of four, maximum of eight, pounds down at the end of June.

Have I not been precise enough in entering food each day? That's the first thing that came to mind. I'm purdy obsessive about it but it's still possible that I'm under-estimating or forgetting here-and-there...but NOT.ONE.POUND in the entire month, with daily exercise to boot???

I'm drinking eight-ten cups of liquid per day. I'm generally doing a fairly decent job of portioning out carbs, proteins, and fats by SparkPeople standards, though my diet is not as protein dense as classic meat diets, nor do I feel we need the level of protein often recommended. I generally tend to be high in carbs, because I consume a high level of complex carbs -- yesterday is fairly representative, i.e. blackberries, apple, plum, cantaloupe, sprouted whole grain bread, toasted oats, yogurt, tofu, etc. My protein sources yesterday included yogurt (Greek), tofu, the bread, peanut butter, walnuts. My distribution yesterday was 48.5% carbs, 22% proteins, 29.4% fats, very close to recommended values.

I'm not losing.

This is NOT typical when I get up-close-and-personal with eating, exercise, and tracking.

I'm stumped and confused and not sure what to do.

Ok, ok! so that's not the answer.

I guess this is a good place to begin (again).

We're on top of this one!

Yeah, yeah.

Naw, this couldn't possibly have *anything* to do with it, uh uh.

I will not let a temporary set-back deter me...I will NOT give up.
Never hurts to review the basics:


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_VALEO_ 8/7/2013 12:22PM

    How have you being doing since this blog?

Report Inappropriate Comment
MTRACHEL 7/17/2013 10:33PM

    It's a challenge to feel good about something that doesn't make one feel good! The only comment I can add is that sometimes when I exercise, I don't eat enough....more burned.needs more fuel.....or I don't eat the right balance..and that gets in the way.

Report Inappropriate Comment
NVDONNA 7/11/2013 10:49AM

    I agree with the other posts. You are most likely building muscle and your body is adjusting. Keep up the hard work. The results will come and reward you. What is the alternative? Giving up?nah..that's not you!

Report Inappropriate Comment
KALIGIRL 7/8/2013 10:25AM

    Sounds like building muscle mass to me - could be a good thing?

Report Inappropriate Comment

    Love the Cookie Monster.

I feel your pain. I sucked it up put my weight in the tracker. I avoided the scale for 10months.
Gained 15 pounds since last summer

Report Inappropriate Comment
SUSANNAH31 7/4/2013 8:58AM

    The other posters have said it all, really.

It sounds as if you are doing everything right with food and exercise.

Enjoy yourself, have fun.

(And maybe you want to get a new scale. LOL)

Report Inappropriate Comment
JUST_BREATHE08 7/3/2013 1:33PM

    emoticon You Know You Can!! I have faith in you. Have faith in yourself. emoticon You know sometimes it just happens that way.

Love you dear friend! emoticon

Comment edited on: 7/3/2013 1:34:00 PM

Report Inappropriate Comment
ME_HERE_NOW 7/3/2013 12:16AM

    maybe it's just the universe reminding you that you are a badass, no matter what the scale says! i'd imagine just DOING RIGHT feels pretty good, get by on those vibes for a while and the rest will fall into place! keep that streak going! so proud of you!

Report Inappropriate Comment
2WHEELEDSHARON 7/2/2013 9:55PM

    3 pounds could mean muscle, sodium, not enough water, stress... but I'm blaming everything on Mercury being Retrograde. Hang on, we're coming out of it.

Report Inappropriate Comment
RIDMYCOCOON 7/2/2013 6:21PM

    My two cents: Life has cycles. I believe that includes our weight. We are talking about three pounds not thirty. Hang in there and keeep fighting the GOOD fight!

emoticon emoticon emoticon You are beautiful!

Report Inappropriate Comment

    I understand completely. This is where I am, too. I have determined to be persistent. Even if I do not win the weight battle, I KNOW I have done the right things for my better health and well-being. In past years (before SP), I always gave up and gave in. I couldn't live with constantly being hungry and feeling deprived and that was the only way I could find to be thin. I refuse to return to that. I also will not make exercise such a priority that I do not live doing anything else than that! My strong points are not in that area. So. I. will. do. my. best. and. if. that. means. I. do. not. lose. the. weight. I. will. not. let. it. stop. me. from. living!

Report Inappropriate Comment
HIPPICHICK1 7/2/2013 11:39AM

    The only thing that I think keeps most people from losing weight is that we tend to work out more and more while eating less and less. You've got to fuel that body for the increase in exercise. I usually eat about 100 calories less than my BMR and add in 300 calories worth of exercising each day. Some days I eat less, some days I eat more and some days I work out less and some I work out more. But I'm no expert otherwise wouldn't I be at my goal weight now instead of being on a two year plateau?

Report Inappropriate Comment
DDOORN 7/2/2013 10:32AM

    Been struggling here as well so I'm without much in the way of suggestions, except I still maintain that food choices are the critical piece for weight loss...not exercise.

Exercise is the critical piece, IMHO, for toning our bodies and INCHES lost...among other great things like lowering blood pressure and overall health.


Report Inappropriate Comment
CRYSTALJEM 7/2/2013 10:04AM

    I find my weight is affected by heat and humidity. Might the weather yore having cause some fluid retention Eric that might be having even a little impact? Great streak though. Hang in there your body will find its groove.

Report Inappropriate Comment
FLORIDASUN 7/2/2013 8:22AM

    Are you drinking plenty of water? Remember you are 80% 80%??? water and you need plenty to metabolize what you are eating. Especially kicking up the exercise you probably lose a lot of it.

I don't do well with tons of carbs no matter how good they are. I read once that the old blood line Type O...reverts back to the caveman days when a good amount of their food was meat based. Unfortunately it wasn't the hormone pumped meats that we get I try to limit my meat intake to once a week. But too many carbs seem to throw me under the bus...over OVER the bus...scrambling for my next meal...carbs stoke my hunger train.

I know your weight will stabilize and I think your weight is pretty darn stellar...I wouldn't worry my pretty little head dear long as you feel energetic and healthy...who cares about that stupid scale?

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
GOANNA2 7/2/2013 4:42AM

    Thank you for the links and quotes Maha.
Sorry to hear that you haven't lost but it is
great to think you didn't gain any weight.
One day you will see the loss as you are
doing everything right. Maybe ease up on
the exercise, don't really know, but I know
you will be where you want to be in a short
time. emoticon emoticon
emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
CORNERKICK 7/2/2013 3:12AM

  emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
SNOWYOGA 7/1/2013 11:31PM

    I'm sorry, but sounds like you caught it in time, but I can't help, but wish I was already were your at, but in time And thank you for the links! And emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
BILL60 7/1/2013 9:11PM

    Just keep going and you'll see those results come your way real soon.

Report Inappropriate Comment
IAM1WEVRY1 7/1/2013 8:17PM

    I know where you're coming from! Everything everyone else said is true.

But here's an idea I've been exploring with some success. Consider the possibility that something you're eating, something you eat regularly, something "healthy" actually causes you to have an anti-inflammatory response: swelling, water retention, etc. It's not that you're allergic, but you may have a sensitivity. So, for me, so far I'm finding that I don't do so well when I eat pasta (we're talking whole grain here) and also that some foods need to be cooked. Basically, I'm cutting back on soy, gluten, diary, and added sugar.

So far I've lost 10 lbs.

Here's how it works for me: I weigh myself everyday. It's really interesting because sometimes the amount of food/calories is low and I actually gain 5 or more pounds weight the next day. Other times, my calorie intake is much higher and I lose several pounds. So, I evaluate what I ate at those different times and try to notice a trend. I have a feeling it would work better if I were more disciplined i.e. starting with something of a cleanse and gradually adding things back in. But who has that much disipline?

Another theory out there is that too much exercise can also cause an anti-inflammatory response. So if you're really pushing yourself, maybe cut back a bit. I have noticed that my most significant weight loss occurs when I'm not going crazy with the exercise...

So, who knows, maybe next week, I'll say what craziness, but for now it seems to be working.

Report Inappropriate Comment
BECOMINGONE 7/1/2013 7:55PM

    you're eating healthy, you're riding your bicycle 10+ miles a day, you're doing yoga and strength training. Who cares about how much you weigh? Celebrate! You are healthier than most people half your age.


Report Inappropriate Comment
TRAXINA 7/1/2013 3:22PM

    Having the same problem here. I seem leaner (I use the "jump test" -- stand in front of the mirror in your undies and jump, then see how much you bounce!) but none of my clothes are fitting better and the scale isn't moving.

It can be frustrating, but our bodies are amazing machines. Spend a moment rejoicing that you can ask it to do something active every day!

Report Inappropriate Comment
PEACEFULONE 7/1/2013 3:21PM

    Always love your quotes! With all the exercise it's probably that you are building muscle and it is heavier. Keep on with what you are doing and look for other signs of improvement like looser clothes. emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
CARRAND 7/1/2013 3:01PM

    Have your measurements decreased? it's possible you are gaining muscle and losing fat. And you didn't gain, so be proud of that and don't stop now!

Report Inappropriate Comment
WATERMELLEN 7/1/2013 2:30PM

    Out there in that field -- we're not going to be talking about what you're doing right (everything) OR what you're doing wrong (nothing at all).

You're eating in a very healthy way.

You're exercising in a very healthy way.

You didn't GAIN any weight in the last month: yay!! If weight has been creeping up, that in itself is an achievement.

You get to meet yourself there as a healthy woman who's patiently waiting for the ol' metabolism to adjust and help the weight shift direction . . . . yeah!! And in the meantime, you've gotta be feeling great with all that optimal nutrition and movement!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
KRISKECK 7/1/2013 2:27PM

    And (on top of what other posters said) you are probably gaining muscle, which weighs more. That happens to me when I ramp up exercise, even when I've cut down on calories. Definitely recommend using measurements as another gauge.



Report Inappropriate Comment
KAT321123 7/1/2013 1:56PM

    It sounds like you're really doing everything right. We all lose weight differently and it sure can be frustrating. I tend to plateau for several weeks (and get annoyed in the process) and then suddenly drop several pounds without really changing anything (or sometimes when I've overeaten, actually...totally annoying).

As long as you're working on a healthy lifestyle and don't have any serious medical issues, your body will catch on eventually =) Good luck!

Report Inappropriate Comment
JESPAH 7/1/2013 1:53PM

    Unfortunately, this kinda maddening stuff happens. We have our best intentions, and we act on them, and the losses still don't come because ...

I have no idea.

I blame sun spots.

Report Inappropriate Comment
SLASALLE 7/1/2013 1:19PM

    OK, so we're in the field beyond, and we're talking ... The first thing I would say:

Patience, grasshopper!! :-)

Your body is probably just adjusting to your new routine of DAILY exercise!!! Plus, our bodies fluctuate by as much as 5 pounds daily. Because of that fluctuation, I never count a loss as a loss until I've held that weight for 3 days. I know, I'm weird!!!

Do you measure and weigh your food? I've found that especially with fruits, which are higher in calories than veggies, it's more important. I don't worry so much about measuring veggies (although I still do), but fruits, breads (definitely weigh those), proteins, I try to be pretty meticulous.

Or ... it could simply be your body saying to you ... "Uh huh, sure. You're trying to tell me that you're going to work me EVERY day, and I'm not sure that I believe you, but just in case, let me hold out and see what happens." I'm convinced that the body could do something exactly like this ... ROFLOL

Do NOT give up!!! You're doing the right thing. Think about OTHER ways of measuring your efforts ... are you measuring your body so you can see inches go bye bye? Are your clothes feeling looser? Do you not get winded as quickly, or are you able to go further now ... stuff like that!!


Comment edited on: 7/1/2013 1:20:57 PM

Report Inappropriate Comment

One year from now....

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I hesitated to write this blog because it can be yet another way to be on the computer INSTEAD of "on the mat" or with the free weights or on my bicycle. But It will be short-and-sweet.

I'm pushin' 150 lbs. and that's scary...and moves me toward that "out-of-control" feeling that I dread so. I'm afraid I've been sliding down a slippery slope ever since returning from Ecuador, and not just in terms of food and exercise, but generally feeling lethargic and vacillating and unproductive. I have had this tendency for many years, and have always had to fight it...and the fight goes on!

I am using various strategies~~

~ specific achievable steps in terms of movement, which I will track

~ tracking ALL food

~ limiting computer time (working on a strategy here, it's harder than it sounds -- for me)

~ reading _Enough! A Buddhist Approach to Finding Release from Addictive Patterns_ by Chonyi Taylor, which I think hones in on the root cause of much of my dysfunctional behavior

~ practice daily gratitude, posting in the two communities if possible

I know it's up to change my mind/behavior to change my life.

And I also know that self-blame and self-judgment are counter-productive.

Today is DAY ONE, the first day of the rest of my life.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARYANNB25 7/12/2013 7:11PM

    Thank you for sharing. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
BUNNYCATS 6/28/2013 9:58AM

    I can really relate to this blog. Thank you for taking the time to post. I struggle with the same problems. Thanks for being my tagged friend and mentor.

“Love yourself—accept yourself—forgive yourself—and be good to yourself, because without you the rest of us are without a source of many wonderful things.” ~Leo F. Buscaglia

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
DOR2BFIT 6/27/2013 11:01AM

    Just what I need right now. Starting again... today! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
SUNPANTHER 6/9/2013 5:00AM

    Love, love love to you. xxx

Little steps add up.

Report Inappropriate Comment
BILLB000 5/28/2013 10:24AM

    Wonderful perspective. You are sooo right. Starts with awareness. Then a plan. Remember it is ok to start anywhere. And at your pace. I have never been away for 3 months, but I have made many trips into Central America, and I found when I come back it takes weeks to re -acclimate myself. Returning always seems a bit of a let down for some reason. Be kind to yourself.

Report Inappropriate Comment
KANOE10 5/27/2013 10:38AM

    I love your posts. I like your body hears what your mind says.
Today is a wonderful new day. I hope you have a great day and get back on track.


Report Inappropriate Comment
WATERMELLEN 5/27/2013 9:08AM

    Just love that idea that your body hears what your mind says . . . of course it does! So gotta get my mind saying different stuff pronto!

I do believe that we never reach a place where this is done -- it's constant vigilance, much like nutrition tracking -- but has to do with the nutrition for the soul instead.

Report Inappropriate Comment
EOSTAR_45 5/23/2013 5:03AM

    A thoughtful and heartfelt blog Maha. Love the wonderful graphics and sayings. I so hear you.


~ Ubarikiwe (Blessed be)

Report Inappropriate Comment
FRANCESCANAZ 5/21/2013 6:16PM

    emoticon mi amiga. I know you can!

Report Inappropriate Comment
ABURRIS2 5/21/2013 12:53PM

    Right with you, my friend. I would echo many of the lovely comments here, especially to be gentle in your determination.
Love to you,

Report Inappropriate Comment
SUSANNAH31 5/20/2013 4:34PM

    I think a little lethargy is almost to be expected as a letdown after that wonderful trip you took -- and especially after all that time you spent with your friends.

Whenever I return from a long-planned-for special adventure, my daily life can seem a little ho-hum by comparison.
And I usually resist getting back into the groove.

Your strategies sound as if they will do the trick, though. Tracking food and feeling grateful, as well as reading about ways to change behaviors should be very helpful. They will help you up and off of that slippery slope.

Then, maybe you want to start planning your next adventure for after graduation.....


Report Inappropriate Comment
NATNOEL 5/18/2013 3:32PM

    I just love these...thank you !!

Report Inappropriate Comment
MRSKATEDUVALL 5/18/2013 2:53PM

    thank you for the words to think about

Report Inappropriate Comment
2WHEELEDSHARON 5/18/2013 2:35PM

    Welcome to the new home of your beautiful self!

Report Inappropriate Comment
BECOMINGONE 5/18/2013 11:15AM

    On dear, sweet Maha ....

Words to live by ...


Report Inappropriate Comment
MTRACHEL 5/17/2013 9:42PM

    Just sending love your way. I've learned so much for Buddhist teaching about habits and watering the seeds of what you want to grow. Sounds like you are.

Report Inappropriate Comment
RIDMYCOCOON 5/17/2013 7:50PM

    Delicious morsels of thought! emoticon Yum-Yum!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
PEACEFULONE 5/17/2013 6:31PM

    Dear Maha, Thank you so much for this beautiful blog! You are one special lady and you have enriched my life in many ways. Many thanks my friend! Elaine

Report Inappropriate Comment
FARRAH511 5/17/2013 4:37PM

    Thanks for sharing

Report Inappropriate Comment
HIPPICHICK1 5/17/2013 10:47AM

    I know that slippery slope. I think the thing that got me off of it was going on that cleanse. Not only did it clear up some physical discomforts but it cleared my head too!
Keep on keeping on!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
SAVOY1 5/17/2013 9:07AM

    Dear Maha - yes, yes, yes, & yes! We're all on this same journey with you, ...learning to loving ourselves and embracing our own imperfections the same way we do in others and in nature, while striving to be our best, happiest, healthiest selves.

In solidarity~

Report Inappropriate Comment
JESPAH 5/17/2013 8:51AM

    What you do will be right. I am sure of it.

Report Inappropriate Comment
SCOOTER4263 5/17/2013 7:36AM

    Lovely,Maha. I have complete faith that you can get yourself back to where you want to be. I'll be looking up that title, too.

There! They have it on hold for me at the library.

Comment edited on: 5/17/2013 7:39:18 AM

Report Inappropriate Comment
GOANNA2 5/17/2013 4:55AM

    Thanks for another wonderful and full of insight
blog. I hear you loud and clear. I am finding that
I am also feeling lethargic and know I have to push
myself to get motivated. I am doing small baby steps.
Thanks for always giving me something to look
into and follow through. I love all the quotes.
Have a great weekend. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
JUST_BREATHE08 5/17/2013 3:27AM

    emoticon Blog Maha... emoticon so much for sharing.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
_VALEO_ 5/16/2013 4:08PM

    We live in a society where lethargy or laziness is not accepted. Sometimes it is good for the mind and body to do NOTHING, to resist this guilt. You lived to the fullest since the beginning of the year, you might need to "digest" all that.

That said, I am with you for all the points mentionned; I could make them mine.

Report Inappropriate Comment
SNOWYOGA 5/16/2013 2:59PM

    Thank you I like your blog, and also what your friends had to say, and it makes me feel like not worrying about doing all these other things (computer, and other distractions) And focus on getting done what I need to get back to me (health, exercise and eating, mind and body) Thanks again

Report Inappropriate Comment
JENSTRESS 5/16/2013 2:38PM

    One day, a few days after seeing the post, "A year from now you will wish you had started today," I felt like just giving up. I was focused so much on how far I still have to go, rather than how far I have come. Not even along the weight loss lines, but the positive life changes I am making!!!

Then I realized that not only would I be at (or surpassed) my goals in a year, but that "I will never get to where I want to be by staying where I am." There is much that I can do, and I will feel like giving up more than once, but the time will pass whether I have committed myself to this change or not. Let's make it good time...

Report Inappropriate Comment
SLASALLE 5/16/2013 2:36PM

    Oh Dear One - it is good to see you acknowledge that self-blame and self-judgment are counter-productive. You've got it going is so many ways, yet, you are not perfect? (imagine that!!!)

Your plan is a good one. Beth totally struggles with logging also. I, on the other hand, rather enjoy it. How weird is that? I think it's a detail-minded Virgo thang!!!

As you know from MY blog, I'm in the middle of a 2-week trial with The Spark Solution. I'm trying VERY hard to NOT weigh myself until the end of the two weeks. I've been doing GREAT on the eating part, and OK on the exercise. I think maybe with the heat the other day, I've been in kind of a slump.

Am still hoping to do my "research" tomorrow. Haven't made it yet. Soon ...

Be kind to yourself, my friend ...


Report Inappropriate Comment
DDOORN 5/16/2013 2:22PM

    Great thoughts and HIGH applause for your efforts...have been trying to rally myself as well. No longer staying in the "bubble" and opening the door to cycling quickly leads to thoughts of "uh-oh, how am I going to lug these extra pounds up over those toughest of hills I know that await me in the Finger Lakes and everywhere else?" That fear has been a motivator. And NOTHING beats "tracking ALL food" IMHO...! :-) And that has always been and probably always WILL be the most difficult challenge for me to meet. Nothing works better for me than this.

The book sounds interesting...I'll toss it on my list for those days way off in the future when I have TIME to! Here's another quote from my SP signature: "You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection." --- Buddha

Another thought still on the back burner but there nonetheless:




Report Inappropriate Comment

Endings...and beginnings, Part 2 (#8, Ecuador, 2013)

Monday, April 22, 2013

As I get increasingly enmeshed with *this* altered state since returning from Ecuador March 19, the vividness of the experiences blur slightly and the matters that I just *had* to attend to have diminished in importance just a bit. But I continue to persist in pursuing the dreams that spawned during this odyssey (odyssey: a long series of wanderings or adventures, especially when filled with notable experiences, hardships; any long eventful journey).

In this last Ecuador blog I would like to share a few photos from my day-trips to Podocarpus National Park and Vilcabamba, as well as musing a bit, as I move forward into spring and summer in the good ol' U.S. of A.!

Podocarpus National Park occupies 360,000 acres in the low "V" of southern Ecuador, near its border with Peru (I reside one hour from the northern border with Colombia) and is the only protected area in southern Ecuador. The park is important for conservation, according to The Nature Conservancy, because of its high concentration of endemic species. The elevation generally varies from 6560 ft. to 9840 ft. Podocarpus takes its name from having the country's largest contingent of the Podocarpus or romerillo tree, the only conifer native to Ecuador.

Gonzalo, the noble taxista. I paid him $10 round trip upon arriving to the park (for the one+ hour round trip on a partially horrible unpaved road with potholes). We agreed that he would return for me in four hours, at 4:30pm, before the park locked the gates at 5:00pm. I implicitly trusted this man I got to know during the drive there, and knew he would be there as he promised...and he was! Good thing too, because the park is very remote and I would have been royally stranded otherwise. I ran into people only twice on the trail!

In a mindless moment as I left the hotel, I forgot to change my shoes and put on the much more appropriate hiking boots! This was after just a couple minutes of walking...already lots of mud splattered on my feet and sandals, which you really can't see, aka "Before." Too bad I didn't take an "After" photo!

The trail is generally well maintained.

Some parts of the trail are quite steep, and squishy with mud 1-2" deep, which made it quite *sucky* lol! After my initial horror, it got to be fun, though my sandals were trashed and it took me days to wash off the mud, which actually stained my feet and calves (seriously!).

Because of some recent severe storms there was also the occasional tree over the trail, although the worst problems had been cleared.

Lots of bamboo stands along the way.

And lots of moss too.

Air plants (genus tilandsia, the bromiliad family) galore!

One of the trails I loved in a full-on rainforest. The 20 min. is a joke...with the condition of the trail, it took three times that, but it was SO worth it. It reminds me so much of portions of the Kalalau trail In Kauai.

This beautiful, delicate little butterfly felt like my guide, as it hovered about and ahead of me, disappearing and suddenly reappearing, for probably 1/3 of the hike. It was quite magical!

Om my! I have way too many panoramic shots to post. I took one series of 12 moving the camera from left to right across the vista at one point high on the trail, so I'll post those 12, the first being far left and the last being far right:


Dusk as I near the trail head, and with this I leave Podocarpus. The next day was a day trip to Vilcabamba, a 45 min. ride in a taxi co-op from Loja.

Once again passing the entrance to Podocarpus, I continue to Vilcabamba. The valley (bamba, aka pampa) is overlooked by a mountain called Mandango, the Sleeping Inca, whose presence is said to protect the area from earthquakes and other natural disasters. The etymology of "Vilcabamba" apparently derives from "huilco pamba" (in Quichua, the Incan language, still heavily used by the Otavalan Indians where I live in northern Ecuador). Huilco denotes the sacred trees that inhabit the region and pamba is a word meaning “a plain.”

An interesting and unique village, with a controversial reputation for extreme longevity, Vilcabamba has often been cited as an area with the oldest inhabitants in the world. The claim has been called into question in recent years, though.

In any case, it is a beautiful with an abundance of agriculture, and this particular equatorial sub-area is said to have fruit, roots and herbs that offer some of the strongest anti-oxidant protection in the world.

The community has an overabundance of ex-pats from many countries, as well as an alive-and-well alternative community. For that reason, I easily found a vegan restaurant, owned by an American woman. I shared a table with Mia, a healer from Thailand. We enjoyed an exquisite lunch and delightful conversation. After lunch she took me to a bakery owned by a French couple, where I bought a delicious chocolate croissant. We had an espresso at another cafe on the plaza and then parted ways.

Concluding my day in Vilcambamba and my tenure in Ecuador are miscellaneous photos of my afternoon in the village, posted in order taken:

As I attend to the realities that confront me, my spirit whispers dreams to my heart that I am beginning to quietly explore -- as always, being called to...

I do not take for granted the freedom which offers me the joy unique to travel -- I never tire of strange places and new faces. Dear friend Don Doorn made reference to a musical hero of ours in his early blog comment, so for me it feels very fitting to close this Ecuador chapter with Richie Havens' legendary clarion call:

Richie Havens opening Woodstock in 1969
RIP, January 21, 1941-April 22, 2013

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ME_HERE_NOW 5/9/2013 12:47PM

    i love your adventurous spirit, how you meet new people and make new connections, how you go out in the wilderness alone, travel far and wide. i feel like you are light years ahead in your spiritual development, it is truly an inspiration to me that makes me want to open up and enjoy the world & give things a chance instead of staying curled inside myself 'protecting' myself. i have a fondness for butterflies who flit along with me on walks as well ;) i look fwd to reading more of your life's adventures! man oh man, i'd love to write down the story of your life!

Report Inappropriate Comment
SLASALLE 5/8/2013 5:56PM

    I know how much time it took you to upload all these photos along with descriptions, thoughts, feelings and all such things. Truly beautiful journey, my friend. As always, thank you for taking the time to share this incredible piece of the world.


Report Inappropriate Comment
ABURRIS2 5/6/2013 10:00PM

    You are a wonder! Thank you for sharing the beauty of this adventure.

Report Inappropriate Comment
PEACEFULONE 5/4/2013 10:49PM

    Reading about your travels is always a treat! Thank you for sharing!

Report Inappropriate Comment
MTRACHEL 5/4/2013 10:31PM

    I'm thinking that the whole walk in the mud is a metaphor for so much about your trip ( and your future wanderings) ..trusting that you've started in the right place and that someone will be waiting for you when the journey is done. Deep gratitude to you for sharing all of this!

Report Inappropriate Comment
DOR2BFIT 5/4/2013 8:28PM

    You are a true adventurer! Love this: "my spirit has started again to whisper things to my heart that I am beginning to quietly explore, radical though these messages are, as always calling me to... Follow your bliss...!"
emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
GOANNA2 5/4/2013 8:20PM

    Thank you Maha. Enjoy the yoga.
I love the song - took me back to the 60's.
Namaste! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
SOULFISH80 5/3/2013 5:23PM

    Your travels are so inspiring!!!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
CARRAND 4/23/2013 8:49PM


Report Inappropriate Comment
DDOORN 4/23/2013 4:31PM


Check out song # 6 from this unique, superb gathering:

Listening to Richie Havens all day...RIP Richie, such a fine performer and human being!


Report Inappropriate Comment
JESPAH 4/23/2013 10:17AM


Report Inappropriate Comment
KALIGIRL 4/23/2013 8:17AM

    Here's to letting living life get in the way!

Report Inappropriate Comment
JUST_BREATHE08 4/23/2013 12:51AM

    Looking forward to more. emoticon


Report Inappropriate Comment
GOANNA2 4/23/2013 12:37AM

    Waiting with bated breath Maha.
Have a woderful yoga session. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
GETSTRONGRRR 4/22/2013 8:45PM

    I can't believe you left us hanging in such suspense!!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
SNOWYOGA 4/22/2013 6:31PM

    Thank you emoticon It's like having a vacation thought you! Can't wait to see, hear more emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
WATERMELLEN 4/22/2013 6:05PM

    Looking forward to more!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
HIPPICHICK1 4/22/2013 5:54PM

    Yay for Yoga!!

Report Inappropriate Comment

First Page  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 Last Page