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    VALERIEMAHA   55,173
50,000-59,999 SparkPoints

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

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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

Post Script

With Robin at Magnolia Grove Monastery during retreat, in front of the beautiful Rising Tide Meditation Hall, where Thay offered the deep Teachings in his clear, lucid manner

Robin and I among one of the many groups of volunteers during the retreat of about 1000 atendees!

Sitting together after one of the walking meditations led 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!

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_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.


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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!

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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...! :-)


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JESPAH 9/20/2013 8:45AM

    Great to read this! :)

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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.



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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!

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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,

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ABURRIS2 9/18/2013 1:05PM

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

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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! ;) ;)


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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

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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!!

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    Amazing life, amazing plans and goals! Inspiring. emoticon

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KALIGIRL 9/18/2013 8:54AM

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

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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.

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WATERMELLEN 9/17/2013 10:17PM

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

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SNOWYOGA 9/17/2013 9:15PM

    I like your blog! Thank you emoticon

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ME_HERE_NOW 9/17/2013 8:42PM

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

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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!

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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!

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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!

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SUBMOM2 9/17/2013 3:58PM

    Good for you, Maha! Your plans inspire me!

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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

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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!

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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

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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!

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CARRAND 9/17/2013 12:24PM


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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

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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

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