Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's a good day

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now am found
Was blind, but now I see.

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!

Through many dangers, toils, and snares,
We have already come;
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.
—John Newton, Olney Hymns, 1779

Monday, November 9, 2009

Happy Monday

Still getting used to the boundless energy of our new Booda girl. Nonetheless, always have enough energy to post a glorious Ganesh image.

Many blessings to your new endeavors this week. May your good intentions be fruitful and shower flower petals of love and compassion on all those with whom share your path.


Blessed be...blessed be...

Friday, October 23, 2009

All Hail Queen Booda Mama

Say hello to our new teacher, Booda. We found regal Booda at the pound, or I should say, she found us. She is a wise six year old yellow lab with lots of experience under her crown. Booda was the name she came with, though we have come to realize her whole name is Queen Booda Mama. She be one powerful mofo. While I miss my girl fiercely, and have never grieved so deeply, Booda was sent to us from Sadie. She is taking us along the next leg of this magical journey.

Dogs are divine gifts from God.

Of that I have no doubt.

Om Mani Padme Hum

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Tree King

The day after our Sadie died, I was sitting in our car, waiting for my honey, who had a previously scheduled appointment. Not wanting to be in a public place, as I was so overwhelmed by sadness and crying at the drop of a hat, I stayed in the car. I was thinking about our girl, who normally would be keeping me company, lying in the backseat, letting me stroke her soft floppy ears. Of course, I began to cry. Soon, the crying turned into a wail. As we were parked on a public street, I tried to keep my composure, difficult as it was.

Hoping not to be noticed by passersby, I looked out the window to my right to see if anyone was walking by. Instead of seeing any people, I saw this beautiful tree on the sidewalk, next to our car. The tree was emanating such glorious healing love. I could feel its arms reaching out to embrace me. While momentarily questioning my sanity, I felt comforted and safe. As I looked closer, I saw the face of a bearded man in the tree, then his arms, and his whole body. To me, he looked like Christ on the cross. There was such kindness in his face. The tree also reminded me of Odin, the Norse King, who sacrificed an eye in return for knowledge and wisdom. In the middle of his forehead I saw the image of Buddha, and Ganesh. The tree was telling me that all divine love is the same, regardless of name. Divine love is compassion and joy for all life. The tree told me Sadie would always be around, and to feel her joy everywhere.

As Sadie was taken from us suddenly, I was not prepared for the white hot pain I experienced in losing our girl. She was my first dog, and such a gift from God. She helped me through the loss of both of my parents, and brought such joy to all who knew her. She taught me about being fully present, as that was where one experienced joy and peace. We rescued her from the pound ten years ago, but it was she who rescued me.

I am grateful for the soothing words that day from the divine Tree King. I have faith that in time, as I grieve my loss, I will appreciate the wisdom offered to me that painful day. And, with each subsequent day, as the pain releases and subsides, to be replaced instead with the knowledge that no truer words were spoken - pure love and joy is all around us, all the time, in the wag of a lab's tail, or in the memory of the comforting arms of our mother, both human and divine.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Our Enlightened Sadie Girl

Sweet, knowing Sadie, has returned to the Divine, though her loving presence is keenly felt in every breath we take.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi

Today is Ganesh Chaturthi Day. Ganesh's birthday is celebrated around the world by over a billion people. This celebration is one of the most popular festivals in India. On this day there are a boatload of people creating some really good energy. In some parts of India, the celebration lasts for ten days. Devotion to Ganesh is not limited to Hindu sects, but crosses over to Buddhism, Jainism, and beyond India. I read this quote on a Ganesh website..."...uniting positive like-minded individuals has been proven to actually shift our very fabric of existence and creates a better world."

Awake to your magical journey. Tap into the joy on the planet during this celebration, and breathe this joy within you. Ask Ganesh to help you remove any obstacles that are keeping you from feeling this joy on a daily basis. You will be part of creating a better world.

I wish you a happy and blissful life journey.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Free Will and the Divine's Will are the Same

There is always a solution to every problem, and you will ultimately always make the right choice.

The length of the lesson is up to you.

Choose the solution that keeps you honest and in your truth.

Staying in your truth is the shortest way to happiness.

Joy will accompany every decision made from that balanced state of being.

This is the way of the middlepath.

Blessed be.

Friday, August 14, 2009

With Knowledge Comes Freedom

Don't ever be afraid to speak your truth.

Don't ever be afraid to seek out truth.

Knowledge is truth.

Truth sets you free.

With freedom comes great joy.

Joy is naturally infectious.

Spread it around.

Om Mani Padme Hum

Blessed be.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Kiss The Earth

Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.
Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom.
Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Bring the Earth your love and happiness.
The Earth will be safe
when we feel safe in ourselves.

By Thich Nhat Hanh

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Path of Least Resistance

And greatest joy, is always toward the Divine.

Om Mani Padme Hum

Friday, July 24, 2009

Be What You Say - Say What You Be

To thine own self be true. In order for this to be, one needs to fully commit to his or her word. Our word is all we have. It is an energetic extension of our being. Thus, extending our state of grace out into the world demands a genuine commitment to the truth. Be in your truth. Honor your word. Be your word. You will need not be anywhere else, and will be in a perpetual state of grace...wherever you go...there you be.

Enjoy the blessings of summer and the bounty of your garden. Share what you have grown with those around you. Receive from others with gratitude. As with your word, your gifts extend your state of grace to others. With each exchange, your state of grace expands and you will continue to find yourself going through life as if you had found yourself in Heaven. Breathe in grace with each inhale.

Live in gratitude. Everything and everyone was made from divine love.

And it all began with the divine word.

Be your word, and thus your divinity.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Been Gratefully Weeding my Garden

Wisdom is oftentimes nearer when we stoop than when we soar.
- William Wordsworth, 1798

Fortunately, I have assistance, and companionship, in the seemingly never ending process of weeding. It is with time that I have come to embrace weeding as a peacefully pleasurable experience. The act of weeding is especially rewarding when pulling up the stubborn interlopers that have really deep roots. Sometimes, after weeding for a spell, I still see images of weeds when I close my eyes!

Sadie may look like she is not working, but she (and Ganesh, and the walnut tree) is busy radiating Divine love 24/7. Labs (and Ganesh, and all trees) care take their human companions so their humans can tend to their garden. This dance is a match made in Heaven. Truly.

It is the Divine's simple plan for us to learn all we need to know through the meditative act of tending our gardens. The tomatoes are just the cherry on top of the the sundae. More fitting, the topping on our pizza!

Tending to our garden, appreciating it daily, glorying in nature's beauty, and enjoying its bounty, is as the Divine intended.

Heaven is here on Earth.

Thank God for the Divine.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Always use Joy as your fuel

Anger is not the fuel you want to use to motivate yourself, or others.

It only adds impurities and gunks up the engine.

This engine fuels your heart.

You deserve to run on joy.

By running on joy, you will never run out of fuel.

The light of joy is eternal, and a birthright for all sentient beings.

Remember your divine light the next time you feel anger entering into your decision process. Catching yourself from going down the slippery slope of the anger wormhole will get easier with daily practice.

Anger benefits no one.

Stick with the purest energy you can find to run your body.

That energy comes directly from the Source, and is the highest and purest ingredient.

Joy, pure and simple.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Self Dominion

You are the only one who has access to your power. You are the only one who is in charge of your power.

Own your power.

Embrace it.

Embody it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The World IS Your Oyster

You are the lustrous pearl. For the pearl to grow and shine luminously, it must be lovingly coaxed by the ocean sand in the oyster. The sand is there to help it grow and become the radiant pearl for all to enjoy. As it was meant to be.

We all have lessons. They help us grow. They are not always easy. We are all unique pearls, needing lessons from the sand in order to grow. We might as well learn our lessons in a state of grace, knowing the divine world is fiercely protecting us like the oyster protects its pearl.

Shine brightly. It becomes you.

And, it becomes you.

Blessed be.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

We are all Perfectly Created Beings

People see God every day, they just don't recognize him.

----Pearl Bailey

The Divine Source is always recognizable when one looks in the eyes of a dog.

This is Faith.

This dog was born on Christmas Eve in the year 2002. He was born with three legs - two healthy hind legs and one abnormal front leg which needed to be amputated. He of course could not walk when he was born. Even his mother did not want him.

His first owner also did not think that he could survive. He was thinking of "putting him to sleep".

By this time, his present owner, Jude Stringfellow, met him and wanted to take care of him.

She was determined to teach and train this dog to walk by himself. She named him "Faith".

In the beginning, she put Faith on a surfing board to let him feel the movements. Later she used peanut butter on a spoon as a lure and a reward for him to stand up and jump around. Even the other dog at home helped to encourage him to walk. Amazingly, only after six months, Faith learned to balance on his two hind legs and jumped to move forward. After further training in the snow, he now can walk like a human being.

Faith loves to walk around now. No matter where he goes, he just attracts all the people around him.

He is now gaining fame on the international scene, and has appeared on various newspapers and TV shows.

Jude has since given up her teaching post and plans to take him around the world to preach that, "even without a perfect body, one can have a perfect soul".

(Sister Kay, thank you for sending this incredibly sweet story to me.)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Every Day is Divine Mother's Day

As it was always meant to be.

As it always will be.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Shelter Given

"Hail Mary, Full of Grapes
The Lord is a Tree"

----My sweet Canuck friend, Dolores

Friday, May 1, 2009

He who plants a tree, plants a hope

"Just as His Holiness has linked East and West, and inspired so many with his leadership and humility, so shall this tree combine the expression of a large heart and a tradition of simple service,'' Harvard University President, Drew Faust said, before giving the Buddhist leader a framed rendering of a birch tree in three seasons...

...The tree had already been planted, but there was a ditch dug around it, and a pile of dirt with four shovels so that the Dalai Lama, Faust, and the deans of the divinity and education schools could ceremonially turn over some soil. But the Dalai Lama was having none of that. When Faust turned over a timid shovelful, he said to her, simply, "too little,'' and waited for her to do more, at which point he said, "good.'' And then, after the deans did their part, he took his shovel and proceeded to circumnavigate the tree, adding dirt to cover its roots and smoothing out the ground.

Finally, he asked of no one in particular, "have you some water?" An aide brought him a plastic eco-shaped half-liter of Poland Spring with which he proceeded to lovingly water the sun-dappled green leaves.

"Good,'' he said again, before shaking a few hands, walking slowly back to his motorcade, and heading off to lunch.

---Michael Paulson, The Boston Globe, April 30th, 2009

I am so proud of my alma mater. They brought together two of my favorite divine creations, trees, and His Holiness, the XIVth Dalai Lama. Here is a picture of His Holiness planting a tree yesterday in Harvard Yard.

Harvard College was founded with the mission to educate and instill individuals with the responsibility and desire to dedicate their energies and commitment toward service. His Holiness advocates a similar devotion to service as evidenced by his tireless global work in sowing the seeds of compassion for all sentient beings.

It is May.

It is time for planting.

Sow from the heart.

Reap what you sow.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Mother Earth Day

"A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie."

----Tenneva Jordan

Love your mother.

Love as a mother.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Giving Succor

Succor - to assist and deliver from suffering.

I love words that sound like they are so scrumptious, you just want to squeeze them in a big hug. This is one of those words.

The simple act of giving succor.

Isn't it wonderful to know that you are someone who is able to assist someone in their suffering with your love?

A priceless act, as it is freely given.



Friday, April 17, 2009

A Pocket Full of Miracles

We are each of us angels with only one wing, to fly we need only embrace each other.

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.
---[The Bible - Hebrews 13:2]

I just love those new dollar coins that are now in circulation. They are bigger than a fifty cent piece and have a gold color. They remind me of the coins used in films that took place in ancient times. People carried their riches with them in leather sacks with draw strings.

It would be very cool if everyone toted 20 gold coins on his or person. When making a small purchase, such as a morning coffee, or other purchase which involves human contact, he or she would use the gold coins. For one, it forces a conversation due to the newness of the coin. Secondly, it allows an acknowledgment of an exchange between two fellow humans. Money is a tangible energy flow. Acknowledging it bears witness in a good way, and keeps the energy clear. Thirdly, a fully conscious interaction keeps people from texting or twitting and therefore not being fully present.

In this crazy busy world of ours, we often forget the overlooked interactions with strangers. I loathe that Visa commercial that embarrasses the one guy who is paying cash for his purchase, vilified for slowing down the line. It is these very interchanges we have during the course of our day that connect us to our humanity. I am also a firm believer that many seemingly coincidental exchanges with strangers are in fact angels placed on our path.

It truly is a gift to be simple, and to enjoy the simple actions of our day, especially those involving our fellow humans.

It is highly likely that during the course of your day, you will be someone else's angel. That is pretty neat.

Spread some joy and happiness...and some gold coins.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

To Thine Own Self Be True

Such a beautiful image. Ganesh represents enlightenment of the self. This joy and love of self is a result of vanquishing the ego. The ego is represented in many images with Ganesh (though not in this one) as the small mouse at his feet. Ganesh also uses the mouse as his steed. It is with the strength to harness the urge to come from ego that one learns about self love. In turn this self love frees oneself to be able to experience unconditional compassion and forgiveness toward others. That makes for a great world in which to live. Compassion and love for every sentient being is the whole point of living.

But it has to start with love of self.

Love who you are and shine bright in the knowledge that you were made perfectly.

Go hug a dog.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Life is Good

"Whoever loves and understands a garden will find contentment
----Chinese Proverb

Another glorious day in Eden.

Sadie soaks up the sun while her human caretakers tend to her garden.

Breathe deeply the joy of life.

Heaven is here on Earth.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Touch - as Essential as Breathing

"We, not only human beings, but all sentient beings -- that means those living beings who have the experience of pains and suffering, and happiness and pleasure -- so all sentient beings have same the desire: to overcome suffering and to achieve a happy life. And I think as far as the right of existence is concerned, even, you see, those trees, those other sorts of living things like trees, flowers -- every living thing has the right to exist.

So, basically, all sentient beings have the same right to have a happy life. So we human beings, certainly, from birth, everyone has the right to be a happy person and have a successful life. As a matter of fact, I feel the very foundation of our existence is our hope. Where there is hope, yes, we survive. So therefore, the very purpose of our life is happiness. Our hope is the purpose of our life."

----His Holiness, the XIVth Dalai Lama

N.B. Click on the image and experience the sweetness closer up.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Now More Than Ever

Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love,
a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.

----Mother Teresa

Monday, March 23, 2009

Breathing Glory Into Your Day

Inhale, and God approaches you.

Hold the inhalation, and God remains with you.

Exhale, and you approach God.

Hold the exhalation, and surrender to God.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

I Get a Kick Out of You

This dancing bunny just makes my whole body smile.

The happiness emanating from this image is palpable.

Breathe this energy in deeply. Feel the happiness manifest in your breast.

Feel as good as the bunny. Be the bunny.

Spring is here.

Rebirth is in the air.

Let your light shine.

Shine bright.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Tibetan "Serenity Prayer"

Om Mani Padme Hum

Tibetan Buddhists believe that saying the mantra (prayer), Om Mani Padme Hum, out loud or silently to oneself, invokes the powerful benevolent attention and blessings of Chenrezig, the embodiment of compassion. There is no wrong or right way to pronounce this mantra. Even the process of looking at the words will invoke the blessing.

In reciting Om Mani Padme Hum, one will "gradually reduce and eventually remove the fixation on your personal self, which expands your loving kindness and compassion, toward yourself and toward others, and your intelligence and wisdom becomes enhanced, allowing you to see clearly what someone really needs and to communicate with them clearly and accurately" (from an excellent website, www.dharma-haven.org).

There is so much despair in the air these days. The media is on over drive, shoving negative holograms down our throats, making it hard for people to breathe. Saying this mantra is a positive step in helping one unplug from these harmful paradigms. This enables one to reconnect with the divinity within ourselves, and to recognize it in others. The universe (God, the Divine Mother, Buddha, dogs, trees, a rose by any other name...) is the source of all love and compassion.

And, like the loving universe, His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, is said to be an incarnation of Chenrezig, the embodiment of compassion. As a humble and gracious being, His Holiness would probably just smile at this comparison.

As a teacher, His Holiness translated the mantra as follows:

"It is very good to recite the mantra Om mani padme hum, but while you are doing it, you should be thinking on its meaning, for the meaning of the six syllables is great and vast... The first, Om [...] symbolizes the practitioner's impure body, speech, and mind; it also symbolizes the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha[...]"

"The path is indicated by the next four syllables. Mani, meaning jewel, symbolizes the factors of method: (the) altruistic intention to become enlightened, compassion, and love.[...]"

"The two syllables, padme, meaning lotus, symbolize wisdom[...]"

"Purity must be achieved by an indivisible unity of method and wisdom, symbolized by the final syllable hum, which indicates indivisibility[...]"

"Thus the six syllables, om mani padme hum, mean that in dependence on the practice of a path which is an indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech, and mind into the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha. You should not seek for Buddhahood outside of yourself; the substances for the achievement of Buddhahood are within."

-- H.H. Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama, "Om Mani Padme Hum"

Considering what a joyful being His Holiness is, listening to his words of wisdom is akin to hearing from the source.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Strays are Gifts - Easter Eggs from Above

My sunshine doesn't come from the skies,
It comes from the love in my dog's eyes.

----Unknown Poet

Sister Jane did it again. She sent me an email filled with beautiful pictures of pets with their human "siblings". I thank whomever took this picture. He or she is a very loving soul who captured the sweetness of the moment.

There were many such tender images of pets emanating unconditional love for their charges. The depth of their love is palpable. And, yes, I grudgingly admit, even from the cats!

After the last picture was this quote -

Within the
heart of every stray
Lies the
singular desire to be loved.

True that.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Good Friday - Good Sabbath

It's all good.

You are the source of your happiness. That source is unlimited and always available.

So, tap into your joy, and shine brightly. This will allow others to shine brightly in your presence.

Genuine article to genuine article.


You will feel heaven on earth, and you will be home.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Be Here Now

"Patience is the companion of wisdom."

Saint Augustine (354 AD - 430 AD)

Writers write. Or, at least, that is what I was told. I have not written in awhile, but still consider myself a writer. I have always been in awe of prolific writers, such as Joyce Carol Oates, and Stephen King. They just seem to keep writing and writing, their creativity gushing endlessly.

Alas, in the here and now, I sit in my stillness, my tablet empty. Sadie, our sweet and all knowing lab, lounging on the couch beside me, says there is nothing wrong with stillness.

She suggested I search the web about stillness.

And, of course, I came upon the perfect dollop -

"Stillness is like a perfectly centered top, spinning so fast it appears motionless. It appears this way not because it isn't moving, but because it's spinning at full speed. Stillness is not the absence or negation of energy, life, or movement. Stillness is dynamic. It is unconflicted movement, life in harmony with itself, skill in action. It can be experienced whenever there is total, uninhibited, unconflicted participation in the moment you are in - when you are wholeheartedly present with whatever you are doing."

Erich Schiffmann, Moving Into Stillness, The Book

Wise lab.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

This Never Gets Old

Yes, I have posted this photograph of the nun doggie before, but I just can't help myself. The image always makes me smile. I like to think of her as Mother Superior of the Transcendent High Order of Labs. She combines two pure essences, those of the love from dogs, and the love from nuns. That together makes for a whole lot of love.

I know some really marvelous nuns. They are loving women who truly embody the essence of the divine mother.

One such nun I have been fortunate to have crossed paths with is Tenzin Ojung. We met in a Tibetan restaurant during our visit to Dharamsala. When our group entered the restaurant, I was drawn to a bright presence sitting at the corner table in the back. This bright light was a slender Caucasian woman with a shaved head, and dressed in the saffron and ochre robes of a Tibetan monk. She was a Tibetan nun. She looked over at me, smiled, and, arm outstretched, gestured for me to come over. She asked me to sit, and offered me a piece of her pizza, and some pistachios. Almost apologetic, she said she was from Italy, and missed pizza, but that the Tibetan restaurant's pizza came close. She also said she had the cook microwave the pistachios to kill any bacteria, making them safe for her to eat. Trusting her proclamation, I tasted both. And, of course, both were delicious.

She told me she always sat at the table under the framed photograph of lightning. She said her name was Ojung, which, in Tibetan, means lightning. Hence, she added, with a little upward sweep of her hand, she likes to sit below the lightning image. She told me that her birth name was Italian, but she was given the name, Ojung, when she became a nun. She received this name by His Holiness, the XIVth Dalai Lama. That is a pretty great blessing indeed.

Being in her presence, and experiencing the bright light of love and compassion that emanated from her, one could only concur with His Holiness' apt choice in name selection.

I also think it's kind of cool that her Italian name was Maria. Maria is Mary is Quan Yin is Tara is the Divine Mother. No matter what the name, the source is always the same - unconditional love. Nuns understand this. Dogs do, too.

It is our journey to embrace that way of being for ourselves, and for others. There is no greater lesson, nor none more rewarding.

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Staff of Life

"We need more cooks,
not more cookbooks."

---Charles V.W. Brooks

Bread makes itself, by your kindness, with your help, with imagination running through you, with dough under hand, you are breadmaking itself, which is why breadmaking is so fulfilling and rewarding.

A recipe doesn't belong to anyone. Given to me, I give it to you. Only a guide, only a skeletal framework. You must fill in the flesh according to your nature and desire. Your life, your love will bring these words into full creation. This cannot be taught. You already know. So please cook, love, feel, create.

---Intro to The Tassajara Bread Book, by E.E. Brown

Yesterday, Senora Gomez asked me if I had received the birthday gift from my mother. When parents pass on, they send a gift to those they love on each anniversary of their birthday. Those they love are their children. Each gift is uniquely personal to the one receiving it. It is always given with unconditional love. The more one is open to receiving this gift, the greater the love one gets to experience.

My mother baked bread. She prided herself on her yeast breads. Working with yeast requires patience, and the ability to tap into the flow of the process. Sometimes, she would make bread using those large blue Maxwell House Coffee containers. The tops of the bread would spill over, like great big chef hats.

I recall one time she was kneading some dough on the kitchen table. She was wearing her New York Times cookbook apron, and there was flour everywhere. She kept punching the dough and rolling it into itself. She laughed, and said she took her frustrations out on the dough instead of her kids.

Each Christmas she made those disgustingly sweet fruit cakes, with dried nuts and chopped candied fruit. She made them for the "goyishe" neighbors, as she shared with me that that was what they liked. We would walk together and drop them by.

As an adult, the best I have done so far is making Rice Krispy Treats for the neighbors.

Speaking of neighbors, when our bananas get too ripe, I bring them next door to Cindy. A few days later, we always seem to be the lucky recipient of some delicious banana walnut bread. This winter, however, she and Loren have gone off for some adventures in their motorhome. So, when our bananas got too ripe last week, I ventured into the land of bread making, and tried my hand at banana bread from a recipe I found online. I have to say, it was delicious. I know my mother was guiding my hand, helping me, and encouraging me.

This morning I was downstairs looking in our library for a specific book. I didn't find it, but, instead, I found my mother's copy of the Tassajara Bread Book. As I leafed through it, I cried when I got to page 117. On this page was the recipe for banana walnut bread. The page has stains and smudges on it, from years of use by my mother.

I had been led to my mother's birthday gift.

In this lovely cookbook, among a plethora of yummy recipes, there is also a recipe for Tibetan Barley Bread. We all had feasted on this delicious bread at the Chonor House in Dharamsala, India, during our visit to see His Holiness. The Tibetans are a beautiful people, and this blessed bread is a manifestation of their compassionate nature, and their reverence for life. My intention is to be worthy of being able to create that same love in my bread making.

Go and bake bread for those you love. Bask in the experience. Fill your creation with joy from your heart. The journey is a healing for both the creator of food made with love, and for those who receive your love.

Barukh attah Adonai eloheinu melekh ha-olam,
ha-motzi lechem min ha-aretz.

Blessed art Thou, LORD our God, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

It's a Small, Small World

There is just one moon,
And one golden sun.
And a smile means,
Friendship to every one.
Though the mountains divide,
And the oceans are wide,
It's a small world after all.

It's a small world after all.
It's a small world after all.
It's a small world after all.
It's a small, small world.

---Song lyrics for the Disney theme park ride

Sister Jane was so cute yesterday. She knows I like majestic photos of trees, glorious reminders of the ever presence of the Divine Mother. Well, she emailed me some pics of a "famous" tree in Africa. It has elaborate carvings of animals, and is stupendously grand in girth. I thought about using it for one of my blogs. However, later in the afternoon, I received another email from Sister Jane, the subject matter in all caps, screaming out, "I WAS WRONG!!". Jane had found out that the photo was actually of a tree in Disney World's Animal Kingdom. And, to top that...it was man made. She was mortified that she had sent me this heinous hoax. I am sure it also didn't help that I make her say Hail Mary's when she does something that drives me crazy.

But, I digress.

The tree Disney created was based on Baobob trees in Africa. The other picture underneath is of one of those noble Baobob. And, it is a real one! If you look closely (or click on the photo to enlarge it), you can see a happy person sitting at the base of the tree. She is undoubtedly receiving some truly great wisdom by sitting there.

Speaking of Disney, Walt Disney was a man who created some simple, yet universal themes in many of his rides. It is too bad that corporate greed squeezed much of the magic in later decades. And, yet, Disney's Small World ride has the staying power because of its simple message. His Holiness, the XIVth Dalai Lama, states the same idea when he says, "We are same".

We are same. Love others as you would have them love you. Anger solves nothing. Compassion and forgiveness are the keys to happiness and joy. Like the Dalai Lama, Walt almost got it right when he said Disneyland is the happiest place on Earth. He should have said, Earth is the happiest place on Earth (but then you can't charge admission...sorry, Disney Corporation!).

Once I start singing that theme song, it's hard to get it out of my head when it pops in. I am not complaining, cause it also makes me smile. I drive my dog, Sadie, crazy, but I can't stop myself. Perhaps a Hail Mary is in order!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Schooled by the Best

God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers.

~Jewish Proverb

Today is my mother's birthday. Miriam, daughter of Sarah, was an elementary schoolteacher for over 40 years. I saw a beautiful quote which reminded me of her, "The mother's heart is the child's schoolroom." My mother taught me so much about life, and the importance of continuously seeking knowledge, and to always be kind. She died almost seven years ago, right in the middle of one of her mystery book club meetings.

Patient mother of four.

Wonderful wife.

Joyful spirit.

Powerful lady.

Deeply loved and missed.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Look Who's Boss!

"You want a friend in Washington? Get a dog."

Harry S. Truman

Thursday, January 15, 2009

40 Days and 40 Nights

Sister Cindy forwarded an email to me this morning. It was entitled, "40 Tips for a Better Life in 2009". As I read each tip, I began to realize I was nodding to myself in agreement with the whole list. Across the board. I was truly impressed that someone put together such a noble list of actions and steps that can be taken on a daily basis. All this on one fluid page. A perfect and gentle reminder of all that is good. The list embodies simple daily directions for a state of grace in which to aspire. I was amused when it was pointed out to me that there were actually only 39 tips. Sadie, our lab, gave us the 40th.

Cindy told me she had put a copy of the list on her fridge. Smart girl.

I take my hat off to whoever put this particular list together. The truth in each and every kernel gives me the sense that it was divinely channeled, and without ego.

In my own personal journey, I intend on reading the complete list each day for the next 40 days, focusing on one at a time, and being open to a particular lesson with that chosen tip. Each day a new tip. Each day a new lesson in gratitude. Rinse, and repeat.

As I have mentioned in prior blogs, the universe is literal. If you ask to learn your lessons through joy and happiness, the universe responds in kind. Newton's third law of motion states that, "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." If you send out love to the universe, love will come back in kind. The same applies to the lessons you learn. The greater joy one has in learning life's lessons, the greater the learning that occurs, and the greater is the cumulative growth toward enlightenment.

This giving of love, and receiving of love, the give and take with the universe, is just one of the laws of nature, which transcends the laws of man. We are merely humble travelers along the way, trying to figure out how to enjoy giving and receiving as much love as possible...which then follows, the greater the love there is, the greater the presence of Heaven there is in the here and now, on Earth...in every day...in every moment...in every breath (and especially in the bad breath of our dogs that only their owners can love).

Grassyass for sending me such a great email, Miss Cindy!

40 Tips for a Better Life in 2009

1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.

2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.

3. Buy a DVR and tape your late night shows and get more sleep.

4. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, 'My Purpose is to __________ today..'

5. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.

6. Play more games and read more books than you did in 2008.

7. Make time to practice meditation, and prayer. They provide us with daily fuel for our busy lives.

8. Spend time with people over the age of 80 and under the age of 6.

9. Dream more while you are awake.

10. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.

11. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, salmon, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.

12. Try to make at least five people smile each day - including yourself!

13. Clear clutter from your house, your car, your desk and let new and flowing energy into your life.

14. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, OR issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead, invest your energy in the positive present moment.

15. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.

16. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.

7. Smile and laugh more. It will keep the NEGATIVE BLUES away.

18. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

20. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

21. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

22. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.

23. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

24. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years, will this matter?'

26. Forgive everyone for everything - including yourself.

27. What other people think of you is none of your business.

28. REMEMBER GOD heals everything.

29. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

30. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch...

31. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

32. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

33. The best is yet to come.

34. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

35. Do the right thing!

36. Call your family often. (Or email them to death!!!)

37. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements:

I am thankful for __________. Today I accomplished _________.

38. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

39. Enjoy the ride. Remember this is not Disney World and you certainly don't want a fast pass. You only have one ride through life so make the most of it and enjoy the ride.

40. Wag more. Bark less!