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Posts Tagged ‘meditation’

Ice and Stillness – Photos by Marc Goldring

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

It is with some shyness that I find myself at a place where water, ice, and earth greet each other. On a chill morning, it is a quiet place, one that asks little of me. Indeed it is a place that barely acknowledges its own presence – a mere shift of cloud and sunlight would change these elements in profound ways. So I notice, and honor, the tenuousness of this visual moment. It’s what I’ve been looking for without knowing it. Tramping alone, I am cold and glad to be here.

I have been attentive to edges lately, edges and decay and reflections, my old friends. What draws me is the presence of these elements and something that I feel in my heart without concept or words. In this place I am at a borderline, a small, hectic outpost of change. It is inherent in this particular and personal mix of freezing water, earth, branches, leaves, animals, wind. And what attracts me is that in this bustling inevitability there is profound stillness. It resembles moments in meditation when stillness dominates even as action becomes imaginable. I aim to appreciate stillness in whatever form it manifests.

So, our days begin lengthen as they will. We do nothing but notice and are blessed by our knowledge that can bring hints of spring. We know the ice will melt, that imagined action will emerge from stillness. What we may also remember is that our heart need not wait for some thaw, that it might sing, right now, of the flowing even when ice remains solid, when it is cold and far from thaw.



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Stillness by Joyce Rothman

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

I’m a mom, grandmother of 2 adorable toddlers, RN, spiritual seeker and writer.   I moved from Boston to Onset – the “Gateway to Cape Cod”, 7 years ago and I’m fulfilling my long held dream of living in a village by a beautiful harbor. This is the perfect setting for the simplified life that I’ve wanted and that I continue to fine tune. I started journaling 28 years ago and many years later, through writing, I connected with spirit and began channeling divine wisdom.

I’m working on a memoir called “Making Sense of It All” which is a journaled account of how this guidance has nurtured, directed and comforted me on my life path.  I enjoy exploring other writing genres: poetry that expresses whatever needs expression in my life, at the time and nature writing with a spiritual/philosophical slant. I escape so totally into the scenery when I’m in nature, that I wanted to try my hand at capturing with words what an artist might with paint.  ‘One With Nature’ blends imagery with my spiritual growth. My blog is:


Everything is still in front of me, except the top of the windmill in the distance, visible above the tree line over by the canal and Mass Maritime. The empty expanse of sand in front of me is inhabited by a lone, sun bathing gull.  Even she doesn’t move.  The blues of the water change in the bay.  Closest to shore, it’s a sun lit iridescent powder blue, taking form like a large fat V lying on its side. In its middle, are royals, ceruleans, hints of purples and grays.  Only the surface moves slightly, giving the colors more definition.  The boathouse on the point across the bay sits empty in winter hibernation.  Snow lines the banks along its shore, still white and pure even though it’s a week old.  There is no activity to muddy it up. No foot prints to mar its smooth surface.  It just sits motionless– waiting to melt, and then refreeze.  All the moorings in the bay look lonely and unattached; each one motionless and white, separate from the others.  The Yacht club is closed for the season, hidden from view by stacked layers of shrink wrapped boats in dry dock.  The old Victorian homes that line the shore on the far side of the beach add a pastel quirkiness to the calm of the water.

Stillness is all I see as I view this beach in winter.  Stillness is all I feel.  It is a different kind of quiet for me – more pronounced than when I take quiet moments in a world of motion.   This is quiet that permeates me from the outside in.  Quiet that is born from the stillness of the scene I am within.  Nothing moves except that windmill in the distance and the solitary gull who takes flight every now and then. My insides feel the change.  They have been tranquilized naturally by being present here.  I too have been slowed, much to my great surprise.  Not fond of cold weather, I usually contract and withdraw from the elements.  I realize that in doing so, I’ve missed opportunities to be quieted by the winter landscape, from the outside in. But now I know.

“Into the Majesty” music by Gary Malkin

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

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“Thoughts on Teachers and Teaching” by D. P. Boivin

Friday, January 1st, 2010

Today I would like to share some ideas on teachers and their teachings that I credit to two of my favorite writers, J. Krishnamurti and Alan Watts.

If you wanted to go to Boston and you saw an arrow that said “Boston This Way”, you wouldn’t climb up the sign and sit on it; you would go in the direction in which it pointed and you would forget all about the sign. Spiritual teachers and their methods, words and books are like signposts – they are not the destination, they are just there to help point out the way.

A few years ago Krishnamurti’s writings got so into my head that I had to put his books away for good. I am still hesitant to even read a sentence or two. I would never want to have not read him – his ideas rang so true with me and made so much sense and helped me so much – it just took a long time to be able to think about life instead of life according to Krishnamurti.

Have you ever noticed when you are meditating that you’re thinking about a book you read on meditation, or the life of some sage that you want to emulate? Or when you are walking in the woods and instead of being right there in the woods, with the trees and the birds, you are thinking about the idea of bonding with the trees and the birds? When it comes to spirituality I think we tend to get too absorbed in the teacher and the ideas, and that can get in the way of the clear-headedness we need in order to truly experience what being is. Part of this, I believe, is just human nature – we put something in our minds and there it is, we’ve got to process it for a while. But if we truly want to experience an enlightened existence like the ones all the philosophers and sages and books and magazines and websites are trying to help us experience, then we’ve got to put all that down long enough to get back to the pure simplicity of the SELF and NATURE.

We can absorb others’ ideas and put them to use just as we can read a street sign and then find our way, but we need to be able to then dismiss that signpost from our minds.

I truly believe that we have everything we need to live a good, rewarding life. We just need to take good care of ourselves, body and mind. Too much of a good thing is bad, right? Just as we are careful not to overeat, perhaps we should be careful not to over stimulate our minds. A mind needs plenty of rest, too!

“Stone Ships of Sweden” music by Win Ridabock

Friday, January 1st, 2010

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Win RidabokWin at the Blomsholm stone ship setting where he recorded “Stone Ships of Sweden”.

A Brief Resurrection, part 3 of 3 by Tova Gabrielle

Monday, November 30th, 2009

This is an endearing tale of a bird that had a soul. For us it is about love and how life demands both acceptance and surrender.

A Brief Resurrection, last part

We no sooner got there than, to our astonishment, she lifted her head. “My God, She’s alive!” I called out, quickly scooping her up. We frantically called information to find a vet and discovered an animal hospital that was open all night. It was an hour away. The vet told us that she would most likely die within hours. I looked down into her face and thought, oddly, of a lion.

In a last ditch effort, he gave her an injection of steroids to reduce the swelling in her head. At our insistence, he returned her to us, warning us that birds can’t be expected to survive head traumas. Jim and I sensed that if anything was keeping her alive it was our connection with her. Like a string, our mutual affection seemed to be tugging her in, as if she were a kite, being pulled against winds imminent death.

Birds are ingenious at “keeping things light”. Back home, in my bedroom, she had an indescribably serene “smile” on her face, as she lay, breathing shallowly, upon my chest. “Clydo, we love you! What a bird! Stay with us! You can do it!” we begged.

Tonight, lamentably, there were to be no ardent protests; only acquiescent grunts when we were naming Clyde’s closest people. When I named Gershon, she grunted louder. And at the mention of my son, I could feel her heartbeat increase and felt a slight shiver pass through her. All night, she lay on my chest with a blissful look that transcended all physical constraints. Her good nature emanated through her breathing and a deep peace filled the room as she rested, sometimes with eyes semi-open and other times closed. We were begging her to stay with it, not to go, when it hit me that perhaps it was selfish to wish this on her. What did she want?

It is a fact that when a storm is approaching, eagles will sense it and perch on the highest branches they can find. There, they allow increasing winds to help lift them high above the dark clouds. They soar above the storm, returning to Earth only after it passes.

As the dark clouds of our grief had gathered, Clyde seemed to be patiently waiting out our storm in a transcendent state that soothed our resistance to her final flight.

During that night we reasoned: Clearly, she could not remain in that twisted body… Wasn’t it enough to have these last hours together with her…She seemed to be gliding into some invisible expansion of space. Sensing her gentle rapture, we felt blessed, and finally even resolved. During the night, our dread had changed to acceptance.

At 7 A.M. I opened my eyes to see Clyde lifting her head from my chest, opening both eyes wide, and looking right at me. I thought, “My God, she’s recovered!” as she flapped her wins once–hard. And then just as suddenly her body stiffened. I knew beyond any shadow of doubt that she was gone.

What remained was no longer beautiful. Her mouth was open and I could see blood. I turned to Jim to tell him she had just died but he was not listening— not to me, anyway. Instead he was having a vision of Clyde: having flown out of her lifeless body with that one final flap of her wings, she took off like a shot. Then, returning briefly, he watched as she joyously circled our heads, before taking off for good.

The End


Blessing Humanity – Nancy Gibson

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Nancy Gibson is an artist, writer, and musician. We are told that she’s a fascinating person with all kinds of experiences, worldly and ethereal. We look forward to more of her writing.

Fall on Campus – Emily J.

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Emily is a good family friend and photography student. She is one of those people who lights up a room with her enthusiasm, joy and love. She is an excellent dancer and has proven to be a staunch friend and collaborator to one of our daughters.

Emily J. says of her photographs:

I took these in the fall on my college campus. I like taking pictures during the daytime. The sunlight is what brings so much beauty to the photographs. The colors in the pictures are very vibrant, especially those of the fall leaves. Taking pictures, for me brings me closer to nature, and allows me to be a more careful observer. It allows me to become more spiritual.

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A Lesson in Gratitude, part 2 of 2 by Daniel A. Brown

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

As Thanksgiving approaches, this tale helps me to remember gratitude. Gratitude is a doorway through which the blessings of The Universal Friend flow into our lives.

A Lesson in Gratitude
Part 2 of 2
©2008 Daniel A. Brown

After a shower and some blessed hours of sleep, we joined the family for dinner. To my dying day, I’ll never forget the meal we were served. It consisted of Kraft’s macaroni and cheese, Wonder Bread and “cherry” Kool-Aid. Now, normally, I don’t eat food like this. Wonder Bread is bread in name only, all the nutrients being sucked out of it before being baked into some tasteless white glop. Kool-Aid is basically sugar mixed with red dye #2 that causes cancer in mice and the cheese in the macaroni comes from a fluorescent powder that is probably extracted from a nuclear waste dump. In all, this meal was un-natural, un-organic, and unhealthy.

I ate every bite.

I did so because the meal was offered to us with the purest of love and to refuse it would have been rudeness bordering on blasphemy. Had they served a cake baked with rat poison for dessert, I still would have shared it, convinced that the loving energy in which it was offered would have counter-balanced any potential harm. Thirty years later, I am still thankful for this particular meal.

Over the recent years, I have joined the Buddhist monks and nuns of our local Peace Pagoda on various pilgrimages around the nation. I noticed that, because they depend on the benevolence of strangers, they aren’t picky about the food they are offered. Thus, I have seen them offer prayers of thanks for meals ranging from a bowl of brown rice to a plate of greasy fried chicken straight from Fry-o-lator Hell. It’s all the same to them and they only express displeasure at some of their more spoiled pilgrims who reject a meal because of what is euphemistically referred to as “food issues”. For those of you outside the loop, “food issues” are manifested by people who won’t eat this or that for a long list of real or imagined health or social issues. Being privileged Americans, they are free to accept and reject what is available to eat to make sure that only the purest, healthiest and fair-traded foods enter their delicate systems.

Unfortunately, billions of people in other parts of the world suffer from “food issues” too. If they don’t find something to eat, they and their children starve to death. To me, that’s the ultimate “food issue”.

In retrospect, I try to eat a balanced and healthy diet (as long as it includes pizza and coffee). But I also try to stop and remind myself to express gratitude and thanks for the fact that I am eating and don’t suffer either from physical want or the fear of want. There but for the grace of God go all of us in the shoes of those who are hungry and have little on their plates. They don’t have the luxury of choice. We do.

A Brief Resurrection, part 2 of 3 by Tova Gabrielle

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

This is an endearing tale of a bird that had a soul. For us it is about love and how life demands both acceptance and surrender.

A Brief Resurrection, part 2

As people became scarce in my life, I thanked Clyde for helping me to sort out who my “real” friends were, and continued accommodating and denying. How could I overlook that my child was a genius? Clyde, along with her sidekick, Timmy the male Goffins Cockatoo, learned to go into and stay in the trees behind my house, and to fly in for dinner and warmth at night.

When I would be gone, Timmy became an expert at picking locks. He would escape the aviary and proceed on his mission of freeing her from her cage. (Goffins are known to become dangerously aggressive if caged together; although, in wider expanses, they will get along fine, as Clyde and Timmy did in the trees.) I stopped putting Clyde in the aviary when I observed that she would approach Timmy sexually and then, when he’d reject her, she try killing him.

I’d return home to find dishes knocked over, flowers eaten, and banisters chewed. That was when I began whispering to my family about selling her. Whispering because, when I spoke of such horrors, Clyde turned her back and ignored me for a while.

Ultimately, Clyde bypassed reasoning and got to my heart. From turning summersaults on her stand, to perching on my head and combing my hair with her beak, she tried her best to help. Her favorite favor was helping sort laundry, especially socks: jumping into my drawers and throwing them on the floor.

Well, I guess a supernatural bird like Clyde couldn’t go on like that forever, nor could I….

A breeder had warned me long ago that when you work with birds you are working with wild animals. Unlike cats and dogs, they are not acclimated to domesticity. He said, “sooner or later, you’re going to lose one.” We’ve only been working with birds for two decades at most.

“You just can’t anticipate all the things that can go wrong.”

Tragically, the breeder’s words were to come true…. Clyde, who got into everything, died from a freak household accident when a vase fell on her in the confusion of moving….

Yet, even at death’s door she communicated a boundless affection:

After her vital functions had apparently quit, I’d wrapped her in my dark green wool poncho and carried her out to the woods behind my house. I placed her gently, with wings spread and head down, covering her lightly with leaves so I could spot her. I’d return when my grief subsided, along with my partner Jim, and give her a proper burial.

An hour or 2 later, Jim and I donned a flashlight and climbed the pine needle laden hill on which she lay, but we could not find her. We were calling to her, saying Clyde, we love you, Clyde we are sorry,” when I finally spotted the white of her tail, yelling to Jim, “Over here!”

To be continued next week…