the online magazine for seekers of spiritual and universal truth

Posts Tagged ‘spirituality’

Wisdom Article

Monday, November 30th, 2009

This month, December 2009, Mark Alvin’s artwork is on the cover of Wisdom Magazine, (a free, New Age, Spiritual publication), both in their print editions and in their on-line magazine. Go to after December 1 to view the cover. We also wrote an article for Wisdom Magazine about for an upcoming issue, which we are sharing here, to give our readers a look at where we have been and a sneak peek at where we are going.

We are also very excited about our quarter page article in Wisdom and are reprinting it here for your pleasure. Healingwheel is turning in new and unexpected ways. Thanks to our friend Ted Slipchinsky for setting this up for us.

The motionless center of

Wisdom Mag Healing Wheel AdIn a coffee shop on Cape Cod in the dead of winter sit two men deeply engrossed in a conversation about living life from a deeper sense of Spiritual awareness. One is Bert Jackson, a jazz guitarist, web entrepreneur, chef and spiritual seeker. The other is Mark Alvin, artist, musician, sculptor and philosopher. Their meeting is the first of many during 2009.

They decided in those early meetings to rebuild a very successful web site, that Mark created in 2006 devoted to video healing affirmations. The new version of this project that both men are now passionately involved in is expanded to include the artwork, music, writing, video and photography of a growing community of creative people, all of whom share the original vision of Healingwheel: the ability inherent in all people to heal themselves and each other through the sharing of deep personal expressions of love, wisdom and compassion through the arts. Mark and Bert have discovered that most of the people that they have shared their vision with have an almost urgent need to express themselves on a deeper level, to write, create and share in ways that express their innate spiritual selves, and to pass that great wisdom on to others. Both men believe that common to us all, particularly today, is a profound need to live life more purposefully and to express their own inner voices more clearly.

Mark says that this common purpose is expressed in the Healingwheel logo that he created. “Our logo represents a vast circle of humanity, all joined by a single source of life, light and creativity. I saw this vision in meditation in 2006 and knew that it was time to wind down my work as a product designer for Waterford and Lenox and focus more upon drawing others into a common sense of spiritual brother/sisterhood.”

Content is beginning to pour into from some very talented and aware people. The site has regular contributors that include life coach and award winning photographer, Cathy Drew, musician, composer and studio owner Joe Podlesny, fine artist and writer Daniel A. Brown and mystic singer songwriter Theodore Slipchinsky and singer songwriter Frank Morgan. Mark believes that there is something profound about the level of beauty and raw honesty that has been shown by the contributors to Healingwheel thus far. “It is both humbling and awe-inspiring to see the depth with which each individual sees their place in the cosmos”, says Mark. “Each person who shares with us is wholly unique, yet their thoughts seem like my own”.

Mark, his wife Sally and Bert have opened a store on Healingwheel where they are selling the giclee prints and greeting cards of Mark’s artwork. The store will also be selling the work of selected Healingwheel contributors in early 2010. Judging by the number of hits the site has received since the new version went live in August 2009, the creative wheels will be turning in many minds. “The center of the wheel, like our one vast, common spiritual center”, says Mark, “is motionless.”

When you visit Healingwheel be sure to check out their community section and their store.

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…


Nancy Gibson’s Writings

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

We have just discovered Nancy Gibson’s beautiful writing and would like to welcome her to the Wheel. She’s 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.


The Holy Spirit
in a peach

its fragrance
its flavor
its texture

its color
its glory
and nectar

A gift unimpeached
for all who would eat
with gratitude,
and pleasure.

Nancy Gibson


withdrawing into timeless realms
the Spiritsoul of Being
lapses into such serenity
no thought occurs
no memories intrude

The stillness of the Sacred stirs
more gently than a merest breeze
until such Being breathes anew
and slowly wakens
to where its meant to be.

or true Community
It matters not, the name.
the grand enchanting heartfelt

Yes!  Oh Yes!  I’m here at last!

Nancy Gibson


We are drawn on thru space millions of miles per moment – somehow. The great Planet Earth receives countless inspirations every microsecond just as each human space vehicle (body) breathes thru every one of its thousands of pores each instant.

In-spire – to breathe in.
Con-spire – to breath together!

And so we all do breathe the breath of Creation: our breathing mirrors Earth’s; hers mirrors ours.

Take a breath. Breathe You into inner space. Feel You fill that spaciousness inside. Feel it pulse. Let it rock You gently. Be with this Inner Knowing You. This Knower is one part of the Human Psyche

Nancy Gibson

Visit her web site and read more of her work here

Amanda Michele Photography

Saturday, November 21st, 2009


Amanda Michele O’Dell Jones, known to friends as Mandy, specializes in nature and children’s photography. Her work, which has been showcased in local galleries, can be found in the homes of many families throughout her community.

My story:

Photographs and the stories they tell have always fascinated me. As a child, I could often be found with a photo album in hand lost in the images that lay before me. Now, in the early years of adulthood, I have developed an appreciation and an interest for the process of creating timeless images that will tell my story for years to come. To some it may seem a natural happening, the progression from simply admiring the work of others to creating your own masterpieces. However, my story is not quite that simple.

Last June the 5th to be exact, my mother passed away from a rare blood disease, which she had been battling for just over 6 years. She was only 61. She was the strongest person I knew and I struggle with anger at the fact that her body wasn’t as strong as her will. My mother was my super hero, my idol, and my best friend. I had built my life around her, as I wanted to be just like her.

Here I am 5 months after her passing, realizing that I am 28 years old and have no idea who I am or where my life is heading. A wave of emotions have been surging through me and in the midst of the disaster that was once my mind, one emotion stands out above the rest: lost. Where do I belong? Who do I fit in with? Who is going to be my number one supporter now? Who is going to always be there for me, loving me unconditionally? As I was driving to work one foggy morning a family of deer crossed the road in front of me. I don’t know what it was about seeing those magnificent creatures but the question that I should have been asking myself became clear; “How are you going to redefine yourself? Don’t you think it’s about time you discovered who you really are?”

I was with my Mother that dreadful morning in hospital when the doctors shared the news that she had only days left with us on Earth. She was using every ounce of strength she had to maintain her composure and for once I couldn’t tell what she was thinking. While choking back tears I was able to ask her “What are you thinking? Do you want to talk about it?” I will never forget the expression that came across her face as she looked me in the eyes and said, “There’s still so much I want to do.”

I am sure we are all going to feel this way when our time comes but her words inspired me to do more with my life. To develop dreams of my own and do all that is within my power to achieve them. Looking back, I know that it was that moment in the hospital and her words that lead me to the beginning of my journey toward self-discovery.

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Reflections by Mark Alvin

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

Mark Alvin

These are several layers of recordings that we pieced together over a period of a few nights in our living room. There is a reading of the Gita, and two or three conversations in the background. The guitars were a completely extemporaneous thing, unplanned, unstructured.

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A Lesson in Gratitude, part 1 of 2 by Daniel A. Brown

Thursday, November 12th, 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.

As kids growing up in 1950’s America, our family observed the standard Thanksgiving ritual of going around the table and declaring what we had to be thankful for. Being raised in privilege, my sister and I took everything for granted and couldn’t really think of anything truly humbling. So instead, we mumbled some cliché we probably heard on television and waited for the turkey to be carved. Back then we knew that other children were starving in China and India but had no idea that they were equally hungry right up the street in Harlem and down the road in Appalachia.

The concept of gratitude never sank in until later in life and in a rather unusual manner. During my stint with the Renaissance Community, I was part of a commercial painting crew that remodeled the S. S. Kresge and J. J. Newberry five-and-dimes that inhabited small-town America before they were destroyed by Wal-Mart. While the work was mundane, the method was anything but. We would arrive Saturday afternoon just as the store closed, unroll huge sheets of plastic to cover the long aisle-length counters, set up the spray gun and work non-stop until opening time on Monday morning, a period of 40 straight hours without sleep, fueled by a healthy diet of cigarettes, coffee and Brach’s Kandy Korns.

It’s the kind of crazy adventure you cherish in your youth and subsequently bore your grandchildren with. And it’s one of the verities of youth is that you can accomplish anything if the music is loud enough. On that Monday morning, however, we found ourselves too understandably exhausted to drive all the way back to Turners Falls so we tried to find a motel to collapse in. But Lake George on a long July 4th holiday weekend offered no such advantage so we did the only thing smart painting contractors could do. We went to the nearest Benjamin Moore paint store and asked the lady behind the counter if she knew a place where we could crash. She responded that we could stay overnight with her and her family which surprised us completely. Here we were, a gang of tired, shaggy hippies, aromatic with sweat and Thin-X, being welcomed into the home of a solid American citizen. But our weariness outweighed our wariness so off we went to her tidy ranch house just outside of town. Upon meeting her husband and kids, part of the mystery of her kindness was explained. Her husband was wheelchair bound; suffering from a degenerative disease that he knew would eventually kill him. Since his infirmity, most of his friends had deserted him, a shock which had taught him the finer points of generosity. Thus, we were graciously invited into his home.

©2008 Daniel A. Brown