being here

I’m glad I’m alive, I love this world, and though it has much more than its share of tragedy, I’m happy to be here. And I’m going to continue to believe that we humans are born with the capacity to grow through all kinds of experiences, and that we came with support, and a limitless supply of love to distribute. 

This weekend I read quite a few FaceBook postings; some told a story of kind and compassionate people, and other postings would have given me a big headache if I had thought too deeply about what some people were trying to convey. That’s okay, everyone has a right to their own “story.” And everyone has a right to detach from another’s “story.” 

The fact is that the whole day long we’re all thinking numerous thoughts, and those thoughts can send us into a hopeless state, or uplift us . . . depending.

The game of life – sometimes we lose; sometimes we win. Though even in the so-called losing (after we pick ourselves up and put ourselves back together again), I bet many of us would say that it’s still good to be here.


“wife of the deceased”

Below is a press release from my friend and author Dawn Bell. Please take a look at her fascinating story and ability to cope and persevere in the face of tragedy.

Dawn’s contact information is below and here is a link to her book & story,

R.I.P. Matt



Local Woman Releases Memoir Detailing the Tragic Loss of Her Husband

Dawn Bell of Winter Park releases her book “Wife of the Deceased” in early October 2014. Paperback and Kindle eBook versions will be available on Amazon. The Nook eBook will be listed on Barnes & Noble, and iBook will be available through Apple.
While turning the pages of this extremely raw and uncensored memoir, the reader will become familiar with the devastation, pain, and anger Dawn experienced after the sudden and unexpected death of her husband of 14 years. The memoir is drawn from her journal entries documenting the three and a half years following that terrible day. She suffered mentally, emotionally, and physically while trying to care for the couple’s 4-year old daughter.

Living their Dream Life Together

Dawn and Matt Bell moved to sunny Central Florida from wintry Wisconsin in late 1999 so Matt could attend flight school in Sanford. Shortly after graduation, he was hired as a cargo pilot for UPS. Dawn and Matt seized every opportunity to travel around the world and see places they’d only read about in books and magazines. The couple’s dream of parenthood became a reality in 2006 when they welcomed their daughter, Ava Elizabeth into the world. The Bell family made their home in Sanford. Everything felt perfect.

Her World Shattered

On September 3, 2010, that all changed. The UPS cargo plane Matt and another pilot were flying was overcome by fire and crashed in Dubai. Both men died. The tragedy headlined newscasts around the globe. After the extensive accident investigation, Matt’s body was finally sent home for friends and family to say goodbye. Then life was supposed to get back to normal, but that never happened for Dawn. Grief consumed her at a level she never thought possible.

Her Desire to Help Others

Dawn wrote her story to help others understand what a day in the life of a griever looks and feels like. Her goal was to create a resource for others experiencing a tragic loss. She said, “If reading about my experience can help just one other person get through the grieving process, I will consider it a success.”
Dawn will be signing copies of “Wife of the Deceased” on Saturday, October 4, 2014 from 2:30-5:30pm at Park Plaza Gardens in Winter Park. The public is welcome. For more information and to set up an interview with Dawn Bell, please call (702) 577-7509 or email me at

I’m wishing all of us a happy 2014 new year


Wherever we are may the year ahead bring untold gifts our way, and bring us to new heights in ways we can’t yet imagine. And may harmony, tranquility, serenity, peace be our guides. And may we experience an overwhelming sense of what it truly means to be alive on Planet Earth at this time. May our hearts open to each other. And may compassion and understanding follow all of us wherever we go. May the gifts that have been dormant in us be used now. And if we are offended by anyone may we respond with love – never taking it personally, just because . . . . May we be a part of the change happening on Earth at this time, and may we ask Source for the best way to accomplish this. May the focus in our lives not be so much on ourselves as on all living beings. May we be grateful, and know that we’re all an important part of life on Planet Earth.

And . . . may we all experience perfect right health, unconditional love, abundance, inspiration, laughter, success (whatever that means to us), beauty, creativity, fun, joyful adventures, loving relationships, happiness, a sense of fearlessness because we trust our world, and the courage to be our ever evolving selves.

This is the last day of 2013, Wow! – let’s all enjoy.

In my part of the world –




Nelson Mandela’s life of love and compassion by Lorna Byrne


Join in a day of prayer that our leaders will be inspired by Mandela’s example – This Sunday
Nelson Mandela’s life of love and compassion has touched us. He showed us how leadership could be and has made us yearn for more from our leaders.

On this Sunday, the 15th of December – the day Mandela’s physical remains are laid to rest – I am asking you to join me and others, of all faiths, around the world in praying for our leaders; In praying that leaders, of groups big and small, across all areas -political, economic, social and religious will be inspired by Nelson Mandela’s example and start to listen more. That they will see alternative solutions and start to make the decisions that are needed to create a peaceful and more just world.

Your prayer on Sunday might just be five minutes, it might be much longer, it might be in a church, a mosque a synagogue or it might be as you walk in nature, or watch your children play. The important thing is that YOU make a conscious decision to pray for our leaders on this day, and pray and ask with all your heart. The words are not important – the intention is. Prayer is so powerful, particularly when people of different faiths pray together for the same thing, at the same time. I am calling on you and people across the world to join in prayer. I will be praying with you from 9.00 am until 9.00 pm here in my home in Ireland.

We will not be praying alone. We never in fact pray alone, our guardian angels always join us, as do a multitude of angels of prayer. Every time you pray, even if it is only one word, the angels of prayer are like a never-ending stream, flowing at tremendous speed to Heaven with your prayers enhancing it.

The angels called Mandela “The man who walked with his soul forward all the time”, they told me he was the greatest spiritual leader of our times. Mandela has given us a glimpse of how our world could be if our leaders listened more, put justice and humanity’s well being first and resisted the temptations of power, glory or money. We will feel his loss here in this world but the angels tell that his soul in heaven is already interceding with God for us to help us create a better world.

The angels are telling me that this day of prayer could make a big difference. Do join us all in prayer on Sunday, and let others know so as they can join in also.

©Lorna Byrne 2013.

a condo with a view


This is a neighborhood in Cuenca, and if you look closely, you’ll see a small part of the Rio Yanuncay – although, at first I thought it was the Paucarbamba. However, one day a taxi driver explained the flow of the rivers to me, in Spanish, and pointed to the one in question, and I managed to catch, it’s the Yanuncay. Better to go along with him than me. And in the background are the beloved mountains that can be gorgeous, solemn, seemingly threatening, dramatic, or, at a moment’s notice, become invisible – depending on the weather and the time of day they’re seen. Getting up in the morning and looking at these two beauties of nature while enjoying a cup of coffee makes me want to dance around the wrap-around- terrace.

The apartment where I’m temporarily staying is in an Ecuadorian neighborhood in a lovely area having friendly people. And when I need a translator someone seems to be right there at my side speaking English. And this gringo is grateful for so much help. When I gave up my apartment located across from the Mercado San Francisco in El Centro to condo-sit, so to speak, for a friend who had to leave for a while, I willingly took a chance for the splendid views, the Chi machine my friend left, and for the wonderful experience. I’m trusting that at the end of two-months another delightful place with a view of the mountains, or the river, or both, will be mine. I trust. Oh, yes!

I hope your day was all you wanted it to be.

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“You have the answer to every problem in the recesses of your mind.
The filters of the world just get in the way.
Feel your inner voice.” Kaya Wittenburg

“Hurry is a manifestation of fear. He who fears not has plenty of time.”
– Wallace Wattles

Lake Shrine Meditation

I can’t remember how many times I read Autobiography of a Yogi through the years. So, when I read the following on Kimberly Rinaldi’s blog, by way of twitter, and it said “Share The Knowledge” I gladly decided to do just that.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


A few weeks ago I was graciously invited to join a group of my fellow spiritually connected friends for an afternoon in the Malibu area. Our first order of the day: a trip to Lake Shrine in Pacific Palisades. This gorgeous place has been around longer than I have.

I am almost embarrassed to say I have passed it dozens, if not hundreds, of times in my life and never even knew it was there. I was moved by the peace, serenity and beauty of this place. We were all able to get a quiet meditation in and share the beauty of the locale with good friends. I know I will return and I highly recommend you make the trip as well.

The Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine is a mere few blocks walking distance from the Pacific Ocean, on Sunset Boulevard in Pacific Palisades, California. On the weekend its tiny parking lot is often full, so walk you might. But trust me, it’s well worth the hike up hill.

Founded by Paramahansa Yogananda, yogi and guru who introduced many westerners to the teachings of meditation and Kriya Yoga through his book, Autobiography of a Yogi.

Since 1950, this 10-acre site with gardens and natural spring-fed lake has been home to a variety of flora and fauna, including swans, ducks, koi, lotus flowers and rose garden. Try to find a place devoid of peace and beauty here, it’s impossible.

The grounds also include the Mahatma Gandhi World Peace Memorial, where a portion of Gandhi’s ashes are enshrined, a small museum with exhibits on Paramahansa Yogananda’s work, some of his collections, a Dutch windmill converted into a chapel (if you can, spend some time in here the energy is amazing) and a gift shop with arts and crafts from India.

The rose garden is home to the Court of Religions featuring the symbols of the five principal religions of the world: a cross for Christianity, a Star of David for Judaism, a Wheel of Law for Buddhism, a Crescent Moon & Star for Islam, and the Om symbol for Hinduism.

No one will bother you here. No one will preach at you, lecture you, or try to convert you. The grounds are open to the public and are as non-intimidating as a park. The gardens are designed to offer peace and serenity to all visitors, of all faiths; a spot where you can relax amidst the natural surroundings and contemplate the mysteries and miracles of life. My preference is weekday visits due to the parking constraints and fewer visitors, but either weekend or weekday, this is a must visit.

17190 Sunset Boulevard
Pacific Palisades, California 90272-3099
Telephone: (310) 454-4114

Hours of operation
Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Sunday, 12:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Mondays and holidays closed

Posted on May 13, 2013

milton’s secret

Have you heard of Barnet Bain? He’s produced and written screenplays for a number of wonderful movies. And he’s making a movie called Milton’s Secret with Eckhart Tolle and Robert Friedman – the writers of the book the movie is based on. Milton’s Secret is a children’s movie. I like children’s movies – a lot of adults do; so we’re in.

Recently I watched Lilou Mace interviewing Barnet Bain on the juicyliving website, and enjoyed hearing words like transformation, spirituality, consciousness being discussed. It was nice!

20131111-122506.jpg Barnet Bain said that Milton’s Secret will have “crowd funding” backing it, therefore, it’ll “stay true to the values in the book . . . ” and he said . . . “The inside of the characters change, unlike hollywood movies where the outside life of the characters change.”

Want to have a delicious treat? Check out the Lilou Mace interview at
and all the happenings at . . . and

Now, are you ready for an amazing day? I know I am.

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“If you don’t like the world you see outside, try and perfect the one you find within.”
– Simon Boylan

” . . . Be your own lamp,” he said. “Seek no other refuge but yourselves. Let Truth be your guide.”
– the Buddha (from the movie, The Story of India with Michael Wood)

“You have the answers to every problem in the recesses of your mind. The filters of the world
just get in the way. Feel your inner voice.”
– Kaya Wittenburg

A few more things to like about Cuenca

There are a lot of reasons I like Cuenca in Ecuador, and the relationship is ever evolving.

At the moment it’s thundering and the rains are about to fall heavily. I’m trying to be blasé about rain and being caught in a downpour, usually without an umbrella, because I watch the Ecuadorians take it in their stride. For the most part, they’re a patient people, and they teach the art of patience to foreigners.

There have been a few taxi drivers who have no qualms about giving a foreigner the hairy eyebrow. Happily they’re the exception. I don’t mind, I just sit quietly in the taxi knowing that most taxi drivers are glad to practice speaking English, or teaching Spanish, during the ride along streets whose names I’m learning to pronounce. And the cost of the ride? That seems to be a little game we play when we reach the destination – a game I’m becoming fairly good at.

Have you heard of Todos Santos? It’s another reason to like Cuenca. Todos Santos is a restaurant (actually more than a restaurant) I had the pleasure of dining at on 5 November with five wonderful friends. Ellie and I were the first ones to arrive, and we met gracious Mauricio. He was standing in a very large and lovely and very old hall. He told us to follow him downstairs to the room where dinner would be served. He showed us the organic garden nearby. Mauricio spoke fluent English – he had lived in Chicago for five years. Now he was chef/ waiter/bus boy/storyteller, and whatever else was needed for a customer’s dining pleasure. A large group of diners entered and Mauricio left us, but not before we had the glasses of wine we had ordered. Being in that room felt good. Marion, Cindy, Lorraine, and Frank, who was visiting from Oregon, arrived – prepared for,a scrumptious meal because they’d heard good things about Todos Santos. We all chatted for a while, and then Mauricio was back with menus. He talked about the food and the big stone oven that was used many decades ago by the nuns, and now used by him. When dinner was over (suffice it to say that we all enjoyed our meals), and we were the only ones left in the restaurant, he regaled us with the history of the convent and church which now also houses a little shop and the panaderia-restaurant. The bread is still made exactly as the nuns made it many moons ago. The old church has been under renovation and is scheduled to reopen soon. And the convent which used to house a hundred nuns, now has six living there. There are quite a few unoccupied rooms at Todos Santos. I would love to know the history of those rooms. Another time perhaps.

Today I went to Todos Santos to take a picture of Mauricio. It was packed – there was “no room at the inn” for one more diner. When you come to Ecuador, don’t leave before dining in Cuenca at Todos Santos – it’s not just about food; it’s also about history and Mauricio, and the way Todos Santos is evolving. I think you’ll like it.
Direccion: Calle Large 5-19 y Mariano Cueva

And so, almost every day the reasons for liking Cuenca unfold in the nicest of ways.

I hope your day was a lovely one.

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I have found that if you love life, life will love you back. – Arthur Rubinstein

You can either bend with the inevitable sleet storms of life –
or you can resist them and break! – Dale Carnegie

oil pulling


Three weeks ago I got a text from my daughter Emi asking if I did oil pulling in the morning. Hmm, whatever could that be? I asked myself. And wrote a text back saying “No, what is oil pulling?” She responded with this, “Put about 2 teaspoons of a high quality oil, coconut, olive, sesame, on a spoon, put in your mouth, and swish for 20 minutes.” Then she forwarded to me for a more thorough explanation – search “Oil Pulling for Oral Health.”

Wellness Mama has the oil pulling story down pat, here is a portion of it, and for the rest of the story, click onto the website.
“What is Oil Pulling?
Oil pulling is an age-old remedy that uses natural substances to clean and detoxify teeth and gums. It has the added effect of whitening teeth naturally and evidence even shows that it is beneficial in improving gums and removing harmful bacteria!

“The basic idea is that oil is swished in the mouth for a short time each day and that this action helps improve oral health. Just as with Oil Cleansing for the skin, the principle of “like dissolves like” applies, as oil is able to cut through plaque and remove toxins without disturbing the teeth or gums.

“The practice of oil pulling started in India thousands of years ago, and from my research, was first introduced to the United States in the early 1990s by a medical doctor named Dr. F. Karach, who used it with success in his medical practice.”

Some people have said to me, “I can’t do that for 20 minutes every morning!” Actually, once in a routine it’s rather easy, and think of the benefits. Everything doesn’t have to come to a halt while you’re swishing. Keep doing what you normally do to get going in the morning, while swishing and swishing. AND after 20 minutes, spit out in a garbage can, rinse with salt water, and brush teeth.

Are you having a lovely Thursday? I hope so.

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@Philo_Notes: What I want for myself, I want for everybody. #WallaceWattles