comings and goings in ecuador


In the nine months I’ve lived in Cuenca, I’ve heard stories about expats trying to decide whether to stay or leave, and at Stateside stories of people trying to decide whether to move here, or elsewhere in the world.

It seems more than a few people base their decisions on other people’s experiences; they think that what works for that person will work for them. That’s not necessarily the case. Why would we want to plan our lives by what another person does? Their energy, experiences, memories, likes and dislikes are completely different from our own.

Questioning the lay of the land, etc. is important, then if it seems the right fit, we continue with the lay of the heart. This is another way of pondering what to do . . . because the within has its own wonderful methods of arriving at decisions. Sitting still for a while will welcome an all-important decision-maker – one that knows, one we can trust, one who is eager to assist – if we would just let it play its part, too.

When I look back at the times in my life when I followed someone else’s line of reasoning, and put my own aside, things didn’t flow. Of course it’s a different story when we’re in a helpless state, and unable to figure things out ourselves, on the whole though that’s not usually the case.

Learning self-love is a crucial part of the process, and from there we can go on to learning to trust ourselves. Then we learn to trust Life. It’s a nice way to live.

20140510-180248.jpg Look at the usually tranquil Rio Tomebamba with its waves of water rushing pass – thanks to rain, rain, rain. I like it; it’s so alive.

quiet by susan cain

I found a book at Carolina Bookstore in Cuenca; it’s called Quiet The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. It’s written by Susan Cain. I don’t think this book could have been written any better. To read it is to have a clear understanding of what it means to be an introvert. And, if you’re an extrovert, you’ll discover things about yourself that will enhance your life; things you never stopped to think about before because you were always so busy. I’m an introvert and, for most of my life, have been surrounded by a lot of extroverts. And, so I say, If you’re an introvert Quiet will rescue you from thinking you’re a bit anti-social. And if you’re an extrovert, Quiet will enhance your life by giving you a chance to take a breather from your daily strivings. So . . . introvert and extrovert, this well-researched, wonderfully interesting, completely absorbing book just might give you both a new lease on life.

Could Quiet possibly be one of the best books extroverts and introverts can give each other – on this special day? Quite possibly, yes.

Happy Valentine’s Day and ¡Feliz Día de la Amistad! (Day of Friendship in Latin America) to all you introverts and extroverts!


rick archer and steve m. taylor


I watched an interview with Rick Archer interviewing Steve Taylor who wrote Back To Sanity: Healing the Madness of Our Minds. Have you read it? I would describe it by using two words taken from Emmet Fox’s writings. Back To Sanity was for me “thrillingly interesting.”

Some questions seem to not have satisfactory answers, and that certainly includes the ones about spirituality. Well, if you’re ready to hear a meaningful dialogue about the state of our world, awakening, the ego, and some other rather important and interesting subjects having to do with the human race, you’ve nothing to lose and much to gain by sitting quietly and watching and listening attentively to the Buddha at the Gas Pump interview.

A short meditation at the end by Steve Taylor, and a reading by him of two of his poems guides the listener, along with the rest of the interview, to a new kind of knowing. About what? you ask. I have a feeling that if you’re reading this, you already know.

The interview is long (shorter than a movie though) but if I didn’t think it well-worth our attention, mum would have been the word.

On Rick Archer’s website are many other interviews, and if they’re as good as the one I just heard, we’re in for some exceptional listening.

I hope your weekend was as lovely as mine was. Tomorrow is Monday. Let’s say Hooray! to that.

Sweet dreams.



Thank you to all the authentic spiritual teachers who are trying to get the message out to all of us that gratitude, along with the power of love (for ourselves and all living beings), is something we don’t want to live without. A softly uttered thank you, a loving thank you shout from a hilltop, or dancing to our own movements in our own space to the words of thank you, thank you first thing in the morning and last thing at night guides, guards, protects, directs our day in a way we can’t imagine. Let’s go for it.

Ready for an amazing day? I am.

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“Long will you wander in a wilderness of confusion and distress until you come home . . . to a higher consciousness.” ANO ANO THE SEED by Kristin Zambucka

your soul’s plan by robert schwartz


It was rather late last night when I clicked on to and found a video in which Bob Olson is interviewing Robert Schwartz, the writer of Your Soul’s Plan. There are two videos, and it may be wise to listen to the first one first. I saw the title of the book, and read what Bob Olson wrote about its author’s biography, and thought, why not? After that, it didn’t take long before I was nicely settled in and glued to the screen watching, listening, learning – the concept of pre-birth planning is hardly new. Though when Robert Schwartz began digging for the answers to questions that wouldn’t let him rest, he wasn’t expecting the kind of answers that his tireless delving uncovered. Listening to him talk about pre-birth planning seemed natural, and a part of me understood, and was in complete agreement about what he was saying from the get-go. Last night I went to sleep with a big smile covering my entire body. Oh, yes.

It’s fair to say that many of us have many questions about life on earth. The thing is that I haven’t heard life on earth explained in quite this way before. The answers to the questions asked by Bob Olson of Robert Schwartz don’t necessarily veer from what we know; they just seem to profoundly enhance what we know. And it all makes perfect sense. Now, there are a number of very good self-improvement and spiritual books, and videos that, when read or listened to, have you thinking, yes, yes, I understand now. And then a week later you barely remember any of it.

I feel this is different. I could give you a synopsis of the video, but it’s so much better to hear Robert Schwartz’s own words. He speaks articulately, and he has a desire to help us understand so that we can help ourselves, and others, heal and evolve. There’s no need for me to try to explain what he does so beautifully. The following is his website, enjoy.

I hope you thoroughly enjoy it.

Have a wonderful day!

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“If children grew up according to early indications, we should have nothing but geniuses.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
From the book: Enough Already by Alan Cohen

“I am convinced all of humanity is born with more gifts than we know, most are born geniuses and just get de-geniused rapidly.”
– Buckminster Fuller
From the book: Enough Already by Alan Cohen

narcissus quagliata and michel domit

Lilou Mace has given us another exceptional interview with famous glass artist Narcissus Quagliata, and the creator of El Santuario at Valle de Bravo (two miles outside of Mexico City), Michel Domit.


These two creators, with Lilou Mace, treat us to a remarkable interview which, if we carefully and deeply listen, will change us. I want to entice you to watch it on juicy living tour by writing about a few things that were discussed, and, when you’re ready, to search for the video titled “The Importance of Stopping the Mind! Mexico.” I’ll try to piece a little of it together for you to whet your appetite, although it won’t sing to your heart in the way watching and listening will. Something begins to stir in the listener when hearing about the creation of the beautiful light from the dome reflecting everywhere, and the amazing before and after story of El Santuario and the dome, hearing the words: heart, love, consciousness, creating, quieting the mind, the holy quartz mountain that has a spirit, quieting the mind, atoms, stars, the Tibetan monks, revelation, transformation, quieting the mind. . . .

Dialogue taken from the juicy living tour video:

We have two imaginations – one the perceptive, the other the creative – though no one talks about it, Silva Mind Control founded by Jose Silva does, and Michel Domit taught it for twenty years.

Narcissus Quagliata created a beautiful dome for El Santuario. Before doing this, though, he took absolute quiet on the mountain for three months. He said that people have to learn how to quiet the mind and create a vacuum. And if you stop internal dialogue you become enlightened. He said that he created the dome by pushing away everything that was unnecessary. He said the most frequent question asked is: How did you invent the imagery? How did you invent it? The answer is simple, he said. I invented it by pushing away everything that is unnecessary. I create an empty space and then the images find me. I don’t go find them – absolute quiet and then I just stood still and within days my place was crowded with images. By quieting the mind you become a vacuum. That’s how Siddhartha became the Buddha.

Michel Domit said that his teacher Carlos Castenada insisted so much on stopping the internal dialogue – it is not us. The mind we are using is wonderful, but if we don’t know where the turnoff button is, it’s terrible. It can actually drive you crazy.

He devoted eight hours every day for five months to meditation before beginning his El Santuario project. And he said that the spirit of the mountain guided him in the creation of El Santuario . . . listen to the video to find out how the spirit of the mountain communicates.

And so, the above is just a skeleton of a most interesting and enlightening interview; it’s much more exciting to watch and listen to it because time and again what’s stressed is that there’s so much more to life, and to us, than what we now believe. And the possibility of things being a lot different for us were we to deeply listen to the dialogue between Narcissus Quagliata, Michel Domit, and Lilou Mace on the video “The Importance of Stopping the Mind! Mexico” is very real.

“In the universe there is an unmeasurable force which shamans call intent, and absolutely everything that exists in the entire cosmos is attached to intent by a connecting link.”
– Carlos Castaneda

the healing power of balanced emotions and coincidence-?

Recently while in Virginia I found two books of mine tucked away in a box that’s now in Michael’s and Alicia’s new attic. Twelve years have passed since the books were packed away, along with others. The Healing Power of Balanced Emotions by Dr. Frederick Bailes was bought at Science of Mind in 1991 at 14 East 48th Street in NYC. I smile when looking at the book because highlighting and underlining have taken over its pages worn by frequent readings.

The other book Coincidence-? was written by a British author Margaret Gordon Moore in 1948. It was found in a used bookshop and its simplicity speaks to anyone interested in spiritual matters. The author was intelligent, well-heeled, wise, and wonderfully interested in the kind of stories that are of a spiritual nature, and tend to be difficult for many people to believe. Those who believe though appear to benefit greatly. In the Preface of her book she wrote: “Many people have written asking for another book like Things I can’t Explain. It is not possible to repeat such personal experiences. There were others, but, although of exceeding interest, not yet to be made public. So I have collected the incidents in this book, which are true and well authenticated, changing names and places except where I have the kind permission of friends to give their real ones.”

Some books in the market place relating to matters that are not mainstream are wordy and complicated. These two books are a reminder that it doesn’t have to be this way. We just need a little prodding from people having a solid spiritual core to remind us that in this world there is so much more than meets the eye – we just need eyes to see and ears to hear.

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“Man’s study of the universe is revealing that there are laws upon laws, and laws within laws. Beyond and behind the physical principles which have given man all his inventions lies a great realm of spiritual law ‘in which we live and move and have our being.’ Man has been so busy making himself a more comfortable animal that he has neglected a systematic study of these spiritual laws. Only recently has any serious effort been made to understand them. Yet they are closest to us, operate constantly within us, and are most vital to our happiness and well-being.” – The Healing Power of Balanced Emotions by Dr. Frederick Bailes

“Bodies come and go and are made to clothe the spirit during its schooling, its sojourn, its imprisonment on earth.”

“When this is really understood, all values change. Men and women then become minds and souls.”

“Nothing material can possibly be eternal.”

“You have free will, and only you will be responsible for your choice and its effects on yourself and others.”
– Coincidences-? by Margaret Gordon Moore

I can’t imagine . . .

I can’t imagine what it’s like to be in Japan right now. What are people thinking about as they wait, wait for so many things: bare necessities, word about family and friends, about the air they’re breathing, the condition of their homes, the next hour, the next day. And wondering what’s happening, and what will happen.

Viewing a catastrophe from the other side allows for many questions, too. How is it possible to watch real time events from a distance, and not be affected by them? The problem with witnessing world events, as we do daily, – some pleasant, but mostly not – is that we are helpless to render much support. The period in which we live gives us the technology to watch suffering on a huge scale. What’s incompatible with the watching is that most of us will not, for different reasons, be able to lend a hand. To observe the amount of suffering that occurs throughout the world, and not be equipped to help, doesn’t seem natural. What then do we, the people, do with our compassion, our anxiety, our inability to be of help?

Sarcasm, humor, depression, restlessness, alcohol, drugs, sex are some of the ways we cope, and in the process try to disguise our feelings. They’re not solutions. What’s the answer then? We’re not going to eliminate technology so that we can slide back to a time when we were ignorant of global events. We can wish for a better world, but it won’t happen overnight. It’s been said that to find answers to challenges we have to focus on the solutions, and not the problems. Time after time we sit and watch cruelty displayed before our eyes – torture inflicted on innumerable innocent civilians, killings in all forms from wars and the aftermath of wars, dictators running amok – all kinds of intolerable suffering. And we watch suffering brought about by tsunamis, earthquakes, and yes, nuclear disasters.

What can we do to help? I think that prayer is a practical method that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. For years I’ve read books, articles, and heard stories about the power of prayer, and the right way to pray. And until recently, none of it clicked for me, and so I didn’t give prayer the attention it deserves. Then one day I decided to buckle down and learn “what all the fuss is about,” and so I began reading, observing, and really listening to what those who have experienced the power of prayer were writing and talking about. It’s said that when the feelings of the mind match the feelings of the heart we connect to Cosmic Power (God). In new and used bookshops and in libraries, I found a wonderful array of books and magazines explaining the power of the heart and mind joined in prayer. We all have to find the book that sings to our heart. It’s a personal quest. That’s okay, discovery is a delightful part of learning.

So, in lieu of physically being able to help those in need, we can put our watches away for 20 minutes or so, twice daily, and quietly focus only on the Cosmic Power within. We let go of all worldly concerns and allow our heart and mind to join at the same frequency, then we pray and listen. It’s written in sacred books that that is where our Higher Self resides – waiting for us to respond to it. We practice praying in the same way we practice cooking, skiing, painting, driving, etc. – to be good at whatever it is we want to learn, we practice. To be a master, we practice over and over and over.

May the Creator of the universe guide, protect, direct, and guard the people of the world, especially those now in need of your help. Thank you.

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When I was first going to add to this entry, I had so much to say that I couldn’t say anything. I think the most truthful and balanced words I’ve heard in the past few weeks come from Japanese people themselves. They know they can rebuild and rebuild stronger and in a way that is more congruent with the world, so that they can flourish and bloom. That is how we should all look at every instance that appears to be a damage situation. There is always rebuilding. The world will never stop improving and reshaping and for that I am glad to be here. I continue to learn from other people’s amazing perseverance and ability to shine in all stages of life. -Emi



When Michael got his first camera, it was love at first sight. He wended his way along the streets of Manhattan observing, waiting, enjoying, clicking, and developing. He captured the city in spring, summer, winter, fall – the parades, the buildings, the solemn times, the happy times – people in general.

Recently I mentioned to Michael how nice it would be to see a few of these photos, perhaps as part of a blog. I think he said yes to that, but I’m not sure.

One incident stands out when remembering Michael and his camera. I remember a lovely evening and a teenage Michael. He’d left the apartment with his camera, and then he was back – his face had an expression I didn’t recognize.

This is what happened: There was for many years a wonderfully stocked newspaper and magazine shop with friendly and kind owners at 23rd Street and Third Avenue. He’d gone into the shop looking for the latest photography magazines. In front of the racks was a young man also carefully perusing the fine display. They stood together both earnestly looking for the right magazines. The young man finally chose, bought, and left. Soon after Michael left with his purchase. The scene that greeted him changed the evening. A few minutes ago a young man was happily browsing in a shop. Now he was sprawled on the street as were his motorcycle and magazines. They said he died instantly. That night a camera was put on its shelf for awhile.

In many books it’s written that we are all one with each other – that we are connected with all of life. If Michael had come upon the scene of the accident while walking, undoubtedly he would have continued on with the evening. However, a slight connection with the motorcyclist changed all that.

Why do I write about this story when it seems to not have a direct connection to photography? Well, it’s this – a good photographer has a keen eye and when that eye instinctively focuses on something, and clicks the camera which stills the image, the photographer’s photos “speak” about beauty, joy, harmony, love, sadness, tragedy, fun, sickness, faith, adventure, power, success, courage – life and death in their many forms. They “speak” to different people in different ways. Perhaps the things seen with a camera are seen because of one’s life experiences – not everyone sees the same things through a camera’s lens.

I  know posting this is not a guarantee that photos are forthcoming. However, I’m cultivating the fine art of patience.

thich nhat hanh, emmet fox, joel s. goldsmith, yoga unveiled

There are times when life gets hectic, and we think we’re too busy to add anything else to a full schedule. Many people find that that’s not necessarily true, however; they find that taking time to be still, and to be in the silence, has a way of easing a hectic day, thereby allowing it to become full and harmonious instead of busy and hectic. Thich Nhat Hanh, Emmet Fox, Joel S. Goldsmith, and Yoga Unveiled are waiting to be included in a hectic and busy day.

Essential Writings by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese monk, was “Drawn from more than twenty of his books. . .” I think when we live in the way explained in Essential Writings, we discover that mindfulness is the key to staying in and appreciating what’s before us to do; Essential Writings could be a wise choice for 2010. Thich Nhat Hanh uses different words that say the same thing – always reminding us in a gentle way that “. . . life can be found only in the present moment.” And “Our appointment with life is in the present moment.” On the back cover is written, “. . . Through his writings and retreats he has helped innumerable people of all religious backgrounds to live mindfully in the present moment, to uproot sources of anger and distrust, and to achieve relationships of love and understanding.”

I think there’s a wonderful energy emanating from the words in The Sermon On The Mount by Emmet Fox (1886-1951). He was born in Ireland, educated in England, lived and lectured in the United States, and died in France. His writings are not preachy, and his words open a reader’s mind and heart. He studied, researched, practiced, lectured, and, in The Sermon On The Mount wrote in a concise, easy and eloquent manner about Jesus’ teachings, and their relevance in our every day life. It could be a wise choice for 2010.

Thinking about meditating this year? -The Art of Meditation by Joel S. Goldsmith (1892-1964) could be a wise choice for 2010. Here are a few words from the back cover of the book: “Joel Goldsmith, one of the great American Christian mystics of the twentieth century, spent his life educating others on ‘The Infinite Way, . . .'” Also on the back cover is written: “. . . The art of listening for the inner voice is the advanced form of prayer practiced by mystics down through the ages, regardless of their religious tradition. Practicing the simple procedures outlined in The Art of Meditation will connect readers seeking spiritual wisdom with God and open their consciousness to the knowledge of who they really are.” And Marianne Williamson has this to say about the book: “. . .Joel Goldsmith has opened a door in my soul. He has helped me immeasurably in my search for peace.”

Yoga Unveiled goes back to a place and time when yoga came into being, and the different forms of yoga that have evolved through the centuries. All those interviewed bring yoga to life, so that the “gift of yoga” – the reasons for yoga – are clearly understood. And understanding yoga results in an Aha! moment. It’s about yoga, yes, but it goes far deeper than realized upon first watching. I love this DVD, and appreciate having it in my life.