I’m in Otavalo, Ecuador, a city surrounded by three volcanoes; it’s a vibrant city, with a 70% indigenous population, and I want to add, it’s quite a sophisticated small city.  

On Saturday people come from many different countries for the market; it’s quite a happening. Many people come to import large quantities of scarves, hammocks, hats, pants, fabric in luscious colors, bags, jewelry, paintings – it goes on and on. Here is just a small sampling of what you can feast your eyes on should you come.

Being in Otavalo is a lot of fun. I’m learning to negotiate – the art of negotiating Is a must here, and is interesting to observe.

From a very young age children help their parents. When you’re from a different culture, it’s eye-opening to observe another way. Love it!


kripalu meditation and yogaIf you haven’t been to Kripalu, you’re in for an absolutely delightful body mind spirit treat. I’ve been looking, page after page, at Kripalu’s spring 2012 catalog, and noting the rich listing of eager teachers, many of them are easily recognizable; they have solid reputations. They are very good at what thet do, which makes the catalog an exciting one. Additionally, Kripalu is situated in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts; beauty is everywhere.

How to choose from all the wonderful workshops listed? – that is the question.

Let’s look at a few. On page 25 the course description reads, Freedom-Style Yoga taught by Erich Schiffmann. “Erich Schiffmann is a one-of-kind teacher in the American yoga world. His unique Freedom-Style Yoga offers an intuitive approach to yoga as the art of living.”

On page 30 is Getting High: Yoga, Meditation, and the Infinite Pharmacy Within with Tommy Rosen. He “is a certified vinyasa flow and Kundalini Yoga teacher and a leading authority on addiction and recovery with 20 years experience helping others overcome addictions of every kind.”

On page 73 we come to The Radical Heart of Buddhism with Noah Levine. It reads: “Learn to develop a greater sense of care for yourself and the world we share through the revolutionary spiritual practices of the Buddhist tradition of overcoming hatred with love, fear with faith, ignorance with understanding, and greed with generosity.”

On page 74 is The Blood Sugar Solution: An UltraHealthy Program to Lose Weight, Reverse Diabetes, and Feel Great with Mark Hyman. “Mark Hyman has dedicated his career to identifying and addressing the root causes of chronic illness through a groundbreaking whole-systems approach known as functional medicine.”

There’s Deborah King, “Explore the heart of healing with one of today’s foremost master healers. www.deborahkingcenter.com

On page 88 is Living the Evolutionary Life: Through Death, Beyond, and Reincarnation with Robert Thurman and Dechen Thurman.

The spring catalogue seems better than ever, and whatever our needs are, there’s a course that has the potential to make it finally click for us, to bring us to another kind of understanding about ourselves, others, and our world, to break old habits, to heal; it’s ongoing, and we’re blessed to have these many offerings.
Phone Number: 800-741-7353

Credits are available for psychologists nurses social workers certified counselors registered dietitians yoga teachers athletic trainers massage therapists acupuncturists. Go online to learn details, including the number of hours granted: kripalu.org/cecredits

You should know that the food at Kripalu is delicious! and Kripalu’s Recipe Books are available for purchase at their shop. You’ll like the shop, too.

Going to Kripalu is something wonderful to consider whether for relaxation and enjoyment, learning, teacher training, healing, wanting a transformation, or to hobnob with like-minded people. Ah, yes, Kripalu just might have what body mind spirit need.

The night is lovely; let’s enjoy.

controversy? or choices, changes, teachings

Before I clicked on, “Empty Spam,” a few words caught my eye, and I had to smile. They were: “Some of the things you say are controversial. . . .” Controversial: “clash of opposing views.”

But . . . opposite views seem a part of life, and help us to sort things out, so to speak. Most of what’s on this blog is light and sort of simple; I like simple. The words that inspire me over and over are: beauty, harmony, love, wisdom, joy, forgiveness, happy, compassion, understanding, fun, elegance, right action, change, laughter, courage, abundance and success (these last two words mean different things to different people). And the Divine. Controversial? – just choices to be made, changes taking place, teachings to ponder.

It often seems, however, that whenever we think we’ve found the “right” teaching from an “expert,” turn around and they’ll always be another “right” teaching” from a different “expert” saying the opposite of what we now hold to be true. I used to find this disconcerting, because it happened a lot. Now I understand that there’s room for many kinds of teachings because there are many kinds of people. And if we’re evolving the way we’re supposed to be, we might need to look around for something that will take us to the next step on our journey. If we stay at the same place, always thinking the same way, how will we ever find the next step?

There’s not just one mountain, one ocean, one kind of animal, one human face looking like all the others, etc. It would be intolerably boring if everything was the same. When we open our eyes really wide we’ll see that change is the spice of life. Many of us think that if we don’t rock our boat we’ll be secure and snug in our own little corner of the world. The funny thing is that when it’s time to evolve, our Higher Self will rock our boat until we fall out. (are you laughing yet?) Does that sound awful? I know, but in the long run it can be an energizing experience if we don’t resist. And quite possibly, after a time, we’ll say thank you for the change.

Choices, changes, teachings – we’re blessed; we have the ability to innately know what we need at any given time – if only we would stay quiet for a while, learn to listen and trust what the within is trying to tell us, and then hone the power within until we become the “expert” in our own life.

No controversy there, right?

It’s time to hit the road 🙂 What a lovely day – may the day be all you want it to be.

* * * * * * *
There is another world and it is within this one.
– Paul Eluard

Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.
– Rumi (Coleman Barks, translator)

The music that ushered in the cosmos plays on,
inside us and around us.
– Brian Swimme

How can there be redemption and resurrection unless there
has been great sorrow? And isn’t struggle and rising
the real work of our lives?
– Mary Oliver

Work of the sight is done . . .
Now do heart work
On the pictures within you.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

Which of the two powers is able to raise men to
the highest sphere, love or music? . . .
I think we may say, that while love can give us no idea of
music, music can realize the idea of love. But why separate
one from the other? The soul soars on the wings of both.
– Hector Berlioz

The beautiful quotes above are from: THE NATURE OF MUSIC Beauty, Sound, and Healing by Maureen McCarthy Draper.

body mind spirit

We had fun this summer, didn’t we? And now some of us will hopefully enjoy fall and winter and some will go where the sun is. That said, I’m perusing a few magazine. There are always top-notch articles, retreats and workshops to know about, and online shopping for things to enhance our journey.

And so I turn to page 4 in Buddhadharma and see
Retreats at Garrison – Practice with world-renowned dharma teachers in an authentic contemplative environment – Garrison, NY Tel: 845-424-4800

Another page and yes OMEGA “Omega Institute is the nation’s most trusted source for wellness and personal growth. Located on 195 acres in the beautiful Hudson Valley, Omega offers diverse and innovative educational experiences that awaken the best in the human spirit.”

Nice! -2011 North American Tour with Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, the last day of the tour is 16 October 2011. The tour is about “opening the door of the HEART. Mississippi and New York are the next places on the tour. We still have time.
‘If we can learn how to open the doors of our hearts, individually and collectively, then we will all arrive at the shore of peace.'” – Thich Nhat Hanh
for more information contact us: 760-741-CALM
visit: www.tnhtour.org

And this also “Enter the refuge of an IMS retreat Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Ma:
Experience silence and simplicity
Strengthen awareness and kindness
Build a foundation for
wise and compassionate action

In Ode Magazine “Experience Huichol Shamanism in retreats at places of power worldwide with shaman & healer Brant Secunda”

And Qi What’s happening at the National Qigong Association? – “Gateway to Balance & Creativity”

And meditation cushions, meditation benches, gongs, incense, and malas from Samadhi Cushions in Vermont. 1.800.331.7751

And also DharmaCrafts The Online Catalog of Meditation Supplies

Turn the page and, ah, wonderful Tina Turner Sings Buddhist Chants
BEYOND Buddhist Chants and Christian Prayers:
“With the Beyond project I’m happy to add my personal chants as an offering to the world to share a message of Oneness through music and prayer that goes beyond religious differences and helps bring humanity together.” -Tina Turner

And lastly The Hidden Energies Behind Feng Shui by James Frank Loretta – “. . . This is the first book to explain how this ancient earth science actually influences us mentally, emotionally and physically to improve our health and prosperity. From White Tiger and Blue Dragon to Sacred Geometry, crop circles, Tesla, ley lines and more, you’ll be led on a fascinating journey of discovery. Purchase the book or do a sample reading at www.quantumfengshui.org

* * * * * * *
“Retreat is the opposite of escape. It’s about no escape. When you go into retreat, everything you’ve been trying to avoid surfaces.” – Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel

A good fortune may forbode a bad luck, which may in turn disguise a good fortune
When you want to test the depths of a stream, don’t use both feet


It’s the month of December and I’d like to write about Jesus because, since watching Paul Davids documentary film, JESUS IN INDIA, my thoughts about the life of Jesus have expanded. Once in a while, a movie, a book, a person, an experience comes along, and, after that encounter, things are not quite the same again. That’s the way it was for me and the film. I watch the film every so often now, and am always inspired by the spectacular scenery, the music, the people, the words, and I let it all sink into my heart and mind.


Edward T. Martin was involved in the making of the film, and so I looked for his book, KING OF TRAVELERS, and wasn’t able to find it in Philadelphia. However, I checked at the information counter at Strand Book Store in Manhattan, and was told “One book with that title came in this afternoon.” I looked for it, and there it was. The price was $2.00; I bought it. It’s fascinating that sometimes it’s just that easy.www.strandbooks.com

The film also mentions Elizabeth Clare Prophet’s book, THE LOST YEARS OF JESUS. And in the CRITICAL ACCLAIM FOR THE LOST YEARS OF JESUS section, there are a host of seemingly knowledgeable people who’ve written highly about it. I’ll give it a thumbs up too.

It seems to be that when we zero in on something, after a while information about it begins to fall in our lap, so to speak, and the book JESUS LIVED IN INDIA by Holger Kersten was mentioned. I couldn’t find the book until one day I walked by Garland of Letters on South Street in Philadelphia. I backtracked and went inside, and there on a long table displaying an interesting selection of books was one by Holger Kersten, the one I’d been looking for. Where were you a few months ago when I was here? I inquired of the book. At the register the cashier looked at the book, and looked at me, and said, “This book is great. My friends are reading it.” And so it goes. www.yogaunveiled.com

It was at Garland of Letters on South Street in Philadelphia that I picked up Volume 8 – Number 2 of EVOLVE magazine where it’s placed to the left of the entrance door, and read about Paul Davids, and how the seeds of the film, JESUS IN INDIA, were planted in a course he took in Mahayana Buddhism when he was a student at Princeton University.

Always there seems to be controversy with the mention of Jesus. We all have beliefs, some are written in stone, others not, — good to keep an open mind. In the end, our own diligent research and tapping into what the heart tells us, might serve us well.

writers, words, and beautiful sentences found in books

The English language is fraught with delightful words and ways of stringing a sentence together. It’s a great language – a full and fun language – and can be a neat hobby. In a thick Clairefontaine notebook I like writing words, and the way they were used in a particular sentence in a book.

The word miasma, e.g., has a completely different meaning than what I had thought. I’m glad I never had occasion to use it. It’s a pretty-sounding word, isn’t it? I’m also glad that I looked up its meaning on www.dictionary.com for it states: “mi as ma 1. Noxious exhalations from putrescent organic matter poisonous effluvia or germs polluting the atmosphere.” Somewhere along my life’s journey the word miasma became unclear in its meaning.

This past 4th July holiday Sumi and I got to talking about books. She asked what I thought of the one she gave me a month ago. And I had to say that I was confused after reading the first two pages, and returned it to the shelf. She said, keep reading it; it’s a really good story and it’s well-written, and yes, the first few pages are somewhat confusing. She said she really liked the way the author uses words. So when Sumi and I went to Barnes & Noble the following day, I recognized the depth of her enjoyment of “the post-birthday world” when she saw the book on one of the tables Barnes & Noble places around its store. She smiled and pointed to it, and what I saw on her face was a remembering of the pure enjoyment she had in reading it. And she said that one day she’d read it again, just not yet. It’s then that I realized that Sumi wasn’t ever going to get tired of asking whether I’ve read that book. With that in mind, when I finish reading Extra Virgin by Annie Hawes I’ll gladly give “the post birthday world” by Lionel Shriver a whirl.

Annie Hawes also has a way with words. I find Extra Virgin plodding, but in a way I don’t at all mind. The words, the flow of sentences, is delicious, as is the writer’s description of just about everything before her.

Now Sumi read Empire Falls by Richard Russo, but didn’t see the made for tv movie. I saw the movie, but didn’t read the book. One day she said, “This book is very good, mom, do you want to read it? You’ll like it.” I said, “No, I don’t like reading a book after I’ve watched a movie based on it.” She said, “Well, take the book.” I did. The next time, and a few other times, Sumi asked, “Did you read Empire Falls, mom?” I hesitatinghly replied, “No, not yet.” Soon after that conversation, I got the book off its shelf and began to read it. Lo and behold, it was so well-written and engrossing that, in no time at all, I’d read it. And so, I ask myself, where did, “I don’t like reading a book after I’ve watched a movie based on it” come from? Empire Falls – wonderful reading.

A writer who uses words not commonly used, or words that delight the senses and make a reader want to stop and write them in a notebook for future use, or uses words that open a new way of understanding and appreciating a language, who expresses thoughts that the reader feels on different levels, and, at the same time, creates a great story, is a writer whose book will be appreciated for a long time after the book is read.

edith wharton

Have you read AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY EDITH WHARTON A BACKWARD GLANCE? I’m not sure how this book became mine, but I started reading it recently. It’s a gentle book to read before sleeping. It’s written lightly – hovering on the surface – at least so far. Edith Wharton was born in 1862, and if you have any inclination to glimpse how the rich lived in New York City, the surrounding areas, and abroad at that period, you’ll like this book. She doesn’t weigh the reader down with problems of any kind, which makes reading before bed pleasant, and yet the book has substance and through her eyes we gain insight into how things were then.

She knew the “important” people of those times, and comments on those associations, always skimming the surface. She appreciated the fact that she was born with a silver spoon in her mouth, and her remembrances are light and airy, at least in book form, even when she writes about loss of money, death,, war, etc. However, as a person she was “impossibly fussy” regarding just about everything concerning herself, so says Louis Auchincloss who wrote the Introduction. This is a sentence in his Introduction: “What room was there for the second rate in books, pictures, flowers, excursions, meals, friends, when the first rate was there to be culled?” And in the book she suggests this, more or less, about herself.

The “impossibly fussy” in her possibly gave us her wonderful stories.


this hm quote for philadelphia

It’s a wonderful day in Philadelphia. I didn’t spend much time looking for an apartment in this city of so much to do. I walk down the street and people actually smile at strangers. Me! I find being next to the train station and hearing the trains pass is all right. I didn’t know until now that the street in front on my building comes alive after midnight. That’s okay. There aren’t many restaurants in this area, but there are a lot of museums and there’s Whole Foods www.wholefoodsmarket.com and Trader Joe’s www.traderjoes.com . The one restaurant that’s nearby is a very good one. It’s called Aya’s Cafe. I don’t prepare hummus because it’s good at Aya’s. I first thought Aya’s was better, but mine’s good just in a different way.! www.ayascafe.net . It takes only a few minutes to walk to Rittenhouse Square Park from where I live. And along the way I pass many shops that entice, lots of cafes that make a delicious cup of cappuccino, small shops that give a warm welcome when a customer enters. I’m going to find out which restaurant prepares the best campari drink www.campari.com . I’ve been drinking campari for a long time, and this I know, some places skimp with the campari and are generous with the club soda. I really like the shoes at Benjamin Lovell www.benjaminlovellshoes.com on 119 S. 18th Street. This is probably not a good thing. It’s still warm enough to absolutely enjoy being outside. Nice!

“Develop an interest in life as you see it; the people, things, literature, music – the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.” – Henry Miller

the secret

So, what are your thoughts about the movie, The Secret? I saw it this weekend, compliments of Emi. Thank you, Emi. There was nothing new in the content as many books on the shelves of used and new bookstores have the same message. BUT to get the word out in a well-thought out-no-mystery-involved-movie is new. www.thesecret.tv

However, now there are all those people coming out of the woodwork giving us their opinions, all kinds of negative opinions, about the book and the movie, and about the reasons they’re against it. Let’s just say to that that we can decide for ourselves whether it’s authentic or not. We can experiement with the message in our own lives. We don’t need naysayers telling us what’s right and what’s not all of the time. We, too, have built in ways of knowing what will work for us. And if you naysayers will allow that to happen instead of getting in the way, well, lots of interesting things could happen. One never knows until one tries.

“Unless you leave room for serendipity,
how can the Divine enter in?
The beginning of the adventure is to lose your way.” -Joseph Campbell