Tuesday, July 26, 2011

stacking stone..

today was our last day traveling through the province of ontario..
marilyn and i decided to build a small inukshuk (inuksuk) ~
honoring first nations..bidding adieu to mother lake superior....

inukshuk is a stone figure..
the inuit make inuksuit (plural)
in different forms for different purposes..
to show directions to travellers,
to warn of impending danger,
to mark a place of respect,
to act as helpers in the hunting of caribou,
to guide travellers ..home..

stone figures were made
all over the world in ancient times;
the arctic is one of the few places
where they still stand...
and all along the trans-canada hiway in ontario....

we had stopped for a picnic lunch..yes!
we found a table..many tables..
on the bank of eagle lake..
just as we were finishing our carrots, hummus and pumpernickel,
we were greeted and blessed by a family from afghanistan..
now living in canada..toronoto.. vancouver..

after piling our inuksuk on the stone outcroppings,
we offered our intent and prayer..
that all peoples will find their way home..
that all peoples will snestle in the home of their very own hearts..
that all peoples will recollect one another..
and know them as themselves..

an inukshuk can be small or large,
a single rock, several rocks balanced on each other,
round boulders or flat stones...
our inuksuk was misshappen, wobbly and handsome..
looking like a crooked olde coot..
ordinary and extraordinary..
we saluted him as we drove away...

inuit tradition forbids the destruction of inuksuit...

let's take a better look
beyond a story book
and learn our souls are all we own
before we turn to stone

let's go to sleep with clearer heads
and hearts too big to fit our beds
and maybe we won't feel so alone
before we turn to stone

i know that i am nothing new
there's so much more than me and you
but brother how we must atone
before we turn to stone

~ ingrid michaelson

Monday, July 25, 2011

o canada....

how refreshing!
not every single everything is made in china..
what a surprise!
in fact, every much of everything is made in canada...
because of that ..
it is somehow more relaxing to shoppe..to be....even...
there seems to be tension with things made in china..
not only because of tibet..
it runs deeper than that..
perhaps we have stripped ourselves
of the work ethic...the integrity...
that came over with the mayflower..
i didn't realize the tension was present..
until it wasn’t..
very interesting, indeed!

o canada....

ontario is menonite country..
black bonnets on their way to church..
horse and buggy sharing the road ~
no shopping, selling, or working on sunday..

o canada...

just how big is lake superior?
o my o..
it is the world's largest lake by surface..
the world's third largest lake by volume..
it is one big lake!
and it is fantabulous..
the surrounding hills and rock formations are stunners..

o canada...

where are your rest stops?
we were aching for a picnic table
to munch our lunch on..
very few and far between...
so we bought ourselves a campsite for ...
oooo..7 & 3/4 minutes..
the entire population of canadian mosquitoes
were dining in that very spot..
we were eaten for our own lunch -
we still have dots to show for it...

the first nations, hockey rinks,
pickering, moose, rivers, lakes,

Sunday, July 24, 2011

love one another....

~ love all god’s creation, the whole and every grain of it . . . .
if you love everything,
you will perceive the divine mystery in things.
once you perceive it,
you will begin to comprehend it better every day....
...you will come at last to love
the whole world with an all-embracing love...
~ dostoevsky..
the brothers karamazov

Saturday, July 23, 2011

c'est bon la vie!

quebec city..quebec..
where to begin?
charm.. allure ..razzle-dazzle

imagine this ~
cirque du soleil !!!!
offered chapter three of les chemins invisibles..
le royaume de tôle... olivier dufour..director..
it is a free urban cabaret which takes place under a freeway!
for the last three years, cirque du soleil has been investing
in the saint-roch neighbourhood,
calling on various directors
to draw inspiration from the Îlot fleurie space
to create a most unique, innovative, inspiring outdoor extravaganza..
it is about three tribes from separate cultures
who meet to share one another's experiences...
cirque du soleil has two more years..two more summer shows..

maybe 1000 people or more..
locals and tourists
wheelchairs and walkers..
children and grannies...
the crowd was ever so respectful ..
awed by the performers, the elaborate sets..each other..

high energy, blaring music, megatons of talent..
we were mesmerized..transported to heaven only knows where..
for about an hour of enchantment...

all this.. after a walkabout in olde quebec..
founded in 1608..one of the oldest cities in north america..
the french (canadians) are very kind-hearted and generous..
never let anyone tell you differently...

c'est bon la vie!
c'est ca!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

how does your garden grow....?

relaxing back at whippoorwill after DC
a day & two before the westward-ho trip
across canada with my cousin, marilyn..

the garden has sprouted up..
broccoli in the salads already..
fresh basil and herbs join in..
the corn is knee high, at least..
fresh blueberries in our pancakes!

cultivating my own patch... of laundry,
i must have been a dhobi-wala*
in my last many incarnations..
reveling in hanging clothes on the line..
the gentle whip of a muggy breeze
on dhotis and tee shirts..
and yes, yes.. clothespins..

it was too hot and humid to move
so we draped ourselves like dripping syrup
over anything horizontal in the screened-in porch..
~ dubbed porchville by donna ~
we spoke of random kindnesses that open the heart..
listened to one another take turns snoring the afternoon tunes,
every dog present to witness our musings
while the garden kept pushing up dirt to feed the farm....

i used to visit and revisit it a dozen times a day,
and stand in deep contemplation over my vegetable progeny
with a love that nobody could share or conceive of
who had never taken part in the process of creation.
it was one of the most bewitching sights in the world
to observe a hill of beans thrusting aside the soil,
or a rose of early peas just peeping forth sufficiently
to trace a line of delicate green...

~nathaniel hawthorne
mosses from an old manse

* laundry person in india

Friday, July 15, 2011

six perfections

ah! the six perfections..
generosity ...the four types of giving..
~ giving the dharma
~ offering protection
~ supplying material goods
~ providing fearlessness

the ten virtuous actions...
3 of the body..
no killing
no stealing
no sexual mis-conduct
4 of the speech
no lying
no gossip
no divisive speech
no harsh speech
3 of the mind
non- malicious
not holding wrong views

the bodhicaryavatara
read chapter VI

heroic effort..enthusiastic perseverance
vigilance, diligence, tirelessness, dedication
never give up

taking your seat..taking time ...
~ settling into calm abiding..shamatha
~ inquiring, analyzing...vipashyana

realizing emptiness..shunyata
understanding of the nature of reality

little by little..
how do i integrate common sense
in the form of these perfections
into my every waking, sleeping, dreaming..
in my walking, sitting, standing, lying down..
body, speech, mind..?
little by little....

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


the awakened heart..the awakened mind...
awakening for the great benefit of others....
a mind and heart that is expanding..
in goodness..in lovingkindness..
bright, luminous, awake

there are three paths to bodhicitta ~

the way of the king,
who primarily seeks his own benefit
yet recognizes that his benefit
depends on that of his kingdom and his subjects..

the path of the boatman,
who ferries his passengers across the river
and simultaneously ferries himself as well...

that of the shepherd,
who makes sure that all his sheep arrive safely ahead of him
and places their welfare above his own....
~ words of my perfect teacher
patrul rinpoche

the four immeasurables
serve as a template to awaken bodhicitta ..

mudita..unfettered joy..

these treasures when contemplated..
when absorbed in our mindstream..
become the very seed,
sprout, blossom and fruit
of precious bodhicitta..

we not only aspire to be of benefit to others..
we actually step out of our self-cherishing habits
awakening our delight in humanoids..
cultivating a genuine affection for all,
realizing their happiness is none other than our own..

the six paramitas..the six perfections..
stepping stones to bodhicitta..
enthusiastic perseverance

the footpath for a bodhisattva..
one who embodies light, clarity/charity, wisdom

...to be continued....infinitely!

Monday, July 11, 2011


moved by compassion,
bodhisattvas take the vow
to liberate all sentient beings.
by overcoming their self-centered outlook,
they engage continuously and eagerly
in the difficult practices
of accumulating merit and wisdom..

if a bodhisattva holds to one dharma
and learns it perfectly, he has
all the buddha's qualities
in the palm of his hand.
what is that one dharma?
it is great compassion..mahakaruna.

the stages of meditation

Sunday, July 10, 2011

bagpipes and hendrix

leaving the verizon center..in wa dc..
after yesterday's prayers and teachings..
the sound of well-played bagpipes
graced the heavy aire..
the young man who offered
the windy soundscapes
is a fellow student of peace..

just around the corner was an african-american
playing o so cool guitar licks the likes
only jimi could whip up..

inside the monks
are clicking and tapping their tools,
creating the kalachakra sand mandala
while their spiritual brothers
are chanting, chanting, chanting-
the preparatory prayers for the initiation..

there are thousands of people from 48 countries
and 5 continents gathered to partake in the
kalachakra for world peace..
hh the 17th karmapa has arrived..
the empty seats are filling around us daily..
how vast we are..
inside and out ~

'scuse me while i kiss the sky!


Saturday, July 9, 2011

we can do better

be content yet never satisfied..
~ j.krishnamurti

in an evening talk, alex berzin * posed the question:
why practice the kalachakra?
to what end?
the answer he gave -
we can do better...

generating self-confidence to cultivate peace..
taking time to be tender with the elders,
walking in nature with the youngsters,
being patient with our delightful, dysfunctional family members,
recycling even more..cycling even more..
minimizing our CARBON FOOTPRINT,
looking in the eyes of the homeless,
(do not be a stranger to suffering)
offering the second croissant another,
relaxing into deep listening,
drinking water, saving water....
smile, smile, smile.....
the list continues to infinity..

it doesn't get any better than this ~
the best is yet to come.....


Wednesday, July 6, 2011


the nation's capital is hot and humid..
92 degrees and climbing..

to help the dalai lama
celebrate his 76th birthday,
the retired archbishop of cape towne..
~ desmond tutu
was on video..encouraging his holiness
to come sit on his front porch in south africa,
drink rooibos tea and reflect on the spirit of things...

martin luther king's son..
~ martin luther king III
shared remembrances from his mother
about the nobel prize of peace winner's
common ground with her husband..

mohandas gandhi's grandson..
~ arun gandhi
spoke about the genealogy of violence..
the family tree of violence..
the two children..
passive and physical..
we must pay as close attention
to passive violence as we do to war, rape, beatings..
... judgements, insults, gossip, bullying...
be the change we wish to see
offering that pledge to the dalai lama..

in the early evening, charlotte ann..
(yet another precious charlotte!)
and i wandered in the direction
of the washington monument..
the vietnam war memorial..
where ron hamilton,
the young man who walked with charlotte
at her graduation, is remembered..
the korean war memorial..

war will exist until that distant day when
the conscientious objector enjoys
the same reputation and prestige
that the warrior does today.

~ john f. kennedy

climbing the mighty steps
to the mighty lincoln memorial..
we were awed, inspired and wet..
inside and out ..rinsed clean..

the cab drivers are fantastic..
from pakistan, north carolina, ethiopia..
familiar faces of humankind
oooh! i like that word..

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


the best kind of discipline is a mind at peace.
~ gonpawa

** riding amtrak to penn station, ny..
onward to union station, wa dc
~ the dalai lama’s birthday
& the kalachakra for world peace...

the muddy mohawk river on my right..
a young girl watching her movie on my left..

babar, the elephant in my lap..
sun is shining..clear skies..

easy to be peaceful when all the ducks line up..
what happens when the going gets rough..?
often, the mind gets ruffled and tumbly...

the discipline of a mind at peace..
a peaceful mind..a discipline?
whose mind is it?
do we have a choice?
is it really a discipline?

i’ll say, the high holies tell us...
always maintain a cheerful mind..

back to emerson..
the integrity of our own mind..
who benefits first and foremost,
when we choose peace?
easy answer..
not so easy when the world slaps
us upside the head..

who is the world?
none other than our very own selves...
our actions..past actions and intentions..
our present intent and future musings ..

you are the world and the world is you..
~ j. krishnamurti

all appearances are one’s own mind..
the mind itself is primordially free from extremes..

~ gyalse togme

the appearance of... waaaah!...
things are not going my way..
we grasp the appearance as the real..
we hold opinions on either side of the pendulum
what a limited waaaay to live...

i hang in a small square box now and then..
so tight, rigid and cramped..
when i finally wake to the reality of things..
the way it is.. the way things are..
what a stretch! breaking free..

every nano-second we get to choose..
a mind at peace..
this is the spacious gracious mind of clarity..
a mind at war..
this is the small..i-me-mine no way-jose mind

the discipline of yes..
the discipline of a mind at peace....
the okie-dokie mind..

one who is disciplined will conquer anger / impatience
she / he will be happy in this life...

~ shantideva

i like hanging ten with the dalai lama..
he likes hanging with a mind at peace..
i pray wildly that a wee bit rubs off..
okie-dokie mind, here i come!

** in the year 2002...
i was on another train...in austria..
after spending some time with the dalai lama
at another kalachakra for world peace..
entering the cabin to find my window seat,
i see a gent sitting where i am intended to be..
politely i show him my ticket and explain that
he is in my place...he turns to me..
roars and growls..vehemently demanding
i find another seat.. i quietly say i am a tourist,
a guest in his country..
it would be so fine to have the window chair -
to have a look-see at the beautiful countryside...
he barked again.. go find another seat..

the lady on the other side
of the empty seat betwixt them
told me to sit down and hush up...
my head and heart were o so hot;
making fists with my eyelids
to hold back the fire water,
i plunked down
between the two wilde and crazies..

slowly opening my book,
bearing witness
bernie glassman

i began reading ~
you always have the opportunity
to choose peace.....

holy moly!
inhaling, exhaling..
the gent by the window was sitting forward..
deliberately blocking any view, it seemed..
exhaling, inhaling..
the woman darkly reading her gazette..
the people across from me looking away..
inhaling, exhaling..biting my lip..

the conductor came by to collect the tickets..
we offered our chits..
he looked at me, the man by the window..
the tickets..slowly back and forth..
up and down..
exhaling, inhaling...
out he went...

the window snatcher relaxed a bit..
....scenery flying by..
waterfalls, trees, rainbows...

okie-dokie, artichokie!

Monday, July 4, 2011

interdependance day...

emerson..dear ralph waldo..
wrote much on self reliance..

nothing is at last sacred
but the integrity of your own mind.

that virtue is what leads us to
comaraderie with other humanoids..

watching harold and maude again..
maude claims her relationship with humans..
they are her species, after all..
a genuine simpatico arises from that integrity..
hence our interdependance..
sincere & authentic friendship..
does it REALLY matter...
whether one is a buddhist, a republican..
a factory worker, a woodsman, a high roller, a jew..
what matters is the beating heart..
the breath and the death of every being..
it comes to that..
breath and death..

i recall being interviewed for a radio show..
the host asked:
what would i look for in a yoga teacher?
breath and death, i answered w/o hesitation..
let them teach you breath and death..
this opens the heart of compassion immediately ~
...on the spot..
i am he is you are she is we are all together
there is not one of us that lives without breath..
there is not one of us that lives without death..

the integrity of our own mind..
is the realization of our own death~
is the realization of our very breath...
polishing our sacredness, as dogen-zenji would say...

shine, shine, shine...
bowing to the light
we see,
we reflect,
we be..
......a sparkler!
may it be just so