Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Most Blessed All Hallows' Eve to You

Dear Friends and "Beloveds,"

Many blessings to you on this most special night (The Irish called this the "Vigil of Saman," as the Celtic feast of the dead was known as Samhain.) when we remember those who have gone before us. Their spirits are very close to us, especially at this time of the year...

I've been getting a smaller pocketbook size version of my book ready for distribution and use in my new Soul Baskets business. In this process, I've come across a most interesting "spirit" named Ramprasad. Ramprasad was born in West Bengal in 1718. He was very well educated, but he had no interest in the material life. He was devoted to the Divine Mother, and as a humble accountant, he would write the Mother's name all over the ledgers he handled. His employer recognized a "saint in the making" through this, and sent Ramprasad home with a promise to support him and his family.

Ramprasad is known to have waded into the Ganges River and sing songs in honor of the Mother. River boats going up and down this great River would pause and listen to his songs; it is said that people dying on the banks of the Ganges would ask Ramprasad to sing to them, too. He even became a favorite of the local king! Here's one of his poems that I share in my new booklet version of The Last Adventure of Life:

Listen with inward ear to the music
of her wisdom, teaching all creation.
With inward eye visualize her brilliant name,
Flowing across your heart in letters of molten gold.

Happy Halloween :) Dancing Heart

P.S. If you're interested in seeing my mini-book, just email me at and let me know. They're selling for $4.50 (plus shipping and handling).

Saturday, October 20, 2007

All Our Stuff!

I have a confession to make: I'm most grateful for the move/transformation I'm involved in just now as it is forcing me to sift through all the "stuff" I have. It's way too much for one household! I'm in the process of weeding through everything, but it takes time and effort. How much easier it would be if I were less encumbered. I'm reminded of a friend of mine who also grew up in Japan and then lived in India for a time. She said that one person only needed 2 boxes full of stuff that they could pack up and move -- at short notice.

Recently, I was at a neighborhood bookstore and wow, there's so much "stuff" in the bookstores, too! We Americans sure do have a lot of STUFF. I find myself reflecting on my daughter telling me about a conversation she overheard in which two men were having a talk about religion: One of them referred to the fact that we all have "spiritual cancer." Interesting analogy for the traditional word "sin"... I guess one could say that sometimes our glut of material possessions does get in the way and creates barriers to our spiritual wellness. What is it that gets in the way for you to move forward in a good way? What do you need to clear out of your household to feel less encumbered and more at ease to take the next step in your life?

On a lighter note, at the bookstore I found a most wonderful new book: It's called eat, pray, love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I started browsing the pages and found it beautifully written and "choreographed," using the numerology of prayer beads. Elizabeth traveled to three different countries -- Italy, India, and Indonesia -- in one year, and shares a rich collection of stories from her encounters around the world. It looks like one of those books that strengthens and enriches, especially reminding us that in the end, LOVE Is All That Matters.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Signs of Change

As I enjoy the magnificent colors bedecking the trees these days, I am reminded that autumn is here. It is also a reminder of the inevitability of change, death, and transformation. Eventually, all the colorful leaves must let go of the branches, just as one day, we must all release from this earthly existence!

Speaking of change, there are two healthy signs of change I've discovered recently that I'd like to call your attention to: One is a book by a physician Pauline Chen entitled Final Exam (a Borzoi Book, 2007). I havde just started to read this book, but not only is it a good read, it promises to be the best (and only!) book I've read by a surgeon so far. Pauline gives us an "inside view" of medical school and doctors' training such that we learn why death is handled the way it is in hospitals and the health care system today. This in turn makes me think of Rabbi Schachter-Shalomi who says that it's only in the last 100 years that death and birth have been "pathologized" by having been taken into the hospital.

The other is a movie I read about in Parade Magazine. It's called The Bucket List and will be coming out this Christmas. It stars Morgan Freeman, a mechanic who befriends Jack Nicholson, a billionaire. The interesting twist is that they both receive a terminal cancer diagnosis. Bob Reiner has said about the film: "It's not a downer;" rather, "It's about living your life and finding joy." Hmmm... sounds a bit like my book, don't you think?!?

Enjoy autumn -- with all it's colors, changes, and transforming life! dancing heart