February 23rd, 2008

Book Cover

Good Morning!!

Kara is doing well.  She will be in the hospital until Monday, and have laproscopic surgery in a few months, but, for now,  all is as well as it can be when one is in the hospital.  Her name in Chinese is "orchid," so the request is to visualize her surrounded by orchids.  I think now of how rare an orchid was when I was young.  Didn't we see them only in corsages and those the very special ones?  I remember when I first went to Thailand and orchids were everywhere, hanging from the trees.   Now, we have orchids here, happy little plant friends, more easily attained perhaps, and just as special, each plant beautiful, exotic, unique.

The photo is of an orchid mantis.

blue jellyfish

The Power of Now!!

I am an Eckhart Tolle fan ever since I discovered The Power of Now many years ago.   I just finished reading A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life's Purpose.  I understand that Oprah Winfrey is promoting this book, which gives me hope, because taken to heart, it can certainly change the world.

I thought I would put a little excerpt here, and now, I struggle with how little.  His message is clear.  "Be aware of your breathing as often as you are able, whenever you remember.  Do that for one year, and it will be more powerfully transformative than attending all these courses.  And it's free."  He is talking about the smorgasbord of workshops that exist today, and how to choose among them. 

Now, I have attended more than my share of courses, and workshops.  For awhile, I was an addict, one more course, and I will have the answer, will be "enlightened," whatever that means, and I think it is important to remember that we, always, everywhere, anywhere, can pause to notice our breath, or keep doing, and notice our breath.  How is it now?

I put the jellyfish here for this post not just for its marvelous beauty - I love jellyfish, but, also, because when I stand at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, at the jellyfish exhibit, and watch them  float effortlessly up and down, it reminds me of my own diaphragm, the bridge, as some have called it, to the soul.

The breath is the link between the conscious and the unconscious.  We can control it, and we can't.  It gives us a great deal of information about how we are, now, and now, and now.

Eckhart Tolle continues:

    "Being aware of your breathing takes attention away from thinking and creates space. It is one way of generating consciousness.  Although the fullness of consciousness is already there as the unmanifested, we are here to bring consciousness into this dimention.

    Be aware of your breathing.  Notice the sensation of the breath. Feel the air moving in and out of your body.  Notice how the chest and abdomen expand and contract slightly with the in - and out breath.  One conscious breath is enough to make some space where before there was the uninterrupted succession of one thought after another.  One conscious breath (two or three would be even better), taken many times a day is an excellent way of bringing space into your life.  Even if you meditated on your breathing for two hours or more, which some people do, one breath is all you ever need to be aware of, indeed ever can be aware of.  The rest is memory and anticipation, which is to say, thought.  Breathing isn't really something that you do but something that you witness as it happens. Breathing happens by itself. The intelligence within the body is doing it.  All you have to do is watch it happening.  There is no strain or effort involved.  Also, notice the brief cessation of the breath, particularly the still point at the end of the outbreath, before you start breathing again."

Eckhart Tolle goes on, but I think right there I have given you enough entertainment for the weekend.  Play with it like a toy.  Enjoy.  Sometimes I have the experience of "being breathed" and it is as exhilarating as it gets.

Be breathed!   Enjoy!!   Effortless!!   Now and now and now!!

Play with the Play of Breath!!   Now!!


pain -

I read about Lawrence King, a 15 year old shot in the head by a 14 year old, shot because he announced he was gay.

Who can begin to understand this?

How to take it in?

Prayers for all involved, prayers sent to Oxnard, CA.   

May healing evolve.
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Hillary -

Op-Ed Columnist

Hillary on the High Road?

Published: February 23, 2008

A referee would stop the fight. Hillary Clinton is exhausted, and her supporters are becoming increasingly demoralized. The candidate who tried to present herself as inevitable has been out-maneuvered nearly every step of the way by a prodigy with a warm and brilliant smile who still seems as energetic as an athlete doing calisthenics before a big game.

“Whatever happens, we’re going to be fine. We have strong support from our families and our friends. I just hope that we’ll be able to say the same thing about the American people.”

Mrs. Clinton said later that she had not become pessimistic about her chances to win the democratic presidential nomination. But her words were an unmistakable echo of John Edwards’s remarks last month when he ended his campaign in New Orleans.

Just a few months ago, the prevailing wisdom in the world of punditry was that the Obama campaign was in trouble. Senator Clinton was enjoying a huge advantage in fund-raising and big leads in national polls.

A pair of headlines placed side by side on the front page of The New York Observer in October said: “Aaaaugh-bama!” and “Clinton Campaign Gets in Gloat Mode with $27 Million.”

Senator Obama, according to the conventional wisdom, was too soft. His call for a new kind of politics was naïve. And quietly, behind the scenes, the widespread view was that he couldn’t get enough white votes to secure the nomination.

No one outside the Obama campaign was paying much attention to the disaster for the Clintons that was already taking shape in Iowa.

There’s nothing like the terra firma of hindsight. Senator Obama, it turned out, was a far more gifted candidate and strategist than many of us gave him credit for. And Senator Clinton, for all of her command of the issues, was mediocre, at best, on the stump. He was the inspirational leader. She remained the wonk.

And then there was Bill. It was an article of faith that Senator Clinton’s campaign had a built-in advantage: her husband was the smartest Democrat of them all. But when you think about it, Bill Clinton was never much of a benefactor for others in his party.

When he took office in January 1993, Democrats controlled the White House and both houses of Congress. Less than two years into his presidency, the Republicans swept to majorities in both houses, putting Newt Gingrich in line to become speaker. A New York Times article at the time described Democrats in the House as “disoriented.”

When Mr. Clinton left office in 2001, the Republicans were still in control of Congress, and the Monica Lewinsky scandal and impeachment had opened the door to the era of George W. Bush.

The former president’s less-than-magic touch in Senator Clinton’s presidential campaign contributed to her devastating defeat in the South Carolina primary. He’s been kept more or less under control since then.

You can analyze the Clinton campaign every which way from sundown. But I suspect that the senator’s biggest hurdle from the beginning was the unforgiving nature of time. The tides of history change. Some of Barack Obama’s young and most fervent supporters were just three or four years old when Bill and Hillary Clinton were joined by Al and Tipper Gore for a remarkably successful bus tour through eight states to kick off their campaign against George H.W. Bush and Dan Quayle in 1992.

The Clintons and the Gores seemed the embodiment of youthful promise, of change, and that turned the country on. Their campaign theme song was Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop,” with the crucial lyric, “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow.”

Barack Obama, who is 46, the same age that Bill Clinton was on that bus tour, has managed in his campaign to make the Clintons seem the embodiment of yesterday. “Something better awaits us,” he told a cheering crowd after his victory in Iowa, “if we have the courage to reach for it.”

Senator Clinton’s options are not officially closed. But to have any chance at all, she would need a sudden startling string of prodigious victories against a candidate who is better-financed and riding a tremendous wave of momentum.

At the debate on Thursday night, Senator Clinton, who is 60, passed on a number of opportunities to harshly criticize Senator Obama. She refused to say that he was not ready to serve as the nation’s commander in chief. And she suggested that she does not intend to pursue a ruinous fight for superdelegates at the Democratic convention.

She seemed like someone unwilling to sacrifice her dignity or the interests of her party in an attempt to stave off a likely defeat.

calder mobile miniature

the modern age -

I read this in the NY Times.  "On Feb. 23, 1954, the first mass inoculation of children against polio with the Salk vaccine began in Pittsburgh."

And remember getting the oral vaccine in paper cups?

There are many things we don't perhaps pause to appreciate.  Not having to worry about polio seems like a biggie.

On another note, I read that recycling one car battery can save 3 pounds of plastic, 21 pounds of lead, and 1 gallon of sulfuric acid.  It seems astonishing, but, so it is. 

fish jumping

Sensing -

I have mentioned that I have "homework" for the Sensory Awareness study group.

Our focus this week is on "Bathing."    I give you the words of Lee Klinger-Lesser.

    Explore what happens as you bathe and clean yourself.  Do you experience how you meet the water, soap, washcloth, towel, lotion or your own hand?  What is habitual and what comes new?  Are there parts of you that you ignore or treat differently?  Is there any experience of refreshment?

    At Zen Center, there is a verse that people often acknowledge before bathing:

          With all beings
          I wash body and mind
          Free from dust
          Pure and shining
          Within and without.

I have been noticing when I wash, that thinking of cleaning myself within and without is a very fun thing to do.  I like it, and suggest it respectfully to you!!

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Shock -

My cousin's wife called from Australia.  My cousin died, peacefully, it seems, at his desk, in his chair.  He was 57 years old and has two daughters, one in her last year of high school and one, 24.   He had been feeling unwell, the last week, but they thought it was the flu.  An autopsy will give more information.  In the moment, I am stunned and sickened.

We are a small family.  My mother had a brother, who had two children, Nancy and Greg, and there was my brother and me, and my cousin Lynn.  That's it.    The memories flood. 

I won't be posting for a few days.  The storm comes; we'll make a fire, and dwell within.