Thursday, December 6, 2007
Here you Are also got picked up by Baker and Taylor. So if you are a bookstore, next time you place you wholesale orders, remember!
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Sunday, November 11, 2007
I came across the statement “We are here for waiting” today, made by a four year-old little girl in the Seattle Children’s Hospital, as posted earlier here on this blog. She was waiting to get her health back, and for her Dad to return home from a long absence. Both events were going to be far off in the future. Sometimes, what we are waiting for never comes about, yet, if we learn the lesson that can be learned from waiting itself, if we can even learn to wait infinitely, we will discover what we were really looking for all along - the present.
A sunrise, or being stuck in traffic, become the same. We are finally here, and just being here is the magic trick of uniting with the whole Universe and Eternity. Here is Home.
Friday, November 9, 2007
September 11, 2007 - Article by Author Shel
on his Blog "Global Neighbourhoods" http://redcouch.typepad.com/weblog/2007/09/a-perfect-day-t.html
Here You Are, a children's book by Mayke Beckmann Briggs.
Why is this day particularly appropriate to post this? Because today is a good day to salute the beauty of life and of what is in a child's heart.
Scoble had a moving post today about how this was the first 9/11 he remembered, probably because he has a son due to be born tomorrow. Until I read it, I had forgotten the sorrowful anniversary. I had had a particularly tough day.
By coincidence, the very next thing I did was to open up a recently received Here You Are children's book my talented and passionate friend Mayke Beckmann Briggs. Mayke, a mother of five kids is both the author and illustrator and both the illustrations and text are works of authentic beauty.
Here you are, asks questions that every child and most adults ponder--often without finding a suitable answer. Mayke gives a true and touching answer.
Yes, I want you to buy her book. Buy one for each of the kids in your life, I don't care what age they are. The book will work. Buy an extra for yourself as well. I'll stake whatever reputation chits I have with you that you will not regret your decision.( Shel writes about high tech subjects and people in the Computer Industry. )
Friday, October 19, 2007
I just made my book available in full on Google Book Search as an ebook. (It will take a few more days to have it pop up as Google is swamped with customers for its latest service - another genius idea). I also am thinking of finally only sending out email Christmas cards this year. And - I will spend quite some time this week entering my catalogs at catalogchoice.org to reduce the amazing load of paper arriving in my mailbox every single day that goes right into the trashcan.
Small steps like these -
Talking about small steps, or small deeds. This morning a baby started smiling at me at a cafe, and a few seconds later he leaped out of his Mom's arms, with his own little arms spread wide to give me a hug. I had to literally catch him, gave him a hug back, and handed him back to his proud Mama. The lingering joy of a little ten second event like this is hard to describe.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Shel, and his friend Robert Scoble wrote the book on blogging for the business world (Naked Conversations). He took the time to explain blogging to me as a worthwhile thing to do for my readers long before Here You Are was published. Blogging intrigued me as this new form of human interaction, or non-interaction if you will. Such a strange and fun way to write. Talking to yourself and your imagined audience until - well, someday, there actually IS an audience. It's almost like talking to God - until one day, he'll talk to you. For me these days this is mostly a deep, and a communing kind of silence. Ultimately, and truthfully, there is nothing much to say. As a matter of fact, looking around at the glory and the gore - we should find ourselves speechless.
But, a woman is never really, permanently speechless - so, posting here will continue! In the beginning was the word - and the words just never stopped. But to find God we need to go to "before the beginning". That is a very cool place! No Place! (There must be a few Buddhists out there smiling now)
Back to Earth - Here is Shel's post, and if you are interested in high-tech inside information, this is a great blog to check frequently. http://redcouch.typepad.com/weblog/2007/09/a-perfect-day-t.html
Here you can also order Shel's book Naked Conversations.
The funniest thing was that all the drama of the past, living in everyone's mind either doesn't exist in other family member's memory banks, is remembered completely differently, or suddenly remembered with great shock. Half the family members heard old stories that went on between other family members for the first time and were astounded. Others were looking for understanding and forgiveness, justifications or explanations. In the end all our little stories were so confusing, and the fact that one man's truth was another man's un-truth, was so unsettling, that everyone returned to their personal versions of events with great explanations to themselves about "what was going on with the other people" and why they had a different take on things. Everyone preserved their Egos in tact, and had their own spouses for allies - that part is both cute, and disconcerting. It is a survival instinct, not necessarily love and loyalty, and it hardly ever lead to true insights or truth about things. It was a useful and harmony restoring form of practical denial. There is function in family dis-function, and every family has their own special version they somehow treasure - or just can't do anything about, and look beyond in order to not lose the love for the people that make up this thing called family and family history.
We know our senses fool us, but our memory does, too. Does nothing matter? Everything matters, but only right now, here. Once it is past, or not yet - it is nothing. It is good. We're free.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
This post by my son - one of his favorite computer games. If you get tired of playing you can keep the nice guitar music playing in the background, like we are doing right now, while doing other things.
http://ambassadorsforchildren.org/www2/?action=invite, An interview with Dwabha in India at Ramana’s Garden produced by Ambassadors for Children. Dwabha presently has 60 children living with her – her children – and 189 children arriving every morning to attend school where they receive an excellent education, learn to speak fluent English and are not abandoned during their teenage years, but further educated to be teachers, electricians, plumbers, doctors, nurses, bakers etc, depending on funds and children’s abilities.
http://www.ifilm.com/video/2866372, A wonderful documentary produced recently about Ramana’s Garden and Dwabha, also known as Dr. Prabavati. It starts with a yahoo commercial – just wait it out – it is the right video. Our friend Dwabha has been in the news a lot lately. If you google Dwabha, Dr. Prabhavati, or Ramana’s Garden you will have your work cut out for you. Many volunteers and souls in need of finding new meaning in life venture out to India to visit her, and work with her in her project. The children always benefit, and the volunteers and visitors always benefit more. There are many travel blogs from these volunteers and supporting organizations that make surfing the net is a bit confusing. Therefore I am compiling this list of the most important links and explanations to ease the search.
How to donate
Dwabha’s website: http://www.sayyesnow.org/ – the US foundation at http://www.friendsramanasgarden.org/about/about.html for tax-deductible donations. For more information call or write to Dwabha at:
There are other foundations in other countries - India, Spain, Holland, England - you can find on her website above.
For even more information visit the following sites throughout this text and the additional links at the bottom of the page.
We live in such affluence in the West, yet our hearts feel drained when we see the need of others around us here and in the world. In Ramana’s Garden, where the children who live there have seen the absolute worst in their short lives, there is a different kind of abundance - the kind money can’t buy – and they dish it out daily in large quantity to anyone who comes to visit. Smiles, hugs, singing, dancing, celebrating life as it is and cultivating gratitude and hope in the face of incredible odds. In return friends and volunteers leave money with Dwabha for food, shelter, schooling, clothing etc. It disappears quickly even in India, when you have 244 children to take care of and have to travel around the globe once a year to remind your sponsors and friends that you are still fighting the good fight. In spite of the recent press coverage and success stories - life for Dwabha and her supporters is still very much hand to mouth every year. We hope to change that in the very near future as much seems to be happening at the moment that gives us hope for future financial independence – if everyone keeps their promises.
Ramana’s Garden is linked to the West in two extremely important ways. Harvard and many other Universities send their medical students for their internships, and for full academic credit every year. Not only do the children in Dwabha’s school, but also the surrounding population benefited by this regular, free medical care.
Another organization, LeapNow of America, through a lawyer in Marin County, sends troubled teenagers in groups or 30 annually to spend two weeks in a work and meditation retreat with Dwabha at the summer mountain camp, and then a week with the children in Ramana’s Garden. In five years, not one! of these youngsters has returned to crime or drugs - an unprecedented success and valuable model for rehabilitation. For letters from all kinds of different volunteers go to http://www.sayyesnow.org/volunteer.html
We have known Dwabha for over a decade and have helped her along the way, whether we needed to buy land, leases, tents, or airline tickets. Through many of the difficulties over the years we have come to know her, her courage, her faith, her trustworthiness and her integrity, and can vouch for her to our friends. We have been to Ramana’s Garden with our children, know many of her children personally, and have with great joy watched their progress over the years.
We have also learned much about the business of charity. Most foundations take 5-10% of all donations – no matter how small or large the amount of the donation. Thousands of dollars end up in the pockets of these foundations – legally – but in our humble opinion immorally. Foundations are nice because the donors get to deduct their donations from their taxes, but not all their money reaches the children. We have opted to donate directly but have also worked on setting up foundations run by individuals who think like us – that every penny should go to the kids.
Other Informative Links
http://www.dailysouthtown.com/news/insight/409881,031INS4.articleprint, an article by Associated Press that was published around the world recently.
http://www.leapnow.org/about/staff.htm, the organization through which a US lawyer is sending troubled young people to India
http://www.sayyesnow.org/volunteer.html, letters from various kinds of volunteers.
http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/mcclusky/mcclusky5.html, a young woman volunteer’s travel report who visited Ramana’s Garden.
http://www.willowstreetyoga.com/workshops/danaAndSeva.html, Travel report from a volunteer at Willow Street Yoga center in Washington DC, who started the US foundation through which tax-deductible donations can be made
http://www.pegasuschildren.org/works_newhome.html, a fantastic new way to build solid and cheap housing using dirt as the main building ingredient. Several of these houses are being built at the Mountain Summer Camp right now.
http://www.pacificdomes.com/index.html the origianl domes that started Ramana's Garden ten years ago.
http://www.goldenbridgeyoga.com/uploads/images/ramana.html, another video – not as good as the other two – posted by the Yoga Studio to the Stars in Hollywood called Golden Bridge and run by Gurmukh.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramana_Maharshi, Who is Ramana Maharshi?
Dwabha studied with his oldest and most important disciple, Papaji, who told her that her time with masters was finished and that the River Ganga was to be her master from now on. She went there and lived in a cave until a spring flood washed away all her meager possessions which included her passport, ticket home, money etc. In the videos she briefly talks about how the poorest of the poor took care of her, offering her everything they had, only to worry about it being enough. It is when she decided that that was all she wanted from now on – to learn from them this ability to give with such abandon.
Through supporting Ramana’s Garden anyone can make a big difference in not just these Indian children’s lives but also to keep it all going for the many volunteers that work and learn at Ramana’s Garden every year, who come from all over the world and from all kinds of backgrounds. Making a donation is great and rewarding - much needed help that is deeply appreciated. Also consider visiting, to personally see your generosity at work in this magical place called Ramana’s Garden where the most beautiful flowers grow.
Monday, June 25, 2007
Here You Are is my way of saying the same thing, and to remind adults that children are closer to this kingdom within than any of us.
Mark 10:14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.Mark 10:13-15 (in Context) Mark 10 (Whole Chapter)
Heartlessness is what millions of children are subjected to in our world. Someone who is trying to counter-balance this is my friend Dwabha in India who runs an orphanage for destitute children there, called Ramana's Garden. Having been brutally tortured by a cruel stepfather herself, her compassion for the plight of these children is powerful and uncompromising. She is making a huge difference in the lives of hundreds of children.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
I kept God out of Here You Are on purpose - invisible to the naked eye - the same way he is invisible everywhere you look. Invisible and obvious - not named - as in Judaism. Closer to us than our own breath, observable in our children's eyes. Hidden in Here You Are, between the lines, and somewhere near the final pages - found there by many in the end.
When I asked my son tonight whether he had anything to say about Here You Are I could put on my blog he said:"Well, you can tell them it is very relaxing and calming in stressful times." There you go.
Monday, June 18, 2007
It reminded me of Osho, an Indian Mystic, who once said:"For those who can wait infinitely, things happen instantaneously." One of my favorite statements about enlightenment.
Monday, June 4, 2007
The suicide bomber is dead of course, not playing golf somewhere enjoying himself on two healthy legs. Sometimes peace is a lot harder to come by. But it is always possible. No matter the size of the waves of the ocean, deep down it is peaceful.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
My listening started half way through Daniel J. Wakin's article in the NY Times this morning (Wed, Mar 30, 2007) about Christopher DeLaurenti ( http://delaurenti.net/) who decided to listen to the sounds of intermissions at concerts and record them. I had always noticed the symphony of sounds in nature, always surprised people were so unaware, but I had never listened in a diner. The school spring concert we went to afterward seemed far less musical.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
This summer I gave Here You Are to several people I have known almost my whole life, and found out that they all were meditated on a regular basis. One even had a meditation garden, and another one had had her child in a meditation play group for several years. I would have never known. People are somewhat reluctant to talk about their interest in meditation, and then so happy to find someone who understands. Understands what exactly?
That we can be happy - without religion, without money, without power, without the perfect life, without anything, even without our loved ones - ( some of the people I am talking about had lost a child, a parent or a spouse recently) - if we just sit silently. It's the big secret.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Monday, May 14, 2007
It had such a calming effect on her, it stayed on Mom's night table for all those kind of nights. "Why am I here?" - "to love, of course" she told her surprised Mom. Her Mom ended up giving me great advice on how to go about publishing Here You Are - basically "full steam ahead". The red spine was her idea!
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Thursday, May 10, 2007
When it was my turn everything felt so mundane. But I had brought along a copy of Here You Are, and the lady bought it for her two daughters. "The ultimate truth - I have always wondered about that", she said. "The girls ask me those questions all the time." I told her the answers were between the lines.
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
(http://www.regalprinting.com.hk/mail.shtml) . He and Kishwar, at Lazer Image ( firstname.lastname@example.org ), who prepared the print ready files, made it possible for "Here You Are" to now be available. Thanks to Fastback Creative Books (www.fastbackbooks.com) I had been able to put together the book the way I envisioned it, first. Sending this beautiful, hardcover version to Fergus made it all very easy. I would not have found Kishwar, or Fergus, had it not been for my friends, Judith and Gerson Goldhaber, and their book "Sonnets From Aesop" (www.sonnetsfromaesop.com). Gerson's beautiful watercolors accompaning each of Judith's sonnets, were so well reproduced, I decided to use the same printer.
It took three years to get "Here You Are" to this point and seems somewhat unreal that the publishing part is done. Funny how when the student - me - was ready, the next teacher would appear and things would move forward again. "Here You Are" seems to have a life of its own, and even when I wanted to stop pursuing further efforts in publishing it, a new enthusiast, either a child, or an adult, to my frequent surprise, would show up and urge me to get this book realized. Often with a new and helpful piece of information, or skill to teach me. So in my mind "the Universe was telling me to keep going".
On February 28th, 2007, I signed my name to the printing contract and wired the first half of my payment to China. The same day that, later that night, our first grandchild was born.