Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Power of Words on Water Crystalization

The "F" word. There are many defenders and fans. I am not one of them. It is such a satisfying word to so many and in such casual use, though, it seems silly to be "against" it, especially for someone like me who understands how silly it is to be "against" anything that exists in creation. That does not mean that I don't make clear choices when it comes to my own actions.

At the Kushi Institute studying Macrobiotics, we learned that people who again and again use words that have the "k" sound in it to express themselves and their feelings, may be suffering from liver congestion. Liver congestion causes anger and impatience. So it is seen as a symptom of an imbalance, not as a spiritual or moral problem. The people that use this word the most, from what I have been able to observe over the years, are drug - and especially, Cocaine addicts.

It is a harsh word as far as sound is concerned. Sex can be debasing and ugly - the way the word seems to describe it. For some though, it can reach the level of sacred, and for most it is somewhere in between. People now seem to be compromising, by replacing the old "F" word, with the word "frickin' " - with a nice soft "n" at the end, and the guttural "u" replaced with a chirpy "ri". Many say "Friggin' " softening the "k" sound with a "g". Maybe people are getting healthier. Although, my little guy still thinks this is a bad word, too. It still has that "k" in it. Think of other words - like "kill", "kick" - oh, well - and then there is "kids", and "Kinder" in German. Either the theory is all wrong or people carry around just a little bit of hostility towards children and babies...

Healthier and more sensitive people, especially children, and some oriental people I have observed, cringe when they hear someone say those kinds of words. I have seen it many times. It is not a moral or spiritual outrage reaction. It seems to literally cause physical discomfort.

I am reminded of two things. One is Osho's famous "F" discourse, where this famous Indian Philosophy professor turned Mystic and Spiritual Master, poses that when the "highest" word and concept in one's language - in our case "God" - gets lost and set aside, the whole mentality and level of consciousness and sensitivity in a culture, goes all the way downwards.

Here is the YouTube link.
It is a very funny video about the many grammatical uses and variations of the "F"word. It is so funny that the spiritual message gets lost if you don't pay close attention in the very beginning.

The other thing I am reminded of, are the water crystal images of Dr. Emoto, a Japanese scientist who has photographed water in the process of freezing and arranging itself into crystal patterns while saying certain words. Interestingly, it isn't the sound, but the idea, maybe the brainwaves, or thought vibrations, that shape the crystal's respective harmony and beauty, or ugliness. In other words, it doesn't matter in what language a thought or word is uttered. See the difference between "Hitler" and "Thank You". I have to do more research on how this was done and how repeatable an experiment this is, but just what I have seen and read about this so far, is pretty interesting and makes sense to me.

Here is the link to Dr Emoto's website
and the link to the Amazon Page to find his many books.

Previously in this post I had a few crystal pictures for you, but they disappeared. You'll have to go to Dr. Emoto's website to see how differently love and hate crystallize in water.

On the website there are also images of polluted water, and clean mountain spring water, as well as polluted water that has been prayed over. Prayer - not surprisingly - even if it is not "logical" - can be healing and beautiful, especially when it is not a form of begging, but an expression of love, appreciation and gratitude.

Dr Laura Schlessinger and Homosexuality

I have previously written about Dr Laura Schlessinger and found an opposing view on her you can check out here.

It is true that I have to turn off the show once my kids are in the car because of the aggressive language. She is the Simon Cowell of advice gurus and can be quite harsh. She isn't always right, and she isn't often wrong.

Her program is successful because most of the time her advice works for the people who call her. That to me is always something nice to listen to - when a caller is truly helped and set on a more successful path with their problem. Most of the time she is simply dealing with pettiness and self-pity. Once in a while a really lost soul calls in and she brings them back to life. Sometimes being harsh is not wrong, maybe even wise. Once in a while she crucifies people who you just hope will be OK afterwards. It used to happen more often in the past than nowadays.

People feel that they are listening in on a private conversation and can learn from others' mistakes. Even the callers feel more private talking in front of 20 million radio listeners, than to someone else in their lives in person.

Her main intention is to help children. Children are the victims, whether you want to call the adults who make their lives miserable "stupid", like Dr Laura, or "struggling with difficult issues" as a trained psychologist. There are too many adults and children who call in to report how following her advice has drastically changed their lives for the better, to dismiss her just because of her opinion regarding homosexuals or because of her offensive language. Taken with a grain of salt she has plenty to contribute. Just like one has to take homosexuals with a grain of salt. Not all homosexuals are all sweet and wonderful. God bless the ones who are raising children well, Hopefully their children do not have to hear what Dr. Laura has to say about their parents.

Last not least - the viewpoint that there is something wrong with homosexuality does not find much expression in the media. It is the "forbidden" opinion. Just like many decades ago, the idea that homosexuality is perfectly fine, was the "forbidden" opinion . That is why right wing radio and television are making millions and millions of dollars. The pendulum keeps swinging back and forth as it has done for endless ages. Good businessmen always know when and where to catch it, and exploit the people who keep fighting over the various issues.

Homosexuality is as old as the earth, and so is sex in general. Is a lot of sexual activity on both the heterosexual and homosexual side quite perverted these days? For sure. It always amuses me when homosexuality is singled out when it comes to promiscuity, prostitution, abuse, molestation, rape and sodomy, or any other extreme and uncomfortable ideas about what people do to each other. I see plenty of that in heterosexual circles.

When some animals live in overpopulated cages they start behaving homosexually, so it may just be a way of the earth to do a little population control. Throw AIDS into the mix and nature reduces the burden on our earth quite effectively while scientist grow babies in tubes. Homosexuality on one side, and what Dr Laura represents on the other - are two opposite forces which create and sustain each other. Neither side will ever be eliminated no matter how loud either side protests.

Each individual needs to quietly check within their own heart to know what is right for them in their life, and then live this - even if they have to end up being crucified.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Tao

I came across a favorite book of mine today. The Tao Te Ching.

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.
The named is the mother of the ten thousand things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations.
These two spring from the same source but differ in name;
this appears as darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gate to all mystery.

The Tao is an empty vessel; it is used but never filled.
Oh, unfathomable source of ten thousand things.

TH ewise student hears of the Tao and practices it diligently.
The average student hears of the Tao and gives it thought now and again.
The foolish student hears of the Tao and laughs out loud.
If there wer no laughter,t he Tao would not be what it is.

The Tao begot one.
One begot two.
Two begot three.
ANd three begot the ten thousand things.

In the pursuit of learning, every day something is acquired.
In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped.

The beginning of the Universe is the mother of all things.
Knowing the mother, one knows the sons.
Knowing the sons, yet remaining in touch with the mother,
Brings freedom from the fear of death.

Those who know do not talk.
Those who talk do not know.
Keep your mouth closed.
Guard your senses.
Temper your sharpness.
Simplify your problems.
Mask your brightness.
Be at one with the dust of the earth.
This is primal union.

He who has achieved this state
Is unconcerned with friends and enemies,
With good and harm, with honor and disgrace.
This therefor is the highest state of man.

A brave and passionate man will kill or be killed.
A brave and calm man will always preserve life.
Of these two which is good and which is harmful?
Some things are not favored by heaven. Who knows why?
Even the sage is unsure of this.

Here we are...wondering...until suddenly, we remember, the true...
And we are happy, for
Here we are.

For the Amazon page for the Tao Te Ching these verses are from click on the ISBN number
Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, ISBN 0-394-71833-X

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Marines, Meditation And The Smell Of Paint

Here is something that has been a surprise to me, and not really.

Two summers ago - due to an unexpected emergency that required a fast painting job of a large part of our house in order to get ready for our son's wedding - through a series of wild coincidences, I suddenly had a group of five elite Marines around me for ten days, painting my kitchen, hallways, and two bedrooms. They were in between engagements making some extra money with painting - a job that doesn't trigger their post dramatic stress disorder because the smell of fresh paint is one of those reliable peacetime smells, unlike the stink of war.

I have spent my whole life with children, meditators, gurus, healers, Buddhists, Taoists, vegetarians and other gentle and kind folks. We take spiders outside and set them free instead of killing them. We speak in hushed tones. We sing and dance and love nature. We cook vegetarian food. We are saving the planet, not just with our peaceful conduct, but also with our meditative minds on a vibrational level. Although I counsel people who have seen the worst, and often I suffer with them, my own life has been a peaceful life thanks to the tough guy in my life - my husband who has my back.

My contact with the military is close to zero. So when these men were suddenly working side by side with me in our house I was very curious for them to tell me about their lives, how they saw the world, how they saw civilians, Iraqis, Americans, and whatever else they could tell me.

The first thing I learned was that these Marines were highly trained special forces. They were the Marines who keep the Marines safe and who had fought in the toughest places in Iraq. They were the ones who keep the Green Zone safe. They refused to tell me about the ugliness of war, the same way a parent protects a child from violent movies. They had misunderstood that that was what I was interested in.

I grew up listening to my grandmother telling me those kind of stories and could have shocked even these Marines with some of the things the Russians had done to the Germans, or the Nazis had done to the Russians in Russia. "Shocked" may be an exaggeration, but war stories like these are best kept in ones heart as reminders not to nag ones husband or start a fight with one's neighbor.

We talked about post traumatic stress disorder. The obvious hero of the group, a forty-one year old father of five, who looked like he was in his later twenties, was "stationed" with me in the kitchen. He explained to me that for soldiers like him PTSD was not the common high stress reaction people have, who have been victims of crimes, but for him his brain actually goes into a type of seizure that puts him into a completely different reality where he is totally convinced that he is in a war zone.

His friend later told me that the previous month this marine had taken a neighbor hostage whose wife had begun screaming for help when her husband had started to beat her up. In his altered reality, having "secured" the abusive husband, he was waiting for his commander to give him further orders. Two hundred police officers from surrounding towns gathered to deal with this crisis, and also his wife was finally located. She warned the Chief of Police not to fire a single shot and just wait, or it would be no problem for this particular Marine to take them all out before they knew what was happening. She kept all these men at bay and talked to her husband until he "woke up". Even with a full seizure he still knew right from wrong and I guess nothing illegal happened by coming to this woman's aid, or otherwise he would not have been in my kitchen painting. Every abused women could use a neighbor like that.

After that story I felt a little nervous about our nail guns going off outside ever few minutes, but his buddies laughed and assured me that there were four of them, equally trained, to take care of things.

At some point one of them said that war was often very boring. Endless waiting and sitting around - kind of like baseball ( or the Buddhist meditation hall) - until something does happen
( like the master asking you where you left your shoes). That is when the training and the presence of mind kicks in and counts.

It was extremely hot that summer. Nothing like Iraq in uniform, they laughed. My gratitude for these guys grew by the minute. I asked them what they thought about all the anti war attitudes in America and they said that it was sometimes painful to be called baby killers. They were gracious though and non-complaining or self-pitying. They were calm and knowing about the way people who didn't know much treated them. They knew the enemy they were fighting and protecting this country from. When I asked what motivated them - and why do they do this for us morons here in this country, they simply said they did it for us. It sounded very humble, very generous and very understanding of even those in our country who are against the military and any kind of war for any kind of reason.

While the plumbers and electricians downstairs and outside kept yelling and cursing at each other, and the carpenters complained of the heat, these Marines never whined about anything. Being around them I picked up the centered presence that I come across in people in more advanced meditation circles . It is the centered presence I try to teach in meditation sessions. I once explained it to an ex drug dealer who had at some point had an empty gun held to his head and been "shot", that it is this level of being present in the moment that meditation was all about. As "my marines" and I ran out of things to talk about we just worked side by side in silence for several of the remaining ten days. It was very, very peaceful - which was a surprise. Unlike some of the murderers I have met through my work, these five tough guys, were angels and did not have the slightest "vibe" that I can pick up from others who have killed.

"Angels" may - once again - be a bit of an exaggeration. The carpenters told me later on that they made "inappropriate hot mama" comments behind my back - but hey - at my age - bless their souls! In the kitchen when they were with me, it was all stories, silence, respect, and the fresh smell of paint.

And - they did get the job done!

The Marines And Indian Gurus

I will need to go to Berkeley to see my graphic designer in a few days. His office is right next to the Marines' recruitment office that the aging ladies of Coalition Pink have been parking themselves in front of, under the protection of the City of Berkeley. They were, or still are, protesting the existence of the recruiting office in this famous City of Peace and Harmony. Peace and Harmony seemed to exist inside the Marine Office who just waited it all out, but not outside their office, where people dressed in pink and anti-pink clothing, were yelling and screaming at each other.

The last time I had to see Kish, several weeks ago, I had passed a skinny old man who had been protesting in front of the military office for weeks, holding up his poster, thinking to myself - "Another one of the old hippies with nostalgia for the old protest days of my youth." I wondered why I didn't feel like putting on blue eye shadow, changing into my old embroidered jeans, throwing my bra into the wind, watching the sunset on a beach somewhere, and knowing with great happiness, that I, too, was "just like Gandhi". Those were wonderful days.

After this short moment of my own nostalgia, I snapped myself back into the present, which is after all what I teach when I teach meditation. In the Present this all looked a little different.

In the Present this was an old man thinking he was doing something heroic and self-sacrificing. His Ego though, seemed as big as his poster. His superiority and self-righteousness spilling all over the sidewalk. He and his pink girlfriends, who showed up later that month, almost ended up costing the City of Berkeley millions of dollars in public service support for the people who live and work there. In the end, he only managed to embarrass the holier than thou, City of Peace and Integrity, as they caved under the threat of losing money. Such an understandable weakness, after all. Didn't Junior who hated his "Old Man" for everything he stood for, also gladly cash Daddy's check of hard earned money for the rent and his girlfriend's daily wheat grass juice? And isn't even Mr Obama who one simply cannot not love also breaking promises now that big money is part of all the considerations?

Many of the pink protesters are Moms who have lost their sons to war. My heart does break for them as losing a child is the worst nightmare any parent could ever face. Anger balances sadness and therefore protesting is good medicine for depression according to Chinese Medicine. But, they feel their sons would not have joined the military if it weren't for recruiting offices and I am just not so sure about that from what I have seen.

If you were a hippie when you raised your children - your children may very well decide to rebel by joining the Marines, and if you were a Marine when you raised your children, they may very well end up flying off to Goa, live on the beach, or follow an India Guru around. That is why some parents hate the Marines, and some hate Indian Gurus, whichever the case may be.

Monday, February 18, 2008


Someone asked the other day: "What are Ghosts?"

It reminded me of one of my earliest counseling experiences almost three decades ago. Michio Kushi, the Macrobitotic Teacher I studied with in Boston, used to tell people that they had ghosts hovering over their right or left shoulders. Sometimes one, sometimes two, and sometimes even more. Women with several abortions had many, and so did people who had been harmed by now dead relatives or friends, or themselves had harmed or killed people. Basically it meant unfinished business, and he recommended atonement prayers of apologies, or imaginary conversations of letting go of those people, and the related issues. It was a bit mysterious, and since Michiosan always had this knowing twinkle in his eyes it wasn't clear how literally we were to take this idea of ghosts.

One of my class mates had been told that she had two male ghosts over her right shoulder. She was a young girl from the Midwest and had no idea who could have harmed her, or who she could have harmed or who this unfinished business could be with. She asked me for a counseling session even though I did not know how I could help her with this question, and told her so, but she insisted.

She was deeply religious, catholic, and engaged to be married. She practiced abstinence before marriage and was troubled about several issues relating to that issue, which we discussed in length. She was an innocent looking, beautiful mid-western girl, with blond hair, blue eyes and had a bright Christy Brinkley smile. Yet here and there shadows would play on her face that gave her the hard look of a prostitute, or someone who had issues with sexual abuse. This was in such contrast to who she was and what she had told me about her life and family, it didn't go unnoticed as I was trying to figure out how I could help her.

We talked quite openly and I was confident that we had covered all the obvious suspicions of molestation, deeply buried denials about relatives, religious conflicts, the possibility of being gay and everything else I could think of that may have her feeling troubled. As so often is the case, as we come to the "end" of our session, she started talking more about her life at home, the lake she water skis on in the summer, her brother and father who drive the boat and her upcoming wedding.

Suddenly it occurred to me to ask her whether both her father and her brother are usually driving the boat. The answer was yes. Then I asked her if she water skis in a bathing suit or a wet-suit. The answer was bathing suit . Then I knew what had happened.

Unless wearing a wet-suit, or unless you know how to fall sideways, sometimes when you simply plop down into the water when water skiing, water gets forced with quite some strength up your butt, front and back. I asked her whether this had ever been her experience. She confirmed this with a laugh and rolling eyes. Slowly realization set in. Exploring this "experience" further, it soon became clear that she felt raped and sodomized. The physical, protective tension, the embarrassment, the guilt, the fact of having this "secret", the powerlessness to undo this experience - it was all there. And because her father and brother drove the boat she had connected them in her mind to this.

Her face visibly relaxed and brightened as the reality, and then the harmlessness of it all set in. The shadows disappeared and I knew we had solved the problem. Michio noticed the disappearance of her "two ghosts" a few days later and congratulated her without knowing about our session.

In conclusion, I believe ghosts are our own tensions around people dead or alive that we need to resolve. Houses occupied with ghosts are not my experience and I cannot say anything about those beyond what is generally believed - that they are also spirits with unresolved issues somehow praying on the occupants. Often it is the actions and attitudes of the occupants that resolve those house issues.

I read a few years later that adults, as well as children, can sustain severe internal injuries by falling at high speeds while water skiing and should wear protective wet suit pants.

March 9, 2008 Blog Party Welcome Post

Here You Are!

Welcome !

This blog started out as an author blog about my children's book Here You Are, but has long since moved on to what the book is actually all about - that in us that is always whole and well, and cannot be touched by any of life's many curve balls. Here I write about the surprising situations and infinitely wise ways with which daily life reminds us of that which eternally sustains us. I hope you will visit often and share your own insights.

In being here - we are all connected as one organism of individual and unique entities. What is at the center? What is our source? How do we align ourselves with our innermost core? And how do we know what is true and what is false? How do we achieve harmony with the whole Universe?

Religiously I subscribe to the Dalai Lama's notion of "My Religion is Kindness". Therefore I find myself at home in all the religions and am untroubled by dogmatic differences. I often write in Christian, Buddhist, Hindu or Muslim terms and enjoy the different ways in which the same truths again and again find expression. Be it the deep faith of a religious person, or the serious commitment of the atheist to only provable facts, the longing of the human being to know the truth touches my heart deeply. Psychology, art and Physics are my "other" religions. My spiritual training ground is marriage, meditation, motherhood and teaching.

I am the mother of five "children" (29, 26, 25, 19 and 8), grandmother of one (1), as well as the author of the already mentioned children's book Here You Are, which is based on my thirty years as a meditation teacher and mother. By "taking the young reader's mind by the hand" the book delivers him or her into a moment of deep insight and peace, that would otherwise only be available through extensive meditation practice.

I work for psychologists, who hire me to teach meditation in their workshops, and as of recently, invited me to be the author of a five year study on the benefits of meditation for young people at risk, funded by the State of California, to reduce violence and suicide in our nations schools. Part of that study is proving the validity of my method of measuring those benefits through a set of before and after meditation drawings that may eventually make a valuable contribution to the field of art therapy. The meditation segment of the study is part of a three day life skills course that includes education on nutrition, exercise, creativity, self awareness and interpersonal relationships.

All of this does not really leave me much time for blogging - BUT - blogging, aka writing, is a way for me to clarify insights, keep a record, and collect insights from others. You are welcome here as an observer and participant.

The blog will develop into a more sophisticated and organized resource for spiritual and psychological insight as my blogging skills improve. I welcome all suggestions and like to visit other blogs to see how other bloggers have solved filing and inventory problems. Linking, promoting others, reviewing, and making people laugh - are all areas I want to continue to improve in. 5 Minutes For Mom is a Pro Blog and I am grateful for their example and leadership in the blogging sphere.

Right now I counsel in person, by email, phone and even snail mail. Since all of us stumble over similar road blocks in life I will be consolidating material for future posts that comes out of my daily work. I am also thrown into wonderful situations with people from all walks of life while out on the road promoting Here You Are - people who wouldn't typically come to me for counseling or meditation instruction and make for many new and different stories to tell.

When reading about anything related to the book think of it as if I were writing about one of my children. Sometimes I just can't stop myself. I am proud like a mother of this little book. I want to keep a record of what is happening around and because of the book, the same way I put together my baby books. Even books grow up and some day these magical days will be past. There is much more to be found on this blog, though, since only talking about children, or one book, would indeed be boring.

So, go ahead and find the laughing quadruplets, follow links all the way to my friend Dwabha's orphanage in India, or contemplate blueberries. It's all here and somehow it all makes sense. Thanks for stopping by - come back to visit often and leave something here about yourself, your blog, as well as any insights you would like to share.

See you soon!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Scarcity and Sacredness

Sacred is an interesting word, idea and feeling. Sacred to me has nothing to do with any particular religion. As a matter of fact, often religions ruin the sacred meaning of sacred. People without religion, but deep reverence for life, have a better understanding of what sacred is. Where does this reverence, and this feeling of sacred come from?

As I was thinking about this, I remembered days at home with my young children back East in the dead of winter, where we would often lose power. Since we depended on pumping our water up to our house from a well, we would not only lose heat but also water during storms. So whenever it was howling outside, we would fill our two bathtubs with water and as many buckets as we could find, as well as all of our sinks and cook pots - just in case . It was fun and we felt like great survivors. We always had enough to last the two to five days it usually took for the town to get our power back on, but we also always got close to running out and had to ration everything accordingly.

During one of those storms my oldest son who then was about 10, and who was "the man in the house" when Dad was off fighting dragons for us in the business world, remarked how differently he thought about water when we had storms and no power. He felt it became more precious than gold. We wondered why, and quickly realized that the things that are essential to our survival - shelter, heat, food and water - become very precious when there is no guarantee that they will be available tomorrow. It is this preciousness and fragility, and the gratitude that results, that seem to add up to this feeling of sacred. If you can only have one cup of water, or one bowl of rice you naturally don't want to devour it in haste, but give to it a moment of presence, a moment of gratitude, a moment of appreciation. It becomes sacred. This needs no faith in God or any religion. Scarcity and Sacredness are related.

This sense of the sacred, independent of religion, has been lost to many today and I think it is a function of abundance, instant fulfillment of desires, and having way more than we need. Before we have a moment to reflect on the gifts in our lives we are bombarded with a hundred messages and self generated thoughts that we need something else to really be happy and that all the people around us already have more than we do.

Wealth, though, is an inner treasure. It is a realization that we have been given so much just by being alive for this infinitely brief moment in this vast Universe which is also nothing but a speck of momentary dust. It makes us speechless. This is available to everyone at all times and has nothing to do with our outer wealth. Some of the wealthiest billionaires can't manage to feel this. Some of the poorest of the poor carry this feeling morning 'till night.

Valentine's Day and Eternal Peace

Happy Valentine's Day!

I didn't know anything about Valentine's Day until I moved from Cologne, Germany to Bavaria in my teens. In Bavaria, unlike Cologne, on Valentine's Day young people exchanged poems. I thought it was some sort of annual poetry festival.

Then I learned about the American Valentine's Day. Flowers, chocolates, wearing red, and even sexy underwear. My American boyfriend at the time - my now husband - was relieved he didn't have to go through all this non-sense with his blissfully ignorant German girlfriend.

This morning, 35 years later, I sent our 8-year old off to school with his 22 handmade, red, purple and pink glitter hearts, asking me softly whether I could please not come to the Valentine's Party because it would be too embarrassing. Sending a Valentine's Card to Grandma in Florida also was "way too embarrassing" although Grandma sends a Mystery Valentine's Card every year that is "super embarrassing", and we try to figure out for days who might have sent it.

Love is in the air as our lemon tree is emitting the most wonderful fragrance. I have to soon take it out of the winter garden and put it outside so the bees can find it. It's February in California and the sun is shining. My husband will surprise his old German girl with some pretty flowers, or forget and apologize for days. I am sure the old Catholic Saints wouldn't mind most of our pagan spring rituals.

I remember reading somewhere that the cross represents, with its horizontal line, our human life - the linear aspects of past, present and future - and that the vertical line represents our divine nature of here, now, eternal and infinite life, that reaches up and beyond, to Infinity and Eternity from our spot here on earth. Although the two seem in conflict with each other, there is this one point where they cross and are the same. It is a symbol much older than the Christian cross of Christ. This point is the eternal peace we can find in our heart, which physically would be at the center of the cross.

Valentine's Day today is a cross of "Victoria Secret" and "St. Valentine", an ancient Catholic saint and martyr, who was the original reason for Valentine's Day. The Saint has been forgotten, but the sweet sacredness of life asserting itself in the spring when things get "super embarrassing" and I sit under my lemon tree anticipating a bouquet of flowers, has not. All this activity and excitement of spring has eternal peace at its roots. That's what makes it sacred.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Bedtime Meditation

Every night when I put my son to bed, we meditate. We don't sit up and chant OM. After we read, talk and have that last glass of water, we lie down and are quiet. Together. Since he was little - "And now we meditate" - was my line after the bedtime rituals. It just meant - and now we are quiet - even though we are still "doing " something. He never knew what meditation really is, but knew I taught it to people.

He usually falls asleep, and I continue to meditate. The other night though, he was not tired. Still, he was happy to go to bed. As he put down his head on the pillow he sighed blissfully: "It is just the best thing to rest your head on your soft pillow, close your eyes, and just do nothing without falling asleep."

I told him that that is what meditating is. He was amazed. He thought it was something difficult because I teach it.

50 Times Around The Sun

Today is my Birthday. I have flown around the sun 50 times. Before the next 50 rounds are done, it will most likely be over. Strange. It doesn't seem like even a moment in time.

So many phone calls, hugs, emails, from the ones I love that have made me smile today. Thank you all. We are only here for a while and to make each other smile is what we are here for. What else could possibly be more important?

You know who else made me smile today? Southwest Airlines, Banana Republic and the Dr Laura Schlessinger radio program - they all somehow knew it was my birthday. How scary is that? Now I am stuck with very positive associations for these three "best friends".

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Hamlin School Book Fair

A very nice woman found Here You Are in a bookstore a few weeks ago. She called to invite me to the annual Book Fair at the prestigious Hamlin School in San Francisco. A publicist's dream come true. Here You Are really has a life of its own. I am just a humble servant.

Over twenty copies sold the first day, which doesn't sound like much. Not to me, but then one of the main organizers told me that they didn't sell 20 copies of any other title by far, except for a middle school chapter book of an author who had been visiting the classrooms that week. The room was full of the most beautiful children's books, each one recommended by a Mom, teacher or student. The Moms came in with shopping lists in hand, busily trying to find their little one's books of choice. And still, Here You Are brought the usual tears to Moms eyes and was bought in multiples of two to six copies each.

In the evening as I sat on my couch looking out the window, knowing that quite a number of children in that sparkling city across the bay were reading Here You Are for a bedtime story that night, felt wonderful. I had written their names into the books all day.

Monday, February 4, 2008

More Contrast Needed

Today I asked our eight-year-old to write a classified ad for me - just for fun. He loves to help Mom with Here You Are, loves to work on the computer, and loves to make some extra money with "chores" - in that order. Not only did he give me a lesson on needing "more contrast" in the little Photoshop Ad I was working on, but then, after I left him to his own devices. came up with this Classified Ad. I must admit I was surprised about the words he chose, and how he hit the nail on the head. He was very pleased with himself.

A Book for a Calm Mind
To get us to our Inner Self :-)
And to be one with our Nature

Oh - and here is the Photoshop Ad, too. Grading and contrast by my young PR agent. He was right - more contrast is good. Let's keep that in mind - it's good for all of us!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Eckhart Tolle

Here is a man who knows. You may recall his book "The Power of Now", in which he answers people's questions about how to be here now, what enlightenment is, etc. Even after reading so many words, the reader ends up calmer for having followed his thoughts. It is a beginner's book about that which we all seek. I actually didn't read all of it. Even though I agreed with his statements, after several pages my reaction was - no, not another book with hundreds of pages about how to still the mind. There are so many, by people who intellectually understand spiritual teachings, but whose minds are still galloping ahead on their own.

Here You Are came about shortly thereafter. Instead of talking about the powerful Now, Here You Are gives the reader a taste of it - actually takes him or her, right into it. That's the simple magic of Here You Are. It is the gift everyone already owns. Children delight in getting their parents into the Here, Now. They are always waiting for us to show up to really be with them there.

When searching You Tube for videos of people who might be spiritual teachers - of which there are many today - I found a lot of videos of Eckhart Tolle, most of them in German. At first impression he comes across like a Saturday Night Live caricature of a German, both in looks and body language, yet before one even has a chance to go with one's prejudice, he transcends this awkwardness, both with his deep inner peace and wonderful sense of humor. Enlightenment tastes the same - like the saltiness of the seas is the same on many shores - and Eckhart Tolle is as beautiful as some of the greatest Indian and Japanese enlightened masters I have been lucky enough to come across in my lifetime. I must admit, it was unexpected.

I picked this video as my favorite to post here.

Holding Hands

If you haven't seen this yet - enjoy a moment of floating happiness. Animals can be great teachers.