Archive for January, 2013

Monk in the World


The following is a gift from the Souljourner at-Large who was guided to this website and received the blessings of visual art and inspiration, prayer and meditation and beautiful music, from the source that beats her heart……Silence

Please play this video musical meditation




Holy Giver of Silence

Sustain me in these sacred spaces

and embrace me with your presence.

I pause each day to listen to your whisperings

which call me to a deepened way of being.

I enter the quiet and ask for the courage to respond

to what I discover in that tabernacle of time.


Abbey of the ArtsTransformative living
through contemplative and expressive arts.

Christine Valters Paintner, OblSB, PhD, REACE


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Winter has been late in arriving this year in Michigan. We had cold, windy days and nights, some snow but not all that much. Today is a mixture of everything, ice, sleet, rain and mush with temperatures rising above forty today.

But this weekend, we had some beautiful snowfall and we were mesmerized by the birds warming and fueling themselves at the feeder.

Cardinal closeup

Mr and Mrs Cardinal both visit the Bird Bistro.

Cardinal Mrs

The Woodpecker performs acrobatics as he feeds from the block.

Better pix of woodpecker

There is Upper and Lower Deck Seating (well standing or hanging)



Our table is just inside the sliding glass door, and we often share breakfast time together with the birds.

But there are other things to do…..like clear the driveway….Tom’s forte.


The new snowblower gets pumped up.


and the snow creates a wonderland


You know the mail gets delivered, no matter the weather.



Then it’s time to restock the bird feeders.


Birdman of Cardinal Trail

The birds say, “Thanks.”

Cardinal at feeder

Where is Sue? She is in the backyard playing in the snow.


An angel landed right in the middle of my snow labyrinth!

Angel of the Labyrinth

It’s a beautiful day in our neighborhood on a snowy, joy-filled day.






“Won’t you be my neighbor?

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  souljourner - atLarge front

“Take A Chance On Me”

                                                      (In the Spirit of Abba)

If you change your mind, I’m the first in line
I’m still free
Take a chance on me
If you need me, let me know, gonna be around
If you’ve got no place to go, if you’re feeling down
If you’re all alone when the pretty birds have flown
I’m still free
Take a chance on me
Gonna do my very best and it ain’t no lie
If you put me to the test, if you let me try

Take a chance on me
(That’s all I ask of you)
Take a chance on me


I am open for business!

With lots of ideas and creative themes to share.

Who has a group I can present to?

Contact me by phone or email.

Thank you.

 Souljourner at-Large, Sue

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light in heart

For Today and Everyday

May today there be peace within YOU.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities.
May you use those gifts that you have received
and pass on the love that has been given to you.

May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul
the freedom to sing, dance and bask in the sun.

It is there for each and everyone of you.

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Citizen of the world

Chugging along during the first month of January 2013, people seem to have gone about their business of daily life assuming the world is not going to end….at least not today.

Of course none of us know that for sure, for the bottom line I believe is stated in the bible, that our days our “numbered as the hairs on our head” or something to that effect.

Still, having studied with Barbara Marx Hubbard last summer, I have not lost my cosmic view of things and gained quite a lot, I think by continuing to be stimulated by this wider view of our existence.  News about space, galaxies, the sun, stars, moons and planets alert my antennae now. I gather bits of information both on the cosmos and evolutionary knowledge and tuck it away as “current events” rather than something of old that remains the same.

It is occurring that much is changing in, around, and through us as a very rapid pace at this point of our long, historical record in time.

Just as with Y2K, there was some joking going on, at the expense of the Mayan culture, when January 1, 2013 came and went and time marched forward without a catyoclysmic event. Yet that is not to say we don’t have a solar super storms charged cosmos, set for more displays of its awesome powers and effects on the universe. That is not to say constant, new and mindboggling discoveries are being made everyday from the technologies of Hubble in space.

And that is not to say, according to National Geographic in its June 2012 edition that the Mayans ever said that the world was going to end. According to William Saturno, on a mission to document and preserve Mayan cave paintings at the classic Mayan site of Xultun:

                                   “My hunch is that this may have been a workspace or
teaching space for scribes, artists, or scholars. They
were working things out for later public consumption.
…done in A.D. 813, 75 years before Xultun’s final

                                  “When my colleagues and I studied four columns of
huge numbers, we realized these were calculations
based on the Maya calendar and astronomy that
projected 2.5 millions days — some 7,000 years —
into the future.”

                                   “A lot of the Maya lowlands had already fallen silent.
The collapse had begun, but at Xultun, folks were
going about business as usual, but there was an
undercurrent of anxiety. They wanted to tie events
in their king’s live to larger cosmic events.”

Saturno says they wanted to show that the king would be ok.  He said, in this, the Maya predicted that the world would continue. That was their point. They didn’t predict the end of the world. They said:

“there would be cycles, new beginnings– but never endings. They Maya were looking for guarantees that nothing would change. “The numbers on the walls are calculations of when the same cosmic events would happen in the future. “

We, on the other hand, he says, keep looking for data that predicted endings, and concludes that this was not the mindset of the Maya.

In the same National Geographic is a large photographic article on the “stormy sun.” In the same way that the ancient Maya attempted to track and “predict” future cosmic events, expert scientists of space are solely dedicated to the activities and earthly effects or threats of the firey sun. “The sun rings like a bell in millions of distinct tones,” says Mark Miech of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Bolder, Colorado. Scientists tune in to solar sound waves to detect active regions days before they bubble up to the surface.

“The morally right thing to do once you’ve identified a threat of this magnitude is to be prepared….Not preparing for it has intolerable consequences.” Karel Schrijver. The scientists say space weather is where terrestrial weather was 50 years ago.

So forecasters concentrate on forecasting storm’s potential strength and its likely arrival time, giving vulnerable systems time to prepare.

Sounds like something the Mayan’s were trying to do without today’s technology.


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The Peace of Wild Things

Christine -  Wattlebird

                           Photo Wattle Bird, Christine Whitelaw, Australia

The Peace of Wild Things

“When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.
I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light.

For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.” – Wendell Berry

Source: dadirridreaming blog website:


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Ida Herbert- worlds oldest yoga teacher

I just turned 70 and I’m glad I saw this to know I have lots of years of yoga ahead of me. Look at the sparkle in Ida’s smiling eyes! This article was found on my Facebook. Note about the author, Cat O’Connor, below.

The World’s Oldest Yoga Teacher

Ida Herbert was recently recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest yoga teacher. She’s 96.
I had the pleasure and privilege of getting to know her at a weekend yoga retreat where we both offered and received asana practice.
Although I had seen Ida at our local YMCA, where she volunteered for many years, I’d never spent much time with her or been to one of her classes.
What an inspiration!
At 96, this woman has more brightness, vigor and flexibility than many women a fraction of her age.
Her class was challenging (my abs got a workout from the multiple navasana and raised leg climbs!) and funny (many of us had tears rolling down our faces from her well-timed and quick humor). It was also amazing to experience her as a human being, full of kindness, grace and contentment.
She began our evening “gentle yoga” practice standing at the front of her mat in Tadasana. We continued through various heart opening standing poses. As she moved into the balancing posture of Tree, she swayed a little and both feet came back to the mat.
“Listen,” she said, smiling, “I’m 96 years old, I deserve to stumble a little!”
The retreat fell on Remembrance Day here in Canada, and so, on the 11th month, on the 11th day, at the 11th hour we came together in the great room of the center to share a moment of silence and reflection while watching the presentation on TV, which panned in and out on various faces of veterans in attendance.
Ida, with her small, yet strong frame was the closest to the TV and might have been standing the proudest. I couldn’t help but wonder about all that this woman has seen over her 96 years and felt touched to be able to share this moment with her.
Afterward, I asked if she’d lost loved ones in past wars – she said that she had not, however, her late husband had been a prisoner of war and she had been impacted in many ways by the various degrees of conflict through which she had lived.
In that moment, I was reminded of just how much we have to learn from the generations before and after us, and the importance of taking time to reach out to people of all ages and from all walks of life, as this is where true wisdom and connection lies.
Ida, through her yoga practice and in her overall demeanor demonstrated a level of calm, grace and vitality that affected everyone at the retreat this past weekend.
She is a living example of the power of yoga. With a quick wit and gentle, broad smile, she brought a sense of joy to the room whenever she entered.
When asked to what she attributes her longevity, she replied with a twinkle in her eye. “Yoga and never having had children… oh, and fish oil!”
And so, while my children might cause me to grow old a little faster (I think they’re worth it), I will continue to devote myself to my yoga practice and just might boost my daily intake of fish oil…
If I can share my yoga practice with others at the wonderfully vibrant age of 96, as Ida does now, it will be a gift, not only to me but to those around me.
Ida closed the practice by limberly moving into sukhasana and sharing the following words:
“Cup your hands in your lap. Inhaling, raise them up to the sky and make a wish. Now catch that wish. I hope for you to catch joy, laughter, kindness, compassion and peace. Now draw the hands down to your heart and allow this wish to fill your heart and whole being. Namaste.”
Thank you Ida, for inspiring those around you and shining your beautiful light.
Published November 24, 2012 at 10:26 AM

About Cat O’Connor

Cat O’Connor – Student of Yoga, writing, motherhood, and life. Cat says ‘Some say, the best way to learn, is to teach and so I’m also dipping my toes into the yoga instructor experience, hoping to make yoga accessible to everyone that I can. Namaste.’
Twitter: @YogaCat4life

Website: www.yogainmotion.ca 

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I have decided to start my quiet prayer time in the morning with two short readings. I will read one Psalm per day because it entertains my creative, poetic muse and gives me imagery and verse to ponder.

My overall impressions of the Psalms, the longest book of the Bible, is that the authors (this book of hymns was written over a long period of time by different authors) were either pleading wholeheartedly, begging mercilessly for forgiveness and salvation or praising their God to the highest heavens, exalting all signs on earth as witness to God’s great power and glory.  There is little in-between.

This fits in with some of the emotional highs and lows I have known in my life.

Then, I am also going to read a chapter or part of a long chapter of one of the gospels each morning. The reason is that I want to, once again,  focus on the words and the actions of Jesus.  Then I want to apply this to what I think I believe about Jesus and see how this plays out in my daily life.

To be sure, I don’t count all of this reading and meditation as holy time.

For instance, I am reading Mark’s account of the holy word. In yesterday’s selection, Jesus called Andrew and Simon at Lake Galilee to “Come with me”, gathering up James and John, sons of Zebedee a little further down the road.  Then he began teaching and healing people at the synagogue.

The people are amazed (yes, they even used that overused word in the Bible) and begin to wonder who this man is who calls out evil spirits from people.  News about Jesus quickly began to spread.

So today, I pick up the story, and Jesus has left the synagogue and goes straight to the home of Simon where it says Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a fever. Upon being told this, Jesus went to her, helped her up, and vanished the fever

Ok, I’m distracted now. First by the fact that she was Simon’s mother-in-law and right away I begin wondering about two things (actually three things, which I will get to).

First, if that is the case, Simon Peter is married and I wonder: What happened to Peter’s spouse and wife as he increasingly “hangs with Jesus”, and is groomed to be the founder of Christ’s church on earth after Jesus is gone. How did that affect his marriage; did he continue it, or abandon it to spread the faith across the land? What became of Peter’s wife? If he was about the gospel of love, then surely he had to continue it in his home.

Well, I don’t know the answers to these things. Maybe some bible scholar does whom I have not heard nor read yet. If I’ve been told any relating historical facts to this, I don’t remember them and I am sure there was never a question with a required memorized answer to it in the foundational Baltimore Catechism.

Secondly, I also wonder why the Catholic Church has made such a thing about priests not being married when the first  leader chosen by Christ was married. In fact, he was found to be so rock-solid, even with his many character flaws, that Jesus would declare: “Upon this rock, I will build my church”.

Perhaps I should read scripture in a study group, rather than alone.

But the ending of the sentence where Simon’s mother-in-law is healed throws me off track from holiness and spiritual inquiry.  Apparently, immediately upon recovering from her illness and fever from the touch of Jesus’ hand, she…..”began to wait on them.”  

What? No recovering respite? Ahhh, the long road women have travelled!

Now, I am no longer pondering the scripture, I am hearing the words to Jesus Christ Superstar start on my internal spiritual  itunes download.

“Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, Who are you? What have you sacrificed?
Jesus Christ Superstar Do you think you’re what they say you are?

(Don’t you get me wrong, now) Don’t you get me wrong
(Only want to know) Only want to know.”

I pray, “Jesus, I really do want to know.” Just as Judas pleads to know  who you are in this super hit song of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Broadway musical. I continue in prayer, “That’s why I’m reading your Word. I don’t want you to get me wrong, I only want to know. And that is why I listen for you….always.”

Now, I’m thinking of my daughter and her theater time coming up as she prepares for the musical direction of Jesus Christ Superstar in their community theater production. The performance and the music made a deep impression on me in the 1970s. I look forward to experiencing it in the new millennium, more than thirty years later.

I see on the lyrics page I can download the ringtone on my cellphone.

I want to do that. I’ll have to wait for my grandson to show me how.

My meditation will continue each time my phone rings. Maybe that counts for something?


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Butterfly - Whitelaw

Photograph by Christine Whitelaw – didirri7

This is the most dramatic, enticing, magnetic and inviting photograph of a butterfly that I have ever seen.

It was taken by my Australian friend, creative artist, nature photographer, and writer Christine Whitelaw and posted recently on her blog, dadirri7.


During shivasana at the end of Gentle Yoga this morning, this beautiful butterfly flew right up to my nose. I think she touched it. I was quieting within my body and my thoughts, but I heard her say, “Come, fly with me.”

And I did. I gave over to the gentle breeze and the light vastness I was a part of during this quiet time of yoga, and off I floated with the inviting butterfly. It was a wondrous experience and I have an intuition I may be visited again by her, and I will once again accept the invitation, no questions asked.

She will be a teacher-companion to me. I open myself to learning and to the adventure. I already have heart-resonance with her and I look forward to our travels together. I do not think she is bound by space nor time and she will help me slip through these curtains as well.

Christine’s photography and travel have delighted me throughout this year. Her own “backyard” is the marvelous land of Australia.

Back in the late 1970’s I read and loved Colleen McCullough’s novel, The Thornbirds, which was set in Australia. I sunk deeply into the passionate  and complicated love story it presented and the daring fortitude and resilience in the heroine and other main characters as they faced their challenges and destiny.

I got a glimpse of the geographical terrain of the wildness and weather severities experienced in the Outback, and the tough grit it was to produce a living through sheep farms.

However, one large image left with me was of the firey brushlands and destruction the winds and fires did upon the land. I’ve had a new chance to see Australia through the camera lens and discerning eye of Christine Whitelaw.

And I’ve come to the conclusion that my own “exposure” to her photography makes me certain that one who lives in this great land knows the almighty Truth of Abundance within and all around them.

The vast array of wildlife, to be noticed on simple, short walks. The horizons and the surging, foam-capped seas, the lifestyles of peoples all around. The variety of fruits, vegetables and stock animals. The creativity of composition and subject.  She makes this all look so easy and so readily available.

And it makes me ask, many miles away……what did I miss today? What didn’t I see that was there before me? On my short outing to the store, or visit to a friend, or a walk around the block.

Did I miss the almighty Truth of Abundance right where I am? For I believe it is given unto me.  It may be a different bird, a changed river, a new song, or a call for friendship. I don’t have to travel to see it.

I just have to “focus” my soul upon receiving it and giving back.

I’m so thankful Christine gives so much back with her camera. With every click of the lens, I say “Thank you.”

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“Lucidity has varying measures of shine and each day spent pursuing the passion of craft is brilliant in its own way.”  Maryanne Radmacher

I received two exciting writing prompts today. One leads to the creation of uniting three to four artists/writers/ creative spirituality leaders for an energetic workshop weekend later this year. The creators, including myself, are definitely passionate about their craft.

The other prompt came from Maryanne Radmacher’s book, Live with Intention,,,, rediscovering what we deeply know.  I’m considering buying her most recent book about leaning forward in life, but I pulled this “old-faithful” off the shelf for a quick read after my quiet time this morning.

I came directly to a short discourse on: do what you love.

I love to write. I do write. I am passionate about writing and not stopping writing.  Napkinwriter gives me the opportunity to create quickly in the “now”….what’s happening in my world, or even the “now” of my memories and share them in a quick discourse.

But in this short section on writing, Radmacher addresses the “craft” side of this creative venture. She says, “A writer writes. Everyday. It is the work, the practice of the craft. Edit. Sculpt phrases. Cross out words. Replace words or eliminate them. Hold sentences to the light, turn them, confirm balance. When the words sparkle, put them back and move on.

That is the work, consistently.

The trick she says, and I well know this, is to embrace the ordinary, lovingly each day on its own dependable merit. Then you discover that the ordinary invites the extraordinary.

The luminous moment appears from the everyday, ordinary day. This is true, not only for the writer, but for anyone who approaches the ordinary day in open expectation. The day is mostly filled with familiar roads, but every now and then, the road leads across an incandescent crossroad that unmistakeably lights up  and transforms their life.

 We might think of this as practicing the “craft of life.”

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