Wednesday, March 31, 2010

it's raining...

After two weeks of rain, much of New England has experienced record-shattering rainfall. Flood waters flow all around. Sink holes have appeared where streets once bustled with people in a rush to go nowhere. Among other disastrous consequences are many homes now left without heat, hot water or electrical power. I can't imagine what it's like for those who live on the streets.
The rainy season has also arrived in Haiti. Over 1.3 million people are still homeless, many living among the muddy, overcrowded grounds of tent cities. Men, women, and children. There remains nearly five hundred and eighty eight million dollars ($588,000,000) of Haitian relief funds sitting, just sitting, in the accounts of some charitable organisations like the American Red Cross - their executives explaining that there is no rush in spending this money, as they need to save it for the long term rebuilding efforts. (Excuse me?) I think the people of Haiti, who are enduring each day in some of the most uninhabitable conditions, may see things a little differently. The earthquake already took the lives of two hundred and thirty thousand (230,000) of their loved ones. These survivors are alive today. But many of them will surely die long before the rebuilding efforts begin unless there is immediate intervention. So tonight, I shall be writing a letter to my local charitable organisations to raise my voice for the people of Haiti. and i continue to pray...

Monday, March 29, 2010

flying your way...

rayfamily of tilting at windmills was randomly selected to receive one of my hand-made prayer flags. please send me your mailing address and i'll be happy to send it your way. i do hope you will enjoy this small expression of love.

hope everyone is having a lovely monday. just here. listening to the soothing sound of raindrops pinging against my window pane. think i'll go snuggle up in my warm bed, right after i pray for all those who can't. blessings.

happy passover to my soeur du jour, Margie, and to all those who celebrate.

one love.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

it's the small things...

just enjoying a little bit of sunshine and being thankful for the air that i breathe.

Last night during earth hour, my daughter and i made this special little postcard by candlelight for my friend BJ who is living with terminal cancer. The card's design was inspired by our lovely ELK, author of red or gray, who recently sent me an envelope filled with love in the mail. (exhale). The thoughtful idea to mail BJ a postcard every week, just to lift her spirits, came from another very dear friend, Sherry, author of everyday possibilities. it's the small things in life, you know? so each week, we send an expression of love in the mail to BJ, and it has made all the difference, to both of us.

i am so thankful for all of you. you really mean the world to me.

sending lots of positive vibes and love your way.

one love.

Friday, March 26, 2010

a choice, and a blessing...

have you got any fun plans for this weekend?
this weekend, i will be making a prayer flag
for one of you! it's just my little way of
reciprocating the love you show me every day.

i plan to reserve, should JAH allow,
7 minutes by candlelight
in prayer and meditation
during this earth hour.

for i recognise and appreciate
that turning off my light switch
for 60 minutes of one day
is a choice, and a blessing.

i have fellow countrymen, women, and children
who sleep beneath warm Caribbean skies
as the earth below puffs out soft gray clouds of ash

what i eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner
what i drink to quench my thirst
which bed i fall asleep in
is a choice, and a blessing.

i have brothers and sisters in haiti
who are still waiting for help
even as the trade winds blow
and the heavens above them crack open.

so, for 7 minutes of earth hour
i will go to a place of serenity,
reach out and touch their spirits
and sit with them in silence.

*EARTH HOUR will be observed worldwide on Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 8:30 p.m. (local time).

*if you would like a chance to be the randomly selected recipient of one of my hand-made prayer flags, please leave a comment on this post by Monday, March 29, 2010.

*Have a Conscious Friday and a divine weekend.
one love.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

earth hour...

Greetings friends,

My daughter and her cousins had a blast celebrating Earth Hour together at our home last year . Imagine my excitement when she came home from school on Monday and announced that this weekend it's that time again. I am soooo honoured to be the parent of a socially-conscious child who has great respect for Mother Earth.

This Saturday, March 27, 2010, the world will once again observe Earth Hour. It's a global event wherein we are asked to turn off our lights for just 1 hour starting at 8:30 pm (local time) to collectively make a statement about climate change and saving our planet. Won't you please join us?

I'm so curious to hear about how you plan to spend that hour. hmmmmm.

as always, one love.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

in her own words: Buddhist meets Rasta...

This moment of zen has been brought to you by one of my kindred spirits, my beloved friend Tracy, who reminds me daily of how blessed I am to meet so many phenomenal women in blogland. Tracy brings with her a sense of calm, peacefulness and an unconditional, accepting love - something I am constantly striving to maintain in my everyday life. I had a rare opportunity to connect with Tracy regarding her practise of Buddhism. Our conversation illuminated my soul...I do hope it will do the same for you.

Greetings, my dear friend. Could you please introduce yourself and give a brief description of your blog(s)?

My name is Tracy. I'm pretty active in the blogging community. I write three different blogs. Pink Purl is my creative sanctuary and sharing place with friends & family where slices of life are served up along with my creative endeavors. A Certain Slant of Light is where I play with photography and notice the world around me. Savour is my more recent addition to my blogging adventure, where I share my own recipes and love of food & cooking--one new recipe each week. I love blogging!

How long have you lived in Norway? What brought you there?

I'm originally from Pennsylvania in the USA. I moved to Norway ten years ago to be with my Norwegian husband... So a love story brought me here! We celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary this month too.

What are your hobbies and/or business ventures?

I am a homemaker and have a great appreciation of the home arts. I also have a fledgling small business I run from a tiny room in my home, selling handcrafted jewelry, knitwear and other small accessories in an online shop. Right now my designs are available exclusively at Etsy, where my shop has been hosted for nearly three years. Creativity has been such a big part of my life for many, many years. To create something of beauty and use with my hands is my passion. I have many interests: yoga, Buddhist studies, literature, knitting, gardening, history, jewelry design, cooking, writing, literature, photography, drawing, painting, sewing, quilting, architecture, travel--many things engage me. The business grew out of a desire to do some meaningful work, on my own terms, at my own pace due to some health issues, flowing naturally from a wish to share a love of beautiful adornments--jewelry & accessories. Many customers have told me that they feel a sense of peacefulness and happiness come through in the pieces I design. This warms my heart so much. It is my hope that the happiness and peace passes on to them, the customers, with the use and enjoyment of the accessories.

You mentioned Buddhist studies as a hobby of yours. Could you tell us how were you introduced to "Buddhism"? Do you identify as a particular type of Buddhist?

I was about 16 years old, and had stumbled upon the religion/philosophy section of my high school's library. I was drawn to a book simply entitled "Buddhism." Now I don't recall the author/publisher of that book or that sort of thing. But I remember taking that book down off its shelf and beholding the cover of it. There was a carved stone image of the Buddha--a sitting Buddha, eyes gently down,the suggestion of a smile, of happiness on his lips, his hands resting mildly in his lap, in meditation. The peacefulness of the Buddha's expression was unlike anything I'd experienced before. I recall having stood there a long time, just gazing at the cover of that book, admiring the Buddha, in wonderment. That peace, that serenity is what I wanted. I wanted to know that experience. I knew that one day I would find that path. At that time, during my teenage years, all through my growing up, I was brought up in a Catholic household. A very loving home, but there was a certain amount of religious strictness there. Other paths were not really open to discussion or exploration. Catholicism never felt like home to me, so I felt at odds for years of my life with it. It wasn't until many years later when I was an adult and beginning to practice yoga that I came home to Buddhism. And that's what it was like, it was like coming home. But discovering that book in the school library at 16 was the tender start of finding my true path. I don't identify myself with any one branch of Buddhism, for I find great instruction and support from the Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions. Buddhism--the teaching of the Buddha, are for me guidelines for living an awakened life, a life of freedom following a path of wisdom, morality and meditation & prayer. The foundations of the path and adhering to them bring me daily to a life filled with love, compassion, balance/equanimity and joy... and these I can share with others.

What Buddhist practices do you adhere to? Have you found that practising Buddhism has had a significant impact on your way of life?

Each day is a new day. A gift. To be a life is such a gift. And part of the gift is recognition of The Four Noble Truths:

1. that there is suffering
2. find out the origin of that suffering
3. that the suffering can stop
4. there is a way to live without suffering.

Suffering can be many things and take many forms--craving something, coveting something, clinging to unhealthy thoughts, or even boredom. Any negative energy can cause suffering. With the Eightfold Path in mind a daily discipline of--right view, right, thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration--these can deepen my understanding of myself and my surroundings. Keeping all these precepts of practice in mind for living a more mindful way of life has had a huge impact. I grow more open, caring, compassionate, giving and senstive to the needs of myself and others. When we find our own freedom, we can help others find theirs. "Bodhicitta" is the awakened state of heart and mind. It a practitioner's compassionate wish to be alive, to be awakened and help others live in mindfulness and awareness too, a life free from suffering.

Do you have any particular views regarding the suffering of humankind? What do you do, as an individual, to relieve or alleviate some of that suffering?

There is so much suffering in the world, on this planet--suffering of the people, and suffering of the planet itself. It breaks my heart to see so much suffering. The news we see, read and hear about is oftentimes not very good, not very positive. As an everyday citizen of the larger world, I, and I'm sure many others feel the same, that it can be hard to know what to do or how to help. How to ease that suffering especially when there is so much of it and on so many different levels. Monetary support for various charitable and relief organizations is one way I try to be of practical hope to those in need. Sometimes that doesn't really feel like enough help. But we do what we can do. Sometimes that can also be in the form of meditation. My meditation practice is daily for the wishes of a better life for people everywhere--for the relief of suffering of all kinds, hunger, oppression, danger, war... My great wish is for a world of all people dwelling in harmony, peace, compassion and love all together. I believe in the collective energy and power of prayer, of intentions. So if I am praying, and I am sure there are many others praying for the same things, then perhaps that harmony many just happen. These many small things. But even small things add up.

As you well know, I am very fond of jewels. Could you tell us about the "Three Jewels"?

The Three Jewels is one of the core foundations of Buddhism, sometimes also called The Three Refuges, The Triple Gem, they are:

The Buddha--the enlightened Buddha. Siddhartha was his name before he attained the gift of enlightenment.

The Dharma--these are the teachings of the Buddha, guidelines for finding true awakening.

The Sangha--this is the community of people living by the discipline and guidelines of The Dharma--including all practitioners, from ordained monks & nuns to lay followers.

To take refuge in the Three Jewels is like a spiritual coming home. And all three are connected. Each contains the others. It is one love. To be a practitioner is to honor all three as the root of the practice.

What is your meditation practice? What mantras, if any, do you use in meditation?

Meditation could very simply be defined as concentration, seeing clearly, being in the present moment. The
practice of Buddhism is about being present in your life. A great way to wake up to life is to meditate. Taking the time to concentrate on life. Most anything is worthy of mindfulness practice, of concentration--breathing, folding, laundry, cooking a meal, walking, even work. Be awake. Be open. That is how I begin to practice--to be awake, to be here now. I am an ordinary individual living in the oftentimes hectic modern world, and sometimes it can be a challenge to find the balance with time in which to maintain a formal seated meditation practice. At the moment I try daily to take 10-20 minutes, seated in some way, to meditate. For some time my concentration focuses largely on metta--lovingkindness meditation. It is a practice with which to get in touch with one's inner goodness, happiness, love, compassion, joy and peace. Feeling supported and dwelling in these states of being, it is possible to extend these to others through special intentions or wishes. Sharon Salzberg's seminal book, "
Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness," is one I can highly recommend for anyone wishing to connect more deeply with the power of love, compassion and freedom within.

I do use mantras a lot. Often only in the English language and tailor them to each time I meditate. They can be as simple as:

"May I be well, May all beings be well, May this situation be well."

"May I be happy, May all beings be happy."

"May I dwell in peace, May all beings dwell in peace."

Can you describe in words the feeling you get inside when you connect to someone's spirit? what "peace" with oneself feels like?

That is a hard one to put exactly into words. It is very much like encountering a kindred spirit, especially if that person is "open" Some people are "open." And some people are "closed," it's hard to sense their true spirit. It is a recognition of their inner truth, inner being. There are those magic moments with some people, where I feel like I'm in the presence of light--it sometimes a strong light, sometime a gentle light, that can be likened to a sense of harmony, where two spirits can dwell together--either briefly for a few moments, or for days on end. It is a happy, light sensation.

Now with regards to food, are you a vegetarian? If so, for how long? What is the significance or link (if any) between your practise of Buddhism and being a vegetarian?

I would say that I am 95% vegetarian, and have been for nearly 10 years. I'm an ovo-lacto vegetarian, meaning that I still eat eggs and dairy products. I still eat fish sparingly on occasion. My husband is a meat-eater, but he is very supportive of my choice and appreciates the health benefits of a less-meat diet. So the preparation of fish is a sort of "compromise" for us. I do partake of alcoholic beverages occasionally. All things in moderation, as long as there is no harm. It's about reverence for life, and that is where the connection to Buddhism comes in. For in Buddhism all life is sacred. Not all Buddhists are vegetarians. It is not necessarily required to be a practitioner, though it is encouraged. When I began to practice and study Buddhism, it was clear to see how all things in life are interconnected. Even the animal human connection. So compassion towards animals has been close to my heart. Compassion being one of the core values in Buddhism. So that occasional eating of fish does bother me...but I'm working on that. One step at a time. I just try to make the best choices I can each day, each situation I'm in, for it's not always easy being a vegetarian in a still mainly meat-dominated way of eating in the Western world.

I've previously posted on Thich Nhat Hanh's view on Impermanence. Are there any of his teachings that you embrace deeply in your everyday life? Are you guided by other spiritual teachers?

Thich Nhat Hanh, the Zen Buddhist Master, has long been a spiritual guide for me. His many books provide much support and guidance, offering transformative practices for opening the heart and tapping into the very key aspects of the Buddhist tradition--love, compassion, joy and freedom--using concentration exercises and meditation to bring those good intentions into everyday life. SO I find all of his teachings so valuable. There are many contemporary Buddhist teachers who inspire my practice. Pema Chodron, a Tibetan nun of the Shambhala tradition--I love her very down-to-earth style of guidance. John Tarrant of the Zen tradition--I admire his quirky injection of humor to the seriousness of practice. There are so many--I could give you a list as long as the day!

Do you have any parting words for our wonderful readers?

I wish that you may dwell in peace, love and joy!

One love.

*(I have added hyperlinks for informational purposes.)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

breathe with me...

*the sneezing began today. (exhale). my journey through spring begins. won't you take in some deep breaths with me? (inhale). and though i suffer so badly during these seasonal asthma attacks, i can't help but think of those who survived the earthquake in haiti but now has no medication to survive an asthma attack. i pray for them. (exhale).

*after making her long journey back to the land of her birth, grandma was finally laid to rest on the tropical island of Barbados, West Indies. her spirit, however, lives on.

*Have a Conscious Friday and a divine weekend.

one love.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

slave revolts + irish heritage + spring...

some would agree that one thing people enjoy most about the Caribbean, besides its white sandy beaches, warm turquoise water, heaven in the tropics surroundings is the alcoholic beverages. i was born on a small island in the Caribbean. one you will not find on most maps. despite being devastated by a volcano which rumbled to life after 400 years and decimated most of the island in her wake, today we, the black irish, living home and abroad, are celebrating the unique union of slave revolts and irish heritage. this celebration has taken place since the 17th of march, 1798, which makes Montserrat, the emerald isle of the Caribbean, the only country in the world, besides Ireland, to celebrate St. Patrick's Day as a national holiday. would ya hand me ma green beer please? lol.


today, i spent time with my camera, Nikki. we found a little sign of spring. i always welcome Mother Spring, but she always leaves me breathless. literally. so i have been meditating. simply enjoying the last days of effortless breathing i will have for months to come. (exhaling).


one love.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Every moment is a moment of happiness.
just stopping in to say hi and how are you?
i do hope you are enjoying your weekend.
i've missed you all, very much.
one love.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

sending lots of love your way...

One love my virtual friend is all that
is needed to make the world go round
One love to make us smile and enjoy
the simple things we take for granted
One love is this beautiful gift you
have begun
One love is knowing someone
without ever having met them
One love lovely friend is what
I am sending to you
(written by Cathie)

Greetings friends,

As you can see in the photo above, my *gift of jewels* arrived at my doorstep, filled with love and wonder. It looked so delicious that I almost ate the cookie off the paper. What a warm feeling these jewels bring to my soul. And the words of "one love" living inside this beautiful handmade card, sheer bliss. Thanks so much Cathie from Melbourne Epicure. I just LOVE it! And guess what else? As soon as my jewel arrived, the weather outside warmed up. Coincidence? I think not.
I am still tracking about a dozen jewels making their way around the world. If you haven't received your jewel yet, please feel free to email me (
I have been spending a lot of time lately in the inner sanctum of my necessary room. prayer and meditation are in order.
I pray long and hard these days for the people of haiti now that the rainy season is upon them. so far, at least 9 people have died as a result of the heavy rains and 2 others remain missing. hurricane season will soon follow. JAH JAH, please hold them in the palm of your hands and protect them throughout these new challenges.
I wanted to take a moment to say THANK YOU to all of you for your kind comments and expressions of condolences regarding the loss of our beloved grandma. She was never one to sit around moping over things she could not change but was constantly striving to make the world around her better for the next generation. And she did. Again, my family thanks you deeply.
One Love.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

let not your heart be troubled...

when her heart began to hurt, she would say out loud, "let not your heart be troubled." peace and serenity would soon follow. the profound effect of those words on her soul instantly drew my attention. and though she has now gone home, her words remain. so today, i share:

her story

~ ~ ~

It was one fine day in January,
when I saw the world my way,
unfamiliar to me,
it was on that ninth day.

The weather was nice,
the air was pleasant
and I was so happy
on that day in 1914.

Although some time pass throughout my life
and days went by in May
I only keep my head up high and smile
and keep humming along my way.

Unfaired I was so many a times
I lost count saddened saying:
shoot, shoot - have mercy Lord,
have mercy.

I walk the walk; I stayed the course
my heart may hurt.
my face may thirst
even when those may hurt me.

Have mercy, Have mercy, Oh God I say
have mercy on those who plot to hurt me
when those say I do not care
made promises and went away.
I fight and tried my best each day
and every day my best God bless,
was just a test.

June, July and August.
then September rolled around.
Will it change in September?
November was the same all around.

I've reached more time for better,
that better I should have gained.
The blessings that was given
was not given in vain.

I see them in all my children.
I see them in all their children,
and their children's children'
children is all the same.

Everyone got notice the same time,
and same so many did not come
to see me on my send off.
While fighting to regain my ground

I tried to please so many,
but so many I could not change.
I know I did it my way,
and that I'm not ashamed.

I've jumped over banister and palings
and yes, fences too ...
and ducked and hide in pain with
Sam, John, Linda, Ann, Mark, Eddie
and Millicent too, even in the rain.

Running down the road for dear life
on Allen's land bridge gap
in black rock, St. Michael's, Barbados;
plans changed from St. Croix to Boston, Mass
the travel was long
620 I stayed and after some time, I cried.

Some times those days were so lonely
and it was so cold.
Going from the window to the porch
was not an easy stroll

I found my way to Georgia
that's Douglasville first, of course
and then returned to Boston
620 dropped off at 201.

My love can never end;
not even when you frown.
I didn't forget October
or February because it did rain.
Which wasn't sad or anything
all, but all the same.

Remember your creator in all your days.
Remember who fall the rain;
Remember that each day is not a promise
or a portion to each the same;
But live in life with love. Not strife;
so much we all can gain.

December, oh December;
when will I see you again?
So please, "Let not your heart be troubled."
Even when it may seem the end.

goodbye grandma.