Thursday, August 31, 2017

Trapped Bakers Do what they Know Best

Embrace Change

Getting Straight on Your Path

by Ram Dass

Your understanding of what the universe is all about changes as you proceed further along the path towards enlightenment. As your vantage point or perspective changes, you begin to understand more and more of “how it is.” With this greater understanding comes greater compassion… an acceptance of “how it is”… an ability to see the divine plan in everything, even in your failings and failings of others.

In the course of your journey it is most likely that your day-to-day companions or friends may change. Some may fall away as your interest in the Spirit pulls you from the worldly interest which brought or kept you together, but new friends who share your current interests will appear. Of course, some of your existing relationships will move easily into this new domain and the relationship will become deeper and calmer… coming to exist in the eternal present.

This transition as traveling companions is a delicate and troubling matter. To find that someone whom you assumed shared all your values and interests over many years has no interest whatsoever in enlightenment or in becoming more conscious or coming into the Spirit is a shock. You want to share this “trip” with them in the same way as you shared others in the past. That desire to proselytize, to turn him on, to show him, to bring him to the light… is a reflection of your lack of wisdom. For only some people can hear. Only some can awaken in this lifetime. It’s a little like seeing a friend drowning and being unable to catch his hand. You want so badly to do something. But in truth you can only BE… be as straight and as open and as HERE as you can be… and if your friend can hear, he will hear. And if he cannot hear, he will turn away from you. No blame.

What is important is that you get your house in order at each stage of the journey so that you can proceed. “If some day it be given to you to pass into the inner temple, you must leave no enemies behind.” – de Lubicz

This getting straight not only applies to people but to things as well, such as favorite music, disliked foods, special treats, avoided places, all your toys, etc. Everything must be rerun through your compassion machine. You must revisit, at least in meditation, all your old attachments and re-see them in the light of the Spirit. As you do, they fall away…unless, of course, the attachment to them is so strong that you are not able yet to re-see them with pure compassion. To stumble in that way on the path merely indicates the work yet to be done. Thus it gives direction to your sadhana, which is to work on those desires that cause you to stumble, by bringing them into the light of mantra or the witness until they fall away on their own.

– Excerpt from Be Here Now by Ram Dass

She spent 20 years as a professional airline pilot!
Celeste Pearce
Danbury Brokerage
112 Federal Road
Northern Fairfield County, CT 06811

+1 203 733 3152
+1 203 796 7700

stART on the Street Worcester MA

June Guglielmi Celebrates Her 90th

She had one word of advice to those in attendance: “You have to believe in what you’re doing.”

Swimming and Eating and Walking

I swam today in the ice cold pool. I kept my bathing cap on to stay warm. My smile mile! Then we went to J.A.R. Baker's Supply in Lincoln to get 50 lb bread flour, 25 lb almonds, 6 lb peanut butter, 20lb sunflower seeds, 20lb rolled oats.

My German Potato salad is still so delicious and my cucumber salad is beyond delicious.

Lily feels great so restraining her until the swelling is gone is a challenge. I pray she will have a full recovery on her ankle. This is the best walking season and I miss my friends on the pond.

I'm ready to bake peach pies.

Peach Pie Miniatures with Home Made Ice Cream


"It is not easy to cook food. You have to give your full attention to it, only then will it turn out well.

"I am everybody's guru."

"I don't want anything. I exist only to serve others."

"I have no powers. I don't know anything."

"I am the father of the world. The whole world is my child."

"Ask God or Hanuman. I'm just an ordinary being. I can do nothing."

"Love all men as God, even if they hurt you or shame you. Be like Gandhi and Christ."

"The great sadhus don't have a human body. They are omnipresent. If a saint changes form, he doesn't necessarily have to take on a human body. The soul is the small form and the human body is the huge form." If you want to see God, kill desires. Desires are in the mind. When you have a desire for something, don't act on it and it will go away. If you desire to drink this cup of tea, don't, and the desire for it will fall away."

"In India, yoga flows with the blood of the people."

"It is entirely against the traditions of the ashram that people should get away without getting prasad."

"Often one goes for one thing and finds another"

"Love is the strongest medicine. It is more powerful than electricity."

"Total truth is necessary. You must live by what you say."

"When a man has reached the point where he can sit in meditation for six months, there is no need of eating, no need of latrine or of rest. Only one drop of amrit nectar from the top of the head to the body keeps him alive. If a tiger eats that body there is no care, but only when the life comes back to the body will there be pain."

"Lust, Greed, Anger, Attachment - These are all paths to hell."

"Attachment is the strongest block to realization."

"Serve as Hanuman served"

"See all women as mothers, serve them as your mother. When you see the entire world as the mother, the ego falls away."

"A pure woman is better than a hundred yogis. Women are more open to love God."

"Women are higher than yogis if they are loyal to their husbands."

"A wife must serve God by serving her husband."

"A woman is a snake; you shouldn't even touch her."
"If husband is happy, God is happy"

"Marriage is more attachment. You need more devotion and discipline to have union with God when you are married."

"If you desire a mango at the moment of death, you'll be born an insect. If you even desire the next breath, you will take birth again."

"It doesn't matter if you are married or not, it only matters how much you love God." He chided: "This world is all attachment. Yet you get worried because you are attached."
Yad karane seham ajate hain
When you remember me I come to you

"Temples are but piles of stones. Attachment holds you back."

"Keep God in your heart like you keep money in the bank."

"Work is worship"

"If you do not make it empty, how will you fill it up again?"

"When you loan money to a saint, don't expect to get it back."

"Money should be used to help others."

"Whatever may be guru - he may be a lunatic or a common person. Once you have accepted him, he is the lord of lords."

"The eyes of a saint are always concentrated on the supreme self. The minute he is aware of himself, sainthood is lost."

"The best service you can do is to keep your thoughts on God. Keep God in mind every minute."

"It is not necessary to meet your guru on the physical plane. The guru is not external."

"To see God, you must have special eyes. Otherwise you cannot bear the shock."

When asked how the heart could be purified, Maharaj-ji said, "Always speak the truth."

"The guru must know everything about you."

"You can leave me. I won't leave you. Once I catch hold of you, I don't let go."

"Serve the poor and remember God. You become one with Christ."

"Saints did Jap (japa) and Sadhana for 10,000 years..., only then they could succeed in Jap, Meditation and Yoga. But people want to be expert within 5-7 months only."

"Cleanse the mirror of your heart, and you will see God."

"Whoever works for God, his work will be done by itself."

"The best form to worship God is every form."

"If you cannot love each other, you cannot achieve your goal."

"Attachment is the strongest block to realization."

"The heart never grows old."

"Everything is impermanent, except the love of God."

"It's better to see God in everything than to try to figure it out."

Ram Dass: Balance

The Balance of a Perfected Being

“The heart of a saint is like butter, but it’s not, because it melts for the sufferings of others, not only its own…” – Maharajji

We have been through thousands and thousands of incarnations. Our predicament of course, is that the veil surrounds us and we don’t know who we are.

Not only who we are in the sense that we are one with God, but who we are in terms of our reincarnations. Saints however, have full knowledge of who they are on every plane: historically, in terms of reincarnations, in this incarnation, and in the sense of the Absolute. There are many lokas (realms) that are hierarchically ordered in terms of the rarefied nature of the vibration, and there are many saints who are almost perfected. They are very high and very pure and very good. They work on many lokas but some of them have not dealt with the final stages. This does not mean they are not great teachers for us, but that they have not yet finished their work. For the ultimate work is not only the merging of Shiva and Shakti but the merged Shiva and Shakti going into God. And many beings have never taken that last step.

A fully realized being such as Maharaj-ji has many forms and has an identity on every vibrational level.

When we meet such a being, they may talk to us, and at first we may think it’s Maharaj-ji, and then realize we have been talking to Shiva. Or we may have been talking to Hanuman… Because from this Being, within this being, these are all part of the uniqueness of that particular entity, and they float in and out of these planes, like a balloon floats through various layers of atmospheric density.

So Maharaj-ji can recite the name Ram, which is the name of the Absolute, not to bring him there, but to keep him down, to push himself into the physical form. And he can be sitting as Maharaj-ji on his wooden table at Kainchi, talking to you; and then the experience of the pain in a being that comes into his consciousness, whether near or far physically, could be so great that it would push him up into another identity that was in a more rarefied space. For such beings raised of Shakti, and for many reasons they keep going up and down.

They rise, first, because there is a continuous pull to merge with God.

Such a being also rises to avoid the pain that exists on the denser planes. A being sacrificing himself for the perfection of truth in others takes an incredible karma from others, which may be in the form of actual physical suffering. This suffering which could be in the form of a heart attack or cancer, can be passed through them, though not without incredible pain. So they rise to a higher plane of their identity, guiding their bodies through the suffering, but remaining in clear consciousness.

So, Jesus was both the one who was suffering (“Father, Father, why have you forsaken me?”) and the perfectly conscious Christ (“Now the work is completed.”) Such a being moves in and out of these levels with total freedom. If they have arrived at their perfection through careful and conscious guidance; not in a fashion that has gone against God’s will, then they retain perfect control on all planes. If their awakening has been uneven, they often lose what is called their ‘ground’ that is, they lose their connection on the physical plane. They have a very hard time staying down. For example, Ramakrishna calling for something to smoke, saying, “I need to smoke something or I’ll leave.” He had to struggle to stay on the physical plane.

Even some of these beings who stay on the physical plane can’t experience anything through their senses. Some of them have no sense of smell, or taste, or feel. Let alone that their minds are, ‘blown,’ they’re not thinking anything. Though they’re in their bodies they’re not really living on the physical plane, because they lost that in the process of getting out.

The perfected being of course, the truly perfected being, has full consciousness of every plane simultaneously.

The game is, when such a being embodies, to constantly remain close to the total merging, in the raw, cold truth; and simultaneously keep the heart wide open. The most powerful image of that is the bleeding heart of Jesus; of the blood upon the snow, the blood of the heart on the icy white clear snow of truth. It’s the balance of caring and truth.

There are many great masters, great teachers, from whom one can get pure truth but no caring. There are many very high beings who care deeply for the suffering of all sentient beings, but avert their eyes from the coldest truth. The perfected being sits torn at every moment by the icy cold truth of the perfect indifference of God, and the bleeding heart of caring for all the suffering of all beings. To keep that balance one can neither stay too high nor too low. One is constantly going up and down, replenishing and coming back in. If you get too lost in the plains you miss the mountain peaks, if you get too lost in the mountain peaks, you don’t care.

Beings such as Maharaj-ji spend their nights in samadhi (union with the divine) going up into the cold mountain peaks. On the way they do incredible work on other planes for thousands and thousands of beings with their thought forms. But then there would be some point during each night when they would go into the cold place, and make a vow to merge into God for a moment and then return. Just as you set an internal alarm clock to awaken at a certain time, and you do awaken, so they make a vow; ‘I will merge with God, but I will come back.’

Each morning they are reborn again, making the sacrifice anew, all over again. Beings who make that journey each day bring to us the purest transmission of the Absolute. For they are always just a breath away from that merging.

-Ram Dass

Ram Dass: Tasted the Flow

Entering the Stream

Beings who have understood how it all is, who have realized their identity with the ātman, are stream enterers; they have tasted the flow of the nectar of liberation. They are a breed apart from other people in the world. They know something others do not know. Every part of their life is colored by that merging. They touch us not only through what they can share, but also through what they cannot share, what they themselves have become. We can only begin to imagine or intuitively absorb those states from our limited vantage point.

These individuals have embraced higher awareness in this life and, though realized, they are still finishing off their karma accrued from past lives. Perhaps their awakening is sufficient so that no new karma is being created and their acts are free from personal attachment. Yet they must still complete the karma of the body and the personality originated in previous lives or former acts in this life. The soul, the jivatman, carries the accumulated sanskaras, or tendencies, from birth to birth until the full realization of the greater ātman. When the soul merges in the One, there is no more separation.

I have stilled my restless mind, and my heart is radiant: for in Thatness

I have seen beyond Thatness, in company I have seen the Comrade
Living in bondage, I have set myself free: I have broken away from the
clutch of all narrowness.
Kabir says: “I have attained the unattainable, and my heart is colored
with the color of love.”

– Kabir

A free being no longer identifies with the body or personality, with a personal past or future. The body, the packaging, still has its karma running off and the skandhas, the mental aggregates, continue, but with nobody in them. A saint’s body may be growing old, getting sick, and so forth – that’s the karma of the body. These beings may have the power to change their bodies or personalities, but the only reason they would do so would be for the benefit of other beings. There is no personal desire to stay on this earth. They’re not going to make their bodies healthy, because it’s no big deal. They might do so if it were useful to somebody else.

As the body karma runs off, so too does the karma of the personality, because no one is identified with it. Saints all have distinct personalities and qualities, their own unique karma. But the reason a being who no longer identifies with the body, personality, or thinking mind stays incarnated is not out of personal desire, but for the collective karma, the need of other beings.

There are many beings who have attained different degrees of perfection, who have entered into different states of samadhi, or absorption, whose devotion and love have brought them to merging, but not quite all the way. Beings may become enamored of many subtle planes along the way. There are states, like nirvikalpa samadhi (samadhi without form), that are so deep there is no body consciousness. But even these states pass. Finally form and formless are a continuum, interpenetrating and all-pervasive, a constant tension of being and nothingness held together by the supreme attractive force of unconditional love…

– Ram Dass

Ram Dass: LOVE

The Entrance to Oneness

Imagine feeling more love from someone than you have ever known. You’re being loved even more than your mother loved you when you were an infant, more than you were ever loved by your father, your child, or your most intimate lover—anyone. This lover doesn’t need anything from you, isn’t looking for personal gratification, and only wants your complete fulfillment.

You are loved just for being who you are, just for existing. You don’t have to do anything to earn it. Your shortcomings, your lack of self-esteem, physical perfection, or social and economic success— none of that matters. No one can take this love away from you, and it will always be here.

Imagine that being in this love is like relaxing endlessly into a warm bath that surrounds and supports your every movement, so that every thought and feeling is permeated by it. You feel as though you are dissolving into love.

This love is actually part of you; it is always flowing through you. It’s like the subatomic texture of the universe, the dark matter that connects everything. When you tune in to that flow, you will feel it in your own heart—not your physical heart or your emotional heart, but your spiritual heart, the place you point to in your chest when you say, “I am.”

This is your deeper heart, your intuitive heart. It is the place where the higher mind, pure awareness, the subtler emotions, and your soul identity all come together and you connect to the universe, where presence and love are.

Unconditional love really exists in each of us. It is part of our deep inner being. It is not so much an active emotion as a state of being. It’s not “I love you” for this or that reason, not “I love you if you love me.” It’s love for no reason, love without an object. It’s just sitting in love, a love that incorporates the chair and the room and permeates everything around. The thinking mind is extinguished in love.

If I go into the place in myself that is love and you go into the place in yourself that is love, we are together in love. Then you and I are truly in love, the state of being love. That’s the entrance to Oneness. That’s the space I entered when I met my guru.

Years ago in India I was sitting in the courtyard of the little temple in the Himalayan foothills. Thirty or forty of us were there around my guru, Maharaj-ji. This old man wrapped in a plaid blanket was sitting on a plank bed, and for a brief uncommon interval everyone had fallen silent. It was a meditative quiet, like an open field on a windless day or a deep clear lake without a ripple. I felt waves of love radiating toward me, washing over me like a gentle surf on a tropical shore, immersing me, rocking me, caressing my soul, infinitely accepting and open.

I was nearly overcome, on the verge of tears, so grateful and so full of joy it was hard to believe it was happening. I opened my eyes and looked around, and I could feel that everyone else around me was experiencing the same thing. I looked over at my guru. He was just sitting there, looking around, not doing anything. It was just his being, shining like the sun equally on everyone. It wasn’t directed at anyone in particular. For him it was nothing special, just his own nature.

This love is like sunshine, a natural force, a completion of what is, a bliss that permeates every particle of existence. In Sanskrit it’s called sat-cit-ananda, “truth-consciousness-bliss,” the bliss of consciousness of existence. That vibrational field of ananda love permeates everything; everything in that vibration is in love. It’s a different state of being beyond the mind. We were transported by Maharaj-ji’s love from one vibrational level to another, from the ego to the soul level. When Maharaj-ji brought me to my soul through that love, my mind just stopped working. Perhaps that’s why unconditional love is so hard to describe, and why the best descriptions come from mystic poets. Most of our descriptions are from the point of view of conditional love, from an interpersonal standpoint that just dissolves in that unconditioned place.

When Maharaj-ji was near me, I was bathed in that love. One of the other Westerners with Maharaj-ji, Larry Brilliant, said:

“How do I explain who Maharaj-ji was and how he did what he did? I don’t have any explanation. Maybe it was his love of God. I can’t explain who he was. I can almost begin to understand how he loved everybody. I mean, that was his job, he was a saint. Saints are supposed to love everybody. But that’s not what always staggered me, not that he loved everybody—but that when I was sitting in front of him I loved everybody. That was the hardest thing for me to understand, how he could so totally transform the spirit of people who were with him and bring out not just the best in us, but something that wasn’t even in us, that we didn’t know. I don’t think any of us were ever as good or as pure or as loving in our whole lives as we were when we were sitting in front of him.”

Welcome to the path of the heart! Believe it or not, this can be your reality, to be loved unconditionally and to begin to become that love. This path of love doesn’t go anywhere. It just brings you more here, into the present moment, into the reality of who you already are. This path takes you out of your mind and into your heart.

Excerpted from BE LOVE NOW by Ram Dass

Maria Montessori

As a doctor, she worked with children with special needs, and through her work with them she became increasingly interested in education. She believed that children were not blank slates, but that they each had inherent, individual gifts. It was a teacher's job to help children find these gifts, rather than dictating what a child should know. She emphasized independence, self-directed learning, and learning from peers. Children were encouraged to make decisions. She was the first educator to use child-sized tables and chairs in the classroom.

She wrote many books about her philosophy of education, including The Montessori Method (1912), and is considered a major innovator in education theory and practice.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Hypothermia Therapy

Swim-a-Thon Hurricaine Fundraiser

I just swam a mile at the unheated 75 degree CCRI Flanagan Campus pool and it was delicious. I love cold water and if it's too much at first I'll wear my cap for the first 9 laps. Then I swim the remaining 24 laps with an exposed head. I've heard that if you wear two silicone (thicker) bathing caps at once you can stay warm.

I was thinking We should have a SWIM-A-THON fundraiser for victims of HURRICANE HARVEY.

A Spy Who Defined Courage

By David Ignatius Opinion writer August 29 at 8:44 PM

Jeannie Rousseau de Clarens, one of the remarkable spies of World War II, died last week in France at the age of 98. Like so many intelligence officers, she had a gift for getting people to talk. But she had something else: dauntless, unblinking courage in facing the enemy.

Home Spun Vanilla Ice Cream

We made homemade vanilla ice cream in the Donvier freezer cylinder 4 times in the past week. We bought a quart of heavy cream and whole milk from Wright's Dairy and mixed it with some sugar and vanilla and a pinch of salt. It was beyond belief delicious.

Ram Dass: Consecrating Actions

by Ram Dass

Lawfulness, mandala Art by Sam Brown

Take the matter of consecrating life actions. What I mean by the word consecration is bringing into consciousness the nature of the act in a cosmic plan. For example, in the old days people would say grace. Grace was a thing you waited for before you ate the turkey. Norman Rockwell characterizes the kid reaching across while everybody’s head is bowed. It’s that time, “Let’s say grace.” Now, when I bless food, the statement I say, when I say grace, is an old Sanskrit one. It means “This offering of this little ritual I’m performing, this is part of it all, part of Brahma, part of that which is eternally all. He who is making the offering means, that which is being offered is part of it all. The hunger to which you are feeding . . . the fire which you are feeding, that’s all part of it all. Whoever you are offering it to is part of it all, too. He who realizes that all of it is interrelated, all of it is one, becomes one with it.”

There is a very lovely short story by J. D. Salinger called Teddy, in which Teddy is a very … he’s like an old lama who’s taken a reincarnation in a kind of middle class western family by some quirk of cosmic design. He is about 10 years old and on a ship with his sister and his mother and father. He’s out on deck and he’s meeting this man who has begun to see that this little boy isn’t quite like a little boy, and he says to him, “When did you first realize that you knew how it was?” And Teddy says, “Well, I was 6 years old. I was in the kitchen and I was watching my little sister in her highchair drink milk. I suddenly saw, that it was sort of like God pouring God into God, if you know what I mean.” Well, that’s exactly the same thing as that Sanskrit mantra. You’re pouring energy into energy for a matter of energy in honoring energy. So big deal, so nothing’s happened. Certainly knocks a hole in orality to start to see the universe that way. What are we doing? Nothing. How could you ever do anything, it’s all here? Are we all here? Sure. So in learning how to consecrate and so on it is helpful to have people around.

It is part of my karma to be visiting my father who is a 73 year old Republican from Boston, a conservative man, and a very successful man in the society. When we sit down to the table, he starts to eat and then he looks over and he sees that I’m doing this “thing” which I do quietly, I’m not coming on about it. I’m just sort of sitting quietly . . . and he’ll hold his spoon in mid-air and he’ll go, “Pht”… It’s almost an involuntary thing that comes out. It’s like, O.K., I’ll wait for the kid . . . it’s his meshuggeneh thing.

Now that’s not satsang, that is, that is not the community of monks on the path. And that “pht,” whether that helps me or hinders me is a function of where I’m at, really. In other words, if I am into what I’m doing strongly enough, all that that “pht” does is arouse a feeling of poignancy about our predicament, but it doesn’t in any way deter from the amount of the living, vibrant quality I can invest in the thing I’m doing.

I go to church now and then around the United States and we sing hymns that are mind-blowers. They are all hymns that get you “high.” They were written by people in ecstatic states and you read them … everybody’s singing them like they’re reading the shopping list. There’s no spirit, the spirit isn’t invested in any way in the singing and yet whoever wrote it invested the spirit. We say, “Well, they were naive.” What we mean is that we are turned off. When Christ says, “Look, I am making all things new,” it’s the same as when you’re really living here and now and every moment is all fresh and that hymn . . . it’s like the first time you ever heard it and you really go out on it. Otherwise, what did you go to church for?

– Ram Dass, 1970

In order for us to be able to make these teachings available to everyone, we need your support. As Ram Dass says, “When you see the Beloved all around you, everyone is family and everywhere is love.” We are all affecting the world every moment – our actions and states of mind matter, because we are so deeply interconnected with one another. So please do lend your support to help us make this vast offering from Ram Dass and friends accessible to all.

Shunru Suzuki + Ram Dass

Extraordinary Experiences

Many sensations come, many thoughts or images
arise, but they are just waves of your own mind.
Nothing comes from outside your mind.
To realize pure mind in your delusion is
practice. If you try to expel the delusion it will
only persist the more. Just say, “Oh, this is just
delusion.” And do not be bothered by it.

– Shunryu Suzuki

In Brindavana, the sacred city where Krishna dances with the gopis, there is a dudhwalla, a milk seller. He’s a true devotee of Krishna. Once he was selling milk, and because of his purity, Krishna with his shakti Radha came right up to the stand, there on the street in Brindavana, and bought some milk. He actually saw them. His eyes are as though they had been burned out by a brilliant bulb. He can talk about nothing but the moment that Krishna and Radha came to his dudhstand. He’s not worried about how much milk he sells anymore. He’s had the ecstasy of seeing God in the form of light. And that’s who he is this lifetime. It’s a high place to be.

Shouldn’t that be enough? Won’t you settle for ecstasy? Bliss? Rapture? Hanging out with the gods? Flying? Bet you always wanted to fly. Reading other people’s minds? “What power would you settle for?” said the devil to Jesus in the desert. You must want something. Whatever you want you get, sooner or later. And there you are. As long as you are not finished with that desire, you are entrapped.

When you are attracted to powers and seduced by pleasures, what had been a vertical path turns horizontal. As long as your goal falls short of full liberation, you will be trapped by these experiences. If you know you want the long-range goal, that knowledge will help you give up the desires for these states along the way. As each desire arises there will be a struggle with your ego. Part of you wants to enjoy the seductive pleasures, part wants to give them up and push on.

One way to handle extraordinary experiences is to be neither horrified or intrigued by them. The Tibetan Book of the Dead refers to the ten thousand horrible and the ten thousand beautiful visions. In the course of meditation you may meet them all: powers, great beauty, deaths, grotesqueries, angels, demons, all of it. These are just forms, the stuff of the universe. You confront them on the path just as you meet all manner of people when you walk a busy street. Notice them, acknowledge them – don’t deny them – and then let them go. To cling to these heavens and hells, no matter how beautiful, slows your progress. Not to acknowledge them, or to push them away, is just a more subtle form of clinging. Follow the middle way. As stuff arises in your mind, let it arise, notice it, let it go. No clinging.

– Ram Dass

Ram Dass

The Meaning of Sainthood in Different Cultures by Ram Dass

In the East, liberated beings are often referred to as saints.

The term has different connotations in different cultures. In Catholic Church a saint is someone who has been canonized by the church and is confirmed to have performed miracles. In the West, we also use the term metaphorically when we say, “She’s a real saint,” or “That was a saintly thing to do.” We don’t usually mean that they were canonized by the church, but that they are unusually good or loving or particularly self-sacrificing people.

In India someone might be called a saint who is a sattvic individual, someone who is pure and oriented toward the light, a good person connected to the spirit. A saint can also be a liberated being who continues to take birth to relieve the suffering of other beings, what Buddhists call a bodhisattva.

India also has an ancient tradition of yogis and rishis, or forest sages, who were the living sources of spiritual life and knowledge. These great souls, or mahatmas, laid the foundation of India’s spiritual culture thousands of years ago as recorded in the Vedas. Some even entered the social and political arena, like the king Dhruva and Shiva-ji and more recently Mahatma Gandhi.

There are also holy men and women who act as gurus, spiritual guides, and preceptors, a tradition much attenuated in modern urban society, but one that is still intertwined in Indian culture and persists to this day. Holy men are often called baba, a Hindi term meaning “father” or “grandfather” but used as an honorific, for example, Neem Karoli Baba. Beyond all classification is a rarified class of great saints or yogis who have reached the pinnacle of consciousness, fully realized beings, the perfected ones, or siddhas. People revere and seek counsel from these great saints and go on pilgrimage to seek them out.

We in the West may lack this ingrained tradition of seeking out holy men and women, though doubtless they are present here too. I have met some: a car mechanic in Boston, a Taos artist, Native American elders, Zen Buddhists, Sufis, artists, chemists, musicians, healers, and poets. Some were wonderful teachers. Most still had karma(the result of past actions, the laws of cause and effect) they were working out. Each had some aspect of the One shining through, and all were beautiful human beings. This is not to say we Westerners are not truth seekers. Yet we are not a traditional culture like that of the Native Americans, whose deep reverence for their spiritual elders is similar to the way holy people are woven into the fabric of spiritual life in India.

This contrast was readily apparent to me when I traveled back and forth from Nainital in the Himalayan foothills to New York City. The people from Nainital, at least some of them, identify with their souls. In that part of India the world is still viewed from the vantage point of the soul. The Himalayan region is different from the plains and has been frequented by yogis and saints for millennia. The people seem simpler, hospitable, and loving, and their traditional culture keeps the stories of realized beings alive. They know they are souls.

In Nainital people do the dharma of their social role, but at the same time they know their soul is separate from their role. A sweeper isn’t necessarily just a sweeper, the king isn’t necessarily just a king; they are doing their dharma for that incarnation, while the inner being is also there looking out. From that soul point of view, your karma is your dharma, what you do is part of your inner journey, and your role takes you into your soul. Then you get a chance to stand back and see what in your incarnation is helpful to you as a soul and to others on your trip to God.

-Ram Dass, Be Love Now

Cherish Your Wilderness

“Cherish your wilderness.”
― Maxine Kumin

“Life will do anything for a living.”
― Maxine Kumin, And Short the Season

“What can an outsider know, except/the shell of things?”
― Maxine Kumin

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Navigating Relationships in the Media Age


Ragweed season is so intense. Luckily half a generic benadryl tablet keeps the waterfall of gunk down to a trickle otherwise I am doubled over in stomach pain. Today is cloudy for the first time in many days and it is calming and soothing. Lily's ankle swelling has to go away completely and then she needs a week of no swelling before her long walks can be resumed. We went back to normal to soon and she reinjured it last week. I pray she will have a full recovery. She is my constant companion, guru, savior and friend to many residents.

My pool has been closed indefinitely for ventilation system repairs. My husband says this is costly and may not happen for years. So I am swimming at CCRI Flanagan Campus which is amazing.

We got milk and cream from Wright's Dairy on Thursday and yesterday we made two batches of hand-cranked vanilla ice cream using a real vanilla bean. It was fantastic especially eaten on a hot sunny day.

Bruce Goldstein's Book

Puppy Chow is Better Than Prozac: The True Story of a Man and the Dog Who Saved His Life
by Bruce Goldstein
To Bruce Goldstein-an edgy, twenty-something New Yorker trying to make his mark in advertising-just waking up in the morning was an ordeal. Underemployed and recently dumped, he was well into the downward spiral of bipolar disorder. Even with therapy, lithium, Paxil, Wellbutrin, and Prozac, he could not shake his rapid mood swings, his fear of dying, or the voice of Satan, who first visited him one sunny day in Central Park. Then came Ozzy, a black Labrador pup (named after metal’s “Prince of Darkness”) who leads Bruce toward recovery through complete, canine dependence. From the depths of his despair to a life remade, Bruce shows how learning to care for, train, and love the hilariously loyal Ozzy provided him with the structure and focus he needed to heal.

Bruce Goldstein

I’ll be honest—sometimes I question if my meds do affect the artistic part of my brain. I wonder if I’m as creative, or as passionate, as I would’ve been without them. But then I step back, take a good look at my most inspired works of art—that I’ve created in collaboration with my wife—and I smile. They’re beautiful. They laugh. They glow. Our children are our forever works in progress. Made with love.
- Bruce Goldstein

Traffic Calming

Traffic calming uses physical design and other measures to improve safety for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists. It aims to encourage safer, more responsible driving and potentially reduce traffic flow.
Traffic calming - Wikipedia

Karen Hesse

“The way I see it, hard times aren't only about money,
or drought,
or dust.
Hard times are about losing spirit,
and hope,
and what happens when dreams dry up.”
― Karen Hesse, Out of the Dust

“And I know now that all the time I was trying to get
out of the dust,
the fact is,
what I am,
I am because of the dust.
And what I am is good enough.
Even for me.”
― Karen Hesse, Out of the Dust

“I don't know what I am thinking. But I am alone. I am trapped in the net of the room. In the net of humans. I think maybe I am drowning in the net of humans.”
― Karen Hesse, The Music of Dolphins

“Sometimes, a flame can be utterly extinguished.
Sometimes, a flame can shrink and waver, but
sometimes a flame refuses to go out. It flares up from the faintest ember to
illuminate the darkness,
to burn in spite of overwhelming odds.”
― Karen Hesse, Stone Lamp, The: Eight Stories Of Hanukkah Through History

“I hear the first drops. Like the tapping of a stranger at the door of a dream, the rain changes everything.”
― Karen Hesse, Out of the Dust

“As long as you live, it is never too late to make amends. Take my advice, child. Don't waste your precious life with regrets and sorrow. Find a way to make right what was wrong, and then move on.”
― Karen Hesse, Safekeeping

“I have a hunger,
for more than food.
I have a hunger
bigger than Joyce City.
I want tongues to tie, and
eyes to shine at me
like they do at Mad Dog Craddock.
Course they never will,
not with my hands all scarred up,
looking like the earth itself,
all parched and rough and cracking,
but if I played right enough,
maybe they would see past my hands.
Maybe they could feel at ease with me again,
and maybe then,
I could feel at east with myself.”
― Karen Hesse, Out of the Dust

“to those who swear our young are on the road to perdition take comfort in this- every generation has felt somewhat the same for two or three thousand years and the still the world goes on.”
― Karen Hesse, Witness

“each day after class lets out,each morning before it begins, i sit at the school piano and make my hands work. in spite of the pain, in spite of the stiffness and scars. i make my hands play piano.i have practiced my best piece over and over till my arms throb.”
― Karen Hesse, Out of the Dust

“I play songs that have only the pattern of my self in them and you hum along suporting me. You are the companion to myself. The mirror with my mother'e eyes.”
― Karen Hesse

John Locke

“The great question which, in all ages, has disturbed mankind, and brought on them the greatest part of their mischiefs ... has been, not whether be power in the world, nor whence it came, but who should have it.”
― John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

“Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.”
― John Locke

“I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts.”
― John Locke

“New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not common.”
― John Locke

“The only defense against the world is a thorough knowledge of it.”
― John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education

“We are like chameleons, we take our hue and the color of our moral character, from those who are around us.”
― John Locke

“Parents wonder why the streams are bitter, when they themselves poison the fountain.”
― John Locke

“To love truth for truth's sake is the principal part of human perfection in this world, and the seed-plot of all other virtues.”
― John Locke

“Education begins the gentleman, but reading, good company and reflection must finish him.”
― John Locke

“How long have you been holding those words in your head, hoping to use them?”
― John Locke, Lethal People

“Being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.”
― John Locke, Second Treatise of Government

“Revolt is the right of the people”
― John Locke

“No man's knowledge here can go beyond his experience.”
― John Locke

“There is frequently more to be learned from the unexpected questions of a child than the discourses of men.”
― John Locke

“What worries you, masters you.”
― John Locke

“So that, in effect, religion, which should most distinguish us from beasts, and ought most peculiarly to elevate us, as rational creatures, above brutes, is that wherein men often appear most irrational, and more senseless than beasts themselves.”
― John Locke

“The Bible is one of the greatest blessings bestowed by God on the children of men. It has God for its Author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture for its matter. It is all pure, all sincere; nothing too much; nothing wanting!”
― John Locke

“To prejudge other men's notions before we have looked into them is not to show their darkness but to put out our own eyes.”
― John Locke

“Success in fighting means not coming at your opponent the way he wants to fight you.”
― John Locke, Vegas Moon

“For where is the man that has incontestable evidence of the truth of all that he holds, or of the falsehood of all he condemns; or can say that he has examined to the bottom all his own, or other men's opinions? The necessity of believing without knowledge, nay often upon very slight grounds, in this fleeting state of action and blindness we are in, should make us more busy and careful to inform ourselves than constrain others.”
― John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

“All wealth is the product of labor.”
― John Locke


“Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind overtasked.”

― Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., Autocrat of the Breakfast Table

Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

Where we love is home, home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.

For there we loved, and where we love is home,
Home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts,

To be seventy years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be forty years old.

We are all tattooed in our cradles with the beliefs of our tribe; the record may seem superficial, but it is indelible.

Love is the master-key that opens the gates of happiness, of hatred, of jealousy, and, most easily of all, the gate of fear. How terrible is the one fact of beauty!

I have always considered my face a convenience rather than an ornament.

Throw out opium, which the Creator himself seems to prescribe, for we often see the scarlet poppy growing in the cornfields, as if it were foreseen that wherever there is hunger to be fed there must also be a pain to be soothed; throw out a few specifics which our art did not discover, and it is hardly needed to apply; throw out wine, which is a food, and the vapors which produce the miracle of anaesthesia, and I firmly believe that if the whole materia medica [medical drugs], as now used, could be sunk to the bottom of the sea, it would be all the better for mankind,—and all the worse for the fishes.
As quoted in a review of Currents and Counter-currents in Medical Science (1860) in The American Journal of the Medical Sciences, Vol. 40 (1860), p. 467

You can never be too cautious in your prognosis, in the view of the great uncertainty of the course of any disease not long watched, and the many unexpected turns it may take.
I think I am not the first to utter the following caution : —
Beware how you take away hope from any human being. Nothing is clearer than that the merciful Creator intends to blind most people as they pass down into the dark valley. Without very good reasons, temporal or spiritual, we should not interfere with his kind arrangements. It is the height of cruelty and the extreme of impertinence to tell your patient he must die, except you are sure that he wishes to know it, or that there is some particular cause for his knowing it. I should be especially unwilling to tell a child that it could not recover; if the theologians think it necessary, let them take the responsibility. God leads it by the hand to the edge of the precipice in happy unconsciousness, and I would not open its eyes to what he wisely conceals.

-Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Help The Victims of Hurricaine Harvey

Here's How

Underwater Photo
Outrage As Olympic Swimming PoolBans Women From men Only Sessions For cultural Reasons With Bathers Required To Cover navel Knee Olympic Underwater T

DREAMLAND in Portsmith Ohio had a Pool as Large as a Football Field

In 1929, in the blue-collar city of Portsmouth, Ohio, a company built a swimming pool the size of a football field; named Dreamland, it became the vital center of ...
unknown, “Dreamland Swimming Pool, Portsmouth, Ohio,” Local History Digital Collection, accessed August 28, 2017,
see IMAGE here.

This would put Woonsocket on the map!

I just swam an ice cold mile and I am euphoric dreaming of building a pool with a underwater window for spectators to get inspired. Maybe a cafe and synchronized swimmers performing in the pool. This would put Woonsocket on the map!

The Father of German Literature

Today is the birthday of the father of German literature, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (books by this author), born in Frankfurt (1749), the author of the epic drama Faust. He moved to Italy in 1786, and when he returned to Germany in 1788, he fell in love with a woman from Weimar, Christiane Vulpius, a 23-year-old who was 16 years his junior. That year, he wrote her an epithalamium, a specific type of poem written for a bride on the way to the marital chamber. But he didn't actually marry her; instead, the couple lived together for 18 years unwed.

They were still living together in 1806, unmarried and with children, when some of Napoleon's French soldiers — who were drunk — broke into their home in Weimer one evening. Goethe was terrified, but Christiane started shouting at the soldiers, fending them off in hand-to-hand combat, and protecting the bewildered man of the house. After a prolonged skirmish, she pushed them out of the house and barricaded the kitchen and the cellar so the soldiers couldn't try to steal any more of their food. Grateful to the brave and steadfast woman who'd saved his life and home, Goethe went down to a church the very next day and married her, his live-in girlfriend of 18 years.

In 1806, the same year of the home invasion and marriage, Goethe published a preliminary version of Part I of his great work, Faust, the story of a brilliant scholar named Heinrich Faust, who makes a deal with the devil. The great epic has it all: seduction, murder, sleeping potions, an illegitimate love child, a stray poodle that transforms into the devil, contracts signed with blood, imprisonment in dungeons, heavenly voices, and redemption. It's often called "Das Drama der Deutschen," or "The Drama of the Germans." It's also referred to as a "closet drama" because it's intended to be read, not performed. Goethe spent 50 years working on this two-volume masterpiece, finishing Part II in 1832, the year of his death.

Goethe wrote, "A man can stand anything except a succession of ordinary days." And, "Divide and rule, a sound motto. Unite and lead, a better one." And, "That is the true season of love, when we believe that we alone can love, that no one could ever have loved so before us, and that no one will love in the same way after us."

Rita Dove

"Every time I sit down to write, I try to feel that I'm starting over. It's all new. It's all fresh, and I'm learning as we go."
-Rita Dove

Extraordinary Rendition Band
We got to jam with them last night and it was a GOLDEN MOMENT!


To Boredom

by Charles Simic

I’m the child of rainy Sundays.
I watched time crawl
Like an injured fly
Over the wet windowpane.
Or waited for a branch
On a tree to stop shaking,
While Grandmother knitted
Making a ball of yarn
Roll over like a kitten at her feet.
I knew every clock in the house
Had stopped ticking
And that this day will last forever.

- Charles Simic, Scribbled in the Dark © Ecco Press, 2017

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Medical Beer

Woonsocket's Dr. Stuart Gitlow


Southeast Asian Water Festival

Tantra of Food

Walk With Me: The Film

Bring “Walk With Me” to a Movie Theater Near You
This coming fall, “Walk With Me” will be released in cinemas nationwide. Narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch, “Walk With Me” is a cinematic journey into the world of a monastic community who practice the art of mindfulness with Zen Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh.

Excited about the release but worried that it might not come to your town? Thanks to the Theatrical On Demand® design pioneered by Gathr Films, you have the power to bring Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings of healing and compassion to a theater near you (available only for cinemas in USA).

Join the "Walk With Me" directors, Marc J. Francis and Max Pugh from Speakit Films, The Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation, and distributor Gathr Films for a free webinar on Saturday, July 22nd, 2017 at 10:00am PDT/1:00 pm EST to learn more. We’ll give you an update about the film and show you concrete steps to ensure “Walk With Me” comes to your local community, no matter where you live in the United States.

For more information, visit

Jul 22, 2017 10:00 AM in Pacific Standard Time (US and Canada)

Releasing Dependence on Spiritual Methods
by Ram Dass

Once I was with the dean of students at the University of Michigan. They took me to his house, and he’s got a puja room, and every morning he gets up at 5 o’clock, and he goes and he does his whole thing. He does his asanas and his meditation, and his reading of holy books – which is what I had told him to do about three years ago. He does it, every day. And then at 7:30 he takes a shower, and his kids come and he plays with them, and has his breakfast. And then he goes and “deans” all day.

Now, the flipside is when you consider those two hours from 5:00 to 7:00 as what it’s about, and all the rest is the supportive thing. And this is all a method. I’m just giving you methods, and all methods must be let go at the end. Okay? Don’t get hung up. I mean, you know, “Okay, but isn’t it all important?” Yes, it’s all important, when you know it isn’t all important. As long as you think it’s all important, you can’t have it. Can you hear that?

So for people that have had communes, I’ve always told them to take one room and make it into a retreat, and then take turns being in the retreat, and the rest of you take care of the person. You just need a large closet, and really, if you want to spend an interesting two-week summer vacation, just go into a room and close the door. Take a sleeping bag, maybe have some food left outside the door every day. If you really want to do it fiercely, just take the sleeping bag. If you want to do it a little more gently, take some holy books. Some knitting. A diary.

At Lama, what I do is for the first week, I let people take in all this stuff, you know, all their ways of keeping holy. But then the last two weeks, I just put them in the room with the sleeping bag and say, “If you need to, you can go out and take a walk for about ten minutes, once a day. You can go to the toilet, and you can eat.” Because that’s what you do. You really climb the walls. Because we’re so hooked on external stimulation. But if you’re going to do this work, that’s one of the fiercest ways to do it.

It doesn’t mean you have to go into a cave for life. You start to do it in bigger cycles. Sometimes I retreat for a few months, and then come out into the world for a few months, and then retreat. And I trust my flow. It’s like endocrinology or something like that. I just feel, a pulling backwards and going in and then I go in, and I’m in for a while, and then I can feel the pulling outwards of, “I want to go out and serve and do things. Far more karma out there.” And I go out there, and then I can feel that pulling back again.

And I trust it. I’m not worried about being consistent.

– Ram Dass

When you give love, you give everything

“Love is the only thing you can really give in all this world. When you give love, you give everything.”
― Theodore Dreiser, Short Stories

“The most futile thing in this world is any attempt, perhaps, at exact definition of character. All individuals are a bundle of contradictions - none more so than the most capable.”
― Theodore Dreiser

“When a girl leaves her home at eighteen, she does one of two things. Either she falls into saving hands and becomes better, or she rapidly assumes the cosmopolitan standard of virtue and becomes worse”
― Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie

“When a man, however passively, becomes an obstacle to the fulfillment of a woman's desires, he becomes an odious thing in her eyes, - or will, given time enough.”
― Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie

“It is a sad thing to want for happiness, but it is a terrible thing to see another groping about blindly for it, when it is almost within the grasp.”
― Theodore Dreiser

“Remember, love is all a woman has to give, but it is the only thing which God permits us to carry beyond the grave.”
― Theodore Dreiser, A Sister Carrie Portfolio

“A real flame of love is a subtle thing. It burns as a will-o'-the-wisp, dancing onward to fairy lands of delight. It roars as a furnace. Too often jealousy is the quality upon which it feeds.”
― Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie

Theodore Dreiser

Art is the stored honey of the human soul, gathered on wings of misery and travail.
― Theodore Dreiser

I believe in the compelling power of love. I do not understand it. I believe it to be the most fragrant blossom of all this thorny existence.
― Theodore Dreiser

“People in general attach too much importance to words. They are under the illusion that talking effects great results. As a matter of fact, words are, as a rule, the shallowest portion of all the argument. They but dimly represent the great surging feelings and desires which lie behind. When the distraction of the tongue is removed, the heart listens.”
― Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie

“Words are but the vague shadows of the volumes we mean. Little audible links, they are, chaining together great inaudible feelings and purposes.”
― Theodore Dreiser

“Many individuals are so constituted that their only thought is to obtain pleasure and shun responsibility. They would like, butterfly-like, to wing forever in a summer garden, flitting from flower to flower, and sipping honey for their sole delight. They have no feeling that any result which might flow from their action should concern them. They have no conception of the necessity of a well-organized society wherein all shall accept a certain quota of responsibility and all realize a reasonable amount of happiness. They think only of themselves because they have not yet been taught to think of society. For them pain and necessity are the great taskmasters. Laws are but the fences which circumscribe the sphere of their operations. When, after error, pain falls as a lash, they do not comprehend that their suffering is due to misbehavior. Many such an individual is so lashed by necessity and law that he falls fainting to the ground, dies hungry in the gutter or rotting in the jail and it never once flashes across his mind that he has been lashed only in so far as he has persisted in attempting to trespass the boundaries which necessity sets. A prisoner of fate, held enchained for his own delight, he does not know that the walls are tall, that the sentinels of life are forever pacing, musket in hand. He cannot perceive that all joy is within and not without. He must be for scaling the bounds of society, for overpowering the sentinel. When we hear the cries of the individual strung up by the thumbs, when we hear the ominous shot which marks the end of another victim who has thought to break loose, we may be sure that in another instance life has been misunderstood--we may be sure that society has been struggled against until death alone would stop the individual from contention and evil.”
― Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie

Campaign to Change Direction

Help Change the Direction of Mental Health:
Learn the Five Signs of Emotional Suffering

Personality change.
Poor self-care.

Article:It takes a Village by Mike Tighe

One in five people in the United States has a diagnosable mental health condition.*

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) produced four public service announcements (PSAs) as part of a co-sponsorship agreement with Give an Hour for the Campaign to Change Direction. The PSAs are designed to:

Promote public education and awareness about mental health
Educate our communities about the Five Signs of emotional suffering
Identify resources so those in need can access help
Encourage compassion and support for individuals with mental health challenges

All of these PSAs are available for your use. Share them and email us at if you need the file!

About Acting:Character Building

9. How will I get what I want by doing what?

This question brings us on to how you break down a script. How do you know how to play the line as opposed to how one should say the line? There's a big difference.

Once you've worked out what your action is (question 5) you then have to work out your smaller action, which is called an "activity". You need to work out how you are trying to affect the other person with what you are saying.

One way of doing this is called "actioning" your text. Break your script up into chunks: every time you have a new change of thought, you need to find a transitive verb, a verb that is active, such as to beg, to entice, to charm, to get sympathy (a good thesaurus is very handy here). Remember that this technique is not about the emotional content of what you are saying or feeling but about what you want the other person to feel psychologically. By playing these chosen activities you are trying to make the actor that you are playing opposite feel something specific in order to further your action.

So, you have to think: how can I affect the other character by doing what? At this stage you should know who your character is, and your choice of active verbs should be informed by your character choice and not your personal choice. If my character was a loving, open, sweet, sensitive young girl and my dialogue was: "I don't love you anymore, I think you should go", my verb will be determined by my above characteristics and not by the actual line itself. Therefore verbs such as to plead, to get sympathy, to reason, should be chosen, as opposed to verbs that might reflect another type of character, such as to demand, to threaten, to hurt. If in the rehearsal a choice doesn't work then you can change your choice. Nothing should be initially set in stone.

I like to call this process "scoring" your text. Just as a musician or singer would rely on their score to know how to sing or play their song, an actor works out how to play the monologue, scene or play. Once you've done it, you have to play it fully, otherwise it's pretty pointless. The challenge is the execution of it. It's time-consuming initially to find the right verbs, but once you have them and tested them in rehearsal, not only will you have given your performance light and shade but also depth. It also means you do not have to fall into a dreadful cliche performance by thinking of how to say the lines and what you should be feeling and emoting. This technique allows you to be free and truthful without playing external emotion. It's really about what you don't say and trusting that actions will speak louder than words.

Every actor should always have an inner and an outer obstacle

10. What must I overcome?

Every actor should always have an inner and an outer obstacle. The outer obstacle is the resistance (usually the other character) to obtaining your action. The inner obstacle is your inner conflict, which you must always plant in a scene even though it can change. There must always be a problem you are trying to overcome. If you think of yourself in life, you're never without an inner obstacle. You'll have seen scenes on stage or screen where the inner obstacle has not been properly planted: you get a load of actors just shouting, over-emoting and sometimes just playing the aggression. If the inner obstacle is there, the anger, fear or hate, for example, then you've got something to fight against in the scene. Much more interesting.

Actors may believe that they can do without formal training. But I have worked with untrained actors, who have landed a film or a TV series on the basis of their looks, and seen them struggle to be able to reproduce what they were able to do in the first take. Natural ability will get you so far, but it's the trained actors who know what they're doing and how they're doing it and can produce that emotion take after take.

To fully transform into a character, to be truthfully and emotionally connected needs hard work, technique, good direction. But the audience should see none of this. They should see nothing other than the fully realised three-dimensional character right in the truth of the moment.

• Dee Cannon teaches acting at RADA

Character Building

What makes an actor truly great?

Great acting, like great writing, is often in the eye of the beholder, but audiences almost always know when they are in the presence of something special. Talent may be enough to get by on screen and TV, but with a few notable exceptions such as Kelly Reilly, the untrained actor often fares badly on stage. The performances that most often thrill us are those where instinct and technique are both in perfect balance but also opposition, and flamboyance and inner life collide head on, transforming feeling into thought and words. When this mixture of abandon and control ignites, what happens is as mysterious as alchemy; the theatre crackles; it leaves the spectator reeling. It makes you believe Eric Bentley's thesis that "the purpose of theatre is to produce great performances."

Many actors have tricks to help them along the way. Laurence Olivier liked his putty to mould a nose, or a costume department hump as much as the next actor. But it wasn't these external props that made him a great actor; it was something that he mined from deep inside himself, something that perhaps the poetic might call soul. You can teach people timing, you can teach them how to stand; you can give them the infrastructure that allows them to take risks, but you can't teach them to be in touch with their own spirit. All great actors are, and it is what makes them distinctive. Fiona Shaw, Clare Higgins, Michael Gambon, Judi Dench: it's as if there is something coiled but restless inside them struggling to get out. When it does, the stage ignites.

• Lyn Gardner, Guardian theatre critic

Theatre Background

Why do you think CFRT is important for the youth of our community?

April: CFRT not only provides a theatre education to our youth interested in performing, but it also provides help with public speaking and introduces youth to the power of theatre that they may not otherwise be exposed to. I find that most young people are amazed at live performances – it’s so different than going to a movie theatre. But many children won’t have the option to travel to New York City to see a show on Broadway. Luckily, children in our community don’t need to! CFRT brings that experience directly to our youth. Exposure is so important!

Edgar Rice Burroughs

“It is a characteristic of the weak and criminal to attribute to others the misfortunes that are the result of their own wickedness.”
― Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Son of Tarzan

“Am I alive and a reality, or am I but a dream?”
― Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Return of Tarzan

“In one respect at least the Martians are a happy people, they have no lawyers.”
― Edgar Rice Burroughs, A Princess of Mars

“If I had followed my better judgment always, my life would have been a very dull one.”
― Edgar Rice Burroughs

“I do not understand exactly what you mean by fear," said Tarzan. "Like lions, fear is a different thing in different men, but to me the only pleasure in the hunt is the knowledge that the hunted thing has power to harm me as much as I have to harm him. If I went out with a couple of rifles and a gun bearer, and twenty or thirty beaters, to hunt a lion, I should not feel that the lion had much chance, and so the pleasure of the hunt would be lessened in proportion to the increased safety which I felt."

"Then I am to take it that Monsieur Tarzan would prefer to go naked into the jungle, armed only with a jackknife, to kill the king of beasts," laughed the other good naturedly, but with the merest touch of sarcasm in his tone.

"And a piece of rope," added Tarzan.”
― Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes


“The time has arrived when patience becomes a crime and mayhem appears garbed in a manner of virtue”
― Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes

“A warrior may change his metal, but not his heart.”
― Edgar Rice Burroughs, A Princess of Mars

“You are here for but an instant, and you mustn't take yourself too seriously”
― Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Land That Time Forgot

“For myself, I always assume that a lion is ferocious, and so I am never caught off my guard.”
― Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes

“No fiction is worth reading except for entertainment. If it entertains and is clean, it is good literature, or its kind. If it forms the habit of reading, in people who might not read otherwise, it is the best literature.”
― Edgar Rice Burroughs

YWCA Woonsocket Teen Parent Leadership Academy

Love Faith Shearin

The Last Swim of Summer

by Faith Shearin

Our pool is still blue but a few leaves
have fallen, floating on the surface

of summer. The other swimmers
went home last week, tossed

their faded bathing suits aside,
so my daughter and I are alone

in the water which has grown colder
like a man’s hand at the end of

a romance. The lifeguard is under
her umbrella but her bags are packed

for college. We are swimming against
change, remembering the endless

shores of June: the light like lemonade,
fireflies inside our cupped hands,

watermelon night. We are swimming
towards the darkness of what

is next, walking away from the sounds
of laughter and splashing, towels

wrapped around the dampness of our loss.

- Faith Shearin, Moving the Piano© Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2011
Writer's Almanac

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Creepy News: Submarine + Birth Mother


Birth Mother

National PTSD from Narcissistic Abuser

But it's not post traumatic stress, it's happening now.

Bubble of Safety

The Internet is sort of what a car is to road rage. The glass and steel create this bubble of perceived safety, which amplifies people's rage, but keeps them from having to deal with the consequences of that rage. There is an honesty that is exposed in the process.

We need to have courageous, face-to-face conversations with difficult people outside of the security of our laptops.

Just because this experience made me more compassionate doesn't mean I'm more hopeful. My compassion comes from knowing these people are still so vulnerable to social programming.


Ram Dass: Practice
Are there benefits in creating a daily practice?

Well, I have two answers. I mean, the ‘up level’ answer is that it doesn’t matter. The answer most of us want to hear, and we need is ‘Yes’. It’s absolutely wonderful to have a daily practice, because most of us are very deeply in the world. We get lost very easily into the stuff of life, so to have a practice that keeps reminding you and pulling you back and awakening you again and again, giving you a chance to look at what happened and how you got lost the day before – putting it all in perspective, is very useful.

Each day I read a little spiritual passage in the morning when I get up. I have them next to my bed, and I’ll just pick one up, and I’ll just open and start the day reading. It’ll just open and start me remembering what the game is about, and it reminds me. That’s a regular spiritual practice. It happens every morning when I get up.

The sitting practice is extremely useful in clearing away and letting you see how your mind keeps creating your universe. Most traditions require a regular practice to get ahead, to move ahead. There are certainly traditions in which no regular practice is required and people do fine, so I can’t say it is necessary, but I certainly find it useful, and I certainly would encourage other people to do it.

You do it from the place of really remembering why you’re doing it, and doing it with some kind of joy and appreciation. If you get into, ‘Oh, I’ve gotta do my practice,’ I mean it’s fine, but that’s what happened to most people when they went to church every Sunday, and they ended up hating religion. I would rather push people away from spiritual practices until they’re hungry for them. I would say to you, spiritual practice is wonderful if you want to do it, and if you don’t, don’t.

I mentioned a little last night that we tend to ‘overthink,’ so we often choose a Sadhana, a spiritual practice, a little before it’s time, or before it chooses us, and we find ourselves in this ‘ought and should’ predicament, where you start out with great love and within a little while, it becomes, “Oh my God, I’ve got to do my practice.” It becomes like another thing like washing dishes.

However, there is value in staying with the practice, even when you don’t want to, especially in meditation practice, because the not wanting to do it is as much grist for the mill of meditation as wanting to do it. It’s the stuff you can work with, with your mind. There is a delicate balance that has to go on inside oneself, recognizing that if you build up too much negative tone to your practice, too much resistance, you’re going to have a reaction to it that’s going to take you away from it for a while, and before you can come back later on.

Now, the other thing is when you say, “I found my practice.” You can’t assume that the practice you found is the practice that’s gonna last you for the rest of your life, because who found that practice is in the course of the practice, and is going to change into somebody else. So the practice that was appropriate for you initially may not be appropriate for you a little way down the line, so you’ve gotta keep staying open – you heed these delicate balances that are going on in you. I see the value of deepening a practice. Like Swami Sivananda said, “Well, you see, you can’t just go around digging shallow wells everywhere. You’ve gotta dig a deep well, so that you get fresh water.”

-Ram Dass

Jeffrey Kagel: Krishna Das

You have to be doing things because you want to do them. Not because you think they are good for you. You are falling in love with who you really are. You are falling in love with what lives within you.

the older I get, the more I realize that if you don't have realization within you, you better get it. Because we have no place else to turn to. We have to look within ourselves. We can't be hoping. We have to have real faith, not hope. We've got to have living faith.

And sooner or later, the universe will satisfy all your desires. All the things you want, you will get.

Read more at the

Who you are is what you transmit.

Who you are is what you transmit. No matter what you're doing. So you might as well get that right.

Twilight on the Blackstone

Twilight On The Blackstone - Dinner On The Court Street Bridge ... › Things to do in Woonsocket, RI › Gala › Community
Eventbrite - Downtown Woonsocket Collaborative presents Twilight On The Blackstone - Dinner On The Court Street Bridge - Saturday, August 26, 2017 at Court ...


A friend sent me this music.

Mark Villarreal Paintings

Expert Advice

Woonsocket Farmer's Market


Picnic Table

We had a picnic in the backyard and stayed at the table all afternoon. What is it about the picnic table that is so freeing. We are sheltered in the backyard under the umbrella. This reminds me of the Jewish Holiday Sukkot.

Good Noise, Bad Noise

Good noise is the hum of the city: voices ice cream trucks, cars sirens garbage trucks.

Bad noise is leaf blowers tv's radios motorboats jetski's. Sounds of the leisure class!

The city is generally quieter than the suburbs.

Why I love Woonsocket

We have a purple wig wearing transvestite on our street and it is a delight to see fellow Woonsocketeers smiling and accepting.

The Castle

Peter M.
Woonsocket, RI

5.0 star rating

Excellent local food, definitely not "chain" food. An extensive menu, including seafood, standard American fare, Italian food, and local favorites such as dynamite sandwiches (a mildly spicy meat mixture with peppers and onions, if you didn't know). The prices are *extremely* reasonable.

I'm partial to their meatball subs. My son likes their franks and beans. Their french fries deserve special mention: they're hand-cut, home-made, and the portions are HUGE.

Not long ago they started serving breakfast, at least on the weekends. I'm not sure how that worked out for them, and they may not still be doing it. But we gave them a try. The food was excellent, better than we expected, and very reasonably priced.

A bit of history: The Castle was closed for nearly a year (or perhaps more) because they had a fire (I believe it was a fire in the exhaust system above the kitchen) and their insurance agency apparently dragged their heels. I feared that they wouldn't be coming back, but eventually they did - with an improved dining area, to boot.

This is the opposite of the usual boring, standardized fare that you get at the chain restaurants; it's cheaper and better. Service is pleasant and friendly. It's definitely worth coming back again and again.

Histamine High: Ragweed: Genus Ambrosia

Fall and Spring I can be doubled over in stomach and head agony from histamine response. My doctor explained this to me and it has changed my life. I crave acidity like coffee to cut the mucus but I also require antihistamine, decongestant and generic excedrin to stop sinus pain.

Ragweed Pollen and Late Summer Allergies - WebMD
- Most cases of hay fever are caused by allergies to ragweed. ... the bloodstream with histamine, a compound that causes all-too-familiar allergy symptoms. In ... In most parts of the country, the season used to start in mid-August ...

Allergies , also called allergic postnasal drip
Drink more water.

Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin

Frédéric François Chopin (/ˈʃoʊpæn/; French: [fʁedeʁik fʁɑ̃swa ʃɔpɛ̃]; 1 March 1810 – 17 October 1849), born Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin

Anjeze Gonxhe Bojaxhiu

Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. She accepted the award, but asked that they cancel the gala dinner and donate the money to charity. The committee asked her what people should do to promote peace and she answered, "Go home and love your family."

Mother Teresa said: "By blood, I am an Albanian. By citizenship, I am Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus."

It's the birthday of Roman Catholic nun and missionary Mother Teresa (1910), born Anjeze Gonxhe Bojaxhiu in Skopje, (modern Macedonia), which was then a part of the Ottoman Empire. Gonxhe means "rosebud" or "little flower" in Albanian. Mother Teresa's father died when she was eight, plunging her family into poverty. But her mother was strong and had faith. And little Anjeze, born with a club foot, knew by the age of 12 that she had a religious calling.

She left home at 18 (1928) and joined the Sisters of Loreto at Loreto Abbey in Rathfarnham, Ireland. It was here that she learned English and how to teach geography, catechism, and history. She chose her name after Thérèse de Lisieux, the patron saint of missionaries. Another nun at Loreto was also named Therese, so Anjeze opted for the Spanish spelling of Teresa. She took her first religious vows as a nun in 1931. She never saw her mother or her sister again.

It was while she was teaching at a schoolhouse outside Calcutta that she began to be disturbed by the horrific poverty around her. She was riding a train from the convent to Calcutta when she had her first calling from God. She said: "I was to leave the convent and help the poor while living among them. It was an order. To fail would have been to break the faith."

Mother Teresa hung up her traditional habit and began wearing a simple white cotton sari with a blue border that cost $1. She'd learned nursing from the other nuns at the convent and soon began ministering to the poor, the sick, and the hungry on the streets of Calcutta. The first year, she had no income, had to beg for food and supplies, and often felt despair and loneliness. She persevered, though, and in two years, the Vatican gave her permission to start a congregation that would become the Missionaries of Charity.

She began with 13 sisters, who took vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, and promised to give "wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor." By the time of her death in 1997, Missionaries of Charity had grown to be a worldwide institution, with more than 4,000 workers in 133 countries. Mother Teresa opened orphanages, homes for those with tuberculosis and leprosy, soup kitchens, mobile health clinics, and schools. She opened hospices and homes for people dying of HIV/Aids and even opened shelters in Harlem and Greenwich Village. Once, during the Siege of Beirut in 1982, she rescued 36 children in a hospital on the front line by brokering a temporary cease-fire between the Israeli army and the Palestinian guerillas. When asked how she found time to do all her charity work, she said, "I work all day. That is the only way."

Mother Teresa became an international symbol of benevolence in the 1970s, just after the documentary Beautiful for God (1969) was released. Suddenly, people all over the world knew who she was. She was interviewed by David Frost and Barbara Walters and earned the nickname "the Saint of the Gutters." But she had her critics, too, especially those who felt her pro-life stance hurt the very people she was trying to lift from poverty. Vanity Fair journalist Christopher Hitchens felt she exploited the poor and even devoted a lengthy essay, The Missionary Position (1995), to debunking her work. When a British documentary called Hell's Angel (1994) was released, Mother Teresa was not surprised by its critical view of her work. She only said, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do." In the 1960s, Pope Paul VI gave her a luxury limousine and she raffled it off and gave the proceeds to charity. She washed her own sari every day, by hand.

Writer's Almanac

Wilhelm Albert Vladimir Alexander Apollinaire de Kostrowitzky

Today is the birthday of French poet and art critic Guillaume Apollinaire (1880) (books by this author), born Wilhelm Albert Vladimir Alexander Apollinaire de Kostrowitzky in Rome, Italy, to a former Italian military officer and a Polish noblewoman. Apollinaire's mother brought him up on the French Riviera, where he spent considerable time in gambling halls and once pretended to be a Russian Prince.

At 20, he moved to Paris, where he taught, worked in an office, and fell in with a group of upstart, bohemian artists and writers like Pablo Picasso, Henri Rousseau, and Georges Braque. He loved the poetry of Verlaine and Mallarmé and began writing his own. One of his earliest poems, "Song of the Poorly Beloved," sprang from a failed romance with an Englishwoman. Apollinaire was quite famous for his "ideogram" poetry, in which the text was both a picture and a poem. He used typography to shape the poem like the object described: a heart, a bird, a clock, the Eiffel Tower.

Apollinaire was dedicated to challenging the bourgeoisie. He even declared that the Louvre should be burnt down. He started a literary magazine, Les Soirées de Paris (1914), and wrote a book, The Cubist Painters (1913), extolling the virtues of Picasso and Braque. He could be a petty thief, too, and was once accused of stealing the famous painting Mona Lisa. He was arrested and jailed and pleaded with Picasso to speak up for him, but Picasso was frightened, too, and kept mum. Apollinaire was released after six days and the charges dropped. The culprit was an Italian housepainter who tried to sell the painting two years later.

Apollinaire is credited with coining the term "Surrealism," about which he said, "We may expect it to bring about profound changes in our arts and manners through universal joyfulness."

His play The Breasts of Tiresias was performed in Paris in 1917. On opening night, the audience had to wait two hours for the play to begin, forced to stare at the blue stage curtain. The queen of Paris literary life, Madame Rachilde, called out, "Enough of that blue!" The curtain parted and a woman appeared. She undid her blouse, revealing two gigantic, gas-filled balloons, which she ripped off and threw into the audience.
Apollinaire was determined to become a French national. He did so by volunteering to fight in World War I, where he sustained a serious head injury that left him temporarily paralyzed. He died of the Spanish flu in 1918.
Writer's Almanac

I Blame Myself

I blame myself for everything. It's a bad habit from childhood when I absorbed all family conflict and was blamed for everything. I was the scapegoat unknowingly recruited to fulfill a pathological narcissist in an unhappy marriage.

What am I getting out of it now? My husband says if you cast yourself as the scapegoat you get to have a family. If you take on the new role of strong independent woman you no longer have your family. He is right.

Last Night

Last night Bill dropped me off at CCRI to swim and we didn't realize the pool was closed. I ran after him shouting and waving my hands but he was on the road far away and didn't see me. Oh well. I thought to myself "Don't cry, there's a beautiful soccer game going on." So I walked over to the huge the soccer field and watched the Brazilians playing soccer. The sun was setting the field was green and all of these guys in motion wearing colorful vests and shoes was like a field of neon tetras in my fish tank. Bill came back and I told him what happened. We laughed. I feel refreshed anyway I said, I got to walk in the fresh air and watch the soccer games for an hour.

Brothers and Sisters

My pal David once said God gave us brothers and sisters so we would learn about different kinds of people. I woke up thinking about this this morning.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Ram Dass

How do We Spiritually Orient Ourselves?

Posted May 23, 2017

Each of us has a dominant theme in this incarnation.

Some of us are primarily head tripping. Most of us are beings who lead with our heart. We have incredibly complex mosaics for describing our individual differences; These differences have an interesting place in the scheme of things, are they real or totally false?

Part of the way in which we define our inner work is that we learn to listen to all these individual differences in order to determine what our particular path is.

For each individual, there is a unique karmic predicament, and for each individual, there is a unique dharmic possibility – dharma meaning ‘practice’ or ‘path’. Very rarely you know it beforehand. Most of the time you don’t even know of it when you are doing it. It sort of sneaks up on you, cause nothing else works. By the time you understand your dharma, you’re practically finished using it… but it’s not terribly important that you know everything about where you’re at.

When we first understand there’s a journey, a path, we tend to get somewhat hysterical. We want to sell it to everybody, change everybody, and whichever path we buy first, we try to convert everybody to it. The zeal is based on our lack of faith, cause we’re not sure of what we’re doing, so we figure if we convince everybody else.

But we’re all kind of moving into a new space, we’re sort of finished with the first wild hysteria, and we’re settling down into humdrum process of living out our incarnation as consciously as we know how to do. If in the course it turns out this is your last round to get enlightened, fine. If not, that’s the way it is. Nothing you can do about it.

You can’t bulldoze anybody to beat the system – you are the system. The desire to beat the system is part of it. Total frustration when you see that you are trying to stand in the way, and you can’t stop trying.

Our full Western achievement orientation is, “Accomplish, succeed, man over nature, my own power, I’ll understand it, control it, master it and have it,” which works for practically everything, except what it is really about.

The reason you get that way, is it turns out not to be worth much more than everything else you get that way. Like all the different levels through which we meditate, you think you ought to meditate. You sit down and you try to meditate, but your mind just becomes totally wild and irresponsible. Millions of thoughts suddenly whirl through. Everything will suddenly become terribly important. “You forgot to call so and so, you have to go to the bathroom, your knee hurts.” You doubt the method before you’ve even done it. “This will never work.” But that work shows you a lot.

It shows you the agitation of your own thinking mind. Now, that only works once you have enough of what we call ‘prajna’, one system, or ‘punyam’ in another system, or enough wisdom to understand that the thinking mind is an exquisite servant but not the master – that who you are is not your thinking mind.

You have to be deeply rooted in that wisdom before meditation makes sense.

You have to be rooted in that wisdom sufficiently so that you can see thoughts as stuff, rather than as defining reality.

-Ram Dass

Some people eat fear soup three times a day

“The universe is a million billion light-years wide, and every inch of it would kill you if you went there. This is the position of the universe with regards to human life.”
― Martin Amis

“He awoke at six, as usual. He needed no alarm clock. He was already comprehensively alarmed.”
― Martin Amis, The Information

“Only in art will the lion lie down with the lamb, and the rose grow without thorn.”
― Martin Amis

“Life is made of fear. Some people eat fear soup three times a day. Some people eat fear soup all the meals there are. I eat it sometimes. When they bring me fear soup to eat, I try not to eat it, I try to send it back. But sometimes I'm too afraid to and have to eat it anyway.”
― Martin Amis, Other People

“Love is an abstract noun, something nebulous. And yet love turns out to be the only part of us that is solid, as the world turns upside down and the screen goes black.”
― Martin Amis, The Second Plane: 14 Responses to September 11

“When the past is forgotten, the present is unforgettable”
― Martin Amis, Other People

“Closure is a greasy little word which, moreover, describes a nonexistent condition. The truth, Venus, is that nobody gets over anything.”
― Martin Amis, House of Meetings

“Style is not neutral; it gives moral directions.”
― Martin Amis

“And meanwhile time goes about its immemorial work of making everyone look and feel like shit.”
― Martin Amis, London Fields