Archive for April, 2007

Meditation & Insight

Fluffy grass, San Francisco, Spring 2007.
I’m late on reporting… But as I mentioned in my last post, on April 21st I went to a meditation retreat organized by the Spirit Rock meditation center. This was a very special day filled with poetry, music, meditation and a special guest, the extraordinary Alice Walker. The day included periods of discussion, sitting and walking meditation, as well as a time of celebration through music and dance. I especially loved the walking meditation. It was quite the heavenly vision to see everyone walking in a meditative state across the green fields. In retrospect, I wish I had cut my meditation short to snap a couple of photos of the peaceful “walkers”… However, I was too busy exploring the delicious feeling of stepping slowly into the fluffy and moist grass… (Something I actually repeated this weekend, as you can see above.)
Meeting Alice was such a treat. She is a writer, poet, activist and a woman! What else do you need? She wrote several books, essays, poems and even children’s books. She won the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award for her novel, The Color Purple, which was made into a film seen all over the world, now a Broadway musical also. Alice shared her experience as a social visionary and activist. You can tell by looking at her that she is one strong woman. She has participated in the Human and Civil Rights movement in the South, the Hands Off Cuba Movement, the Women’s Movement, The Native American and Indigenous Rights Movement, the Free South Africa Movement, the Environmental and Animal Rights Movement, and the Peace Movement. When asked how she keeps up with the hardship and sorrows of her activist life (which included being arrested at times), plus her writing and everything else… She said: “I just do what I do. This is my life.” How inspiring!
I was also so moved by her compassion for other human beings and by how she does make “her part” of the work, you know what I mean? If we all were more like Alice Walker (and Frida and Maryam!), our world would certainly be more balanced. She also read some of her poems, which are amazing and insightful. I especially loved an unpublished poem named “I was born to hold a cat.” In this fabulous poem she described how she loved to hold a cat as a child. How that made her happy and fulfilled. Then, the poem takes us through her life and all the things she accomplished, the fights she fought, the places she’d been to and the people she met… Up to the moment when a cat showed up in her kitchen and in her life again. She fed the cat a saucer of soy milk :) and held him promptly. Immediately then, she remembered and realized once again, what she was born to do. She figured she’d done so much over the years… But that she had forgotten that her life purpose was simply to hold a cat all along. She was born to hold a cat! Ahhh…. I loved this one! It reminded of a guru I met in India: Amma. Amma was born to hug and she does just that for a living. She is known as the “Hugging Mama”! :D (That is another story for an other post…) Anyhow… As a writer, Alice made me think that if we open up through our writing, art, etc, and allow our poetry to deepen our understanding of the truth and reality around us; we can find new meaning in our lives. I want that: To do what I’m supposed to do without wondering if it is possible. Just do it.
Finally, Alice talked about how to cope with suffering and stay open-hearted in the difficult times we currently live in. Her recommendation was that we should always carry a medicine bundle with us (like our ancestors used to…), wherever we go, for our strength. A medicine bundle is anything that makes you smile and reminds you of your true self and your values. I absolutely love that concept! As a gypsy girl, I know that no matter how small my luggage is, there are certain things I must take with me to make me feel at home (inside). Those irreplaceable little items bring me inner peace, joyfulness and love wherever I am: that old hoodie, that song, that tea bag, that photo… You can carry your bundle of joy wherever you go. Isn’t that comforting?
So many yummy concepts to explore… And to meditate on…
What were you born to do? What is so delicious that you just can’t live without experiencing it?
And what is in your bundle of joy?
Now… Onto journaling about the Dalai Lama’s public talk, so I can share it with you too!
Inspired by her “Master Cleanse” journal, I decided to do a cleanse too. (And write about it.) Today was my first day on it! I’m not doing the lemonade diet (Master Cleanse) though, because it seemed a bit too advanced for this 1st time experiment with detox. So I’m doing something different which I’ll share in detail (in case you’re interested in trying). You’ll see. I’ll post on that tomorrow.
Ah! My goodness! So much to catch up on…
Here is Alice Walker’s latest book: We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For: Light in a Time of Darkness.