I am recently retired psychotherapist who now spends much of my time working as a forest and habitat restoration volunteer.
For decades, I have focused much of my attention on watching for and learning the lessons life sends my way. I share my stories and reflections, both past and present, in my blog Living, Learning and Letting Go.
September 21 was the International Day of Peace. This was Amma’s message that day.
Let there be goodness, prosperity, health, happiness, peace, and abundance for everyone. May Mother Nature forgive our mistakes and bless us with a year in which there are no natural disasters. May everyone’s stomach be full and may everyone have a roof over his head. May there be peace on every corner of the earth. Let us sow good thoughts and reap good actions. Let us sow good actions and reap good habits. From good habits and behaviour, we can build a beautiful life. Through living a good life, we can rewrite our destiny. The strength, courage and goodness to overcome difficult situations is inherent within each of us. We need to awaken them. If we have a heart that doesn’t lose hope and a mind that’s always cheerful, we will be able to see newness and find happiness in everything. If we are able to be loving, friendly and content, there can be no greater cause for celebration. May all of you become messengers of love and peace in this world! May grace fill your lives with peace and happiness! – Amma
During the time I was staying in Woodinville, a friend asked if I wanted her to split and replant one house plant, and to move another to a bigger pot. I said I’d appreciate it. There was so much new growth on them when I came home.
I stayed with friends in Woodinville during the six weeks when my balance and dizziness problems were at their worst. Other friends who lived nearby brought meals for me. (Now that I’m back in my Seattle home, one friend is staying with me, and my neighbors are bringing me dinners so that I can have some transition time.) It is wonderful to have the support of so many people.
There are deer in the place I stayed in Woodinville. After I had been there for awhile, I started walking between the house and the front gate. At first, I only made it a third of the way to the gate. On the day before I left, I walked the “round trip” four times in the morning and 2 or 3 times in the evening! And I had cut my time down from 10 minutes per round to 6 minutes.
One day when I was walking, I spotted a deer.
When she saw me, she came closer. She would peek out at me in-between the trees that lined the road. Usually by the time I could get my phone ready to take a photo, she would be looking a different direction. Then she would dart away, only to show up a bit down the road. It felt like a game of peekaboo.
I cropped the photo above two times.
Once the doe reached the part of the road between the front gate and the house where there is no fencing, she ran away. I didn’t see her again that day. But what fun it had been… hopefully for both of us.
A friend sent me this video this morning. It is SO powerful. I’ve heard the song sung by Cynthia Erivo many times and get chills every time I listen to it. The kids who are singing in this video do an excellent job and the added video clips add another level of power.
There is no doubt in my mind that Amma has helped me the most in finding peace in uncertain times; by her presence, her teachings and the opportunities to apply those teachings, her music, her guidance when I have questions, the example she sets in living a life of service and the community of people I have in my life because of her.
As I am dealing with my own health problems, as well as living in the world during a pandemic, I am grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had to learn persistence, flexibility, letting go, being like a bird perched on a dry twig, and being in the moment. While my mind still goes into overdrive, most of the time I am able to find a centered place within me.
As I am writing this, I am remembering a prayer I wrote in the mid to late 90’s. It is still my prayer.
Mother, may my hands be in service, my mind fill with mantra May my voice forever sing your praise, my heart dance with joy May my love shine ever brighter, my faith ever grow Mother, may each day I become more like you, only for this I pray Only for this I pray
Not too long after the pandemic began and we were told to stay home, I started writing one of the 108 Names of Amma ten times in Devanagari (the script used to write Sanskrit words) each day. Many of the “names” relate to one of Amma‘s characteristics. The list was written by a devotee decades ago and is frequently used as a chant before meditation or singing.
If you notice differences between the transliteration and the Devanagari script know that more information about that is provided in my last Sanskrit writing post.
ॐ त्याग वैराग्य मैत्रयादि सर्व सद्वासना पुषे नमः omtyaga vairagya maitryadi sarva sadvasana pushe namah … who encourages the cultivation of good qualities such as renunciation, dispassion, love, etc.
ॐ सुभाषित सुधा मुचे नमः om subhashita sudha muche namah … whose speech is as sweet as ambrosia
ॐप्रोत्सादित ब्रह्मविद्या सम्प्रदाय प्रवृत्ताये नमः om protsahita brahmavidya sampradaya pravrittaye namah …who encourages the learning of Brahmavidya, the science of the Absolute through the tradition of the guru-disciple relationship
“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.” “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.”-William Shakespeare