In Support of a Two-Year Old

I just saw this video on the television. The story definitely touched me; tears are rolling down my cheeks. It is refreshing and heartening to hear some good news in the midst of all of the dark things that are happening..

Adventures in the Snow

While the amount of snow that has been occurring in Seattle will seem small compared to what most of the country is experiencing, it is not small to us. When I moved here in 1966, Seattle occasionally had big snow storms, but there have been many years when we had no snow, or almost no snow.

The last ten days have been quite an adventure. I have loved the beauty of the snow and the challenges, but I’m quite ready for the snow to go away, at least for now.

I have enjoyed writing this followup to my last two snow posts (It Snowed! and It’s Going to Snow Again).

Friday, February 8

I learned a new word! I had written a friend that lives in Bellevue and asked if it was snowing there. She wrote back that it was graupeling. I didn’t have any idea what that word meant so looked it up. Google kept changing the word to grueling. I was persistent and eventually tried graupel. That worked! Graupel is defined as soft hail or soft snow pellets.

Later that day, I walked outside and saw many graupels in my yard .

(Click on any photo gallery to enlarge the photos.)

I saw something else that made me curious. At first I didn’t know what it was, but soon realized it must be a thick icicle. It was more than an inch in diameter. There were many fallen icicles on the ground nearby.

Later that day, it began snowing in earnest.

Saturday, February 9

During our first big snow, I stayed inside for days because I was afraid to walk down the front steps. The steps were slippery and they don’t have a railing. This time I realized I could just walk out the basement door. Duhhh. Why didn’t I think of that before? I ventured outside much sooner and more often on these snowy days.

I knew that the little Greenbelt trees that were bent over from the weight of the snow would be bent over again so I walked into the Greenbelt from the Hanford Stairs. The weight of the snow on one of the shrubs created a canopied entrance to the site, I felt like I was entering a magical land.

I removed the snow from the tree I had freed before. I did the same with five other trees on that outing. In the process, I wondered if I was hurting them by freeing them when I knew they were just going to get buried again.

When I got back to my house, I wrote my supervisor at Green Seattle Partnership and asked her what she thought. She told me it would be best to leave them alone.

After leaving the Greenbelt, I saw a neighbor who was about to walk down the hill to the store. As we talked, we noticed that people were try drive down 25th Ave S where a tree had fallen across the road the night before. When they turned their cars around, they almost all discovered that they couldn’t get up the S. Hanford hill. Most couldn’t even make the jog in the road at 25th Ave. S and S. Hanford. We guided the motorists to a place where they could park their cars until the roads were drivable for a while.

When we stopped doing that, I walked down 25th Ave S and took a photo of the fallen tree.

Then I returned home and cleared the snow off of one side of the front steps and off of my car. I tried to clear the front sidewalk too but didn’t get very far with that endeavor; there was ice under the snow that I couldn’t break or get under.

At least I started the job. I was impressed that I accomplished as much as I did. And it felt so good to be out of the house.

Sunday, February 10

It was beautiful on Sunday morning. At 10 a.m. the sky was blue.

From my back deck

Sometime before 2 pm, the sky started to darken. Soon thereafter, it began to snow again.

Monday, February 11

The snow kept falling… and falling.

After the snow storm that started on February 3, I didn’t clean the snow off of the car until it had stopped snowing. That was probably on February 6. My car had been parked in the driveway. It took me much longer to be able to drive than the neighbors who had parked on the street.

When I did eventually try to get into my car, the front door was frozen shut. During the second series of snowstorms, I decided to park the car on the street and to remove the snow at least once a day.

One day, I noticed that brushing the snow off of the car had resulted in a pile of snow around the car that was at times had a height of two-feet. Being hemmed in by snow would would certainly make it difficult to drive. A day later, I noticed that snow was piled tight against the side of the front tire. I sure didn’t want it to freeze there so on Monday, I removed that snow.

Soon after finishing that process, I was surprised to see a woman ski down S. Hanford St. Moments later, her husband pulling a child carrier, or whatever that structure is called, turned the corner onto 25th Ave. S. There were two small children in the “vehicle”.

While I was talking to the family, I noticed a fire truck had gotten stuck going around the roundabout at the south end of the block. When looked that direction a few minutes later, it was gone.


When I checked my email later in the day, I discovered that neighbors had posted photos of “snow art” that they had seen on North Beacon Hill. I was impressed.

Seeing those objects made me think of the snow angels I used to make when I was a kid. I kept thinking of them throughout the day. Eventually, I decided I was going to do it! It was a lot easier to lie down than it was to get up. I thought it interesting that the size of the right wing reflects the trouble I am having with my shoulder.

I was surprised at how heavy the snow was. It took more effort to move it than I thought it would.

On Monday, I cleared the snow off the car .

That afternoon, it snowed heavier than any other day. It was so beautiful.

But before long, my car was again covered with 4-6 inches of snow!

TT

Tuesday, February 12

A neighbor came over and let me know that she was going to clear my sidewalk for me. I was excited to have the help. I joined her so we worked on it together. The day before, another neighbor had told me he would help me get my car out of the snow when I was ready to drive. A third neighbor had picked up something for me at Lowe’s after the previous snow storm. My new roommate carried pellet bags into the house for me and one day, she cleaned the snow of of my car after cleaning it off of her own. I’m lucky to have neighbors who will help me when I need it. I need to remember these incidents when I’m feeling alone in the world.

Wednesday, February 13

I was supposed to teach a class about our forest restoration project to Environmental Science students from Seattle University on Tuesday and on Thursday the students were planning to work on our site. The university was closed on Tuesday so I will be teaching the class on Thursday. That meant I had to cancel the work party. I hope the students will come to a later one.

I have enjoyed the beauty of the snow and all of the adventures it has brought my way. I also appreciate that it has given me the opportunity to catch up on so many things on my “to do” list. But as I said at the beginning of this post, I’m ready for this to end; and it looks like it is going to. Hopefully by tomorrow I will be able to drive!

Inspirational Videos

Sreejit sent me the link to a video yesterday. I loved it:

This morning I played it again. As I was doing that, I noticed another video by the same group. When I listened to/watched it, I got goosebumps. By the end, I was teary.

What a good way to start my day. I hope these music videos also brighten your morning/afternoon/evening.

The Daily Prompt: Struggle

NagariAlphabet

When I think of the word “Struggle,” my attempt to learn to read, write and speak Sanskrit is what comes to mind. For the last four and a half years it has been a major focus in my life, one I feel very passionate about.

The classes I have been taking recently focus on immersion. The goal is to have no English spoken in the class, although some allowances are made. Almost all of the students are Indian and many of the words in their native languages are rooted in Sanskrit. Therefore, the Indian students tend to learn the Sanskrit vocabulary very fast. Even when they don’t know a word they may have a good idea of what it means.

When I start with a class of new Sanskrit students, I feel on reasonably even ground with them, or even ahead. As I proceed in the course, however, they quickly pull ahead of me and by the end I am not understanding much of the conversation that occurs. Eventually, I hit a brick wall where I feel hopeless.

I am in that place again. I have tried retaking the class and have learned a lot by doing that, but I don’t think I can meet my goal by continuing to retake it. I’m going to take a break from that kind of learning and do some independent study focusing on reading Sanskrit; listening to Sanskrit video conversations; speaking with and writing to friends who are also learning Sanskrit; and on building vocabulary. I intend to stay committed to my goal and hope to come back to a class format sometime in the future.

Another struggle I have been dealing with this year has been lower back problems. My life has been very different since that started in mid-February. Now that the problem is resolving, I can see that it would have been a perfect time for me to focus on my Sanskrit and on doing the spiritual practices I neglect. I feel sad that I didn’t take advantage of the long hours of down time to do those things but at the same time I know I can learn from the experience rather than live in regret. I can have compassion for the choices I made this time, and make different ones in the  future.

I appreciate today’s Daily Prompt. It was helpful for me to examine the struggles in my life.

 

Welcome to North America Amma!

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I have written many posts about my spiritual journey with Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi) since I started blogging in 2014. My life changed profoundly when I met her in the summer of 1989.  Since then, I have spent time with her yearly, during her North American programs and at her ashram in Amritapuri, India. My son Sreejit has lived in her ashrams in San Ramon and Amritapuri since 1994 and my daughter has lived in Amritapuri since 1998. Our lives are dedicated to supporting Amma’s mission/vision of alleviating suffering in the world. (Amma’s vast network of humanitarian charities is known as Embracing the World )

Just hours from now Amma will begin her first 2016 program in North America. That program will be held at the Edward D Hanson Conference Center in Everett, Washington (near Seattle). Between now and July 14 Amma will hold free programs in San Ramon, Los Angeles, Santa Fe, Dallas, Chicago, New York, Washington D.C., Boston and Toronto. Details of the Seattle area programs can be found at http://amma.org/meeting-amma/north-america/seattle-bellevue. To see her entire North American tour schedule go to: http://amma.org/meeting-amma/north-america.

I think the best way for me to share more about the experience of being with Amma is through three videos.

The first is a video of Amma feeding a fledgling that had fallen out of its nest.

One of the ways Amma offers her blessings is through her hug.

Film director, actor and producer Shekhar Kapur recently launched a beautiful new documentary about Amma titled The Science of Compassion.

It’s time for me to get ready to go to the program.  I look forward to discovering what experiences I will have this year!

Please Listen to Me

When I started my psychotherapy practice in 1987, I hung a poster titled “Please Listen to Me” on my group room wall. Even though it is no longer on the wall, I think of the content often. I believe it contains important information for everyone, but might be especially helpful to those of you who are participating in this week’s Challenge for Growth prompt.

Please Listen to Me

When I ask you to listen to me and you start giving advice, you have not done what I asked.

When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell me why I shouldn’t feel that way, you are trampling on my feelings.

When I ask you to listen to me and you feel you have to do something to solve my problems, you have failed me, strange as that may seem.

All I ask is that you listen. Not talk or do, just hear me. Advice is cheap: 50 cents will get you both Dorothy Dix and Dr Spock in the same newspaper. And I can do for myself I’m not helpless. Maybe discouraged and faltering, but not helpless.

When you do something for me that I can and need to do for myself you contribute to my fear and weakness. But when you accept as a simple fact that I do feel what I feel, no matter how irrational, then I quit trying to convince you and can get about the business of understanding what’s behind this irrational feeling.

And when that’s clear, the answers are obvious and I don’t need advice. So, please listen and just hear me, and if you want to talk, wait a minute for your turn; and I’ll listen to you.

Author Unknown

Nothing is Insignificant

When Amma gives darshan (hugs) in India, she sees thousands of people a day, but still takes time to give everyone what they need. Check out this video of her mediating a dispute between children. No translation is needed!

 

During Amma’s Indian tours, she may give hugs to 30,000 people a day. Below is a picture of one of the pots used to cook the food for those who seek Amma’s blessing.

Photo Credit: Sreejit Poole
Photo Credit: Sreejit Poole

Inspiring and Thought Provoking Videos

Friends have sent me two powerful and mesmerizing videos recently.  I thought both were excellent and hope you find them to be as valuable as I did.

The first is a talk by Dr. Vadana Shiva.  She has been described as an author, activist, pioneer, scientific advisor and mother.

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crP5EVZdvLE)

The second is a September 12, 1962 speech by President John F. Kennedy.  As you listen to it, consider how we can apply his words to solving the problems we are facing in the world today.

 

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZyRbnpGyzQ)