I Am Grateful


I have been feeling grateful for so many things.

I am grateful that I will soon be at Amma’s ashram in India.

I am grateful for the many people that make that annual trip possible.

  • Vince, the co-therapist, who has supported me in taking this important journey each year since 1990.
  • Marla, Kat, Rick, Lee, Dave and Jovanna, who supported me in the same way when they were co-therapists  in one of my groups.
  • Twenty-seven years of clients who have seen my trip as modeling self-care and following my passion.
  • My friend Ramana who takes care of my house while I am gone.

I am grateful that I will soon be with my children, Sreejit and Chaitanya, and my son-in-law Akshay.

I am grateful that I will be at the ashram when Amma comes back from her European and U.S. tour.

I am grateful that I will soon be with my ashram friends.

I am grateful for my spiritual community, friends and neighbors in Seattle.

I am grateful that my ex-husband, Al, and I have become friends again.

I am grateful that I have reconnected with members of my family of origin.

I am grateful that I have reconnected with friends from my past.

I am grateful that I have Amma to love, inspire and guide me.

I am grateful that my children have grown up to be talented, wise adults who are loved by many.

I am grateful for my psychotherapy clients commitment to their healing.

I am grateful that I have developed a passion for photography.

I am grateful that I have developed a passion for nature, and for taking care of nature.

I am grateful for WordPress and for the WordPress blogging community. Through them I have learned so much.

I am grateful for the opportunity to share  my experiences through my blog.

I am grateful for the people who read my blog.

I am grateful for the worms in my worm bins who make the fertilizer for my garden and who give me so much pleasure.

I am grateful for my Seattle home.

I am grateful for the work I have been doing in the Greenbelt and how it has shown me the strength of trees will to live.

I am grateful for all the lessons I receive as part of my life journey.

I am grateful that I have so many things to be grateful for that I can’t possibly list them all.

Life is good.



More from Nimo Patel

After I posted Grateful for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, I found a music video of Nimo’s that I hadn’t seen before. That video, Being Kind, may be my favorite. It is certainly what I need to hear and watch during these turbulent times.

I love Nimo’s music and what he stands for. For those of you who are new to him, know that he went to an Ivy League college and afterwards worked on Wall Street. Next, he became a well known MTV Rap star. In his mid-twenties, he realized that the “only path to light was through selfless service to others and his own internal purification.” For  the last five-and-a-half years he has been living at the Gandhi Ashram in Gujarat, India. That ashram serves underprivileged children in the slums of Ahmedebad.

He started the 501-c3 organization Empty Hands Music.

Nimo chose the title ‘Empty Hands’, because of the profound wisdom we all can gain when we understand this deeper truth: that we arrive on this planet empty handed and we will all soon leave empty handed. So then, how and in what spirit do we want to spend the time in between?

Empty Hands Music is offered in the spirit of love, peace and oneness. Download the free Empty Hands Music album here.

Here is the Being Kind video. The song’s lyrics will follow the video.


Written and Performed by Nimesh Patel
Beat Produced by Epistra
Song Mixed by Brian Nicholls

(Verse 1)
Well my heart starts sinkin’
And I’m thinkin whats the reason
Why we holding back from being kind
What’s the disease, but then I sense

We are fine, it’ll all happen
One small step at a time

When the world is full of violence
And it needs a little kindness
I just sit in pray in silence
And God shows me the signs

Open my eyes, realize,
We are fine, one small act at a time

Last night I’m walking home
And a homeless man says ‘hello’
With a smile to let me know
That he’s gotta lotta hope

He says have faith, young man, we are fine
The world is kind, one small act at a time

Small acts we do together
Even though may be alone
Changes the world for the better
So we can call it home

And this is life as know
When our hearts are aligned
The magic that unfolds
One small act at a time

(Chorus 1)
Throw your hearts up
Let it fly high
Let your love for all the world
Spread Through the skies
Let it drop down
Let it all go
Spreading kindness to every
Single Living soul

Can you see your love … for me shining through
Cuz what you see in me, I can see in you
And soon enough, you and me … we’ll be outta time
And kindness … will be all we can leave behind

(Verse 2)
Feeling grateful today, Never thought this day would come
Where I would feel it and say, That each and everyone one of us,
Has paved the way doing good and now we’re all just moving up
When I’m kind to you, you pay-it-forward, this is how we build trust

Never had faith, but now I’m seeing you eye to eye
Wanna gift you my life, wanna spread love before I die,
Thank you God … for finally letting me realize
When I serve man, I’m really serving you in disguise

Smiles everywhere, cuz now everybody’s got the bug
Ain’t no life, without the love, if it is, it ain’t no fun,
What we gonna do now, just grab a friend give a hug
Spread it out real wide, so everyone can be touched

(Chorus 2)

Oohhh …
All we can leave behind,
For you and I kindness is all we can leave behind
All we can leave behind
For you and I kindness is all we can leave behind
Ohhh … Behind, Behind, When all is said and done,
Kindness is all we can leave behind


Song Lyric Sunday: Grateful


Helen’s direction for this week’s  Song Lyric Sunday is to share a song about gratitude. I was looking for a chance to share another one of Nimo’s Empty Hands Music videos so I’m very grateful she chose that theme.

The song I will share is  Grateful: A Love Song to the World by Nimo Patel and Daniel Nahmod.


Verse 1:

You’re my life,
You’re my breath,
You’re a smile
You my guest

You’re the earth
You’re the sun
You’re the grass
You are love

You’re my hands
You’re a bug
You’re my eyes
You’re a hug

You’re the light
In the dark
You’re the spark
You are fun

You’re my mom
You are water
You’re the stars
You’re my daughter

You’re my friend
Till the end
You’re my dreams
You’re my father

You’re the ants on the ground
The miracles that surround
I’m feelin’ it all around
The hemisphere and the clouds

You’re my pain you’re my sorrow
You’re my hope for tomorrow
You’re the strength when I’m hollow
You’re the path that I follow

You’re the blessings that exist
The small things that are bliss
The gift to realize that
Everything is a gift

All that I am
All that I see
All that I’ve been and all that I’ll ever be
Is a blessing
It’s so amazing
And I’m grateful for it all, for it all

Verse 2:

You’re the blessings
Every time I try to count,
You’re the lessons
That l learn
Every time I turn around,
You’re the water when I’m burned
Every time I think I’ve found
Everything I’m looking for,
You’re the sign sayin’
Stop to take a bow

And keep moving forward
And start looking towards your heart,
it’ll open all the doors
And only then you’ll start
To hear the world sing in chorus
With your mind and heart
Aligned in purpose
Everything will feel gorgeous

All that I am
All that I see
All that I’ve been and all that I’ll ever be
Is a blessing
It’s so amazing
And I’m grateful for it all, for it all

Breakdown 1:
Everyday I sit and pray
Cuz what I have is
More than I deserve
Or could ever imagine
How do I give back
To all of this magic
And spread the love
So everybody can have it

Doesn’t matter if I’m rich or poor
If I gotta family or if I’m all alone
Bad things happen I can just complain and moan
But there’s a million things that I can be grateful for

Breakdown 2:
So I lift up my hands now
And I open my heart
And my gratitude goes out
To everything near and far

Final Chorus:
Everything I am
And everything I see
Everything I hope
And everything I dream
Everything I feel
And everything I be
I Look deep down
And feel all the blessings
I’m grateful for it all
It’s amazing

All that I am
All that I see
All that I’ve been and all that I’ll ever be
Is a blessing
Its so amazing
And I’m grateful for it all, for it all


You’re the blessings that exist
The small things that are bliss
The gift to realize that
Everything is a gift

Be sure to watch the fun outtakes at the end of the video. You will also be able to download the free Empty Hands Music album should you want to do that.

Letting Go of Suffering


For several years in the mid to late 1990’s and early 2000’s, I wrote articles about my experiences with Amma for “The New Times,” a free newspaper that was, at that time, available in Washington and Oregon. I have started sharing some of those articles on my blog. I am choosing the articles to post based on their topic, therefore they are not being shared chronologically. The article below was published in August of 1995.


The experience of grief is inherent in living. As we live, events will happen that we don’t want to happen. We will undergo violations, endings, disappointments and betrayals. If we allow ourselves to fully feel the pain that comes with these events, we will most likely learn the important lessons that are there for us to learn and move on. If we suppress the painful feelings and mask them with self pity, guilt, blame, suspicion, sarcasm, indifference, and/or worry, we are likely to move into suffering.

One day last year (1994), during my annual visit with my spiritual teacher, Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma), whose ashram is located in Amritapuri, India, I had the opportunity to experience and move through two episodes of emotional pain. That year, I had come to the ashram bringing with me 60 handmade skirts and blouses. This clothing had been made by friends and myself for children living in the orphanage operated by Amma.

One day I told Amma that I was going to deliver the clothes to the orphanage. As you might imagine, I was totally shocked when she responded that since I had not brought 600 sets of clothes, enough for each child at the orphanage to have a set, none of the children could have them!

My mind immediately started operating on three tracks. The first track was filled with rage, fear and self pity. Among the internal messages were:

  • What do you mean I can’t take them? Don’t you know how hard we worked? 
  • You betrayed me! 
  • You made me betray my friends. 
  • You aren’t fair. 
  • You made me waste a whole year. 
  • Now everyone is gong to be mad at me and it’s YOUR fault. 

The second track both recognized the lessons I was receiving and attempted to de-escalate the parts of me that were angry and afraid. Those messages, which came in a clear matter of fact, non-critical tone included:

  • Of course she said that. She does not want to set up competition between the children. That is totally reasonable and consistent with what you know of her. 
  • If a gift is an offering that has no strings attached, then the clothes were not a gift. Look at your level of attachment. 
  • This was supposed to be seva (selfless service). Seva, by definition, means that there should be no expectation of the fruit of one’s actions. Examine the process that is happening. How can you learn to give freely? 
  • The work parties were very valuable for the people who participated. They experienced working in community. They experienced giving. They had fun. You have not hurt anyone. 
  • Your friends will have an opportunity to learn lessons such as those you are now learning. 

The third track in my mind was busy contemplating how to sell the clothes so the proceeds could be donated to the orphanage. In that way some of the intention behind the gift would be met. Within minutes I had formulated a tentative plan.

The second and third tracks obviously were supportive and needed no help from me. The first was a different story. I sat close to Amma and let the fury rage inside of me. I could have said something directly to her but there was no need. Ultimately, I believed her response to be correct. The energy I was now experiencing was primarily old betrayal energy of mine, rooted in my childhood. I first tried to move the energy through by imagining myself yelling at Amma. Then I imagined doing various anger release techniques I would do if I were in a therapy setting. These inner processes moved some of my negative energy, but not enough.

I decided to leave the temple and talk to some friends. I asked them if I could have a few minutes to vent, complain, suffer. They agreed and I allowed all that was inside of me to come pouring out. Afterwards, I discovered that the messages on the first track had lost their power. I returned to the temple to sit near Amma feeling successful and complete with the issue. (Brief episodes of anger and fear occurred occasionally over the next few weeks but I was able to easily release the negative energy.)

On the same day as all of this occurred, I experienced another powerful and important event as I was walking back from a local tea shop with a friend. As we passed one of the swamis (monks), he smiled at me. For no apparent reason my whole being exploded with an unnamed grief. The grief was so deep and so intense I could barely walk. I sat in a private place and let the feelings come. I knew it didn’t matter what the grief was about, I simply needed to feel and release it. After about fifteen minutes I felt done; exhausted yet lighter. (One of the ways to differentiate true grief from suffering is to notice what you feel like after you express the emotion. After expressing deep grief, even though you may be tired, you are also likely to feel relieved, lighter, and cleaned out. After immersing yourself in suffering you will probably feel even worse than you did before!)

I ended that day feeling very grateful. Grateful that I had accessed and let go of such core level grief. Grateful that I had experienced the difference between the pain of grief and the pain of suffering. Grateful that I had done my therapy and had the skills to move through the pain. Grateful that I had moved through so much of the pain in my therapy process that what was left was manageable. Grateful that when I am near Amma, I usually move through pain faster than in normal living. Grateful that the process of living has and will continue to bring up any residual pain so I can release it and thereby live my life more and more in the present moment.

As I said in the beginning, grief is inherent in living. We cannot totally avoid pain but we can learn to stop holding on to it. I hope my stories will be of value to you as a model for dealing with your own grief.


“The New Times” articles that I’ve already shared:

Support in Times of Trouble

A Multitude of Lessons

Exposing the “Know-It-All”

Many Paths, Same Destination

Putting Pain in Perspective

A Gift of Love, Peace and Oneness

This afternoon I heard Nimo from Empty Hands Music sing.  I loved his songs and was intrigued by him so I checked him out at the first opportunity.  This is what I found:

From an Ivy League education to Wall street to fame and fortune as a MTV Rap star, at some point along Nimo’s journey he realized that we was walking a path of suffering and that the only path to light was through selfless service to others and his own internal purification. For the past 5 and half years Nimo has been serving and working with the underprivileged communities in the Gandhi Ashram in India.

Most recently Nimo has reconnected to his roots of music and is offering this gift of love, peace and oneness through his songs: an offering he calls “Empty Hands Music”.

Nimo chose the title ‘Empty Hands’, because of the profound wisdom we all can gain when we understand this deeper truth: that we arrive on this planet empty handed and we will all soon leave empty handed. So then, how and in what spirit do we want to spend the time in between?

Next, I checked YouTube and found a video that has three different parts. In the first part he gives an overview of the Empty Hands Pilgrimage.  The last minutes of that part includes some of his song Planting Seeds. In the second part he sings Grateful and the third is Being Kind.  I was so moved by what I saw and heard that I sobbed. I hope the video touches your heart as well.


Nimo is offering his album of ten songs for free download.  You can download them here.


Thanks for the “Sisterhood of the World Bloggers” Award!



Yvonne at Seasoned Sistha2 recently chose me as one of her nominees for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers award.  I definitely consider Yvonne a blogging sister of mine and am glad to know that she sees me in the same way.

It has been interesting and fun to think of my other blogging sisters and to decide which ones I will share this award with!


Award Rules

  • Provide the link to the person who nominated you.
  • Add the reward logo.
  • Answer the questions your nominator has asked.
  • Nominate five other bloggers and let them know via comments.
  • Ask your nominees five questions.


My Answers to Yvonne’s questions:

1)  Who would you want with you if you were stranded on a deserted island?

It makes the most sense to have a friend with me whom I enjoy being with, but one who also knows how to survive in the wilderness.  I would definitely want someone who knows what plants can be safely eaten. So Maheswari, I would like you to be on the deserted island with me!

2)  Would you rather travel by plane, train, or automobile?

I enjoy traveling by train the most, mainly because you can get up and move around as much as you want to. And I have had big adventures on trains! (e.g. The Day I Became a Train Hopper)

3)  If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?

This may seem really strange, but in this moment what I would like to do for that day is visit one of the Seattle recycling plants! I’ve wanted to do that for several years, so I better get busy and make it a reality.  (If  I knew this was going to be my LAST day, though, I would have a different answer!)

4)  For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

I feel most grateful for my two incredible adult children and for having Amma as my spiritual teacher, guide, and mother.

5)  If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to?

I did change my first name! In 1991.  At that time, I asked Amma for a spiritual name and she named me Karuna, which means compassion. I treasure that name.


The Blogging Sisters I Chose as My Nominees:

Justine at Eclecticoddsnsods

Maria Brinkley at Maria Brinkley, artist

Arati at Dancing to the Words

Gerry at Open Hearted Musings

Nik’s Place


Five Questions to My Nominees:

1)  If you could visit any place in the world, where would it be?

2)  Which of your belongings do you feel most attached to?

3)  For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

4)  What words of wisdom do you have for yourself?

5)  What words of wisdom do you have for others?


Only For This I Pray


As I planned my reminiscing post, I remembered a song that I created in the late 90’s.  I wrote the words first and then asked my friend Meera to translate them into Malayalam, Amma’s language.  Once I had the words, I worked on the tune.  I sung it for Amma both in English and Malayalam.  (FYI, Amma means Mother.)

This is the song.  Please pardon any pronuncation errors!


amma ende karangal ennum ninne sevikkatte
amma ende manass˘ mantrathāl nirayename
amma ende vākkukal ennum ninne pukazhthette
ende hridayam ānandam kond˘ nrittamādatte

ende sneham prakāshamāyi ennenum thilangatte
amma ende vishvāsam valarnnu kondirikkatte
ennenum ammayepole āyi varename
amma itinnu vendi mātram nyan prārthikkyunnu

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


Gratitude Sunday

I met Amma in summer of 1989 and took my first trip to India in January 1990.  I have traveled to India almost every year since then.  The first two visits were short (10 days to 3 weeks).  The third and fourth were for two months.  From then on, my yearly journey has been for five or six weeks. Continue reading “Gratitude Sunday”

Gratitude Sunday

I am so grateful to Al, my ex-husband, who several years ago, on my birthday, gave me my first laptop. Al always recognizes Mother’s Day by giving me flowers but it is not our practice to exchange presents on birthdays or other events. I was so surprised, and delighted. I had wanted a laptop for a long time, but hadn’t made it happen.

I am so grateful to the friend, whom I know would want to remain unnamed, who has helped me with my various computers, year after year. For the last 15 years or so he has spent countless hours aiding me in setting them up, keeping them running and when it is time, guiding me in purchasing a new one.

I am so grateful to the laptop itself. There were many times during the last three years, when I felt like I lived on that computer; writing a monthly newsletter, corresponding with clients, family and friends, planning workshops, and organizing events. The laptop made it possible for me to begin blogging in March, so it has been even a bigger part of my life since then. For years, it has accompanied me around the U.S., and to Canada and India.

Old laptop

Over the last few months, it has become obvious that my laptop’s life span was quickly coming to the end. Last week there was no doubt that it was time for me to thank it for its years of service, say goodbye and move on to its successor.  My friend once again helped me in making that transition.

So now I am so grateful for my new laptop. I love the feel of it and how well it runs!   I anticipate that we will be working together for many years. I am particularly looking forward to all the blogging we will be doing!

new 2


Gratitude Sunday in Advance

I have been reading gratitude posts on SeasonedSistha2 for some time. She regularly participates in Gratitude Sunday and today I read her Thankful Thursday post. That got me thinking. Why have I not started participating in one of those weekly gratitude prompts?

To me, the ability to feel and express gratitude is an incredibly important component of healthy living. I once was taught that depression and gratitude cannot co-exist. I don’t know if that is actually a researched fact, but I believe it to be true. I know that when people begin to focus on gratitude, the negativity within them diminishes and their spirits lift. They also learn to see the positive in events that might normally be considered negative. Continue reading “Gratitude Sunday in Advance”