Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

These were the instructions for this week’s Dungeon Prompt:

This week, let’s step out of our blogging boxes and shake things up. If you normally write poetry try writing prose. Or if you normally write freestyle poetry, try writing a sonnet. If you normally write in the first person, write in the third person instead. If you normally write about other people, write about yourself. If you normally write a hundred words, try writing eight hundred. If you normally write over a thousand words, try writing a haiku (without a thousand words of explanation).

I had no doubt which form of writing is out of my comfort zone; it is writing poetry.  I thought about it for a short time and then concluded that this might be the week that I didn’t participate in Dungeon Prompts.  When I shared that conclusion with my blogging friend Cheryl-Lynn at Traces of the Soul, she suggested I write a Tanka. Continue reading “Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone”

“Stop Thinking!”


The Dungeon Prompt Sreejit gave us for this week was to “take some time and think about the one thing that you’ve learned which you would most like to pass on to future generations.”  I gave myself several days to simply be with the instructions, knowing that the answer would “come” if I allowed myself to be quiet. And come it did! While I am far from having learned this lesson, I have come a long way down the path, and know I will go a lot further before I pass from this world. The lesson that is most important for me to learn and pass on is to quiet my over-active mind.

I have always been an introvert, and probably always will be. In addition, I lived in the era of “Children are to be seen and not heard.” In our home, the most common form of punishment was to be sent to our room. I spent a lot of time in my room. Did a lot of pouting there in fact.

I think my patterns of over-thinking have their roots in those early years. By the time I was in my thirties, I spent so much time immersed in my thoughts. When I was with a group of friends, or in a class, I analyzed everything I wanted to contribute to the conversation. By the time I had the perfect words figured out, the conversation would have moved past the point where speaking the words would have purpose. When I did manage to get them out, I would then spend an inordinate amount of time afterwards reviewing what I had said. Had I said what I wanted to say correctly? Had I made a fool out of myself?

That problem was probably at its height at the time I started my personal therapy process in the mid-eighties. I remember feeling like my mind was a computer that was about to explode. At one point, my therapist told me if I didn’t stop, I was going to end up in the hospital. He told me to pay complete attention to every moment. For example, when I was going to eat to say in my mind, “I am picking up my fork, I am putting the food on my fork, I am lifting the fork to my mouth, I am putting my fork down, I am chewing my food, I am swallowing my food, etc.” When I followed his instructions, my mind slowed down.

I met Amma in 1989. My mind was often very quiet when I sat near her, and I entered meditational realms that held so much deep peace and bliss.  It was as if a door had opened for me and I could see what was possible. When I was away from her though, I would go back to many of my old thought patterns.

At that time in my life, I felt a strong desire to live in an ashram (monastery), even though I knew that it was not the appropriate time for me to do that. Whenever I thought about living in an ashram, I would feel so much grief that I couldn’t stop crying. Sometime in the early 90’s, I took this problem to Amma. Her immediate response was “Stop Thinking!” I now realize in those two simple words, she had given me a direction that could change my whole life.

Simple to say, but not simple to do. I have come a long way in that endeavor, but if I am in my “stuff,” over-thinking is still likely to be the cause of it. I make myself so miserable in that way.

I know that a silent mind is where intuition, insight, and inspiration reside. I also know that the road to a silent mind is by doing the spiritual practices I have been taught, such as japa (mantra repetition), chanting spiritual texts such as the Sri Lalita Sahasranama, singing bhajans (devotional singing), and mindfulness. Processes such as meditation and yoga also help.

So what is preventing me from doing those practices consistently, what is my resistance? I have no doubt that the resistance is fueled to my over-doing. As long as I fill my life with doing things that do not support my goal of having a quiet mind, I will not have it.

While I still am over-doing, I am much more likely to say no to things that I don’t want to do. I have a harder time saying no to activities that give me pleasure.  However, some of those activities, such as studying Sanskrit and writing for my blog, are part of the path to a quiet mind. I am most successful in those undertakings when I do them in a way that is meditative.

Like most big changes, learning to quiet the mind takes time. I have the opportunity to make choices between doing and being many times each day. As I experience the benefits that come with a still mind, I am more likely to make choices that will promote it. I am progressing on the path, and that is what is important.


quieting the mind

bliss flows in

deep warmth for my soul


Branches Reach for the Sky शखाः आकाशं प्रप्नुवन्ति (Haiku)


In an earlier post, I shared pictures of blooms on a tree that is in my back yard.



I realized later that I wanted to give readers a better sense of the full majesty of the  tree.  It is much taller than my house and covers a significant area in both my yard and my neighbor’s.  I decided I would do that by taking photos of different parts of the tree.








 सौन्दर्यम् उन्नतं तिष्ठति
मूलनि पृथिव्य़ां गभीरं खननमं कुर्वन्ति
शखाः आकाशं प्रप्नुवन्ति

beauty standing tall
roots in earth digging deep
branches reach for sky


Do you know what type of tree this is?  (I don’t.)


An Offering (Haiku)






Handful of petals
Offering to the Mother
From my heart to hers



The Haiku was written about a Bhagavati Puja I attended last night. The photographs were taken after the puja had ended.

The Bhagavati Seva Puja, is an ancient Vedic puja ceremony done to restore balance in the environment and bring peace within us and the world. It is a very beneficial puja performed to keep us in harmony with cosmic forces, thereby removing and overcoming the sorrows of life and bringing spiritual upliftment.


Waking in the Night (Troiku)

I have been intrigued lately by a form of poetry that Tournesol from Traces of the Soul and Tournesol Dans Un Jardin has been writing.  (See Courting Moon.)  The style is a new form of Haiku called Troiku that was developed by Chevrefeuilles.

In this style, there is a three lined Haiku that is the base of the poem.  The author then creates a separate Haiku using each of the base lines.

Here is my first attempt at writing a Troiku!



Waking in the night

dreaming about Sanskrit

It’s time to blog!


Waking in the night

Raindrops falling

Mind on overdrive


Dreaming about Sanskrit

Will I ever learn?



It’s time to blog!

Ideas rolling in

Can sleep another day!



A Glimpse of the Sacred (Haiku)

As a student nurse, I was most interested in Maternal-Newborn nursing, particularly Labor and Delivery.  After I graduated in 1970, I spent the next 17 years working in hospital obstetric units, earning a Masters of Nursing degree in Parent-Child Nursing, teaching Maternal- Newborn nursing at the University of Washington and working as the Maternal-Newborn Clinical Nurse Specialist at Swedish Hospital Medical Center in Seattle.  Even when I switched to psychiatric nursing in 1987, the therapy modality I used was developmental in nature.

So last Friday, when I saw a news story about a baby who had recently been born still in its amniotic sac I was mesmerized.  As I watched the video, I sensed I was getting a glimpse of something very sacred.

Another event that was happening at the same time was that I was preparing to take Blogging University’s Writing 201: Poetry class.  I’ve never written poetry before and have no idea if I have any talent for it, but I wanted to give it a try. Our first assignment was emailed to us last night.  We are to write a Haiku focusing on some aspect of water. Examples the instructor gave were “A murky puddle or a glistening lake. Amniotic fluid or your grandfather’s glass of Seltzer. A bath, a hose, an oasis.”  A Haiku consists of “three lines containing five, seven, and five syllables, respectively.”

When I read the instructions, the baby in the amniotic sac came to mind.  Below you will find the video I had seen, and my first attempt at writing a haiku!


fetus warm, contained
inside, new life unfolding

parents eagerly waiting


I could have also said:

fetus warm, contained
inside, new life unfolding
God’s gift in human form


Which poem speaks most to you?


Written, in part, for Writing 201: Water