I’d Still Like to Learn…

Photo credit: Wikimedia


On Thursday, I was asked what I would like to learn in the future. That was an interesting question. At first, what came to mind were skills I already have, but haven’t done for years, e.g. knitting, crocheting, and quilting. And I’m a beginning gardener so I definitely have much to learn in that arena! While those answers would have been true, they didn’t seem like the one I was looking for. Continue reading “I’d Still Like to Learn…”

Loosening Your Grip (Acrostic)



Living and learning that is our task

Each encounter, removing the masks

There are no shortcuts, no easy way

To live life’s journey, day after day

Instruction manual? That would be nice

Not possible? Then here’s some advice

Gripping your plans with hands of steel

Gives pain, misery, endless ordeals

Open your hand, the path to reveal


As I wrote the acrostic, I remembered a poem that I have loved for decades.  The author is unknown.

I asked God for strength that I might achieve.
I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.

I asked for health that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.

I asked for riches that I might be happy.
I was given poverty that I might be wise.

I asked for power that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.

I am, among all men, most richly blessed.


Written for this week’s Dungeon Prompt.


Recovering from Over-Doing


In this week’s Dungeon Prompt, Sreejit asks us to fill in the blank in this sentence:  “I am a Recovering _________.” There was no doubt in my mind what the behavior would be for me. Using the Alcoholics Anonymous introduction, I will say: “Hi!  I am Karuna, and I am a recovering over-doer.”

As I thought about how I would present this topic, I decided to create a new disorder. My fictitious disorder is called “Being versus Doing Disorder.”

The Being vs Doing disorder is on a continuum where the center, a balance between being and doing, is the healthy portion of the continuum. The more someone moves to either end of the continuum, the more likely it is they will have dysfunction in their lives.

When I think of the over-being end of the continuum I think of non-productivity, passivity, and lack of motivation. I don’t know as much about that part of the spectrum since I have almost no personal experience there. I have seen it at work in clients and friends though.

Over-doing has many facets. It commonly begins in childhood when the only or main way to get positive attention from parents is to do impressive things. It also develops when parents criticize their children anytime they are relaxing or are doing things the parents consider nonproductive.

As a result, adults with an over-doing disorder may be seeking validation and praise for what they accomplish. An over-doer is also likely to be a rescuer. As such, they do things they aren’t asked to do and are likely to do things they don’t want to do. In addition, they do more than their share of the work that needs to be done and do things for other people that they could do for themselves. Those with this “disorder’ are likely to over-commit and seem incapable of being still.

Over-doing has been a major characteristic of my adult life. At one point, I was raising two children, working three jobs, doing my personal therapy and in school studying for a PhD.   During my therapy, I realized I didn’t want a PhD, I was just seeking attention from the father, who had disowned me.  I stopped my schooling but was still overdoing. Before long, I began to experience extreme exhaustion and was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

With CFS, I was in survival mode and it was impossible for me to do as much as I had been doing, although I still tried to.  When it began dissipating after five years, I went back to over doing. There is no doubt that a part of me believed it was only acceptable for me to stop if I was sick.  Eventually I developed high blood pressure and other physical problems.

I reached a point where I had to cut back on all of my commitments. Nowadays, I am putting my emphasis on doing the things I want to do, and am saying no to many requests.  I still have trouble with “simply being” but I no longer am into major over-doing.   I hope some day I will be much closer to the center of the being-doing continuum.

I have realized a behavior that really fueled my over-doing disorder was the desire to be “in the know.” That puts me in the place of being asked for information that I don’t want to share, which then creates stress, whether I share it or not. As I continue to slow down, I am finding myself holder of less information. I am loving responding to requests with “I’m not in that loop anymore. You will have to ask someone else.”

I learned many skills during my over-doing years.  Last week friends of mine were in a life and death crisis and I stepped in to help immediately.  There is a time and place for those skills, but it takes discrimination to use them correctly.  In that instance, I have no doubt that my choices were appropriate.

I am very committed to my recovery from over-doing. While I may find myself immersed in the old behaviors from time to time, I don’t think I will ever be drawn so deep into them again. I see what I am doing  much sooner and and change course when needed.

In evaluating myself on the scale found in Portia Nelson’s Autobiography in 5 Short Chapters, I find I am in generally in Chapter 4 or 5.

Chapter IV

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter V

I walk down another street.


Every time I walk around an invitation to over-do or avoid putting myself in the situation where I know I am going to be tempted, I consider my choice worthy of celebration!  I am truly movig towards a life of balance.


Do you have a “Being vs Doing” disorder? Where do you fall on the continuum? How does it disrupt your life? Do you consider yourself in recovery?



Sanskrit Practice

Every so often I enjoy sharing my Sanskrit homework on my blog.  This time I decided to include homework from both of my Sanskrit classes.


Homework for Madhavi’s  Friday class

I have been taking this class for more than three years. This week I decided to focus on creating sentences with dual words, meaning sentences involving two people.


द्वाविंशति-April-मासे दिनाङ्के मम  पुत्री तस्याः पति: च Seattle-नगरम् आगमिष्यतः
dvaavimshati April maase dinaangke mama putrii tasyaaha patihi cha seattle nagaram aagamishyataha
On April 22 my daughter and her husband will come to Seattle.


तौ कर्यं करिष्यतः यावति अम्बयाः यत्रा May मासे भविष्यति
tau karyam karishyataha yaavati ambayaaha yatraa May maase bhavishyati
They will work until Amma’s programs begin in May.


तदा तौ अम्बया सह  गमिष्यत:
tadaa tau ambayaa saha gamishyataha
Then they will go with Amma.


आमृतपुर्यां तौ उशितवन्तौ प्राय: षोडश-वर्षेभ्यः
aamritapuryaam tau ushitavantau praayaha sodash-varshebhyaha
They have lived in Amritapuri for 16 years.


मम पुत्र: अमृतपुर्यां वसिष्यति यावत् तौ America-देशे स्तः
mama putraha amritapuryaam vasishyati yaavat tau America deshe staha
My son will live in Amritapuri while they are in America.


Homework for Sunday Samskrita Bharati class

I’ve been taking the Samskrita Bharati class since September.  This class has not studied dual yet, so I avoided that type of sentence.  The main focus for this week was on writing sentences using the combination yadaa (when) and tada (then).  With this particular combination both halves of the sentence should occur at the same time, or be something that happens with certainty.


यदा अम्बा America-देशम् आगच्छति तदा मम पुत्री तस्याः कटकेन सह गच्छति
yadaa ambaa america desham aagacchati tadaa mama putrii tasyaaha katakena saha gacchati
When Amma comes to America then my daughter travels with her caravan.


यदा भङ्ग्रा-जानपद-नृत्यानि पश्यामि तदा बहु अतीव प्रसन्ना अस्मि
yadaa bangraa-jaanapada-nrityaani pashyaami tadaa bahu ativa prasannaa asmi
When I see bhangra folk dances then I am very, very happy.


यदा ते आगच्छन्ति तदा खादामः
yadaa te aagacchanti tadaa khaadaamaha
When they come then we eat.


यदा वयं चलच्चित्रम् आगच्छमः तदा अल्पाहारं खादामः
yadaa vayam calaccitram agaaccamaha tadaa alpaahaaaram khaadaamaha
When we come to the movie then snacks we eat.


यदा सा उपविष्ठवती तदा सा पुस्तकं पठितवती
yadaa saa upavishthavatii tadaa saa pustakam pathitavatii
When she sat down then she read a book.


यदा त्रयः बालकाः क्रीडन्ति तदा ते हसन्ति
yadaa trayaha baalakaaha kridanti tadaa te hasanti
When the three boys play then they laugh.


यदा मित्रैः सह मिलामि तदा मम गृहं चलामः
yadaa mitraihi saha milaami tadaa mama griham calaamaha
When I  meet friends then to my house we walk.


यदा मन्दिरे पूजयामि तदा प्रर्थनां गानं च करोमि
yadaa mandire puujayaami tadaa praarthanaam gaanam ca karomi
When in the temple I worship then praying and singing I do.


I love studying Sanskrit!

A Day of Challenges!

Today was one of those days where I had “plans” but all of them changed.

It started with me waking up at 1:45 a.m. I had been dreaming about Sanskrit and about blogging, something that is happening with increasing frequency, but thankfully it is not usually that early. As I moved from a dream state into a more conscious state of mind, the idea of posting a Sanskrit declension matrix by making a Power Point slide show came to my mind. Then the idea of adding audio to it surfaced.

I have helped others with Power Point slide shows before but only by typing in the words. I had never done a real one and I certainly had never put audio to one. As I lay there sleepless, I started pondering how to do it. Around 3:00 a.m., since sleep didn’t seem to be coming, I got up.

I went back to bed for about an hour and a half at 5:00 a.m. and then spent most of the day working on this project. The slide show went together quickly and even the audio was reasonably easy to figure out. But then came getting correct pronunciation, correct timing and most time consuming of all, finding a way to put it into a format that the blog would accept. That last part took until 7:45 tonight! But with Grace and persistance, I finished it!

I’ve mentioned in earlier posts that every noun in Sanskrit may have 7 or 8 different cases. You can identify those cases by how the word ends.


1st case is the subject
2nd case is the object
3rd case – “with” (with a fork)
4th case- “for” (for the beggar)
5th case- “from” (from the city)
6th case- possessive or “of” (boy’s; of the boy)
7th case- “in, at, on”

The slide show will present the declensions for the pronoun “aham” which means “I”. Singular, dual (2 people) and plural (i.e. three or more) forms will be presented for each of the seven cases. You will notice that some of the words are the same but have different meanings. In those instances, we have to read the word in a sentence to determine the meaning.

So with that for an introduction, here is my PowerPoint Slide Show with Audio of the declensions for the word “aham”! (In hindsight, it would have been helpful for me to put the case number and whether the word was singular, dual or plural on the slides, but even this way it gives you a good idea what the process is like!) I hope you enjoy it.

They Wiggle and Squiggle!

I love the variety of challenges Writing 201: Poetry is offering us.  Today’s assignment was to explore Concrete Poetry, also known as Shape Poetry.

“The idea here is to arrange your words on the screen (or the page) so that they create a shape or an image. The meaning of the image can be obvious at first glance, or require some guesswork after reading the poem. It’s up to you to decide how difficult you want to make it for your readers.”

We were also encouraged to use enjambment.

Enjambment “may sound like a mouthful. But what it describes is a really simple phenomenon: when a grammatical sentence stretches from one line of verse to the next.”

The word prompt we were to use was “Animal.”

“Polar bears, microbes in your cells, unicorns, your pet hamster, lolcats: find a way to include an animal, today’s word prompt, in your poem. Or write about a situation that can bring out the animal in you (or someone else). Or dig deeper into the word’s etymology (anima = latin for breath). One way or another, give us a beast of a poem.”

It was a fun assignment to do, although figuring out how to do the formatting in a way that it held when put into the post was a challenge.  I am grateful to the various people who offered suggestions.

So here is my animal shape poem using enjambment!

Shape poem2

And here is a photo of my “pets!”

My Worms!

Sanskrit Fun!

We did a fun exercise in one of my Sanskrit classes this week. Before I show you the exercise, let me say that every noun in Sanskrit may have 7 or 8 different cases. You can identify those cases by how the word ends. The case endings also differ depending on whether the word is male, female or neuter.

Whether a word is considered male, female or neuter is very different than in English. For example, the word for house is neuter, the word for cup is male, and the word for bottle is feminine!


1st case is the subject
2nd case is the object
3rd case – “with” (with a fork)
4th case- “for” (for the beggar)
5th case- “from” (from the city)
6th case- possessive or “of” (boy’s; of the boy)
7th case- “in, at, on”

So, with that introduction, here is the exercise we did!

Start with Subject and Verb

Karuna eats.
करुणा खादति
karunaa khaadati

Add 2nd case

Karuna ice cream eats.
करुणा पयोदिमं खादति
karunaa payodimam khaadati

Add 6th Case

Karuna chocolate ice cream eats.
करुणा चाकलेहस्य पयोहिमं खादति
karunaa caakalehasya payohimam khaadati

Add adjective

Karuna lots of chocolate ice cream eats.
करुणा चाकलेहस्य बहु-पयोहिमं खादति
karunaa caakalehasya bahu payohimam khaadati

Add 3rd case

Karuna, with a spoon, lots of chocolate ice cream eats.
करुणा चमसेन चाकलेहस्य बहु-पयोहिमं खादति
karunaa camasena caakalehasya bahu payohimam khaadati

Add 5th case

Karuna, with a spoon, from a cup, chocolate ice cream eats.
करुणा चमसेन चषकात् चाकलेहस्य बहु-पयोहिमं खादति
karunaa camasena cashaakat caakalehasya bahu-payohimam khaadati

Add 7th case

Karuna, with a spoon, from a cup, at home, chocolate ice cream eats.
करुणा चमसेन चषकात् गृहे चाकलेहस्य बहु-पयोहिमं खादति
karunnaa camasena cashakaat grihe caakalehasya bahu-payohimam khaadati

Add another 7th case

Karuna, with a spoon, from a cup, at home, in the evening, lots of chocolate ice cream eats.
करुणा चमसेन चषकात् गृहे सायङ्काले चाकलेहस्य बहु-पयोहिमं खादति
karunnaa camasena cashakaat grihe saayangkaale caakalehasya bahu-payohimam khaadati

Add a direction and also another 7th case

Karuna, with a spoon, from a cup, at home, in the evening, in front of the television, lots of chocolate ice cream eats.
करुणा चमसेन चषकात् गृहे सायङ्काले दरदर्शनस्य पुरतः चाकलेहस्य बहु-पयोहिमं खादति
karunnaa camasena cashakaat grihe saayangkaale dooradarshanasya purataha caakalehasya bahu-payohimam khaadati

Add another adjective

Karuna, with a spoon, from a cup, at home, in the evening, in front of the television, slowly, lots of chocolate ice cream eats.
करुणा चमसेन चषकात् गृहे सायङ्काले दूरदर्शनस्य पुरतः मन्दं-मन्दं चाकलेहस्य बहु-पयोहिमं खादति
karunnaa camasena cashakaat grihe saayangkaale dooradarshanasya purataha mandam mandam caakalehasya bahu-payohimam khaadati

Add another 3rd case

Karuna, with a spoon, from a cup, at home, in the evening, in front of the television, slowly, with happiness, lots of chocolate ice cream eats.
करुणा चमसेन चषकात् गृहे सायङ्काले दूरदर्शनस्य पुरतः मन्दं-मन्दं सन्तोषेण चाकलेहस्य बहु-पयोहिमं खादति
karunnaa camasena cashakaat grihe saayangkaale dooradarshanasya purataha mandam mandam santoshena caakalehasya bahu-payohimam khaadati

Add 4th case

Karuna, with a spoon, from a cup, at home, in the evening, in front of the television, slowly, with happiness, for fun, lots of chocolate ice cream eats.
करुणा चमसेन चषकात् गृहे सायङ्काले दूरदर्शनस्य पुरतः मन्दं-मन्दं सन्तोषेण परिहासाय चाकलेहस्य बहु-पयोदिमं खादति
karunnaa camasena cashakaat grihe saayangkaale dooradarshanasya purataha mandam mandam santoshena parihaasaya caakalehasya bahu-payohimam khaadati



2014 in review

When WordPress sent me an annual report for my blog on December 30, I decided I wasn’t going to post it.  Since I’ve come home from India, though, I find I have enjoyed looking at other bloggers’ annual reports.  So I changed my mind and decided to post mine too!


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 14,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Lessons are for Learning

I was debating whether I would title this post “Lessons are for Learning” or “Look for the Good in Everything.” Both statements are true and they both fit the situation that I am about to describe. My thought was to use the first one that came to me, i.e. “Lessons are for Learning” but I decided instead to accept that “I Will Know When I Know.” I would decide on the title after I write the post!

As many of you know, I had been really looking forward to last Sunday’s divisional championship game between the Seahawks and the Packers. I was planning to watch it with my ex-husband Al. Due to jet lag, I only slept two hours Saturday night and attended a Sanskrit class Sunday morning. The game was at noon so I was going from the class to Al’s, with no time for a nap.

A variety of things had happened that day that triggered me and being so exhausted I was not at my best, to say the least. To top it off, on the way to Al’s apartment, I realized that he lived so close to the stadium that there was no way in the world I was going to be able to find a parking place. By then I was in a really bad mood, especially since it was raining and I did not have an umbrella or an appropriate coat in the car.

After dropping food off at Al’s apartment, I drove to a light rail station located about 4 miles from the International District where he lives. I parked the car and boarded the train. As I was walking back to the apartment, after having disembarked from the train, I noticed the strangest sound. It was loud and it sounded a bit like freeway traffic, but that wasn’t right either. What was it?  Could the sound be the crowd cheering in the stadium? Unbelievably, it was!

By the time I made it back to the apartment, my bad mood had shifted and I was eager to watch the game with him. As the Seahawks made error after error, however, my excitement withered.

I knew that taking the light rail home was going to be a very overwhelming experience. Tens of thousands of fans descending on that station when I was so exhausted would be incredibly difficult. Al and I agreed that if the game ever got to the point where it couldn’t be salvaged, I would leave. When the Seahawk’s pass was intercepted with less than four minutes on the game clock, and a score of Packers 19 – Seahawks 7, l decided that time had come.

I left feeling fine about my decision. When a few minutes later I had the opportunity to give money to a panhandler, which is something that has been difficult for me in the past (Judgment or Compassion), I was even more confident that my choice had been correct.

Seconds later, there was loud cheering from the stadium followed by fireworks. What was going on?  Al called me and Whats App texts started flying between my son Sreejit, who lives in India, and me. The Seahawks had scored a touchdown!

Soon I reached the light rail tunnel. In less than a minute’s time, the Seahawks recovered an onside kick and scored another touchdown, followed by a two point conversion, the combination of which put them ahead by a field goal.  (I can’t believe I’m saying all of this, and even have a bit of a clue what I am talking about.  Me, who until last year had NO interest in football!)

The tunnel was filled with fans who, like me, had left early. They were following the game on their phones and when the news that we were winning came through, the whole place erupted with cheers. I felt so much a part of this community experience.

With 14 seconds left, the Packers kicked a field goal that tied the game and sent it into overtime. The game was still going on when I reached my station. The elevator that took me from the tunnel to the surface street was full of people who had left the stadium early. One man said “I’m not here. If anyone asks, I’m still at the game. What happens in this elevator stays in this elevator.” Everyone laughed, and once again I had an experience of community.

I walked to my car and listened to the game as I drove home. Between the time I got out of my car and the time I turned on the television, the Seahawks had scored yet another touchdown and we had won. We were going to the Super Bowl for the second year in a row!  And instead of facing tens of thousands of people in the light rail station, I was already in the quiet of my home. All was well.

Over the next few days there were times when I felt sad that I had missed all the excitement, but at the same time I knew I hadn’t; I had just experienced it in a different form. And I watched the game highlights that day, and in the days that followed, so that I could actually see what had happened.


I felt a nick of sadness again when I received pictures from friends who had been together when the big moments came.



But while I hadn’t been with Al, Sreejit or friends in those moments, I was definitely not alone. I was with Al and Sreejit via media and had had Seahawks fans all around me. I had felt connected and a part of all the excitement. It was just in a different way than I had expected.

I feel thankful for all that I experienced. As I reviewed the day in writing this post, I saw that I had an opportunity to work on the following lessons:

  • Lessons are for Learning
  • Look for the good in all situations
  • Be here now
  • Be willing to let go of plans
  • Let go of expectations
  • Lighten Up
  • There are no accidents
  • Don’t overthink
  • Learn from my mistakes.
  • What I (or others) think are mistakes may not be
  • Community comes in many forms
  • I belong
  • Choices are not good or bad.
  • I can learn from any choice I make
  • I will know when I know
  • What is right for one person may not be right for everyone else
  • Be compassionate and kind with yourself and others.
  • Never say never

So what will the name of this post be? I will go with “Lessons are for Learning.” And while I know it is important to never say never, I think it is safe to say I will never intentionally leave a Seahawks game less than four minutes before it is over, no matter how far behind they are!


Living in Awareness


Last Saturday, I decided to do the morning prayers as a walking meditation instead of sitting like I normally do.  Fairly quickly, I discovered I was “receiving” a series of “tests” or “lessons” in the midst of the prayers.  I stayed in the moment and worked through them without missing a word of the chants! I enjoy these types of challenges and decided to share what I learned.  Continue reading “Living in Awareness”