Daily Prompt: Banned

When I saw yesterday’s Daily Prompt was “Banned”, a memory came to my mind. Before I share what I recalled, let me give some back history.


When my son Sreejit was a teenager he was into heavy metal rock music; he listened to it, played it on his guitar, and sang it. He wore black clothes most of the time. He even asked me to go to a couple of heavy metal concerts with him. It took some persuasion on his part, but I did go to hear LA Guns and Alice in Chains.

I drew a limit though when he decided he wanted a tattoo. There was no way I was going to support him in doing something that would permanently alter his body.

As I think about it today, I realize it was a good example of setting structure as a parent. As defined by Jean Illsley Clarke, there are four kinds of structure; rigid structure, non-negotiable rules, negotiable rules, and abandonment (no structure). Rigid structure and abandonment are forms of unhealthy structure; non-negotiable rules and negotiable rules are healthy. Non-negotiable rules should be based on safety of the child and/or family values. For me, no tattoo was a non-negotiable rule, it was banned.

Fast forward to 2013. Sreejit was visiting Seattle for the first time in several years. (He lives in Amritapuri, India.) His driver’s license had expired since his last visit, so he asked me if I would take him to get a tattoo. I was happy to do that. When he got back into the car, he showed me his new bicep tattoo.


The words are Sanskrit and they mean “Through renunciation alone is immortality attained.” It is the motto of Amma’s ashram, the place where he lives.

Later Sreejit said to me, “I was pretty surprised you were willing to drive me to  get a tattoo.”  “Why wouldn’t I?” I asked.  “When I was a kid you were so against it.”  “That’s true, but you aren’t a kid any more!”  “Yeah, I figured, what am I waiting for?  I’m nearly forty.”

When I reflected on this interaction, I found it interesting that disapproval or questioning his decision didn’t even occur to me. Tattoos were more common in 2013’s culture than when he was a teenager, but that aside, it was truly okay with me for him to live his own life. If his life was in danger, or I thought something he wanted to do was extremely unwise, I would say so, but as an adult living on his own, there was no place in our relationship for rules.

I love having the memory of that shared experience, and appreciate the tangible example of how our relationship has moved to one that is adult to adult….. although for part of me Sreejit will always be my baby!


Written for Daily Prompt: Banned

Weekly Photo Challenge: Nostalgia

For the last year or so, I have thought about a microscope I owned as a child. I have no idea how old I was then, but I remember spending hours exploring the microscopic world and being fascinated by what I saw. Since it kept coming to my mind, I decided that “someday” I would buy another microscope.

Then this past summer I realized I could add microscopic shots to the photos I publish on this blog. I felt very thankful for the nostalgic memories that led me to that realization.

I purchased a dissecting microscope and began my new venture using an adapter that connects my iPhone to the microscope. I hope someday I have a system that allows me to take photos that more accurately reflect what I see when I look directly into the microscope, but this is a good beginning.

Earlier this week, I photographed a bush that drew my attention. It’s “flowers” were unusual to say the least. Below you will find microscopic views of three parts of that plant. You can click on the galleries to see an enlarged version of the photos.


Red fruit

Brown “flower”

Black dying “flower”

This is what the whole plant looked like:


Do any of you know the name of this plant? If you do, please share it with me and other readers!

Written for Weekly Photo Challenge: Nostalgia

Stylish- That’s Not Me!


I couldn’t resist answering the WordPress Daily Prompt that just showed up in my email inbox. The directions were to write a post on the one-word prompt: Stylish.

Stylish I am not. At least 90% percent of the time, you will find me wearing jeans. I don’t even own a dress any more and I only have two or three skirts. I don’t know the exact number because I rarely wear them. And I almost never buy new clothes. My big purchase this year was two pairs of new jeans!

I don’t believe in saying never, but I’d say the chances of me ever becoming stylish is pretty close to never. And I’m okay with that. 🙂

Challenge for Growth Prompts: January to March 2016



From January to March 2016, I offered a weekly Challenge for Growth Prompt. Participants published a post that related to the weekly topic and I posted a summary of those contributions. You will find that list below.

I give thanks to everyone who contributed to the challenges, whether it was by publishing a post, by reading the posts written by others or by thinking about the challenge topics as they lived their life that week.

Everyone is still welcome to write for Challenge for Growth Prompts. If you do, I will add you to the list of contributors. You will find the full prompt list below the contributors list. The directions for participating in a prompt can be found in each of the prompt descriptions. Continue reading “Challenge for Growth Prompts: January to March 2016”

Navaratri is Coming!

Navatratri is a nine day Hindu festival that celebrates three forms of the Goddess, Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. The tenth day is called Vijaya Dasham, the festival of victory. This year Navaratri will be October 1-10.

Friends of mine build a beautiful altar for Navaratri. Every item on it has meaning and many of the statues are handmade. I will never forget seeing this altar for the first time; it practically took my breath away. Oh how it sparkled. Continue reading “Navaratri is Coming!”

Song Lyric Sunday: Home


I often refer to a sense of being home when I am describing various aspects of my life journey, especially my spiritual journey. There are many places and experiences that feel like home to me. For example, I feel at home when I am in my house in Seattle; I feel at home when I’m with my children; I feel at home when I am at Seabeck Conference Center on the Olympic Peninsula; I feel at home when I am with Amma and I feel at home when I am in altered states of consciousness that take me to spiritual bliss or deep peace. So these were the types of experiences I thought of when I first discovered that the theme of Song Lyric Sunday this week is Home. Continue reading “Song Lyric Sunday: Home”

A Fascinating Pacific Madrone Tree

I was fascinated by the various surfaces on this Pacific Madrone (Arbutus menziesii) tree that is located in Lincoln Park in Seattle.



(Click any gallery for closer view of the photos.)

Daily Prompt: Surface

Weekly Photo Challenge: Curves #2

About three years ago I woke up with a compulsion to build a spiral garden in my front yard. By the end of the day it was done!

The Beginning:

It became so beautiful.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Curve

The Daily Prompt: Struggle


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.