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!”

The Daily Prompt: Vice

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I once heard a story about a monkey who decided to give up eating bananas. Even though the monkey was  committed to his goal, when he saw a banana in a tree far away, he decided to sit closer to it. That way he could at least enjoy looking at it. Nothing wrong with that!

Soon, he decided to move even closer to the banana. And then closer. And then closer yet. Before long he was sitting right next to it. At that point, the monkey reached over and grabbed, peeled and ate the banana, telling himself that he would give up bananas “tomorrow.”

I often use that story when talking to my psychotherapy clients about breaking their addictive patterns. If you have the addictive substance, such as drugs, alcohol, a particular type of food, porn, etc., in close proximity to you, it is unlikely you will be able to keep your commitment to abstain.

That is the way I am about chocolate. Dark chocolate to be specific. A little dark chocolate can be healthy, but if I have some, I usually want more. If it is in the house, and it comes to my mind, it won’t be long before I go looking for it. Once it is in plain sight, forget about abstaining, I will do that “tomorrow.”

I don’t intend to ever give up dark chocolate completely, but when I am serious about stopping my over-indulgence, I know to not have it in the house and before I leave the house to recommit to myself not seek it out.

(Note: At the moment, I’m congratulating myself for choosing to use a photo of a monkey eating a banana for this post rather than a photo of a piece of dark chocolate. That way, every time I see this post in the future, I won’t be tempted to go buy some!)

 

Written for The Daily Prompt: Vice

Photo Credit: By Mouli kundu (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Portrait of a Visitor

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A neighbor’s cat is spending more and more time in my yard. He seems to love to sleep on the play chips near my garden. (As I look at the garden picture below I’m aware how close it is to the end of the season. The tomatoes are just beginning to ripen but almost everything else is gone or ending. Must be time to put in some cover crops!)

Yesterday I was quite startled when I unexpectedly found him IN my garden.

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When I took the portrait photo at the top of this post I tried to get him to open his eyes. I thought that would be easy because he usually takes off when he sees me coming near him. This time he stayed put, but would only open his eyes a sliver. He was probably thinking “Would you  just go away and let me sleep!”

Written for Discovery Challenge: Portraits

A New Beginning in Seattle

Leaving home for college!

In September of 1966, I left my family home in Florida to go to college in Seattle.  I was so excited.  My first night there, I stayed in a downtown hotel.  The next morning, I walked the Seattle streets marveling at the skyscrapers. Having grown up on army bases, I had never seen buildings so high. The other thing I remember doing that day was buying a small typewriter, one with a red case.  Since the suitcases I had brought from Florida were also red, I’m assuming that must have been my favorite color in those days. Or maybe it was the color of new beginnings. In September of this year, I will have lived in Seattle for 50 years, so that day was definitely a new beginning!

This post was originally meant to be a response to last Wednesday’s Daily Post prompt- City.  As I started thinking about this 1966 event though, I became curious  about changes I have witnessed since I moved here. I remember at that time the Smith Tower was the highest building in Seattle. No one was allowed to build a skyscraper that was taller. The only exception to that rule was the Space Needle which had been built for a World’s Fair in 1962.

The Smith Tower was built in 1914 and is 38 stories and 484 feet. The Space Needle which is 605 feet high and, as I already mentioned, was built in 1962. The height restriction was eventually changed and the Seafirst Building was built in 1969. It has 50 stories and is 638 feet high. Now, the tallest building in Seattle is the Columbia Center.  It is 76 stories and 943 feet high and was built in 1983.

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Columbia Center

Next, I wondered how the population had changed during the 50 years I have lived here.

In 1970, the population of Seattle was 530, 831 and in 2015 it was 668, 831.  The current population was much smaller than I expected. When I looked into it, I discovered that the city’s population actually went down when the Boeing workforce was reduced from 80,400 to 37,200 in 1970/71. While the city itself did not have tremendous growth between 1970 and 2015, the suburbs and metropolitan area really grew. In 2015, the population of Seattle metropolitan area was 3,733,580 and we had the 15th largest metropolitan area in the U.S.

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The last thing I will mention is that when I first Goggled “1966 Seattle” I was rather surprised to see that the first three listings were about the Beatles August 25, 1966 concert! I don’t remember being aware of their recent visit at the time, but I imagine it must have been a major topic of conversation for many Seattlites.

It has been interesting to think about my arrival in Seattle and learn more about the city I chose to be my home. Thank you WordPress for your “City” prompt.

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Photo Credits : Wikimedia

Smith Tower

Space Needle

Seafirst Building

Columbia Center

The Beatles

All statistics come from Wikipedia.com

The Daily Prompt: Struggle

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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.

 

Container of Memories

The Daily Post Photo Challenge for this week is:

Boxes, tanks, wrappers: for this week’s Photo Challenge, show us something that contains something else.

As I pondered what I might use to meet the challenge, I remembered a container of objects that I keep on the top shelf in one of my rooms. I hadn’t looked in it for years.

When I opened it and spread everything out, I was struck by how many of my life stories this container contains!

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NO, NEVER, NOT A CHANCE

The Daily Post prompt for today is called Full Disclosure. We were given this information:

A mad scientist friend offers you a chip that would allow you to know what the people you’re talking to are thinking. The catch: you can’t turn it off. Do you accept the chip?

I don’t need to think twice about my answer to that question. It is: NO, NEVER, NOT A CHANCE, GET IT AWAY FROM ME, I DON’T WANT ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT!  I hope my answer is clear to all concerned.

Years ago I observed that people who are psychotic say the things that go through their minds without editing their thoughts first. I pray that never happens to me since I know what a mess my mind is.

And there is no way I would want to hear anyone else’s unedited thoughts either!  I choose to stay in ignorance.

 

1966: The Beginning of a Grand Adventure

As some of you know from A Surprise View of My Past, I was recently gifted with digital copies of slides my father had taken during my childhood. Since I left home when I was 17 years old, I had never seen most of those photos before.  The only childhood pictures I have are all  in black and white, whereas the slides my brother sent me were all in color. Since I have very few memories of my childhood, I viewed them with great interest.

When I read today’s The Daily Post Writing Challenge: Snapshot Stories the three pictures of me leaving home for college came to mind.

I had been unhappy at home for as long as I could remember. For three years, I marked off the days on a calendar; each day a day closer to the time I would leave to go to college.

Continue reading “1966: The Beginning of a Grand Adventure”