VALERIEMAHA
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Hatha yoga, so important for my health and peace of mind.




THANK YOU Chris Downie, the VeryMerrySparkGuy, for this incomparable wellness site! (9/26/09)




Me'n Coach Nicole at SP Cincinnati Program 9/26/09.


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In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.
-- Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

Everything that happens to me is my teacher. The trick is to sit at the feet of my own life and let myself be taught by it. --Unknown

My nine months in Ecuador drew to a close. I arrived to central AR June 4, 2015. Hard to believe it will soon be a year since I returned!

"The trouble is, you think you have time," said the Buddha. I've maintained a daily practice of pranayama (breathing practices) and meditation, but sadly I haven't been careful about food intake. I picked up TWENTY POUNDS in the months after my return.

This was definitely an Attention Call. I first blogged about it on Jan 21, with my plans to take concrete action to turn that around. Intermittent blogs have followed, as well as blogs about the 3-day yoga workshop I attended April 1-3 with a senior Iyengar yoga teacher as well as the April 8-10 meditation retreat.

DREAMS DO COME TRUE! (9/2014)

I sold my camper, bought my ticket to South America, and arrived to Quito, Ecuador, on September 25, 2014! Thus began the next chapter, with my current intention of gathering documentation to seek permanent residency in Ecuador.

May 24 heralded the beginning of the last big journey in my sweet little camper when I drove to California, rendezvoused with my soul sister Diana from Maui and we trucked up the California Coast Highway to San Francisco to connect with many friends in the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento. My "2014 Trip" blogs have the details.

What elso is up with me?

~ Preparing for my 2014 return to Ecuador in consideration of permanent residence, in December of 2013 I completed a BA in Spanish.

~During my travels, thanks in large part to SparkPeople, I have had the joy to meet, and in many cases stay with, the first 5 rows of SparkFriends, ending with the Venerable Spark Guy, Chris Downie himself, who I met at a Spark Rally in 2009!

~I am committed to optimal body*mind*spirit health to help attune me to that "still small voice" within that is signaling the way to the next signpost on the Path.
An always useful tool for me -- The Seven Habits of Mindful Eating:
http://www.karmatube.org/videos.php?id=3
026

~ In the meantime, I intend to...

"...have patience with everything unresolved in my heart, and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language, not searching for the answers, which could not be given to me now because I would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now." (Rainer Maria Rilke)

~The shape my life will morph into in the foreseeable future is a mystery -- I'm trying to "live the questions now" with grace, letting go of all anxiety about the future. Oh, and anyway T. S. Eliot tells us...

"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time."

Bottom line in all of this is:

"Don't take life too serious -- it's all just so mysterious!"
-- George Gershwin

******
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And here's more "kitchen table" wisdom:

Your personal history is not your true identity. Don't let the past define who you are.
-- Eckhart Tolle
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Live in rooms full of light
Avoid heavy food
Be moderate in the drinking of wine
Take massage, baths, exercise, and gymnastics
Fight insomnia with gentle rocking or the sound of running water
Change surroundings and take long journeys
Strictly avoid frightening ideas
Indulge in cheerful conversation and amusements
Listen to music
-- Aulus Cornelius Celsus (50-25 BC), Physician
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My actions are my true belongings. They are the ground on which I stand.
-- Thich Nhat Hanh, The Fifth Remembrance
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CARPE MOMENTUM! (Seize the moment!)
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Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
-- Mahatma Gandhi
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barn's burnt down;
now I can see
the moon
-- Masahide
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Usually we think that brave people have no fear.
The truth is they are intimate with fear.
-- Pema Chodron
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If you can change your mind, you can change your life.
-- William James
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Where attention goes, energy flows.
-- James Redfield
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Choices are the hinges of destiny.
-- Pythagoras
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Self-conquest is the greatest of victories.
-- Plato
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Strength does not come from physical capacity.
It comes from an indomitable will.
-- Mahatma Gandhi
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He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.
-- Lao Tzu
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We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit
-- Aristotle
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We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.
-- The Buddha
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Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our minds.
-- Bob Marley, Redemption Song
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The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts.
-- Marcus Aurelius
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The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are.
-- Marcus Aurelius
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Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
-- Plato
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If the only prayer you ever say is "thank you,"
that would suffice.
-- Meister Eckhart
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We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.
-- Cynthia Ozick
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To lengthen thy life,
lessen thy meals.
-- Benjamin Franklin
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Never eat more than you can lift.
-- Miss Piggy
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It's better to start at night than not at all!
AND
Losing weight is hard; maintaining is hard; pick your hard.
-- www.WeightWatchers.com Vegetarian Board friends
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Procrastination is, hands down, our favorite form of self-sabotage.
-- Alyce P. Cornyn-Selby
******
******


Member Since: 6/2/2006

Fitness Minutes: 49,047

My Goals:
~ know joy

~ no judgment

Reshape yourself by the power of your will; never let yourself be degraded by self-will. The will is the only friend of the Self, and the will is the only enemy of the Self.

To those who have conquered themselves, the will is a friend. But it is the enemy of those who have not found the Self within them.
--Bhagavad Gita 6:5-6


My Program:
GOAL

~ Daily meditation
and pranayama practice

~ Daily gratitudes journaling

~ Exercise at least 10 min./day

~ 20 min. strength training every-other day



Personal Information:
I'm a California native, and I have lived primarily in northern CA/San Francisco Bay Area when not traveling or living out-of-state or internationally.

I currently live near Little Rock, AR. I returned to school to pick up a degree in Spanish, and finished it in Dec, 2013!

I'm a volunteer in a services project for women prisoners. I have also developed various service projects in Ecuador.

I am a Yogic-Buddhist-Sufi-Christian mystic -- heh heh. Swami Satchidananda is my primary teacher.

As a lacto-ovo vegetarian I have eaten a whole organic foods, plant-based diet since 1980. I enjoy cooking delicious food with *attitude.*


Other Information:
I love a good movie (e.g., The Visitor; Iris; The Man Who Sued God; Bella) or read (authors Mary Catherine Bateson and Jill Ker Conway are current favorites). I also read sacred texts and other spiritual books, and Swami Satchidananda, Pema Chodron, and Thich Nhat Hanh are among favorite wisdom writers.

As a wimpy Pisces swimming around in the cosmic ocean with lots of air influence, I don't like books or movies too negative, or intense or horrific. My delicate sensibility is easily thrown off-balance. Really.

Mary Oliver, Naomi Shihab Nye, David Whyte, John O'Donohue, Pablo Neruda and Rumi are favorite poets. And music! From Angelique Kidjo and Amadeus Mozart to Diana Krall and Krishna Das...and a world in-between!




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