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What is Darshan?

Darshan is derived from the Sanskrit, darsana, meaning “sight,” “vision” or “appearance.” In Hinduism, darshan is the act of beholding a deity, divine person, sacred object or natural spectacle, especially in a physical image form.

The poet, Gary Snyder, has given a naturalistic meaning to darshan:

“It’s a gift; it’s like there’s a moment in which the thing is ready to let you see it. In India, this is called darshan. Darshan means getting a view, and if the clouds blow away, as they did once for me, and you get a view of the Himalayas from the foothills, an Indian person would say, ‘Ah, the Himalayas are giving you their darshan’; they’re letting you have their view. This comfortable, really deep way of getting a sense of something takes time. It doesn’t show itself to you right away. It isn’t even necessary to know the names of things the way a botanist would. It’s more important to be aware of the ‘suchness’ of the thing; it’s a reality. It’s also a source of a certain kind of inspiration for creativity. I see it in the work of Georgia O’Keefe.

Mothers, Madness and Mantras

I’m still thinking about Mother’s Day.  Every year Mother’s Day shows up on our calendars–a reminder to not forget. We all agree to engage in this holiday. We buy cards and flowers. Yet, the reality is we have forgotten. We have forgotten the value of women and the impact this has on our society. When I look around I find myself witnessing an ongoing war on women–women of color, older women, single women, single mothers–all women.

There is also a war on Mother Earth. Things are out of balance. Monsanto/Bayer is one of many corporations that are destroying our planet–our food, our health and our future.

The scales have dangerously tipped in a direction that does not value women, children, creativity, art, nurturing, compassion, kindness, concern for the environment or any concern for the future. The patriarchy doesn’t care if children go hungry or that they are not provided for. Blind eyes are turned to the lack of healthcare. The messages to women are: If you are sick, you did it to yourself. If you can’t afford childcare–you never should have had children in the first place. And don’t you dare decide to get an abortion because you will be charged with murder. And do not get yourself raped because you could be forced to carry your rapist’s baby. And make sure you don’t “miscarry,” because it could land you in jail or you could end up in court to prove you didn’t attempt to murder your fetus. And of course obtaining birth control will not be an easy task. And please do not ask for any sort of help with your baby after it is born because pro life only applies when it comes to the birthing aspect.  After the birth, you are on your own. Good Luck. If things didn’t work out, you only have yourself to blame.

What would our world look like if women ran this country? Or at least had an equal voice? Things wouldn’t be perfect but I doubt we would have children locked in cages. Childcare would be a top priority, as would education and healthcare. Our food sources would be protected along with our environment. All these issues are not just female issues. They are human issues.

If we continue to destroy our planet we will suffer. Many of us already are. Our children and grandchildren will suffer. I wonder why these issues are not setting off alarms?

As I pace and write–write and pace, I’m thinking of mothers, daughters, granddaughters, nieces, Mother Earth, sisters, female authors, artists, social and political activists. I’m thinking about my female guru and all the powerful and outspoken women in my life. I’m thinking about my female teachers–the ones that taught me to think. The ones that taught me to look deeper. The ones that taught me how to engage with the Divine Feminine. The ones that taught me to mother myself. I offer deep gratitude to the teacher that showed me that my spiritual path in this lifetime is the Path of the Mother.  I wish these were the voices that were noticed, heard and valued in our society.

On a personal level, Mother’s Day for me is always layered and complicated. This year I experienced it like riding Drug’s Tiger. I felt a deep sadness over never knowing my bio-Mother. I felt the loss of not having my adoptive mother on the physical plane despite the complexities of our relationship. Along with my own inner reflections a bottomless well of rage and grief surfaced over the out of control patriarchy. I thought about all the mothers that are suffering the loss of their children and the mother’s fighting to get their children back. I thought about the children in cages and facilities that keep them from their families because our immigration policies are anti-women and anti-family. What must it be like for them? How will they heal? What will happen to them in the future? What will happen to the ones raised by white families when they learn the truth of how they came to be in these families? What can we do to ease some of their pain?

These are the questions, insights and complexities I am walking around with today. Soon, I will go downstairs and chop vegetables for a salad. Later today, I will go to the gym. Then I will pick up my grandson from kindergarten.  As I move from one reality into another I will keep offering all that is surfacing to the Divine Mother.

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu is a Sanskrit mantra which means:  “May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”

Peace In The Midst of Chaos

My husband started cardio rehab. It’s an involved three-month process with classes, teachings, daily blood sugar and blood pressure checks and an individualized exercise program. Cardiologists, nutritionists, scientific exercise professionals and nurses teach the classes.

With everything going on with hearts, health, my daughter starting grad school, birthdays, a friend’s illness, the death of a pet, a litter of kittens, weight loss, exercise programs, a nasty arthritis flare and endless appointments, I’ve struggled to find time to write.

I let go of having to write at my desk. I now write in my car, kitchen, garage, on my back-porch but mostly in waiting rooms. I record thoughts and ideas when I’m walking.

In the past I never felt productive unless I was writing at my desk and behind a door–preferably a locked one. And the room had to be the right temperature, tea and cookies on the right side of my desk, my cell phone on the left and a cat on my lap. I no longer care. It’s actually been freeing. I find myself staying in the role of writer throughout the day.

My husband and I decided I did not need to be present for the workout aspect. After the classes I left to find a quiet area so I could write. I discovered a little room with a sliding frosted glass door, a long empty desk and floor to ceiling windows that looked out over the pink flowering trees. I had two hours to myself. I was surrounded by beauty, stillness and words. I experienced it like an unexpected gift–it was exactly what I needed. I plan on using it as my office for the next three months. I don’t know if the room will eventually be claimed but for now it’s my retreat.

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I am currently engaged with an ongoing search as to how to stay sane under this current administration. Learning, expanding and taking care of myself seem to help. The following two things are not connected to my blog post in anyway but I wanted to share them.

I listened to a Podcast today by Julie Brown Yau (#91) while working out. (I am learning to manage my time).  Anyway—I thought maybe someone out there might find it helpful. I know I did. It’s about rage and trauma and how to transform energies for healing.

I also liked this article on social justice. It is packed full of insight. It helped me deepen my understanding of issues I am currently interested in.

 

 

Leaving The Dust Bowl

Ever since Trump took office my creativity has had as much moisture as the dust bowl. My writing has been reduced to endless tweets that get angrier every time I post. Finally, spring has arrived and along with it some moisture. Things feel less restricted and my creativity has started to flow. I feel a strong pull to explore internal and external landscapes that are richer–greener. Less scorched.

I am working on a new book. It’s memoirish and experimental. It’s about Mothers, The Divine Mother and some of my experiences on a Shakti Path. I will post updates as it unfolds.

Over the years I’ve started and ended several blogs. Some fared better than others. Since a new book is taking shape, I thought it would be a good idea to create and keep a blog. In hopes of longevity, I am not going to hold myself to a certain schedule or number of posts in a week. I am going to free myself and focus on falling in love again with words and how they look on the page and feel on my tongue. I am enjoying the newness of spring, the feeling of rebirth and renewal as everything wakes up. I want to bring this newness to how I engage with blogging, writing, crafting stories and communicating.