Thursday, July 31, 2014

Last Day: Whew! (July 31st)

Photo credit: Roberto Kaplan, Roberts Creek (Sunshine Coast), BC

WOWWWWWWWWWWWWW! Finally! It's the last day of the Ultimate Blog/ging Challenge (UBC) and I am home free - thank goodness! - at last, in more ways than one! ;) (Imagine me wiping the sweat from my brow due to not only hot weather, but also finishing the UBC of blogging every day this month, for 31 days: WOW! I can't believe I did it!)

You see, even though I enjoy, actually love creative writing and reading and researching affiliated with it, I think it highly impractical, at least for me, to blog on a daily basis.

For one, it's challenging on my body. My body is meant to move, not sit or stand while typing, reading/researching online for hours on end at times. It's also not a great idea for the eyes: my eyes seem to dry out even though I attempt to blink consciously, never seemingly enough. And my body. I have been avoiding eating decent meals or eating late sometimes due to I crazy or what? Don't answer that: that's a rhetorical question!

And secondly, it's summer! What am I doing spending time indoors (except keeping cool on hot days)?

Am I or was I rather crazy then to participate in this? Yes for the reasons above and no.

No 'cause I challenged my mind, my writing, and in the process, met and gained some wonderful international bloggers and friendships, not to mention read a lot of great blog posts. There are a lot of good bloggers out there! :)

Now, question is: what will I (or you if you are a UBC blogger) do with all that free time? You know, the time you used to spend reading/researching/typing/looking for and downloading pictures? I know what I will be doing based in part on my blogging and that of my fellow UBC bloggers:

*enjoy summer what's left of it(!) including in no particular order:
*attend my favourite Harmony Arts Festival by the ocean
*finish reading a fascinating (spiritually-based) book, Michael Jackson: Man Behind the Mirror by a man I know named Raamayan Ananda
*"catch up" (st least some) on reading blogs including UBC bloggers with honourable mentions to some of my newfound friends in India: Vinodini Iyer who deserves an award for her compelling and brilliant story writing/telling - love it! - and sweet Asma Ferdoes (aka Asiya)with her sensitivity shining through brilliantly in her delicate stories and poems (that I can so relate to it seems)
*listen to free live bands outside in the sun
*dance outdoors including salsa lessons

*go for walks and hug trees in the process
*attend free community events and festivals
*watch beautiful sunsets
*hoola hoop with my sturdy portable (and foldable) hoop
*sing and sun doing a vision therapy exercise
*look at the supermoon (maybe practicing trataka (something I learned while blogging)
*learn Zentangle (thanks to bloggers Minette Riordan and Laura Regan)
*clean my pile of dishes and cooking/preparing meals which I neglected most of this month (oops!)
*tidy/clean what has become my messy home (also neglected after so many days)
*hang out with my friends over iced tea or iced espresso drinks
*visit farmers markets and listen to the free outdoor entertainment
*AND hang out more on my patio whether eating, reading, zero gravity chairing! (now, that's poetic license!) ;)
*read and write my blog posts at my leisure (usually about every two weeks with my busy schedule, thank you very much)

Thank you to the organizers including Michelle Shaeffer and Kathy Hadley as well as all of you UBC members and readers. Know that I appreciate you whether I have (had the time to) read your blog or not. I hope to read more of your posts next month in between everything else! ;)

I look forward to keeping in touch with some of you through your blogs and/or social media. I already have some ideas brewing for future posts such as performance poetry, and a tribute to a woman who healed herself of cancer. ;)

How will you dear reader spend/enjoy your summer or free time (depending when you read this!)>

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Poetic License

Cast of Full House, television (TV) sitcom (1987-1995)

Poetic license refers to "the freedom to depart from the facts of a matter or from the conventional rules of language when speaking or writing in order to create an effect." (definition by Google)

This is what I was referring to in yesterday's post in terms of my thinking of a one-liner being called a 'poem.' Furthermore, I implied this in my responses to people who commented on that particular posting. Thank you, by the way, to those of you who did so and those of you who do! (I truly appreciate that as sometimes it feels like a lonely iceberg I'm sitting on!)

Now to continue on today's topic, referring to the above towards the end of this post -

In follow-up to yesterday's theme, there are also other forms of poetry which I am not as familiar with, having never written them:

Sonnets originated in Italy, though were popular in England with William Shakespeare having penned quite a number of them. Shakespearean sonnets are characterized by 14 lines in iambic pentameter, with the pattern of ABAB CDCD EFEF GG: Watch this short video (from to understand what this means before you read the sonnet below. It is rather intriguing and hope you find it the same:

Here is an example of a popular Shakespeare's sonnet:
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.- Shakespeare
Check this out for a better understanding according to one source:

The ballad which is actually a story accompanied by music ( I find it amusing that initially I couldn't think of any, and then all of a sudden I hear a tad of music in my head. I vaguely remembered the word "Fitzgerald" which led to this video featuring a well-known ballad, at least in my part of the world:

And saving the best for last, at least in my opinion. Drum roll please...

The next type of poem is one I was considering taking a workshop on earlier this year and wished I had. The night I pondered this thought, slam poetry streamed through my consciousness, though only in my brain. No written words, no spoken words, not even a microphone to record: DARN!

Slam poetry came on the scene in the 1980's and became popular in the late 1990's ( This next video is a pleasant surprise as I didn't know that this person performed slam poetry. Here is a delightful and funny rendition by Tom Hanks, an American actor, on the TV sitcom series, Full House:

And next, I just found this, Shane Koyczan, featured during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games - We Are More - in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia:

According to Wikipedia, there are certain genres of poetry (; however, another side has identified even more genres (especially if you click on the links): Take a peek if you dare: you may be surprised to find quite a number of them.

In terms of the types of poems I mentioned today and yesterday, are you (more of) a romantic at heart who appreciates the rhythm and rhyme of sonnets? A singer who loves a good story? A rapper who has a lot to say and get off their chest? Do you identify more with the left- and right-brain challenge of a short haiku or a slightly longer limerick? Or do you prefer the spiritual soothing words in mystic poetry? Maybe you're even undecided and thus enjoy writing in combination with both prose and poetry?

So, using what we learned about styles and definitions of poetry yesterday and today, what poetic license - definition on top of this posting - can you create with the form of poetry that most tugs at your heart strings, calling you to style your own poem, whether by ink or not. ;)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Poet in You, Yes YOU!

Yesterday, I shared some spontaneous, albeit not my best poetry, and was starting to analyze and/or define it. I thought that I would save for this blog as there are variations of poems as there are poets.

Here are some I am familiar with: 'mystic poetry' (not sure the exact name though I assume this is the closest to describing poetry) from the likes of Rumi and Hafiz, former 'Middle Eastern' poets (
A poet is someone
Who can pour Light into a cup
and raise it to nourish your
beautiful parched holy mouth

- Hafiz
Tender words we spoke
to one another
are sealed
in the secret vaults of heaven.
One day like rain,
they will fall to earth
and grow green
all over the world

- Rumi
Haiku, a short and unique style of poetry that changed over time was born in Japan ( I prefer this simpler interpretation better ( It features three lines, the first with five syllables, the second with seven, and the third with five. It is often on the theme of nature.

I have attempted haiku though it is a challenge for me. Here is one I just wrote:
First cherry blossoms
Delights both my nose and eyes
No going back now
Or how about this one I also wrote as part of this posting:
a feast for my eyes
pink petals dropping like rain
- ballerina show
There's that word "delights" again! Must like it as I also used it in yesterday's spontaneous poem.

Limericks originated in England - I thought Ireland! - with five lines: Lines 1, 2, and 5 have eight syllables and rhyme, and Lines 3 and 4 have five syllables rhyme (as in A, A, B, B, A). They are usually nonsensical and silly. The following limerick, a great example of its structure, won an Irish 'Listowel Writers Week' prize in 1998 (
Writing a Limerick's absurd,
Line one and line five rhyme in word,
And just as you've reckoned
They rhyme with the second;
The fourth line must rhyme with the third
And then the prose poem was birthed in 19th century France and Germany; a combination of both prose and poem ( Rainer Maria Rilke is a prose writer as well as Hans Christian Andersen, even Edgar Allan Poe!

My favourite prose poem or one of them is The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. I am only listing the link for brevity's sake: see left-hand side of her website. (You may need to use control plus the button on your mouse pad to enlarge it!)

Here is my take on prose poetry, an excerpt of one I wrote in Grade 9. Yep, I'm proud of that piece of writing as I received an A+ on it!
"...The leaves murmur among themselves, bravely preparing for the coming of winter..." And a little further on I continue, "The melancholy trees moan and mourn for the loss of their leaves ... The trees shiver from the cold as they are unprotected ..."
But what is the definition of a "poem" in the first place. According to google - where else would you suggest I go? Please tell me and I'm serious about that - this is their definition: "a piece of writing that partakes of the nature of both speech and song that is nearly always rhythmical, usually metaphorical, and often exhibits such formal elements as meter, rhyme, and stanzaic structure. Synonyms: verse, rhyme, piece of poetry, song ... something that arouses strong emotions because of its beauty."

I wonder about that I have come across some - hopefully not mine - that do not necessarily evoke strong emotions or rhymes or is rhythmic for that matter.

According to wikipedia (, "Poetry is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language - such as phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, and metre - to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, the prosaic ostensible meaning." Well, that's a poetic mouthful. I'll let you figure out that in plain English! ;)

To be continued, with some unusual videos. ;)

What is your take on poetry? If you were a poet, would you wear any of the above-mentioned styles on your sleeve or heartstrings? If not, what is your style?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Poetry: Healing AND Delicious!

WOW! An explosion of monolithic proportions!

Those are the exact words I got intuitively as I took my first bite out of a creamy (ganache?) brownie that a work colleague made and brought in last week.

As soon as I received those words, I thought that it was a great line for a poem. I very often only get snippets, literally a line or two, sometimes even a few words that I sense is a poem or is the beginning (line) of a poem.

For example, after drafting this posting and washing my three-or-four-day pile of dishes (due to this daily blog challenge, ahem), I got these lines out of the blue: "disdain of dishes" while washing them, and "elixir of life." (And I wouldn't normally use the words "disdain" nor "elixir." By the way, check out as you may find it a rather interesting read.

And synchronistically amusing to me, a day or two later, someone used those exact words, "elixir of life." I forget the conversation, but it was like a "doo doo doo doo, doo doo doo doo..."" moment! Think of that in terms of the opening theme music from Twilight Zone by Rod Serling:

Hey, wait a minute?! Who said a poem can't be one line, I mean one verse? I've read a few poems by Rumi and Hafiz for instance that were one-liners if I understand correctly: "O wondrous creatures, by what strange miracle do you so often not smile?" Supposedly this is considered a quote by Hafiz. I say, why can't it be a poem: a one-liner poem?

There are types of poems that are only a few lines in length. And besides, I read a few blog posts recently where a story is told in only five sentences, imagine that! So why not a poem that is only one verse? I am a 'rebel' after all preferring to colour outside the lines. No, not in a rebelliously, angry, war-like, disastrous kind of way. That is not me at all, well, except for certain issues in the world that push my buttons.

Oh wait, that's another story or rather blog post! Ah, see where inspiration can come from? It can come as I think and/or type words on this page, I mean computer.

So here goes everything or nothing ... sometimes I like to challenge myself as I prefer to write poems when they come to me, not 'forced' out of me (similar to how I feel about writing by the way!)
WOW! An explosion of monolithic proportions
this orgasmic sensation on my tongue
delights my lips, my mouth, my throat, my tummy
hmmmmmmmm, yum, yum, yum
Ok, that was a short poem of whatever kind. My on-the-spot version.

Then a little later, I changed it slightly to read as follows:
WOW! An explosion of monolithic proportions
this orgasmic sensation on my tongue,
my lips, my mouth, my throat, my tummy
delights me
hmmmmmmmm, yum, yum, yum
Do you like to read and/or write poetry? What do you like to read and/or write about? Do you have a favourite poem and/or a favourite poet? If you write them, do you have a particular style? How do you get inspired or where do you get your inspiration from? I know, I many questions! I'm a curious lot, what can I say. I like to learn, even from you the reader! ;)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Poetry Therapy?! Bibliotherapy and Other Such Therapies

A poetry group I led Feb. 13, years ago

Last week my theme was about different types of healing, and I'll continue on that vein, albeit somewhat differently.

There are many - I love this about the United States that they are ahead in some ways - forms of therapies that I heard about in my early 20's. And when I did, not sure how I came about that, I wanted to be and/or do all of them! After all, creativity and expression are important to me and that's what they are about to a certain degree.

One of these forms of therapy which I love the concept of is known as "bibliotherapy." Bibliotherapy is an expressive therapy that uses an individual's relationship to the content of books and poetry and other written words as therapy. Bibliotherapy is often combined with writing therapy. It has been shown to be effective in the treatment of depression. ..." ( Isn't that neat?! Well, I absolutely LOVE it, love that concept.

I'm not going to expand on that or any of the other therapies, at least not at this time, as they are not my area of expertise, and also because this blog post will be way too long or too many posting parts and I do not have the energy or interest to do that. (Truth be told, I feel rather "blogged out." If that isn't a term, it is now. I just invented it!)

Other related forms of therapy that intrigue me, in no particular order, are art therapy, dance/movement therapy, drama therapy, music therapy, and expressive arts therapy. In my early 20's when I came across this information, not sure how, I wanted to be either an art therapist or a dance therapist. I believe I didn't come across music therapy as a form of healing, similar with sound healing; both of these would have appealled to me greatly.

Unfortunately, I was not well versed in any of these therapies, never having been groomed for any of them as a youngster. Too bad!

Even though drama therapy captures my interest greatly - I think it could be fun - one of my EXA courses was on psychodrama which is quite different in its focus ( And though I would have loved to be a music therapist and/or sound therapist, I instead studied dance/movement therapy and also EXpressive Arts Therapy (known as EXA Therapy for short as EAT didn't quite cut it.) ;)

Pastel drawing of my emotional realm (my inner passionate fire)

Expressive arts appeals to me as there is an eclectic assortment of modalities within the expressive arts as you can see from my profile (right-hand side of my blog). My definition is as follows, "Expressive arts is a form of (psycho)therapy using a variety of creative and artistic modalities that can transform a client's experiences to one of empowerment. It is the process, not the end product/result that is important. It bypasses the cognitive mind, allowing a client to explore and discover a new perspective in coming to terms with a problem or in solving a problem."

Wikipedia has a great definition and brief summary:

I am a non-practicing EXA Therapist. I actually avoid the term therapist as it doesn't feel right, at least for me. A therapist is "a person skilled in a particular kind of therapy." Psychologists, psychotherapists, psychoanalysts, psychiatrists, counsellors, and the like are forms of therapists.

No wonder I prefer not to be affiliated with them! I think of many years of therapy with a psychologist, counsellor, or psychotherapist; Sigmund Freud concerning psychoanalyst, and medication in terms of a psychiatrist. My preference is the term facilitator which I have always admired. It also seems not to be so 'superior' a term.

What I felt intuitively before entering the EXA Therapy program was that I would use my learnings in a different way, my own way, in my unique/crazy/signature style and I believe that it has to do with my alternative choir-to-be. That was confirmed to me by someone who did an angel card reading for me.

That is my hope and inspiration, at times strong and other times fading as time has marched and is marching on.

Have you heard of any of these therapies before? If so, have you studied and/or been a recipient of any of them? Did it allow you to express yourself and thus be more of you?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Part 6: Ways of Healing

Credit: photo of me by Michael Julian Berz

Rumi, a mystic Sufi poet (see my July 7th, 8th, and 10th posts) informs us: "There are many ways to kneel and kiss the ground." This is applicable to ways or methods of healing as well.

When I mention the word "healing," what comes to mind: traditional? contemporary? alternative? complementary? or a combination of these?

Alternative healing may be considered by some as "new age" though this is a misnomer; it actually refers to "...alternative approaches to traditional Western culture, with an interest in spirituality, mysticism, holism, and environmentalism" (

Furthermore, even though some of the so-called 'new age' healing modalities have existed for centuries, some even for millenia (as referred to in this article, its meaning is actually referring to the astrological age of Aquarius. Check this link for more information if you are curious:

There are many ways to heal and paths of healing, and no one way is "the one or "the one and only." There is no "one size fits all" philosophy, as what works for me might not work for you, and vice versa. One method of healing is not necessarily better than another, just different, just like you and I are different.

Healing modalities for me include my voice via my speaking and singing; my hands via my writing, my art, and my conducting; and my body via creative dance/movement (like when I used to perform spontaneous dance years ago).

I have been aware for some time that my voice is instrumental as a healing modality from numerous compliments over the years of how calming and/or soothing it is (especially when I used to work on a crisis line and other phone lines, and similarly when reciting poetry or reading kids' books in public); and my hands which 'perform' their own kind of magic, moving spontaneously through involuntary movements, and through my writing. (Yes, that's me! I'm dancing to a poem I performed as a rap at my Expressive Arts Therapy graduation.)

These forms are healing for myself and hopefully for others in some way; sometimes it can be primarily or only for myself, and other times not.

Are you aware of your ways of healing? What do others admire about you and praise you for and/or that you know are unique to you?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Part 5: Healing Me, with A.C. (How I Overcame Brain Buzz)

Hehe - that's me chuckling - what can I say? I love to rhyme sometimes, eh! ;) (referring to the title of this post)

I know that one is not supposed to claim healing someone or being a healer with non-traditional methods AKA (also known as) alternative medicine, though I am not a healer per se anyway. I am only a channel or conduit, primarily through my hands, whether through hands-on healing energy work or my writing. However, what do you call it?...What is the term you use to describe when symptoms change - disappear or lessen - for yourself and others whom you work on? Hmmmm?

The medical system directly/indirectly admonishes the general public in not making any claims that we can do so, i.e., heal, at least not where alternative healing methodologies are concerned. However, this is my blog and I am a 'rebel' at declaring truth: where is my right for freedom of speech?!

I would say 'truth' with a capital 'T', though I reserve that for spiritual truths. There are some, perhaps many folks who would not agree with this; however, I am not here to appease anyone which is what speaking up and speaking one's truth is about, speaking up for what is really going on, that serves the higher consciousness.

Please understand that I am not claiming to be the end all and be all in this realm - I am not the 'Grand Poobah!' (like Fred Flinstone, see for a great yet brief explanation).

You, the reader, may choose to be responsible for reading between the lines in some of my blog posts, but I digress here. That is a whole other topic, a big whammy that I do not have the interest to travel on on my blog or at least not at this point in time anyway. My preference is to encourage, empower, inspire, and hopefully transform people's lives through whatever means.

Essentially what I want to say about the said title is the following: My mind used to race a lot (most often) with tons of fleeting ideas that seemed to be bouncing all over the place like ping pong balls in action x 1,000 or more times. Another analogy is as if my brain was buzzing, on like the humming of an electrical switch or current.

It seemed like my mind would not shut up or shut down and relax. I swear it was constantly going, going, going, going like a busy bee. At least that is what I used to say to describe this continuous pattern of thinking. Even when attempting to meditate, my body does not like sitting meditations - the worst for me - my mind was non-stop thinking.

And then one day, Access Consciousness which I wrote about yesterday, came into my life very spontaneously and somewhat unusually, at least on my part. I was introduced to it via an email from an acquaintance. I persuaded someone whom I had met through a women's circle to join me without watching the video, or only a minute or two at most, if that.

After arriving and settling into the venue, I laid on a massage table. Someone I knew "ran bars" on me. "Bars" is the name of a particular process.

I knew something had occurred when I got up to walk around for (1) I couldn't walk properly, more like being drunk and swaying and (2) I felt somewhat lightheaded. That wasn't a "bad" thing I was told and I didn't feel it was.

When I walked to the tables of interesting and unusual refreshments, I saw a woman whose face literally glowed. It wasn't an hallucination. I wasn't imagining it. Think of this: does your face or someone you know ever light up especially when you or they are extremely happy/excited or the like? That is what I am taking about.

It was the combination of that experience, but more so because of her face, that actually caused me to sign up and enroll in my first 'bars' class. I thought, "I want that!"

I came to be truly grateful and still am as this methodology alone saved me in a sense. It kept me calm, focused yet relaxed, grounded, peaceful, and stable in a sane way.

I mean, can you imagine this? Your brain going constantly for years, hardly ever getting a rest, a break, a much-needed and well-deserved vacation? I was amazed after one treatment, my intro to this, how I felt. I knew I was onto something, something good!

When the facilitator worked on the 'bars' on me, I was distracted by the click-click-click of a women's heels on the wood floors and her incessant talking just like my brain was thinking - "Will you shut up please lady! I just want to relax, maybe even sleep. And besides I am having difficulty hearing you" - with hardly a pause.

Now when I reflect back on that incident I find it rather amusing, but at the time I was extremely annoyed and rather irritated.

Do you believe you can be healed? Do you believe you hold yourself back from healing? What if you were to open up and surrender to the process? What could/would happen?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Part 4: Healing with A.C.

Yesterday, I mentioned that I explored a few healing modalities that involved the use of my hands and spoke briefly about my 'healing hands.' Furthermore, that I never thought of myself as a healer having healing abilities. That belief changed when I came across 'Access Consciousness' or 'AC' in short as I sometimes refer to it as. No, not air conditioning! (

Access Consciousness is based on living in the realm of infinite possibilities through questioning as well as processes that include hands-on energy healing. The tools and processes if applied aid in empowering individuals to create what they desire in their lives. Sometimes peoples' lives are altered so dramatically and within a short period of time.

My question in my profile to the right of this blog post is, "What is your heart's desire?" and though that question arose as a result from an individual I met years ago, Access Consciousness is one possibility of bringing that to fruition.

I find it both intriguing and amusing that when I was typing my blog title in the address bar on the computer, I started typing, www.xpressyourconsciousness. Hmmm?! WEIP? HDIGABTT? (Those are two acronyms for some of the common questions we ask: What else is possible? How does it get any better than this?)

NB: By the way, I am not endorsing any particular healing modality. You are responsible for the choices and actions you take. Discern what is right and best for you in whichever way you do that whether through researching, praying, meditation, etc. I am only relaying my own experiences here. This is part of my personal journey.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Part 3: Healing Hands

Artwork I did of my 'healing hands' in pastels

Unaware I was, at first, of my hands having the (potential) ability to heal, that is, assist in the healing process, whether myself or others - I am only a channel or instrument of healing energy - until I took classes in Dahn yoga. "Dahn" refers to "primal vital energy" in Korean. They utilize physical exercises "as a blend of yoga, tai chi, and martial arts exercises." ( I would personally add to that "intense."

"According to Dahn Yoga Basics, a book published by Dahn Yoga Education, Dahn Yoga has "three unique characteristics: the mastery and use of energy, enhancing the body-brain connection, and self-managed, holistic health care. The practice draws upon traditional notions of ki, also known as chi or qi." (I referred to these terms two days ago.)

Almost two years ago when I learned Reiki (see posting July 21st, two days ago), I was re-introduced to the concept of my hands as instruments of healing.

During a dahn yoga class, we were experimenting with energy by rubbing our palms briskly together and then pulling them apart slowly at first, then moving them closer and farther apart. I was surprised yet delighted when I noticed the sensation of heat between my hands - shown as red in my artwork below - and also tingling or prickles, feeling at times like lines and other times like small or tiny bubbles.

Similarly many years ago, a woman was demon- strating how to feel energy in one's hands. I experimented holding my palms close together at first, then pulling them farther and farther apart, slowly at first. At the time, I could not feel any sensation on or in between the palms of my hands.

In an earlier blog post I had written, "I find it interesting that this year is the first when a few healing modalities have come across my path synchronistically that I have been drawn to explore; all involve my hands." And I go on to say, "I never thought of myself as a healer, never thinking I had the ability to heal..."

I have, however, known for quite some time that my hands are important in my calling or individual life purpose. This, because my hands sometimes channel my writings when the words and phrases come to me easily and effortlessly, sometimes fast and furious like a river, but oftentimes in bits and pieces.

My hands also do their own magic by performing spontaneous rhythms through loud or wild gestures speaking emphatically (which my parents denounce), but more often that not on a more subtle level (and sometimes not) when they move spontaneously in an intuitive way. It's challenging to explain this in words.

A woman with a gift of clairvoyance ('seeing clearly', an intuitive or psychic terminology), told me a few years ago that she actually saw sparkles around my hands. She furthermore informed me that I was accessing or retrieving information from the past when I moved my hands in a certain way; I do this particular movement quite regularly, especially when attempting to recall information.

Some of you may think this is all "woo woo", strange/unusual/weird phenomena; however, remember that Jesus healed people with his hands. There are also Christian and/or other religions that practice the 'laying on of hands.' I used to be a member of one where the priesthood (only men) performed this and it was a common occurrence for blessings of all kinds, including healings.

Do you think you might have healing hands? Have you ever tried the hand experiment above? Do you think your hands are capable of healing others or yourself?

NB: I am not endorsing any particular healing modality. You are responsible for the choices and actions you take. Discern what is right and best for you in whichever way you do that whether through researching, praying, etc. I am only relaying my own experiences here. This is part of my personal journey.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Part 2: My Second Healing Modality (How I Overcame a Phobia)

During yesterday's post, I spoke about Usui Reiki, a natural form of healing. Today, I am featuring the second healing modality which I experienced. This was powerful for me as I overcame a major fear: my fear of spiders which, believe me, was a HUGE deal, at least it was for me! Would you like to know how I did that?

The first healing modality I actually learned was at a workshop with Dr. Lee Polous, a Vancouver-based psychologist, who was featured as a guest. His teaching was an alternative healing method, Emotional Freedom Technique, (EFT for short).

"EFT draws on various theories of alternative medicine including acupuncture, neuro-linguistic programming, energy medicine, and Thought Field Therapy (TFT)." It involves tapping on meridian points, derived from acupressure, on the body which can release energy blockages that cause negative emotions. "During a typical EFT session, the person will focus on a specific issue while tapping on 'end points of the body's energy meridians'.

According to the EFT manual, the procedure consists of the participant rating the emotional intensity of their reaction on a Subjective Units of Distress Scale (SUDS) (a Likert scale for subjective measures of distress, calibrated 0-10) then repeating an orienting affirmation while rubbing or tapping specific points on the body. Some practitioners incorporate eye movements or other tasks. The emotional intensity is then rescored and repeated until no changes are noted in the emotional intensity

During the exercise of listening to guided instructions with my eyes closed, I imagined a tarantula while tapping certain energy points on my face, hands, and body. I went from an intense '10' on a scale (of 1 to 10) to about a 1, even a 0. That, to me, was remarkable: how exciting! To this day, I am generally not afraid of spiders, maybe the odd time (like a huge one).

I learned this technique about 15 years ago give or take. The interesting thing is that I seem to forget I have this tool at my disposal until I read or hear about it from someone else. It is a very practical tool for not only dealing with phobias, but also pretty much anything, whether physical, mental, or emotional issues.

Have you experienced (as a recipient) or used any healing modality to overcome any pain (physical/mental/emotional) or any of your fears? How successful was it? Was it a permanent or temporary change? How did you feel before, during, and afterwards?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Part 1: My First Healing Modality

Photo of me with (rare) long hair at a fashion show a number of years ago

Ok, it's almost 9:45 pm, I finished a one-and-a-half-hour phone interview (related to a potential blog post), and follow-up email, and now it's time for my daily blog post. So I'm going to keep this one short!

Since my spiritual awakening over 20 years ago, I have spontaneously become familiar with quite a number of alternative healing modalities. (See post, December 29, 2012 for details,

The first modality which I received and experienced was that of Reiki, a Japanese form of healing, hands-on-healing to be precise. The process involves transferring universal (life) energy known as Reiki in the form of 'ki' in Japanese, 'qi' or 'chi' in Chinese through the palms. Check out the various meanings here:

If that seems familiar to some of you, it may be because you recognize them - energy points (known also as 'chakras') - on Jesus' hands and feet; If that freaks (or 'weirds') you out, think of it this way: Jesus Christ and Mother Mary, for example, religious figures were depicted with a circular ring of light around their heads. That is called an "aura" which is essentially a representation of energy (to put it very simply), more commonly known as and referred to in religious iconography as a halo (

Secondly, I recall that Jesus had declared that we as humans could perform miracles such as he did and even more. Here is an one such passage: "Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (Matthew 17:20)

Though I had wanted to learn Reiki years ago after I experienced it, it wasn't until about two years ago that I finally took Level 1 training.

I sometimes use this - for myself only thus far - usually if I awake with pain or go to sleep in pain such as when I experience a headache or tummy ache: it's very effective and can be/feel soothing and comforting.

Do you belief in the power of self-healing? Do you believe you can use healing modalities on yourself?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Half the Battle with Ultimate Blog Challenge

Photo of me a few years ago by Roberto Kaplan (those were my signature earrings!)

I realize posting every day this month, thus far, that half 'the battle' is deciding what topic to write about. And speaking of 'half' I am glad that this Ultimate Blog Challenge (UBC) is more than half over!

Please understand, I do enjoy writing, love to 'write' actually - I type 99.99% of the time - and blog. However, at this time, due to full-time work and other responsibilities including community volunteer work, it is a challenge for me to blog on a daily basis. (I'm sure I'm not the only one!)

And besides, I truly wish to be different and stand out, not be like everyone else (ok, maybe not everybody) in posting daily or almost daily.

Really, who has the time nowadays to read all these blog postings, in addition to books and other writings (magazines, articles, etc.) anyway? That is why my preference is to write, usually, biweekly. Depending on the number of weeks per month, that entails two postings, sometimes three. I throw in an extra posting occasionally on a whim, when the urge and/or inspiration strikes me to do so.

Even though my posts have varied extremely, bouncing around topics like a striked ping pong ball, I am still on track, at least in my mind. More often than not, I do my best to keep with the themes as stated on my blog home page that weave through my writing and questions: our essence (beingness), authenticity, self-expression, and gifts (talents) in the hopes of inspiring and/or empowering some of you from time to time.

Originally my blog's intent was to inform people, the general public (particularly in my community) about me as to who I am and what my alternative youth choir (what I used to term "co-creative children's and youth choir") was about. Read (Call to Action) and Why Me? Why this Choir?

The choir is an ongoing project for now. I expect to relaunch next year if all goes well, that is, according to 'plan.' Time will tell...

For those of you who blog or write (or type) daily, what challenges do you face? What do you do when you are blocked with your writing? What techniques/tools/tips do you use to ensure you have an abundance of material/ideas/inspiration/creativity to fuel you?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Crepuscular Rays: Where 'God' is?

I love looking at the night sky, especially when lit with stars like bright Venus or the Big Dipper and/or Litle Dipper; those are the ones I know about and are easily recognizable. I can see them quite easily where I live. And I also love looking at cloud formations and the sky during cloudless days.

One such phenomenon that I love to witness is what is known as 'crepuscular rays' that seem to radiate downwards from the sky. When I first noticed them, I used to think, "Is that where God is?"

I was delighted to discover then that crepuscular rays are also "known as 'God rays' in atmospheric optics, are rays of sunlight that appear to radiate from the point in the sky where the sun is located. These rays, which stream through gaps in clouds (particularly stratocumulus) or between other objects, are columns of sunlit air separated by darker cloud-shadowed regions. Despite seeming to converge at a point, the rays are in fact near-parallel shafts of sunlight, and their apparent convergence is a perspective effect (similar, for example, to the way that parallel railway lines seem to converge at a point in the distance). (Bolding is mine for emphasis.)

The name comes from their frequent occurrences during crepuscular hours (those around dawn and dusk), when the contrasts between light and dark are the most obvious. Crepuscular comes from the Latin word "crepusculum", meaning twilight
." (

Conversely, there are also anticrepuscular rays: "Anticrepuscular rays are similar to crepuscular rays, but seen opposite the sun in the sky. Anticrepuscular rays are near-parallel, but appear to converge at the antisolar point because of linear perspective.

Anticrepuscular rays are most frequently visible near sunrise or sunset. Crepuscular rays are usually much brighter than anticrepuscular rays. This is because for crepuscular rays, seen on the same side of the sky as the sun, the atmospheric light scattering and making them visible is taking place at small angles.

"Although anticrepuscular rays appear to converge onto a point opposite the sun, the convergence is actually an illusion. The rays are in fact (almost) parallel, and the apparent convergence is to the vanishing point at infinity." (

Forgive me for not writing much today, but I feel I need to give my hands and eyes a break, and have some fun in the sun. For some of you, it may indeed be a day of rest.

What do you love to observe about the sky? Have you noticed either of these rays before (perhaps above the clouds in an airplane)? How did they make you feel? What did you think about when you saw them?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Do You See What You WANT to See? (An Enigma to Solve)

You may consider this post to be slightly "off-the-wall" as I am going with memory and not all the facts in hand, not just yet. So please forgive me in advance! And I have a favour to ask you, a request at the end, if I may.

However, I do wish to post about the following topic as best I can to postulate a theory regarding my blog post yesterday.

Have any of you heard of this scientific experiment/study/theory where an observer, say of a scientific experiment, discovers that by the very act of observing, he/she is actually able to change the results, i.e., that their act of observation influences the results (of the experiment)?

Essentially, that means that the scientist/observer sees what they expect/want to see. I know that might be a HUGE stretch, a BIG leap of faith for some of you; however, I recall that that is what I saw and/or read at least twice (once a few years ago and once more recently), though unfortunately I can't recall the movie/video/book title - I thought it a reliable source - nor the name of the author or scientist (?) concerning this study/science experiment/theory.

It may have something to do with quantum physics or particle theory or the like. The name of the scientist could possibly have been either David Bohm or Niels Bohr, but I’m not quite certain.

Namely, what the observer expects is what occurs in this particular study/experiment. If my recollection serves me well, I believe it was actually a scientist looking at something under a microscope - cells possibly or the like – that were acting or rather, reacting, responding to him, the observer.

I mention this because if this is indeed true, it has intriguing implications. As I mentioned yesterday about the weather, similar to the law of attraction (in that what we focus on expands either ‘positively’ or ‘negatively’), what would happen if we focus on something, expecting it to be a certain way, that is, having a certain result? Imagine this now with weather? Could this be possible or is it simply a preposterous idea?

Is this the “observer effect? “In science, the term observer effect refers to changes that the act of observation will make on a phenomenon being observed...Historically, the observer effect has been confused with the uncertainty principle.” (

Can any of you dear readers solve this enigma and tell me the name of the scientist and/or the name of the study/theory I am referring to above?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Summer Heat Wave

This past week-and-a-half (if I recall correctly) was a pretty darn hot week with relatively humid days, on and off.

Some people seem to love the heat and soak up the sun like, well, like citrus fruit (growing) on trees. Me: I find it way too intense. I swear I melt, literally, like ice cream on a hot day, dripping over the edges. Where is my headband?!

Is the sun getting hotter, more intense? Is humidity worsening: are there more days that are humid? After all, I don't recall Vancouver, British Columbia being humid when I first moved here over 20 years ago. Or did I simply forget or overlook that? Am I just imagining that it is or seems to be intensifying?

Could it be that, perhaps, if you believe the philosophy of what you focus on expands or intensifies, that we collectively, that is, as a collective conscious, created that heat wave? I realize this might push your buttons and make you feel uncomfortable as I am going outside the box with these questions; however, do know that there are universal laws or principles that exist and refer to this very belief. There have been a number of books published on this very subject over the last two or three centuries at least.

Some of these books written by "new thought movement" writers include - check them out if you wish to explore this subject further - As a Man Thinketh by James Allen (originally published in 1902), The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles (in 1910), and Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich (1937). I'm familiar with those books as I read them years ago, except for Wallace's book.

The Secret, a film that was borne out of these books on 'the law of attraction' came out in 2006, with a book of the same name in the following year.

Ponder these questions: Is global warming a reality or just a theory? Did Al Gore, former USA presidential candidate start a movement, unbeknownst to him, analagous to y2k, the software problem in the impending year of 2000, in which society believedin the impending doom of computer failures?

Could we individually and/or better yet collectively, change events such as this from happening in the first place? This is a tall-order question I realize, though I do believe we can. I have witnessed first-hand, albeit so far by ear, accounts where miracles occur of healing the environment. If we can do it for the human body, why can't we do it for our planet body, Mother Earth? Hmmm?

What do you think/make of all this? Is this the first time you are hearing something of this nature? How does it make you feel? What else do you need to know or what would you like to know in order to make an informed decision?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Part 2: Lunar Effects

Photo I took, courtesy of Solus Decor ( in Vancouver, BC.

There is a practice in yoga known as “trataka,” Sanskrit (ancient East Indian language) meaning “to look or to gaze.” It is the practice of gazing at a still, external object as a form of meditation; see benefits below.

The meaning of the term “yoga” is “union of the body, mind, and spirit.” Trataka is a yoga technique that can increase concentration, strengthen the eyes, and stimulate the ajna chakra located on the forehead between our two physical eyes. Ajna is known in English as the “third eye” or known as “mind’s eye” as well as the “inner eye” as it represents the visual, intuitive, and psychic centre of our perceptions. This is where memories are stored, imagination starts, and dreams are perceived. Our physical eyes see our present reality, whereas the third eye reveals the future by offering us glimpses and insight.

Moons that are full, crescent, or super in size can be the object of your gaze. Other possibilities include a candle flame (which is commonly used), water on a still lake, the sun (rising or setting), a symbol, a flower, a tree, a star in the sky, a small object such as a crystal, even the tip of your nose. The key is that the object should be still, not wavering. It is best to tune out other objects as much as possible, thus turn lights down or off if necessary.

There are many benefits to this practice: trataka not only increases concentration and memory, it can also improve eyesight and heal the eyes (supposedly curing some eye diseases), reduce lethargy, develop deeper sleep, and develop psychic powers such as telepathy, psychic healing, and clairvoyance. It can also be utilized to gain knowledge of particular events, even the detection of thieves and the like, finding lost persons. This is confirmed by various yoga literature.

Here is an illustration you can practice with (

The first step is to stare at the symbol or object, paying attention to each thought and feeling as they come and let them go, in order for the mind to fully concentrate on the symbol or object. Once the eyes being to water, the eyes are closed in a relaxed state.
The second step is to stare at the symbol or object and this time, after the eyes are closed when they begin to water, the person concentrates with their mind’s eye on the after-image as long as possible, imagining it in the eyebrow centre. It is ideal to repeat this exercise a few times, and if you wish add a mantra (silent is fine) such as ‘OM.’ End by splashing the eyes with cold water and stretching.

If you gaze at the moon, you will see only the bright moon on a black background. Keep the eyes open until you begin to feel them start to water. The watering signifies cleansing taking place in both your physical eyes and your inner vision. Keep gazing. At times, your vision may shift as to see light all around you, the moon may become several moons or even disappear from your view. Do not strain too long, generally after a few tears, go ahead and close your eyes and continue to stare at the reverse image of the moon or other object now found in the blackened space behind your closed eyes.

At first, this reverse image may only last a few moments, but over time you will increase your ability to see this image longer and longer. This is when the real practice starts.

Continue the practice from 5-15 minutes, starting with less time, building up to more. Perhaps your first time you will only do one or two rounds of outer and inner trataka. Eventually you may do as many as 10 rounds. Ten to fifteen minutes trataka without the least blinking of the eyes will start inducing some mystical experiences.

Check out Stasia Bliss’s article to see what happens when practicing trataka ( Also read her article if you wish to see how this practice can be used to benefit your dreams.


NB: I am posting some suggestions/advice about this practice in the comments below - this posting is becoming rather lengthy - or read the above link. Please be advised that this blog posting is for your information only. If you practice it, do so safely; read comments below. You are responsible for your own actions.

Do you see any image(s) in the photo above of the fire pit flames? I do! Tell me and I'll tell you what I see. ;)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Lunar Effects

Photo courtesy of Roberto Kaplan Designs

Yesterday, I said that the moon affects our emotions. The Spiritual Research Foundation has a lot to say about this:

One of the various points they mention on the affect of the moon on humans: "The frequencies emanating from the Moon affect the frequencies of the mental body, i.e. mind of human beings. By ‘mind’ we mean our feelings, emotions and desires. The mind consists of the conscious mind and the sub-conscious mind. Within the sub-conscious mind we have a number of impressions that are embedded that decide our basic nature and personality. We are however not aware of the thoughts or impressions in our sub-conscious mind. These impressions get collected over a number of lifetimes." (I pause here as you may not believe in past lives. If that's the case, ask yourself how the above can relate to you in this lifetime.)

They go on to say: "These impressions in our mind are the catalysts for all our thoughts and subsequent actions. Both the impressions and our thoughts have their own subtle-frequencies.’." (

Both Rumi and Michael Jackson - I compared them in a few recent posts - were lovers of the moon, both waxing poetically about it One rendition of Rumi's:
At night, I open the window
and ask the moon to come
and press its face against mine.
Breathe into me.
Close the language-door
and open the love-window.
The moon won't use the door,
only the window
Michael Jackson wrote "Dance of Life," a poem that describes how the moon affects him: "I cannot escape the moon. Its soft beams push aside the curtains at night. I don't even have to see it — a cool blue energy falls across my bed and I am up. I race down the dark hall and swing open the door, not to leave home but to go back into it. "Moon, I'm here!" I shout..." Check out the rest of his prose poem below this video:

To be continued...

Monday, July 14, 2014


"Moonlight floods the whole sky from horizon to horizon; How much it can fill your room depends on its windows.” (The Essential Rumi)

The picture above - whose image is from an artist whose name I cannot find (though the name begins with an "O") - is one I received a few years ago. The original is more vivid, primarily deep orange and yellow in colour that I found so captures the beauty of a full moon. (Unfortunately, I seemed to have lost my photos of real ones.)

Did you witness that big, round, beautiful moon the other night, Saturday July 12th, at least in this part of the world?

The Supermoon can be nicknamed a "supersized moon" as it looks much larger than its usual size, and it is also much brighter in appearance as well lighting up the night sky. Wikipedia ( states that "A supermoon is the coincidence of a full moon or a new moon with the closest approach the Moon makes to the Earth on its elliptical orbit, resulting in the largest apparent size of the lunar disk as seen from Earth. The technical name is the perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system.."

Perigee for short varies as the moon can be sometimes a little closer and sometimes a little farther away. A supermoon can appear even closer during the winter when the earth is closest to the sun.
(For details of this photo, check out

Supermoons usually appear once annually, though last year had three such occurrences and this year will feature five in total! So, stay tuned to the night sky where two others will appear: August 10th and September 9th.

How do you feel when you see a supermoon in the night sky? According to one seemingly reliable source whose article has been removed for some reason, supermoons magnify and intensify energies...but then you knew that already, right? ;)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Missed Volunteer Opportunity with the Special Olympics?

It was more than 20 years ago that the Special Olympic Games were to be held in BC, the largest thus far as three new sports were added: basketball, bocce, and golf, for a total of 11 sports that included aquatics (swimming), athletics (track and field), bowling (5- and 10-pin), powerlifting (weights), rhythmic gymnastics, soccer, and softball.

I was to be, I had hoped, a part of the Special Olympics held from July 8 to 12, 2014 in Vancouver, British Columbia (BC), Canada as a proud volunteer.

The 2010 Vancouver Olympics unfortunately did not speak to my heart, did not call me or draw me to sign up as one. For me, it was in part due to what seemed like a lack of integrity and incongruency around environmental issues; that was my perception.

However, being in the presence of people with intellectual disabilities was something I felt would be truly inspirational. They are already champions in my eyes. I love them as they seem to have hearts of gold – generalizing here of course – as most of them, at least the ones I see and meet are often very happy, positive, and go-lucky with infectious smiles, hearty laughs, and zealous enthusiasm. I find them warm, friendly, and sociable. Who wouldn’t want to associate with them?!

Thus, my heart was saddened (at least initially) to discover that a work colleague whom I had told about the Special Olympics got called as a volunteer. But then I realized that perhaps there was a reason for this, and that I would discover it in time. I felt I needed to trust (God/the Universe) and just be – that everything was in divine order – and that all was as it was meant to be and should be.

The discovery came this week and weekend, the first real summer heat wave being one of the reasons, at least for me. I could have been an uncomfortably sweaty, perspiring volunteer in the sweltering heat! No, I do not think that is the main reason why though…

What kind of volunteering opportunities are you drawn towards, and why? And if you have not or do not volunteer, what type of volunteer work would appeal to you? What qualities make an ideal volunteer? Who would you have to be, to be an outstanding volunteer?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Sounding like a Dervish? (like Michael Jackson?)

Yesterday, I made reference to a particular dancing style of Michael Jackson's in relation to that of whirling dervishes. Today, I am doing so in terms of a particular sound in his music.

A number of Michael Jackson's songs feature him singing "hoo" "which sounds somewhat similar to "hu") at or near the beginning or end as well as in the middle; "Man in the Mirror" is one of them. When you watch the video, notice at the 3:35 mark for about eight such repetitions as well as at the 4:10 mark and beyond.

(The link is

According to Raamayan Ananda, a Vancouver, BC author of Michael Jackson: Man Behind the Mirror, "The third step (in his [sic?] dynamic meditation) is a particular sound: HOOO. Not the word 'who,' just the sound hoo - meaningless." The sounds has definite implications that can, if turned inwards be a rebirth or spiritual transformation (

Similarly, according to the following beautiful video and music, "hu" - slightly different - was the sound of the out breath (i.e., exhale) which denotes "that which is, that which was, and that which will be" (at the 5:33 time mark):

HU - An Introduction to Sufi Zikr Meditation... by Gurumaa-Ashram

Again, Michael might have had his twist on the word "hu." Even though, if you recall from my post yesterday, Michael did read Sufi poetry, did he really have knowledge about the word? The following is what appears on the front of a business card on HU:
A Love Song to God

Singing HU can:
Expand your awareness
Help you experience divine love
Heal a broken heart
Offer solace during times of grief
Bring peace and calm
After all, Michael Jackson didn't necessarily experience peace and calmness in his life, did he?

On the website regarding hu (, there is a short video clip (and featured below) where it declares at the 1:01 time indicator, "This word has been sung for thousands of years for spiritual upliftment" and further on, "It is an ancient name for God."

Take a few moments to sing/chant the word 'hu'. What do you notice? How does it make you feel? If you prefer not to do this, then how do certain vowel sounds make you feel when you say them outstretched as in "aye" (for 'a'), "eeeeeh" for ('e), "eye" (for "i"), "oh" for 'o', and 'oooh' for 'u?'

NB: Please be advised that I am not endorsing any particular philosophy or religion in any of my blog postings. I am only informing or sharing that which I find of interest in my research as part of my writing. It is up to you to decipher what is best for you - what calls or draws you - and take responsibility for your own decisions. Namaste.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Whirling like a Dervish? (like Michael Jackson?!)

Photo of MJ by Zoran Veselinovic

The above video highlights some of the "King of Pop", Michael Jackson's spins over the years. And following below is an enlightening poem, dancing the dream written by Michael Jackson - yes, he wrote poetry - about his dancing.

Do you notice how this poem seems to describe Sufi dancing (if you are a bit familiar with the depth of it), not to mention that his style of poetry is very much like that of Rumi? It is perhaps no wonder then that Michael used to read Sufi poetry and performed his own version of twirls and whirls, though he had his own style, his own spin on it! ;) Couldn't resist that pun! (Info from Michael Jackson: Man Behind the Mirror written by Raamayan Ananda, a man I know from Vancouver, British Columbia. Check out his book at (

Next we will look at another interesting be continued, tomorrow?

What kind of things do you notice in our world that whirl? What does the spinning symbolically represent to you?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Whirling Dervishes (like Rumi)

"Let yourself be drawn by the stronger pull of that which you truly love."(Rumi)

According to my book, Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and the West by Daniel Ladinsky, "Love is the essence of Rumi, love became his very being, love is the impetus of all his poetry.".

According to wikipedia (, "Rumi believed passionately in the use of music, poetry and dance as a path for reaching God. For Rumi, music helped devotees to focus their whole being on the divine and to do this so intensely that the soul was both destroyed and resurrected. It was from these ideas that the practice of whirling Dervishes developed into a ritual form."

The spinning or whirling of dervishes are symbolic of their values of love and service, and was in fact an active meditation, a devotional act, often accompanied by singers and reciters of poetry and prayers.

Their dance was symbolic of abandoning their egos or personal desires and focusing instead on God, turning clockwise around the heart, spinning repeatedly in circles like planets, with right arm and hand extended facing up towards the sky, the left downwards towards the earth.

The clothing of the whirling dervish is symbolic: the hat represents the tombstone (or death) of the ego, the skirt (wide and white) to conceal the ego. Disrobing of the black cloak symbolizes being spiritually reborn to the truth. (

Do you love to spin and twirl as you dance? Or did you as a child (as children naturally tend to do)? How does it or did it make you feel?

Due to computer issues, I have to cut this blog short…so will continue with a twist…pardon the pun! ;)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Hafiz, another Beloved Poet (Like Rumi)

I'm going to give myself a little break from writing about Rumi in relation to a world-renowned pop star! Yes, you did read that right! ;) Due to the time pressure of a daily blog post this month - I need some time to read and research - I will introduce you (if you aren't familiar yet) with another wonderful Middle Eastern poet in the meantime.

Have any of you heard of Hafiz (born as Shams-ud-din Muhammad Hafiz)? He was the most beloved poet of Persia, and he has impacted the lives of some pretty influential people since then: Ralph Waldo Emerson primarily known as a poet; Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, a writer and poet; Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, a philospher, poet, and composer amongst other things; and the composer and pianist Johannes Brahms. (You can read more about Hafiz and Rumi in, Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West by Daniel Ladinsky.)

Hafiz penned about 5,000 poems in his lifetime of 66 years of age. Here are some short samples with some Iranian music:

This is one of my favourite poems of his: How did the rose ever open its heart and give to this world all of its beauty? It felt the encouragement of light against its being, otherwise we all remain too frightened. (I love how the poems in this book are all centred on the page, albeit I wish I knew how to do it here!)

Or how about this one which I adore just as much, Know the true nature of your Beloved. In His loving eyes, your every thought, word, and movement is always, always, beautiful. (Isn't his poetry just exquisite? I swear Hafiz could be Rumi reincarnated! Like Rumi, Hafiz was a Sufi mystic and his poems shared a similar quality in writing: eloquent and sensual, speaking of love and devotion, others of humour and wit.

And the video below is a twist on Hafiz' poetry with some modern words, music, and images: I love them all!

FYI (for your information), I just realized that I have been drinking organic "sweet rose" tea today and the past two postings. No wonder perhaps why I am drawn to write about "love" poetry! ;)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Part 2: 100 Ways to Kneel & Kiss the Ground

You may wonder, how did I, a North American gal get into Rumi? How did I hear about him?

Years ago, I met a former refugee who was a survivor of torture from the middle East. He was a lover of Rumi's poetry. It was he who organized "Rumi Night" on several occasions. It was always an evening event with recitation/reading of Rumi poetry with background music, sometimes with whirling dervishes dancing their divine dances of love and devotion.

I came to really enjoy and appreciate Rumi's poetry, not because I used to write inspired poetry (though haven't much lately), but I find his poetry so sensual. It is a feast to my ears, my heart, my soul. It pierces through unwanted emotions transforming and transmuting them into peace and love, similar to what I feel when I chant in Sanskrit.

In fact, at a community dance once, I felt strongly compelled to ask an acquaintance if I could recite/read some Rumi poetry at an upcoming evening. I was delighted when he replied that he would see what he could do, or did he say 'Yes!'?

Regardless, I was ecstatic yet humbled to be considered to take on such an honourable role. I took it quite seriously as I mentored with an older woman, Ruth Raziel, well known in the community for her readings of Rumi poetry.

My initial impulse was to read them passionately as I felt they "should be" expressed; however, it was suggested that I read them as if I was savouring the words like food on my tongue. (I don't know if she actually said that, but something along that line.)

This inspired me to write my interpretation of Rumi’s poetry:
close your eyes
with ears wide
heart open
ready to burst
in flame
to the sounds of love –
fluid words
like soft feathers
or luscious chocolate
melting slowly in your mouth
such exquisite sweetness
and delight
I love that poem, my poem, my inspired poem that tickled me pink. Do you think the poem describes an experience of Rumi poetry? (Not that your opinion matters though. I'm just curious!)

I still have the post-it notes marking some of my favourite poems and passages of The Essential Rumi (with a very similar cover featured yesterday on my blog post), such as:
Birdsong brings relief
to my longing.
I am just as ecstatic as they are,
but with nothing to say!
Please, universal soul, practice
some song, or something, through me!
I actually cried when I opened reciting my favourite Rumi poem, "I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think” The words moved me deeply, touching me sincerely because of my heart's longing to sing freely, with wild abandon, and most of all, to start my inspired alternative youth choir.

If you wish to hear an inspirational and beautiful CD, check out a gift of love cd (pictured above). As you can see from the cover, it features a lot of actors.

Jared Harris, an English actor is one featured on the cd. Here is a short video clip with his voice and scenes from the film, Koyaanisqatsi; check for details if you are interested.

Does poetry move you? Would you be willing to allow it, listening to it with an open heart? And what happens if and when you do? You might just enjoy the experience. ;)

Monday, July 7, 2014

100 Ways to Kneel & Kiss the Ground

Coleman Barks, an eminent scholar of Rumi's poetry is well-renowned for his translations and interpretations of Rumi's poems. One major book title is The Essential Rumi, with two book cover versions shown.

As part of the Indian Summer Festival in Vancouver, BC, on Saturday night, I attended "100 Ways to Kneel and Kiss the Ground" named after one of Rumi's poems.

Rumi (short in America for Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi or Jalaluddin Rumi) was amongst other things, a 13th-century Persian poet. He has actually been described as the "most popular poet in America" and the "best selling poet in the US" according to

Here is a snippet of one of his poems as recited by Coleman Barks: .

Do you love poetry and if so, what kind? Are you familiar with or interested in Rumi's poetry?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Saturday (Summer) Salsa!

Photo courtesy from Ray Van Eng: Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver, outdoor plaza with boardwalk, a marine-themed water fountain, and view of Coal Harbor and downtown Vancouver

My body and spirit wanted to dance, salsa that is! I learned that there would be salsa dancing at Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver, BC.

When I came upon the outdoor dancing platform near the covered stage, I was surprised to see no one dancing. How could that be? Just because it was a cloudy day with a tad (hardly!) of rain?

I thought it a perfect day to dance, to salsa that is, being a bit cool and lots of space to dance and move around in - a perfect combo - thank goodness for a cloudy and a wee bit of rain yesterday (Saturday).

So I approached the small troupe, three instructors awaiting would-be dancers, by the laptop computer blasting music out the large soundspeakers on stage.

One of the two men present whom I would later come to know as the 'leader' asked me if I would like to learn how to dance salsa. He introduced himself as Roger. I heartily replied in the affirmative, though stating that I had taken dance classes years ago to which he responded if I wished a free dance lesson.

Well, why not?! Of course! How can you NOT love salsa dancing and rhythms? I LOVE salsa!

It is amusing to me that I later find out that my dance instructor and partner, Roger Chen is the Director of Salsa Studio which is based out of HarbourDance ( in downtown Vancouver. Interesting to me as years ago, shortly after I arrived in Vancouver, I had applied to work there as a dance instructor. What can I say: I was desperate for a job and loved to dance.

What kind of dance music do you love to listen to? Dance to? How does it make you feel? Who are you being when you do?