In all this world, there is nothing more important than appreciating the preciousness of our human embodiment and doing all we can to increase health and happiness for ourselves and others - Tarthang Tulku

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Friendly Reminder

If you write for God you will reach many men and bring them joy. If you write for men-- you may make some money and you give someone a little joy and you may make a noise in the world, for a little while. If you write only for yourself you can read what you yourself have written and after ten minutes you will be so disgusted you will wish that you were dead. - Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Your Shining Skull



Today is All Saint's Day, one of my favorite days to go to church. Tonight there will be full choir and the music of Thomas Luis De Victoria, Bach, and Marcel Dupris at Saint Clement's in Philadelphia, which in my estimation is one of this city's most beautiful churches . My most beloved Saints who I'll be thinking about today are Saint Martin, Patron Saint of alcoholics ( always a good one to have around), Saint Cecelia, Patron Saint of Music, Saint Peter,Saint Paul, Saint Michael, and Saint Andrew. Ok, all of them, really, but the one's I've mentioned have been the heavy hitters in my life today.


My life: it is a beautiful thing to be bridging the divide between secular and non-secular worlds, between the real and the imagined Life, between East and West, black and white and all the colors of the rainbow. Now, I don't know that Rev. Gordon Reid at Saint Clement's would quite know what to make of a blog called Namaste, Bitches. It would take some explaining and I'm not sure its worth his time. Silence is indeed golden. I'll keep that one on the DL for Rev. Reid. He is Welsh and sometimes I think he smells India on me and looks at me rather quizzically at times, unless of course I'm wearing tweed. Perhaps I'll ask him if he'd like to learn the "shining skull breath" one day. We'll see how that goes over. I shall report back.


Well, since you're yogi readers, you know what this "shining skull" business is all about hows about aa quick review. The kapala bhati breath is a way of breathing that the yogis came up with to help purify the mind. It removes cobwebs and debris from the brain. The word comes from the sanskrit, Kapal meaning skull and bhati meaning, "shining or illuminating". It's a short, percussive breath of forced exhalation designed to create more space in the body for more prana, air, life force, chi, oxygen, whatever you want to call it. As a singer, I've also found thatKapala bhati works really well as a vocal warmup as well. Anyway, who doesn't want a shining skull? Just do it.

In the interest of our collective shining skulls, I came across a quote from Joanna Macy, Buddhist scholar, ecologist and founder of no small undertaking of an organization called The Council of All Beings. I find this line of thinking to be particularly potent at his point in Time:


"I believe that we have got to shift our identity out of that little prison cage of ego in order to survive. We have to find new ways to know experientialy our inter-connectedness with all forms of life on this planet. Conventional morality tells us that we should love our neighbor and ought to remember the needy just doesn't work.It's boring and we don't feel it inside ourselves. We need meditations and games an rituals that will give us space to step outside of the human identification we've been wearing for so long."

To my heart, this sentiment is particularly relevant to where things are right now for us planet and as human beings in quest -- we are longing for an older, simpler time where we can be healed by Nature but at the same time we are being pulled into this strange unknown , wired-up, wacked out Future. I pray to God that David Bowie secretly owns the world.

I've put together a little list of books I'm reading that might help increase your shine factor. These are the pages I'm getting lost in at the moment:


Every Living Thing by James Herriot


The Feminine Face of God by Sherry Ruth Anderson


The Invention of Paradise by Peter C. Bener


Uppity Women of the New World by Vicki Leon

Inward Revolution: Bringing About Radical Change in the World by J.Krishnamurti

The Power to Heal:Ancient Arts & Modern Medicine


And on this All Saints Day I will be thinking of you, dear readers, as I sit tonight in the pew (I can never get anyone to come to church with me-- has it truly gone out of fashion?) and sing and kneel and pray for the many miracles this upside down world on Fire needs. STAT, from the Latin, " statum", meaning " at once". Eight years of a dead language always served me well. Speaks Latin, my Satin doll....


Never gonna fall for Modern Love,

Holly