Friday, October 30, 2009

Fire Heart


In the garden at night with my nephew playing with sparklers. Note the heart that appears in this one. (Soft background panting courtesy Pippa the dog).

I seem to have a thing for Fire Hearts.
1. This one in the fire on Old Year's Night 2008
2. And this, the hoop I ordered from Toronto and named Fire Heart

Monday, October 26, 2009

More vegetarians needed

Helpless chickens crammed into crates ... will soon lie dead on humans' plates.

On Saturday, heading back to civilization (after my spontaneous drive to Salybia), I ended up at a red light. As I sat there waiting for green, a foul stench wafted into my car. I looked to the vehicle at my right and saw a horrendous sight - one that I always dread seeing on the roadways: hundreds of chickens crammed into crates on the back of a truck in the hot sun. I had never been this close to crated chickens before. The poor creatures were terrified. Some were heaving, with their beaks frozen wide open. Some were making whimpering noises, sounding like frightened puppies. Some just looked like stunned statues. They all appeared wet and bedraggled, as though sweating with fear. I sensed that the foul odour was more as a result of terror than 'poor hygiene'.

Is this how 'being chicken' came to mean 'being afraid'?

There were two men sitting in the front of the truck, looking casual and unconcerned. How did they feel, transporting these animals to their fate? Perhaps, being used to this, they felt nothing. To them, the chickens were probably just 'birds' who don't have feelings and don't know any better.

Au contraire ...

When in Toronto over the summer, I was impressed by a series of ads on the subway promoting vegetarianism (from chooseveg.ca): "Why love one and eat the other?" One poster, dealing with chickens, stated the following facts about these underestimated animals:

Like the animals we cherish as our companions, chickens by nature are inquisitive, affectionate, and personable.

Chickens are intelligent problem-solvers who possess some cognitive abilities more advanced
than those of cats, dogs, and even some primates.

Chickens have close family ties. They will fight foxes and eagles to protect their family members and they mourn the loss of a loved one.

A mother hen begins bonding with her chicks before they even hatch by softly clucking to her
unborn, who chirp back to her from inside their shells.

Think of the terror these sensitive and intelligent animals must go through to become KFC or the next barbeque.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Follow Your Heart

Standing in the river

This morning I was up early as usual and headed out to buy some fruits and vegetables. However, instead of just going to the fruit stall around the corner, something told me to go further. It was a lovely clear morning and because it was early, heat was not a deterrent.

The roads were quiet. I found myself heading into more rural distructs, enjoying the breezy quality time with myself.

I ended up at Salybia (at least one hour from home, for those who don't know it), where the river meets the sea. There were enough people on the beach for it to not be 'deserted' - a small family of what looked like three tourists, an elderly man bathing in the river, two men at the fishing depot, a woman in the refurbished building with toilets and changing rooms, a man selling fruit at the corner of the road. (I bought a coconut, watermelon and paw paw from him after).

I got out and walked along the beach. I have a knack for seeing rainbows before they appear and knowing when there are heart shapes in the area. My heart radar was strongly telling me that I would find a special one, so I kept my eyes to the ground. I saw nothing in the sand. But when I got to the river, I found this (see below video). As I saw it, I couldn't help but say "Thank You!" aloud. It made my day.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Jasper in concert ... and the winning name

Those who own cats will know how they love to monopolize everything. Jasper has a knack for spreading out exactly on the part of whatever book or document I'm reading; coming to lounge precisely on the piece of the page where I'm writing; stretching his body horizontally across the bed, leaving me enough space to perch precariously at the edge. It comes as no surprise that he has also taken possession of the new keyboard. Clearly it belongs to him.
The first notes of his new composition
Belting out the lyricsHeadbanging
After all that music making, time for a cat nap.

Jasper and I thank all of you who took the time to think up and submit such meaningful names (for the new keyboard). While we feel that each one had its own beauty, we particularly liked Clé ... the idea of a key to open new doors. Plus piano keys and musical keys are all inherent in that name. If we were being really strict about it, that name would actually be disqualified for not being put in the comments section (as requested). But ... we'll ease up this time.

We also liked the meaning of 'Raga' ... "Raag, in the Sanskrit dictionary, is defined as "the act of coloring or dyeing" (the mind in this context) and "any feeling or passion especially love, affection, sympathy, vehement desire, interest, joy, or delight"

The keyboard's name is Clé Raga: the key that opens doors to love, affection, interest, joy and delight.
Congratulations to Kathryn and Jayme. Your mp3 prize will be delivered to you some time soon.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I am live from Copenhagen (update)

Have a look at this whole video ... you'll get a surprise!

And try it too.

*****

Update (24-10-09)
Today, 24 October 2009 is International Day of Climate Action

P.S. A quick note: some people thought that I really was in Copenhagen doing this. No ... it is an online Greenpeace thing (Action-Pact: demand a pact to act on climate change) which you can do from wherever you are in the world. Your name and photo will appear on the 'news report' once you have submitted your slogan, etc. It's to raise awareness about the 350ppm (read about what that is here)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Thank you for the names so far


Yesterday I received four suggested names for my new keyboard/MIDI controller. I will announce the selected name at the end of the week. Meanwhile, the doors are still open for names if anyone wants to offer more.

Two names, as requested, were left in the comments section of the blog.

From Celsa:
"Sakura" (the cherry blossom) - since she is most likely a keyboard of Asian birth.

Ironically I went to see a German film last night, part of which was set in Japan. Cherry blossoms featured prominently. They are a symbol of the female principle (beauty and sexuality) and impermanence.

From Jayme:
Two ideas, both from Sanskrit: Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, music and the arts
or

Raga
, a word which means harmony, melody and feeling. It is one of the three pillars of Indian Classical Music and has deep meaning in that context (explanation of meaning here)



*******

Other names sent to me by other means (i.e. not left in comments on blog) were:

From Kathryn:
Call it "Clavier" - French for keyboard (musical as well as computer) - or "Clav" for short or maybe Clé" which means "key" as in key for the door but may be symbolic as the new keyboard is the "key" to something new - new music - new vibes or something...

From Navid:
1. Azar (Persian for Fire)
2. Farah (Persian for Joy, Happiness, Cheerfulness.)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Help me name my new keyboard

Time for some new music with my new EMU

I'm happy with my EMU Xboard 25 key MIDI controller which I got last night (in perfect condition, purchased second hand from Coreysan). I can already feel that fun times and great music will come of it. It's big enough to not feel like a toy and small enough to be mobile and go traveling with.

My other keyboard, Haniel, died quite a while ago. Haniel had hundreds of great sound banks and patches (i.e. musical samples/tones for different instruments) stored in her and I would do everything (sequencing/composing/recording) right there in the keyboard. If you click on my Reverbnation page and listen to the music there, all of it (except the songs with acoustic guitar and 'Raindrops on Skin' which is a combo of Garageband and Ableton Live) was created with Haniel.

The EMU is a MIDI keyboard, used to trigger the sound samples in computer-based music programmes. i.e. I can't create music within (or using just) the keyboard itself as with Haniel.

If you've been reading my blog for a while you will know that I give my pieces of equipment meaningful names:
Karishma (video camera)
Dandelion (drum)
The camera formerly known as Synchronicity (now renamed Phoenix because she fell on Valentine's Day and rose from the ashes)
Supernova (little go-everywhere-with-it camera).

WHAT'S IN A NAME?
Instead of me coming up with the name for the new keyboard, I'm throwing out the opportunity for you all. You can leave your suggestion in the Now is Wow Too comments section along with a brief rationale (i.e. why you gave it that name). I'll go with the name/rationale that resonates most with me. As a prize, I will compose a short piece of music for the winner.

Thanks in advance.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Enjoy your Divali

Om made by my friend Glen, in his front garden

Truth over untruth, Light over darkness

Friday, October 16, 2009

Worth watching ... and doing


Toward the end, check the question on the t-shirt of one of the megaphone men.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Do you ...?

The Mirror reflecting white roses that one of my friends gave me at the ceremony

For the wedding, I and those of my friends who were present in person (local) and spirit (international) each wrote a vow ... something to which we would each say "I do" ... knowing that even though we may not be able to suddenly do it overnight, we are making the effort. The first step is the beginning of the journey.

Each vow was read to me by 'the officiator' (one of my friends, Deidre). While looking into my eyes in the hand mirror I had bought for the occasion, I said "I do" to each. There were some where the wording didn't resonate with me 100% ... so I said "I do, but ..." (and amended accordingly).

Afterwards, I passed the mirror to the friend next to me and he to the one next to him, etc. All around the circle, each of my friends looked into their own eyes and silently made a vow to themselves.

A few days later, another friend and I read and burned each vow one by one outdoors. The rationale for this is:
fire = transformation and purification; the smoke = a vehicle to carry the written sentiments up to the heavens to be blessed. There is no need to keep the written vows. They are within.

Below are the vows we all contributed. They are open to all. You may or may not say "I do" to all (or none) and you may or may not feel like amending some of the wording to resonate with you specifically.

Do you _____________________ vow

1. ... to honor your divine calling by courageously probing deeply into self-awareness, stepping out of comfortable patterns and into the great unknown of positive change, to uncover all of the glory that YOU are, and above all, do you vow to uphold & maintain acts of highest SELF-LOVE
for your highest
good and the highest good of all concerned ____? And do you vow to strive to discover the JOY in EACH "now" moment?

2. ... to forgive often and always?

3. ... to behold the Beloved in self and others, to be tender hearted and kind and to see beauty in all?


4. ... to give each other your attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection and allowance. (from a couple)


5. ... to taking your own soul as your soul mate and
learning to love yourself in life, whatever that may require of you?

6. ....
to strive to be gentle to yourself no matter what?

7. ....
to take care of yourself lovingly every day for the rest of your life?

8. ... to strive to believe in yourself ... and in striving, to actually believe more and more until you fully do?

9. ...
to BE YOU. Boldly and Proudly and Truly.

10 ... observe your thoughts and gently return to your still centre of Love in each moment of recognition?

11. ... to honour yourself always?

12. ... to be honest in all you say and do?

13 ... that from this day forward you shall remember that you never walk alone. May your heart be a shelter for the fearless princess living inside you. May you walk together through all things. May you feel deeply loved, for indeed you are. May you always see your innocence ...

14. ... to always be true to yourself?

15 ... to continue to seek your own twin soul and weave a tapestry of love, bliss and service to others while embracing the will of the love of those in whom other parts of your soul reside, for a time?

16 ... to be true to yourself with breath and peace?

17 ... to be more confident in yourself as a creative being?

18 ... to open to Love and Healing?

19 ... to be your own best friend and open your arms and heart gently for love to enter. To never chase love. If it is for you it is already waiting with open arms and heart. If it isn't, you wish it safely home. May the blessings be.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

To Thine Own Self

Heart shape on stone at Maracas Bay

I do something symbolic and interactive for my birthday (7 October) every year. I didn't go into detail in my last post, but for this year's birthday, I got married to myself. It was a beautiful late-afternoon-into-evening outdoor ceremony under a large tree in Wildflower Park. This "Oneness Celebration" (which is what I called it) was attended by about 12 friends (locally) and some international ones (in spirit). The dress code was white. The weather was fantastic.

After the ceremony and the vows, as night fell, we picnicked on a large piece of tarpaulin, under the stars and moon amidst many fireflies. Even though it was my 'wedding'/Oneness Celebration (becoming one, True Self) it was also everyone else's. We all married our True Selves that evening ... or at least acknowledged and embraced the importance and magnitude of it.

Without this acknowledgment and effort, how easily "Self" can unwittingly be forgotten, ignored or avoided as we habitually focus, depend on and give our energy away to externals.

No matter who or what comes or goes, I will be with myself for the rest of my life. I intend to get to really know, love and respect her, seek her best interests, enjoy being her and make a great life of it.

In my next post I will share the vows from the ceremony.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

One for my Birthday

My birthday gift to myself is "Oneness".

The above photograph is of my feet and my footprints on the beach sand. It symbolizes me standing face to face with the Self and committing to the process of becoming One. The "empty" footprints are not really empty. They are full of every aspect of myself that I am consciously welcoming, embracing, merging with in my True Self.

By extension, the 'empty' footprints also represent standing face to face with and seeing/reflecting the external other (i.e. the various reflections we encounter around us in our daily interactions). The intention is to see, be and reflect our True Selves, from a place of Love = Divinity (non-duality) within and without.

Using this photograph as a template, I invite you to create (as a personal meditation for yourself) a symbolic photograph of your own bare feet and your footprints. If you don't have sand, you can use your empty shoes, chalk marks drawn around your bare feet, impressions on the ground made by your bare wet feet ... or anything else you can think of. In your own time and space, stand face to face with your Self and recognize, welcome, embrace, merge with all that enables you to be the full and true "You".

Sat nam

I will close with the words in the birthday card that Daddy made for me:

You deserve the best birthday on Earth ... not to mention the Moon, the Stars and the Universe.

... and yes, it already is the best.

Elspeth




Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Object of feline attention

Jasper the hunk

Lately a large orange Tom cat has been coming into the garden at night. Sometimes blood curdling battle cries pierce the middle of the night or early morning, awakening me. Some of you may know the horrible sound of fighting cats (defending territory). When I go out to chase the orange cat away, Jasper runs inside, sometimes looking victorious, sometimes with his tail and fur along the spine all bushed out.

The night before last I was awakened by soft cries, like those of a persistent kitten, coming from just under my window. At the same time, Jasper jumped inside. Thinking he was escaping from the large orange Tom, I got up and looked out, but saw nothing. I closed the window and went back to sleep.

Then last night, Jasper awakened me when he jumped through the window. He sat gazing out at something and, as I looked up, I saw the silhouette of a cat against the curtains. Thinking it was the orange Tom, I chased it away and closed the window. A short while later I heard the same persistent kittenish mewing and observed that Jasper was looking alert, but unafraid. When I looked out, I saw a smaller ginger cat sitting in the moonlight, gazing up at my bedroom window, gently mewing.

In the dark I couldn't be sure. Was this the large Tom cat (just looking smaller because I was seeing it from a different angle)? And is it that he looks big and bad but really has a high pitched squeak of a meow? Or was it a smaller, ginger female, calling lovingly to Jasper, the neighbourhood hunk?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Does your path have a heart?

Wearing my heart on my (yoga) pants

This heart was on my path this morning as I walked around the Savannah with a friend before a yoga class.

Then found this on Youtube:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

With gifts from the Gods, I am a millionaire

My purchases for the morning: coconut, watermelon, avocado

This morning as I stood drinking a jelly coconut, the coconut vendor (the one by UWI Doubles) launched into one of his little stories:

"I does wuk for recreation. I does wuk for recreation! I is 87 years old! I have property for $3 million dollars." (Here he scrunched up his mouth and waved his hands dismissively). "I give dat to meh chirren. I ent know A from B. I could speak Hindi, I could speak English, but in school I couldn't spell meh name. A and B?!"

I understand what he means by 'working for recreation'. He doesn't need to work anymore, but he wants to.

Work for some is not about the work itself. It's about routinely performing an action to get money to pay bills and 'live'.

Over the past month or so, I've been gradually cleaning, clearing and giving away things that I no longer want, need or use. The most recent things that I chose to give were some framed original photographs of mine. Those who expressed the desire to own them agreed that they would get the photograph of their choice in exchange for raw fruits, vegetables and/or nuts of their choosing.

Last night was the first exchange. Two individuals each received their framed photos. In return I received portugals, mango and two bags of assorted nuts (walnuts, etc) in their shells.

Today I will deliver another photo and the recipient says she'll take me to the fruit/vegetable stall for produce and/or to The Little Store for dried fruit and/or nuts.

On Saturday I'll be exchanging the final two framed photographs for more raw goods. One recipient said she will meet me after she goes to the market. The other mentioned 'a box' of supplies. In total, this is my food for a week or more.

In order to have and experience some things in this world, we need money. Right now I can't pay my TSTT bill with two avocados and a slab of watermelon, buy a house by the river/sea with bananas and nuts or travel the world in exchange for two large pumpkins.

But it feels special and exciting to receive raw edibles in return for these framed photographs. Symbolically, it is very meaningful to me.

The recipients genuinely wanted the images they chose and, in return, they spent time thinking about me, about what raw produce I would like and then going and getting it. They didn't just push their hands into their pockets and pull out a wad of bills or hurriedly write a cheque.

From this little experience I'm inspired to think of money differently.

Money is a special, natural and nourishing gift from the Gods. It grows with ongoing, plentiful abundance all around me. It's my joy to grow it, nurture it, harvest it, share it and exchange it in the process of making life richer for myself and those around me.

Thinking like this, the next time I write a cheque or give money to someone in exchange for something, it could be an entirely different experience for both of us (giver and receiver):

(When paying phonebill): I exchange rich, healthy organically-grown produce from my abundant harvest with TSTT in return for crystal clear, enjoyable, meaningful, life-affirming communication.

(Paying internet bill): I exchange full, ripe fruits from my flourishing financial garden with Flow in return for an ever-enriching network of meaningful global connections, increased knowledge and pleasure and the ability to spread my wings and soar with effortless grace to wherever I want and need to go.

(When buying new clothes): My fertile, freshly flowering finances are a special delivery to this woman behind the cash register who is handing me a bag full of places-to-go-people-to-meet-feeling-and-looking-great. And the beautiful scent of my flowering finances wafts with gratitude to the old woman in India who sat for hours weaving the cotton that made it possible.