I woke up on December 24th and looked out my window and spied a large female deer in my neighbor’s yard, lazily munching on remnants of summer’s plethora of green grass. Soon there came into view a young buck, followed by two young female deer. I smiled at their comfortable grazing, feeling safe together, feeling the goodness of life in every sweet blade of grass. Not planning or calculating or checking off lists, like I had been doing - just enjoying the sun against the cool winter air on their greyish-tan backs accented by short, white-lined tails. I stood at my window in my PJs, soaking in the peace they emanated, smiling at my good fortune to have this beautiful sight grace my early day. (I took the picture above, this summer in Los Alamos, NM.)
What stays with me is the joy I was feeling at a certain occasion or meeting or conversation, even if I can’t remember the details of what transpired. What I remember about Phil Emmanuel (above right, next to Tommy) is his exuberant energy and passion for music, which filled me with deep joy — the kind that inspires and uplifts, long after the physical event is over.
I didn’t know him personally but from getting to see him perform, I felt his strength of character and commitment to being his authentic self. Phil exited the planet a few weeks ago, leaving a sparkling trail of music. Here’s one of my favorite video clips ever. Phil is on the left, play “Town Hall Shuffle” with bro, Tommy Emmanuel. You will be blown away by these two master musicians!
It’s hard to believe that a little over two years ago I was pondering the haze of the diminishing Smokey Mountains in my rear view mirror as my thoughts began to settle on the new life awaiting me in the mountains of New Mexico. Even though the Land of Enchantment is not exactly Music City, I’ve been infused with the sweet energy of Mother Earth that is so special here, which flows with creative juices of its own flavors.
Being near my daughter and grand daughter fills me with such a feeling of love and being loved. And nothing can beat that! When I think about love, I am assured that it is good to love — it must be the deepest primordial instinct of our species that fills a well of need stirring within us.
I’ve also come to believe that it’s better to love for love’s sake. The needs will always be there but the foundation of partnership, or any kind of love, doesn’t have to be built on the emotionally fluctuating factor of need. But let the bricks grow stronger in the sun. Let the surety of love without reason or logic, be a steady knowing, incomprehensible perhaps, yet shining its beauty through and through, transforming each layer into something that mirrors the eternal.
Real love… what is it, really? Perhaps a reflection of what the stars dream of, and yet not so diaphanous that we in the flesh cannot catch a glimpse of.
I feel so fortunate to have so many amazing friends in my life who enrich my life with laughter, music, good stories, trust, appreciation, joy, a listening ear, a hug, and so much more!
Wishing you the opening that lets love in, the awakening that lets love out, the joy that pales all fear, and most of all, the satisfaction that comes from knowing that life will keep delivering interesting mysteries to expand our conscious awareness and keep us inspired.
I’d like to share a song that my daughter, Joy, and I performed recently (and please sing along!):
Love and hugs,
Thanks to Sara Ann and KyRe Photography for photos
A few weeks ago, I was at the grocery, humming my way through the fluorescent aisles; then made my way to the check out with my carefully chosen array of goodies that smiled sweetly at me, sure I would provide them with a happy place in my constitution, in exchange for their provision of life force.
I stood in line behind an elderly woman as the young man at the register cheerfully bantered with the even younger guy, bagging her groceries. My eyes grazed across “Julia Roberts - the Most Beautiful Woman,” “Oprah’s Secret to Success,” “Snoop Dog and Martha Stewart, Stirring it Up in the Kitchen,” and other brightly colored magazine covers, built to entice, but for me, they are only a source of temporary amusement to draw my mind away from the list of things I need to get done today, or checking to make sure I got everything I came for.
My ears perk to the playful spirit that lilts in the voices of the two young men. “Check it out. I haven’t seen this all summer,” the cashier says as he picks up a seemingly ordinary clear plastic bag of green grapes, and sets them on the built-in scale at the end of the conveyer belt. “Cotton candy grapes! Shoot, these are the bomb!” he continues. “Did you know we had these?” he says to screen, as he punches buttons.
“No, man,” retorts the bagger.
“How much are they? I didn’t see a price,” inquires the old lady.
He answers, and she responds, “I didn’t know they were so much. I don’t want them.”
“You sure? They taste just like cotton candy!” he says in zealous disbelief.
“No, they’re too expensive,” she replies, unmoved.
“I’ll take them!” I chime, stoked at the possibility of eating fruit that tastes like sweet puffy pink clouds. “I’ve never heard of them.”
“OK!” says the cashier as he hands them over to me and continues checking out the lady.
I can’t wait to taste them, so I eat one, of course. My taste buds do a triple summersault. “Wow! These are incredible!” I exclaim as I offer grapes to the couple behind me whose curiosity peaks at my excitement.
“Which way would you want?” says the bagger to the gray-haired lady casually, as he places her bags into her cart.
“What?” she says blankly.
“Which way … which way would you pick?” he repeats, swaying his body to emphasize his words.
“Like what super-power would you want?” clarified the cashier, as if this would be all the befuzzled lady would need to make things come back into focus, in her world. She, of course, continues to stare blankly at them.
“Like I’d choose Transformer,” proceeded the casher, as he hands her her receipt. “I could turn myself into anything!”
“I’d be Annihilator,” joins the bagger, in complete solemnity, placing the last bag into her cart. The lady slowly rolls her cart away, not sure of what had just happened, perhaps contemplating getting new batteries for her hearing aids.
“Which way would you want?” the cashier asks, raising his deep brown eyes to meet mine, as I roll up to face him.
“I’d be Cotton Candy!” I say, as I hand both of them a pluck of grapes from my lucky bag of treasure. “I could spread cotton candy everywhere I went!”
We all laugh and squish juicy cotton candy between our teeth that spill into more giggles.
You just never know what Universe you’ll step into, on a bright summer New Mexico afternoon.
Thanks to the following for images:
Today is a good day to celebrate life and the sweetness of all the possibilities each moment fosters!
I was hiking a couple of days ago and found a nice shaded rock to succumb to for a breather. I looked out over the scrub oaks, into the vast, seemingly depthless canyon that started its decent a few yards from my feet. The breeze stretched from those unknown depths, carrying its gift of restorative coolness to my happy respite.
I glanced up at the distant amber cliffs, mottled in a palette of golden highlights, crimson crevices, and pale alabaster shocks, shouldering the bluest blue a sky can be. Then by providence or happy accident, it didn’t matter which, my eyes fell on a perfect heart shape, plastered on that beautiful face of corrugated colors. I gazed and smiled and took in a slow filling of my lungs because I didn’t want the moment to pass too quickly. I looked deeply, watching it, to assure my own heart it wasn’t a picture flung from my imagination into the solidification of 3-D reality, momentarily. It wasn’t. It was really there. As real as the sheer cliffs, the busy ants that carried oversized packages passed the sweet rock I rested on, and the kisses the wind brought me.
I couldn’t avert my eyes. That pristine heart appeared to be about the size of my thumb from far across the chasm that swallowed humongous forests of ponderosa pine. I tried to make out if it was a dark out-cropping of rocks, pushed by force of storms, deftly arranged, over the years, into this happy shape. Or perhaps it was engraved into the side of the cliff by wind and water of eons past. Then again, it might be a miraculous bas relief caused by the stiff, slow currents of ancient glaciers, sculpting the faces of limestone and basalt.
“I wonder if it’s a shadow,” I said to magical air around me, “that only shows up at this time of day, in this season of the year, from this particular angle.”
I sat and watched. I hummed to the trees. I watched some more. I told the ants to slow down and enjoy the scenery. They didn’t listen.
Then it came — the secret of its creation. As soft as a whisper afraid of its own telling, it moved. It was no longer a perfect heart. As the late afternoon became later afternoon, the shape imperceptibly morphed into a nebulous blob — still beautiful, for it lay in the arms of the painted cliff, but definitely not notable. “Wow!” I thought as I made my way back down the trail, “what a gift… to catch those earth-bending moments at the perfect time… to behold the heart of gold smiling at you from the bosom of Mother Earth, herself.”
So many possibilities each moment holds for us!
And as summer is just around the corner, like the sweet song of a river you can hear calling you but can’t see till you make that last bend in the trail, here’s a little celebration of that coming season: “Serenade to Summer” written by Jerry Reed, performed by Tommy Emmanuel and Richard Smith.
Click here to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7bFQSYg1yU
Courtesy of Harold Hall Photography: http://haroldhall.photoshelter.com/image/I0000w4y5IDsMWeE
already feeding the side
of the mountain
starting to sing all those songs
you practiced in your head
when you were still a snow flake
blushing against the western rose sky
gazing up at the stars
like your own reflection
holding each others’ tiny hands
humming to the sacred silence
of the mountain top
—- shashi light
Thanks to: http://pcwallart.com/mountain-stream-painting-wallpaper-2.html
it raised a buzz in our small town
people whispered in the library
and out loud in the grocery
tickets were going fast
we counted down the months
then the days and finally the hours
till we stood in line
borrowing each others scarves
and mittens to keep warm
when the flood gates opened
there was a scrambling but mostly
respect for the older folks
as fast as i would have
liked them to
a lady threw herself on 3 seats
like a hero when I yelled
“save those seats!”
we became instant friends
it just so happened those seats
held a pocket of clear vibrant sound
unaccustomed to visiting
the rest of the theatre
an accidental acoustic caveat
i was too excited to sit
so i weaved through ribbons of people
like a salmon jumping upstream
kids teens mothers grandfathers
moved in various curves
i chatted with an usherette
and got the answer
to my burning question
the lights dimmed
i floated down to my seat
as the excitement of a thousand or so
percolated bubbled giggled
through an expectant hush
blanketing the residual chattering
an electrical silence
humming with unison breath
united our anticipation
then like a miracle
there he was
instrument in hand
stepping like an ordinary human
onto a stark stage
solely adorned by a grand piano
our ears leaned forward
our minds slowed
to capture every golden particle
sure to follow
brandished by the
uninhibited dance of his magic wand
our hearts felt safe
to open to his glittering notes
that took a thousand years to make
we feasted on that sweet decadence
note after note
phrase after glistening phrase
there were moments of
frolicking soaring lilting chasing
diving thundering experimenting
delicately commanding our lives
enrapturing our senses
expanding our possibilities
we were happy captives
our cells always thirsty for beauty
soaked in every morsel
our minds forgot
we were sitting in an auditorium
did we even breathe for those 2 magical hours
afterward he came out to sign cds
so we could hold his name in our hands
as living proof of his ethereal presence
he smiled at a child
when her mother mentioned
her daughter played the violin
“may I shake your hand?”
in complete humility
only a child could
respond to that
without turning into jelly
for days we talked about his hair his clothes
his burgundy cumber-band
his pauses and crescendoes
how much is his violin worth?
did you notice how he held his bow?
why did he come here?
that was what everyone wanted to know
what on earth brought him to our
speck on the map
i smiled and recalled the remarkable story
the usherette shared with me
of Joshua Bell honoring a humble request
of a gentleman who turned
into our beholden gain
—- shashi light
Thanks to: http://info.music.indiana.edu/faculty/current/bell-joshua.shtml
Sending you, and those you love, warm wishes for a truly special season of sharing simple joys, remembering how blessed we all are in countless ways, and seeing ourselves through eyes of kindness and compassion.
And may your 2017 be full of what most delights your heart!
thank you Grandmother Sun
for your sacred sweet breath of fire
twisting and swirling through amber arms
that dance us across the galaxies
for your secret array of colors
caught by prism raindrops
unleashed to sprint across the eternal canopy
in sublime translucent beauty
for your warm smile
for your quiet rising
and steady traverse across our ever changing sky
for your compassionate shepherding of our scurrying
with a gentle swish of your paintbrush hair
settling in masterpieces every night
canvasing our evening surmises
for growing our crops
for drying my clothes
for clay pots balancing water
for making raisins
for the sweet golden flow
onto the unwritten page of a new day
— shashi light
A few nights ago, as I was falling asleep, letting my thoughts drift through the maze of activities of the day, thankful for my health and vitality, it just hit me that every so-called challenge in our lives is just a new path of joy. There are numerous established, well-trodden avenues of happiness, such as winning the lotto, going on a great vacation,
meeting someone extraordinary, being kissed by a beautiful sunset, hearing a brilliant piece of music, etc.
But wouldn’t it be grand to blaze new pathways of bliss? Like reveling in rising each morning
because we can get out of bed and eat breakfast, or open our lungs freely and take in new air
every few seconds, or know the surety of our commitment to the well being of our own selves.
As I lay in bed, my mind glanced upon a strange occurrence in my life. A few months ago, I got the flu.
I call it strange because I never get sick. And, as it turned out, this illness became a bizarre, lengthy
sequence of various, painful symptoms that lasted several weeks. I got over it eventually, but it remains
enigmatic to me in many ways.
But here’s the aha!
Confined to my bed, my mind a muddy melange of sadness, confusion, worry, and self-pity, I eventually got to the point of utter exasperation with my negative thoughts, and
became desperate to be healthy again. So I decided to think of everything I was thankful for.
So it began, a journey of creating joy. Creating a trail through the tangled brambles of my feelings
of powerlessness and pain.
I’ve been that annoying type of person who tends to be relentlessly optimistic, who will smile at most
adversities, and who is seldom shaken by seeming difficulties, but this new challenge in my life totally
knocked me off my silver lining (literally), and it took every inch of will power in me to start shifting my
mind from sadness and loneliness to gratitude. I was too weak, at the moment, to write anything, so
I began saying them softly to the air in my dim lit bedroom. “I’m thankful for my bed, my soft pillow,
my friends, my family, that I don’t have a terminal illness, for the birds I hear singing outside my window. . . ”
As I spoke, I began weeping, partly because of the exhausting effort it took to exude those soft words, but mostly
because a great sorrow began to be unleashed from my heart as I turned my thoughts away form the self-imposed prison of concentrated pain. My tears fell everyday, as I continued to practice my commitment to
speak my gratitudes each morning.
Now, as I look back on that time, I realize it was a gift, just as everything I may have misperceived in my life
as a negative experience. An opportunity, if I am willing to forge a new path of joy. A gift to create a
magnificent leap of consciousness.
So if you are fortunate enough to be experiencing something like health issues, money problems,
relationship challenges, etc., just say, “Thank you!” And become an innovator of elation. It will confound the people around you. They will question your sanity. It will puzzle your friends.
It will rattle some cages. And it will open up new roads of bliss for you.
The idea and the doing are two different entities, of course, but there is growth in the reaching for, like a
plant bends gently toward her grandmother, the sun. We can bend in the direction of what we perceive as
truth, and in that reaching, there is a cleansing, a purifying, a freedom, and a new path of joy.