sail on

the sail time travels on
shrinks and us smaller still
in the wake of sky-filled luminous canvas

you ride
with newgrace
newonder
newelation

Let us learn from you
to embrace what
time grants us

to hold what we touch
in reverence for what
it will grow within us

perhaps
that’s why we’re here

the seen and unseen
cannot separate worlds
they feed each other

shall we not mistake pain
for obstacles
and medals for self-worth

neither will reward
our great Consciousness
rising and thriving
when we seek the path
of self-realization

only with eye unblemished
by transient standards
of men and women

my hands cannot catch
the sparkle you sail on
bouncing from your unfettered heart

But I keep it
in a teaching place
so my mind will not forget
the unseen that grows inside me

and not regret
what escapes to less than dust someday

but eternel inside me

 

by Shashi Light
for Phil Emmanuel

Image by Maya Mendoza

Juneteenth

Several years ago, when I was living in LA, I was going home after an event downtown and it was late – probably around midnight. I had parked in a parking garage that only took cash. I realized that I didn’t have any, as I got in the parking garage elevator. It stopped at the next level and four big, very tall Black guys got in. As the elevator gently hummed the five of us up, I thought, well I could choose to be scared right now, but instead I said, “Do any of you have any cash? I don’t have any to pay for parking here.” All of them reached for their wallets and handed me money. I gratefully took what I needed and smiled and wished them a great night as I stepped off the elevator. (Just to be clear… I’m not insinuating that the color of their skin was cause for apprehension. Any woman alone in downtown LA late at night might be concerned when surrounded by four men of any variety she didn’t know.)

Yesterday I had the privilege of participating in a peaceful march. It felt so good to be a part of this pivotal point in the history of the world where things are changing, people are understanding what equality really means, people are seeing that a lot can be done to move towards real equality for Blacks, all over the world: economically, socially, politically, judicially, in the job market, in healthcare, and especially in our hearts.

Do something especially kind to/for Blacks at this crucial time when every voice needs to be heard.

love heals

I want to share some thoughts that have been rolling around in my head over the last several days. First of all, my heart goes out to any of you who may be dealing with illness caused by COVID-19 or have a loved one who is.  It is a fearful things to face the unknown when your life depends on it, possibly.  I am sure social media and the press have caused undue stress and fear when this is a time to not panic, as panic blurs good judgment, leading to bad decisions.

I’m the type of person who tries to look for the what might be gained from “negative” occurrences. I’m noticing that this situation has brought me back to focusing on what is really important to me.  I’m reaching out to friends and they to me, to check in, to say, “Hey, I’m thinking about you,” to communicate appreciation and gratitude for their love and friendship. I’m offering items to friends and they are reciprocating with like generosity, as many of you are. I’m reawakening to what each moment’s highest priority really is to me. I’m savoring each conversation I have, and not letting a chance to laugh or smile or speak kindly pass me by. I’m able to be more patient with myself and others.  I’m so grateful we have the means to communicate with those who are quarantined.

Lastly, I want to say “THANKS to everyone in the medical profession who are arduously working to care for the extra load of patients, executing mass testings, and doing whatever pssible to ensure our well-being.

And I am grateful for you, my friends! We are all in this together and we have hope, courage, and compassion to see us through! Sending love and good vibes to you all!

happy reindeer

A couple of weeks ago as I was leaving the grocery store, rolling my cart through the foyer, I saw a small group of people huddled together in a corner. Then I heard a pitch pipe and the 13 or so of them opened their mouths and out came a magical sound of four-part acapella harmony, in the sweetest tones I’d heard in a long while.

I was amazed those sounds found their way to me so clearly and unscathed, zigzagging across the stream of people and carts parading by, automatic doors swishing open and shut, the chatter in the air - and yet from the far corner, beautiful waves of vibration flowed undaunted to my happy ears. I stood there, one hand on my cart, trying to be unobstructive to the flow of busy shoppers. I stood and let the sound fill my heart with its gentle harmonies. I stood and thought how these smiling faces gave up their Saturday afternoon – when last minute Christmas to-do’s could easily have commanded their day – but here they were, bringing their talents and hours of practice to people scurrying past.
A couple of other carts paused. People smiled and clapped and moved on. I stood and let their sweeping highs and lows bathe me, caress me, tender me. Tears filled my eyes. I thought of the kindnesses that permeate the world, moment by moment, person by person – small things that touch deeply and big things that change lives.
The sun was streaming brightly through the sliding glass doors as I finally pushed my cart out into the crisp solstice air, the big blue sky rising above the distant snow-dotted mountains, and my car ready with the remaining things on my list. I breathed deeply as I unloaded the cart, carrying those magical notes in my pockets. What a beautiful world we live in!
Wishing you many magical moments as we pause to let this special season renew our spirits, hearts, and minds. And may the new year bring you sweet winds to sail on, green forests to meander through, mysterious caves to spy into, delicious foods to devour, laughter with friends, sun rises to sleep through, sunsets to soak in, soul-feeding music, new hearts to love, great memories to cherish, and brilliant ideas to carve into reality!
Wishing you the best year ever!
With love,
Shashi Light
Image property of Shashi Light

a sweet season

here it is … a new season
a slowing down to count blessings, smell harvests, gaze at the pregnant moon

to light fires and entertain friends, make plans for the new year
to think of celebrations, start new traditions, welcome new ideas
to reminisce over the busy summer
and catch all those pieces of gold that slipped past our hurriedness
to find ourselves whole again after a scattering of energy
to reap wisdom from mistakes
to slow our anger and gift the freedom forgiveness grants the giver

to remember the miracle of molecules flowing through our holy bodies carrying
sweet sustenance of physical beingness to our grateful bones and happy blood
to watch canopies of ambers turn to gold, and greens to crimson
against the deepening sapphire blue of october sky
to take in the crackling scent of faded leaves under our feet
to measure the worth of friendships
an impossible task but musing over it just the same
to gather the goodness of belly laughs and sincere smiles,

gentle listening, healing words, kind hugs, home-made music and tea
a soft blanket
morning sunbeams to chase the chill


a sweet season indeed

 

All images property of Shashi Light.

this special season

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.)

I had been thinking about the upcoming year and what adventures planned or unexpected might await me. I had also been contemplating the many incredibly wonderful things that have filled this past year, and how simple day-to-day living has taught me so much. I had been thinking about, as I’ve been doing the eight-to-five thing, how unnatural it feels to spend my days in an office in front of a computer, because I’d much rather be singing, dancing, writing, running through a meadow of daisies (yes, I’m that poster child).
Then I realized that no matter what I’m doing, whether it’s sweeping the floor or performing at Carnegie Hall, I can be in a state of complete joy, just like those deer, accepting life as good and satisfying at any given moment. Actually, I didn’t just realize this, it’s been an interesting theory I’ve been rolling around in my head for many moons. But the proof has been showing up in my life more this year than ever before. I take time to breathe deeply when I feel irritated, I see myself more clearly through the eyes of love, I ease into forgiveness much more quickly and easily than before, I understand that my imperfections are just places for me to grow, I don’t insist on being right, I allow my vulnerabilities to show, I don’t have to be in control because I know that ultimately I do have a lot of control over who I am. . . so many cool things that I’m learning from dealing with people and expectations so different from me.
I think one of the most significant things I’ve been learning about is listening to my feelings and being honest to myself about them. It sounds like a simple thing but I have often not done that from ignorance or fear or shame. And now from that honest place, I feel the power of well-being, because that’s where change begins – from self-awareness. At least, for me, it’s been a sweet path of growth and self-love.
Wishing for you simple pleasures to fill up your moments and years, and sweet realizations of self-love. Isn’t it nice to have a special time of year to express the love we hold in our hearts? May 2019 hold many sweet wonders for you!
With Love,
Shashi

Fare thee well

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!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrv24JD2RZc

 

 

 

 

Holiday Greetings!

Dear Friends,

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!):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjTywOMFKQI

Love and hugs,
Shashi Light

Thanks to Sara Ann and KyRe Photography for photos

 

dreaming at smith’s

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:
httpswww.pinterest.compin30188259974003580

httpswww.shutterstock.comvideoclip-10658096-stock-footage-farmer-girl-eating-grape-from-bunch-of-grapes-and-laughing-at-camera-

httpwww.bouncetimepartyrental.comconcessions-rentalscotton-candy-machine-rentals.html

a pleasant surprise

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

Images
Courtesy of Harold Hall Photography:  http://haroldhall.photoshelter.com/image/I0000w4y5IDsMWeE
and

https://blog.live4guitar.com/article/interview-with-tommy-emmanuel